The development of new antibiotics has slowed to a trickle, just when we need them most. As drug-resistant bacteria are on the rampage worldwide, we find ourselves in a most precarious situation — one not unlike the pre-antibiotic era, before penicillin, when staphylococcal and pneumococcal infe... Read More
Since the first observations that the human retrovirus XMRV is associated with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), new studies have been carried out to determine the role of the virus in these diseases. The results have been conflicting: XMRV (and related retroviruses) have been ... Read More
London is the tuberculosis capital of Western Europe, according to a recent article in the medical journal Lancet, which said that cases there increased 50 percent in the last decade.
The situation is “reminiscent of the unexpected outbreaks of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in New York an... Read More
A collaborative team of scientists and physicians at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin uses genetic sequencing to identify and treat an unknown disease.
For the one of the first times in medical history, researchers and physicians at The Medical College of ... Read More
The Fecal Bacteria offers a balanced, integrated discussion of fecal bacteria and their presence and ecology in the intestinal tract of mammals, in the environment, and in the food supply. This new volume covers their use in examining and assessing water quality in order to offer protection from... Read More
Researchers at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center have discovered a breakthrough experimental treatment for lung cancer.
The treatment is part of a lung cancer vaccine that exposes the body to a protein that the lung cancer produces. This protein production helps the body buil... Read More
An expert group convened by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) at its headquarters in Washington, DC, on Dec 17 discussed a possible cholera vaccine for Haiti and suggested developing a global vaccine stockpile.
The cholera vaccine has not been an element of the outbreak response, be... Read More
Much as an anthropologist can study populations of people to learn about their physical attributes, their environs and social structures, some marine microbiologists read the genome of microbes to glean information about the microbes themselves, their environments and lifestyles.
Using a rela... Read More
British and U.S. researchers are developing a new virtually risk-free polio vaccine that "tricks" the body into triggering its immune system to counteract the polio virus, according to British media reports this week.
Unlike other polio vaccines, this replica, or hoax vaccine, bypasses the ne... Read More
The arsenic bacteria story continued to roll on over the last week, but at a slower pace. Many of the big issues have already been covered at length, including the paper itself, the media hype, the implications for journalism, peer review, and so on (see my post-mortem from last week for a timel... Read More
This episode: Bacteria grow on quartz stones in the driest hot place on Earth!
An interdisciplinary team of researchers at UC Santa Barbara has produced a groundbreaking study of how nanoparticles are able to biomagnify in a simple microbial food chain.
"This was a simple scientific curiosity," said Patricia Holden, professor in UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Scien... Read More
Three weeks ago, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, 33, a former performance oboist with a doctorate in oceanography and a NASA fellowship in astrobiology, published a paper online in Science about bacteria that can use arsenic instead of phosphorus in DNA and other biomolecules. Four days before the publicati... Read More
Joining a health club can make it easier and more fun to exercise. But gyms can also present safety problems. Bacteria in poorly maintained pools can spread disease. Antibiotic-resistant staph infections can be picked up in crowded locker rooms and from heavily used exercise equipment. You can b... Read More
New research by scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences reveals that the immune system has an effective backup plan to protect the body from infection when the "master regulator" of the body's innate immun... Read More
A new study has cast further doubt on the idea that a virus called XMRV causes chronic fatigue syndrome.
US scientists linked the condition, also known as ME, to a mouse-like virus in 2009 after finding it in blood samples.
Now, UK experts say the discovery was a "false positive", caused b... Read More
A couple of months ago, I attended a talk given by Robert Austin from the Princeton University Physics department. I debated with myself for quite a while about whether to report on this talk for two reasons: the results are largely unpublished, for reasons that will become clear; and, frankly, ... Read More
The Obama administration issued long-awaited, long-delayed guidelines on Friday to insulate government scientific research from political meddling and to base policy decisions on solid data.
Under the guidelines, government scientists are in general free to speak to journalists and the publi... Read More
About 580 million years ago, life on Earth began a rapid period of change called the Cambrian Explosion, a period defined by the birth of new life forms over many millions of years that ultimately helped bring about the modern diversity of animals. Fossils help palaeontologists chronicle the evo... Read More
It should be no surprise that swine flu is back. In recent days there has been a spate of headlines speaking of "shocked" doctors, alarmed by the return of "deadly" swine flu. What should we make of this, and should we be worried?
First off, the H1N1 virus, which sparked a pandemic last year,... Read More