Keyword: microbiology

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  • At Tiny Scales, a Giant Burst on Tree of Life

    08/01/2015 12:35:32 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 5 replies
    Quanta Magazine ^ | 7/28/15 | Kevin Hartnett
    A new technique for finding and characterizing microbes has boosted the number of known bacteria by almost 50 percent, revealing a hidden world all around us.It used to be that to find new forms of life, all you had to do was take a walk in the woods. Now it’s not so simple. The most conspicuous organisms have long since been cataloged and fixed on the tree of life, and the ones that remain undiscovered don’t give themselves up easily. You could spend all day by the same watering hole with the best scientific instruments and come up with...
  • Cold, Dark and Alive! Life Discovered in Buried Antarctic Lake

    08/21/2014 12:25:29 AM PDT · by blueplum · 8 replies
    Live Science ^ | August 20, 2014 01:00pm ET | Becky Oskin, Senior Writer
    Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth, teems with microscopic life. Tiny organisms dwell on the ice and live inside glaciers, and now, researchers confirm, a rich microbial ecosystem persists underneath the thick ice sheet, where no sunlight has been felt for millions of years. Nearly 4,000 species of microbes inhabit Lake Whillans, which lies beneath 2,625 feet (800 meters) of ice in West Antarctica, researchers report today (Aug. 20) in the journal Nature. These are the first organisms ever retrieved from a subglacial Antarctic lake. "We found not just that things are alive, but that there's an active ecosystem," said...
  • Soaring MERS Cases in Saudi Arabia Raise Alarms

    05/03/2014 5:59:41 PM PDT · by neverdem · 16 replies
    Science ^ | 2 May 2014 | Kai Kupferschmidt
    Scientists are scrambling to make sense of a sharp increase in reported infections with the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus. In April alone, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have reported over 200 new cases—more than all MERS-affected countries combined in the preceding 2 years. That has sparked fresh fears that the virus may be about to go on a global rampage. The World Health Organization expressed alarm at the new numbers, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published an updated risk assessment on 25 April warning European countries to expect more imported...
  • Study: Unique Combination of Antibiotics Kills Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

    04/30/2014 10:11:51 PM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies ^ | Nov 15, 2013 | NA
    According to new research published this week in the journal Nature, an acyldepsipeptide antibiotic called ADEP in combination with the bactericidal antibiotic drug rifampicin eliminates the methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.This scanning electron micrograph shows the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Image credit: NIAID. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics. It is responsible for several chronic infections such as osteomyelitis, endocarditis, or infections of implanted medical devices. These infections are often incurable, even when appropriate antibiotics are used.Senior author of the study, Prof Kim Lewis of Northeastern University, suspected that a different adaptive function of bacteria...
  • We Kill Germs at Our Peril - ‘Missing Microbes’: How Antibiotics Can Do Harm

    04/30/2014 9:41:21 PM PDT · by neverdem · 30 replies
    NY Times ^ | April 28, 2014 | Abigail Zuger M.D.
    You never get something for nothing, especially not in health care. Every test, every incision, every little pill brings benefits and risks. Nowhere is that balance tilting more ominously in the wrong direction than in the once halcyon realm of infectious diseases, that big success story of the 20th century. We have had antibiotics since the mid-1940s — just about as long as we have had the atomic bomb, as Dr. Martin J. Blaser points out — and our big mistake was failing long ago to appreciate the parallels between the two. Antibiotics have cowed many of our old bacterial...
  • CDC Urged To Investigate Mystery Polio-Like Illness Affecting California Kids

    03/03/2014 3:07:05 PM PST · by neverdem · 35 replies
    CBS San Francisco ^ | February 27, 2014 | NA
    WASHINGTON (CBS / AP) — Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday to initiate a formal investigation into what has caused polio-like paralysis in about 20 children in California over the past 18 months. Boxer said “we need answers” in her letter to CDC Director Thomas Frieden. In particular, she wants the agency to look into whether the illness can be traced to a virus or environmental factors. She also wants to know whether the agency is aware of similar reports of paralysis nationwide...
  • Mushrooms used to clean up urban streams

