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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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Rhodopsin Protein Movement Mechanism

  Rhodopsins are a class of protein commonly found in the rod cells of the eye.  These proteins are the driving force behind a process called visual phototransduction, which is the translation of a visual picture into an electrical signal that can be processed by the brain.  These proteins are also found in bacteria, serving a similar purpose: they create electrical energy for the cell by moving proteins across the cell membrane, creating an electrical gradient. The structure of...

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The domestication of microbes: A. oryzae case

  Since the beginning of the civilization, humans have domesticated not only animals and plants, but also different kinds of microbes to produce beer, wine, cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, and more. Although researchers have studied the plant and animal domestication comprehensively, it is still a mystery on how domestication changes microbial behavior on a genetic scale. In this article, researchers at Vanderbilt University try to compare the genetic profiles between Aspergillus oryzae, the domesticat...

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Discarded Immune Cells Induce the Relocation of Stem Cells

  The human body has an amazing protection mechanism called the immune system. It offers protection and defense against agents of infection. There are vast amounts of leukocytes in the human body to protect us from pathogens, but where do they go when they are done and what happens to them? Researchers at Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) in Madrid, Spain have discovered the fate of one leukocyte, the neutrophil, after it has come in contact with a pathogen. There...

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Gut microbe may fight obesity and diabetes

  Recent evidence is showing us that hundreds or even thousands of microbes in our gut is contributing to human health more than just aiding digestion.  A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences led by Patrice Cani and her team, who study the relationship between gut bacteria and metabolism, suggested that a specific gut microbe in the human body could help against obesity and metabolic disorders such as diabetes type 2. The specific gut bacterium, Akkermansia mucin...

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New Antibiotic Found That Attacks MRSA Found in Ocean Microbe

  Methicillin-resistance Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that generally causes difficult to treat infections in humans.  Beta-lactam antibiotics attack agents that contain the Beta-lactam ring, successfully inhibiting bacterial wall synthesis and eventually killing the bacterium. Bacteria then develop a resistance to the drug by synthesizing Beta-lactamase, an enzyme which attacks the Beta-lactam ring. Beta-lactam antibiotics include penicillins and cephalospor...

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Overactive Immune Response Blocks Itself

  Natural killer cells (NK cells) are an integral part of the innate immune system that serves as the first line of defense against infectious disease causing pathogens.  This important role lead to the assumption that the more activated NK cells present during an immune response, the better.  However, research done at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) has shown that this principle does not apply to all stages of the immune response. Natural killer cells (NK cells...

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Researchers use child immune response genes to distinguish between types of infections

  At a time when there is great concern over the risks of antibiotic resistance, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found a new way to distinguish between fevers in children caused by either bacteria or viruses.   In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hu, Yu, Crosby, and Storch measured utilization of genes for the immune response in febrile children, some of which turned out to be infected with bacteria or one of three different...

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Predatory Bacteria and Human Health

  There are many example strains of pathogenic bacteria that have developed resistant to drugs. The reduced effectiveness of antibiotic drugs for treating infections is increasingly a concern for doctors and patients alike. Pneumonia is caused by a microbial infection of the lungs, and if untreated it can be painful and fatal. Traditionally pneumonia is treated by using antibiotic drugs to combat the infecting microbes. However, Klebsiella pneumoniae is one example of a drug resistant bacteria tha...

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New Method Discovered to Detect Proteins Using Nano-sensors

  A team of researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) recently discovered a new method called parallel protein analysis to detect mircoorganismal activity in human bodily fluids. They have designed a test that can identify thousands of different proteins and detect the presence of viruses. The new method is very quick and cost effective. One of the chemists involved in the research, Professor Carsten Sönnichsen, said “ we see possible applications this technique in medicine...

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Living at the mouth of an underwater volcano

  Deep-sea hydrothermal vents play host to an exciting array of marine life. At the base of these ecosystems are intricate communities of microorganisms. These bacteria and achaea survive at an astonishing range of temperatures, from more than 120°C at the mouth of the vents, to less than 10°C farther away. Characteristic to some genera is the assembly of orange and white “mats,” masses of bacteria turned colorful from the oxidation of sulfur. A recent article fo...

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