Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Why We May Need Viruses More Than Vaccines | The GOLDEN RULE

 

Why We May Need Viruses More Than Vaccines | The GOLDEN RULE.Posted on by

 

An article by Sayer Ji,  Activist Post, provides some thought-provocation and a lateral approach to a science, vaccination, that is currently in the news for its controversial issues concerning adverse reactions.

A groundbreaking study published this month in Nature challenges a century-old assumption about the innate pathogenicity of these extremely small, self-replicating particles known as viruses. 

Titled, “An enteric virus can replace the beneficial function of commensal bacteria,” researchers found that an “enteric RNA virus can replace the beneficial function of commensal bacteria in the intestine.” Known as murine (mouse) noravirus (MNV), researchers found that infecting germ-free or antibiotic-treated mice infection with MNV “restored intestinal morphology and lymphocyte function without inducing overt inflammation and disease.”

The researchers found:

Importantly, MNV infection offset the deleterious effect of treatment with antibiotics in models of intestinal injury and pathogenic bacterial infection. These data indicate that eukaryotic viruses have the capacity to support intestinal homeostasis and shape mucosal immunity, similarly to commensal bacteria. Despite the commonly held belief that viruses are vectors of morbidity and mortality that must be vaccinated against in order to save us from inevitable harm and death, the new study dovetails with a growing body of research showing that our own genome is 80% viral in origin.

Find the full article here.

December 5, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dirtiest Places In The Office

From the 24 May 2012 Medical News Today article

If you think the restroom is the place you are most likely to pick up germs at the office, perhaps you should think again, because new findings from the US suggest the dirtiest places in the office are in break rooms and kitchens, with sink and microwave door handles topping the list of germ “hot spots”…

..
An ATP **count of 300 or more means the surface has a high level of contamination and there is a high risk of illness transmission. When they analyzed the samples, the researchers found ATP counts of 300 and higher on:

  • 75% of break room sink faucet (tap) handles,
  • 48% of microwave door handles,
  • 27% of keyboards,
  • 26% of refrigerator door handles,
  • 23% of water fountain buttons, and
  • 21% of vending machine buttons.

**ATP  (adenosine triphosphate) is the universal energy molecule found in all animal, plant, bacteria, yeast and mold cells. Large amounts are present in food and organic residues, which when left on a surface can harbor and grow bacteria.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bacteria Present In Abundance In Public Restrooms

 

Figure 4. Results of SourceTracker analysis showing the average contributions of different sources to the surface-associated bacterial communities in twelve public restrooms.

The “unknown” source is not shown but would bring the total of each sample up to 100%.

From the 27 November 2011 Medical News Today article

Everyone wonders what bugs might be lurking in public bathrooms. Now researchers are using novel genetic sequencing methods to answer this question, revealing a plethora of bacteria all around, from the doors and the floors to the faucet handles and toilet seats, with potential public health implications, as reported in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Led by Gilberto Flores and Noah Fierer of the University of Colorado, Boulder, the researchers investigated 12 public restrooms, 6 male and 6 female, in Colorado. Using a high-throughput genetic sequencing technique, they identified various bacteria on all the surfaces they tested. The floor had the most diverse bacterial community, and human skin was the primary source of bacteria on all surfaces. Interestingly, there were a few differences between the bacteria found in the male versus female bathrooms.

November 28, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Cure For The Common Cold? New Drug Could Cure Nearly Any Viral Infection

Simplistic overview of the main viral infectio...

Image via Wikipedia

From a 10 August 2011 Medical News Today article

Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola. Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection…

Click here to read the rest of this news article

(This drug has not even reached clinical trials yet, so it will be awhile before it gets to being approved, and then, if approved, being available to the general public)

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Texas A&M research shows bacteria provide example of one of nature’s first immune systems

From the December 23, 2010 Eureka news release

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Dec. 23, 2010—Studying how bacteria incorporate foreign DNA from invading viruses into their own regulatory processes, Thomas Wood, professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, is uncovering the secrets of one of nature’s most primitive immune systems.

His findings, which appear in “Nature Communications,” a multidisciplinary publication dedicated to research in all areas of the biological, physical and chemical sciences, shed light on how bacteria have throughout the course of millions of years developed resistance to antibiotics by co-opting the DNA of their natural enemies—viruses.

The battle between bacteria and bacteria-eating viruses, Wood explains, has been going on for millions of years, with viruses attempting to replicate themselves by – in one approach – invading bacteria cells and integrating themselves into the chromosomes of the bacteria. When this happens a bacterium makes a copy of its chromosome, which includes the virus particle. The virus then can choose at a later time to replicate itself, killing the bacterium—similar to a ticking time bomb, Wood says.

