Disease

Frogs Get Their Shots: Vaccination May Curb Lethal Fungus

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 9, 2014   View Article

Around the world, the rapid spread of a pathogenic fungus has sent frogs and other amphibians hopping toward extinction. Hope for their survival may come in the form of vaccination programs similar to those that protect humans from contagious diseases, according to a new study.

No, this doesn’t mean that newborn tadpoles will be paying a visit to the veterinarian for a round of shots, or that conservationists with mini-syringes will be mucking through rain forests in search of frogs. But the reality isn’t all that different.

Hundreds of amphibians already have been removed from habitats contaminated with the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which causes chytridiomycosis — the fungal disease implicated in the global amphibian decline. One route is to vaccinate these captive-bred amphibians, explained Jason Rohr, an ecologist at the University of South Florida and the study’s senior author.

Stinging needle ants overtaking invasive Argentines in U.S.

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 11, 2013   View Article

A stinging ant from Asia is spreading with a vengeance across the United States and may prove more devastating to people and the environment than the well-established aggressive Argentine ant currently is, according to new research.

“While Argentine ants cause a lot of damage, Asian needle ants are a really big health threat to humans,” Eleanor Spicer Rice, an entomologist at North Carolina State University, told NBC News.

Software may help predict cholera outbreaks

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 4, 2013   View Article

New software under development aims to stop history from repeating itself by using old news and related data to warn of pending trouble in time to take corrective action.

The system could, for example, help international aid agencies assess the likelihood of a cholera outbreak in time to treat a population with a limited-duration cholera vaccine, explained Kira Radinsky, a researcher at Technion-Israel.

Cold snaps linked to plague, civil unrest

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 14, 2013   View Article

Prolonged cold snaps over the past 1,000 years in Eastern Europe coincided with plague outbreaks, civil unrest and declines in human settlement, according to a new study that also finds the region is warmer now than it has been for the past millennium.

“It is not accurate to say that whenever it is cold you have problems, that is not the case, but there is a tendency,” study leader Ulf Buntgen, a paleoclimatologist at the Swiss Federal Research Institute in Zurich, told NBC News.

Robots: The gateway to ‘mind-blowing sex’?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 25, 2012   View Article

Robotic sex won’t just blow your mind, it may curb many of society’s ills, says a new paper that envisions Amsterdam’s red light district staffed by androids that perform a full menu of sexual services.

Lap dances and intercourse with robot prostitutes could help combat human trafficking and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases while teaching us to be better lovers, according to the arguments laid out in the May issue of the journal Futures.

‘Humanized mouse’ among student science prizes

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 9, 2011   View Article

A “humanized mouse” is among four innovations honored this year with the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, an annual invention contest that comes with a $30,000 check.

The mouse has been outfitted with a liver that was engineered to be human-like, a step that could improve the safety and efficiency of the drug discovery process.

“Lost” Amazon Complex Found; Shapes Seen by Satellite

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 4, 2010   View Article

Hundreds of circles, squares, and other geometric shapes once hidden by forest hint at a previously unknown ancient society that flourished in the Amazon, a new study says.

Satellite images of the upper Amazon Basin taken since 1999 have revealed more than 200 geometric earthworks spanning a distance greater than 155 miles (250 kilometers).

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach