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Microbes can act as canaries in the coalmine for ocean pollutants such as sewage. Ne0Freedom/Wikimedia Commons

Microbes: the tiny sentinels that can help us diagnose sick oceans

There are more bacteria in the ocean than stars in the known universe. New genetic techniques are letting us use microbes as early warning systems for oceans in trouble from pollution and other stresses.
Early necrotising fasciitis is easily missed because the symptoms – fever, pain, swelling and tenderness at the affected site – may be non-specific or confused with a mild, superficial infection. Zurijeta/Shutterstock

Explainer: what causes necrotising fasciitis, the flesh-eating bug?

Port Melbourne VFL player Sam O'Sullivan is reportedly recovering in hospital after being infected with the flesh-eating disease "necrotising myositis".
The bacteria living in your gut have more to do with your immune system than you might think. Knorre/Shutterstock

What do the bacteria living in your gut have to do with your immune system?

Your intestines are home to many different kinds of bacteria (and some non-bacterial organisms as well). Together they’re called the “gut microbiome.” They come from the food you eat – and whatever else…
We’re in a protracted war against superbugs because we’ve overused existing antibiotics: a key weapon against disease. Nomadic Lass/Flickr

We need new antibiotics to beat superbugs, but why are they so hard to find?

We’ve heard a lot lately about superbugs – bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics. But as the threat of superbugs continues to rise, the number of new treatments available has flatlined. This…
There is no evidence that the health benefits of milk are compromised by pasteurisation. jacqueline/Flickr

Explainer: what is raw milk and why is it harmful?

Milk is a highly nutritious food, and an important source of amino acids and minerals such as phosphorus and calcium, which contributes to bone health. Historically, milk was prone to contamination by…
Consuming bath milk is particularly risky because it may contain the deadly STEC E.Coli bug. Olga Prokopova/Shutterstock

Bath milk crisis must prompt better cosmetic safety regulation

The death this week of a Victorian toddler after allegedly drinking “bath milk” is a reminder of how dangerous some natural cosmetics can be. The product – Mountain View Organic Dairy’s Organic Bath Milk…
Better antimicrobial stewardship could curb infection rates. Global Panorama/Flickr

Overuse of antibiotics tied to increase in painful gut infection

Going to the hospital can save your life, but it is not without risks. Patients can be exposed to dangerous infections while receiving treatment. In the United States, health care-associated infections…
A parasite wants to live with you, and to do that it needs to convince your body’s immune system to ignore it. Sebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock

Bugs as treatment: coming to a clinic near you…

When you’re sick, you want the most effective treatment to help get you back on your feet. But what if that involved bugs? Maggots and leeches have been used for decades and are still supplied to hospitals…

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