Beyond Antibiotics: Fighting Superbugs
The E. Coli found in German bean sprouts is the most recent bug to evade normal treatment methods and it won't be the last, so perhaps the time has come to look past antibiotics.
What's the Latest Development?
When E. Coli went undetected for weeks in German bean sprouts, it left many scientists scratching their heads because no commonly used method of detection would have prevented the outbreak. "The German strain belongs to a family of E. coli that clings to gut walls, but usually caused such mild disease—until now—that it is largely unstudied. It recently picked up a gene that causes bloody diarrhoea, putting it in a group known as Shiga-toxin E. coli (STEC). The hybrid has proven unprecedentedly lethal."
What's the Big Idea?
The German E. Coli breakout confirms what some scientists have been saying for years: "We need to broaden the fight against bacteria to include a better understanding of how they cause disease; the discovery of new classes of antibiotics; strategies to slow the growth of antibiotic resistance; faster diagnosis of infection and better ways to screen food." Unfortunately, drug companies have largely abandoned the search for next-generation antibiotics, says David Hooper of Harvard Medical School in Boston, because there is little profit in short-term treatments. Public-private partnerships are needed, he says.
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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