Air Date: Week of December 29, 2000
Diane Toomey reports on a promising new treatment for bacterial infections as antibiotic-resistant bacteria reach crisis proportions.
TOOMEY: Wait! Don't trash those leftover mashed potatoes from your holiday feast. Researchers at Miami University in Ohio say a potato extract can prevent both strep and E. coli bacteria from attaching to their target cells. They think it's the same plant enzyme that makes fruits and vegetables turn brown. But in this case, the enzyme disables the amino acid that allows bacteria to adhere to cells. Standard antibiotics kill those microorganisms outright, but in the last few years the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has reached a crisis. So scientists are looking for alternatives. The researchers also say a number of herbal medicines may help fight bacterial infections through this anti-stick mechanism. So pass the spuds, please. And that's this week's health update. I'm Diane Toomey.
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