April 1, 2013 |
Western land managers may have a new weapon in their frustrating - and so far losing - battle against invasive cheatgrass. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says early field tests of naturally occurring soil bacteria known as ACK55 show promise in controlling alien cheatgrass, a native of Eurasia that was accidentally introduced by settlers in the 1800s. Cheatgrass has taken over millions of acres of federal land in Nevada and other Great Basin states, promoting huge, fast-moving wildfires that destroy sagebrush habitat and with it, food and shelter for pronghorn antelope, sage grouse and mule deer.
March 27, 2013 |
In the latest of a slew of studies examining the role of the so-called microbiome -- the mix of microscopic critters that colonize our bodies and our environment -- in human health, Harvard researchers said Wednesday that part of the reason that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery works so well in helping people lose weight is because it causes changes in the mix of bacteria in our bellies. The discovery suggests that doctors might someday be able to mimic the microbial effects of weight-loss surgery without putting patients under the knife, said Dr. Lee Kaplan, director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-senior author of a report detailing the research in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
March 18, 2013 |
The vastly deep ocean trenches at the edge of continents have been something like the Mars of oceanography - off limits until recently. Now they are providing information nearly as freaky as that provided by the Mars Rover. There is abundant life at 36,000 feet below the ocean surface, living under the kind of pressure (more than 1,000 times atmospheric pressure at sea level) that would crush human bones down to liquid, according to the first data from a 2010 robotic exploration of the sediments in the Mariana Trench, in the western Pacific Ocean.
March 12, 2013 |
What happens in a day at the roller derby? For one thing, scientists have discovered and reported Tuesday in the journal PeerJ , a lot of bacteria get swapped around. Researchers at the University of Oregon's Biology and Built Environment Center , a collaboration of architects and biologists who study how design affects the kinds of microbes that live among us, and how it influences our health, recently examined the microbiomes -- the ecosystems of thousands of microorganisms -- on the skin of three roller derby teams before and after a competition.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 2013 |
There's a $200-million hotel on the drawing board for downtown Los Angeles, so tourists from around the globe can kick up their heels at LA Live. And a few miles away on downtown's skid row, there's a TB outbreak brewing in a stew of Third World-style squalor and disorder. It's the yin and yang of our city's clumsily evolving downtown scene: We haven't managed to seal the deal for a professional football team, but we have been able to produce and sustain our own unique tuberculosis strain.
March 5, 2013 |
A deadly bacteria that's practically impervious to antibiotics is on the rise and has appeared in medical facilities in 42 U.S. states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The rate of infection from carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, might seem low -- 4% -- but it has risen fourfold in just the last decade. CRE is resistant even to last-resort drugs such as carbapenem and can potentially be very deadly. Up to half of patients who develop a bloodstream infection from CRE die, according to the CDC report.