BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: infection

HIV > CRISPR-Cas 9

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:HIV#/media/File:HIV-infected_H9_T_Cell_(6813314147).jpg

HIV Infecting a Cell

CRISPR-Cas 9 is an extremely advanced gene editing tool. This tool has efficiently created ways to make precise and targeted changes to the genome of living cells. However, in a study in the journal Cell Reports, scientists from the McGill University AIDS Center in Canada discovered drawbacks in using CRISPR to treat HIV. Instead of simply removing the virus from affected cells, the process of using CRISPR can also strengthen the infection by causing it to replicate at a much faster rate.

HIV has always been a popular disease to conduct research on. Scientists are constantly attempting to come up with ways to kill HIV. Several cures to HIV have been developed such as various as antiretroviral drugs, however, these medicines stop being effective after the patient has ceased to take them. As scientists have started to utilize gene editing tools to remove HIV they have been noticing the huge drawback. They realize that while the gene alteration allows the virus to be killed off in some cases, the resulting scar tissue can lead to the infection becoming stronger! Kamel Khalili, a scientist at Temple University, pointed out that the key to eliminating HIV could lie in attacking the virus at different sites using CRISPR.

Link to Original Study

Link to Original Article 

Link to Original Photo

Animal Overdose and Its Effect on Humans

As we all know, antibiotics can be used to cure infections and kill bacteria, but the also often come with the many side effects that the infomercials so quickly warn us of. However, we often overlook aspects of antibiotics and rely on them to heal us in a variety of ways.

This then causes too much reliance on antibiotics, and in fact, humans are becoming immune to these medicines and too much use takes from their ability to have positive results.

This displays the alignment of veal that has been modified and undergone treatment to fight possiblebacteria.

This displays the alignment of veal that has been modified and undergone treatment to fight possible bacteria.

Animals have been receiving harsh treatment and experience weight gain as a result of being given antibiotics for growth promotion in order to sell more meat without disease.  However, animals experience the same resistance over time. The Environmental Working Group is concerned about this, because most of the meat sold in grocery stores is made up of a large amount of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This, too, can easily be passed on to humans by consumption, as the Food and Drug Administration states.

Due to this resistance to antibiotics and its misuse, many are concerned that the amount of antibiotics served to both humans and animals needs to be lowered, which is much easier said than done. The ultimate goal would be to continue to fight bacteria as opposed to promoting its resistance, as one would assume. However, it is interesting to know how large of an affect antibiotics have on both the human and animal reactions in their bodily systems, and how misuse can alter the bacteria as well as the reason for their need.

Article Link:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-are-the-consequences-of-antibiotic-overuse/

Additional Links:

http://www.cdc.gov/narms/animals.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/safe/overview.html

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378100.htm

Image Link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veal#mediaviewer/File:MIN_Rungis_viandes_de_boucherie_veau.jpg

 

Depression Infection?

Melancholy_2

 

Major Depression Disorder (MDD), most commonly known as “Depression”, is typically thought of as a genetic or neurological disease. However, Dr. Tuhran Canli, Associate Professor of Psychology and Radiology at Stony Brook University, suggests that MDD be recategorized as a result of a parasitic, bacterial, or viral infection. Canli’s paper, Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders, argues how possible pathways from these infections could cause MDD.

The causes of MDD are still unclear, therefore the research is delving more into the causes over the treatments. Dr. Canli suggests that by redefining MDD as an infectious disease, it will push future researchers to focus their attention on parasites, bacteria, or viruses.

Canli’s three major arguments for this change of MDD’s etiology are as follows:

1. MDD patients have a loss of energy, typically found in an illness. Also, the “inflammatory biomarkers in MDD suggest an illness-related origin”.

2. Parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections alter emotional behavior in humans.

3. The body is an ecosystem, made for microorganisms and genetics. These infections alter that ecosystem.

The redefinition of the causes of MDD could have significant help in finding the cause and eventual better treatment of the disease. Has depression been an infection all along?

 

Original article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141114124307.htm

Picture: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Melancholy_2.PNG

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