Listeria are extremely undemanding bacteria. In low amounts they are present almost everywhere, including soil and water. In order to better understand how Listeria spread, a group of scientists from the Institute of Milk Hygiene at the Univ. of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna collected soil and water samples throughout Austria. Their study revealed a higher detection of Listeria in soil and water samples during periods of flooding. The researchers also found antibiotic-resistant strains of Listeria in soil samples. The data were published in the journal Applied Environmental Microbiology.
The literature describes Listeria as ubiquitous bacteria with widespread occurrence. Yet they only become a problem for humans and animals when they contaminate food processing facilities, multiply and enter the food chain in high concentrations. An infection with Listeria monocytogenes can even be fatal for humans or animals with weakened immune systems.
The number of days an expectant mother was deprived of electricity during Quebec’s 1998 Ice Storm predicts the epigenetic profile of her child, a new study found.
Scientists from the Douglas Mental Health Univ. Institute and McGill Univ. have detected a distinctive “signature” in the DNA of children born in the aftermath of the massive Quebec ice storm. Five months after the event, researchers recruited women who had been pregnant during the disaster and assessed their degrees of hardship and distress in a study called Project Ice Storm.
Brisbane researchers have developed a blood test that can accurately detect one of the commonest causes of hay fever, paving the way for new treatments.
The research, by The Univ. of Queensland and Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, promises relief to the sufferers who endure the annual misery of sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes when the pollen count climbs.
The nation’s largest tobacco companies are challenging court-ordered advertisements requiring the cigarette makers to say they lied about the dangers of smoking.
The so-called corrective statements are part of a case the government brought in 1999 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled in 2006 that the nation’s largest cigarette makers concealed the dangers of smoking for decades and has since ordered them to pay for the statements in various advertisements in newspapers, as well as on TV, websites and cigarette pack inserts.
Young Women Don’t Recognize Cervical Cancer Symptoms
New research led by King’s College London suggests that many women under 30 with cervical cancer are diagnosed more than three months after first having symptoms. In many cases, this was because they did not recognize the symptoms as serious. The study is published today in the British Journal of General Practice.
Approximately one in 134 women will get cervical cancer at some point in their lives. It is most common in women in their thirties. Cervical cancer is nearly always caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infection is very common, especially in young women, but for most, the infection resolves completely on its own and does not lead to cervical cancer. In England, the NHS offers screening to prevent cervical cancer to women aged 25-64.
Teen girls who have sex should use IUDs or hormonal implants — long-acting birth control methods that are effective, safe and easy to use, the nation’s most influential pediatricians’ group recommends.
In an updated policy, the American Academy of Pediatrics says condoms also should be used every time teens have sex, to provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases that other forms of birth control don’t provide, and to boost chances of preventing pregnancy.
Years before they show any other signs of disease, pancreatic cancer patients have very high levels of certain amino acids in their bloodstream, according to a new study from MIT, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute.
This find, which suggests that muscle tissue is broken down in the disease’s earliest stages, could offer new insights into developing early diagnostics for pancreatic cancer, which kills about 40,000 Americans every year and is usually not caught until it is too late to treat.
Health officials are investigating nine cases of muscle weakness or paralysis in Colorado children and whether the culprit might be a virus causing severe respiratory illness across the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday sent doctors an alert about the polio-like cases and said the germ — enterovirus 68 — was detected in four out of eight of the sick children who had a certain medical test. The status of the ninth case is unclear.
Thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines should be available in the coming months and could eventually be given to health care workers and other people at high risk of the deadly disease, the World Health Organization says.
No vaccine has yet been proved to be safe or effective in humans, says Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general at WHO, who spoke at a press conference in Geneva that was later shared by email. Testing must first be done to ensure they are not harmful to people, some of which has already begun, she says.
In a new study, the team from Lund Univ., working with colleagues in France and Italy, have studied pigment in the skin and its building blocks. Pigment in both skin and hair comprises of two different types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin makes us develop a suntan and gives color to brown and black hair, whereas those with red hair and pale skin instead have high levels of pheomelanin.
“We found that eumelanin converts harmful UV radiation into heat with almost 100 percent efficiency. The chemical reaction is incredibly quick, taking less than a thousandth of a billionth of a second,” said Villy Sundström, professor of chemistry at Lund Univ.
Over a 22 year period, more than one in 10 of all antibiotic treatments in a primary care setting have failed. This rate has increased and continues to rise, according to a new study that analyzed almost 11 million antibiotic prescriptions in the UK. Much data has been gathered about antibiotic resistance in hospitals, but virtually nothing is known about the frequency and pattern of antibiotic failure in primary care.
Researchers from Cardiff Univ. therefore set out to assess antibiotic treatment failure rates in UK primary care with particular focus on four of the most common kinds of infection: upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) and acute otitis media (AOM – middle-ear infection).
Australian researchers have achieved ground-breaking results in a clinical trial using hookworms to reduce the symptoms of celiac disease. The results are also good news for sufferers of other inflammatory conditions such as asthma and Crohn’s disease.
In the small trial run over a year, 12 participants were each experimentally infected with 20 Necator americanus (hookworm) larvae. They were then given gradually increasing doses of gluten – beginning with just one-tenth of a gram per day (the equivalent of a two-centimeter segment of spaghetti) and increasing in two further stages to a final daily dose of three grams (75 spaghetti straws).
Cancer, while always dangerous, truly becomes life-threatening when the cancerous cells begin to spread to different areas throughout the body. Now, researchers at the Univ. of Missouri have discovered that a molecule used as a communication system by bacteria can be manipulated to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Senthil Kumar, an assistant research professor and assistant director of the Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, says this communication system can be used to “tell” cancer cells how to act, or even to die on command.
“During an infection, bacteria release molecules which allow them to ‘talk’ to each other,” says Kumar, the lead author of the study. “Depending on the type of molecule released, the signal will tell other bacteria to multiply, escape the immune system or even stop spreading. We found that if we introduce the ‘stop spreading’ bacteria molecule to cancer cells, those cells will not only stop spreading; they will begin to die as well.”
EPFL scientists have discovered how to control the limbs of a completely paralyzed rat in real time to help it walk again. Their results are published in Science Translational Medicine.
Building on earlier work in rats, this new breakthrough is part of a more general therapy that could one day be implemented in rehabilitation programs for people with spinal cord injury, currently being developed in a European project called NEUWalk. Clinical trials could start as early as next summer using the new Gait Platform now assembled at the CHUV (Lausanne Univ. Hospital).
Children who are maltreated may be at an increased risk of obesity and inflammatory disorders because of low levels of leptin — a hormone involved in regulating appetite, according to new research from King’s College London.
The findings, published in Translational Psychiatry, suggest leptin deficiency may contribute to physical health problems associated with early life stress, and provide a possible target in disease prevention.