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CDC now says 4,000 swine flu deaths in US

Federal health officials now say that 4,000 or more Americans likely have died from swine flu — about four times the estimate they've been using.

The new, higher figure was first reported by The New York Times. It includes deaths caused by complications related to swine flu, including pneumon... Read More

New Explanation For Nature's Hardiest Life Form

Got food poisoning? The cause might be bacterial spores, en extremely hardy survival form of bacteria, a nightmare for health care and the food industry and an enigma for scientists. Spore-forming bacteria, present almost everywhere in our environment, can also cause serious infectious diseases,... Read More

Small Things Considered Wins Big at PRNews’ 2009 Nonprofit Awards

Small Things Considered, a microbiology blog published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), has been honored with a non-profit public relations award from PR News for best blog. The awards were announced at a luncheon held in Washington, DC, on November 3, 2009.

“I feel honored an... Read More

China’s Tough Measures on Flu Appear to Be Effective

Few farmers in this southern Chinese village gave much thought to the swine flu epidemic that had begun spreading rapidly in the United States early this summer until police sealed its 100 residents off from the outside world for about a week. It turned out that a visitor from California had sho... Read More

In The War Between The Sexes, The One With The Closest Fungal Relationship Wins

The war between the sexes has been fought on many fronts throughout time -- from humans to birds to insects, the animal kingdom is replete with species involved in their own skirmishes. A recent study by Dr. Sarah Eppley and colleagues at Portland State University published in the November issue... Read More

Mildred Cohn, Biochemist, Is Dead at 96

Mildred Cohn, a biochemist who overcame religious and sex discrimination to advance the study of metabolic processes, research that contributed to the development of medical technologies like M.R.I.’s, died on Oct. 12 in Philadelphia. She was 96.

The University of Pennsylvania announced her d... Read More

Water purifiers for the poor fail to prove their worth

Many of the systems intended to provide clean water for families in some of the world's poorest communities may not work.

That's the conclusion of Paul Hunter, a microbiologist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, who has assessed past studies of the effectiveness of household wat... Read More

Scientists explain binding action of 2 key HIV antibodies; could lead to new vaccine design

A very close and detailed study of how the most robust antibodies work to block the HIV virus as it seeks entry into healthy cells has revealed a new direction for researchers hoping to design an effective vaccine.

"Our study clearly showed that we've been overlooking a very important compone... Read More

Vatican looks to heavens for signs of alien life

E.T. phone Rome. Four hundred years after it locked up Galileo for challenging the view that the Earth was the center of the universe, the Vatican has called in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and its implication for the Catholic Church.

"The questions of life'... Read More

Travel Secrets of Ulcer Causing Bacteria Revealed

A team from Boston University, MIT, and Harvard discovered how the H. pylori bacteria penetrate the stomach mucus to cause ulcers in the lining.

H. pylori secretes the enzyme urease, which interacts with urea in the stomach to produce ammonia--the ammonia is what neutralizes the acids in the ... Read More

A remarkable diversity of bone-eating worms

The females of the recently discovered Osedax marine worms feast on submerged bones via a complex relationship with symbiotic bacteria, and they are turning out to be far more diverse and widespread than scientists expected. Californian researchers investigating the genetic history of Osedax wor... Read More

First use of antibody and stem cell transplantation to successfully treat advanced leukemia

For the first time, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have reported the use of a radiolabeled antibody to deliver targeted doses of radiation, followed by a stem cell transplant, to successfully treat a group of leukemia and pre-leukemia patients for whom there previously had... Read More

41 Nobel Prize Winners sign open letter to Congress in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act

"As scientists and Nobel Laureates, we write to express our strong support for S. 1373, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). This bi-partisan legislation, sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), would enhance access to federally funded, published research a... Read More

AIDS Divisions of 2 Large Drug Makers Form Company to Focus on the Disease

Two of the world’s biggest drug makers last week spun off their divisions that manufacture AIDS drugs and combined them into one company focusing on the disease.

The new company, ViiV Healthcare, will initially be 85 percent controlled by GlaxoSmithKline and 15 percent controlled by Pfizer. W... Read More

DNA Molecules In Moss Open Door To New Biotechnology

Plasmids, which are DNA molecules capable of independent replication in cells, have played an important role in gene technology. Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden have now demonstrated that plasmid-based methods, which had been limited to single-cell organisms such as bacteria and ye... Read More

One fish tank, two discoveries - archaea ammonia eater

It's not every day you find clues to the planet's inner workings in aquarium scum. But that's what happened a few years ago when University of Washington researchers cultured a tiny organism from the bottom of a Seattle Aquarium tank and found it can digest ammonia, a key environmental function.... Read More

Senator proposes paid sick leave for swine flu

Americans infected by the H1N1 flu virus would be guaranteed paid sick leave under emergency legislation U.S. Senator Chris Dodd plans to unveil on Tuesday in response to the swine flu pandemic.

Dodd's measure is similar to one already introduced in the House of Representatives intended to en... Read More

Antimicrobials: Silver (and Copper) Bullets To Kill Bacteria

Dana Filoti of the University of New Hampshire is presenting thin films of silver and copper she has developed that can kill bacteria and may one day help to cut down on hospital infections.

The antimicrobial properties of silver and copper have been known for centuries -- last year, the U.S.... Read More

'X-ray vision' on microbes that halt uranium deep underground

Like Superman, scientists can now "see" through layers of earth and rock. Unlike the Man of Steel, researchers are using this new ability to learn how microbes are halting uranium’s movement in groundwater underneath nuclear weapons sites. This new ability is known as surface spectral-induced po... Read More

The Limitations of the Luria-Bertani Medium

Hiroshi Nakaido, PBD Faculty Scientist, Structural Biology Department, and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UC Berkeley, has authored a guest post on the Small Things Considered Blog regarding the limitations of LB medium.

"LB broth contains, per ml, 10 mg tryptone (... Read More

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