All Posts Tagged With: "microbiology"
“RePOOPulate” could help cure C. difficile
Researchers have created a synthetic “poop” aimed at treating recurrent infections of C. difficile, a toxin-producing bacterium that causes severe and often debilitating diarrhea.
The fake stool, dubbed “RePOOPulate,” is intended to replace donated human stool used in fecal transplants, a treatment that’s been successful in overcoming intractable cases of C. difficile infection.
Clostridium difficile can take hold when a person is exposed to the highly contagious bacteria while taking antibiotics for another infection. Because those drugs destroy healthy, protective bacteria in the gut, C. diff is allowed to overpopulate the large intestine.
C. diff is typically treated with a different antibiotic, but can rebound once treatment stops, leading to chronic rounds of re-infection and retreatment. The disease can lead to severe and life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
I’m finally done all my exams. There are more than four months of summer vacation between me and next semester. It seems strange that all of a sudden, the material that used to seem so critically important- the stuff that I’ve been cramming into my head for the past 12 weeks- doesn’t matter anymore.
Since the first week of January, my day-to-day existence has revolved around my textbooks. And now, after weeks of procrastination, followed by a couple days of frantic “I-can’t-believe-I-fell-nine-chapters-behind-since-the-midterm” studying, it’s all over.
The day before my microbiology exam, with three more chapters to read and several weeks of lectures to memorize, I would have preferred trying to circumcise a T-Rex with a plastic spoon instead of writing that exam. The very next day, those three chapters are suddenly irrelevant and I’m selling my textbook on AbeBooks.
Sure, some of the courses I’m taking next semester will build on what I learned in anatomy and physiology. But words like “photophosphorylation” and “polymorphonuclear leukocyte” can be mentally purged forever, joining the ranks of all my other repressed memories.
Like that time in grade nine when I gave a girl a Valentine’s Day card, and then she ceased to acknowledge my existence.
It’s completely free. And it shows up in your email every day.
If I had to choose between a stack of Microbiology readings and a novel that I started during Christmas vacation, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t find myself reading about terrestrial and aquatic microbial habitats. So I don’t let myself make the choice. Between January and April, any books outside of my five textbooks (and lab manuals) are banned.
Two weeks into the new semester, I still haven’t touched any non school-related books. Instead, I’ve started reading my spam before killing it off. It doesn’t exactly compare to reading a good book, but it sure is a lot more lucrative. In the past few days I’ve already won hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
My spam is even warning me about problems with my computer. And offering helpful solutions.
“Your computer are virus detected. Download antivirus for protect your computer free!”
It’s disappointing when I turn on my laptop and I don’t have any new spam. Just a bunch of emails that I don’t bother to read anymore. Sorry Academica’s Top Ten, but you’ve never offered me any health advice. Like, “Eat pill once a day and BREAK THROUGH WALL!!!”
I’m even getting investment offers and financial advice from complete strangers.
“Hello good sir. My name is Arthur Fowling and I am searching for an investment partner in my lucrative new business venture…”
By the way Arthur, the only people who say “Good sir” are characters from “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Sherlocke Holmes.” It’s about 200 years out of date.
“Greetings from the Gmail team. We are in the process of deleting inactive accounts due to bandwidth limitations. If you do not want your account to be discontinued, please fill in the form below.”
3) PIN number
4) Credit card information
5) A photo of yourself, so we can include your picture in our annually published book, “People who actually sent us their credit card information and PIN number.”
…until next semester.
I still have two exams before Christmas vacation. I’ve got six chapters of my microbiology textbook to read before Friday, and I’m trying to not even think about history. But ever since last Thursday, life has been worth living again.
Organic chemistry is finished. Gone. Forever.
Until next semester. When I have Organic Chemistry Part 2.
Making the complicated science accessible to millions
Every once in a while my microbiology textbook shares a vaguely interesting fact that (almost) makes it worth reading. Like the fact that certain species of bacteria can be found 4,700 feet underground.
Sometimes my history textbook can be interesting. A Minoan palace that dates back to 1500 BCE featured indoor plumbing.
But there are absolutely no redeeming qualities to my Organic Chemistry textbook. Here are some of the organic molecules mentioned in the textbook:
Those are real names. Seriously.
Another problem: some of the names are way too similar. Certain types of molecules are called “alkanes.” Some are called “alkenes.” Others are called “alkynes.” Then there are ethers and esters. Amines and amides.
Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier if organic molecules were named the same way hurricanes are? As in “Chemical Bob” or “Chemical Irene”?
Of course, considering that there are tens of millions of organic molecules, we might start running out of names. Or at the very least, we might have to start using wimpy names. Like “Chemical Lawrence” or “Chemical Stuart.”
But there is an alternative. It’s a naming system that would be easy to learn and intuitive to use. Heck, it would transform Organic Chemistry. Instead of being universally hated, it would be an accessible and manageable course.
The new system: naming organic molecules after Pokemon.
It’s a tried-and-true method. For the past decade, millions of kids under the age of 12 have been able to memorize the names of thousands of Pokemon. And they can pronounce them perfectly, too. Why shouldn’t it work for Organic Chemistry?
There would be no such thing as “1,2-Dibromobenzene” or “1-Chloro-3-ethylbenzene.”Students wouldn’t have to learn names like “N-Phenylacetamide” or “1-(1,1-Dimethylethyl)-3-nitrobenzene.”
Instead, they would be memorizing “Charmander” and “Pikachu.”
Yup, easy peasy.
H1N1 virus targets young adults, universities preparing for rapid spread