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TWiP 83: Hidden costs of infection

Vincent, Dickson, and Daniel present a new case study, and discuss the effect of chronic malaria infection on wild warbler life span and telomere degradation.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Virus-cutting enzyme helps bacteria remember a threat

Bacteria may not have brains, but they do have memories, at least when it comes to viruses that attack them. Many bacteria have a molecular immune system which allows these microbes to capture and retain pieces of viral DNA that they have encountered in the past, in order to recognize and destro... Read More

World Health Organization approves 15-minute Ebola detection test

Until now, the standard way to check for Ebola in the region was to use the nucleic acid test, which works by identifying the genetic materials of the virus from a blood sample. Yet the test requires a full lab to succeed, and it takes between 12 to 24 hours to process the results. In comparison... Read More

BacterioFiles 203 - P. putida Promotes Plant Pollutant Purification

This episode: Bacteria living in plants could help plants clean up cancer-causing pollutants!


(6.9 MB, 7.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
News item<... Read More

Breastfeeding, Other Factors Help Shape Immune System Early in Life

Henry Ford Hospital researchers say that breastfeeding and other factors influence a baby’s immune system development and susceptibility to allergies and asthma by what’s in their gut.

The striking findings from a series of studies further advance the so-called hygiene hypothesis theory that ... Read More

TWiV 325: Wildcats go viral

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello


Guests: Rollie Clem and Lorena Passarelli


{audio... Read More

In a warmer world, ticks that spread disease are arriving earlier, expanding their ranges

In the northeastern United States, warmer spring temperatures are leading to shifts in the emergence of the blacklegged ticks that carry Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens. At the same time, milder weather is allowing ticks to spread into new geographic regions. Findings were published ... Read More

Jessica Green: Good germs make healthy buildings. TEDtalks (video)

Our bodies and homes are covered in microbes -- some good for us, some bad for us, and some just along for the ride. As we learn more about the germs and microbes who share our living spaces, TED Fellow Jessica Green asks: Can we design buildings that encourage happy, healthy microbial environme... Read More

TWiP 83 letters


Robin writes:


Malaria: shaking chills & fever (followed by sweats, not specifically mentioned in this case), is a characteristic of malaria that is unforgettable once one has had it (I had malaria four times).


Thick blood smears is de rigueur.
So... Read More

Global Warming May Spawn New Disease Outbreaks

Infections lurking on the margins of civilization are becoming more likely to cause outbreaks as the climate changes, researchers say. Ravens, rodents and rattlesnakes are moving to new locales as rainfall and temperatures shift over time (ClimateWire, Dec. 14, 2011).

Click "source" to read ... Read More

Why drinking blood doesn’t make mosquitoes sick.

While it’s easy to think about mosquitoes as a mere portal for shuttling malaria and other diseases from one person to another, the insects have their own immune response to infection.

After sucking down a blood meal, mosquitoes ramp up production of immune system proteins to fight off potent... Read More

Your Soap Has Bacteria In It, But It Still Gets You Clean

Bacteria are everywhere on your skin, hair and eyelashes, to name a few of their homes. Bacteria are even in your soap, the very thing you thought washed all the bacteria away.

As long as the bacteria keep their numbers small, there's nothing wrong with them living in soap. But every once in ... Read More

Bacteria exchange food via nanotubes

Bacteria typically thrive in communities where colonies of many different species collaborate and support each other's growth and exchange nutrients.

However, it has not been clear whether they do this only by releasing the metabolites into the cell environment for their neighbors to pick up,... Read More

Long-term nitrogen fertilizer use disrupts plant-microbe mutualisms

When exposed to nitrogen fertilizer over a period of years, nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia evolve to become less beneficial to legumes – the plants they normally serve, researchers report in a new study.

These findings, reported in the journal Evolution, may be of little interest to... Read More

Were early seas transformed by sponge microbiome?

If ever there was proof of the power of small things, surely this is it. Last year, came the suggestion that sponges transformed Earth's deep oceans 750 million years ago, turning them into an oxygen-rich haven for life. Now it seems tiny bacteria living inside the sponges also played a part in ... Read More

Small Loop in Human Prion Protein Prevents Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) — an infectious disease caused by prions — affects North American elk and deer, but has not been observed in humans. Using a mouse model that expresses an altered form of the normal human prion protein, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Me... Read More

Were early seas transformed by sponge microbiome?

If ever there was proof of the power of small things, surely this is it. Last year, came the suggestion that sponges transformed Earth's deep oceans 750 million years ago, turning them into an oxygen-rich haven for life. Now it seems tiny bacteria living inside the sponges also played a part in ... Read More

Swine flu claims 800 lives across India, Ahmedabad prohibits mass gatherings

Killer swine flu attacks India. It’s H1N1, the same strain which was responsible for 1918 Spanish and 2009 flu pandemic that was the deadliest natural disasters in human history. More than 11,000 cases have been reported in India. The death toll has risen to more than 700. Number of death and in... Read More

Gerbils and Silk Road to blame for plague

Most would choose the cuddly gerbil over the much-maligned rat. But the latter's bad reputation may not be fully deserved. Central Asian rodents, not rats, prospering under warm variations in climate, could have been to blame for the arrival of the Black Death in Europe in 1347 and for repeated ... Read More

Study: Reusable Plastic Produce Containers Harbor Bacteria Even After Being Cleaned, Sanitized

Reusable plastic containers used to transport large amounts of fruits and vegetables to grocery stores can continue to harbor potentially harmful bacteria directly on their surfaces, even after undergoing industry-standard cleaning and sanitizing, according to a new study conducted by researcher... Read More
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