Clostridium difficile is found in the environment but is most common in hospitals. It can cause a serious hospital-acquired infection when antibiotics are used as they upset the balance of the normal gut flora, allowingC. difficile to grow and produce toxins. It is carried in the guts of 3% of healthy humans but carriage rates in hospital patients tend to be much higher and elderly people in hospitals, being treated with antibiotics are most at risk of developing infection.
The bacteria produce spores when they encounter unfavourable conditions. Transmission of infection is through the ingestion of these spores which can survive on surfaces and floors for years and are resistant to many disinfectants and antiseptics, including alcohol hand gel.
Symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, bowel inflammation and possible perforation, which can be fatal. Only two antibiotics are regularly used to treatC. difficile infection: metronidazole and vancomycin, but relapse is a common problem following treatment. In 2004, a hypervirulent strain (C. difficile 027/NAP1/BI) was reported, which appears to make toxins more rapidly and at higher levels than other strains, as well as being resistant to many antibiotics, including fluoroquinolones.
Several studies in the Journal of Medical Microbiology look at the spread ofC. difficile in different countries, including Austria and Korea. Research shows that the use of antibiotic increased the risk of outbreaks of the hypervirulent strain ofC. difficile in the Netherlands. The issue also contains evidence to suggest thatC. difficile could be spread between animals and humans - researchers have isolated the bacterium from food animals in Slovenia.
Scientists investigated the effects of antibiotics, antigens and other agents on the virulence and pathogenicity of C. difficile. Toxins were also studied; research reveals some important information about the synthesis, processing and effects of different toxins. A new gene sequence has been discovered in the hypervirulentC. difficile 027 strain, which could be related to its increased virulence by affecting toxin binding.
The potential for a 'designer' probiotic forC. difficile is discussed. Professor Ian Poxton, former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Microbiology said "this is an important approach that is hopefully much better than previously reported studies using commercially available yoghurt-like drinks, and certainly more palatable than 'faecal transplants'."
Cnidarians remotely control bacteria
21.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Immune cells may heal bleeding brain after strokes
21.09.2017 | NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine