Germs winning the war
What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger - that can certainly be said of bacteria. Researchers from the University of Exeter and Kiel University treated E coli with different combinations of antibiotics in laboratory experiments. They found that the bacteria's rate of evolution of antibiotic resistance speeds up when potent treatments are given. The researchers say too potent a treatment eliminates the non-resistant cells, creating a lack of competition that allows resistant bacteria to multiply quickly. Those cells go on to create copies of resistance genes, which helps them rapidly reduce drug effectiveness. The study was published last week in PLOS Biology.
Bad air days prove deadly
Long term exposure to air pollution may be linked to heart attacks and strokes by speeding up atherosclerosis, according to a study by US researchers in PLOS Medicine. The research team followed 5,362 people aged between 45 and 84 years old from six US metropolitan areas as part of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air). Higher concentrations of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) - a problem in Hong Kong - were linked to a faster thickening of the inner two layers of the common carotid artery, an important blood vessel that provides blood to the head, neck, and brain.