PR headline of week: “Attractive Men Have Less Nasal Bacteria”

This week’s Press Release Headline of the Week is from a press release pumped out for the American Journal of Human Biology: Beauty & Bacteria: Slim, Attractive Men Have Less Nasal Bacteria than Heavy Men (Thanks to investigator Erwin Kompanje for bringing this to our attention.) BONUS: For students with a strong mental stomach: Read […]

Bacterial Transfer by Blowing Out Birthday Cake Candles

Knowledge accretes in bursts and puffs, as in this study: “Bacterial Transfer by Blowing Out Birthday Cake Candles,” poster presented at Clemson University’s 5th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry Poster Forum April 12, 2010. Mentors: Paul Dawson and Inyee Han, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition Students: Danielle Lynn, Jenevieve Lackey, Johnson Baker, Sutton […]

Applying bacteria to solve the Burnt Pancake Problem

The Burnt Pancake Problem — a mathematical problem whose history Simon Singh recently put in context, in an article in The Guardian — can be attacked by using bacteria. This paper explains how: “Engineering bacteria to solve the Burnt Pancake Problem,” Karmella A. Haynes [pictured here], Marian L. Broderick, Adam D. Brown, Trevor L. Butner, […]

A Preliminary Public Health Look at Hospital Fist-Bumps

On the theory that sometimes little things help lessen problems caused by little things, comes this little paper: “Reducing pathogen transmission in a hospital setting. Handshake verses fist bump: a pilot study,” P.A. Ghareeb, T. Bourlai, W. Dutton, W.T. McClellan, Journal of Hospital Infection, epub September 19, 2013. (Thanks to investigator Marek Hlavac for bringing […]

Making cheese from humans’ foot, nose, armpit bacteria

“Make hay while the sun shines, but make cheese from places where it does not” is the unstated them of a project described in Christina Agapakis‘s Harvard PhD Thesis (and described more colorfully on her web site): “Descriptions of  human body odors often overlap with those of  cheese; Propionibacterium used to make Swiss cheese is a major […]

Tumbler test: a culinary medical term

The stethoscope [pictured here right] has almost become synonymous with medical practice – it is useful particularly for listening to patients’ chests and abdomens. A perhaps less well known piece of ‘medical equipment’ is the tumbler (drinking glass) [pictured here below]. Pressing a transparent tumbler against a rash and noting whether the rash fades or not […]

A man who pricked his finger & smelled putrid

Four doctors in Wales [at the hospital pictured below] rose to fame because of a man who pricked his finger and smelled putrid for five years. The doctors were hit nose-on with one of the most baffling medical mysteries on record. It all started with a chicken. The case ended happily – yet mysteriously – […]

Bacterial Builders, Inspired by Ancient Pyramids

The title of this study speaks volumes (albeit a bit cryptically): “A robotic micro-assembly process inspired by the construction of the ancient pyramids and relying on several thousand flagellated bacteria acting as micro-workers,” S. Martel and M. Mohammadi, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2009, IROS 2009. 10-15 Oct. 10-15,2009, pp. 426-7. (Thanks […]

Horror bird-film dropping from the sky?

Comes news that could lead someone to adapt Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film “The Birds” and take it in a different direction—a direction that’s both scary and scatalogical. Maryn McKenna, the science journalist widely known as Scary Disease Girl, tweeted this alert: Seagulls: threat or menace? They’re pooping resistant bacteria on your favorite beach. She gives […]