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The Fungus Detective - Robert Blanchette goes to extremes to solve microscopic mysteries

A profile of Robert Blanchette, professor of plant pathology at the University of Minnesota, and his interesting work on fungi and the degradation archaeological wood. Read More

Unhackable data in a box of bacteria stored in a fridge: Future of InfoSec?

Students at Hong Kong's Chinese University may be onto a type of memory media that could be a truly secure way to store data -- text, images, music, and video. It takes up almost no space, can be encrypted, and is so gross that it's unlikely many people would attempt to steal it. That is, if the... Read More

See how they grow on the nanoscale: Monitoring single bacteria without a microscope

With an invention that can be made from some of the same parts used in CD players, University of Michigan researchers have developed a way to measure the growth and drug susceptibility of individual bacterial cells without the use of a microscope.

The new biosensor promises to speed treatment... Read More

New parents urged to get whooping cough vaccine

A child health expert is urging parents of newborns to take advantage of the government's free whooping cough vaccine program.

Infection rates are at their highest levels in 10 years.

In the last three years 1,416 West Australians contracted the disease, three of whom died.

Associate Pr... Read More

Southern Sudan's votes could kill an ancient disease

"There is huge excitement and euphoria here," says Makoy Samuel Yibi, phoning from Juba in Southern Sudan. There, this week's referendum vote looks set to divide Sudan into independent north and south countries, potentially ending decades of civil war. The result is largely a foregone conclusion... Read More

Explosive death for MRSA

An antibody which causes MRSA bacteria to explode rather than divide brings hope for a universal vaccine.

MRSA is a highly antibiotic-resistant form of the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus which kills about 20,000 people in the US alone each year. Although a small number of antibiotics work aga... Read More

How microbes colonize the preemie gut

By sequencing the genomes of gut microbes from preemies, researchers hope to learn more about what causes sometimes fatal intestinal problems.

One unresolved question is whether these illnesses in premature newborns are caused by pathogenic strains of bacteria or just an imbalance in the micr... Read More

14 lions killed at Iran zoo over infection fears

Authorities put down 14 lions at the Tehran zoo that had been diagnosed with an infectious bacterial disease that could affect visitors, a local newspaper reported on Monday.

The state-own Jam-e Jam daily reported that the lions were suffering from glanders, a bacterial disease found in horse... Read More

Researchers Describe Future Target Mechanism for Antibiotics

So-called type-3 secretion systems of pathogenic bacteria may be a suitable point of attack for future antibiotics. This is shown by Professor Maria Fällman and her associates at Umeå University in Sweden in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS, in the US.

Many disease-cau... Read More

Franco Harris launches line of bacteria-fighting fitness products

Some gyms can be gross. Sharing equipment with sweaty fellow exercisers can make you less than enthusiastic about working out, especially when it’s cold and flu season.

What could be worse? Well, maybe an NFL locker room?

NFL Hall-of-Famer Franco Harris, of the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty ... Read More

Virus may have killed Fraser River salmon, study says‎

Volcanic eruptions, giant squid and sea lice have all been invoked to explain the wild swings in British Columbia's famed Fraser River sockeye-salmon runs.

Now scientists are raising the possibility that a mysterious virus is responsible for killing huge numbers of Pacific salmon before they... Read More

Designer probiotic yogurts could help people lose weight

Researchers found they could alter the bacteria, which is found naturally in the human gut and in probiotic yogurts, to make it produce a type of molecule that has been shown to reduce levels of fat tissue in the body.

The scientists, from the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority... Read More

H1N1 survivors have 'super' immunity

First author Jens Wrammert of Emory University School of Medicine and the Emory Vaccine Center says infection with the 2009 pandemic influenza strain has induced broadly protective antibodies.

"These findings show that these types of antibodies can be induced in humans, if the immune system h... Read More

Researchers unzip MRSA and discover route for vaccine

University of Rochester Medical Center orthopaedic scientists are a step closer to developing a vaccine to prevent life-threatening methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections following bone and joint surgery.

Other MRSA vaccine research has failed to produce a viable option... Read More

TWiV 116 Letters

Sky writes:


Hey Vince, Dick, and the gang. I just wanted to get your thoughts on the current state of an issue that came up in an old television production that I just watched. I had always heard that the usage of phage particles to treat bacterial infections was impr... Read More

TWiV 116: Cocaine, colonies, and chickens

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Have a Healthy Trip: Avoiding Germs En Route

Whether you're flying, riding in a bus or traveling by rail, seat backs, seat pockets and lavatories can be germ-ridden. And if a sick passenger a few rows ahead of you sneezes, you may be too close for comfort.

Battling the bacteria
So how can you stay healthy if you have to travel? The fol... Read More

Pet cafes spur hygiene concern in Japan

The trend began with so-called cat cafes, and there are now more than 120 establishments in Japan where people can enjoy the healing effects of being surrounded by dogs, birds, goats and rabbits.

Some shops, however, have not registered as required with local governments, and experts warn the... Read More

Children With Bacterial Meningitis Suffer Long-Term Consequences

Nearly half of children who survive an episode of bacterial meningitis experience persistent behavioral, intellectual, or other complications, reports a study in the January issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

Bacterial meningitis is a potentially fatal infection of the tissues... Read More

Cholera dictating aid needs for Haiti

A year after a devastating earthquake, the immediacy of the need for aid to Haiti has passed, but the country remains desperate for long-term help, the head of a Portland-based aid group said Saturday.

Nathan M. Nickerson, executive director of Konbit Sante, who is in Cap Haitien, said those ... Read More
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