With the unanticipated shortage of the new H1N1 swine flu vaccine, my life as a practicing internist suddenly changed. My office phone began ringing off the hook with worried calls. Fear of the new, unknown vaccine was suddenly replaced by fear of not having it.
This panic was overblown, as t... Read More
Ever since the previously unknown SARS virus emerged from southern China in 2003, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston virologists have focused on finding the source of the pathogen's virulence -- its ability to cause disease. In the 2003 epidemic, for example, between 5 and 10 percen... Read More
Vincent and Dick classify parasites according to whether or not they are transmitted by a vector, then consider the implications of long-lived parasites.
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Andrew Logan has what every manufacturer craves: an endless source of free raw materials that his suppliers can't wait to dump and a market starving for his product.
Logan, a biologist in Idaho Springs, Colo., turns waste from breweries into a fish-food ingredient. His company, Oberon FMR, sp... Read More
The urge to celebrate during the darkest part of the year - to feast, to sing and talk story about great stars (the sun), to burn candles for divinity or our own inner light - seems nearly universal. Our ancestors learned that the nights shortened as surely as they had lengthened, that the sun p... Read More
Amiodarone, a drug long used for treating irregular heart rhythms, can also be effective against Chagas disease and leishmaniasis skin lesions, according to Alberto Paniz-Mondolfi at Columbia University in New York, N.Y., and his collaborators in Venezuela. Both these parasitic diseases are ende... Read More
The spread of antibiotic resistance among bacteria is a growing problem, making certain diseases increasingly difficult to treat. New strategies for attacking the bacteria are needed, yet virtually no novel-mechanism antibiotics are currently in development.
Gram-negative bacteria - such as t... Read More
Federal health officials on Wednesday linked the H1N1 flu epidemic to a sharp rise in the number of severe bacterial infections.
Anne Schuchat, a physician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the national trend was "worrisome" but not unexpected.
"In previous pandemics,... Read More
Tired of the portraits, landscapes and abstract art that peppers the walls of most art museums? According to Dutch photographer Wim von Egmond, there’s one art subject that has been ignored for centuries and finally deserves its due: microscopic organisms.
A soon-to-be-implemented policy for scientists who are permitted to conduct research in national parks will give the National Park Service a share of any profits from their work.
The policy is expected to go into effect early next year following more than a decade of concern and a lawsuit ove... Read More
Tiny magnetic discs just a millionth of a metre in diameter could be used to used to kill cancer cells, according to a study published on Sunday.
Laboratory tests found the so-called "nanodiscs", around 60 billionths of a metre thick, could be used to disrupt the membranes of cancer cells, ca... Read More
Musical group Dan Kahn and the Painted Bird perform their song "Parasite" live in Philadelphia. The first set of lyrics are about Toxoplasma gondii which is mentioned by name in the song, although it's hard to make all of the vocals out, the rest of the track refers to other parasites too. If so... Read More
Vincent and Dickson continue Virology 101 with a discussion of how RNA viruses produce mRNA and replicate their genomes.
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Living like a pig could be good for you. Research has shown how dirty piglets obtain 'friendly' bacteria that help them to develop healthy immune systems later in life.
The results, published online in BMC Biology1, provide the first direct link between dirty living, immune health and genetic... Read More
In his 1934 travel book Beyond the Mexique Bay, Aldous Huxley compared Guatemala's Lake Atitlan to Italy's Lake Como. The Italian body of water, he wrote, "touches the limit of the permissibly picturesque." Atitlan, however, "is Como with the additional embellishment of several immense volcanoes... Read More
The CDC notes that up to 80 percent of infections may be spread by hand contact. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers work by disrupting the outer coat of viruses and bacteria. Read More
Here's another reason to drink red wine:
"Drinking red wine in moderate amount helps to rinse teeth clean of bacteria during and after meals, says a new study.
Earlier studies have linked moderate red wine intake with everything from improved longevity to diminished risk of cardiovascular ... Read More
"The practice of sterilising surgical tools and devices has helped radically improve healthcare. Researchers in the Netherlands are trying a new method, using plasma to kill bacteria inside sealed containers.
But the old mainstay is a 130-year-old device called an autoclave, which is somethin... Read More