Poo transplants can eliminate two superbugs from the gut: mice study

Eliza Berlage, The Conversation

Two of the most common antibiotic-resistant bacteria circulating in hospitals can be wiped out by transplanting faeces from a healthy animal into the gut of an infected one, a study on mice has found.

The study, published today in the journal PLOS Pathogens examined two antibiotic resistant bugs: vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) and multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumonia.

A research team led by Eric Pamer, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York found that the bacteria can share the same location in the gut, but that “transplantation of a diverse faecal microbiota eliminates both VRE and K. pneumoniae from the gut.”

Mark Morrison, Chair of Microbial Biology and Metagenomics at the University of Queensland said the study revealed some new insights into how these bacteria colonise the gastrointestinal tract.

“Using a dose of other gut microbes through faecal transplantation appears to effectively displace these antibiotic resistant microbes, which warrants further investigation,” said Professor Morrison, who was not involved in the study.

Previous studies have found that the gut’s protective mucus layer that normally guards against microbes can thin out when gut microbiota are not well balanced.

Morrison said more work was needed before the findings could be applied to humans infected with these bacteria.

“In addition to the potential of faecal transplants, we need to ensure the prudent and effective use of existing antibiotics, and better monitor and detect these bugs. We must find new solutions to inhibit existing superbugs and develop strategies that minimise, or even eliminate, the potential for development of new superbugs,” he said.

The Conversation

Eliza Berlage is Editor at The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.



Article republished in full with the generous permission of The Conversation.

Photo Credit: Rick Eh/flickr

Humans Were Causing Species Extinction 10,000 Years Ago

In an incredible bit of news, Scientists at the universities of Exeter and Cambridge are claiming that humans were causing large mammal species to go extinct 10,000 years ago, when the wolly mammoth, sabretooth tiger, and the giant armadillo roamed the earth.

Lewis Bartlett, the lead researcher from Exeter said:

[C]utting-edge statistical analysis had helped solve the mystery almost beyond dispute, concluding that man was the dominant force in wiping out the creatures, although climate change could also have played a lesser role.

How did the statistics support this conclusion? On the next page, we go into detail…


Firefly Sex Interrupted by Artificial Light Pollution

This one lands a little bit in the realm of “wait, how much was the research grant they got for that?” And actually this very interesting Science News article we found didn’t really detail why we should be so concerned about female fireflies getting turned off by LED lighting (other than the obvious reasons), but we’ll assume there is a good reason. If  you know what it is, feel free to add it to the comments!

And it’s always interesting to ponder how human inventions impact the rest of the living world, so here’s a bit of what Science News had to say about firefly sex disruption:

The glow of LED lights might throw off the flirtations of fireflies, new tests suggest.

Females of the big dipper species (Photinus pyralis) don’t flash back at twinkling males quite as often as expected when forced to court under artificial light, says ecologist Ariel Firebaugh of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. And these less flashy females didn’t end up mating.

Check out the full Science News report here: Light pollution may disrupt firefly sex

Photo Credit: terry priest/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Incredible New Technology Scans Your Brain and Blocks Notifications

Ever had a hard time concentrating because your devices keep interrupting you with notifications? According to a very cool article over on Popular Science, researchers from Tufts University are working on an app for that!

Yes, seriously:

In the time between when you start and finish reading this article, you might check various social media notifications, gaze at your texts, maybe read another few paragraphs of that article on potatoes you meant to read last night. You might think you’re multitasking when you do that, but your brain is actually just switching quickly between tasks, and that means that you’re probably doing all of them pretty poorly. Now computer scientists from Tufts University are developing a system that detects your brain waves and, if your mind is busy, the software can quiet the frenetic beeping of your devices so you can actually concentrate, according to the New Scientist.

The project is called “Phylter” and it uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIS), a measurement of how the blood flows in the brain. It works by attaching a monitor to the user’s forehead with a band, which shoots beams of light into the brain…

The article goes on to describe how Phylter uses machine learning algorithms to figure out which electronic interruptions are actually important to you and lets those come through while blocking others.  Check out the full article and links to the research over on the Popular Science website.

Source: Brain-Scanning Software Blocks Your Notifications While You’re Busy on PopSci.com

Photo Credit: CDC/ Amanda Mills acquired from Public Health Image Library via freestockphotos.biz

4 Things That You Can Build With Awesome New Super-Sized Lego-like Bricks

Ok, now this is such a cool idea, it’s amazing to us here at Science Rocks My World that it hasn’t been thought of before!  We found this great article over on GeekWire.com that shows some excellent examples of useful things you can actually build with these new Lego-like blocks that are made by a startup named EverBlock out of New York.

According to the GeekWire  article:

EverBlock‘s modular building blocks allow you to create almost anything you could with Legos. Blocks can easily be put together to create furniture, walls, art installations and more.
The blocks come in four styles, 12 colors and don’t require any other parts or tools to assemble objects. You can purchase them separately or in “packs,” with prices starting around $5 per piece.

Ok, so what is the coolest thing you can think of that you could build with these giant-sized Legos?  Well, check the next page for the answer to that!