Combining Antibiotics May Backfire
Taking two antibiotics at once seems like a great idea—sort of like a one-two punch for bacteria. But a new study has revealed that although a drug combo may knock bacteria out harder at first, it ultimately lets the bugs come back even stronger. Because the two-pronged antibiotic attack initially kills off most, but not all, of the bacteria, the microbes that remain are super-resistant and can thrive without competition for resources, actually speeding up bacterial evolution.
H7N9 Is an 'Unusually Dangerous Virus,' International Group of Experts Concludes
An international panel of experts has concluded that new bird flu H7N9 is "unusually dangerous" and more easily transmissible to humans than H5N1. At the time of publication, H7N9 had killed 22 and infected 108 people since it was detected in March, but the panel warned that the extent of the public health risk remains unclear.
Radioactive Microbes Nuke Tumor Cells
Aggressive cancers are particularly hard to treat because they metastasize, or spread through the body. Now, researchers have developed a potential new treatment method involving radioactive, genetically modified bacteria that target tumor cells throughout the body, but leave healthy tissue alone. The bacteria performed very well in mice, shrinking tumors and reducing cancer cells in the animals' bodies by 90%, but it has yet to be seen whether the treatment will be feasible in humans.
Strongest Evidence of Animal Culture Seen in Monkeys and Whales
A recent avalanche of research is challenging the idea that humans are the only animals that have culture. Two studies in humpback whales and vervet monkeys show how animals pass down (sometimes strange) cultural traditions and reveal how conformity to these traditions can help a species survive.