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Oral Infections Causing More Hospitalizations

Left untreated, a serious tooth abscess can eventually kill.

In 2007, Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old boy in Maryland, died after bacteria from an abscessed tooth spread to his brain. The case drew widespread media attention, and his is the cautionary tale cited whenever politicians and advoca... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 133 - Microbe Manacles Metal, Muzzles Microbe

This episode: A strain of E. coli helps reduce severity of Salmonella infection by competing with it for iron in the gut!




Down... Read More

Gut bacteria 'too low' in quarter of population

Scientists say that around a quarter of the population, particularly those who are obese, have 40% less intestinal bacteria than needed to maintain good health, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

Researchers from Europe conducted a genetic analysis on human gut microbial co... Read More

Deep microbes live long and slow

A diverse range of life forms exists deep below Earth's surface, scientists have concluded, but they survive at an incredibly slow pace.

Long-lived bacteria, reproducing only once every 10,000 years, have been found in rocks 2.5km (1.5 miles) below the ocean floor that are as much as 100 mill... Read More

Staying Healthy Takes Guts Full of Microbes (podcast)

Everywhere you go, the trillions of microbes in your gut go too. And that's a comforting thought. Because according to a new study, a more diverse population of intestinal bacteria is linked to better health. The work is in the journal Nature. [Emmanuelle Le Chatelier et al, Richness of human gu... Read More

Greater Array of Gut Bugs Points to Metabolic Health

People who have less diversity in their intestinal microbiomes tend to be heavier and have more inflammation and metabolic dysfunction than those who have a more robust portfolio of gut bacteria, researchers found.

In an analysis of data from the European consortium MetaHIT, about a quarter o... Read More

Got mom's bacteria?

What types of microbes do mothers transmit to their newborns and how universal is maternal microbial transmission throughout animals, including from your mother?

The sterile womb paradigm is an enduring premise in biology that human infants are born sterile. Recent studies suggest that infant... Read More

Dispatches from the Teaching Front, Part 1: Student Self-Evaluation

Based on a Twitter conversation with two microbiology educators, I share a story of how (through a survey) I encourage students to look deeply at their study strategies and promote "ownership" in their classroom experience. Read More

Immune System, Skin Microbiome 'Complement' One Another

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrate for the first time that the immune system influences the skin microbiome. A new study found that the skin microbiome -- a collection of microorganisms inhabiting the human body -- is governed, at least... Read More

The Amazing Story of a Mammal Virus That Became a Bird One

This is one the most extraordinary and convoluted evolutionary tales that I have ever heard. It’s the origin story of a group of viruses called REVs. It’s the tale of how naturalists and scientists inadvertently created a bird virus out of a mammalian one through zoo-collecting and medical resea... Read More

Die-off of bottlenose dolphins, linked to virus, is worst in 25 years

A widespread die-off of bottlenose dolphins off the Mid-Atlantic Coast — the worst of its kind in more than a quarter-century — almost certainly is the work of a virus that killed more than 740 dolphins in the same region in 1987 and 1988, marine scientists said Tuesday.

Since the beginning o... Read More

New Zealand botulism scare likely a false alarm

A botulism scare that damaged New Zealand's international reputation for providing top quality and safe dairy products was likely a false alarm.

New Zealand government officials said Wednesday they had found no sign of botulism bacteria after retesting ingredients used in recalled milk produc... Read More

MSF Starts Emergency Rabies Intervention in DRC

The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has started a rabies intervention in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after an alarming number of people were bitten by rabid dogs. With ten deaths already reported, the e... Read More

Randomized Treatments May Be More Effective at Stopping Disease Outbreaks

Mathematicians have found that by varying the timing of treatments, doctors may be able to increase the odds that a disease outbreak will die off suddenly.

Herding cats is a cakewalk compared with getting people to take flu vaccine shots in the last weeks of summer—work, school, limited pharm... Read More

Termite digestive-tract microorganisms: A resource to fuel the future

With increasing attention toward generating cost-effective biochemical conversion methods for producing biofuels, it helps to follow the leaders who have perfected the process. The mere Reticulitermes flavipes, or eastern subterranean termite, a famous feaster of lignocellulosic plant materials ... Read More

Gastroenteritis Hospitalizations in Adults Reduced Since Start of Infant Rotavirus Vaccination

“Implementation of infant rotavirus vaccination in 2006 has substantially reduced the burden of severe gastroenteritis among U.S. children younger than 5 years,” write Paul A. Gastanaduy, M.D., M.P.H., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues. “Whether indirect ... Read More

Inadvertent transfer of a mammalian retrovirus into birds

Reticuloendotheliosis viruses (REVs) are retroviruses that cause a rare disease of gamebirds and waterfowl that includes anemia, immunosuppression, neoplasia, runting, and abnormal feathering. Since the first isolation of REV from a turkey in 1957, REVs were believed to be strictly avian viruses... Read More

How quickly can a bacterium grow?

All living things must obey the laws of physics — including the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the universe’s disorder, or entropy, can only grow. Highly ordered cells and organisms appear to contradict this principle, but they actually do conform because they generate heat that... Read More

Genetic susceptibility to cryptococcal disease in HIV-infected patients

HIV-infected people who carry a gene for Fc gamma receptor FCGR3A 158V face a 20-fold greater risk of contracting cryptococcal disease, according to a study in mBio this week. Cryptococcal disease is a risk for everyone with HIV who has a very low level of CD4+ T cells, but those with the gene f... Read More

Study Finds That Apoptosis Triggers Replication of Common Viruses

Washington, DC—Researchers from Children’s National Medical Center have found that an alternate, “escape” replication process triggered by apoptosis—the process of cell death or “cell suicide”—appears to be common in human herpesviruses (HHV). The findings have implications for better understand... Read More

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