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Patterned progression of bacterial populations in the premature infant gut

(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

Yogurt bacteria could replace colonoscopies for cancer detection

Let's face it: colonoscopies are pretty unpleasant. But what if you could eat a spoonful of yogurt to check for cancer rather than enduring that procedure? MIT professor Sangeeta Bhatia is working on engineered bacteria that detects colorectal cancer. Read More

Ebola Patient’s Journey Shows How Global Travel Spreads Disease

The arrival in the United States of a Liberian man infected with the Ebola virus shows how easily the disease can travel and how thin the procedures are, relying heavily on the honesty of travelers and the diligence of airport workers. Some experts say that the system, given its inherent weaknes... Read More

Tobacco plant may be key to Ebola drugs

In the world of health and medicine, the word tobacco usually brings to mind cancer, emphysema and heart disease. But in recent years the plant's tarnished reputation is getting a makeover from the development of pharmaceuticals through an effective, swift and cost-cutting technique that has bee... Read More

Ebola virus enters the United States

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

Gut Bacteria Still Get Fed When Hosts Are Too Sick to Eat

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

Viral Infection Might Just Be a Phase...Transition

Many double-stranded DNA viruses infect cells by ejecting their genetic information into a host cell. But how does the usually rigid DNA packaged inside a virus' shell flow from the virus to the cell?

In two separate studies, Carnegie Mellon University biophysicist Alex Evilevitch has shown t... Read More

Central Park Features Worldwide Soil Microbes

"If you want to find unique diversity and if you want to find a wide range of different below-ground organisms, you don't have to travel around the world. You can walk across Central Park."

That statement comes from Noah Fierer, an ecology and evolutionary biology professor at the University ... Read More

One Mole

If you multiply the number of bacteria thought exist in one human being, say 1 x 1014 by how many humans there are, about 6.6 x 109, you get close to a familiar number.

And who was Avogadro anyway? Some eponyms fail to do justice to the eponymee. My favorite example is Amerigo Vespucci, whose... Read More

Who knew microbes could be so artistically inclined?

In the photo series "Impermanence," South Korean artist Seung-Hwan Oh creates colorful, otherworldly portraits with a little help from some "friends" — emulsion-consuming microbes, that is.

By immersing an exposed roll of medium-format positive film in water containing these bacteria and lea... Read More

Scientist Gives Himself Fecal Transplant To Try A Hunter-Gatherer's Microbiome

Why a field researcher from America has exposed his colon to the gut microbiome of a tribesman from Tanzania.

It's not often we encounter a story that begins with a line like this:

“AS THE SUN set over Lake Eyasi in Tanzania, nearly thirty minutes had passed since I had inserted a turkey b... Read More

Breakthrough study discovers six changing faces of ‘global killer’ bacteria

University of Leicester researchers unlock vital new information to improve vaccinations against pneumococcus infection.

Every ten seconds a human being dies from pneumococcus infection, making it the leading cause of serious illness across the globe. New research discovers six unique states ... Read More

Afraid of EV-D68? Another Deadly Virus Is Actually Killing Kids in U.S.

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

Super-bacteria are growing in space ... and we're the ones breeding them

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

Bacteria may have ability to reduce impact of diazepam on UK river environments

The natural photo degradation of diazepam (valium) and similar medicines – followed by bacterial breakdown – may reduce their potentially harmful impact on the UK’s freshwater environment, a team of researchers has said.

Diazepam – used to treat anxiety and other similar conditions – has been... Read More

Plants prepackage beneficial microbes in their seeds

Plants have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria. These 'commensal' bacteria help the plants extract nutrients and defend against invaders -- an important step in preventing pathogens from contaminating fruits and vegetables. Now, scientists have discovered that plants may package thei... Read More

Superbugs should scare you more than Ebola in US

The first case of Ebola in the United States was announced today, with a patient in Dallas who traveled to the US from Liberia. The resultant hysteria and xenophobia prompts this reminder. There is NO need to panic.

Ebola is NOT transmitted before a patient develops symptoms. Ebola is transmi... Read More

First Ebola Case Diagnosed in the U.S.

Federal officials today announced the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. The male patient was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and placed in strict isolation on September 28 after flying from Liberia to visit family in north Texas. The patient left Liberia on Septembe... Read More

Whole Genome Sequencing for Outbreak Detection of Salmonella enterica

Salmonella bacteria are a common cause of infectious disease in human and animals. Salmonella is classically divided into species S. bongori and S. enterica – which is in turn further divided into more than 2,500 different serotypes. However, only a limited number of serovars that are responsibl... Read More

Bacteria may help treat acne, ulcers

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

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