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Single dose of century-old drug approved for sleeping sickness reverses autism-like symptoms in mice

In a further test of a novel theory that suggests autism is the consequence of abnormal cell communication, researchers report that an almost century-old drug approved for treating sleeping sickness also restores normal cellular signaling in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the neu... Read More

Tiny plastic dwellers have big impact on our oceans

Microscopic creatures that live on tiny ocean plastics greatly affect the fate and ecological impacts of marine plastic pollution, according to researchers from The University of Western Australia.

PhD candidate Julia Reisser and colleagues have published an article in the international journ... Read More

'Citrus greening' bacteria devastating world's orange crop

A glass of orange juice in the morning is something many of us take for granted. But that might soon change thanks to a citrus disease affecting every major orange-growing region in the world.

The world's orange crop is being threatened by "citrus greening," a bacterial infection carried by a... Read More

Scientists Turn Dr. Frankenstein, Re-Write Bacteria’s Entire Genome

It may sound like science fiction, but researchers at Yale and Harvard have taken the first steps towards a Dr. Frankenstein-type reality, by fundamentally changing the genetic code of an organism.

The scientists were able to rewrite the genetic alphabet of the common bacteria E.coli, creatin... Read More

Report on Viruses Looks Beyond Disease

Recently, the American Academy of Microbiology released a new report, Viruses Throughout Life & Time: Friends, Foes, Change Agents that delves into the origin of viruses, the overlooked biological and microbial ecological role of viruses, and how these live forms have contributed to evolution. T... Read More

Beer Science: Crafting the Perfect Pint

Oregon has 171 breweries operating out of 70 different cities, and Portland boasts more breweries per capita than any other city in the country. Two Oregon brew experts—Leon Fyfe, a microbiologist with the Craft Brew Alliance, and Ben Tilley, owner of Agrarian Ales—pour over the science of craft... Read More

Evolution depends on rare chance events, 'molecular time travel' experiments show

Chance events may profoundly shape history. What if Franz Ferdinand's driver had not taken a wrong turn, bringing the Duke face to face with his assassin? Would World War I still have been fought? Would Hitler have risen to power decades later?

Historians can only speculate on what might have... Read More

Ocean microbes display a hidden talent: releasing countless tiny lipid-filled sacs

In the search for a renewable energy source, systems using algae look like a good bet. Algae can grow quickly and in high concentrations in areas unsuitable for agriculture; and as they grow, they accumulate large quantities of lipids, carbon-containing molecules that can be extracted and conver... Read More

Researchers create three-dimensional model of bacterium

Certain bacteria can build such complex membrane structures that, in terms of complexity and dynamics, look like eukaryotes, i.e., organisms with a distinct membrane-bound nucleus. Scientists from Heidelberg University and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) made this discovery empl... Read More

ASM GM 2014 - The Potential Role of Gut Microbes in Autism

Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria. If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete... Read More

Caribbean health experts warn of a rapidly spreading mosquito-borne virus

Caribbean health experts warned last week that they “cannot stop” a rapidly spreading mosquito-borne virus that has infected thousands and is associated with six deaths in the region.

The alert came as the Dominican Republic’s health ministry became the 15th Caribbean nation to confirm cases ... Read More

Retrospective, June 2014 - Small Things Considered

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.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

Much breast milk bought online is contaminated, analysis shows

Desperate for breast milk, some new mothers who can't nurse their babies are turning to online sources, typically strangers with ample supplies. But a new study finds that human milk bought and sold on the Internet may be contaminated — and dangerous.

Nearly 75 percent of breast milk bought t... Read More

Oman says first MERS-coronavirus sufferer dies in hospital

Oman's first MERS coronavirus patient died in hospital on Sunday from lung failure, state news agency ONA said.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, emerged in Saudi Arabia last year and has been reported in Qatar, France,... Read More

Methane-Munching Microorganisms Meddle with Metals

On the continental margins, where the seafloor drops hundreds of meters below the water’s surface, low temperatures and high pressure lock methane inside ice crystals. Called methane hydrates, these crystals are a potential energy source, but they are also a potential source of global warming if... Read More

Oregon geologist says Curiosity's images show Earth-like soils on Mars

Soil deep in a crater dating to some 3.7 billion years ago contains evidence that Mars was once much warmer and wetter, says University of Oregon geologist Gregory Retallack, based on images and data captured by the rover Curiosity.

NASA rovers have shown Martian landscapes littered with loos... Read More

Study examines therapeutic bacteria’s ability to prevent obesity

A probiotic that prevents obesity could be on the horizon.

Bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibit weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered.

“Of course it’s hard to spec... Read More

Malaria control: The great mosquito hunt

The armed guards at Mali's Bamako Senou International Airport had never seen a German shepherd before. The only dogs they were familiar with were the small, scrappy mixed breeds that are common in West Africa. So when Dana, a wolf-like purebred from California, stepped off a plane and into the a... Read More

Laser tool speeds up detection of Salmonella in food products

Purdue University researchers have developed a laser sensor that can identify Salmonella bacteria grown from food samples about three times faster than conventional detection methods.

Known as BARDOT (pronounced bar-DOH'), the machine scans bacteria colonies and generates a distinct black and... Read More

Biotransformation of Enniatins from Fusarium Fungi in a Food Safety Perspective

Mould species of the genera Fusarium and Altenaria are considered the most important threats to Norwegian grain cereals because they produce toxins which can be a potential risk to food safety. F. avenaceum, the fungi most frequently isolated from Norwegian grain, produces enniatins which have b... Read More

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