    03/01/2014 1:27:55 PM PST · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Corvallis Gazette-Times ^ | January 20, 2014 | Anthony Rimel
    A local group is attempting to clean the waters in Corvallis’ Sequoia Creek — and potentially the Willamette River beyond it — using an unusual tool: mushrooms. The process used by volunteers with the Ocean Blue Project, an ecological restoration nonprofit, is to place mushroom spawn and a mixture of coffee grounds and straw in burlap bags that mushrooms can grow in, and then place the bags so that water entering storm drains will filter through them. The technique is attempting to take advantage of the natural ability of mycelium — the underground part of fungi — to break down...
  • Middle Eastern Virus More Widespread Than Thought

    02/28/2014 3:27:01 PM PST · by neverdem · 7 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 28 February 2014 | Kai Kupferschmidt
    It's called Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, after the region where almost all the patients have been reported. But the name may turn out to be a misnomer. A new study has found the virus in camels from Sudan and Ethiopia, suggesting that Africa, too, harbors the pathogen. That means MERS may sicken more humans than previously thought—and perhaps be more likely to trigger a pandemic. MERS has sickened 183 people and killed 80, most of them in Saudi Arabia. A couple of cases have occurred in countries outside the region, such as France and the United Kingdom, but...
  • Progress Against Hepatitis C, a Sneaky Virus

    02/28/2014 3:07:41 PM PST · by neverdem · 10 replies
    NY Times ^ | February 24, 2014 | J E. Brody
    Forty years ago, a beloved neighbor was bedridden for weeks at a time with a mysterious ailment. She knew only that it involved her liver and that she must never drink alcohol, which would make things worse. It was decades before the cause of these debilitating flare-ups was discovered: a viral infection at first called non-A, non-B hepatitis, then properly identified in 1989 as hepatitis C... --snip-- But with two newly approved drugs and a few more in the pipeline, a new era in treatment of hepatitis C is at hand. These regimens are more effective at curing patients and...
  • Science Takes On a Silent Invader (quagga mussels and zebra mussels)

    02/28/2014 1:51:59 PM PST · by neverdem · 22 replies
    NY Times ^ | FEB. 24, 2014 | ROBERT H. BOYLE
    Since they arrived in the Great Lakes in the 1980s, two species of mussels the size of pistachios have spread to hundreds of lakes and rivers in 34 states and have done vast economic and ecological damage. These silent invaders, the quagga and zebra mussels, have disrupted ecosystems by devouring phytoplankton, the foundation of the aquatic food web, and have clogged the water intakes and pipes of cities and towns, power plants, factories and even irrigated golf courses. Now the mussels may have met their match: Daniel P. Molloy, an emeritus biologist at the New York State Museum in Albany...
  • Up to 140 infants possibly exposed to tuberculosis at Nevada hospital

    10/10/2013 3:14:47 PM PDT · by neverdem · 10 replies
    Associated Press ^ | October 09, 2013 | NA
    LAS VEGAS – Health officials urged tuberculosis testing for hundreds of babies, family members and staff who were at a Las Vegas neonatal intensive care unit this past summer, saying they want to take extra precautions after the death of a mother and her twin babies and the infection of more than 26 people. Authorities with the Southern Nevada Health District said Tuesday that they're working to contact parents of about 140 babies who were at Summerlin Hospital Medical Center's NICU unit between mid-May and mid-August, and have set up a temporary clinic to test them. Tests of hospital staff...
  • New Treatment for Gonorrhea Prevents Reinfection

    10/08/2013 3:17:32 PM PDT · by neverdem · 27 replies
    Scientific American ^ | September 25, 2013 | Rachel Feltman
    A nanoparticle-based cancer therapy has been found to thwart an antibiotic-resistant, sexually transmitted infection in mice A first step has been taken toward a treatment for gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) notorious for its high reinfection rates. This news comes within days of a troubling update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that placed the STD on a list of “urgent threats”(PDF) in the fight against drug-resistant bacteria. According to the CDC, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that causes the malady in humans—which can initially result in painful inflammation and discharge, and can cause infertility and even death if...
  • Disarming HIV with a 'Pop'

