Fecal transplants can be life-saving for people with stubborn bacterial infections, but they're not for the faint of heart. So doctors have come up with a way to make them more palatable – the frozen poop pill.
People infected with Clostridium difficile suffer debilitating diarrhea, but the b... Read More
The HIV pandemic with us today is almost certain to have begun its global spread from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a new study.
An international team, led by Oxford University and University of Leuven scientists, has reconstructed the genet... Read More
Manned space missions bring with them a plethora of challenges to keep astronauts alive and healthy, especially on long-duration space missions. Astronauts need to breathe, eat, drink, excrete their food and drink, and be kept free of infections to stay healthy enough to do their job. The key to... Read More
Treating dairy cows and other farm animals with antibiotics and then laying their manure in soil can cause the bacteria in the dirt to grow resistant to the drugs. But a study now suggests that the manure itself could be contributing to resistance, even when it comes from cows that are free of a... Read More
Given the extent of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, transport of an infected individual to the US was bound to happen. The case is an adult who had contact with an Ebola virus-infected woman in Liberia, then traveled to Dallas. He had no symptoms before arriving in the US and therefore ... Read More
IIt’s all over the headlines: Enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68) is making kids sick in what appear to be unprecedented numbers. It might be causing paralysis — or maybe not. It may have infected some adults.
But EV-D68 is nothing compared to the viral killer that really concerns Dr. Paul Checchia of ... Read More
The time before the symptoms of a viral infection appear is called the incubation period. During this time, viral genomes are replicating and the host is responding, producing cytokines such as interferon that can have global effects, leading to the classical symptoms of an acute infection (e.g.... Read More
The TWiV team consults an epidemiologist to forecast the future scope of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.
This episode: Some Wolbachia bacteria produce vitamin B7 for their insect hosts!
(7.1 MB, 7.75 minutes)
(Interesting study from PNAS)
It is increasingly apparent that bacteria in the gut are important determinants of health and disease in humans. However, we know remarkably little about how this organ transitions from a sterile/near-sterile state at birth to one that soon harbors a highly dive... Read More
Is it possible that our personal hygiene routines make us too clean? Are we soaping and cleansing away friendly microbes that help preserve skin health? A study presented at the 5th American Society for Microbiology Conference on Beneficial Microbes in Washington, DC, provides food for thought o... Read More
At the end of a recent “Medical Microbiology” class taught by Dr. Sheldon Campbell, students clapped, cheered heartily, and stomped their feet on the floor. A couple of them even shouted “Encore!”
It’s not quite the reaction one would expect from medical students who just spent 45 minutes lea... Read More
For bacteria, the mammalian gut is like Shangri-La. It’s warm and consistently so, sheltered from the environment, and regularly flooded with a nutritious soup. But what happens when this all-you-can-eat buffet stops serving? What happens to microbes if their host stops eating?
When animals f... Read More
For millennia, bacteria and other microbes have engaged in intense battles of chemical warfare, attempting to edge each other out of comfortable ecological niches. Doctors fight pathogens with an arsenal of weapons—antibiotics—co-opted from these microbial wars, but their efforts are frustrated... Read More
Viruses can convert their DNA from solid to fluid form, which explains how viruses manage to eject DNA into the cells of their victims. This has been shown in two new studies carried out by Lund University in Sweden.
Both research studies are about the same discovery made for two different vi... Read More
Disruptions in the human circadian clock can throw off microbes in the gut, potentially boosting the risk of obesity, a new study suggests.
The results may help explain why shift workers and people who get jet lag by traveling frequently often pack on extra pounds.
"These surprising findin... Read More
A short interview with artist Selin Balci on her use of microbes as an artistic medium. Here's a quote from the piece on SkyLife.com...
"Bio-art has not yet been defined in a way that is accepted by artists. Some artists, for example, make DNA models and call that BioArt. To me, BioArt has to... Read More
The people of Guinea have been locked in a life-and-death struggle with Ebola virus since last December. Nearly 60 percent of Guineans infected with the virus since then have died. To cope with the unprecedented disease, the government went so far as to ban soup made from bats.
Why bats? Bec... Read More
Two randomized trials in the October 8 issue of JAMA examine new vaccination strategies for the prevention and control of avian influenza, often referred to as “bird flu.” This is a theme issue on infectious disease.
In one study, Mark J. Mulligan, M.D., of the Emory University School of Medi... Read More
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an electrical disorder, or rather one of impaired myelin, a fatty, insulating substance that better allows electric current to bolt down our neurons and release the neurotransmitters that help run our bodies and brains. Researchers have speculated for some time that th... Read More