December 26, 2013 |
Elizabeth Lopez maneuvered a massive steel claw over the side of a 134-foot sailboat and guided its descent through swaying kelp and schools of fish 10 miles off the coast of San Diego. She was hoping to catch pieces of a mysterious marine ecosystem that scientists are calling the plastisphere. This biological community starts with particles of degraded plastic no bigger than grains of salt. Bacteria take up residence on those tiny pieces of trash. Then single-celled animals feed on the bacteria, and larger predators feed on them.
November 1, 2012 |
Inflammatory bowel disease -- a range of conditions including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis -- afflicts an estimated 1.4 million Americans. Now some scientists in France have come up with a novel potential therapy: an enzyme that calms down the gut delivered via a genetically engineered bacterium. The approach -- tested so far only on mice and pieces of inflamed human gut tissue in the lab -- was reported in a paper in this week's Science Translational Medicine . Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, which range in severity and can be chronic or recurring, develop when parts of the body's immune system turn traitor and -- for poorly understood reasons -- start attacking the gut. Symptoms include diarrhea, cramping, weight loss, ulcers and intestinal scarring.
May 1, 2013 |
In its first laboratory analysis of ground turkey sold at retail outlets, Consumer Reports found that more than half tested positive for fecal bacteria. The magazine also found that most of the bacteria it found proved resistant to one or more of the antibiotics commonly used to treat them. Some turkey-growing operations use antibiotics only to treat illnesses, but other operations give them to their animals daily, Consumer Reports said. ...
August 31, 2011 |
Think your doctor's white coat is as clean as a whistle? It might not be. A study finds that dangerous germs could be lurking on nurses' and doctors' uniforms. Researchers from Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem cultured three spots on the uniforms of 75 nurses and 60 physicians working in a 550-bed hospital. Potential pathogens (also known as infectious agents, or germs) were found on 63% of the uniforms, and antibiotic resistant bacteria were found on samples from 14% of nurses' uniforms and 6% of doctor's uniforms.
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.
April 24, 2013 |
A 14-year-old hamburger -- seemingly perfectly preserved, looking like it just hopped off the grill -- has left McDonald's with a lot of explaining to do. The fast-food chain says the apparent lack of mold or disintegration is actually no big deal, and suggests that the burger's pristine appearance -- assuming it's not a prank -- is likely the result of dehydration, and not funky preservatives. The hamburger has been in the headlines of late, most recently on "The Doctors.
November 12, 2009 |
A high-fat, high-sugar diet does more than pump calories into your body. It also alters the composition of bacteria in your intestines, making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it, research in mice suggests. And the changeover can happen in as little as 24 hours, according to a report Wednesday in the new journal Science Translational Medicine. Many factors play a role in the propensity to gain weight, including genetics, physical activity and the environment, as well as food choices.
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.
June 25, 2010 |
Concern about a newborn's bacterial flora is not a topic you're likely to hear discussed in the waiting room of the maternity ward — but that may change. A new study has found that the way in which babies are delivered exposes them to specific bacteria that could play a role in their future health. The study, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that babies delivered vaginally had microbes on their bodies that resembled their mother's vaginal bacteria, and babies delivered via caesarean section had bacterial communities like those commonly present on adult skin.
May 6, 2013 |
Forget boiling, or antiseptic wipes: The best way to clean a Binky may be putting it in your own mouth. A parent who sucks on a baby's pacifier to clean it is loading it up with hundreds of good types of bacteria that live in the adult mouth. That bacteria is transferred via the pacifier to the infant's mouth. It may sound gross, but evidence suggests that those bacteria may help reduce instances of allergy development in babies. In a new study published in Pediatrics, researchers followed 184 infants recruited from a Swedish hospital from birth until most of them were 3 years old. The researchers were specifically looking for allergy-prone babies, and 80% of the sample group had at least one parent with allergies.