While our thoughts may focus on the moments in which soldiers have gone to battle to face a known enemy, we tend to forget another kind of foe facing the troops. This one isn't human, however, it's microbial. Indeed, infectious diseases have claimed millions of lives and at times left those who fight in dire straits.
Much like any viral infection, the invasion leads to a shutdown of normal processes as the virus uses up all the nutrients and resources to make more copies. Yet the mechanism of this takeover has been for the most part a mystery. That may change as a group of Israeli researchers have provided a glimpse at how influenza takes over the cell.
Cancer is the number one killer in this country. In women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of this potentially deadly disease. Researchers across the country and around the world are working tirelessly not only to find a cure but also to find the cause. When it comes to how exactly breast cancer is triggered, the answer is elusive.
When you walk into a hospital or healthcare facility, you can't help but notice how the environment has changed over the years. In the last decade, the industry responsible for our health has taken great strides to improve hygiene. Hand sanitizer stations are everywhere, certain rooms are marked with a variety of notices, and signs regarding handwashing are in every public bathroom. This is all part of infection prevention and control, or IPC.
Last week, an Israeli team of researchers revealed how a bacterial species can become a "zombie" and then spread it to others causing an apocalypse. Making this observation even more interesting was what they used to trigger the outbreak. It wasn't a living organism. Instead, it was a chemical: silver.
From parks to backyards, we can expect to see a range of different critters all expecting to find an easy source of food and possibly a home for mating and reproduction. Many of us will appease their needs by offering an assortment of foods ranging from seeds to fruits and vegetables. But that act may be doing more harm than good.
Based on the analysis, the length of time MRSA lingered in a home was between two and eight years. In the process, the bacteria simply transferred within the confines of the home. The presence of MRSA in the community, such as the home or public places, continues to be a concern for public health officials.
A closer inspection of the bacterial species revealed only few pathogenic species. Of those, most were unable to survive over long periods of time. There was little to no risk for infection. As to the majority of bacteria found, they were common, and harmless, fecal and skin bacteria. Even high frequency use of a toilet could not develop pathogens in high enough levels to cause infection.
For most people, mucus is considered to be a bad thing. It's commonly associated with respiratory infections as well as more chronic conditions such as cystic fibrosis, ulcerative colitis, and even cancer. But, this thick composite is an integral part of our anatomy, providing both lubrication and protection to internal cells exposed to the environment.
Studies to unveil the marvels of our daily hibernation -- and the deleterious effects of deprivation -- will continue and many more discoveries will be made. In the meantime, as the cold and flu season continues to spread in Canada, we should take heed from the research suggesting slumber is critical to health.
The extent of the infection of the public mindset inevitably rises towards the apex of a full-blown panic. At this point, the reaction is given a name as if it has become its own threat. In this case, the word was an almost too perfect mix of the reaction and the cause: Fearbola. But as seen in the last week, once the apex has been reached, there is no other direction to go than down back towards calm.
Whatever the reasons for this epidemic, there are a few signs of hope. Like the common cold and flu, infection is entirely preventable by washing the hands with soap and water as well as regularly disinfecting surfaces. Should an infection occur, there is still only a small chance it could get worse;
Most of us have experienced at one time or another that rumble in the gastrointestinal jungle. But there is a darker side to these maladies manifesting at the microbial level. Though we may not feel these consequences in the short term, research has shown there may be more difficult times down the road.