    10/03/2013 7:38:59 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    University Herald ^ | Sep 19, 2013 | NA
    Pinning down an effective way to combat the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus, the viral precursor to AIDS, has long been a challenge for scientists and physicians, because the virus is an elusive one that mutates frequently and, as a result, quickly becomes immune to medication. A team of Drexel University researchers is trying to get one step ahead of the virus with a microbicide they've created that can trick HIV into "popping" itself into oblivion. Previous image Enlarge Close Next image / Like Us on Facebook Its name is DAVEI - which stands for "Dual Action Virolytic Entry...
  • Is Your Illness Viral or Bacterial? A New Rapid Blood Test Can Tell

    09/21/2013 1:47:30 AM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies
    Healthline ^ | September 18, 2013 | David Heitz
    A blood test developed by Duke University researchers will help doctors learn whether a patient's infection is caused by a virus or bacteria. A blood test developed by researchers at Duke University can predict with tremendous accuracy whether someone with, say, pneumonia has a viral or bacterial infection, even if it's a previously unknown strain. The test, described today in the journal Science Translational Medicine, could someday help stop the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics to patients who have viral infections. Although the study's authors say the timing of their report is coincidental, on Monday the director of the U.S. Centers...
  • Drug-Resistant Superbugs Kill at Least 23,000 People in the U.S. Each Year

    09/20/2013 5:43:09 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    Scientific American ^ | September 16, 2013 | Dina Fine Maron
    Each year, more than two million people in the United States develop antibiotic-resistant infections, and at least 23,000 of them die as a result, says the first-ever national snapshot of the issue. That toll only rises when other conditions exacerbated by these infections are included in the count. Because itÂ’s difficult to attribute a death directly to antibiotic-resistant microbes (as opposed to illnesses that put the person in the hospital to begin with), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says these figures probably underestimate the scale of the problem. CDC today released the findings as part of a...
  • Is a Slim Physique Contagious?

    09/06/2013 11:44:52 AM PDT · by neverdem · 50 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 2013-09-05 | Beth Skwarecki
    What makes some people slender and others full-figured? Besides diet and genetics, the community of microbes that lives inside us may be partially responsible. New research on twins suggests that lean people harbor bacteria that their obese counterparts don't have. And, given the chance, those bacteria may be able to prevent weight gain. But don’t dig your skinny jeans out of the closet just yet. So far, the work has been done only in mice. What's more, the bacterial takeover requires a healthy, high-fiber diet to work, illustrating the complex relationship between diet, microbes, metabolism, and health. Our intestines are...
  • Prevention: Probiotics cut C. difficile risk

    09/03/2013 7:11:20 PM PDT · by neverdem · 22 replies
    Family Practice News ^ | 08/07/13 | Bruce Jancin
    VAIL, COLO. – The strategy of a short course of probiotics prescribed to prevent development of Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea in patients on antibiotic therapy for any of myriad indications is attracting serious attention in both pediatrics and adult medicine. Interest in this low-cost and demonstrably low-risk preventive strategy has been driven by a recent favorable meta-analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration. Dr. Samuel Dominguez The Cochrane analysis included all 23 randomized controlled trials of probiotics for the prevention of C. difficile–associated diarrhea in adults or children taking antibiotics. The trials, three of which were conducted in children, included 4,213 subjects, none...
  • Virus pinpointed in US dolphin die-off

    08/27/2013 5:35:15 PM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies
    Nature News ^ | 27 Aug 2013 | Lauren Morello
    More than 300 bottlenose dolphins have stranded themselves along the US East Coast this summer, and now researchers think they know why: they are sick. Preliminary tests suggest that cetacean morbillivirus, a cousin of the virus that causes measles in humans, is killing dolphins from New York to North Carolina, officials with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said today. Since 1 July, 333 dolphins have beached themselves, more than twice the normal yearly average for that stretch of coastline, prompting NOAA to declare an ‘unusual mortality event’ on 8 August. Many of the dolphins that have washed...
  • Drug-resistant superbug is spotted in Nebraska

    08/22/2013 6:12:10 PM PDT · by neverdem · 13 replies
    Omaha World-Herald | August 16, 2013 | Bob Glissmann
    Copyright ©2013 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald. Here's the link.
  • Schumer Calls For More Research Into Tick-Borne Diseases: Late Summer Is Peak Lyme Disease Season

