Food safety regulations increasingly pressure growers to remove hedgerows, ponds and other natural habitats from farms to keep out pathogen-carrying wildlife and livestock. Yet, this could come at the cost of biodiversity. New research published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology encourages the presence of dung beetles and soil bacteria at farms as they naturally suppress E. coli and other harmful pathogens before spreading to humans.
A study into the effectiveness of disinfecting birds' nests, carried out by the University of Kent, has led to a breakthrough in the understanding of biosecuity measures for the endangered echo parakeet in Mauritius. The research team found that annual disinfection of parakeet nest sites prior to the breeding season, intended to reduce the spread of infectious disease in endangered parrot species, didn't have the impact conservationists expected leading to recommendation for a different approach.
How does the immune system respond to fungi on our skin? Researchers at the University of Zurich have demonstrated that the same immune cells that protect us against skin fungi also encourage the inflammatory symptoms of atopic dermatitis. An antibody therapy could alleviate this chronic inflammatory skin disease.
A two-week treatment course for adult patients with chronic Chagas disease showed, when compared to placebo, similar efficacy and significantly fewer side effects than the standard treatment duration of eight weeks, according to the results of a clinical trial in Bolivia led by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).
An experimental drug, called DSM265, cured seven volunteers of a Plasmodium falciparum infection, a malaria parasite that is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The goal of this research is to find a cure for malaria with a single dose, and ultimately, eradicate the parasite.
In diffuse cutaneous leishmanisis (DCL), a rare form of leishmaniasis, parasites grow uncontrolled in skin lesions across the body. For the first time, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have now profiled how the human immune system responds to a DCL infection and, in turn, how Leishmania amazonensis adapts to the human host.
Using host-specific parasites isolated on individual pigeon 'islands,' the scientists showed that descendants of a single population of feather lice adapted rapidly in response to preening. They found that preening drives rapid and divergent camouflage in feather lice transferred to different colored rock pigeons. Over four years and 60 generations, the lice evolved heritable color differences that spanned the full color range of the lice genus found on 300 bird species worldwide.
Resistance to antimalarial drugs is thought to result mainly from changes in the parasite's genome. However, P. falciparum can also develop resistance to some antimalarial compounds by epigenetic changes, according to a new study led by ISGlobal, an institution supported by 'la Caixa,' and the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp. This is of concern because resistance acquired at the epigenetic level can arise quickly, even during the course of a single infection.
New research shows that long-lived parents produce better quality offspring. Researchers studied a gene associated with ageing in roundworms. They found that by reducing this gene's expression, they could not only more than double the worm's lifespan - but also improve the fitness of its offspring. The findings support an emerging new theory that we have genes that age us, and that shutting down these genes in later life could one day help us stay younger and healthier for longer.
New research identifies a rapidly evolving new subspecies of the cryptosporidium parasite -- a leading cause of diarrheal disease in children worldwide. The study sheds new light on how this parasite has evolved the ability to spread more easily between people. Researchers sequenced and compared whole genomes from over 20 different cryptosporidium cases to find out more about the parasite and how it infects people. Their work will help public health interventions aimed at preventing the spread of the disease.