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Flip-flops are a magnet for dangerous, deadly bacteria

Lab tests conducted on two pairs of flip flops that were worn for four days revealed Staphylococcus aureus contamination in the rubber. If the bacteria made its way into your foot via a cut, it could enter the bloodstream and cause some serious problems.

"It can make you pretty sick if it got... Read More

Is the Frog-Killing Chytrid Fungus Fueled by Climate Fluctuations?

This much is clear: frogs are dying.

One third of the world's 6,260 amphibian species are globally threatened or extinct. The primary threat to their survival is still habitat destruction, which impacts 61 percent of known amphibian species. But climate change and the deadly chytrid fungus co... Read More

Curing viral diseases before they have even evolved

The New Scientist has an interesting story out about Michael Goldblatt, who once led the biodefense program for the Pentagon's research arm, DARPA, and now heads Functional Genetics, a biotech company in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Goldblatt, along with a few other researchers, "are working on an en... Read More

New DNA Vaccine Inhibits Deadly Skin Cancer in Mice

A new DNA vaccine inhibited malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, in mice by eliciting antibodies that target a gastrin-releasing peptide which is known to play a key role in cancer development. The researchers from China and the U.S. report their findings in the July 2009 issue of ... Read More

University of Utah develops a new 'molecular' condom for women that protects against HIV

University of Utah scientists developed a new kind of "molecular condom" to protect women from AIDS in Africa and other impoverished areas. Before sex, women would insert a vaginal gel that turns semisolid in the presence of semen, trapping AIDS virus particles in a microscopic mesh so they can'... Read More

Marine Microbes Creating Green Waves In Industry

New technology designed to analyse large numbers of novel marine microbes could lead to more efficient and greener ways to manufacture new drugs for conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, flu and other viruses, as well as improving the manufacture of other products such as agrochemicals.

Rese... Read More

Muscle vs Mussels: California's Campaign to Reduce Quaggas

California and federal officials are sizing up diverse strategies in their campaign to contain trillions of quagga mussels, dime-sized invaders threatening water and power supplies in California and across the Southwest.

Vivacious reproducers ā€“ a single quagga can produce 1 million eggs in a ... Read More

Understanding Cicadas and their Bacterial Symbionts

How do cicadas gather the nutrients they need to survive, despite their low-nutrient diet? John McCutcheon, a molecular biologist at the University of Arizona, says that cicadas supplement their diet by maintaining complicated relationships with two species of specialized bacteria that live insi... Read More

Half of Connecticut's Honey Bees Infected by American Foulbrood

The AP is reporting 10% of Connecticut's registered beehive population is seriously infected with the American foulbrood bacterium, Paenibacillus larva, another 40% of hives show a low level exposure in their brood chambers, where eggs develop into adults.

Experts say the findings are troubl... Read More

A Biochemical Way to Reduce Drug Side Effects?

Despite what the overcrowded, overpriced shelves of your pharmacy might suggest, pharmaceutical companies struggle to find new drugs these days. The low-hanging fruit is long gone, and the main discovery method that served so well in past decades is generating far fewer hits today. But a fresh s... Read More

Routine tests turn up avian flu in Minnesota turkeys

Thousands of turkeys in Minnesota have been quarantined after a strain of avian flu (H7N9) was found at a poultry farm there. Experts say that the strain is markedly less virulent than H5N1, the Asian strain that has caused more than 250 human deaths and millions of poultry deaths.

"It would ... Read More

Germ warfare scientist Wallace Pannier dies at 81

Wallace L. Pannier, a germ warfare scientist whose top-secret projects included a mock attack on the New York subway with powdered bacteria in 1966, has died of respiratory failure and other natural causes, his widow said.

He died Thursday in Frederick. He was 81. Read More

Gov't reassures schools on staying open with flu

The federal government is advising schools they don't need to close their doors this fall just because a few students come down with swine flu.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday that only schools with high numbers of students getting the new flu should consider closing ... Read More

Bacteria May Be Connected to Colic

A bacterium normally found in the mouth, skin and intestines might play a role in the still-mysterious cause of colic in babies, a new study says. Researchers found the bacterium Klebsiella along with gut inflammation in the intestines of all babies in their study who had colic, a condition char... Read More

Leukemia Cells Flash Fake Protein "ID" to Dupe the Immune System

Bone marrow continually makes blood stem cells, which turn into new blood cells to replace spent ones, but the process is not perfect: Some blood stem cells can develop into abnormal versions, although the immune system usually stamps them out. In acute myeloid leukemia, however, the immune syst... Read More

The Windshield Splatter Metagenome

The blog www.ncbirofl.com is a great resource for amusing/interesting research papers that have been published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information's website. This week they highlight a paper on the regional differences in the metagenomic data of eukaryotes found in "bug splat."
... Read More

Genomic "signature" in blood can reveal exposure to colds or influenza, even before symptoms appear

Scientists have identified a genomic "signature" in circulating blood that reveals exposure to common upper respiratory viruses, like the cold or flu, even before symptoms appear.

The tell-tale viral signature reflects a set of subtle but robust changes in genes that are activated as the bod... Read More

Finding the key to strengthening the immune response to chronic infections

A team of researchers from The Wistar Institute has identified a protein that could serve as a target for reprogramming immune system cells exhausted by exposure to chronic viral infection into more effective "soldiers" against certain viruses like HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B, as well as s... Read More

Pinhead-size worms + robot = new antibiotics

Scientists in Massachusetts are describing successful use of a test that enlists pinhead-sized worms in efforts to discover badly needed new antibiotics. Thestudy appears in ACS' Chemical Biology.

From the abstract:

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a unique whole animal model system ... Read More

Dog suspected source of China plague

Can anyone please explain why so many infectious diseases ("Spanish" influenza of the 1910's, SARS, the bubonic plague of the middle ages, etc.) seem to have their origins in China/that area of the world? Read More
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