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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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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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Compound Produced by Ocean Microbes Could Treat Anthrax and MRSA

  Researchers at the University of California - San Diego have found a microbe in the Santa Barbara Bay that may produce a compound that could be used to treat anthrax and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) while conducting research. The microbe belongs to the Streptomyces family and is found in the sediment close to the shores of Santa Barbara, California. The compound it produces, called “anthracimycin”, was novel in structure, which was solved...

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Methamphetamine use can lead to deathly fungal infection

  According to available data, it is estimated that there are about 350,000 people in the US who are regular methamphetamine abusers.  The drug’s ability to impact the central nervous system as a stimulant might do more harm than what is known.  Recent studies have shown that injecting methamphetamine accumulates greatly in the lungs.  This information, combined with a fungus, Crytptococcus neoformans, can lead to a lethal combination.  

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Microbes can influence evolution of their hosts

  A new study shows that our microbial companions may play a significant role in the process of our evolution. Evolution can be defined as the change in the gene frequency of a population over time. Key to the process of evolution is natural selection. Natural selection is when certain heritable traits impart a greater chance of survival and reproduction for individuals that have said traits than individuals without, under prevailing environmental conditions. A new twist on these concepts is the h...

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Researchers Uncover Cellular Mechanisms for Attention in the Brain

  The brain controls the ability to pay attention and retain information.  The ability to generate attention in the presence of distractions is required for successful interaction in the world we live in today.  Attention in the brain has been heavily studied, but the cellular mechanism responsible for this phenomenon was unknown until the release of recent study results. Researchers at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California conducted a study...

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Immensely high internal pressure in Herpes virus facilitates DNA ejection from capsid.

  A new study reveals a key mechanism for viral infection that has been highly preserved in viruses that release their genome into the cell nucleus without disassembling the capsid. The study was conducted by Bauer et al at Carnegie Mellon University on the Herpes Virus (HSV-1), one of the most studied viruses with this kind of an infection mechanism. For the first time, it brings into light the presence of high internal pressure of tens of atmospheres due to an extremely condensed genom...

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Bacteriophage Therapy

  Viruses tend to have a negative connotation to them when in a human health context. What many perhaps do not know is that there are viruses that only attack bacteria. These naturally occurring viruses are called bacteriophages. This article denotes a potentially new way of treating bacterial infections that may be used in the near future.  When bacteriophages were first discovered, they were thought to be very beneficial to treating infections as they do not target human eukaryotic cells...

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