May 8, 2011

Test to Help Speed-Up Distinguishing Between MRSA and MSSA

Health experts will now be able to save time when trying to determine whether Staphylococcus aureus infections in patients are methicillin resistant (MRSA) or methicillin susceptible (MSSA), as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday that it has cleared a test that will allow a speed-up in the process.

There are various types of Staphylococci bacteria, some of which are easily treated with antibiotics and some that are resistant to this treatment, such as MRSA.

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Prostate cancer biopsies linked to risk of serious infection

The specter of prostate cancer is alarming enough – and it just got even more alarming. Some doctors are reporting that men who get biopsies for prostate cancer may be putting themselves at risk for infection by drug-resistant bacteria.
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New contraceptive in the pipeline

It's still at least a decade off, but Professor John Aitken, says the gel could be applied to a small, pliable sponge and inserted in the vagina up to 48 hours before sexual intercourse.
As soon as semen makes contact with the gel, the sperm are paralysed and any STI-causing organisms are killed.
At present, there are not any "local compounds" available that can be applied to prevent STIs, just the "classic" spermicide, which was a "crude inhibitor of fertility", Prof Aitken said.
"Women who use a lot of this stuff, especially commercial sex workers, are significantly more likely to get HIV than women who don't use it ... it just destroys everything around it," he said.

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Gut microbes: What's your type?

When European researchers set out to use gene sequencing to catalog the hundreds of species of microbes in the human gut, they expected to find variation between individuals and perhaps even between geographic groups -- but they assumed that there would be a large number of different possible combinations of bacteria.

Instead, said bioinformatics expert Peer Bork of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, gut bacteria seem to cluster into just three distinct and stable combinations that show up across populations from a variety of backgrounds -- a discovery that could have implications for medicine in the future. 

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