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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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The Rise of Antibiotic Resistance: Ways of Mitigating

  Antibiotic resistance in both pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria is becoming an urgent topic in human health. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistance is developing in more and more bacteria. Resistance has been the cause of over 90,000 deaths nationwide, typically from patients with preexisting autoimmune diseases. Studies have been done to determine why more bacteria are acquiring resistance genes and the origin of these genes.

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Bacterial Loads in Farmer's Market Whole Chicken Compared to Store-Bought Whole Chicken

  Concerns of pesticide use on produce has raised questions to some of the population because of new studies showing linkage to certain diseases.  As a result, some seek organic products at the grocery store.  Another alternative is purchasing fresh produce at the farmer’s market which has become popular in recent years.  The general population believes that locally grown foods are safer.  However, that might not be the case in a small-scale study conducted...

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Can Gut Bugs Control One's Mind?

  Do you know anyone with high anxiety problems? Did you recently score below average on your exam or currently looking for an excuse to not exercise? If that is the case, gut microbes will be your best friend to excuse you from your daily workouts, anxiety problems, and bad exams. The study shows that microbes in our intestines may alter brain development. Many scientists who study behavior and gene activity have seen the change in brain development as they come across gut microbes...

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Mycobacteria get the best of both worlds: Asexual and Sexual Reproduction

  Recently, it has been discovered that mycobacteria, have the “best of both worlds” when it comes to reproduction. They use a type of DNA transfer, called Distributive Conjugal Transfer, to swap genes with other mycobacteria. After the genome is thoroughly mixed, the bacteria is able to replicate asexually. Because these organisms are able to obtain a “genetic blend” of DNA from parent bacteria (a type of quasi-sexual reproduction), and also replicate individually, it...

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Prion-like protein accumulation in brain cells helps explain Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases

             When looking at the damaged nerve cells of an Alzheimer’s patient under a microscope, one observes clumps of proteins that seem out of place.  Researchers have discovered these protein masses behave much like prions – malformed proteins normally found in healthy neurons.  These contorted proteins in turn cause like proteins to misfold and bind to one another, resulting in a chain reaction or cascade that destroys entire regions of th...

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Antibiotic resistant bacteria chemically communicate resistance to less-resistant bacteria

  A new study conducted by El-Halfawy and Valvano has demonstrated how resistance to antibiotics can be communicated to other less resistant bacteria through secreted chemicals. They investigated the mechanism of resistance to a bactericide, polymyxin-B (PmB), in resistant strains of Burkholderia cenocepacia, a species that causes severe infections in patients with cystic fibrosis.   

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Insight on the Side-Effects of Antibiotics

  Ever wondered why it's so important to take your entire antibiotic regimen? Or whether you should be worried about the plethora of medication you may be asking for, or your doctor may be prescribing? New studies show there may be more side-effects than originally anticipated.                 The dangers of anti-biotic resistance have been somewhat understood for the last twenty years. Initial concern was raised with the selective properties of...

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Creating a vaccine for malaria using chemically attenuated parasites

  Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes that causes an estimated 1 million deaths per year.  Four different types of Plasmodium parasites can cause malaria and in many regions of the world these parasites have developed resistance to a variety of the medicines used to treat malaria.  It is believed that the development of a vaccine will be the most effective way to decrease the amount of deaths caused by this disease.  In the past, vaccine development for mal...

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Novel Strategies for Safer Long-Term Antibiotic Usage

              Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have gained new insight into the dangers associated with long-term antibiotic usage.  The scientists, led by Jim Collins, Ph.D., have discovered the cause behind hazardous side effects resulting from long-term usage of antibiotic drugs and have proposed two solutions to prevent and reduce these negative effects.          &nbs...

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Life Still Goes on in Even the Most Extreme Conditions

  Dr. Scott Rodger has just published his fourth paper on his findings on Lake Vostak in Antarctica which are summarized in the article “In subglacial lake, surprising life goes on”.  Dr. Rodgers has discovered life in Lake Vostak, once thought to be free from any form of life and considered sterile by many scientists. Many even considered Lake Vostak as a possible model for other planets.  Lake Vostak is the fourth deepest lake on earth and is the largest lake in Antarc...

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