In this article a current pharmacy student provides examples of using memes as a teaching tool, proving 10 examples for learning bugs and drugs.
Authored By: Christina Le, Pharm.D, Candidate 2022
Last updated: 28 June 2020
Memes are a mix of iconic ideas and relatable concepts that erupt in popularity through social media. A meme can be anything from a post, email, person or animal that is paired with witty commentary or a caption. In many cases, the image of the meme is representative of a concept the creator chooses. Memes are rapidly becoming a cornerstone in today’s pop culture, eliciting laughs and exhales of amusement upon their viewing. From depictions of everyday-relatable situations to inside jokes, memes can encapsulate an infinite number of subjects and possibilities.
Because of their versatility memes can also serve as fun tools for learning. @IDstewardship along with other educators have been able to successfully facilitate learning in an entertaining way by creating memes related to ideas in pharmacy and sharing them on social media. This is evidenced by the substantial number of followers such accounts have been able to attract. To demonstrate how memes can be used for learning, here are 10 examples that will help you remember several concepts related to bugs and drugs!
#1. “RIPE” Treatment and Four Guys
This meme titled “Me and the Boys” properly encapsulates the 4 medications included in the “RIPE” treatment acronym. This treatment targets tuberculosis (TB) infection. Note that some people call it “RIPPE” to add in pyridoxine (vitamins B6) which may help prevent isoniazid-induced peripheral neuropathy. Read more about tuberculosis here in the IDSA guidelines.
#2. Mycoplasma Lack of Concern for Beta-Lactam Antibiotics
This meme depicts a man who thinks up a silly solution to a problem he has or has concerns about. In this case, mycoplasma has no worries about beta-lactams (cell wall active agents). Mycoplasma are inherently resistant to beta-lactams. Read more about mycoplasma here from CDC.
#3. Harry Potter and Three Common Bacteria
Harry Potter characters are highly recognizable and can help us remember tidbits about these three important bacteria. Ron can represent E. coli because it’s a Gram negative bacteria that stains pink which is a similar color to Ron’s red hair. Harry is the seeker on his Quidditch team and his role is to catch the golden snitch. In connection to that, Staphylococcus aureus is well known for producing a golden pigment (hence the Staph. aureus with Au being the periodic symbol for gold). Staph. aureus is also known to cause hematogenous spread, in a way it is like a seeker looking for a place to stick to and cause an infection. Hermione has the brains of the friend group and Streptococcus pneumoniae is known to be a common cause of meningitis.
#4. Bear and Antibiotic Combinations Resulting in Synergy
When combined, quinipristin and dalfopristin result in enhanced bactericidal activity likewise with the individual black and white bear forming the all time powerful panda. Read more about this antibiotic here… correct spelling of quinupristin on the meme is pending correction 🙂
#5. Cilastatin Halting Renal Dehydropeptidase from Targeting Imipenem
Cilastatin is used in combination with imipenem in order to prevent renal dehydropeptidase from breaking it down. Can you draw the parallel with how this man stops the other from going after the woman? Read more about imipenem-cilastatin here.
#6. Pharyngitis Infection Leading to Rheumatic Fever
Depiction of rheumatic fever through a Tin Tin comic as our immune system tries to launch an attack at a pharyngitis infection but ends up damaging organs of the body in the process. Read more about this topic here form CDC.
#7. Antibiotic Chelation
If cations such as aluminum, calcium, or magnesium are taken with fluoroquinolones or tetracyclines, the antibiotics would not take effect because the cations bind to them, a process called chelation. Who ever thought this idea could be represented as a cute, cuddly polar bear and husky?!? Note this is a generalization and not all tetracyclines are effected by cations to the same extent, read about it here.
#8. Spongebob Gets Red Man Syndrome
Spongebob’s reaction parallels “Red Man Syndrome” aka “Red Neck Syndrome” aka “Red Person Syndrome” since it manifests as red flushing of the face, torso, and/or neck. This can occur when the dose of vancomycin is administered rapidly, but can usually be reversed by holding the infusion administering antihistamines, then restarting the vancomycin at a slower rate. It is not an allergic reaction. In general each gram of IV vancomycin should be given over an hour. Both telavancin and dalbavancin can also cause Red Person Syndrome.
#9. Fosfomycin Crushing an Uncomplicated UTI
#10. Happy to Shocked Due to Ceftazidime-Avibactam Resistance During Therapy
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christina Le is a third year pharmacy student attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following graduation, she plans on completing a Post-Graduate Year 1 (PGY1) and Post-Graduate Year 2 (PGY2) in infectious diseases. Her future career plans as a pharmacist are to specialize in infectious disease, a field she’s been passionate about since her undergraduate years, and to conduct research in that field as well. Her overarching career goal is to make an impact in minimizing the spread of antibiotic resistance as it is a prevalent issue often overlooked by the public.
As a pharmacy student, Christina is currently a member of APHA-ASP and SCCP as well as a project leader under SSHP’s Antibiotic Stewardship Committee where she is formulating creative and fun ways to educate others about antibiotic resistance and stewardship. Her next step in this role is to have an agar art teaching workshop by collecting bacteria species in her own home. She is currently employed in an infectious lab where she studies the effect of genes and antibiotics in methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains.