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Beach bacteria battle goes high-tech

So much for the old warning flag on a stick.

Confronting an almost unwinnable battle against E. coli and other bacteria on public beaches, Chicago and some of its suburbs have taken the fight into the digital age.

From computer models that can predict conditions where bacteria will thrive,... Read More

H1N1 outbreak in Alabama declared over

The H1N1 virus outbreak appears to be contained and conquered in Alabama, according to a report by WAFF.

Alabama State Health Department Spokesman Dr. Jim McVay told the news station that officials have gone three-plus weeks without seeing a confirmed H1N1 specimen brought into the lab.

"I... Read More

Modified measles virus may help treat childhood brain tumours

In a new study, a modified measles virus has shown potential for treating childhood brain tumour known as medulloblastoma.

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant central nervous system tumour of childhood, accounting for about 20 percent of paediatric brain tumours.

These tumours ar... Read More

Bacteria Living in 'Cloud Cities' May Control Rain and Snow Patterns

Some bacteria can influence the weather. Up high in the sky where clouds form, water droplets condense and ice crystal grow around tiny particles. Typically these particles are dust, pollen, or even soot from a wildfire.

But recently scientists have begun to realize that some of these little ... Read More

In E. Coli Fight, Some Strains Are Largely Ignored

For nearly two decades, Public Enemy No. 1 for the food industry and its government regulators has been a virulent strain of E. coli bacteria that has killed hundreds of people, sickened thousands and prompted the recall of millions of pounds of hamburger, spinach and other foods.

But as eve... Read More

Eat bacteria to boost brain power

(note - this article comes from ASM's 2010 Public Communications Award winner Debora MacKenzie)

Could playing in the dirt make you smarter? Studies in mice suggest that it could.

Mice given peanut butter laced with a common, harmless soil bacterium ran through mazes twice as fast and enjoy... Read More

Jeffrey Fox of Microbe interviews Jian Ku Shang.

Jeffrey Fox of Microbe interviews Jian Ku Shang,materials scientist from the University of Illinois for the May 2010 issue.

























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Q and A: Could the Bacteria in Your Gut Predispose You to Obesity?

The search for factors contributing to obesity has turned inward — all the way to the middle of the gut, where as many as 100 trillion bacteria hang out. The mix of microbes in a given person’s innards may — emphasize “may” — play some role in determining his tendency to put on pounds by governi... Read More

Antibiotics useful for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease occasionally have flare-ups of their symptoms that require hospitalization. A study published Tuesday shows patients who received antibiotics within the first two days of hospitalization had better outcomes.

This is the second study in two da... Read More

Microbial Team May Be Culprit in Colony Collapse Disorder

New research from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) identifies a new potential cause for "Colony Collapse Disorder" in honeybees. A group of pathogens including a fungus and family of viruses may be working together to cause the decline. Scientists report their results May 25 at... Read More

New Flu Vaccines Could Protect Against All Strains


A new vaccine may be able to provide some protection against all strains of influenza.

Current immunizations create antibodies that target a specific piece of a molecule on the surface of the virus that researchers call its “head.” That piece of the hemaglutinin protein evolves very quickly... Read More

Slick Solution: How Microbes Will Clean Up the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The last (and only) defense against the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is tiny—billions of hydrocarbon-chewing microbes, such as Alcanivorax borkumensis. In fact, the primary motive for using the more than 830,000 gallons of chemical dispersants on the oil slick both a... Read More

Bacteria May Predict Chances of Colon Cancer

Researchers report that germs living in your gut could affect your risk of developing colon cancer.

The findings suggest that signs of the existence of some germs "are more frequently detected in subjects with polyps, early lesions that can develop into cancer, while other bacterial signature... Read More

Do Hand Sanitizer and Liquid Hand Soap Remove Viruses?

While reading my back issues of Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM), I came across an interesting paper that detailed an in-depth study on the effectiveness of hand cleaners to remove Norwalk virus (NV) from intentionally contaminated hands.

Yes that’s right – intentionally contamina... Read More

Vertex hep C drug achieves 75 pct cure rate: study

A closely watched experimental hepatitis C treatment being developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc led to a 75 percent cure rate in a pivotal late-stage trial of previously untreated patients, the company said on Tuesday.

The results from the first Phase III study of telaprevir were roughly i... Read More

Futures in Biotech 60: Do you come to this cave often?

I joined Marc Pelletier on episode 60 of Futures in Biotech for a conversation with Dave Brodbeck, George Farr, and Andre Nantel. We talked about primate face recognition, discovery of a new antiviral compound to treat hepatitis C virus infection, changing the length of a codon from three to fou... Read More

Delaying childhood vaccinations does not improve children's health, study finds

Now that the thimerosal-autism link has been thoroughly discredited, some autism advocates argue that neurodevelopmental problems are caused by overloading children's immune systems with too many vaccines too early in life. As a result, a growing number of parents are asking pediatricians to use... Read More

"By golly, Jim... I'm beginning to think I can cure a rainy day!" - McCoy

While Bones might be overestimating his skills there a mite bit, I think the simple "old country Doc" would see the potential for this therapy to move us more towards the sort of medicine he's accustomed to practicing. However, if he does work that rainy day cure out, I have need of him in subu... Read More

Outbreak of Dengue Fever Is Reported in Florida, Health Officials Say

Dengue fever, a growing scourge in the tropics, has established itself in a popular American tourist destination, federal health officials reported last week.

Last August, an alert doctor in upstate New York realized that one of his patients, whose only recent travel had been to Key West, Fl... Read More

New Threats to U.S. Blood Supply

Public health officials are battling a host of new infectious threats to the nation's blood supply.

Blood centers, which have long tested for risks like hepatitis C and AIDS, have added a number of new tests on donated blood in recent years, including checks for West Nile virus and Chagas, a... Read More

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