    08/11/2013 3:49:18 PM PDT · by neverdem · 24 replies
    CBS NY ^ | August 11, 2013 | NA
    Late summer is peak Lyme disease season. As a result, Sen. Charles Schumer has urged the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study new and potentially fatal tick-borne illnesses.The New York Democrat has urged the CDC to look into two diseases that have already been found in the state.Schumer noted that New York City and on Long Island lead the state in Lyme disease infections. play Schumer Calls For More Research Into Tick-Borne DiseasesWCBS 880's Monica Miller Reports In addition to Lyme disease, ticks are known to carry Babesiosis, Powassan virus and Borrelia miyamotoi.Schumer said those diseases are...
  • Camels May Transmit New Middle Eastern Virus

    08/08/2013 5:33:58 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 27 replies ^ | 2013-08-08 15:00
    Ever since people in the Middle East started dying of a mysterious new infection last year, scientists have been trying to pinpoint the source of the outbreak. Now they may finally have found a clue in an unlikely population: retired racing camels.
  • Colorado man’s fatal West Nile infection likely came from blood transfusion

    08/08/2013 12:58:09 PM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies ^ | August 8, 2013 | Matt Farley
    DENVER — A Colorado man who died of West Nile virus last year was likely infected through a blood transfusion, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. The man, who was undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, began developing West Nile symptoms after 29 days in the hospital, sharply narrowing the number of ways he could have been exposed to the virus, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. He died after 47 days in the hospital. Eighteen days prior to showing symptoms, the patient received a blood transfusion that health officials now believe contained...
  • Synthetic molecule chokes TB growth - Compound acts by novel mechanism and is effective in mice.

    08/05/2013 11:55:51 AM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Nature News ^ | 04 August 2013 | Richard Johnston
    A new drug candidate has shown promising signs in treating tuberculosis. The synthetic molecule is effective in mice and bears no similarity to existing TB drugs, many of which have become inadequate as drug-resistant bacterial strains have developed. If it is shown to be safe and effective in humans, it could help to combat a disease that killed 1.4 million people in 2011. A team led by Kevin Pethe, a microbiologist at the Pasteur Institute Korea near Seoul, investigated more than 120,000 compounds over 5 years, infecting mouse immune cells called macrophages with Mycobacterium tuberculosis — the bacterium that causes...
  • Anthracimycin: New Antibiotic Kills Anthrax, MRSA

    08/04/2013 1:55:42 PM PDT · by neverdem · 32 replies ^ | Jul 19, 2013 | NA
    Scientists have discovered a marine microbe-derived antibiotic that has the ability to kill the deadly Anthrax bacterium Bacillus anthracis and other pathogens such as the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.Bacillus anthracis spores as viewed in scanning electron microscopy (© National Academy of Engineering) Prof William Fenical with colleagues from the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography first collected Streptomyces sp. - a marine microorganism that produces the compound – in 2012 from sediments close to shore off Santa Barbara, California.Using an analytical technique known as spectroscopy, they then deciphered the unusual structure of a molecule isolated from Streptomyces sp....
  • Herpes Virus Blasts DNA into Human Cells, Says New Study

    07/29/2013 9:24:33 PM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies ^ | Jul 25, 2013 | NA
    Herpes simplex virus 1 has an internal pressure eight times higher than a car tire, and uses it to literally blast its DNA into human cells, according to a new study published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.Dr Alex Evilevitch and his colleagues provide the first experimental evidence of a high internal pressure of tens of atmospheres within Herpes simplex virus 1, resulting from the confined genome. NPC – nuclear pore complex (Bauer DW et al) The study provides the first experimental evidence of high internal pressure within a virus that infects humans – a phenomenon previously...
  • Antigenic sugars identified for Chagas disease

    07/27/2013 12:39:57 AM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 23 July 2013 | Sonja Hampel
    The triatomine beetles that transmit Chagas disease are known as kissing bugs because they tend to feed on peopleÂ’s facesScientists in the US and Spain have synthesised the combinations of sugars from the surface of the Chagas disease parasite that trigger the human immune response to it. This could help establish better diagnostic tests for the disease, and even a vaccine.Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The parasite is transmitted by contaminated food, blood transfusions and blood sucking beetles commonly known as kissing bugs. After a phase of acute local infection, the disease becomes chronic and can...
  • Women are more vulnerable to infections

