News: Heart-Damaging 'Kissing Bug' Parasite Infects Thousands a Year in the US — & You May Not Know Until It's Too Late
Take a close look at the image above. These bugs spread a deadly parasite that infects thousands of people each year. They also live in the US, and it's important to know where they are and whether you need to worry that they're carrying a dangerous infection.
Once we recover from the respiratory infection pneumonia, our lungs are better equipped to deal with the next infection — thanks to some special cells that take up residence there.
If you've ever had chickenpox, the virus still lives in your body and it can be reactivated to become a case of shingles — a painful rash that occurs in a band on one side of your face or body. A new study has shown that people who get shingles have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The risk was highest in people under 40 years old, people who usually aren't at risk for heart disease.
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.
The next time you suffer a cut or abrasion, think twice before you reach for the Neosporin. It's time, and mom, tested — you get a cut, you wash it carefully, then apply some triple-threat antimicrobial ointment. You may or may not slap on a band-aid. We won't cover it here, but so that you know, covering the wound with a sterile dressing or band-aid is a good idea.
Lack of appetite often signals a cold or flu. Eating can be the last thing we want to do when we have a sore throat or are too fatigued or achy to even get out of bed. When hungry, we don't feel as strong as when we are well fed—and we more than likely aren't as strong.
A young child becomes very thirsty very often and seems tired all the time. A visit to the pediatrician determines she has type 1 diabetes. The onset of type 1 diabetes may seem sudden, and it can be, but the disease may actually have been triggered by common childhood viruses years earlier.
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.
With warm weather comes bugs, and with bugs come bites, and with bites come itches. From ticks and spiders to mosquitoes and bees, insect bites come in sundry shapes and sizes, but they all commonly pull an itchy, red reaction out of our bodies.
When a stuffy nose hits, it feels like breathing clearly and easily may never come again. Allergies, colds, and even changes in weather can leave our sinuses blocked, with medicine seeming like the only option. But don't break out the medication just yet — relieving the pressure of a stuffy nose, a stuffy head, and stuffy ears can be as easy as touching a pressure point.
Montezuma's revenge, the runs, the trots, or just diarrhea — everyone gets it sooner or later. What exactly is diarrhea good for, if anything?
It's always the snack you're most looking forward to that ends up being moldy when you open the fridge to grab it. Always. That slice of leftover pizza or chunk of cheese you've been thinking about all day? We've all been there. What separates us is how we choose to deal with it. Personally, I toss anything that has even the slightest hint of mold, but not everyone errs on the side of caution. Some people don't mind the risk and just cut off the green or fuzzy parts and eat the rest.
You probably don't give much thought to buying yogurt in the store. You have your favorite brand, or maybe you like trying new varieties each week; either way, you just grab it and go.
The evidence is mounting and is becoming indisputable: Gut bacteria play a role in strokes and heart attacks. The link may seem a little far-fetched, but cardiovascular disease may have less to do with what we eat and more to do with what chemicals gut bacteria make from the food we eat.
Bed bugs are brown and creepy. Could you spot one in your hotel room? A new study reveals most people are freaked out by bed bugs, but only about 35% could identify one.
With a predicated increase in the number of Lyme disease cases in the coming spring season, new research endorses the use of bait boxes to control ticks on the rodents that serve as their hosts.
With summer just ahead, you, or your children, may be looking forward to some pool time or the water park. When planning water-based fun this year, keep a heads-up for microbes.
How do I get rid of these zits?! Whether its pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads, the name is the same, and the name is acne.
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.
Like humans, cats can suffer infections caused by ticks, and too often, the disease is fatal. Learn about tickborne diseases that affect cats and what you can do to protect Fluffy from an untimely demise.
News: Rare Raccoon Parasite Causing Blindness & Severe Brain Damage Could Be More Widespread Than We Knew
So cute, so furry, and so chock full of parasites. While raccoons are fun to watch, they are neither friendly nor clean — and they can make you sick in more ways than one.
