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Links 1 through 10 of 80 by Charlie Schick tagged health

Huh. Jawbone bought @massivehealth back in Feb. Very interesting. #qs #health #devices #mobile http://t.co/Weq8ogH9xR

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"A life-threatening germ that causes diarrhea and spreads easily from doctors’ offices to hospitals and nursing homes has climbed to historic highs nationally, federal disease trackers warned Tuesday, as they pointed to efforts in Massachusetts that have helped slow the rate of infections here."

More on this nasty bug. It's now getting headlines.

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"Supplements containing a combination of Lactobacillus salivarius and fructo-oligosaccharide for eight weeks were associated with significant reductions in measures of the severity of eczema, compared with a control group receiving only prebiotics, according to findings published in the British Journal of Dermatology."

In addition to the usual yogurt bugs, I am starting to see salivarius popping up more frequently. It's from the mouth, by the way.

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"Health claims for probiotics are evaluated by the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies of the European Food Safety Authority. Despite a substantial amount of basic and clinical research on the beneficial effects of probiotics, all of the evaluated claim applications thus far have received a negative opinion. With the restrictions on the use of clinical endpoints, validated biomarkers for gut health and immune health in relation to reduction in disease risk are needed. Clear-cut criteria for design as well as evaluation of future studies are needed. An open dialogue between basic and clinical scientists, regulatory authorities, food and nutrition industry, and consumers could bridge the gap between science and marketing of probiotics."

Not sure what to make of this other than the comment that 'clear-cut criteria' will be needed to actually turn claims into science.

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"Horizontal gene transfer — the exchange of genetic material between different species or lineages — is an important factor in bacterial evolution. A study of human microbiome data comprising more than 2,000 full bacterial genomes shows that this environment is a hotbed of horizontal gene transfer: pairs of bacteria isolated from the human body are 25-fold more likely to share transferred DNA than pairs from other environments. Thus microbial ecology — rather than phylogeny or geography — is the most important driver of the patterns of horizontal gene exchange. Further analysis revealed 42 unique antibiotic-resistance genes that had been transferred between human and agricultural isolates, and 43 transfers across national borders."

This paper sets me spinning due to it being about microbes, microbes on humans, human microbial ecology, and horizontal gene transfer. The other thing that is intriguing about this paper is the mention of unique antibiotic-resistance genes.

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"In their constant battles with competitors and the host immune system, (opportunistic) microbial pathogens have developed sophisticated cell–cell communication systems termed quorum sensing (QS) that allow exchange of critical information. In return, competing microbes, as well as the host immune system, have developed means to intercept and decode these messages. The information obtained by this molecular espionage is used for their benefit, either to win the war (microbe against microbe), or to prepare for an upcoming battle (microbe against immune system)."

Not surprising, but quite fascinating.

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"During the upcoming holidays, many events will involve traditional foods, such as turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas. That microorganisms can spoil any of these foods, and thereby the entire party, is well known, but perhaps less obvious is the fact that microbiological processes are involved in the production of nearly all types of food. ... As made clear by the recent Position statement on food security and safety ... microbiologists can have a pivotal role in this important field. The position statement outlines nine research themes through which microbiologists can participate in food safety and security, including the investigation of microorganisms that cause food poisoning or kill crops and livestock, as well as research into the ways in which microorganisms can improve food production."

Interesting overview of the impact of microorganisms in food production and safety.

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"What’s the news: If bacteria had blood, the predatory microbe Micavibrio aeruginosavorus would essentially be a vampire: it subsists by hunting down other bugs, attaching to them, and sucking their life out. For the first time, researchers have sequenced the genome of this strange microorganism, which was first identified decades ago in sewage water. The sequence will help better understand the unique bacterium, which has potential to be used as a “living antibiotic” due to its ability to attack drug-resistant biofilms and its apparent fondness for dining on pathogens."

Absolutely awesome. And if there's one bug that does this, there must be many many more.

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Gut feelings today http://t.co/vUSjfg8m http://t.co/SfzxVhd6 http://t.co/KXhGk3ca #probiotics #prebiotics #microbes #health

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