    07/26/2013 11:17:15 PM PDT · by neverdem · 60 replies
    Nature News ^ | 26 July 2013 | Brendan Maher
    Public-health officials discount role of sex in people's response to flu and other infections. Sabra Klein came to the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction this week armed with a message that might seem obvious to scientists who obsess over sex: men and women are different. But it is a fact often overlooked by health researchers, says Klein, an immunologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Her research on influenza viruses in mice, presented at the meeting in Montreal, Canada, helps explain why women are more susceptible to death and...
  • MRSA: Farming up trouble

    07/25/2013 5:29:17 PM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies
    Nature News ^ | 24 July 2013 | Beth Mole
    Microbiologists are trying to work out whether use of antibiotics on farms is fuelling the human epidemic of drug-resistant bacteria. The sight of just one boot coming through the doorway cues the clatter of tiny hoofs as 500 piglets scramble away from Mike Male. “That's the sound of healthy pigs,” shouts Male, a veterinarian who has been working on pig farms for more than 30 years. On a hot June afternoon, he walks down the central aisle of a nursery in eastern Iowa, scoops up a piglet and dangles her by her hind legs. A newborn piglet's navel is an...
  • Genetic test fingers viral, bacterial infections: Method could help doctors treat children's fevers

    07/24/2013 12:29:45 AM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Science News ^ | July 16, 2013 | Tina Hesman Saey
    By differentiating between bacterial and viral fevers, a new test may help doctors decide whether to prescribe antibiotics. Fevers are a common symptom of many infectious diseases, but it can be difficult to tell whether viruses or bacteria are the cause. By measuring gene activity in the blood of 22 sick children, Gregory Storch, a pediatrician and infectious disease researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and colleagues were able to distinguish bacteria-sparked fevers from ones kindled by viruses. The activity of hundreds of genes changed as the children’s immune systems responded to the pathogens, but the team found that...
  • Dipstick test for plague on the way

    07/20/2013 6:47:00 PM PDT · by neverdem · 15 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 19 July 2013 | Daniel Johnson
    Researchers have isolated an antibody that can be used to test for Yersinia pestis © Rocky Mountain Laboratories NIAID, NIH Plague could soon be diagnosed faster than ever before, thanks to scientists in Germany. The group have pioneered a new, dipstick test which will drastically cut the time it takes to spot the disease. This could save many lives in developing countries, where modern outbreaks are concentrated, and where there is little access to the labs needed for conventional diagnosis methods.The team, from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, isolated an antibody which specifically recognises and binds...
  • Tuberculosis Genomes Recovered from 200-Year-Old Hungarian Mummy

    07/20/2013 5:23:55 PM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | July 19, 2013 | NA
    Researchers at the University of Warwick have recovered tuberculosis (TB) genomes from the lung tissue of a 215-year old mummy using a technique known as metagenomics. The team, led by Professor Mark Pallen, Professor of Microbial Genomics at Warwick Medical School, working with Helen Donoghue at University College London and collaborators in Birmingham and Budapest, sought to use the technique to identify TB DNA in a historical specimen. The term 'metagenomics' is used to describe the open-ended sequencing of DNA from samples without the need for culture or target-specific amplification or enrichment. This approach avoids the complex and unreliable workflows...
  • Gut microbes get first dibs on heart meds

    07/20/2013 4:47:40 PM PDT · by neverdem · 22 replies
    Science News ^ | July 19, 2013 | Jessica Shugart
    Some people harbor a strain of bacteria that chews through cardiac medication The next time you pop a pill, know that the microbes in your gut might get to it before you do. Some people harbor a strain of bacteria that inactivates a common cardiac drug, a finding that could explain why people have different reactions to some medications. “Microbes have long been known to ‘steal’ drugs by converting them into inactive forms,” says Peter Turnbaugh of Harvard University, who led the study. But picking out the specific culprits among the gut’s throngs of bacterial suspects has been a challenge...
  • Can Dangerous Bird Flu Virus Fly Between Humans?

