In our germ-phobic culture antimicrobial soap, once only used in hospitals, has become very popular in households.  This issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases contains a study which reviews the literature comparing antimicrobial soaps versus plain soap.  The results of the study was reported in many media articles, including this Washington Times article.

The study reviewed both the soaps’ ability to kill germs on hands and their ability to prevent actual infectious diseases.  The surprising results were that antimicrobial soap was no better than plain soap from removing bacteria from hands and did not lead to lower incidence of infectious diseases.  Even worse, antimicrobial soap seems to select for resistant bacteria that are also resistant to conventional antibiotics.

It’s comforting to know that in the twenty first century there’s still nothing better to wash hands with than plain soap and water.

Tangential Miscellany:

Further proof that you’ll read it here first and it’ll still be true months later.

In January I wrote about the CDC warning about the dangers of cough and cold medications in children.  This week, the FDA released a strongly worded Public Health Advisory that every parent of small children should read.

In May I asked you not to panic about the concern that Avandia increases heart attack riskA study in an upcoming issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that the effect of Avandia on heart attacks is still uncertain.