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Crowd Forcing: Random Movement of Bacteria Drives Gears

In the swimming motions of aerobic bacteria against asymmetric gears, apparent randomness can yield directed motion. The collective random motion of tiny bacteria can be harnessed to turn much larger mechanical gears in a preestablished direction, a new study demonstrates. The research, set to b... Read More

Are the bees vanishing?

There is some evidence that viruses are involved in colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which worker bees disappear. This condition is receiving a great deal of attention ranging from basic scientific research (summarized on TWiV 46) to a PBS episode to a documentary entitled 'Colony' whic... Read More

Wisconsin wants its own official state microbe

You may know Wisconsin's state animal (the badger), the state bird (the robin), or even the state dance (the polka). Now Wisconsin lawmakers want to name an official state microbe.

It's called Lactococcus Lactis, and it's the microbe that turns milk into cheese. Supporters presented Assembly ... Read More

Do Flu Viruses Live Longer on Surfaces Than Cold Viruses?

Most people know that cold and flu viruses can contaminate doorknobs, faucets and other surfaces. But for how long?

Studies have found that the survival time for both kinds of viruses varies greatly, from a few seconds to 48 hours. The reasons have to do with a number of factors, including th... Read More

Brush border cells and Goblet cells

SEM showing individual brush border cells and goblet cells exuding mucus. From human intestine (2700X) Read More

New media spread the word on H1N1

“No lines, free H1N1 vaccine still available at West Roxbury flu clinic. Hurry. The clinic closes today at 4.’’ - Twitter message from the Boston Public Health Commission, Sunday afternoon

Never before has a virus gone viral like this. There are swine flu blogs and swine flu tweets, swine flu... Read More

Giant Panda Genome Reveals Why It Eats Shoots and Leaves

What’s black and white and read all over? The giant panda genome. All 2.4 billion DNA base pairs of a 3-year-old female panda named Jingjing have been cataloged, researchers report online Dec. 13 in Nature. The information will help researchers understand panda traits such as finicky diets. A th... Read More

"Clean Your Paws for Santa Claus"

Reinforce good hand hygiene this holiday season with downloadable posters, cold and flu toolkit, and other educational resources. Read More

300 hotel guests relocated after bacteria kills 1

About 300 guests have been relocated from a luxury Miami hotel after one guest died and at least two others became sick from a bacteria in the water.

Health officials say the guests at the EPIC Hotel were sent to nearby hotels Sunday to prevent further contact with Legionnaire's disease, acco... Read More

Anti-HIV vaginal gel fails

A vaginal gel designed to block HIV infection during sex has failed in a trial of 9385 women.

The gel has been touted as a method of preventing HIV that could empower women whose male partners are unwilling to wear a condom.

"It very clearly doesn't work," says chief investigator Sheena Mc... Read More

Scientists use nanosensors for first time to measure cancer biomarkers in blood

A team led by Yale University researchers has used nanosensors to measure cancer biomarkers in whole blood for the first time. Their findings, which appear December 13 in the advanced online publication of Nature Nanotechnology, could dramatically simplify the way physicians test for biomarkers ... Read More

BMJ criticisms of Tamiflu questioned

Governments have been stockpiling the antiviral drug oseltamivir as a defence against pandemic flu. Now the medical journal BMJ has claimed there is insufficient evidence that the drug prevents serious complications of flu to warrant the policy. In a series of articles, it says the Swiss pharmac... Read More

Harvard Halts Construction of $1B Science Complex

Harvard University will "pause" construction of its $1 billion Allston Science Complex in Boston next spring upon completion of the current phase, President Drew Gilpin Faust announced in a letter this week to the university and Allston communities.

The action delays the university's plans to... Read More

DNA's guardian gene found in placozoans

A vital gene that defends us against cancer has been found in one of the simplest of animals – a flat, amoeba-like creature called a placozoan. The discovery shows that p53, sometimes described as the "guardian of the genome", has been around for over 1 billion years.

The Placozoa are among t... Read More

Biological passport to catch sports cheats

Athletes be warned: the way illegal doping is detected is on the cusp of a radical change.

On 2 December, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released guidelines on the long-awaited "athlete biological passport", a way to spot cheats by monitoring them for suspicious changes in normal physiol... Read More

Tamiflu-Resistant H1N1 Flu Infects Seven on Vietnamese Train

A cluster of seven people infected with a Tamiflu-resistant strain of pandemic H1N1 influenza has been identified by researchers in Vietnam and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The cases show the ability of Tamiflu-resistant pandemic H1N1 to spread among healthy people who are... Read More

Radiolab: What's Gotten In To You?

What's gotten into you? In this hour we explore nature's moochers - the good, the bad, and the hideous. We have stories of lethargic farmers, zombie cockroaches, and even mind-controlled humans (kinda, maybe). Could parasites be the shadowy hands that pull the strings of life?

Carl Zimmer pla... Read More

Parasites in the Brain

(Editor's note - this blog post complements an earlier one on the Small Things Considered blog; http://www.microbeworld.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=2040, it even uses the same picture. It's fascinating, so I hope you enjoy)

In 1896 Scientific American ran an editorial ti... Read More

New York Autopsies Show 2009 H1N1 Influenza Virus Damages Entire Airway

In fatal cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza, the virus can damage cells throughout the respiratory airway, much like the viruses that caused the 1918 and 1957 influenza pandemics, report researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

... Read More

Bacterial protein mimics its host to disable a key enzyme

Bacteria use all sorts of cunning to trick hosts into doing their bidding. One con in their bag of tricks: the molecular mimic. In this ruse, bacteria or their agents look for all purposes like some native molecule in a cell, but then do not behave accordingly. Working with H. pylori, the bacter... Read More

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