    07/19/2013 2:12:22 PM PDT · by neverdem · 7 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 18 July 2013 | Jon Cohen
    Enlarge Image Air travel. Ferret studies show that H7N9 can move via respiratory droplets from intentionally infected animals in one cage to their neighbors. Credit: Sander Herfst Since a new bird flu virus began sickening and killing people in China in March, one of the most pressing questions has been whether the virus, H7N9, would easily spread from human to human, possibly kicking off a global pandemic. Fortunately, no convincing signs of such transmission surfaced, and the outbreak—which led affected Chinese cities to close poultry markets and cull birds—seems to have ground to a halt. But three new studies...
  • Giant viruses open Pandora's box

    07/19/2013 1:28:41 PM PDT · by neverdem · 40 replies
    Nature News ^ | 18 July 2013 | Ed Yong
    Genome of largest viruses yet discovered hints at 'fourth domain' of life. The organism was initially called NLF, for “new life form”. Jean-Michel Claverie and Chantal Abergel, evolutionary biologists at Aix-Marseille University in France, found it in a water sample collected off the coast of Chile, where it seemed to be infecting and killing amoebae. Under a microscope, it appeared as a large, dark spot, about the size of a small bacterial cell. Later, after the researchers discovered a similar organism in a pond in Australia, they realized that both are viruses — the largest yet found. Each is around...
  • Rinderpest research restarts

    07/16/2013 11:05:34 PM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies
    Nature News ^ | 16 July 2013 | Declan Butler
    As moratorium lifts, oversight is put in place to assess studies on eradicated cattle virus. Research is set to resume on the rinderpest virus, the cause of a deadly cattle disease that was declared eradicated in 2011 and has been off limits for study ever since. The moratorium — part of efforts to guard against accidental or intentional release of virus that could reintroduce the disease — was lifted on 10 July and replaced by a new international oversight system for such research. In its heyday, the disease — the only one other than smallpox to be eradicated from nature...
  • WHO Convenes Emergency Committee on MERS Virus

    07/08/2013 11:25:27 PM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies
    ScienceInsider ^ | 5 July 2013 | Kai Kupferschmidt
    Enlarge Image Crowd control? Public health experts worry that the annual hajj could increase the incidence of MERS. Credit: Bluemangoa2z/Wikimedia Commons The World Health Organization (WHO) is convening an emergency committee to determine whether the novel coronavirus that emerged in the Middle East last year constitutes a "public health emergency of international concern." Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General for Health Security and Environment at the WHO, announced the move at a press conference today in Geneva. Fukuda said the committee would be drawn from a roster established under International Health Regulations and include experts in public health, epidemiology, virology and...
  • Antibiotic research hits a sweet spot

    07/04/2013 10:28:37 PM PDT · by neverdem · 13 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 1 July 2013 | James Urquhart
    The cyclodextrin can block the Wza pore and prevent E. coli from suiting up © NPGUK researchers have found a way to weaken the molecular armour of Escherichia coli to allow the host's immune system to attack and kill the pathogen. The discovery could pave the way for new antibiotic drugs that make it harder for pathogenic bacteria to develop resistance.Antibiotic resistance is one of the world's most pressing public health concerns. As bacteria quickly mutate to become resistant, the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs aimed at current targets are diminishing. An alarming trend in recent years is the emergence of...
  • Cholera is Altering the Human Genome

    07/04/2013 4:06:33 PM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 3 July 2013 | Mitch Leslie
    Enlarge Image Laid low. A cholera ward in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a country where nearly half the people are infected with the cholera bacterium by age 15. Credit: Mark Knobil/Creative Commons Cholera kills thousands of people a year, but a new study suggests that the human body is fighting back. Researchers have found evidence that the genomes of people in Bangladesh—where the disease is prevalent—have developed ways to combat the disease, a dramatic case of human evolution happening in modern times. Cholera has hitchhiked around the globe, even entering Haiti with UN peacekeepers in 2010, but the disease's heartland is...
  • Lasers Could Help Identify Malaria and Other Diseases Early

