September 20, 2013 |
Beware of magical discoveries: They generally require careful use lest the magic wear off. Even the genie's lamp gave only three wishes. Antibiotics, which at one point were viewed as miracle drugs providing cures for previously fatal illnesses, are among the discoveries that have been used too carelessly, giving rise to an era of resistant infections. Scientists have been concerned about these resistant bacteria - methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , or MRSA, is probably the most familiar - for many years.
September 5, 2013 |
The microorganisms in the human gut appear to play a pivotal role in determining whether a person is lean or obese, new research shows. The study, published online Thursday by the journal Science, is the strongest evidence yet that what's inside an individual's digestive tract influences the risk of obesity and its related health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes. The work helps explain the nation's 30-year run-up in excess weight - and it may supply a potential solution to the resulting epidemic, experts said.
August 22, 2013 |
Nothing gets our attention like pain. But pain is more than the body's miniature cattle prod to get us to heed a wound, rest a swollen ankle, or stop eating chili peppers. Pain may be the language between animals and microbes. Far from being a product of an inflamed immune system, aggravated nerves far from the spine and brain appear to communicate with invading bacteria and regulate the fight against them, according to a study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.
August 1, 2013 |
A team of researchers in Woods Hole, Mass., has discovered a novel ecological habitat flourishing in one of the fastest growing segments of civilization's toxic waste stream: plastic marine debris. Welcome to the Plastisphere, a biological wilderness on microbial reefs of polyethylene and polypropylene in the open ocean teeming with single-celled animals, fungi and bacteria, many of them newly discovered. Some may be pathogens hitching rides on floating junk. The effects of plastic debris on fish, birds, turtles and marine mammals that ingest it are well documented.
July 16, 2013 |
A new study from Penn State University published in the Journal of Food Science reaffirms the necessity to be extremely careful when handling and cooking chicken, even -- and maybe especially -- if it comes from the farmers market. The study , which was limited in size, found that 90% of the 100 chickens purchased at local farmers markets tested positive for campylobacter , a bacteria that can cause serious food poisoning. That compared with only 20% of grocery story chickens carrying the bacteria.
July 5, 2013 |
Each of us has a core community of bacterial strains that lives in our lower digestive tract - a personal set of microbes that remains relatively stable in the gut over the course of decades, scientists said Thursday. In an examination of the bacteria contained in dozens of fecal samples collected from 37 healthy American adults, researchers at the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that every person has about 100 species and 200 strains of bacteria in the gut. On average, 60% of the bacterial strains detected were retained over a period of five years, suggesting that the mix of bacteria in the digestive tract, also known as the gut microbiome, is largely stable.