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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 Microbes in Our Bodies are as Unique as We Are

  In a world of bacteria, the tiny microbes that inhabit the human gut can reveal a lot about an individual.  The human body houses such a high amount of microbes that it significantly outnumbers the number of human cells a person has.  Recently, scientists have sought to better understand the vast number of microbes in the colon, in order to use this information to better human health. The American Gut Project is dissecting thousands of stool samples to truly understand what microbes...

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Inflammatory Response Turned off for Allergic Asthma and CODP Patients

  Inflammation is a type of immune system response to injury or irritation.  This response is problematic to the individuals who have asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), though.  Asthma is a lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchi of the lungs, which makes it hard for people with asthma to breathe.  COPD is also a lung disease which causes poor air flow to the lungs due to inflammation, also making it hard for the individual to breath...

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A Community of Microbes Help Protect Plants from Disease.

  The immune system of animals is extremely complex and helps defend against a plethora of diseases. Plants, on the other hand, are not as lucky when it comes to defense. Plants have a few systems to stop chemicals and diseases from moving in, but overall are very susceptible to infection. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that many plants are relying on microbes in the soil to defend themselves against diseases and pathogens.

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Stomach Bug uses novel mechanism to infect cells

  At the UT Southwestern Medical Center, researchers are investigating a seafood contaminant that thrives in the summer. This contaminant, Vibrio paraphaemolyticus, is a bacterium that causes a stomach flu and has a novel mechanism by which it infects cells. The bacterium inject proteins, known as effectors which regulator biological activity, into the cell. VopQ is an important effector and is the focus of this research. Once into the cell, VopQ disrupts autophagy. Autophagy is the...

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Human herpesvirus 6 infection linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a disorder characterized by extreme tiredness that does not go away with bed rest, lasts for about 6 months in adults. Some of its many other symptoms include cognitive problems, headaches and vertigo. A study in the Journal of Health Psychology also found a high mortality level (12.5%) in CFS patients over the course of 10 years. Experts believe that CFS has many root causes including psychological factors, pathogens and genetic predisposition.  Re...

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'Epilepsy in a Dish': Stem Cell Research Reveals Clues to Disease's Origins and May Aid Search for Better Drugs

  Scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School have created an exciting new model called “epilepsy in a dish” to study seizure disorders. It works by converting skin cells from patients harboring an epilepsy disorder to stem cells and then to neurons. The patient specific neurons allow for the study of brain cells and brain activity without the need to perform a brain biopsy. The overall goal of this study is to create induced pluripotent stem cells from cells of patients wi...

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You are what you eat

  Recent research done by scientists at the university of Massachusetts medical school (UMMS) shows that even the smallest bites of food can have a massive impact, by significantly changing gene expression, which could lead to an undesirable physiology and health outcome. Using special worms that are used normally as model organisms in genetic studies, the scientists observed how different diets cause differences in gene expression in the worms that could be interconnected to crucial physiolo...

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Simply reducing antibiotic use doesn't guarantee a decrease in resistance among bacteria

  Antibiotic resistant bacteria emerge from improper and over usage of antibiotics. However, antibiotic resistant bacteria have some disadvantages of their own.  When not exposed to antibiotics, non-resistant bacteria are often selected for due to the fact that there is an energetic cost associated with being immune to antibiotics. Because of this, it is now desired to reduce antibiotic use in proper situations with the hope of decreasing resistance among bacteria. This is often successful. H...

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Copper nanoparticles could protect food from bacteria

  Microbial such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi exist in our everyday life, and many of them are harmless to us. However, some of them are toxic that we need to come up with approaches to eliminate them. Fortunately, researcher Jaroslaw Drelich from Michigan Technological University has recently found that copper can be used to treat such microbes. In this method nanoparticles of copper can be embed into vermiculite, which is an inert compound often used in potting soil. For prelim...

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Biofilm matrix gene expression in B. subtilis

  In a recent paper that was published by the Gourse Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,discusses the biofilm matrix gene expression in Bacillus subtilis. A biofilm matrix is made up of multicellular communities that stick to many types of surfaces in different environments, and the production of extracellular matrix enables the formation of these communities. Once the biofilm matrix forms, the flagella motility is inhibited by the organism. On a molecular level, the eps and tapA-sipW...

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