Drug-resistent yeast, synthetic synapses on the nano scale, and memristor research.

For the last decade or so, bacteria that are immune to the effects of antibiotics have been a persistent and growing threat in medicine. Ultimately, the problem goes back to the antibiotic not being administered long enough to kill off the entire colony. The few survivors that managed to make it through the increasing toxicity of their environment because they either had a gene which rendered them immune (and the toxins released when the other bacteria died weren't enough to poison them) or assembled one and survived long enough to breed and pass the gene along to other bacteria. This …

Read more...

Drug resistant tuberculosis hits the United States.

One might wonder if medical science is starting to feel the fear, as Hunter S. Thompson once put it. Disease has long been an adversary of human life; everything from the common cold to exotic diseases that could have given H.P. Lovecraft a rough night's sleep have been worthy opponents. In recent years, however, the no-holds-barred battle royale has turned into a game of four-handed chess due to the appearance of strains of common diseases which have developed immunities to commonly used antibiotics. In a nutshell, if you are instructed by your physician to take all of your prescribed …

Read more...

Genetic drift always keeps life interesting.

H1N1, the disease that's kept supplies of vaccine low, doctors' offices and emergency rooms packed, and way too many people feeling like crap this season has thrown the medical community a curveball in recent weeks. Beginning early last spring Tamiflu-resistant strains of the virus started appearing around the country, most notably in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington state. The antiviral compound Tamiflu is one of those administered to the sickest of patients, and this means that physicians will have to figure out another drug or combination of drugs because their best treatment thus far is likely to become less effective as …

Read more...