Welcome to the new edition of Animalcules!
First, a few housekeeping notes. If you note the schedule, I’ve not yet extended it beyond June 1st. I think that, at least for the summer months, Animalcules will be a once-monthly carnival, rather than every other week. If things pick up after that, I’ll change it back to the current set-up, but that will be dependent not only on entries but also on additional hosts. So, if you’d like to host in July, August, or September, drop me a line (aetiology AT gmail DOT com) an I’ll get you on the schedule.
Okay…on to the entries!
We have a few new contributors to Animalcules (at least, I think they’re all new! Apologies if I’m just forgetting a previous post–I’m flaky like that).
Gloria at The Pharm Voice sends a link to a post describing the use of acyclovir to reduce nerve pain in shingles sufferers. Shingles is, of course, caused when the Varicella virus (“chickenpox”, a herpes virus) re-activates in the body, and can cause intense pain.
Jennifer, a graduate student over at Science Matters, has an excellent overview of endogenous retroviruses, including a section on co-evolution of the virus and host. As she notes, ” if you’re new to this subject, be prepared to be amazed!”
From Thomasburg Walks, Pamela sends along a rare post on fungi after noting “flowers” on area cedar trees–actually, a fungus called cedar-apple rust. Learn more about the life cycle and check out Pamela’s pictures at the link. (In another fungus story, World Science discusses how fungi may be threatening cave paintings.)
Now from the veterans:
coturnix continues his series on circadian clocks in bacteria over at Circadiana. This time, he moves on from Synechococcus to E. coli, discussing not only their “clocks” but also the history and politics of why the question of closks in this “workhorse of bacteriology” remains somewhat open. On another of his blogs, Science and Politics, he has a discussion of another bacterium, focusing on the ecology of Borrelia burgdorferi and how it relates to human Lyme disease cases.
Several posts discussing antibiotics this week. From Ruth at The Biotech Weblog comes a note that our current screening methods for antibiotic efficacy may be missing effective antibiotics. A recent trial of the drug fosfomycin found that, while it wasn’t effective in vitro, it worked in patients to treat infections caused by Listeria monocytogenes.
Joseph of Immunoblogging has been MIA for awhile. He mentions what’s up at his old blog, and sends along a piece on antibiotic resistance and why we need more antibiotics now from his new digs at Limed for the Truth. (Worth reading for the reference to bacteria as “little genomic hussies” alone!)
In other antibiotic resistance news, Ewen of Complex Medium blogs about the competing problems of bacterial contamination of food and resistance to antibiotics, and which method of raising animals is better: conventional or organic farming? A pretty long post for someone who recently broke his hand! (And for anyone really interested in this topic, PZ’s mentioned UM Morris’s own Tymna Wickoff, who does research in just that area).
The guy who actually works on the topic of antibiotic resistance, Mike, has been discussing some of the basics this week, such as science education. In a new post, “just what is science?”, he discusses where hypotheses come from (especially in microbiology), and wonders if we have enough funding to even generate them?
Paul, whose post Mike linked to in order to get the ball rolling on his discussion above, didn’t offer up a submission this week, but since archaea are a recent topic here on Aetiology, I’ll point you toward an older (but still relevant) post of his on the same topic (but a different paper than the one I described) here.
Oh, and from here, I’ll point you to my review of a new book, Viruses vs. Superbugs. Some viral and bacterial goodness all wrapped up together.
Finally, the American Society for Microbiology meeting is next week in Orlando. This is the first year in awhile that I won’t be going, so for those of you heading to Orlando, have a good time!