Step aside, ginger ale; ginger beer is here, and it's delicious. Ginger beer is made by fermenting a combination of ginger simple syrup, yeast, and water, which gives it its robust flavor and sparkling quality. It's extremely simple to make, but you do have to wait a bit for the final product. After a few days, though, your ginger beer will be sparkling and ready to drink as is, or in your favorite cocktail.
Deadly rat lungworm parasites have found their way into Florida. The parasitic worm relies on snails and rats to complete its life cycle, but don't let this nematode's name fool you. This worm can cause meningitis and death in humans who inadvertently consume snails, frogs, or crustaceans harboring the infective parasite.
There is a reason the Amanita phalloides mushroom is called the "Death Cap." It can kill you. Mushrooms are a type of fungi, an organism that produces thread-like mycelia that often produce spores. Spores allow the fungi to reproduce. Molds, lichens, and yeast are all fungi, but the most visible fungi are mushrooms. Some fungi are delicious, but others can cause disease or, and still others, like Penicillium, can cure it.
Despite legends to the contrary, it appears that the saliva of a Komodo dragon is not teeming with pathogenic bacteria that kills their prey. Its reputation to survive while colonized with lots of horrible disease-causing bacteria, true or untrue, has made it the subject of research in pursuit of natural antimicrobial agents and led scientists to some remarkable findings.
By looking for the mechanism that allows influenza A to invade lung cells, scientists also discovered a treatment that might block the virus from taking hold there.
Soy sauce is a sushi essential for most Americans and we don't often consider its exact origins whilst chowing down on that tuna roll.
Tardigrades are some of the toughest but least well-known creatures on our planet. These tiny animals, also called moss piglets or water bears, are definitely of this earth, but some can boast that they've also traveled to space.
News: Bacteria Turned into Factories, Supplying Critical Enzymes to Make Cancer Drugs Cheaper & Save Endangered Yew Trees
Cytochrome P450 (P450s) are proteins found in nearly all living organisms, which play roles that range from producing essential compounds and hormones to metabolizing drugs and toxins. We use some of the compounds synthesized by P450 in plants as medical treatments, but the slow growth and limited supply of these plants have put the drugs' availability in jeopardy and jacked up prices.
Yogurt is more than an excellent source of protein, calcium, and gut-healthy probiotic bacteria. A protein isolated from probiotic lactobacillus bacteria in yogurt is capable of inhibiting drug-resistant bacteria.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) drive over eight million people to seek medical attention every year. Almost all — as many as 90% — of those infections are caused by Escherichia coli. Copper can kill bacteria, but E. coli has found a way to capture the copper, preventing its antibacterial action. Now, researchers have found that, in a cruel irony, the bacteria use the copper it grabs as a nutrient to feed its growth.
Foodborne infections often occur through the contamination of equipment, food-prep tools, and unsanitary surfaces. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us that breast pump parts are part of the food-delivery chain — and they can become contaminated too.
For younger children, a day at the playground is not complete without some sandbox time. Long a favorite of children and parents, sandboxes could also be sheltering dangerous pathogens.
The ability of one microbe to adapt is giving it a whole new career as a sexually transmitted disease. Usually content with the back of the throat and nose of those who carry it, the dangerous pathogen Neisseria meningitidis has adapted to cause an illness that looks a lot like gonorrhea.
Scientists know that bacteria create their own energy, get nutrients to run their cellular processes, and multiply. But, bacteria haven't been shown to respond to external mechanical stimulation or signals in a way that's similar to how our bodies respond to touch, until now.
We know that healthcare-related facilities can be fertile ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but recent research suggests your produce aisle might be too.
Think of the coolest, most unique way to create art that you can. Got it? Now think about creating that art out of living things.
As summer mosquito season approaches, researchers are warning people with previous exposure to West Nile virus to take extra precautions against Zika. A new study found that animals with antibodies to West Nile in their blood have more dangerous infections with Zika than they would normally.
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.
News: Melting Ice Sheets Are Releasing Toxins in Our Water — Bacteria Could Take Some of That Out of Play
Windborne microbes shifting in the snows of the great ice sheet of Greenland may be able to neutralize some of the industrial contaminants oozing out of the melting ice.