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Small Things Considered Retrospective, December 2014

As is our custom at this time of year, we go over the material that has appeared in this blog over the last six months. Seems like a lot of stuff, but it’s the result of the work of quite a number of dedicated people, all of whom deserve our gratitude.

Structure and Function

Chromosome Org... Read More

TWiV 315: Must be something in the water

Vincent, Alan, Rich and Kathy discuss the association of a virus with sea star melting disease, and the finding of a phycodnavirus in the oropharynx of humans with altered cognitive functions.


Hosts: Vincen... Read More

Imaging Technique Reveals Bacterial Biofilms in Colon Cancer Patients

Since the first “catalog” of the normal bacterial makeup of the human body was published in 2012, numerous connections between illness and disturbances in the human microbiota have been found. This week, scientists report yet another: Cancerous tumors in the ascending colon (the part nearest to ... Read More

An Evolutionary Battle Against Bacteria

Every disease has a history. Some of that history is written in books, and some is written in our DNA.

The earliest records of meningitis — an infection of the membranes that line the brain — reach back to 1685. The British physician Thomas Willis described fevered patients, some of whom suff... Read More

100 Years of Bubonic Plague

People may think of the plague as a disease from centuries past, but more than 1,000 people in the United States have become infected with plague in the last 100 years, according to a new study.

The researchers examined cases of plague in the United States from 1900 to 2012. During that time ... Read More

"The Great Plate Count Anomaly" that is no more

For over a century, microbiologists have been using growth media solidified with agar to culture microbes from environmental samples. Individual cells are easily separated on the solid surface, allowing each cell to grow and divide and form a colony of thousands of clones. We can change the nutr... Read More

Ebola Experts Seek to Expand Testing

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is approaching the one-year mark, with no clear end in sight. At present, fewer than one in five people with Ebola is diagnosed within two days of becoming infectious, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Yet in the absence of a safe and effective vac... Read More

TWiM #93: Worming in on bacteria

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

TWiM 93 Letters

David writes:


Why not eat locusts? Assuming you can find any fuel to cook em, and apart from deficiency illnesses, I've always wondered why people didn't hunker down and harvest them for emergency food. Did original peoples endure swarms by eating them? Did Euro food ... Read More

How influenza virus infection might lead to gastrointestinal symptoms

Human influenza viruses replicate almost exclusively in the respiratory tract, yet infected individuals may also have gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. In mice, intestinal injury occurs in the absence of viral replication, and is a consequence of viral depletion of the gut... Read More

How to beat malaria

The World Health Organization says it is confident that deaths from malaria could be stopped entirely.

Spread by the bites of infected mosquitoes, the illness is both preventable and treatable.

Global efforts over the last decade have already halved the number of people dying from malaria ... Read More

Yeast Are First Cells Known to Cure Themselves of Prions

Yeast cells can sometimes reverse the protein misfolding and clumping associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, according to new research from the University of Arizona.

The new finding contradicts the idea that once prion proteins have changed into the shape that aggregates, the change i... Read More

Nanotechnology Against Malaria Parasites

Malaria parasites invade human red blood cells, they then disrupt them and infect others. Researchers at the University of Basel and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute have now developed so-called nanomimics of host cell membranes that trick the parasites. This could lead to novel tr... Read More

Developing global expertise in medical mycology and fungal immunology

As part of the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award for Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology (WTSA MMFI), ten international students are awarded scholarships to complete a Masters of Research (MRes) at the University of Aberdeen, followed by a three-year PhD at any UK institution with expertise in t... Read More

Genome sequencing traces MRSA spread in high transmission setting

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause of hospital-acquired infections, with the largest burden of infections occurring in under-resourced hospitals. While genome sequencing has previously been applied in well-resourced clinical settings to track the spread of MRSA, transm... Read More

Injectable 3D vaccines could fight cancer and infectious diseases

New findings show programmable biomaterials can be delivered using needle injection to induce an immune response and fight deadly diseases.

One of the reasons cancer is so deadly is that it can evade attack from the body's immune system, which allows tumors to flourish and spread. Scientists ... Read More

Wolbachia, DNA Methylation, and Cytoplasmic Incompatibility

Wolbachia pipientis is a worldwide bacterial parasite of arthropods that infects germline cells and manipulates host reproduction to increase the ratio of infected females, the transmitting sex of the bacteria. The most common reproductive manipulation, cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), is expre... Read More

A novel plate based method for screening DOPA / melanin producing bacteria

Team of researchers guided by Dr.Sarita G Bhat had developed a novel plate based screening technique for DOPA/melanin producing bacteria.Screening was based upon the clear zone formation on a medium suplemented with L-tyrosine.This new approach can be utilized in faster and accurate screening of... Read More

Bacteria’s Game of ‘Telephone’ Foils Microbiologists’ Eavesdropping

While human families are easily illustrated as a tree, bacterial families look more like a heap of branches. Scientists are trying to trace the connections between those branches in an effort to learn more about the bacteria that harm us, and those that do not.

UConn’s Peter Gogarten and Joer... Read More

Study May Help Slow the Spread of Flu

An important study conducted in part at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory may lead to new, more effective vaccines and medicines by revealing detailed information about how a flu antibody binds to a wide variety of flu viruses.

The flu virus infects millions of p... Read More
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