University of Arizona College of Nursing

RN Patient Advocates is the only nationally recognized Patient Advocacy education program created specifically for qualified RNs endorsed by a leading College of Nursing: The University of Arizona.



                           News You Can Use                           

Newsflash: England, 1941 – Policeman killed by a rose. What?

White Rose

This unfortunate man developed an infection from a thorn and died due to lack of sufficient penicillin available at that time.

Antibiotics, as we all know, can save our lives.  They fight infection and support our health.  Antibiotics attack bad bacteria while protecting us.  

So, what’s new?  Remember the Human Microbiome Project? Scientists are discovering that some bacteria also keep us alive!  They break our food down to digestible bits of nutrients, detoxify poisons, nurture our immune systems, help to create vitamins, serve as a shield on our skin and internal organs to keep bad bacteria and viruses out.  There are about 20 million genes we carry in our bodies – and only about 20,000 of these are human genes.  The rest are beneficial bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Imagine that: only 10% of the genes are human.  This mix is our own microbiome that supports our health and well being.


What is the problem then?  Antibiotics can discriminate between bacteria and human genes…..but they cannot discriminate between the bad bacteria and the good ones that nurture us.  Antibiotics can kill what is infecting you, but also those bacteria that are helping to keep you healthy.


Scientists are studying the effects of antibiotics on the whole human microbiome and are finding some very interesting facts.  What happens depends upon what kind of bacteria are infecting you, what kind of antibiotics you are taking, and your general state of health before the antibiotics.  An article just published in the journal Gut published results on the effect on the microbiome of a man taking antibiotics for a pacemaker infection.  They found that the entire microbiome responded to the antibiotics! 

The good bacteria produced defenses against the drug and powered down.  Among other metabolic effects, they stopped making vitamins and dimmed their immune systems.  Some could survive the chemical onslaught and some could not.

This man had 41 species of bacteria in his gut before the antibiotic.  By day 11 that was down to 13.  However, 6 weeks later it was up to 38 but many of the bacteria were different kinds. Some major groups were missing.  Scientists are finding that this effect can last for months – affecting our immunity, our absorption of nutrients from our food and our ability to make the necessary vitamins to keep us healthy.

Physicians at Seattle Children’s Hospital found that children who took antibiotics were at an increased risk of asthma as well as inflammatory bowel disease (later in life).

Scientist have even found that long term antibiotic use can lead to the development of more fat!

So, antibiotics: friend or foe?  Antibiotics are an essential tool in our medicine chest for sure.  However, they are prescribed unnecessarily many times.  If you have a cold or the flu, antibiotics will not help though they are frequently prescribed.  Ask your doctor if you really need that antibiotic.  Maybe your infection is viral, in which case the antibiotic will not help, only hurt.

Sometimes  it is possible even to fight bacteria with other bacteria!  

Take home message: make sure you really need that antibiotic before you take it.  If you do need to take antibiotics, take probiotics to help keep the good bacteria alive, though you will need to take those at separate times from the antibiotics.  Eat less sugar – it feeds the bad bacteria and can lead to inflammation in our guts – disrupting the normal bacterial balance.

You can learn more by following the links above.  

Be healthy – be happy.  Eat well……..



Passion for Patient Advocacy

Our founder, Karen Mercereau RN, has a feature article in Advance For Nurses

(Click the article below to read a larger version)

Advance For Nurses Passion_for_Patient_Advocacy

How’s your memory? How high is your blood sugar? Can these two things possibly be related?

BrainAccording to an online article of the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, “Even for people who don’t have diabetes or high blood sugar, those with higher blood sugar levels are more likely to have memory problems.”

Martha Grout, MD, MD(H), founder of the Arizona Center of Advanced Medicine in Scottsdale, explains that “A 2008 Columbia University study showed that rising blood sugar levels, a common occurrence with aging, affect a part of the brain critical to making new memories.”

Pink-Frosted-Donut.jpgSo what is this connection between the aging brain and sugar anyway?

A part of the brain called the hippocampus is an important part of memory and people with higher blood sugar levels have smaller volumes of their hippocampus.  The researchers at Columbia University found that a rise in blood glucose levels in the brain was the only factor closely tied to decreasing activity in the memory critical part of the hippocampus.

What can we do about this?  Exercise!  (and eat less sugar of course)

Exercise helps to lower blood sugar because the muscles use up the glucose! People who exercise more, are physically active, have less cognitive decline generally.


Could this be related to insulin resistance?  


If you have developed insulin resistance, your body and brain will use sugar less effectively (cells are resistant to accepting the glucose) and there will be more circulating glucose in your brain.  Take away message: eat more vegetables and healthy fats. Work with your iRNPA to learn more about how you can reverse this insulin resistance and reduce your blood sugar levels in your brain.

Want to learn more?  Follow the links above to learn how you can maintain a better memory as you age.

Contact us!

RN Patient Advocates, PLLC

3400 West Goret Road
Tucson, AZ 85754
3212 North Anderson Drive
Tucson, AZ 
Phone: 520-743-7008