June 21, 2012 |
Last week, scientists reported on a 5-year study of all the bacteria that inhabit the human body - 100 trillion of them, weighing 2 to 6 pounds total (in a 200-pound person) - and of 10,000 different types, though not all of them will reside in any one particular person. This week, an interesting article published in the journal Cell points to just how crucial the correct bacteria may be for developing a robust immune system. Scientists know that mice reared in a germ-free environment don't develop normally.
June 14, 2012 |
There has been lots of excitement this week as a horde of scientists released their first looks at the trillions of microbes that live in (or on) our bodies. As well as the two main papers published in Nature, a slate of reports was published in other journals, containing all kinds of tidbits. One week earlier, another slate of “microbiome” papers was published in the journal Science. We already covered the nuts and bolts of the Human Micriobiome Project report.
June 13, 2012 |
After five years of toil, a consortium of several hundred U.S. researchers has released a detailed census of the myriad bacteria, yeasts, viruses and amoebas that live, eat, excrete, reproduce and die in or on us. Described in two papers in Nature and a raft of reports in other journals, the data released Wednesday describe microbes of the skin, saliva, nostrils, guts and other areas of 242 adults in tiptop health. The $170-million, federally funded Human Microbiome Project also cataloged the genes contained within this zoo of life.
May 24, 2012 |
What spreads almost as fast as necrotizing fasciitis, a.k.a. flesh-eating infection? News stories about it. Surely by now you've heard about the horrifying case of Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old Georgia graduate student who cut her leg on May 1 and was on life support by May 4. When Copeland regained consciousness, much of the plugged-in world knew what she still did not: Her left leg had been amputated, skin on her abdomen had been removed and...
May 17, 2012 |
The rare disease commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria has claimed another victim: a South Carolina woman who had just given birth to a healthy set of twins and who noticed an unusual spot on the back of her leg. Lana Kuykendall, 36, is a paramedic, and her profession might have helped save her life. She recognized the spot as something to be concerned about -- perhaps a blood clot -- and promptly sought medical help. She has undergone four surgeries so far to remove dead flesh as doctors scramble to keep one step ahead of the disease formally known as necrotizing fasciitis. So far, Kuykendall has not suffered any limb amputations -- often a devastating result of the disease.
May 15, 2012 |
A Maryland microbiologist and international pathogen expert is on a one-woman mission to raise awareness about Aeromonas hydrophila, the waterborne bacteria believed to have caused the case of necrotizing faciitis -- better known as infection caused by flesh-eating bacteria -- that has proved devastating to a Georgia college student. Aimee Copeland's leg and part of her abdomen have been removed in a race to stay ahead of the disease. Her family's blog says the 24-year-old is likely to lose her fingers, and possibly her remaining foot.
May 14, 2012 |
Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare but potentially deadly disease that ravages the body's tissues and causes them to die off, earning it the fiendish nickname "flesh-eating bacteria. " A Georgia college student, Aimee Copeland, 24, is currently fighting the disease from her hospital bed near Atlanta. She contracted necrotizing fasciitis after falling from a homemade zip line ride during what was supposed to be a day of fun in the sun on May 1. The fall left a gash in her left calf, believed to have been the entry point for the necrotizing fasciitis.
May 12, 2012 |
Flesh-eating bacteria -- a rare, aggressive infection that violently attacks the deepest layers of skin -- has claimed a Georgia student's leg, hands and remaining foot, thrusting her into the fight of her life and stirring nationwide interest about her ordeal. Aimee Copeland, 24, was kayaking near the Little Tallapoosa River in Georgia on May 1 when she hopped on a homemade zip-line for a ride. The line snapped, Copeland fell, and she suffered a cut to her calf. The gash was deep enough to warrant medical attention -- doctors closed the wound with 22 staples.
April 11, 2012 |
No place on Earth demonstrates the resilience or inventiveness of life quite like Lechuguilla Cave, whose subterranean tunnels stretch for 130 miles through Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Deep in the cave's most arid recesses, deprived of all sunlight and mostly starved of life-giving water, a lush garden of bacteria grows. Untouched by humans for all of their 4 million years, these strains of bacteria thrive on the harsh minerals of the geological formations to which they cling and fend off other life forms that would prey on them.
March 30, 2012 |
The allure of getting fabulously rich as suddenly as being hit by lightning is a time-honored fantasy. Sadly, the chance of getting killed by that lightning is far more likely than getting rich by winning the world's largest lottery. As of Friday morning, the jackpot in the Mega Millions lottery had hit a record $640 million, sending players in 42 states and the District of Columbia to beat a hasty path to the nearest kiosk, sundry outlet or grocery store to plunk down a buck - or many - to purchase a lottery ticket - or many.