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Readers respond to antibiotics, carbon bonds and more

Your comments on the December 24, 2016, and January 7, 2017, issues of Science News

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12:42pm, February 8, 2017

Power struggle

Ninety percent of people who believe that they are allergic to penicillin are not, Emily DeMarco reported in “Most penicillin allergies are off base” (SN: 12/24/16 & 1/7/17, p. 5). A recent study found that testing for penicillin allergies reduced by 34 percent the use of vancomycin, described in the story as “a powerful, last-resort antibiotic.”

Reader Robin Colgrove, a physician at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., took issue with the description of vancomycin. “The mistaken impression that broad-spectrum antibiotics are more ‘powerful’ is part of what drives their inappropriate overuse,” Colgrove

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