Tag Archives: bacteria

Resident

Sorry, kids. No time for a big post, but here’s a poem I wrote about resident bacterial/viral flora  to tide you over.

 

Civilisation
That’s what they call it
We live
In the plains, in the valleys, in the walls
Stigmatised
As disease-causers and bloody anarchists
Innocent life
Almost unnoticed by the self-appointed Empire

Uneasy truce
Between us and this floating isle
A grain of greed
Tempts tumbling, cascading white cells
Itchy fingers
Coiled tightly around taut leashes
Maddened by M.A.D.
We embrace awkwardly amongst sleeping dogs

A crack
as klaxons echo throughout the ranks
Invaders!
Peacekeepers ready their weapons
Refugees flood
Shot and sunk for the company they keep
Pioneers lost
The finest sieve finds no justice

Meanwhile
In geological time, slow as melting glaciers
A resentful kiss
Between lovers, contains more bitterness than it seems

 

TT

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Leprosy – How the leper got its spots

Oh crap, I forgot about World Leprosy day (celebrated on January 31st or the closest Sunday). Quick! Read this old article on leprosy that I wrote for On Dit.

Leprosy is a disease wherein the slightest tug to a limb will tear it off like a well-cooked chicken. It is also highly contagious; such that simply touching a person with leprosy will infect you and will certainly and very shortly cause your arms and legs to fall off. *SLAP!* You useless child! *SLAP!* You know nothing about leprosy! Now before I lock you in the basement, I’ll straighten you out…

 

Ahhh! Is it catching? (Photo by Thomas Tu)

Leprosy is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. (Funky fact: In 1873, M. leprae was the first human-disease-causing bacterium to be identified!) Depending on the strength of immune response incited after infection, one of two types of leprosy may be experienced: tuberculoid, which tends to produce more nerve damage; or lepromatous, which manifests itself in a more skin-oriented way. Don’t be fooled, leprosy is not an insignificant disease, leprosy infected an estimated 410 000 people worldwide in 2004, 75% of whom lived in the poorer countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Continue reading

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Halitosis – Your mouth smells like your arse

Sometimes I’m going to write about rare cancers or blood diseases and sometimes I’m going to write about bad breath. That’s just the way I roll.

Halitosis literally means “condition of the breath” and has many causes and just as many home remedies. Original therapies (and by original I mean 1550 BC) like heavily herb infused wines didn’t remove the bad breath but like mints and other modern treatments they just attempted to cover the bad smell with something more pleasant.

Halitosis can be divided into two distinct problems, transient halitosis (morning breath) and chronic halitosis. While the difference between these conditions is the time frame of affliction both have the same root cause. Sulphur.

For more head to diseaseprone.fieldofscience.com

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The Wednesday Post – (8/12/10) Sad Face Edition

Hello again followers of DOTW. I bring mixed news.

Given that Thomas and I are approaching the end of our PhD’s we have decided to make a few changes to DOTW and the way it appears right now.

Don't be sad puppy!

First off, Thomas has told me that as he will be writing his thesis very soon he will reduce the time spent on the blog. Thomas can comment on this further but this is the responsible, sensible thing for him to be doing and good on him for being responsible and sensible.

I on the other hand have decided that while I write my thesis I want to try something new and forge my own path. I contacted the good people (actually it seems like just one person, Edward the magnificent) at Field of Science about starting a blog within their community and was allowed in! I will be moving to a new home at Disease Prone which will eventually be rolled properly into Field of Science. Right now it appears as a stand alone site but a few weeks from now it will sit alongside blogs like our friend Lab Rat’s and other great blogs like Skeptic Wonder and The Curious Wavefunction!

For the next few weeks I will continue to post sporadically here while Disease Prone is set up properly but even then I will continue to post here occasionally in the future and Thomas may even pop up over at my new digs with the occasional post.

So this is not goodbye as much as it is a note notifying you of my new mailing address. I will still put things on the Facebook page and still have a twitter for you to follow so you’ll definately still see me around. To make sure though you can always go and subscribe to Disease Prone to ensure you recieve every post.

Thanks again for all the support that I have received here at DOTW and I hope to see you again soon, here and here 🙂

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The bacteria in your belly Pt. 3 – Disrupting the balance

ResearchBlogging.orgIn the previous two posts we have established how the microbiome is established and then the pressures the host puts on it to maintain a balance between the required functions and the commensal bacteria providing them. In this post I want to look a little deeper at what happens if this balance is disturbed or never properly forms at all. Continue reading

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The Wednesday Post (24/11/10)

This post is a bit of a cop out. I hadn’t planned anything because I was going to re-spruik my most recent effort at the Scientific American.

This time I wrote about the role a bacteria, nematodes and insects play in glowing war wounds. You can find the post here and of course my previous post is still here. Both can still be shared using the not-so-fancy share buttons at the bottom.

Once again thanks to BoraZ (@BoraZ for twitterers) for inviting me to contribute.

Fin.

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The bacteria in your belly Pt. 2 – Adults

ResearchBlogging.org

In the last post I talked about babies eating poo how babies develop a gut flora. In this post I wanted to look at how that flora matures into adulthood.

As a baby grows it interacts with its environment and after about a year an infant’s flora will resemble their parent’s. This becomes particularly important as the baby starts to eat solid foods and no longer survives on a milk diet. Now any and all bacteria can have a shot at colonising. So what shapes the bacterial population from this point onwards? Tolerance dictates this uneasy state of play. Continue reading

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