Responding to the emergence of Zika in the US, researchers investigated what type of repellent works best to reduce your odds of a mosquito bite from Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species that spreads the Zika virus.
Seagrass may help your favorite beach stay a little less toxic. A new study, led by Joleah Lamb, a postdoctoral researcher in the Harvell Lab at Cornell University, found that coastal seagrasses reduce levels of pathogens dangerous to humans and marine organisms in near-shore waters.
Jostled in the airport, someone is coughing in line. The air looks empty but it is loaded with microbes that make their way into your body. You get sick. You give it to your family, and that's pretty much it. But what if you were so contagious that you spread it to your entire community and beyond?
Some bacteria can already do it—generate electric current, that is—and those microbes are called "electrogenic." Now, thanks to the work of a research group from the University of California, Santa Barbara, we know how to easily turn non-electrogenic bacteria into electricity producers.
What's in a sneeze? Quite a lot—dirt, mucus, and infectious germs—it seems. And sneezing the right way can reduce the germs you share with neighbors.
A terrifying antibiotic resistant superbug, one thought to only infect hospital patients, has made its debut in the real world. For the first time ever, the superbug carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infected six people who hadn't been in or around a hospital in at least a year, and researchers aren't sure how they got infected.
Autism affects 1 in 68 children in the US, and that means it affects at least 1 in every 68 families. More boys than girls are diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and it's estimated that almost 60,000 12-year-olds in the US have autism. That is a 37-fold increase from the 1 in 2,500 children diagnosed just 30 years ago.
Bacteria gets a bad rap. Most headlines focus on the danger and discomfort posed by pathogens like bacteria, but many of the bacteria that live on and in us are vital to our health. Many products out there, called probiotics, are sold with the implication that they're supporting these healthy bacteria that share our bodies—but do they actually work?
At a global security conference in Munich, philanthropist and businessman Bill Gates spoke about the next pandemic and a dire lack of global readiness. Here's how his statement could come true—and how to be ready when it does.
Every year, 100-200 people in the US contract leptospirosis, but usually 50% of the cases occur in Hawaii where outdoor adventurers are exposed to Leptospira bacteria found in freshwater ponds, waterfalls, streams, and mud. That's why it's so alarming that two people in the Bronx have been diagnosed with the disease and a 30-year-old man has died from it.
Some studies have shown that vitamin D supplements help fight respiratory infections, but some haven't. A new study published in The BMJ clarified the confusion, and identified a group of people that might be better able to fight off colds and flu with vitamin D supplements.
Six people have died from fungal infections in Pittsburgh hospitals since 2014—that fact is indisputable. The rest of the situation is much vaguer. A lawsuit has been filed against the hospitals on behalf of some of the deceased patients, alleging that moldy hospital linens are to blame. While the lawyers argue over who's at fault, let's look at how this could have happened.
Have the sniffles? Yes. Does your head hurt? Yes. Coughing? Yes. Could you have influenza? Yes. How do you know the difference? With these symptoms, you could also have a cold.
New weapons are needed to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Instead of drugs, scientists have discovered in an animal study that they may be able to harness vampire bacteria to vanquish pneumonia.
Bacteriotherapy sounds a lot more amenable of a term than "fecal transplant," yet they're both treatments that use bacteria itself to cure or treat infections. Fecal transplants, specifically, are an up-and-coming treatment option for a potentially deadly and difficult-to-treat diarrheal infection called Clostridium difficile.
In the perpetual search for a renewable and convenient energy source, our bacterial friends have once again stolen the limelight.
News: Bacteria Turn Off Plant Genes to Help Parasites Destroy Billions of Dollars of Crops Every Year
Before you bite into that beautiful tomato in your garden, the tomato fruitworm, or the Colorado potato beetle, might have beat you to it.
News: 14 Types of Bacteria & 10 Strains of Fungus Are Responsible for All the Delicious Flavors of Cheese
If you want to appreciate the value of microbes, look no further than a chunk of cheese. Because cheese roughly traces back to the Neolithic Era, we might say the earliest cheesemakers were the first humans to manipulate microbes—without even knowing it. Now, thanks to microbiologists and the long tradition of cheesemaking, we know a lot more about the microbes that make our favorite types of cheese possible.
A new study just out reveals that HIV takes hold in the human body with the help of cells that usually work to heal, not kill.
News: We've Finally Developed a Test for Mysterious Prion Diseases— Parkinson's & Alzheimer's Could Be Next
Prion diseases are a group of infectious brain diseases that causes extensive tissue damage, resulting in sponge-like spaces in brain tissue. Prions include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (often called mad cow disease), and chronic wasting disease in hoofed ruminant mammals.
Avian flu is making the news again with new human cases in China reported in January. What does "avian flu" mean to you—and how dangerous is it?
Despite the availability of a vaccine against it, almost 50% of men aged 18-59 in the US are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Why?
All fields of study have their own language. For people interested in learning about microbes, the language can sometimes be downright difficult—but it doesn't need to be. From antibiotics to xerophiles, we have you covered in an easy-to-understand glossary.
