"He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever."
(no idea who the author is)
Many whys, whats and hows in this easy to read, and a very intriguing paper by a curious, and I believe a bit angry, parent (published March 2015)
An n=1 case report of a child with autism improving on antibiotics and a father’s quest to understand what it may mean
The author, a parent of a child with autism, describes an n=1 case in which his child's autism symptoms dramatically and rapidly improved following administration of a common antibiotic. The author asserts that this finding is not unusual in the autism population and that, when combined with prior recent medical research, suggests that a link between autism and the microbiome in some children is not just plausible, but in fact likely for some meaningful percentage of cases. The author argues for increased funding for a more thorough examination of links between autism and the microbiome and poses a series of questions to be further examined in future research.
And for a good measure, an article about some cancer questions... (January 2015)
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisanti suggests possible cancer treatment to her scientist father over the dinner table
An eight-year-old girl may have come up with a treatment for cancer while chatting to her parents over the dinner table.
Camilla Lisanti, from Manchester, was eating dinner when her father Michael – a cancer research scientist – asked her how she would cure cancer.
The eight-year-old child thought for a moment and then suggested using antibiotics, “like when I have a sore throat,” to her sceptical parents.
Professor Lisanti and his wife Federica Sotgia, a husband and wife cancer research team at Manchester University, tested her theory at their lab and were surprised when several cheap and widely used antibiotics destroyed the cancerous cells.
Some antibiotics stop cells from making mitochondria, which supply cells with energy.
Cancer stem cells, which create tumours and keep them alive, often have high numbers of mitochondria.
Their research showed that four common antibiotics, which can cost as little as six pence a day compared to some of the latest drugs which can cost hundreds of pounds, killed these stem cells in samples from breast, prostate, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, skin and brain tumours.
Crucially, the antibiotics did not harm healthy cells. Professor Lisanti now believes that antibiotics could prove to be an inexpensive and safe method in treating cancer, thanks to his daughter’s suggestion.
“She has heard us talk about cancer a lot and we thought it would be fun to ask her what she thought about cancer therapy,” he told the Daily Mail.
“I thought it was very naïve to think you could cure cancer with antibiotics but at the end of the day Camilla was right. She usually is right about things. She always has a snappy answer that makes sense,” he said of his daughter, who at the moment wants to go into teaching.
Of course, let's not forget that...
Although promising, the research – at the moment – is limited to lab results and needs to be tested on people.
Dr Alan Worsley, Cancer Research UK’s senior science communications officer, told The Independent: “There’s no indication from this work that these particular antibiotics would kill cancer cells in patients, or what sort of side effects there might be. Some antibiotics have been known to have anti-cancer effects since the 1960s and are a well-established part of cancer treatment today, alongside other chemotherapies.”
Oh, the song for today :-)