Accurate and timely diagnosis of the tropic disease visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is one of the pillars for reducing VL deaths. Currently available serological tests for diagnosing VL vary widely in their performance and may, as a whole, be inadequate for VL diagnosis, researchers report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Infected by a parasitic fungus, carpenter ants lose free will and die after clamping their mandibles (jaws) onto a twig or leaf vein. Scientists have investigated how the fungus takes control of the ant's jaw muscles and forces the insect's death grip. They discovered that it forces the muscle to contract so powerfully that it wrecks the minute muscle filaments that slide past each other, clamping the ant in place.
London's house sparrows (Passer domesticus) have plummeted by 71% since 1995, with new research suggesting avian malaria could be to blame.
People the world over have a good sense that we do not want flies landing on our food. Research has justified that disgust, showing that flies associated with humans and their livestock spread a diversity of pathogens. Researchers of the Robert Koch Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have now shown that such fly associations also exist in highly mobile non-human primate groups as they move kilometers every day through the rainforest.
Researchers find that substances synthesized from plant species endemic to the biodiversity hotspot can kill the parasites that cause these neglected diseases.
A simple finger-prick blood test could help prevent unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics for people with the lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study by researchers from Cardiff University, University of Oxford and King's College London.
The humble house mouse has dramatically shaped parasitic Toxoplasma gondii populations in West Africa and around the world, according to research in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. As different strains affect their hosts differently, the research, led by Lokman Galal and Aurelien Mercier of INSERM and the University of Limoges, provides insights into which populations are infecting humans and animals and suggests mechanisms for their intercontinental spread.
A new study describes the way mosquito immune systems fight malaria parasites using various waves of resistance. The study could lay the groundwork for future research to combat the transmission of malaria, which sickens millions of people across the globe every year.
CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes can kill host cells infected with various microorganisms and single individual cancer cells through direct cell-to-cell contact, but their ability to destroy a target of large mass remains unexplored. A study in The American Journal of Pathology provided novel evidence on the capability of the immune system to eliminate large parasite-filled cysts associated with chronic Toxoplasma gondii infection by utilizing the aggressive invader activity of cytotoxic T cells. They may also prove effective for attacking solid cancers.
Research by scientists into why some bacteria have different shapes has found that a curved shape can make it easier to find food. Computer simulations were used to compare the swimming of differently shaped bacteria. Results showed that a curved shape can be beneficial for efficient swimming and for finding food through the use of chemical trails (known as chemotaxis) - but at the expense of higher cell construction costs.