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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Montezuma's revenge, the runs, the trots, or just diarrhea — everyone gets it sooner or later. What exactly is diarrhea good for, if anything?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
HIV infections persist despite treatment that successfully decreases viral blood levels to the point where doctors can't detect the virus. But that doesn't mean the person is cured. The virus hides in the body, not replicating, just waiting for a chance to jump out of the shadows and reemerge.
How do I get rid of these zits?! Whether its pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads, the name is the same, and the name is acne.
Earlier this year, NASA reported on findings that might point to water, and microbial life, on moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn. Named Europa and Enceladus, those moons contain large oceans under their icy surfaces, which many speculate could hold microbial life.
Phuket, the island in Thailand typically associated with paradise and most recently, illegally-run hotels, now has a different problem—a stray cat with the claws of death.
News: Hospital Floors May Look Clean, but They're Teeming with Deadly Superbugs—Including MRSA, VRE & C. Diff
Hospitals are places we go to get well, and we don't expect to get sick or sicker there. But a study from researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Cleveland VA Medical Center in Ohio found that hospital floors in patient rooms were frequently contaminated with healthcare-associated pathogens—often dangerous multi-drug resistant bacteria.
News: New Study Shows that Superbug E. Coli Gets Stronger & More Dangerous When Doctors Use the Wrong Antibiotics
Although their effectiveness is waning, antibiotics remain a front-line defense against many infections. However, new science reveals using the wrong antibiotic for an infection could makes things much worse.
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?
Streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria produce toxins that can cause toxic shock syndrome.
Move over whole wheat — white bread may be back in style after a new study shows that it may be your gut microbes that decide what kind of bread is best for you.
The bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae is a bad actor known for being antibiotic-resistant and causing a variety of serious infections in hospitals, including pneumonia, surgical site wounds, and meningitis. K. pneumoniae is something you do not want to encounter if you have a compromised immune system.
Having a Clostridium difficile infection means stomach pains, diarrhea, fever, and loss of appetite, and if the symptoms weren't bad enough, the disease often reoccurs. Now, new research has found an increased risk of recurrence in people who take medication to treat their stomach acid, gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease, or stomach discomfort.
Specialized cells in the lining of the gut may provide a key to preventing an infectious brain disease caused by misfolded proteins.
What do Leo Tolstoy (writer), Beethoven (composer), Paul Gaugin (artist), and Adolf Hitler (politician) have in common? They are all considered to have suffered from the sexually transmitted disease syphilis.
Plants all around us capture sunlight every day and convert it to energy, making them a model of solar energy production. And while the energy they make may serve the needs of a plant, the process isn't efficient enough to generate power on a larger scale. So, scientists from the University of California found a way to treat bacteria with chemicals that turned them into photosynthesis machines, capable of generating products we can convert into food, fuels, and plastics.
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.
As the fish farming industry struggles to become more environmentally friendly, it just gained another problem. Fish food loaded with antibiotic-resistant genes.
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.
If you have encountered bed bugs lately, you are not alone. While the pesticides used to fight these pests are losing effectiveness, a fungus shows promise in knocking the bugs out of beds everywhere.
News: Microbes Are Everywhere—But Those on Your Cell Phone Can Be Dangerous, Especially During Cold & Flu Season
It won't come as a surprise to hear that your cell phone, tablet, and laptop are loaded with bacteria and other organic material. While most of these bacteria are harmless, there are good reasons to reduce the capability of your mobile devices to infect you—or other people.
Staphylococcus aureus is a widespread bacteria — about a third of us have it on our body right now — usually in our nose or on our skin. And it probably isn't causing an infection. But, about 1% of people who have Staphylococcus aureus present have a type that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin.
We know that healthcare-related facilities can be fertile ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but recent research suggests your produce aisle might be too.