February 4 of this year was a momentous day for numismatists as the Canadian Mint officially stopped distribution of the one-cent coin, the penny. While the reaction from Canadians was mixed, there was a general consensus that the loss was still a sad end to a 105-year era. The moment was also a sombre day for those striving to improve public health.
The holiday party is a tradition of the season. Thanks to germs, however, some of those memories may be less than pleasant. Infections are best spread in a crowd and the presence of a single person can lead to spread to some or all of the people in attendance. There are however, a few ways to minimize the chances for acquiring an infection and most are fairly easy to follow.
Researchers took a selection of 14 foodborne pathogens and compared them based on the number of illness caused, the number of hospitalizations, the cost of illness and what's known as the cost to a person's quality of life. One by one, the pathogens demonstrated their abilities and slowly, several started to emerge from the rest of the pack, leaving a top five.
During the second mission to the moon in 1969, Apollo 12, the crew brought back a camera that had been sent some two and a half years earlier. When they returned, the camera underwent extensive testing including microbiological analysis. Much to their surprise, they found a colony of earthly bacteria; apparently the microbes had survived the inhospitable lunar environment.
The mouth is full of germs and all one needs to do is lick a petri dish -- or convince someone else to do so -- to see the amount and variety of microbes that lurk inside the oral cavity. By kissing another person, especially passionately, the transfer of germs is not just likely, it's inevitable...
The zenith of popularity of any given human activity is the creation of a reality television series based on the practice. This week, tattooing took centre stage as the show Ink Master began its second season. I reached out to tattoo artist Lizzie Renaud, who owns the Toronto-based Speakeasy Tattoo and asked her perspective on the concept of safety in the Tattoo Shop.
The eye is a complex organ and has developed a unique means to fight off germs. The eye has its own separate immune function to tackle a potential infection, which is called immune privilege. Research has since learned exactly how these peptides went about killing their enemies although the results are better placed in a Clive Barker novel -- AMPs manifest the well-known concept of death by a million paper cuts...
The process of convincing a 18- to 36-month-old child to give up the freedom of a diaper and learn to use the strangely shaped porcelain bathroom furniture is not for the faint of heart. While the problems may seem humourous to many, including parents who have already gone through the nightmare, there are potentially germy consequences that need to be considered.
Monti Carlo, who appeared on Season 3 of the hit show MasterChef. I wanted to find out more about Monti's passion for health and food in the hopes of talking about how to have a germ-free lunch. What I learned was that her relationship with germs had been life-long and that food has led her to a wonderfully balanced lifestyle.
Hollywood is not the only place with an increasing their number of sequels. While returning health villains, like West Nile Virus and "Swine Flu 2" continue to represent only a minority of worldwide infections, the future is looking rather glum. There are certain to be more germs that will re-emerge and send us all into a frenzy worthy of a blockbuster's opening day weekend.
The Games represent a unique opportunity for the world to share its germs and for public health officials to find a way to stem the tide of infection. The fear of germs has recently been raised to a level not seen since the days of SARS or the pandemic flu. It's now a matter of time to see whether the fears will be realized or fade away as the athletic achievements take over.