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A Gazillion Tiny Avatars

As I mentioned last week, next year is to be the International Year of Biodiversity. So I thought I’d kick off the celebrations by looking at some of the funkiest beings on the planet: viruses.

Viruses have a bad reputation: in humans, they cause illnesses as varied as colds, flu, cervical ca... Read More

Triple-Drug Cocktail in the Works for Hepatitis C Therapy

People infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) face a long road of drug treatment that, in the best cases, can cure their infections and allow their livers to recover from HCV-associated liver disease, whose symptoms range from scarring and cancer to organ failure. Unfortunately, for nearly half o... Read More

Did You Hear the One About the Former Scientist?

A biologist walks into a comedy club...

Actually, the story begins earlier. A biologist who had abandoned academia and was working in San Francisco on contract as a computer programmer for Charles Schwab walked into a Laundromat ...

The former biologist was Tim Lee. After completing his un... Read More

Puzzling 'Dance' of Electricity-Producing Bacteria Near Energy Sources

The metal-metabolizing Shewanella oneidensis microbe does not just cling to metal in its environment, as previously thought. Instead, it harvests electrochemical energy obtained upon contact with the metal and swims furiously for a few minutes before landing again.

Electrokinesis is more than... Read More

Puzzling Movement of Electricity-Producing Bacteria

Bacteria dance the electric slide, officially named electrokinesis by the USC geobiologists who discovered the phenomenon.

Their study, published online today in PNAS Early Edition, describes what appears to be an entirely new bacterial behavior.

The metal-metabolizing Shewanella oneidensi... Read More

Kids' Swine flu shots recalled; not strong enough

Hundreds of thousands of swine flu shots for children have been recalled because tests indicate the vaccine doses lost some strength, government health officials said Tuesday.

The shots, made by Sanofi Pasteur, were distributed across the country last month and most have already been used, ac... Read More

Mechanism Discovered by Which Body's Cells Encourage Tuberculosis Infection

Scientists have discovered a signaling pathway that tuberculosis bacteria use to coerce disease-fighting cells to switch allegiance and work on their behalf. Epithelial cells line the airways and other surfaces to protect and defend the body. Tuberculosis bacteria co-opt these epithelial cells i... Read More

Essential oils capable of killing superbugs, research finds

For many people, essential oils are associated with sweet-smelling rooms or a relaxing bath, but their antibacterial components make them “highly efficient” in the treatment of so-called hospital “superbugs”, according to new research.

Scientists based at Sligo Institute of Technology have di... Read More

The downside of nanotech: do tiny particles spell big trouble?

We talk a lot about the wonders of nanotechnology here at Gizmag. After all it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement surround the technology when it promises to revolutionize practically every area of human endeavor. Among its long list of anticipated benefits are new medical treatments; str... Read More

'Rock-Breathing' Bacteria Could Generate Electricity and Clean Up Oil Spills

A discovery by scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) could contribute to the development of systems that use domestic or agricultural waste to generate clean electricity.

Recently published by the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the rese... Read More

Antiretroviral Drugs Cut Suicide Rate in Swiss AIDS Patients, a Study Finds

Suicide among AIDS patients in Switzerland dropped by more than 50 percent after they started getting antiretroviral drugs in 1996, a recent Swiss study has found.

Virtually all Swiss AIDS patients get the medicine they need, but the study may prove significant in the third world as well. Th... Read More

Crowd Forcing: Random Movement of Bacteria Drives Gears

In the swimming motions of aerobic bacteria against asymmetric gears, apparent randomness can yield directed motion. The collective random motion of tiny bacteria can be harnessed to turn much larger mechanical gears in a preestablished direction, a new study demonstrates. The research, set to b... Read More

Are the bees vanishing?

There is some evidence that viruses are involved in colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which worker bees disappear. This condition is receiving a great deal of attention ranging from basic scientific research (summarized on TWiV 46) to a PBS episode to a documentary entitled 'Colony' whic... Read More

Wisconsin wants its own official state microbe

You may know Wisconsin's state animal (the badger), the state bird (the robin), or even the state dance (the polka). Now Wisconsin lawmakers want to name an official state microbe.

It's called Lactococcus Lactis, and it's the microbe that turns milk into cheese. Supporters presented Assembly ... Read More

Do Flu Viruses Live Longer on Surfaces Than Cold Viruses?

Most people know that cold and flu viruses can contaminate doorknobs, faucets and other surfaces. But for how long?

Studies have found that the survival time for both kinds of viruses varies greatly, from a few seconds to 48 hours. The reasons have to do with a number of factors, including th... Read More

New media spread the word on H1N1

“No lines, free H1N1 vaccine still available at West Roxbury flu clinic. Hurry. The clinic closes today at 4.’’ - Twitter message from the Boston Public Health Commission, Sunday afternoon

Never before has a virus gone viral like this. There are swine flu blogs and swine flu tweets, swine flu... Read More

Giant Panda Genome Reveals Why It Eats Shoots and Leaves

What’s black and white and read all over? The giant panda genome. All 2.4 billion DNA base pairs of a 3-year-old female panda named Jingjing have been cataloged, researchers report online Dec. 13 in Nature. The information will help researchers understand panda traits such as finicky diets. A th... Read More

300 hotel guests relocated after bacteria kills 1

About 300 guests have been relocated from a luxury Miami hotel after one guest died and at least two others became sick from a bacteria in the water.

Health officials say the guests at the EPIC Hotel were sent to nearby hotels Sunday to prevent further contact with Legionnaire's disease, acco... Read More

Anti-HIV vaginal gel fails

A vaginal gel designed to block HIV infection during sex has failed in a trial of 9385 women.

The gel has been touted as a method of preventing HIV that could empower women whose male partners are unwilling to wear a condom.

"It very clearly doesn't work," says chief investigator Sheena Mc... Read More

Scientists use nanosensors for first time to measure cancer biomarkers in blood

A team led by Yale University researchers has used nanosensors to measure cancer biomarkers in whole blood for the first time. Their findings, which appear December 13 in the advanced online publication of Nature Nanotechnology, could dramatically simplify the way physicians test for biomarkers ... Read More

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