MRSA Guidelines/Cellulose in Our Foods/Heart Study

By Mary Jane Dittmar

New Clinical Guidelines for MRSA Treatment

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has developed its first treatment guidelines for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the healthcare and community-associated types. Dr. Catherine Liu, assistant clinical professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California, was among the authors charged with reviewing the evidence and developing the guidelines, which are voluntary and are not meant to replace clinical judgment. The objective was to create a framework to help clinicians evaluate and treat uncomplicated and invasive MRSA infections in a manner individualized for each patient.

MRSA is responsible for about 60 percent of skin and soft tissue infections seen in emergency rooms, and invasive MRSA kills about 18,000 people annually, explains Dr. Liu. 

The guidelines address 11 topics adult and pediatric clinicians commonly encounter. They include managing skin and soft-tissue infections including recurrent infections; use of intravenous vancomycin; and invasive infections, such as pneumonia and infections in the bones, joints, blood, and heart.

The ongoing battle with drug resistance and the judicious use of antibiotics have been factors in the initiative. For instance, Liu points out, “The bulk of the evidence so far suggests incision and drainage may be adequate for the treatment of simple abscesses or boils.” She adds that the results of two large, National Institute of Health-sponsored, randomized trials that further clarify the role of antibiotics in this setting are expected to be available shortly.

The guidelines also call for better drugs to treat MRSA. A number of new drugs have been developed and have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but no one among them is considered a “golden bullet,” according to Dr. Liu.

See the full-text, “Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America for the Treatment of Methicillin-Resistant  Staphylococcus Aureus Infections in Adults and Children .”










Cellulose in Our Foods?

According to Allan Spreen, M.D., NorthStar Nutritionals (, “organic carpetbaggers, unscrupulous manufacturers [who] make junk food with organic ingredients, and then have the gall to charge you more for something you think is better for you” are at it again. This time, it involves a cost-cutting additive, which the FDA allows them to call “organic.”

The additive is cellulose, a kind of fiber made from wood pulp. Dr. Spreen notes that it is used also to create paper products, rayon, cat litter, laundry detergent, explosives, and asphalt and might even be found in yogurt–even organic yogurt.

The tasteless, odorless, and calorie-free cellulose keeps cheese from clumping. Dr. Spreen says the Sargento Web site states that it uses cellulose because it makes “cheese easier to use.”

Cellulose helps to extend a processed food’s shelf life, and it contains fiber (wood). Cellulose is an emulsifier and stabilizer. Food makers can inject a bit of it into their pudding to make it taste rich and creamy. The FDA allows food manufacturers to add powdered cellulose to their products and still call them “organic.”

In some nonorganic foods, the cellulose may be heavily treated with chemicals. Watch out for ingredients such as microcrystalline cellulose, MCC, cellulose gum, and carboxymethyl cellulose, says Dr. Spreen. These forms of cellulose alter the texture of foods.
On the other hand, Dr. Spreen says, foods that naturally contain cellulose include celery, broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables.

NIH Stops Niacin-Statin Clinical Trial

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has stopped a clinical trial studying a blood lipid treatment 18 months earlier than planned. It was determined that adding high-dose, extended-release niacin to statin treatment in people with heart and vascular disease did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and stroke.

During the study’s 32 months of follow-up, although participants who took high-dose, extended-release niacin and statin treatment had increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lowered triglyceride levels compared to participants who took a statin alone, the combination treatment did not reduce fatal or nonfatal heart attacks, strokes, hospitalizations for acute coronary syndrome, or revascularization procedures to improve blood flow in the arteries of the heart and brain. Find more information about this clinical trial (NCT00120289) at

Mary Jane Dittmar is senior associate editor of Fire Engineering and conference manager of FDIC. Before joining the magazine in January 1991, she served as editor of a trade magazine in the health/nutrition market and held various positions in the educational and medical advertising fields. She has a bachelor’s degree in English/journalism and a master’s degree in communication arts.


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