Immunology

A fungus living in the soils of Nova Scotia may be a secret weapon in the battle against drug-resistant germs that kill tens of thousands of people every year, including one considered a serious global threat.

A team of researchers has discovered a fungus-derived molecule known as AMA is able to disarm one of the most dangerous antibiotic-resistance genes: NDM-1 or New Delhi Metallo-beta-Lactamase-1, identified by the World Health Organization as a global public health threat.  

Discovering the properties of the fungus-derived molecule is critical because it can provide a means to target and rapidly block the drug-resistant pathogens that render carbapenem antibiotics—a class of drugs similar to penicillin—ineffective.


Elites in California and Washington and New York like to claim they are showing leadership with every fad they embrace - they should be showing leadership by telling their citizens to stop promoting anti-vaccine nonsense. 

Otherwise, the US could end up like the UK, where an ongoing culture war against genetic modification, vaccines and the other science wars of progressives have results in a 20 percent chance that a child with a persistent cough have Pertussis - whooping cough - even if they have been vaccinated.  Whooping cough is a highly transmissible infection which can cause symptoms such as coughing, vomiting and whooping. However, whooping cough can lead to serious complications in unvaccinated infants. 


Some studies have suggested a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but it has remained unclear whether this association is due to cannabis directly increasing the risk of the disorder. 

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, and its use is higher amongst people with schizophrenia than in the general population. Schizophrenia affects approximately 1 in 100 people and people who use cannabis are about twice as likely to develop the disorder. The most common symptoms of schizophrenia are delusions (false beliefs) and auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). The exact cause is unknown. A combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make people more likely to develop the disorder.




Pictured is Sydney Kandell with MSU and Sparrow Hospital residents Tiffany Burns and Lee Murphy just after surgery to remove the aggressive tumor that was causing her rare form of Cushing disease. Credit: Sydney Kandell


The symptoms of Cushing disease are unmistakable to those who suffer from it – excessive weight gain, acne, distinct colored stretch marks on the abdomen, thighs and armpits, and a lump, or fat deposit, on the back of the neck. Yet the disorder often goes misdiagnosed.


While probiotics don't do much of anything except make companies rich, fecal microbiota transplantation --- the process of delivering stool bacteria from a healthy donor to a patient suffering from intestinal infection with the bacterium Clostridium difficile --- has been shown to work by restoring healthy bacteria and functioning to the recipient's gut, according to a new study.


The gluten-specific enzyme ALV003 reduces a patient's exposure to gluten and its potential harm, according to a new phase 2 study appearing in Gastroenterology. It's the first time a non-dietary intervention has been shown to potentially benefit celiac disease patients.  


By boosting a protein called oligoadenylate synthetases-like (OASL) that naturally exists in our cells, researchers may have found a way to enhance our ability to inhibit viral infections like the flu. 

OASL appears in increased quantities in people with liver cancer caused by the hepatitis C virus. 

Hepatitis C, influenza, the childhood respiratory illness RSV, and many other viruses are known as ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses, which use RNA as their genetic material when they replicate. The OASL protein enhances cells' ability to detect virus RNA, activating the immune system to sense the virus and inhibit replication.


Heart attack is the leading natural killer worldwide, with up to one in two men and one in three women past the age of 40 having heart attacks in their lifetimes. What if one shot, similar to a vaccine, could prevent that?

Writing in Circulation Research, researchers show they have developed a “genome-editing” approach for permanently reducing cholesterol levels in mice through a single injection, a development that could reduce the risk of heart attacks in humans by 40 to 90 percent.

One of the hazards of summer is picking up an itchy poison ivy rash but researchers say they have found a natural and effective way to kill it - a fungus named
olletotrichum fioriniae
that grows on the fleshy tissue surrounding the plant's seed. 

For being so annoying, poison ivy has had surprisingly little research done on it. John Jelesko, an associate professor of plant pathology at Virgina Tech, began studying the plant after experiencing a nasty poison ivy rash himself while doing some yard work. He found that most of the work was focused on urushiol, the rash-causing chemical found in the plant's oils. Urushiol is extremely potent. Only one nanogram is needed to cause a rash, and the oil can remain active on dead plants up to five years. 


A bovine TB control strategy under consideration risks spreading the disease rather than supressing it, according to researchers who predict that culling badgers which test positive for TB could increase the movement of remaining badgers, potentially infecting more cattle with the disease.