bacteria

Hospital-Acquired Infections
4:56 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Early-Stage Wash U Vaccine Could Prevent The Most Common Hospital Infection

In hospital patients, a plastic tube called a catheter can be inserted into the bladder through the urethra, to empty the bladder of urine.
Credit A.D.A.M via the National Institutes of Health

Researchers at Washington University have developed a new vaccine to prevent urinary tract infections caused by catheters. This type of infection is the most common of all infections that patients can get during a hospital stay.

The vaccine is still in its very early stages and has only been tested on mice.

Read more
Disease Outbreak
5:04 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Wash Your Hands, People!

Thorough hand washing with soap and water is the best way to prevent the spread of shigellosis.
Credit U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Saint Louis County is seeing an unusual spike in a bacterial disease that affects children in daycare centers.

The county has received 71 reports of shigellosis since the start of 2014 ― that’s compared to only a couple of cases in the same time period last year.

Dr. Faisal Khan, the St. Louis County Department of Health's director of communicable disease control, said the disease has obvious symptoms.

Read more
Gut Microbes and Malnutrition
12:02 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Study: Poor Gut Health Persists In Malnourished Children, Even After Treatment

A Bangladeshi mother holds her malnourished child.
Credit Rabiul Hasan, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research

New research out of Washington University could help explain why malnourished children suffer long-term health effects, even after medical treatment.

As young children develop, the community of bacteria and other microbes in their intestines develops with them. In healthy children, the community reaches maturity about the time a child turns two years old.

Washington University microbiologist Jeff Gordon calls those tens of trillions of intestinal microbes “an organ within an organ,” because of the key role they play in helping people digest food and absorb its nutrients.

Read more
Science
2:38 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Bird, Plane, Bacteria? Microbes Thrive In Storm Clouds

The eye of Hurricane Earl in the Atlantic Ocean, seen from a NASA research aircraft on Aug. 30, 2010. This flight through the eyewall caught Earl just as it was intensifying from a Category 2 to a Category 4 hurricane. Researchers collected air samples on this flight from about 30,000 feet over both land and sea and close to 100 different species of bacteria.
Jane Peterson NASA

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 7:36 am

Microbes are known to be able to thrive in extreme environments, from inside fiery volcanoes to down on the bottom of the ocean. Now scientists have found a surprising number of them living in storm clouds tens of thousands of feet above the Earth. And those airborne microbes could play a role in global climate.

Read more
Morning round-up
9:26 am
Mon September 3, 2012

Morning headlines: Monday, Sept. 3, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Isaac dumps rain, but Mo. drought persists

The National Weather Service says large parts of rural Missouri and Illinois had between three-to-five inches of rainfall this weekend.

In St. Louis, Oakville received three and a half inches of rain, the most in the metropolitan area.  But National Weather Service Meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said it will take much more rain to snap this summer's historic drought.

Read more
Antibiotic Resistance
4:59 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Soil may be a source of antibiotic resistance

Scanning electron micrograph of the Pseudomonas bacteria.
(Courtesy of the Research Center for Auditory and Vestibular Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, supported by National Institutes of Health NIDCD Grant no. P30DC04665)

Soil bacteria may be helping to make disease-causing bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

That’s according to a new study out of Washington University.

Lead researcher, microbiologist Gautam Dantas, says he and his colleagues found seven genes in farmland soil bacteria that are identical to genes in human pathogens – and that provide resistance to a wide range of antibiotics.

Read more
4:31 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Finally, a map of all the microbes on your body

The associate director of Washington University in St. Louis' Genome Institute, George Weinstock, was one of this project's lead researchers. He says we have about ten times more microbial cells in our body than we have human cells. He told our reporter Véronique LaCapra today: “...there’s probably a hundred times or more microbial genes in our body than there are genes in our human genome,” Weinstock said. “So the microbes, they’re not just a small little part of us, they’re really a very, very large, perhaps almost dominant part of our body.”
The human body contains about 100 trillion cells, but only maybe one in 10 of those cells is actually human. The rest are from bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. Now, scientists have unveiled the first survey the "human microbiome," which includes 10,000 species and more than 8 million genes.
Health - Microbes
12:15 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

We’re not alone: healthy humans have more microbes than cells

The bacterium Enterococcus faecalis, which lives in the human gut, is just one type of microbe that was studied as part of the Human Microbiome Project funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Researchers have completed the first comprehensive census of the human “microbiome” — the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that live in and on our bodies.

The associate director of Washington University’s Genome Institute, George Weinstock, was one of the project’s lead researchers. He says we have about ten times more microbial cells in our body than we have human cells.

Read more
Health Research
5:48 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Lab-grown gut microbes could help combat malnutrition, gastrointestinal diseases

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis were able to grow and manipulate individual collections of human intestinal microbes, like these E. coli, in the laboratory. (Wikimedia Commons/Rocky Mountain Laboratories/NIAID/NIH)

Scientists have taken another step toward understanding human nutrition.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have shown they can grow entire collections of human intestinal microbes in the laboratory.

Washington University microbiologist Dr. Jeffrey Gordon says his team then transplanted the bacterial communities into previously germ-free mice, to see how the lab-grown bacteria would respond to a human diet.

Read more