Deworming treatments and microbial infections: good for you, not so good for everyone else

On the long list of things that give me the heebie jeebies, parasitic worms are right up there with snake orgies (a uniquely Canadian experience) and house centipedes. Many, but not all, of these worms are intestinal parasites. They latch onto the wall of the intestine and slowly siphon away nutrients, leaving their unassuming hosts weak and malnourished. Left to their own devices, parasitic worms, or helminths, can survive for years inside a host. This is quite astonishing given that our bodies employ a complex immune system to hunt down and destroy invading pathogens. Continue reading

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Rethinking cholera treatment: is rice a better option?

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Poor sanitation conditions and lack of infrastructure have contributed to the re-emergence of cholera globally. (Source)

What if the cold medication you’re taking is actually helping to make your cold last longer and your symptoms worse? How could that happen? What effect would it have on your ability to infect other people? Those are the types of questions that researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland tried to answer in a study about cholera. The team led by Drs. Melanie Blokesch and Andrea Rinaldo studied whether the currently used standard treatment for cholera could be improved upon by substitution of a key ingredient. Continue reading