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New role for righty molecules

Researchers have identified a role for rare, right-handed versions of amino acids. This so-called D-form of nature's building blocks allows bacterial cell walls to adapt to changes in the environment, says a study in Science this week -- marking one of the few times the D-aminos have been linked... Read More

Universities use social media to get flu and handwashing messages to students

An interesting article on how colleges and universities are using traditional media in combination with social media to get out H1N1/swine flu prevention tips to their student commuities.

"Most cases of that strain (sometimes called “swine flu”) have been mild to moderate so far, but with so ... Read More

High Numbers Of Heat-loving Bacteria Found In Cold Arctic Ocean

A team of scientists led by U of C grad Casey Hubert has detected high numbers of heat loving, or thermophilic, bacteria in subzero sediments in the Arctic Ocean off the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. The bacterial spores might provide a unique opportunity to trace seepages of fluids from hot ... Read More

Bacteroides fragilis

Bacteroides fragilis in a roll tube culture Read More

'Team Diarrhea' tracks foodborne pathogens

The investigative work of a group of public health graduate students who work for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has helped find the sources of the country's two most recent major salmonella outbreaks, in peanuts earlier this year and in jalapeño peppers (previously blamed on tomatoes)... Read More

Treating IBD with probiotics? Use caution.

Researchers from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, analyzed three strains of the common probiotic Lactobacillus for their immunological properties and efficacy to treat or prevent inflammatory bowel disease in mice. The results suggests that each probiotic strain should be char... Read More

Climate Change, Marine Mucilage and Microbial Pathogens in the Mediterranean Sea

A recent paper published in PLoS suggests that the warming of the Mediterranean Sea's surface water is turning "marine snow," mostly organic detritus falling from the upper layers of the water column, into marine mucilage, a gelatinous evolving stage of marine snow, which can reach huge dimensio... Read More

Smart phone apps may enhance epidemiological or ecological data collection

PLoS One has published an interesting paper that considers using smart phones for scientific field data collection and suggests mobile apps could also be beneficial for recruiting ‘citizen scientists’ to contribute data easily to central databases through their mobile phone.

Here's the abstr... Read More

Badge sensor alerts health-care workers of need to wash hands

A wireless, credit-card-sized sensor that can detect whether health care workers have properly washed their hands upon entering a patient's room is being studied at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. The device could greatly reduce the number of hospital acquired infections nat... Read More

10 year US project to fight malaria builds thriving African mosquito net industry

In a decade-long initiative to protect millions of families from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, a U.S. government-funded project helped sell 50 million bed nets in seven countries, crafted a voucher system to allow the poor to receive them for free or partial cost, and created enough incentives ... Read More

CDC Releases Small Business H1N1 Preparedness Planning Guide

Small businesses play a key role in protecting employees’ health and safety as well as limiting the impact to the economy and society during an influenza pandemic. Advance planning for pandemic influenza, a novel infectious disease that could occur in varying levels of severity, is critical. Com... Read More

Low levels of key antibodies may lead to severe cases of H1N1

Australian researchers may have uncovered a clue as to why some people who catch swine flu suffer life-threatening illness.

And if they are right, there is an existing weapon in the treatment arsenal that could help reduce the pandemic death toll. The group found that pregnant women who becam... Read More

Efforts to Reduce Gulf's 'Dead Zone' May be Hampered by Increase in Biofuel Production

Scientists in Pennsylvania report that boosting production of crops used to make biofuels could make a difficult task to shrink a vast, oxygen-depleted "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico more difficult. The zone, which reached the size of Massachusetts in 2008, forms in summer and threatens marin... Read More

Beans' Defenses Mean Bacteria Get Evolutionary Helping Hand

Bean plants' natural defences against bacterial infections could be unwittingly driving the evolution of more highly pathogenic bacteria, according to new research published September 10 in Current Biology.

The study sheds new light on how bacterial pathogens evolve and adapt to stresses from... Read More

Eradicating dormant TB bacteria

Researchers have found a pair of compounds that kill dormant tuberculosis bacteria in monkey and lab-grown human cells, according to a study to be published on Thursday. The discovery could lead to new drugs that disable the microbe, which lies inactive in approximately two-thirds of the world's... Read More

Biotech Tries to Shrug Off Setbacks

This New York Times article examines the shortage of funding for biotechnology and life sciences companies as traditional major investors pull back. Even as the industry experiences a surge in new funding this quarter, overall investment remains at mid-1990's levels. The state of the industry, h... Read More

How HIV Cripples Immune Cells

In order to be able to ward off disease pathogens, immune cells must be mobile and be able to establish contact with each other. The working group around Professor Dr. Oliver Fackler in the Virology Department of the Hygiene Institute of the Heidelberg University Hospital has discovered a mechan... Read More

Nanoparticle Treatment For Burns Curbs Infection, Reduces Inflammation

Treating second-degree burns with a nanoemulsion lotion sharply curbs bacterial growth and reduces inflammation that otherwise can jeopardize recovery, University of Michigan scientists have shown in initial laboratory studies.

U-M burn surgeon Mark R. Hemmila, M.D., reports at the Interscien... Read More

New airline air filtration system promises to eliminate 99.9% of airborne pathogens

A new airline air filtration system promises to eliminate 99.9% of airborne pathogens in the passenger cabin.

"The aerospace giant BAE Systems has joined forces with Quest International, a small company based in Cheadle, near Manchester, to develop a machine that destroys up to 99.9 per cent ... Read More

Doctors warn online antibiotic purchases are a growing problem

"Think you need antibiotics to fight that cough or cold? Numerous Web sites are willing to sell them to you without a doctor's prescription — a loophole, researchers say, that could undermine efforts to curb the problem of bacteria that shrug off powerful antibiotics.

In a simple Internet sea... Read More

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