Asthma affects over 334 million people worldwide and is triggered by inhalation of environmental stimuli. The authors of this study characterized the effect of exposure to common spoilage yeast, Pichia kidriavzevii on alveolar epithelial cells. A direct correlation between infection duration and asthmatic status of these cells was found, indicating the potential for this yeast to be an environmental stimulus of asthma and warranting further study.
Unsatisfactory hand hygiene leads to the spread of bacterial infections from person to person. To address this problem, the authors developed and tested the PeelTowel, an antibacterial and water-absorbing towel made of a combination of fruit peels and recycled paper waste.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which affects tens of millions of individuals worldwide, can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). While there is currently no cure for HIV, the development of small molecule antiretroviral agents has greatly improved the prognosis of infected individuals, especially in developed countries. Here, the authors employ homology modeling and molecular docking towards the identification of novel rilpivirine analogs that retain high binding affinity to clinically relevant rilpivirine-resistant mutations of the HIV reverse transcriptase enzyme.
Since school bathrooms are widely suspected to be unsanitary, we wanted to compare the total amount of bacteria with the amount of bacteria that had ampicillin or streptomycin resistance across different school bathrooms in the Boston area. We hypothesized that because people interact with the faucet, outdoor handle, and indoor handle of the bathroom, based on whether or not they have washed their hands, there would be differences in the quantity of the bacteria presented on these surfaces. Therefore, we predicted certain surfaces of the bathroom would be less sanitary than others.
Bacterial infection is resurging as one of the most dangerous challenges facing the medical establishment. Americans spend about 55 to 70 billion dollars per year on antibiotics, yet these antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective as illness-causing bacteria gain resistance to the prescribed drugs. We tested if 11 commonly-used spices could inhibit growth of the gram-negative bacteria, E. coli, the main takeaway from these experiments is that certain spices and herbs have antibacterial effects that inhibit growth of E.coli , and these spices could show similarly promising activity towards other bacteria.
The number of bacterial infections in humans is rising, and a major contributor is foodborne illnesses, which affect a large portion of the population and result in many hospitalizations and deaths. Common household cleaners are an effective strategy to combat foodborne illness, but they are often costly and contain harmful chemicals. Thus, the authors sought to test the antimicrobial effectiveness of spices (clove, nutmeg, astragalus, cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic) on microbes cultured from refrigerator handles and cutting boards. Results from this study demonstrate long-lasting, antimicrobial effects of multiple spices that support their use as alternatives to common household cleaners.
In the United States, there are currently 17.8 million affected by atopic dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema. It is characterized by itching and skin inflammation. AD patients are at higher risk for infections, depression, cancer, and suicide. Genetics, environment, and stress are some of the causes of the disease. With the rise of personalized medicine and the acceptance of gene-editing technologies, AD-related variations need to be identified for treatment. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have associated the Filaggrin (FLG) gene with AD but have not identified specific problematic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). This research aimed to refine known SNPs of FLG for gene editing technologies to establish a causal link between specific SNPs and the diseases and to target the polymorphisms. The research utilized R and its Bioconductor packages to refine data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI's) Variation Viewer. The algorithm filtered the dataset by coding regions and conserved domains. The algorithm also removed synonymous variations and treated non-synonymous, frameshift, and nonsense separately. The non-synonymous variations were refined and ordered by the BLOSUM62 substitution matrix. Overall, the analysis removed 96.65% of data, which was redundant or not the focus of the research and ordered the remaining relevant data by impact. The code for the project can also be repurposed as a tool for other diseases. The research can help solve GWAS's imprecise identification challenge. This research is the first step in providing the refined databases required for gene-editing treatment.
Antibiotics are oftentimes used to treat mastitis (infection of the mammary gland) in dairy cows. Regulations require that milk from these cows be discarded until the infection has cleared and antibiotic residues are no longer detectable in the cow's milk. These regulations are in place to protect consumers and to help prevent the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In this study, the authors test milk samples from 10 milk suppliers in the Greensboro, NC to see if they contain detectable levels of antibiotic residues.
The authors investigated an important parasite-host relationship between the raccoon roundworm and the raccoon to understand how parasite prevalence is affected by location. They found that the parasite infection was more prevalent in raccoons found closer to human dwellings, though the number of roundworm eggs was not significantly different. These results are important human health, since roundworm infection is lethal to humans and can be transmitted from raccoons to humans - the authors suggest that more research into this parasite and awareness of its prevalence is needed to prevent disease.
Microbial agents reposnsible for respiratory infections are often carried in spittle, which means they can be easily transmitted. Here, the authors investigate how likely certain activities are to spread microbes carried in spittle. They also investigate whether eating certain types of food might reduce the spread of spittle-borne bacteria too.