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Designing highways the slime mould way

A SLIMY road planner has rearranged the UK's motorway network - and all in exchange for a hearty meal. A corrupt politician at work? No, it's Physarum polycephalum, a yellow slime mould normally found growing in piles of rotten leaves and logs.

Jeff Jones and Andrew Adamatzky, specialists in ... Read More

Risky Ally in War on Polio: the Taliban

Knocking on door after door, thousands of volunteers fan out every month across southern and eastern Afghanistan, vaccinating children against polio, a disease eradicated almost everywhere else in the world.

Usually, the volunteers -- sent by the government and sponsored by United Nations age... Read More

TWiV 65: Matt's bats



On episode #65 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Alan, and Matthew Frieman Vincent, A... Read More

Cleopatra's eye make-up 'had health benefits'

The heavy eye make-up favoured by ancient Egyptians such as Cleopatra may have had medical as well as aesthetic benefits, French research suggests. The study, published in the journal Analytical Chemistry, suggests it helped to protect against eye disease.

The key appears to be lead salts con... Read More

Resistance to Antibiotics Can Be Drawback for Bacteria

Neisseria meningitidis, the meningococcus, is a bacterium that can cause diseases with high fatality rates, and there has therefore been considerable concern that, like other bacteria, it might become resistant to antibiotics. But now a study from Örebro University and Örebro University Hospital... Read More

Licorice Root: Trip to the Candy Store Might Help Ward Off Rare, but Deadly Infections

As it turns out, children were not the only ones with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads over this past holiday season. In a new research report published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, a team of scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch an... Read More

The "Germ Terminator" targets shopping carts with UV rays

The aptly named Germ Terminator aims to conquer the world of germ-ridden shopping carts in supermarkets and other stores by using ultraviolet rays to kill bacteria on the carts' handlebars.

The origin of the Germ Terminator began when Danny Glenn, Fleet Cleaning Supply chief executive officer... Read More

Sights set on immunization target

A RIKEN-led research team has unraveled the molecular details of a key mechanism of the immune system in the gut. The work opens the way to new possibilities for developing versatile, inexpensive vaccines that are swallowed, rather than injected.

“The description of this molecular pathway fil... Read More

Bird flu scare in India, birds found dead in Kaziranga National Park

A bird flu scare has hit the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, a northeastern state of India, with carcasses of at least a dozen migratory Bar-headed Geese found in the sanctuary, officials said on Friday.

A park warden said at least seven geese were found dead on Friday. Five carcasses of th... Read More

Oversize Sculptures Offer a Close Look at Bacteria and Viruses

This 41-inch-long sculpture of the Escherichia coli bacterium is part of British artist Luke Jerram’s “Glass Microbiology” series of portraits. Other organisms he has vitrified include HIV, SARS and swine flu.

To create each one, Jerram used images from an electron microscope and had guidance... Read More

Screening and Treating Girls Doesn’t Reduce Prevalence of Chlamydia in Teens

Frequent testing and treatment of infection does not reduce the prevalence of chlamydia in urban teenage girls, according to a long term study by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers published in the January 1, 2010 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Despite the fact th... Read More

Pet Frogs Linked to U.S. Salmonella Outbreak Among Children

A salmonella outbreak in 31 states was linked to pet frogs, U.S. health officials said, suggesting that public-health efforts to educate children about the proper handling of reptiles should be expanded to amphibians.

Nearly two-thirds of the 85 people infected with the Typhimurium strain of ... Read More

What came first in the origin of life? A study contradicts the 'metabolism first' hypothesis

A research published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences rejects the theory that the origin of life stems from a system of self-catalytic molecules capable of experiencing Darwinian evolution without the need of RNA or DNA and their replication. The research, which was carried out wit... Read More

New test for "barber pole" worms

Researchers at Oregon State University and the University of Georgia have developed an improved, more efficient method to test for Haemonchus contortus, or "barber pole" worms, a parasitic species that is very pathogenic to sheep, goats and llamas causing. hundreds of millions of dollars in loss... Read More

Platypus Technologies Wins $2.2M DoD Contract for Nano Sensing Tech

Platypus Technologies has been awarded a $2.2 million federal contract from the US Department of Defense to further develop molecular sensing technology, the company said this week.

The one-year contract with the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Maryland expands on work completed ea... Read More

Flu vaccine doesn't work in arthritis patients treated with rituximab

Arthritis patients being treated with the drug rituximab should be given flu vaccinations immediately before treatment begins or several months later, but not in the first two months after treatment, Dutch researchers have found. The vaccine is not dangerous when given after treatment with the d... Read More

Papillomavirus silences innate immune response

In the 1980s, Harald zur Hausen and his co-workers discovered that specific types of human papillomavirus (HPV) cause cervical cancer. Scientists soon found out how these pathogens cause cells to degenerate. It is known today that the main culprits are viral proteins E6 and E7. Both proteins swi... Read More

H1N1 Virus Spreads Easily by Plane

Scientists already know that smallpox, measles, tuberculosis, seasonal influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) can be transmitted during commercial flights. Now, in the first study to predict the number of H1N1 flu infections that could occur during a flight, UCLA researchers foun... Read More

XMRV not detected in UK chronic fatigue syndrome patients

A new retrovirus, xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV), first identified in tumor tissue of individuals with prostate cancer, was subsequently found in 68 of 101 US patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This observation raised the possibility that XMRV is the etiologic ... Read More

3-D bio-printer makes human tissue and organs

Invetech has announced that it has delivered the world's first production model 3D bio-printer to Organovo, developers of the proprietary NovoGen bioprinting technology. Organovo will supply the units to research institutions investigating human tissue repair and organ replacement.

According ... Read More

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