We usually associate Salmonella bacteria with a dangerous type of food poisoning, but they actually are pretty good at seeking out tumors. That trait made the bacteria a great candidate to deliver a protein that would help knock tumors out.
News: Fighting Nightmare Bacteria Is Like a Game of Whack-a-Mole—It Keeps Popping Up in Unexpected Places
The pathogen referred to as a "nightmare bacteria" is quietly adapting and spreading faster than anticipated.
A tiny louse is responsible for decimating the citrus industry. Diaphorina citri, the louse in question, better known as the Asian citrus psyllid, harbors and spreads the "Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus" bacteria that causes citrus greening disease.
There are all kinds of theories—many supported by science—about what causes Alzheimer's disease. Tangles of protein called ß-amyloid (pronounced beta amyloid) plaques are prominently on the list of possible causes or, at least, contributors. An emerging theory of the disease suggests that those plaques aren't the problem, but are actually our brains' defenders. They show up to help fight an infection, and decades later, they become the problem.
Scientists are constantly on the search for new organisms, species, and other types of life. A special group of these researchers, calling themselves "bioprospectors," dive deep into mines to find unique lifeforms with special properties not found anywhere else.
News: New Study Unveils the True Story of Kuru, a Fatal Brain Disease Spread by the Cultural Practice of Eating the Dead
Kuru is called the shaking disease, its name derived from the Fore word for "to shake." Caused by an organism that infects the part of the brain that controls coordination, people afflicted with kuru shake uncontrollably.
News: Cold, Dry Air Could Signal a Flu Outbreak a Week Before It Happens—Here's How to Protect Yourself
Most of us equate feeling cold with catching a virus—but we've also heard plenty of debunkers proselytizing that being cold isn't what gives you the flu.
News: Rat Breeders in Illinois Are Just the Latest Victims of Unappreciated Hantaviruses That Infect Humans
A recent pathogen outbreak in Illinois is just one of many outbreaks of an underappreciated, but serious, viral infection passed from rodents to humans. These hantaviruses have been cropping up more frequently in the last decade or so, giving us more reason to clean out our dusty attics, basements, and garages.
The rate of preterm birth has been increasing in the United States for unknown reasons, causing increased health risks for infants born too soon. But researchers may have found a signal that could help doctors plan ahead for, or even prevent, early birth with a simple swab of the vagina and cervix during pregnancy.
News: Researchers Have Just Discovered How a Hospital Fungus Forms Slime, Becomes Drug Resistant & Kills Patients
It hasn't even been eight years since Candida auris was discovered—cultured and identified from the ear canal of a patient in Japan—and now it's drug-resistant, setting up residence in hospitals, killing patients, and wreaking havoc across the globe.
The food TV chefs prepare make our mouths water. From one scrumptious creation to another, they fly through preparation without frustration or error. They make us think we can do the same with similar ease and delectable, picture-perfect results. Some of us have noticed, though, that TV chefs don't always adhere to the same safe food handling guidelines we've been taught to follow. A recent study in the Journal of Public Health by Edgar Chambers IV of the Sensory Analysis Center at Kansas Sta...
News: Chronically Missing Just 1 Hour of Sleep a Night Makes Your Body Ripe for Sickness, New Study Says
Sleep lets our body processes rest and restores us for the next day, so a bad night's sleep can ruin the following twenty-four hours and even make us feel sick. Now, new research published in the journal Sleep cements the idea that loss of sleep actually leaves us vulnerable to sickness.
We all know you are what you eat—or so the expression goes—but it's good to remember that what you are (at least intestinally) is mainly bacteria. A new study has shown that what you eat, and how your gut microbiome reacts to that food, might be a key player in your risk of developing a certain type of colon cancer—and changing your diet can help decrease your risk.
Microbe World: Extreme Cave-Dwelling Bacteria Found Resistant to Antibiotics—A Bad Sign for Humans Fighting Superbugs
One thousand feet under the ground, extremophile microbes that have not seen the light of day for four million years are giving up some fascinating facts to scientists who go the distance.
News: Coffee Isn't the Only Thing Brewing in Your Nespresso—Extremophiles Could Be Living in Your Drip Tray
You just sat down, coffee in hand, and the day is ready to start. Now that you have taken a few sips, let me pose a question: What is living in that coffeemaker of yours? The answer might make you dump that coffee down the drain pronto.
News: New Research Shows How Flesh-Eating Leishmania Parasites Hide in Our Bodies to Fight Future Infections
Transmitted by a sandfly one-third the size of a mosquito, parasitic Leishmania protozoa are responsible for a flesh-destroying disease that kills an estimated 20,000 people per year. Two new studies offer understanding of how the parasite provides immunity through persistence and why some people suffer more virulent forms of the disease.
If you live with pets, you know where their tongue has been, yet you let them kiss and lick you all they want without even thinking twice about it. I've heard people say that a dog's mouth is very clean, and that their saliva, delivered by licking, can help heal wounds, but is that really true?