    07/04/2013 3:44:07 PM PDT · by neverdem · 2 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 2 July 2013 | Jennifer Wong
    Enlarge Image Seconds count. When a laser beam, pulsing at an average of once every 760 nanoseconds (left), is absorbed by red blood cells, the cells release sound waves that far exceed 100MhZ (right). Credit: Strohm et al., Biophysical Journal (2013) Combining lasers with a principle discovered by Alexander Graham Bell over 100 years ago, researchers have developed a new way to collect high-resolution information about the shape of red blood cells. Because diseases like malaria can alter the shape of the body's cells, the device may provide a way to accurately diagnose various blood disorders. The study relies...
  • Atomic-Scale Structure of Ribosome Could Lead to Better Antibiotics

    06/30/2013 9:56:45 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    SciTech Daily ^ | June 28, 2013 | Staff
    Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have imaged the atom-by-atom structure of the ribosome attached to a molecule that controls its motion for the first time, providing a step forward for the development of better antibiotics.The above image may look like a tangle of squiggly lines, but youÂ’re actually looking at a molecular machine called a ribosome. Its job is to translate DNA sequences into proteins, the workhorse compounds that sustain you and all living things.The image is also a milestone. ItÂ’s the first time the atom-by-atom structure of the ribosome has been seen as itÂ’s attached to a...
  • Antibiotic killing mechanism debate continues

    06/29/2013 3:50:38 PM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 28 June 2013 | Emma Stoye
    Antibiotics can kill bacteria without the need for reactive oxygen species (ROS). That's the claim of new research, which has added new evidence into the emerging debate over how antibiotics exert their lethal effects.A study in 2007 suggested that all antibiotics kill by triggering the production of ROS, which interfere with bacterial cell processes.1 This hypothesis gained widespread support, but there is a growing body of evidence that this is wrong. This latest study, led by Frederic Barras from Aix-Marseille University in France2, showed that Escherichia coli strains that were hypersensitive to ROS, such as superoxide or hydrogen peroxide, were...
  • New Viruses Found in Asia and Africa Tentatively Linked to Neurological Disease

    06/26/2013 11:45:25 PM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 20 June 2013 | Mara Hvistendahl and Martin Enserink
    A mysterious group of viruses known for their circular genome has been detected in patients with severe disease on two continents. In papers published independently this week, researchers report the discovery of agents called cycloviruses in Vietnam and in Malawi. The studies suggest that the viruses—one of which also widely circulates in animals in Vietnam—could be involved in brain inflammation and paraplegia, but further studies are needed to confirm a causative link. The discovery in Vietnam grew out of a frustrating lack of information about the causes of some central nervous system (CNS) infections such as encephalitis and meningitis, which...
  • Silver makes antibiotics thousands of times more effective

    06/21/2013 9:02:11 PM PDT · by neverdem · 43 replies
    Nature News ^ | June 19, 2013 | Brian Owens
    Ancient antimicrobial treatment could help to solve modern bacterial resistance. Like werewolves and vampires, bacteria have a weakness: silver. The precious metal has been used to fight infection for thousands of years — Hippocrates first described its antimicrobial properties in 400 bc — but how it works has been a mystery. Now, a team led by James Collins, a biomedical engineer at Boston University in Massachusetts, has described how silver can disrupt bacteria, and shown that the ancient treatment could help to deal with the thoroughly modern scourge of antibiotic resistance. The work is published today in Science Translational Medicine1....
  • How to Stop the Rise of Superbugs

    06/03/2013 7:35:31 PM PDT · by neverdem · 40 replies
    The American ^ | June 3, 2013 | Waldemar Ingdahl
    The rise of 'superbugs' is causing tens of thousands of deaths a year in the United States alone. A problem as complex as antibiotic resistance will require several solutions. Increasing antibiotic resistance is of great concern — the health of millions is dependent on our ability to defeat the threat of infectious diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that multi-drug resistance accounts for more than 150,000 deaths each year from tuberculosis alone.Without effective antibiotics in health care, humanity would be thrown back to the time when urinary tract infections and pneumonia were lethal. Infant and maternal mortality would rise and...
  • Receptor Proteins Hold Clues to Antibiotic Resistance in MRSA, Scientists Say

