A 'vampire' fungus has killed millions of bats since 2006. Here's why it matters.

White-nose syndrome is nearly as lethal to bats as the Black Plague was for humans.

Photo by Igam Ogam on Unsplash
  • White-nose syndrome has killed at least 6.7 million bats, though this estimate was made in 2012, and the current figure is almost certainly much higher.
  • Bats serve a crucial role in our ecosystem and economy, and white-nose syndrome is already pushing many species to the brink of extinction.
  • Researchers and scientists are working hard to develop novel methods to cure white-nose syndrome; a few methods have shown promise, but none have yet been deployed in the field.
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Sparkling water: Healthy alternative or millennial fad?

As the popularity of sparkling waters grows, many wonder if it represents a fresh turning point or a crisp new snake oil.

  • Sparkling waters are en vogue as a healthy, refreshing alternative to soft drinks and alcohol.
  • Some claim sparkling water has injurious effects, such as reducing bone mineral density, but research shows such claims are overstated or outright myths.
  • Not all sparkling waters are created equal, though. While some are just as hydrating as plain water, others can be unhealthy if not consumed in moderation.
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Is wasp venom the next healthcare revolution?

MIT researchers have discovered how to turn wasp venom into an antibiotic.

(Photo by Dr. Peter J Bryant/University of California, Irvine)
  • Researchers are looking at the venom of wasps, bees, and arachnids to develop life-saving medical therapies.
  • Researchers at MIT created synthetic variants of a peptide found in wasp venom that proved an effective antibiotic.
  • With the "post-antibiotic era" looming, synthetic peptides could provide a way to maintain global health initiatives.
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Scientists create 10-minute test that can detect cancer anywhere in the body

The quick test would be a breakthrough in cancer treatment.

Adding healthy DNA to the pink water full of gold particles turns it blue, but when cancerous DNA is added, the water remains pink (University of Queensland).
  • Australian researchers find 3D nanostructures that are unique to cancer cells.
  • These markers can be identified using technology that may be available on cell phones.
  • Human clinical trials are next for the team.
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How the global health community is fighting the rise of superbugs

Here are the leading solutions to antibiotic resistance, the next major global health threat.

  • Antimicrobial drugs are losing their effectiveness because pathogens change and find ways to resist the effects of antibiotics, leading to the development of superbugs.
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) causes 700,000 deaths annually across the globe, a number that is projected to skyrocket to 10 million by the year 2050 if new interventions are not developed.
  • Antibiotics are crucial in treating minor infections and curing serious infectious diseases, enabling minor and complex surgeries, as well as managing illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.
  • Pfizer is committed to help lead the fight against AMR. It sponsors ATLAS, one of the largest AMR surveillance programs in the world, which sources global bacterial susceptibility data and makes it freely available to the public.
  • Vaccines play a beneficial role in the reduction of AMR, as they prevent infectious diseases and reduce antibiotic use.
  • Other tools in the fight are good stewardship and global policy leadership. Through advocacy and training around the globe, Pfizer helps ensure patients receive the correct antibiotic only if needed and for the right duration.
  • Individuals can also take action against AMR superbugs by practicing good stewardship and basic sanitation. Jill Inverso shares simple things the everyday person can do to fight antibiotic resistance.