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TWiV 107 Letters

John writes:

Dear Doctors et al,

I'm writing to request a podcast or a discussion on colony collapse disorder. It seems that new evidence is pointing to a combination of fungus and a newly discovered virus (from a combination of academia and the military!). I know th... Read More

STD app for self-testing being developed in Britain

An STD app in the works may be a discreet way to diagnose diseases via mobile devices and computers — and curb the spread of STDs, particularly in young people.

But whether it can overcome the cringe factor that STD testing generally evokes remains to be seen. Check out college kids’ reaction... Read More

West Nile Virus May Persist for Years After Acute Infection

West Nile virus (WNV) might persist for years after acute infection, resulting in long-term neurological consequences in more people than previously thought, a new study suggests.

Kristy Murray, DVM, PhD, from the University of Texas School of Public Health, in Houston, presented the findings... Read More

Researcher takes 'mosaic' approach with new HIV vaccine

HIV is not only a different kind of beast; it's a different beast every day.

"We're in the evolutionary fast lane studying HIV," said Bette Korber, a Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher who led a team that designed a vaccine expressly to counter the genetic diversity of the virus.

"A... Read More

Miami has first dengue fever case in 50 years

Health authorities in Miami, one of Florida's top tourist attractions, have reported the first case of dengue fever in 50 years, an official said Friday.

The person diagnosed with the sometimes deadly mosquito-born virus has fully recovered after a brief hospitalization, said Liliana Rivera, ... Read More

Scientists closer to developing UTI vaccine

American scientists say they are a step close to a vaccine that could prevent majority of urinary tract infections.

UTI is caused by E.coli bacteria and the vaccine could potentially save billions of dollars in health care costs globally. It costs $ 3.5 billion to treat UTI every year and nea... Read More

Oil-eating bacteria; topic at conference of scientists in Biloxi

Scientists from around the world are at a conference in Biloxi, studying bacteria. Among the hot topics: The bio-degradation of crude oil.

More specifically, they discussed how natural bacteria helped break-down the oil in the gulf from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The conference includes ... Read More

Science Cafe spreads understanding of bacteria over beers

Sophia Kathariou is the kind of scientist who can turn food-borne bacteria into great dinner conversation.

The associate professor of food science and microbiology at N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C., spoke about her work Thursday night at Mitch’s Tavern, a longtime haunt for professors... Read More

Hospital Rankings Undercut by Infection Detection Variations

Differences in hospitals' surveillance practices for bloodstream infections may compromise public report cards that rank quality of care, researchers warned.

Routine surveillance of central line-associated bloodstream infection rates by infection prevention specialists correlated poorly with ... Read More

Decisions Made by Communities of Bacteria Trump Game Theory

When it comes to gambling, many people rely on game theory, a branch of applied mathematics that attempts to measure the choices of others to inform their own decisions. It's used in economics, politics, medicine -- and, of course, Las Vegas. But recent findings from a Tel Aviv University resear... Read More

Probiotics May Help Soothe The Stomach

Yogurts and supplements loaded with "friendly" bacteria may be able to fight the nefarious ones and soothe fickle bowels, according to a new study.

A Cochrane Library review of 63 studies found that probiotics can shorten the time a person has acute diarrhea — with no negative side effects. O... Read More

Biofilm protein clamps DNA in its ‘wings’

A pair of proteins likely play a role in forming the slick coating of bacteria known as biofilms that can be difficult to treat with drugs.

These films form around foreign materials in the body—such as a catheter—and cannot be defeated by conventional means. Researchers say this protein pair ... Read More

Cholera spreads to Haiti's capital

The deadly Cholera outbreak in Haiti has spread to the country's capital Port-au-Prince, with scores of cases confirmed and numerous suspected deaths reported.

The waterborne disease, which thrives in unsanitary conditions, has already killed more than 580 people who had been forced to live i... Read More

New Vaccine Hope in Fight Against Pneumonia and Meningitis

A new breakthrough in the fight against pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia has been announced November 11 by scientists in Dublin and Leicester.

The discovery will lead to a dramatic shift in our understanding of how the body's immune system responds to infection caused by Streptococcus pn... Read More

4 essays look at the next generation of bioethics

To celebrate 40 years of pioneering bioethics publication, the Hastings Center Report, the world's first bioethics journal, looked to the future, asking young scholars to write about what the next generation of bioethicists should take up. Out of 195 compelling submissions, four of the best essa... Read More

Mosquito trial to cut dengue infection gets go-ahead in Malaysia

The Malaysian government has granted approval to release genetically modified sterile mosquitoes into the wild in an open field trial. Supported by a Wellcome Trust Translation Award, Oxford-based biotechnology company Oxitec is hoping that its method of controlling the mosquito population will ... Read More

Fungal threads are the internet of the plant world

Gardeners, keep an eye on your tomato plants. There's no knowing what they are plotting underground.

Some 80 per cent of plants are colonised by fungi that form the familiar network of fine white threads that hang off many roots. The threads, called mycorrhizae, take in water and minerals fro... Read More

This faster-growing E. coli strain's a good thing

A University of Illinois metabolic engineer has improved a strain of E. coli, making it grow faster. Don't worry, he believes his efforts will benefit human health, not decimate it.

"The average person hears E. coli and thinks of E. coli 0157:H7, a microorganism that causes horrific food pois... Read More

Haiti cholera outbreak prompts fresh UN aid plea

UN spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said that unless funds were provided, "all our efforts can be outrun by the epidemic".

She said the disease had so far infected at least 11,125 people in five of Haiti's 10 districts.

Aid agencies are battling to contain cholera in the capital Port-au-Prince, ... Read More

Uganda Seen as a Front Line in the Bioterrorism Fight

The laboratories of Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animals, Industry and Fisheries sit on the top of a quiet hill on a turnoff near the airport, behind an eroded fence. At the end of a hallway is a room with an unlocked refrigerator.

That is where the anthrax is kept.

Senator Richard G... Read More
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