29 May 2007

Is Sanjay Gupta a real doctor?

So I'm pulling a pan of fishsticks out of the oven, and CNN is on in the background (because I like noise, and I'm not up for picking out a CD) and I hear one of the dumbest things I've ever hear a) on a news program b) not uttered by a member of the Bush administration. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is explaining, to some charmingly over-coiffed woman about drug resistant TB.

If you don't follow either of the fascinating worlds of infectious diseases or microbial evolution, you may have missed that drug resistant TB evolved in Soviet era Russian jails and orphanages through the improper treatment of regular old TB with not enough, or old, or poorly made antibiotics.

But Sanjay (I'm considering refusing to ever call him doctor again) says to the over-coiffed woman that TB microbes are drug resistant because "they've gotten smarter." Doubt me? Go look at the CNN transcript for a little before 8:30pm EDT, 29 May 2007.

Yes, smarter. Apparently single celled organisms, whose primary function is to be spread from one set of warm moist host lungs to another (via hacking up blood) is acing those new bacterium IQ tests. Now they are building little tiny planes and tanks to attack the antibiotics, hiding in drug shelters dug deep in the lung tissue beneath their tiny Victorian and ranch houses, and putting their young germplasms on kinder transports to whisk them away to safety.

Germs don't get smarter. They don't have brains, nerves, or anything that could be described as intelligence. The ones who don't bite the big one when treated breed, and those are what continue the population.

Dr. (if you really are one) Gupta, please do not eschew the word evolve just because some nut jobs in some state with marginal reading comprehension scores don't like it. And you might consider issuing, not an apology, but a retraction and correction of your statements. Everyone with non-treatable TB would probably appreciate knowing that it's not a super intelligent life form turning their lungs to bloody cottage cheese.

Anyway, I've got fishsticks to eat.


At 12:01 AM, Blogger liznwyrk said...

You crack me up. You're brilliant. I love you.


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