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New powerful antibiotics discovered using machine learning
Bacteria are amazing creatures. They adapt rapidly to any stress that is put on them or at least some...
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Top Publishers Sued over Collusion in Textbook Market
Textbook prices are out of control and this is why I spent years of my life writing and running this...
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Americans are fatter than ever and processed food is to blame
Before diving into this article we need to clarify how being obese is measured. There are many ways to...
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Through the Microscope updates
An important feature of Through the Microscope is the animations that depict important processes. Often...
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Obesity and the Microbiome
A large body of evidence is emerging showing that the microbiome has a role in obesity and I cover some...
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Typhoid Toxin May Hold Answers To Mysterious Historical Disease

  Typhoid fever is a predominantly gastric bacterial disease that is found worldwide and is caused by the bacterium Salmonella entrerica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi). Typhoid is one of the most well documented diseases in history having ravaged populations as old as the Athenians of ancient Greece and as new as the citizens of Chicago less than a century ago. Modern sanitation and hygiene practices have all but eradicated the disease in developed nations but developing nations are still...

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Vitamin C helps control gene activity in stem cells

  Researchers have found that vitamin C is useful for enhancing gene activation. Why is this helpful to us? It can be applied to treating cancer or controlling vitro fertilization. This result was found by comparing mouse embryonic stem cells growing in many different mediums in accident. Then researchers began to find the mechanisms behind the result, and realized that vitamin C actually leads to the increased prevention of activation of an array of genes.    

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Genomic streamlining in marine microbes

  Knowledge about microbes has proven to be useful for gaining a better understanding of the environment. As an example, phytoplankton – a photosynthetic marine microorganism – was discovered to be a source of half the Earth’s supply of oxygen, thereby providing insight to our relationship with the ocean. However, researchers currently have an understanding about only a tiny fraction out of millions of existing microbial species. The problem is, most marine microbes cannot be...

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Mutations in influenza H5 HA can render droplet transmission ability

  Influenza viruses are a great threat to humans and have very well proven their pandemic nature such as the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. They contain the protein haemagglutinin (HA) which determines the host range by identifying specific receptors such as sialic acid linked to galactose by α2,6-linkages in humans. Recent studies at UW-Madison and University of Tokyo by Yoshihiro Kawaoka have identified a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus that can be transferred through droplet transmission in a ferret model...

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A New Reason Why Red Meat, and Some Energy Drinks, May Be Bad for Our Heart

  For years it has been thought that consuming too much red meat may increase a person’s risk for heart disease. New research is indicating that it may not be the red meat that is the problem, but the microbes in our guts. High concentrations of the nutrient L-carnitine are found in red meat. L-carnitine helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells. The mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of cells. Doctor Stanley Hazen the section head of preventive cardiology and a biochem...

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Why TB Is Hard to Cure

  Mycobacterium is a type of bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB) in humans. When dividing, cells usually split equally while copying DNA from the mother cell to the daughter cell. Recent research has shown that Mycobacteria behave in a unique manner, with cells dividing (through binary fission) asymmetrically. This means that the Mycobacteria all divide differently; they grow at different rates, sizes and have different vulnerability to antibiotics. Because the Mycobacteria cells...

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On the trail of bacteria - Infrared light allows characterization of pathogens

  Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have developed an efficient method in determining if a bacterium can cause diseases or if it lacks the potential.  The scientists have been studying the different strains of Staphylococcus aureus and how they behave within the host. S. aureus that lack capsules are less recognized by the host's immune system compared to those that have capsules and are more susceptible to recognition. These two different strains a...

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Cholera is Altering the Human Genome

  Cholera is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera and is responsible for thousands of deaths every year. A study conducted in Bangladesh has provided researchers evidence that the human body has developed ways to combat this disease. Researchers have discovered that, due to the high prevalence of cholera, the genomes of individuals in Bangladesh have been altered to fight off cholera. These findings also exemplify how human evolution is still occurring in this day...

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Type 1 Diabetes Vaccine

  Scientists at Stanford University have created a useable vaccine for Type 1 Diabetes mellitus.  This disease affects many people around the globe by decreasing the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas, causing high blood sugar in patients.  Type 2 diabetes (aka "adult onset" diabetes) is caused by the body's inability to use insulin properly, whereas type 1 diabetes ("juvenile" diabetes) results from the body's inability to produce insulin.  ...

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Critical Pathway in Cell Cycle May Lead to Cancer Development

  The Stalk Institute for Biological Studies has recently had a team studying the effects of a specific stage of reproduction for the cell, the G1 phase, and how it is different in cancer cells. In this stage, the end part of the chromosome, called telomeres, shorten after each replication. Eventually, in a healthy cell, the telomeres will become too short to replicate further and the cell dies. In cancer cells this process can be altered by the addition of an enzyme that allows for uncontrolled c...

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