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The downside to new antibiotics is that bacteria think of new ways to become resistant to them.    While resistant bacteria continue to increase, scientists keep searching for new sources of drugs in this week's Journal of Biological Chemistry, one potential new bactericide has been found in the tiny freshwater animal Hydra.

The protein identified by Joachim Grötzinger, Thomas Bosch and colleagues at the University of Kiel, hydramacin-1, is unusual,  and clinically valuable, as it shares virtually no similarity with any other known antibacterial proteins except for two antimicrobials found in another ancient animal, the leech.

Not this Hydra.
In our 'studies you don't need to read' category is this bit of economic insight from the February edition of Addiction;  the more alcoholic beverages cost, the less likely people are to drink. And when they do drink, they drink less.

After analyzing 112 studies spanning nearly four decades, researchers documented a concrete association between the amount of alcohol people drink and its cost. 

Yes, it was unclear before that we should make alcohol something only rich people can have, thus widening the social and cultural gap before have's and have not's even further.
HUMANS have actively changed the coats of domestic animals by cherry-picking rare genetic mutations, causing variations such as different colours, bands and spots, according to a new study. 

Although the study was carried out on pigs, the results can explain the evolution in the coat colors of all domesticated animals as they all express the same melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene, one of the genes that controls coat colour in animals. 

The study also explains for the first time why there is a stark contrast between the coat colors of wild and domestic animals and gives further insight into the process of evolution, particularly since animals were first domesticated about 10,000 years ago. 

Pain clinics and physiotherapists have been using large, complex pieces of equipment with cables to relieve back or joint pain but a company says they have developed a breakthrough in anti-pain treatments. They claim people suffering from headaches will soon be able to use this technique to treat them at home rather than depend on drugs with numerous side-effects.

The technique is called CEFALY(R) and was demonstrated for the first time at the international medical fair MEDICA in Düsseldorf last November. A polish company (Medic-Mar has made Poland the first country where Cefaly is available for patients suffering from headaches.

They say their technological breakthrough is two-fold, involving miniaturization and perfect precision.

The pharmaceutical industry is currently facing some key challenges, like an increase in drug development costs, a decrease in the number of drugs being approved and scrutiny from regulatory authorities. Patients themselves are also demanding more effective and safer drugs.

Pharmacogenomics says they can help to guide drug development and therapy by correlating gene expression with a drug's efficacy.

A researcher from the University of Leicester has identified what looks to be the oldest archaeological evidence for chemical warfare--from Roman times.  At the meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Simon James presented CSI-style arguments that about twenty Roman soldiers, found in a siege-mine at the city of Dura-Europos, Syria, met their deaths not as a result of sword or spear, but through asphyxiation.