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The mysteries of rabies

One day, towards the end of summer, I walked into my living room and found my cats playing "Secret CIA Prison" with a bat. He was alive, but just barely. He lay on my floor twitching, his wings torn to Swiss cheese. The cats looked up at me as if to say, "We do good work, yes?" I locked them in ... Read More

2009 in review: H1N1 pandemic tops our list of health stories

Global health experts worried that if the virus began spreading from person to person, it could spark a human chain of infection and death worse than anything seen since 1918. They ramped up flu surveillance and bolstered vaccine production. No one predicted that the next pandemic would be launc... Read More

Micromidas turns waste into plastic

In the 1967 film "The Graduate," Mr. McGuire advises protagonist Ben Braddock, "There's a great future in plastics." A handful of recent UC Davis graduates have heeded that advice and are building the next generation of plastic.

Their company, Micromidas, processes sewage sludge, the hardened... Read More

Researchers study microbes in cattle to unlock metabolic disease mysteries

Switching from warm-season grasses to cool-season forages can give livestock a belly ache, in some cases a deadly one, according to Texas AgriLife Research scientists.
Dr. Bill Pinchak, Texas AgriLife Research animal nutritionist at Vernon, is leading a team of scientists who are using state-of... Read More

California health officials urge pregnant women with flu-like symptoms to seek prompt antiviral treatment

A new study by California health officials says pregnant women with flu-like symptoms should promptly undergo “aggressive antiviral treatment,” even if a preliminary test shows that the patient tests negative for the flu.

The study, published online today by the New England Journal of Medicin... Read More

Disinfectants may promote growth of antibiotic resistant superbugs

Researchers from the National University of Ireland in Galway found that by adding increasing amounts of disinfectant to laboratory cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria could adapt to survive not only the disinfectant but also ciprofloxacin - a commonly-prescribed antibiotic - even w... Read More

The First Case of Highly Drug-Resistant TB Found in US

As part of a six-month look at the soaring global challenge of drug resistance, the Associated Press has learned of the first case of extremely drug resistant TB in Lantana, Fla. The patient's name is Oswaldo Juarez, a 19-year-old Peruvian visiting to study English. Click "source" to read the fu... Read More

TWiP 3: Trichinella spiralis

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Vincent and Dick distinguish among intracellular and extracellular parasites, then discuss the history and general characteristics of Trichinella spiralis.


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Viruses that adapted to high temperatures may jump species more easily

A team of scientists is all set to investigate whether viruses that have adapted to higher temperatures can jump species more easily, which could shed light on the characteristics of host-switching viruses such as the avian flu or H1N1.

The team, which consists of a computational biophysicist... Read More

New high dose influenza vaccine approved by FDA for people ages 65 and older

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced their approval for a high dosage flu vaccine. Fluzone High-Dose is a vaccine made for adults ages 65 yrs and older to protect against influenza virus A and B.

This age group is the most susceptible to complications from seasonal i... Read More

The Gut Check: Popularity Of 'Probiotics' Reflects Desire For More Intestinal Fortitude

Jamie Lee Curtis may have made probiotics a household word as a spokeswoman for Activia yogurt, but the idea of regulating the digestive tract by adding good bacteria to the intestinal mix is nothing new.

In 1907, Russian-born scientist Eli Metchnikoff suggested that better health could be ha... Read More

The Problem with Tenderized Beef

Injury issues aside (see John Mcdonalds HUS story), the problem with tenderized beef is that it internalizes bacteria from the surface of intact cuts of beef, thereby reducing the likelihood that cooking will serve as an effective kill step. The recent (ongoing???) outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 l... Read More

BacterioFiles Episode 2


In this show, I report on three exciting stories plus one more: bacteria turning tiny gears, a way bacteria can produce electricity, how microbe exposure early in life could protect the heart, and how bacteria could prevent mosquito-borne diseases.


... Read More

China treats severe swine flu patients with plasma harvested from recovered, vaccinated people

China has started treating severely infected swine flu patients with blood plasma donated by survivors - a therapy not yet proven to work but one that has shown potential to save lives.

In many parts of China, government-run blood collection stations have been harvesting plasma from people wh... Read More

American Indians Hit Hard By Swine Flu

Although H1N1 has proven less deadly than originally anticipated, it has taken a serious toll on American Indians.

According to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the mortality rate from the virus is four times higher among American Indians and Alaska ... Read More

Opening New Frontiers: First Volume of Microbial Encyclopedia Published

The Earth is estimated to have about a nonillion (1030) microbes in, on, around, and under it, comprised of an unknown but very large number of distinct species. Despite the widespread availability of microbial genome data -- close to 2,000 microbes have been and are being decoded to date -- a v... Read More

The science of snow

(ed's note - check about 2/3 of the way through the article for a bit about the role bacteria play in snow formation)

Snowstorms tend to cripple cities with residents poorly practiced in the use of shovels, plows and tire chains. At the same time, such places seem to revel more heartily in th... Read More

Marine Euglena-like Protist at 1000x Magnification

Marine Euglena-like Protist at 1000x Magnification. Euglena is a common group of freshwater single celled organisms in the Kingdom Protista. Read More

Microalgae for CO2 Fixation - From Test Tube to Large Scale

Microalgae for CO2 Fixation - From Test Tube to Large Scale Read More

Hong Kong health officials investigate case of influenza A (H9N2)

Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a case of influenza A (H9N2) infection - a mild form of avian influenza - involving a 35-month-old girl.

A spokesman for CHP said today (December 23) the girl, living in Sha Tin, developed symptoms of ... Read More

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