Vacuum Cleaning and Pregnancy in Houses

A rare study about vacuum-cleaning, pregnancy, and microbes, in houses: “Potential association of vacuum cleaning frequency with an altered gut microbiota in pregnant women and their 2-year-old children,” Ekaterina Avershina, Anuradha Ravi, Ola Storrø, Torbjørn Øien, Roar Johnsen and Knut Rudi, Microbiome, vol. 3, no. 65, December 21, 2015. (Thanks to Rom Gavitz for bringing […]

Is it Possible to Sanitize Athletes’ Shoes?

A newly published study asks: Is is possible to sanitize athletes’ shoes? The study does not ask whether that matters. The study is: “Is it Possible to Sanitize Athletes’ Shoes?” Gabriele Messina, Sandra Burgassi, Carmela Russo, Emma Ceriale, Cecilia Quercioli and Cosetta Meniconi, Journal of Athletic Training, epub November 2014. The authors are at various institutions […]

Doorknobs (not just elevator buttons) going viral. Oh, my!

Almost immediately after the fearful news about elevator buttons, and with the world worried about the Ebola virus, the American Society for Microbiology has issued a press release decrying the dangers of doorknobs. As I wrote here recently, three doctors in Toronto wrote a little study about the bacteria they found on hospital elevator buttons. That study might foster a renewed yearning […]

Neviadomsky discovers every germ at once!

The New York Medical Journal‘s “Pith of Current Literature” section contained summaries of the most important findings in other journals. Most importantly, it summarized foreign-language articles – since nobody was translating entire issues of Riforma Medica or Zentralblatt für Gynäkologie, this was unique information. In the October 1, 1904 issue we learned about the findings of […]

Cool way to begin a science story (jeans)

The Surprising Science blog gave a mighty cool beginning to this report: The Myth of the Frozen Jeans Levi Strauss advises freezing your jeans to kill the germs that make them smelly, thereby saving the water you’d use in washing them. Don’t bother, says Stephen Craig Cary, a University of Delaware expert on frozen microbes, who wrote to us from Antarctica….

Facial hair and accused anthrax scientists

A new PBS Frontline documentary looks at the morass of accusations — about anthrax terrorism — aimed at two US government scientists, Bruce Ivins and Steven Hatfill, who worked at Fort Dietrick, Maryland. The case against either man has turned out to be less than clear. In all the media discussion of this case, almost […]

Bacteria and you (a healthy rant)

Mike the Mad Biologist writes, in his blog: During the last week, I’ve come across a couple sensationalist article about E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus being found on common surfaces. Here’s one article about shopping carts and E. coli… And here’s an article about Staphylococcus aureus (those S. aureus resistant to methicillin–and often other antibiotics–are […]

Parade of bearded scientists

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) took lots of good photos of the Improbable Research show, a featured event of the AAAS’s recent annual meeting, held in Washington, DC. The photographer captured, among many other things, the historic moment when a parade of bearded scientists went up to shake hands with Ig […]