Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 2nd 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt March 1 - 2017
... MY FRIEND OWES ME MONEY
Adding friendly bacteria to skin lotion wards off bad germs
WASHINGTON---Bacteria live on everyone's
skin, and new research shows some friend-
ly germs produce natural antibiotics that
ward off their disease-causing cousins. Now
scientists are mixing the good bugs into
lotions in hopes of spreading protection.
In one early test, those customized creams
guarded five patients with a kind of itchy
eczema against risky bacteria that were gath-
ering on their cracked skin, researchers
"It's boosting the body's overall immune
defenses," said Dr. Richard Gallo, dermatol-
ogy chairman at the University of California,
San Diego, who is leading the work.
We share our bodies with trillions of microbes
that live on our skin, in our noses, in the gut.
This community---what scientists call the
microbiome - plays critical roles in whether
we stay healthy or become more vulnerable to
various diseases. Learning what makes a healthy
microbiome is a huge field of research, and
already scientists are altering gut bacteria to
fight diarrhea-causing infections. Wednesday's
research sheds new light on the skin's microbi-
ome---suggesting that one day it may be possi-
ble to restore the right balance of good bugs to
treat skin disorders, too.
"It's a really important paper," said Dr.
Emma Guttman-Yassky of the Icahn School
of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New
York, who wasn't involved with the new
research. "It does open a window for a poten-
tial new treatment."
Healthy skin harbors a different mix of
bacteria than skin damaged by disorders such
as atopic dermatitis, the most common form
of eczema. Those patches of dry, red, itchy
skin are at increased risk of infections, par-
ticularly from a worrisome germ known as
Gallo's team took a closer look at how
microbes in healthy skin might be keeping
that bad staph in check.
They discovered certain strains of some
protective bacteria secrete two "antimicro-
bial peptides," a type of natural antibiotic.
In lab tests and on the surface of animal
skin, those substances could selectively kill
Staph aureus, and even a drug-resistant
strain known as MRSA, without killing neigh-
boring bacteria like regular antibiotics do,
the team reported in the journal Science
But those good bugs are rare in the skin
of people with atopic dermatitis, Gallo said.
"People with this type of eczema, for some
reason that's not quite known yet, have a
lot of bacteria on the skin but it's the wrong
type of bacteria. They're not producing the
antimicrobials they need," he explained.
Would replenishing the good bugs help?
"They're normal skin bacteria, so we knew
they would be safe," Gallo noted.
His team tested five volunteers with atop-
ic dermatitis who had Staph aureus growing
on their skin's surface---what's called colo-
nization---but didn't have an infection.
Researchers culled some of the rare protec-
tive bacteria from the volunteers' skin, grew
a larger supply and mixed a dose into an
over-the-counter moisturizer. Volunteers had
the doctored lotion slathered onto one arm
and regular moisturizer on the other.
A day later, much of the staph on the
treated arms was killed---and in two cases,
it was wiped out---compared to the untreat-
ed arms, Gallo said.
"We're encouraged that we see the Staph
aureus, which we know makes the disease
worse, go away," he said.
The study couldn't address the bigger
question of whether exposure to the right
mix of protective bacteria might improve
atopic dermatitis itself, cautioned Mount
Next-step clinical trials are underway to
start testing effects of longer-term use. (AP)
My friend was "brokes" just
after Christmas and borrowed
two thousand dollars from me.
She said she was going to pay
it back at the end of January and
up to now, I have not received a
cent! I am not rich but I made
the sacrifice to help her since she has four children and I have none.
The hurtful part is that a couple weeks ago she posted pics on Face-
book from an all-inclusive party, a boat ride and two fetes in Trinidad
and still no attempt to pay me back.
I am really upset but I don't know how to approach this
situation without destroying our friendship. I don't want
her to say that I am being reproachful but she is on real
games. I need my money and I really wish that she
would get her act together and be a better mother as
well. Of course, if I talk to her she may want to tell
me I have no children so I am not going to go down
Please tell me how to get back my money without
offending her and how to help her get her life in
There is a popular saying which states that one
should never loan more than one is willing to lose.
Perhaps this is something that you should bear in
mind for the future. With regard to your current
situation, though, the direct approach is best.
Start with a gentle reminder. She has broken
her promise to you and you should not feel guilty
about reminding her of her need to honour it. You
deserve to be paid what you are owed. If this fails
your request needs to be more forceful. Ask for
your money but give her a deadline. If you think
that repaying the entire amount at once would be
difficult then perhaps you can suggest a payment
plan if this is something that you are comfortable
with. Just remember to be direct in your approach.
Dropping hints or being sarcastic is not the way to go.
If all else fails then you may have to consider that money
as a gift or the friendship as over depending on the value
you place on each.
Avoid giving parenting advice. This is a sore point with most
parents and most times does not auger well for maintaining
future relationships. Leave the parenting advice to those in a
similar position. If you must, be sure to make suggestions instead
of giving instructions. How something is said is just as import-
ant as what is said. Additionally, perception is key. Your friend
should not feel as though her parenting skills are being criticised
in spite of how you might feel about her choices.
Continue being a supportive friend but set boundaries so that you
are not taken advantage of. Resolve that there are some things that
you simply cannot change.
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