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As much as public health officials have tried to slow the progress of antibiotic resistance, the pace has not slowed.
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American researchers have recently revealed one of the ingredients in milk may be necessary for the growth of Clostridium difficile bacteria.
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A need exists for rapid change in the social mindset of the next generation on antibiotics. If our youth do not appreciate the challenges facing public health officials today, they may end up living under the shadow of untreatable bacterial infections known as the post-antibiotic era.
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If we can prevent infections before they begin, we can reduce the amount of antibiotics used in medicine. In light of the wide array of uses already known - and possibly more to come - we may have a simple yet effective way to use our own natural chemistry to keep us safe.
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At its core, antibiotic resistance is merely a coping mechanism. Bacteria are faced with a rather dire form of stress and need to find a way to cope. They can take the biological route of genetic mutation to render the drug useless. They also can gain a plasmid from the environment or another bacterium, to gain resistance mechanisms.
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Though infections can affect almost any area of the body, on average, about half of the troubles are gastrointestinal, usually in the form of traveller's diarrhea. While this condition usually is not life-threatening, the symptoms certainly can ruin a vacation. Thankfully, most of these troubles are caused by bacteria and can be treated with a simple antibiotic prescription. Within a few days, the pain and those runs fade away allowing individuals to continue enjoying their trip.
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In Canada, the December marks the arrival of several infectious respiratory viruses, such as the dreaded influenza virus. Depending on what part of the country you call home, other names such as rhinovirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, coronavirus, and human metapneumovirus are circulating amongst the population.
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By adding hundreds of species to the colon, the bacterium simply cannot compete and ends up losing its grip on the gut. Eventually, the infection clears and the individual returns to normal.
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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.
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Lice are an unfortunate part of human existence. These small ectoparasites find their way into the hair and then make a home where they can eat, grow, and reproduce. They are common worldwide and as any parent knows, symptoms are frustrating and treatment is arduous and at times ineffective.
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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.
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The spread of infectious diseases at large events, also known as mass gatherings has become a major concern as a result of numerous outbreaks. The issue has become so great mathematical models have been developed to predict an outbreak depending on the event.
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When the results came back, the bacterium was found in 60 per cent of the prostate cancer cases, as opposed to 26 per cent of the controls. Although the team had hoped to see 100 per cent presence in tumours and zero in the controls, the results were still significant.
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To the healthy individual, the term "flu season" may sound abstract, perhaps irrelevant. But the flu, or influenza, kills about 3,500 Canadians every year and causes about 12,200 of us to be hospitalized due to the illness itself or related complications.
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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.
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The doctor said my mother was "colonized" by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The bacteria didn't actually make her sick, but the doctor said the germs might spread to other patients. It seemed to be a lot of fuss over nothing. Did the hospital overreact?
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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.
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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.
One of the best places to look for alternatives is nature. Antibiotics were first discovered in natural species -- fungi to be exact -- and a number of options for the future have been found. Now it seems there is another possible option worth exploring: turmeric.
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.
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One of the primary goals in understanding how the bacterium used its toxin to cause disease focused on the nature of bacterial growth in the body. After all, not everyone who was exposed ended up with illness. The first major discoveries revealed the toxin was not produced all the time.
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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.
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December is now in full swing as are all the activities related to the holiday season. From shopping, to parties, to those getaways to escape the cold, Canadians are moving and mingling. Sadly, this time also marks an upwards shift in the number of respiratory infections.
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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.
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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.
The recent news of yet another American case of Ebola in Dallas is without a doubt concerning. To stop Ebola, whether in a Dallas hospital or the affected countries in West Africa, what is needed is not only compliance, but also commitment.
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Based on studies dating back almost 40 years pathogens can become airborne in almost every environment. Once there, they can spread to unsuspecting victims leaving them vulnerable to illness.
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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;
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The complaints of a cold, the dread of diarrhea, and vexation of vomiting are all part of a child's growing up process. But one of the keys to a happy school year is to have these unfortunate events happen as infrequently as possible. For that, kids have to be hygienic and stay that way.
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.