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TWiV 56: Perspicuously perspicacious

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Vincent, Dick, Alan, and Cliff answer questions from listeners on swine influenza origins, transmission, virulence, and vaccines, HIV and AIDS, and more.


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TWiV 56

Joe writes:


TWIVERS,


Guys, what a great podcast. I am a chemical engineer with a MS in Environmental Management. I have been doing EH&S work in industrial settings for about 20 years after some years in R&D and manufacturing positions. I have always had a stro... Read More

Scientists Propose New Explanation For Flu Virus Antigenic Drift

Influenza viruses evade infection-fighting antibodies by constantly changing the shape of their major surface protein. This shape-shifting, called antigenic drift, is why influenza vaccines -- which are designed to elicit antibodies matched to each year's circulating virus strains -- must be ref... Read More

Zombie Creatures: What Happens When Animals Are Possessed by a Parasitic Puppet Master?

From fungi to flies, some parasitic species have figured out how to control their host's behavior to get what they need. See what happens when bugs go really bad with this slide show from Scientific American. Read More

Acholeplasma laidlawii

Acholeplasma laidlawii, light micrograph (approximately 400X) Unstained. Note colonial morphology and classical 'fried-egg' appearance after 4 days growth Read More

Timeline: The secret history of swine flu

Six months ago, swine flu emerged as a massive threat to global health. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but this timeline explains how the origins of the H1N1 pandemic go back more than a century. Read More

Autoimmune disease cells harnessed to fight cancer

Autoimmune disease has devastating consequences for healthy tissue. Now, in mice, the same cells that can drive the body to destroy its own tissue have been used to fight cancerMovie Camera.

The cells are a recently discovered type of immune cell called Th17. These cells play a key role in au... Read More

Moldy Washing Machines

As any homeowner knows, mold can pop up in the most unexpected places and can be quite difficult to remove. This video investigation examines the link between front-loading washing machines and moldy-smelling clothes. Definitely a must for anyone who owns a front-loader or has allergies. Read More

Swine Flu Hit Millions in Spring, Agency Says

There were 1.8 million to 5.7 million cases of swine flu in the country during the epidemic’s first spring wave, according to a new estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday.

From 9,000 to 21,000 people were hospitalized as a result, and up to 800 died fr... Read More

ASM/SDA Handwashing Webinar


The upcoming cold and flu season may be one of the busiest in years, with the added threat of the H1N1 virus. The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) hosted a free webinar on Sept. 24 to help community leaders prepare for these potential threats to public health.


... Read More

Doctors Kill Parasitic Worms By Poisoning the Bacteria in Their Innards

In some African villages, nearly everyone is infected with Mansonella perstans, a parasitic worm that’s remarkably hard to kill. It’s resistant to standard anti-worm medications, but researchers have learned that an old antibiotic can vanquish the tiny beasts — in a roundabout way.

The parasi... Read More

Gastroenterologists explore relationship between bacteria in the gut and breast cancer

The human body contains billions of microorganisms, and microbial cells found in the human gut are estimated to outnumber human cells by ten-to-one in healthy adults. However, little is known about the ways in which these minute life forms influence health and disease.

That is why gastroenter... Read More

A Petri Dish Dream Vacation

"The famous tropical sunset scene by Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Roger Tsien, University of California San Diego, USA. This image was created using transgenic bacteria expressing fluorescent protein genes."

Via MicrobialArt.com Read More

E.coli Grocery

There is a new set of photographs on the Small Things Considered blog that are quite interesting. All of them look as if they originate from the 1950's to 1960's decades. ... Read More

Could H1N1 take down the Internet?

An article in The Washington Post considers the possible impact the H1N1 pandemic could have on the Internet.

"As the spread of the H1N1 flu keeps more Americans away from work and school, a federal report warns that all those people logging on to the Web from home could overwhelm Internet ne... Read More

Scientists Discover Influenza's Achilles Heel: Antioxidants

In an article appearing in the November 2009 print issue of the FASEB Journal, they show that antioxidants -- the same substances found in plant-based foods -- might hold the key in preventing the flu virus from wreaking havoc on our lungs.

"The recent outbreak of H1N1 influenza and the rapid... Read More

Mycobacterium xenopi

Mycobacterium xenopi. One colony of each three different strains. Read More

Scientists Use World's Fastest Supercomputer To Create The Largest HIV Evolutionary Tree

Supporting Los Alamos National Laboratory's role in the international Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI) consortium, researchers are using the Roadrunner supercomputer to analyze vast quantities of genetic sequences from HIV infected people in the hope of zeroing in on possible vacci... Read More

Science and Knitting?

The Manchester Science Festival 2009 is hosting "The Big Microbe Knit." A day of creativity, knitting micro-organisms such as swine flu, salmonella and the common cold. Learn about the microbes we encounter in our everyday lives and some of the more uncommon ones.

But if you can't make it to ... Read More

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