Archives for January, 2007

Tangled Bank #72

Slipped my mind that this was today, but check out what others have been blogging about in the latest edition of Tangled Bank at Ouroboros.

I suppose everyone has someone who they consider an embarrassment to their alma mater. I can probably think of a dozen just off the top of my head regarding my undergraduate institution (including a number of politicians who shall remain nameless). However, one who really sticks in my craw is the infamous Jonathan Wells of…

Readers who are regulars at Effect Measure or Deltoid will be familiar with the opinions of attorney and author Michael Fumento. Fumento considers himself an avian flu “skeptic,” and recently issued a “challenge” (the title, “My avian flu challenge to the leftist bird-brained squawkers”, might give you some clue as to its scientific value) to…

New Pediatrics Grand Rounds

You can find it over at Unintelligent Design. Had a busy weekend and am teaching and in meetings today, but I’ll have some new material up tomorrow.

The dish that changed the world

Speaking of microbiology basics, along comes an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune about the petri dish, a staple of microbiology labs everywhere: Before 1877, scientists exploring the nature and mechanics of microscopic life had a real problem. Bacteria used for study were typically cultured or grown in bottles or bowls of broth. Koch greatly…

Like most fields, microbiology is one filled with jargon. Many laymen don’t even realize the differences between a bacterium and a virus, much less the smaller differences between, for example, a pathogenic versus a commensal organism. So, while I haven’t decided yet exactly what I might write about in future posts, I thought I’d begin…

Measles deaths decrease again

Measles deaths down 60 percent in six years Though we tend to think of measles as a mere childhood disease here in the U.S.–a nuisance more than anything–this is a reminder that worldwide, it’s still a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. To counter this, a mass vaccine campaign was begun in 2001, and has…

I’ve previously mentioned a bacterial pathogen called Acinetobacter baumannii (a bit more information here), and Mike has discussed it rather frequently. A. baumannii is ordinarilly a commensal bacterium–one that may live on the skin of healthy people for many years without ever causing disease. It becomes a problem when one is immunocompromised in some manner,…

As I described previously in this post, war and disease are inextricably intertwined: War and its concomitant devastation and social upheaval leaves its victims at an increased risk of disease transmission to begin with due to poor sanitation, collapse of public health and medical facilities and support personnel, crowding in refugee camps, breaks in supply…

For the *real* Star Wars nerds…

An essential piece of trivia: what bacterium was named after a George Lucas invention? An investigator discovers a new bacterium that lives in the mitochondria in tick ova. Can you guess what Star Wars organisms they’re named after?