However, things can go radically wrong for the virus because of random but abundant mutations that occur within the chromosome of the bacterium. Having already integrated itself into the bacterium’s chromosome, the virus is subject to mutation as well, and some of these mutations, Wood explains, render the virus unable to replicate and kill the bacterium.

With this new diverse blend of genetic material, Wood says, a bacterium not only overcomes the virus’ lethal intentions but also flourishes at a greater rate than similar bacteria that have not incorporated viral DNA.

“Over millions of years, this virus becomes a normal part of the bacterium,” Wood says. “It brings in new tricks, new genes, new proteins, new enzymes, new things that it can do. The bacterium learns how to do things from this.

“What we have found is that with this new viral DNA that has been trapped over millions of years in the chromosome, the cell has created a new immune system,” Wood notes. “It has developed new proteins that have enabled it to resists antibiotics and other harmful things that attempt to oxidize cells, such as hydrogen peroxide. These cells that have the new viral set of tricks don’t die or don’t die as rapidly.”

Understanding the significance of viral DNA to bacteria required Wood’s research team to delete all of the viral DNA on the chromosome of a bacterium, in this case bacteria from a strain of E. coli. Wood’s team, led by postdoctoral researcher Xiaoxue Wang, used what in a sense could be described as “enzymatic scissors” to “cut out” the nine viral patches, which amounted to precisely removing 166,000 nucleotides. Once the viral patches were successfully removed, the team examined how the bacterium cell changed. What they found was a dramatically increased sensitivity to antibiotics by the bacterium.

While Wood studied this effect in E. coli bacteria, he says similar processes have taken place on a massive, widespread scale, noting that viral DNA can be found in nearly all bacteria, with some strains possessing as much as 20 percent viral DNA within their chromosome.

“To put this into perspective, for some bacteria, one-fifth of their chromosome came from their enemy, and until our study, people had largely neglected to study that 20 percent of the chromosome,” Wood says. “This viral DNA had been believed to be silent and unimportant, not having much impact on the cell.

“Our study is the first to show that we need to look at all bacteria and look at their old viral particles to see how they are affecting the bacteria’s current ability to withstand things like antibiotics. If we can figure out how the cells are more resistant to antibiotics because of this additional DNA, we can perhaps make new, effective antibiotics.”

 

January 3, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New tool detects Ebola, Marburg quickly, easily

Abstract Image

Boston University researchers develop portable diagnostic device

From a November 22, 2010 Eureka news alert

BOSTON (11-22-10) — Boston University researchers have developed a simple diagnostic tool that can quickly identify dangerous viruses like Ebola and Marburg. The biosensor, which is the size of a quarter and can detect viruses in a blood sample, could be used in developing nations, airports and other places where natural or man-made outbreaks could erupt.

“By enabling ultra-portable and fast detection, our technology can directly impact the course of our reaction against bio-terrorism threats and dramatically improve our capability to confine viral outbreaks,” said Assistant Professor Hatice Altug of the Boston University College of Engineering, who co-led the research team with Assistant Professor John Connor of the Boston University School of Medicine.

Traditional virus diagnostic tools are effective, but require significant infrastructure and sample preparation time. The new biosensor developed at Boston University directly detects live viruses from biological media with little to no sample preparation. The breakthrough is detailed in the Nov. 5 online edition of Nano Letters….

….

“Our platform can be easily adapted for point-of-care diagnostics to detect a broad range of viral pathogens in resource-limited clinical settings at the far corners of the world, in defense and homeland security applications as well as in civilian settings such as airports,” said Altug.

Connor noted an additional, significant advantage of the new technology. “It will be relatively easy to develop a diagnostic device that simultaneously tests for several different viruses,” he observed. “This could be extremely helpful in providing the proper diagnosis.”

The new biosensor is the first to detect intact viruses by exploiting plasmonic nanohole arrays, or arrays of apertures with diameters of about 200 to 350 nanometers on metallic films that transmit light more strongly at certain wavelengths. When a live virus in a sample solution, such as blood or serum, binds to the sensor surface, the refractive index in the close vicinity of the sensor changes, causing a detectable shift in the resonance frequency of the light transmitted through the nanoholes. The magnitude of that shift reveals the presence and concentration of the virus in the solution.

“Unlike PCR and ELISA approaches, our method does not require enzymatic amplification of a signal or fluorescent tagging of a product, so samples can be read immediately following pathogen binding,” said Altug. Ahmet Yanik, Altug’s research associate who conducted the experiments, added, “Our platform can detect not only the presence of the intact viruses in the analyzed samples, but also indicate the intensity of the infection process.”

The researchers are now working on a highly portable version of their biosensor platform using microfluidic technology designed for use in the field with minimal training.

 

 

 

November 23, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tips For Treating Viruses, Fungi, and Parasites

Click here for the full article by the American Academy of Pediatricians.

It is  good overview of types of treatment for these three types of diseaseses.

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

   

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