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Will you share? Social versus selfish mechanisms affect selective conditions

The previous post mentioned the onset of antibiotic resistance as one of the scarier, if less sensationalist, outbreaks of our time. We generally discuss antibiotic resistance in medically relevant microbes (on this blog and in the news), where resistance means the ability of disease-causing mic... Read More

GUT BACTERIA MAY BE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST NASTY GERMS

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the rise, making it more and more difficult to treat infections. But research suggests that the best defense against harmful bugs could be a healthy population of “good” gut bacteria. Read More

Toward development of microarrays to test water safety

Imagine taking an ocean-side vacation, with the sun, sand, and water lulling you to relaxed bliss. After day at the beach, you experience an intense bout of stomach cramps and – more delicately put – GI distress. A rare day off is ruined because of a bug you picked up. Next, imagine a situation ... Read More

New promise for treatment of enterovirus infection

Feeling a bit under the weather? There’s a decent chance you’re suffering from an infection with an enterovirus. Enteroviruses are a commonly encountered virus, especially in the summer and fall. They can cause a variety of symptoms, from cold-like symptoms such as runny nose or fever to more se... Read More

Azithromycin During Delivery: Weighing Benefits and Costs

Washington, DC – January 13, 2016 - Some infants of lactating mothers given the antibiotic and antimalarial, azithromycin, during delivery may be protected from disease, or harmed by the drug. These findings are the results of the most comprehensive evaluation of the transfer of azithromycin int... Read More

TWiEVO 3: Recombination is for the birds

In episode #3 of the new science show This Week in Evolution, Nels and Vincent examine another important driver of evolution: recombination. The results of two papers in which the process is studied in finches and in yeast lead to the unexpected conclusion that recombination evolves more slowly ... Read More

Innate immune defenses triggered by unsuspected mechanism

To the amazement of researchers in immunology and genetics, a previously unsuspected mechanism is activated in the presence of pathogens after only a few hours. "In the hours following an attack by bacteria, we observed the activation of thousand of genes in the cells of the innate immune system... Read More

TWiM #120: Snakes in trouble

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Elio Schaechter.


Vincent and Elio marvel in the finding that a phage tail-like struc... Read More

Natural Clay Deposit May Hold Keys to Defeating Hospital Infections

Washington, D.C.—January 26, 2016— Researchers have uncovered potent antimicrobial activity in a natural clay deposit found on the central coast of British Columbia, Canada. The research, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, shows t... Read More

Fewer than 1 in 5 nurses comply with guidelines for standard precautions

Washington, Jan. 20, 2016 - Only 17.4 percent of ambulatory care nurses reported compliance in all nine standard precautions for infection prevention, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for... Read More

NY Subway Experiment/Craig Ward

The hand print image was featured in a short video by Emily Driscoll for NPR, swabbing the NY subway by artist Craig Ward. Note: the only thing I contributed was the image. I was not involved in the experiment. I would not advocate for doing this experiment outside of a lab for safety reasons... Read More

S. aureus Can Spread from Blood to Eye, Endangering Vision

Washington, DC - January 25, 2016 - Nearly ten percent of cases of Staphylococcus aureus infections of the blood spread to the eyeball, according to a team of Korean clinical investigators. That spread can severely impair vision, and even cause blindness. The research was published January 11 in... Read More

Scientists prove key aspect of evolutionary theory

Evolutionary theory predicts that pairs of chromosomes within asexual organisms will evolve independently of each other and become increasingly different over time in a phenomenon called the 'Meselson effect.' Researchers from the University of Glasgow have demonstrated the Meselson effect for t... Read More

The neurons in our gut help the immune system keep inflammation in check ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY

The immune system exercises constant vigilance to protect the body from external threats--including what we eat and drink. A careful balancing act plays out as digested food travels through the intestine. Immune cells must remain alert to protect against harmful pathogens like Salmonella, but th... Read More

Ancient clay remedy proves its antibacterial powers in the lab

Near Kisameet Bay on the central coast of British Columbia sits a deposit of clay that covers 5 acres and spans a depth up to 42 feet in places. This vast smear formed 10,000 years ago as glacial melt filled a granite basin and fine minerals silted out.

The ancient clay likely holds secrets t... Read More

The Institut Pasteur in French Guiana publishes the first complete genome sequence of the Zika virus

Having confirmed the first cases of infection in Suriname then in French Guiana, the Institut Pasteur in French Guiana has sequenced the complete genome of the Zika virus, which is responsible for an unprecedented epidemic currently sweeping through the tropical regions of the Americas. Publishe... Read More

Chickenpox, shingles vaccine may cause corneal inflammation in some patients

COLUMBIA, Mo. (Jan. 20, 2016) -- In use for more than 20 years, the varicella zoster virus vaccine for chickenpox and shingles is considered an essential medicine by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have found, in rare i... Read More

Microbiology, Cartoons, and Take Home Lessons!

In this blog post, I describe how I had students create their own cartoon depicting microbiological ideas and concepts that most tickled their fancy. I did this on their final exam, and the students came up with really interesting and entertaining ideas. IT's always interesting to see what stu... Read More

MWV 102 - Missing Microbes with Dr. Martin Blaser

Why are obesity, juvenile diabetes and asthma increasing? Is it something in the environment or in our modern lifestyle? Dr. Martin Blaser thinks that it may be due to changes in our microbiome – the ecosystem of tiny microscopic creatures that live in and on us. Learn about his hypothesis th... Read More

Under the weather? A blood test can tell if antibiotics are needed

DURHAM, N.C. -- Researchers at Duke Health are fine-tuning a test that can determine whether a respiratory illness is caused by infection from a virus or bacteria so that antibiotics can be more precisely prescribed. Read More
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