    05/30/2013 5:35:47 PM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies ^ | May 28, 2013 | Sergio Prostak
    A team of researchers led by Dr Angelika Gründling from Imperial College London has discovered 4 proteins that act as receptors for an essential signalling molecule in bacteria such as the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).This micrograph shows methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (Janice Haney Carr / CDC / Jeff Hageman / M.H.S.) A recently discovered molecule called cyclic diadenylate monophosphate (c-di-AMP for short) appears to play a vital role as a messenger in many bacteria, carrying signals between parts of the cell. There is evidence that strains with more c-di-AMP are more resistant to antibiotics.But until now, very little was known about...
  • Breast Milk Protein HAMLET Reverses Antibiotic Resistance in MRSA, Pneumococcus

    05/30/2013 12:42:41 PM PDT · by neverdem · 17 replies ^ | May 14, 2013 | Natali Anderson
    According to a new study reported in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, a human breast milk protein complex called HAMLET can help reverse the antibiotic resistance of bacterial species, including penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.The image shows a healthy Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterial cell, upper left, next to a bacterial cell destroyed and lysed by the human milk protein complex HAMLET, lower right (Laura R. Marks) In petri dish and animal experiments, HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor Cells) increased bacteria’s sensitivity to multiple classes of antibiotics, such as penicillin and erythromycin.“The effect was so pronounced that bacteria...
  • New 1-step process for designer bacteria

    05/28/2013 11:24:28 PM PDT · by neverdem · 7 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | May 28, 2013 | NA
    A simpler and faster way of producing designer bacteria used in biotechnology processes has been developed by University of Adelaide researchers. The researchers have developed a new one-step bacterial genetic engineering process called 'clonetegration', published in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology. Led by Dr Keith Shearwin, in the University's School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, the research facilitates faster development of designer bacteria used in therapeutic drug development, such as insulin, and other biotechnology products. Designer bacteria are produced by integrating extra pieces of genetic material into the DNA of bacteria, in this case E. coli, so that the bacteria...
  • Russia's AIDS Epidemic: It's America's Fault (of Course)

    05/28/2013 10:27:39 PM PDT · by neverdem · 21 replies
    American Thinker ^ | May 27, 2013 | Kim Zigfeld
    HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is raging out of control in Vladimir Putin's Russia. It is perhaps the single most devastating hallmark of the demographic crisis that has his nation by the throat. Instead of contending with it forthrightly and energetically, Putin is ignoring the crisis in favor of a neo-Soviet Cold-War confrontation with the West. In a 2011 report issued on World AIDS Day, the United Nations stated the stunning reality: "The Russian Federation and Ukraine account for almost 90% of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region's epidemic. Injecting drug use remains the leading cause of HIV infection in...
  • 'Whodunnit' of Irish Potato Famine Solved

    05/21/2013 12:25:13 PM PDT · by neverdem · 62 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | May 21, 2013 | NA
    An international team of scientists reveals that a unique strain of potato blight they call HERB-1 triggered the Irish potato famine of the mid-nineteenth century. It is the first time scientists have decoded the genome of a plant pathogen and its plant host from dried herbarium samples. This opens up a new area of research to understand how pathogens evolve and how human activity impacts the spread of plant disease. Phytophthora infestans changed the course of history. Even today, the Irish population has still not recovered to pre-famine levels. "We have finally discovered the identity of the exact strain that...
  • ScienceShot: Invasive Ladybug Carries Fatal Parasite

    05/21/2013 10:45:00 AM PDT · by neverdem · 31 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 16 May 2013 | Paul Gabrielsen
    Credit: (left) Pbech/Wikimedia Commons; (inset) Dominik Stodulski/Wikimedia Commons The innocuous-looking harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis, shown left) wields a biological weapon of mass destruction. Europe and North America imported the insects in the early 20th century to control pesky aphids. But the harlequin, native to Asia, began to flourish, crowding out the native seven-spotted ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata, shown inset). Scientists previously thought that the harlequin prospered because of an unusually strong antimicrobial immune system, which would protect it from disease in a foreign environment. But the beetle's more potent secret is a fungal parasite, in the insect-afflicting Nosema genus, which...