9 posts · 4,004 views
Last February, an international controversy descended over the landlocked country of Malawi. The cause of this was a new bill about to be put forward that centred on the maintenance of clear air in public places.
Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanourThis would prohibit smoking in &n........ Read more »
Schaffner W, Lefkowitz LB Jr, Goodman JS, & Koenig MG. (1969) Hospital outbreak of infections with group a streptococci traced to an asymptomatic anal carrier. The New England journal of medicine, 280(22), 1224-5. PMID: 4889553
McKee WM, Di Caprio JM, Roberts CE Jr, & Sherris JC. (1966) Anal carriage as the probable source of a streptococcal epidemic. Lancet, 2(7471), 1007-9. PMID: 4162660
Last year, the UK was in the midst of an outbreak of anthrax, in which resulted in 47 infections, and 13 deaths. Bigger than the 2001 letter bomb attacks. Hospitals up and down the country were put on alert. The news media were notified, and the public were told of the dangers. But there was no panic amongst the general public. A case of the famous British stiff upper lip?
Not so much. This was not a terrorist attack. This was just another occupational hazard for heroin addicts.
These people wer........ Read more »
Knox D, Murray G, Millar M, Hamilton D, Connor M, Ferdinand RD, & Jones GA. (2011) Subcutaneous anthrax in three intravenous drug users: a new clinical diagnosis. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. British volume, 93(3), 414-7. PMID: 21357967
Schmid, G., & Kaufmann, A. (2002) Anthrax in Europe: its epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and role in bioterrorism. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 8(8), 479-488. DOI: 10.1046/j.1469-0691.2002.00500.x
Whilst combing the old literature, I found this gem of a paper from 1859. Aa normal blog post would not do the job for this paper, so I made a mad decision. I decided to tell the story through the use of comic.
I fully recommend reading the original paper, as I have left out a lot of Gairdners more choice insults against Homeopathy.
Full size images can be found here:
Gairdner, W. (1859). Was Hahnemann a Nostrum-Vendor? A Question of Fact BMJ, s4-1 (110........ Read more »
Gairdner, W. (1859) Was Hahnemann a Nostrum-Vendor? A Question of Fact. BMJ, s4-1(110), 101-102. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.s4-1.110.101
The history of science is peppered with great moments where people have gone above and beyond the call of duty in order to present their work in an accessible way. Think Florence Nightingale, and how she drew attention to the abominable conditions in hospitals through the use of a simple chart. Or perhaps Vesalius, and his intricate and detailed diagrams of the human anatomy. The following paper deserves it's place among the greats, as it too has taken the graphical representati........ Read more »
Sperandio, V. (2010) SdiA sensing of acyl-homoserine lactones by enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) serotype O157:H7 in the bovine rumen . Gut Microbes, 1(6), 432-435. DOI: 10.4161/gmic.1.6.14177
One of the reasons that I blog on Streptococcus pyogenes so often is because it is such a fascinating and adaptable pathogen. It causes so many different diseases. Diseases as different as a sore throat, and necrotizing fasciitis (The flesh eating disease !). It's even been implicated in tourettes syndrome. This is a hardy and adaptable pathogen, that primarily colonises the throat and the skin.
In a recent outbreak in japan, it was found S. pyogenes has apparently found a new nich........ Read more »
Minami M, Wakimoto Y, Matsumoto M, Matsui H, Kubota Y, Okada A, Isaka M, Tatsuno I, Tanaka Y, & Hasegawa T. (2010) Characterization of Streptococcus pyogenes isolated from balanoposthitis patients presumably transmitted by penile-oral sexual intercourse. Current microbiology, 61(2), 101-5. PMID: 20107992
The human body is a great niche for bacteria. Nutrients run through our blood vessels, and soak our cells. Within the gut, on the skin, and in the nasal tract, many bacteria make a home. And for the most part, we tolerate their presence. Some bacteria are even useful to us. However, there are some bacteria who are not friendly tenants. These bacteria try to invade the body. However, this in itself is no easy task. The body is defended by the immune system, a complex and organized collection........ Read more »
Fraser, J., & Proft, T. (2008) The bacterial superantigen and superantigen-like proteins. Immunological Reviews, 225(1), 226-243. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2008.00681.x
The roles that bioluminescence plays in the lives of organisms today is fascinating. How did this trait evolve? This is a complex question, because bioluminescence is believed to have evolved around 50 different times in different species of animals.
So how do living creatures produce light? Well, the actual question that needs to be asked is how do living creatures produce visible light.
To fully work out the evolutionary roots of bioluminescence, we must look into the very earliest stage........ Read more »
Branham, M. (2003) The origin of photic behavior and the evolution of sexual communication in fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). Cladistics, 19(1), 1-22. DOI: 10.1016/S0748-3007(02)00131-7
Dubuisson M, Marchand C, & Rees JF. (2004) Fire fly luciferin as antioxidant and light emitter: the evolution of insect bioluminescence. Luminescence : the journal of biological and chemical luminescence, 19(6), 339-44. PMID: 15558801
Timmins GS, Jackson SK, & Swartz HM. (2001) The evolution of bioluminescent oxygen consumption as an ancient oxygen detoxification mechanism. Journal of molecular evolution, 52(4), 321-32. PMID: 11343128
Kozakiewicz J, Gajewska M, Lyzeń R, Czyz A, & Wegrzyn G. (2005) Bioluminescence-mediated stimulation of photoreactivation in bacteria. FEMS microbiology letters, 250(1), 105-10. PMID: 16040205
Kobayashi M, Kikuchi D, & Okamura H. (2009) Imaging of ultraweak spontaneous photon emission from human body displaying diurnal rhythm. PloS one, 4(7). PMID: 19606225
As near exclusive surface dwellers, we only see the sun-kissed top layers of the vast oceans of our planet. As we descend into the depths, the light from the sun dies away. And as we reach the bottom, we should be plunged into absolute blackness.
But we aren't. There are lights at the bottom of the ocean, and they don't come from nuclear reactions in stars far in the sky. This illumination comes from living creatures. The great deeps of our planet are populated with creatures who have........ Read more »
Streptococcus pyogenes (I'll call it strep for short) is one of many pathogenic bacteria which are known to colonise the respiratory tract. as a result it causes the disease known as strep throat, and another known as scarlet fever. If you are lucky, it gets confined to the respiratory tract. However, in some cases Strep can spread to other organs, where it can cause a disease known as necrotizing fasciitis.
How and why it suddenly causes this disease is not known, although there is some ........ Read more »
Kurupati, P., Turner, C., Tziona, I., Lawrenson, R., Alam, F., Nohadani, M., Stamp, G., Zinkernagel, A., Nizet, V., Edwards, R.... (2010) Chemokine-cleaving Streptococcus pyogenes protease SpyCEP is necessary and sufficient for bacterial dissemination within soft tissues and the respiratory tract. Molecular Microbiology, 76(6), 1387-1397. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07065.x
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