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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 very real danger of alfatoxins
Food products, especially harvested grains, need to be stored carefully. Proper management means storing...
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The 6th Edition of Through the Microscope is now available
The website, eBooks, and hard copy of Through the Microscope are now available. To purchase website access,...
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The stringent response can influence antibiotic resistance
Cancer is a horrible disease, killing over half a million people in the United States every year and...
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Gut disbiosys hinders the healing of spinal cord injuries
There has been a growing body of evidence that the microorganisms that live with us on our bodies deeply...
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Antibiotics Take Toll on Beneficial Microbes in Gut

  In the late 1800s a search for antibiotics began in accordance with the growing acceptance that bacteria and microbes have a causal effect on the human body leading to a variety of ailments. From this point in time onward there has been a pursuit for drugs to deter or kill this disease causing bacteria.  Antibiotics can be seen in use for serious life-threatening illness, such as pneumonia, kidney and heart infections, or after major operations to reduce the chances of infection, but also f...

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Plant-based compound may prevent HIV infection

  HIV research have come a long way since the beginning of the epidemic with newer and newer treatments being discovered and administered. However, a classic drawback on novel medications is the virus's ability to develop newer drug resistance strains against the treatment. This is largely due to the virus's high genetic variability, fast replication cycle, and high rate of mutation. New hope arises from an unlikely source, the soybean. New evidence from the George Mason University rese...

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Overactive immune response blocks itself

  Natural killer cells are thought be an important component of innate immune response, which is the immediate response of the body to any infection or any breach of the human body surfaces. Natural killer cells produce messenger substances at the site of infection to recruit other components of the immune system to aid in the removal of the infection. So it has been assumed that having an abundance of natural killer cells will increase the likelihood of the removal of infection. But Helmholtz Cen...

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Biggest Virus Yet Found, May Be Fourth Domain of Life?

  In the past year, scientists came to a shocking discovery when they found a virus larger than any found before: a Pandora virus. Discovered in Chile’s Tunquen River, Pandora viruses average a length of about a micrometer—0.3 micrometers larger than any virus found before—and contain an astonishing 2,500 genes. This is surprising considering an average virus can contain as few as 10 genes. Amoeba are the host for the Pandora viruses With such a large relative size, one may be...

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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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