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.
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
In my last post I spoke about how vaccines work from the point of view of the person receiving the jab or pill. In that case we were talking about immunological memory but vaccines also work in another very important way from the point of view of the community and it is referred to as ‘herd immunity’. Continue reading
Thomas has started a series on vaccines and disease and I thought it was such a great idea that I would hijack it, kind of.
While Thomas talks about specific vaccines and their impact on certain diseases I thought I would cover some more general topics under the umbrella of vaccines. So let me present my own vaccine mini-series to supplement Thomas’ – Vaccines: how they are made?, how do they work?, and why we can’t rely on therapeutics alone in the fight against disease?
This week we will look at how some of the common ways vaccines are made. This has been a topic of interest to me for a while, ever since I heard someone from the (miss-information spreading, anti-vaccination supporting) Australian Vaccination Network giving a talk at a Vegan festival about the dangers of vaccines. In front of a room full of people this woman proudly proclaimed that the polio vaccine is made in monkey brains and if you let your child take the oral polio vaccine they will be eating monkey brain. I was dragged away before I could ‘politely question’ the woman by my wife, who had declared a science free weekend :).
Anyway, the point is that this woman was talking crap. There would be no logic to making the vaccine in monkey brains, how many monkey brains does she think evil scientists can get their hands on? All the monkey heads I get my hands on are used in the construction of two headed monkey slaves. I wouldn’t waste them on vaccine production.¶
Thomas and I will present our rebuttals below. Feel free to read through them, the original posts which can be found here and here. After taking in both arguments vote for the winner on our first poll. Or just skip to the poll, it’s your vote to cast as you wish 🙂 Continue reading
I thought it was about time to leave bacteria and viruses behind for a week to look at disease caused by a very different micro-organism, Malaria. In fact by looking at malaria we can cover two diseases in one week by also looking at the effect of Sickle Cell Anaemia. It’s hard to overestimate the impact malaria has had on human populations over time but some perspective can be gained by observing that the WHO decided to try eradicating it in 1955. We gave up in 1976 because it was resistant to all our attacks and still kills nearly 100,000 people every year but it’s suspected that many deaths go unrecorded.
Ahhhhh, necrotising fasciitis, the holy grail for any kid who has poked something disgusting with a stick. Commonly called ‘flesh-eating disease’ even though it’s not really affecting your ‘flesh’, nor are you be eaten, it remains one of the more truly horrifying diseases you can pick up on this planet.
Warning: Graphic picture of wound at the end of the article