Dried-out tardigrades could point way to drug preservation, resilient crops

Scientists are trying to work out how tardigrades survive extreme environments such as heat and drought. Image credit - Frank Fox, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

by Gareth Willmer New insights into how tardigrades survive extremely dry environments could reveal new ways of preserving drugs, boosting crops’ tolerance to drought or fighting disease, but so far there is no simple answer to how these tiny creatures endure desiccation. Despite being nicknamed moss piglets, tardigrades do an awful lot more than just … Read more

Can we reverse antibiotic resistance?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have had their antibiotic resistance reversed in Prof. Almqvist's lab. Image credit - Pixnio/ Janice Haney Carr, Jeff Hageman, M.H.S, USCDCP, licensed under CC0

by Vittoria D’Alessio In the battle against antibiotic resistance, some scientists are trying a new approach: re-sensitising bacteria to drugs they no longer respond to so that existing antibiotics can hit their target once more. ‘This is a sustainable and straightforward approach to the problem of antibiotic resistance,’ said Fredrik Almqvist, professor of organic chemistry … Read more

New findings about how a human egg matures may help prevent infertility and birth defects

DNA or chromosome errors are found in 20% of women in their early 20s, say researchers.

by Vittoria d’Alessio Decoding how the human egg matures and how this process can go wrong could lead to ways of preventing genetic errors leading to infertility, birth defects or pregnancy loss. Physiological changes known to trigger miscarriages and to increase the likelihood of carrying a child with a genetic condition start in a woman’s … Read more

Non-antibiotic cures for cows could speed up treatments for people

Mastitis, a bacterial infection that leads to inflammation of a cow's mammary glands and udders, has long been a scourge of the dairy industry. Image credit - Tomasz Jagielski, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

by Gareth Willmer As the global antibiotic resistance crisis grows, chemical-based aerosol sprays and electrical signals to wake up the immune system are being developed to treat cow infections. These non-antibiotic therapies for livestock could also help to limit the spread of antibiotic resistance through the human food chain. The animal sector, which uses drugs … Read more

Is 5G bad for your health? It’s complicated, say researchers

The radiation emitted by 5G will largely be the same as previous networks, except that it will be exposing us to something called milimetre waves for the first time. Image credit - Flickr/ Kārlis Dambrāns, licensed under CC BY 2.0

by Tom Cassauwers The fifth generation of mobile internet is fast approaching. Countries such as Switzerland, the UK and Germany are already rolling out next generation networks. 5G is projected to be 100 times faster than 4G and would allow new technologies such as connected cars and augmented reality to flourish. But despite the big … Read more

Bacteria passed from mother to baby may play a role in later health

It is believed that the composition of gut bacteria in newborn babies is a strong indicator of future health. Image credit - Pixabay/ blankita_ua, image under Pixabay license

by Vittoria d’Alessio The bacteria and viruses a baby inherit from its mother play a crucial role in determining the child’s health in later life, according to research that could lead to new interventions to tackle conditions like obesity, allergies and colic. If your mother was obese, there is a good chance you will be … Read more