Tag Archives: Medicine

Assessing the global threat from Zika virus

First discovered in 1947, Zika virus (ZIKV) infection remained a little-known tropical disease until 2015, when its apparent association with a considerable increase in the incidence of microcephaly in Brazil raised alarms worldwide. There is limited information on the key … Continue reading

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Common Human Mutations That Protect against Infectious Disease

For millennia, pathogens and human hosts have engaged in a perpetual struggle for supremacy. From the earliest recorded smallpox epidemics around 1350 B.C.E to the Black Death due to Yersinia pestis in the Middle Ages and continuing to modern times … Continue reading

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Zika virus, the new kid on the block

As Europe “welcomes” Zika virus*, this short introduction by Maria Zambon is highly readable, and essential for anyone who’s been hiding under a rock for the past six months.   Zika virus, the new kid on the block. Euro Surveill. … Continue reading

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How prions kill neurons

Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders that cause memory loss, impaired coordination, and abnormal movements. The molecular culprit in prion diseases is PrPSc, an infectious isoform of a host-encoded glycoprotein (PrPC) that can propagate itself by a self-templating mechanism. Whether … Continue reading

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Can we prevent norovirus infections?

Each year, noroviruses cause over 200,000 deaths and a global economic burden of US$64 billion. A highly contagious virus that most people will contract 5 times in their lifetime, the most serious outcomes of the disease – hospitalization and death … Continue reading

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The parasite’s new clothes

Schistosomes are a type of parasitic flatworm, or fluke, and inhabit a site in the human body that is inhospitable to most other parasites – the blood. Yet instead of succumbing to our immune cells, the flukes can dwell in … Continue reading

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Adenovirus interferes with the host DNA damage response

Adenoviruses (Ad) are everywhere, and while they pose limited threat in individuals with healthy immune systems, they cause significant disease burden in immunocompromised patients. A new study describes a mechanism by which the virus interferes with the host’s ability to … Continue reading

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Good Amyloid, Bad Amyloid – What’s the Difference?

It’s quite remarkable that after so many years of studying prions we still don’t have a good understanding of their pathogenesis – how do they make normal cellular proteins turn evil? This interesting article suggests that it’s not the end … Continue reading

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Sorry, it turns out you are human after all

It’s often said that the bacteria and other microbes in our body outnumber our own cells by about ten to one. But that’s a myth that should be forgotten according to a new paper – the ratio between resident microbes … Continue reading

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