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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A warning that will probably be ignored
This is a Penguin Special, a deliberately slim book that gets across a single point with devastating effect. Sally Davies (I really can't call her 'Professor Dame' like the cover does - it makes her sound like a character from a pantomime) ought to know what she's talking about when it comes to antibiotics, as she is the Chief Medical Officer for England.

We...
Published 16 months ago by Brian Clegg

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pill Popper
A skinny book in the Penguin Specials genre which spells out a single message - but not exhaustively. The message is,"Germs" are becoming resistant to "antibiotics". Examples are given and some of the reasons why are explained.Basically these appear to be, biology, misuse and complacency.
The prose can be a bit turgid and the pace overwhelming...
Published 10 months ago by Donald Bain


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A warning that will probably be ignored, 29 Sept. 2013
By 
Brian Clegg "Brian Clegg" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Drugs Don't Work (Penguin Special): A Global Threat (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Paperback)
This is a Penguin Special, a deliberately slim book that gets across a single point with devastating effect. Sally Davies (I really can't call her 'Professor Dame' like the cover does - it makes her sound like a character from a pantomime) ought to know what she's talking about when it comes to antibiotics, as she is the Chief Medical Officer for England.

We start with a stark little story of life in the 2040s when all the antibiotics have failed and even what appears to be a harmless throat infection could result in isolation and death. Davies then takes us swiftly through the history of antibiotics and the various nasties we have to face up against.

In case it's not obvious by now, the theme is that our over-use of antibiotics is resulting in growing resistance building up in more and more diseases. At the same time, there really isn't a lot of work going into the next generation of drugs, as it isn't a hugely profitable thing for pharma companies to do.

Left with only the current facts we are presented with a dire situation, particularly for the next generations. However, Davies does come up with a range of possibilities for making things better, from the simplest aspects like washing our hands more effectively through to means to encourage production of the next generation of antibiotics. The trouble is, these positive bits seem to me to be primarily filled with the optimism of the scientific professional, rather than a reflection of the political reality. Specifically, I think unless we see Bill Gates and his equivalents pouring vast amounts into the research we won't get very far until things start going horribly wrong. For instance, the use of antibiotics in animal rearing should be clamped down on at draconian levels worldwide, but politicians have fudged it again and again.

But whether or not you take solace from the practical suggestions, and the rosier picture of the future the book finishes with, there is no doubt that this is a highly important message that, for a start, every MP and GP should be reading. And wash your hands. Right now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pill Popper, 19 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Drugs Don't Work (Penguin Special): A Global Threat (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Paperback)
A skinny book in the Penguin Specials genre which spells out a single message - but not exhaustively. The message is,"Germs" are becoming resistant to "antibiotics". Examples are given and some of the reasons why are explained.Basically these appear to be, biology, misuse and complacency.
The prose can be a bit turgid and the pace overwhelming. Content flows somewhat erratically between the technical specialisms and the mundane.
The structure would have benefited from a more thought through layout - diagrams, headings, bullet points, etc More of a PowerPoint presentation than a constant fast jog through a very varied and complex landscape. On occasions it's a bit like being trapped at the bar with a bloke who's a single issue fanatic. An index would have been useful.
Nevertheless it is a startling read. Some issues are depressingly simple in fact but fiendishly complex in practice. Multiple contributing circumstances provide such overwhelming variables that it's difficult not to despair.
There needs to be a parallel book on the potential effects of genetics and nano-technology to combat or at least restrain infection as this book appears to provide an overarching suggestion that ultimately "antibiotics" will always be - at the very least - on the back foot. the science works but is constantly undercut by greed, incompetence and plain stupidity.
This work by three eminent specialists is beyond doubt worth the reading as a primer covering a very scary situation. Other than providing generalist knowledge it does present portals through which anyone hitherto uninitiated can travel for more knowledge and understanding in depth.
My composite thought as I reached the final page was, we're in this problem together but we don't care all that much. In that respect the book succeeded.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be mainstream reading, 23 Dec. 2013
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People need to be educated about the threat that lies ahead due to the poor misuse of antibiotics. Fascinating reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Drugs Don't Work, 17 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Drugs Don't Work (Penguin Special): A Global Threat (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Paperback)
Excellent book that explains why the difficulties arising out of bacterial resistance to antibiotics are so potentially worrying to all of us. We may be returning to the situation we had before antibiotics were available to us and that simple infections will no longer be so easy to deal with, but may become life-changing or life-threatening to us in the future. Rampant overprescribing and inappropriate prescribing of antibacterials for the treatment of viral infections for example are the cause, plus the lack of new innovations from the pharmaceutical industry - a fascinating read - well written without patronising the reader.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Health Warning, 8 Jan. 2014
This book should be part of every school's reading list in an effort to educate the population about the health problem associated with the growing menace of drug resistant antibiotics through over use, mis-use and lack of understanding how they work. Food for thought on what steps doctors and patients can do about it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely worrying, 9 Oct. 2013
By 
Murray (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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This draws attention to a major problem, which has been on the sidelines for too long. An excellent small book
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars everyone should read this, 25 Nov. 2013
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Excellent review of the problems that modern medicine faces for the future. Compares how much time and money may be spent on producing new drugs, and how few may actually be appropriate to use. Worrying trends for future use of antibiotics. Conventional medicine may be less able to treat future epidemics. Easy to read and a fairly short book written by the Chief Medical Officer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Got what I expected, 20 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Drugs Don't Work (Penguin Special): A Global Threat (Penguin Shorts/Specials) (Paperback)
This book is a good comprehensive overview of this subject. From enough detail (but not overbearing) of the biochemistry/immunology involved, to the scale and cost of the problem, right through to some excellent far-reaching recommendations to scale back anti-microbial resistance. One hopes these recommendations are picked up some day soon!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must Read, 8 Nov. 2013
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A short, precise explanation as to why antibiotics are failing. Informative and interesting and a must read. It certainly opened my eyes and I won't be rushing to the doctors with my sore throat asking for antibiotics!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 28 April 2014
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A eye opening account of how useless some drugs are at fighting certain infections and diseases and how powerless some medicines are.
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The Drugs Don't Work (Penguin Special): A Global Threat (Penguin Shorts/Specials)
The Drugs Don't Work (Penguin Special): A Global Threat (Penguin Shorts/Specials) by Professor Mike Catchpole (Paperback - 19 Sept. 2013)
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