Posts Tagged ‘bacteria’

‘Good’ mosquitoes

Brazil releases ‘good’ mosquitoes to fight dengue fever

Capture  - The BBC's Julia Carneiro watched as the mosquitoes were released

Capture – The BBC’s Julia Carneiro watched as the mosquitoes were released

Brazilian researchers in Rio de Janeiro have released thousands of mosquitoes infected with bacteria that suppress dengue fever.

The hope is they will multiply, breed and become the majority of mosquitoes, thus reducing cases of the disease.

The initiative is part of a programme also taking place in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The intracellular bacteria, Wolbachia, being introduced cannot be transmitted to humans.

The programme started in 2012 says Luciano Moreira of the Brazilian research institute Fiocruz, who is leading the project in Brazil .

“Our teams performed weekly visits to the four neighbourhoods in Rio being targeted. Mosquitoes were analysed after collection in special traps.

“Transparency and proper information for the households is a priority. ”

Ten thousands mosquitoes will be released each month for four months with the first release in Tubiacanga, in the north of Rio.

‘Good’ bacteria

The bacterium Wolbachia is found in 60% of insects. It acts like a vaccine for the mosquito which carries dengue, Aedes aegypti, stopping the dengue virus multiplying in its body.

Wolbachia also has an effect on reproduction. If a contaminated male fertilises the eggs of a female without the bacteria, these eggs do not turn into larvae.

If the male and female are contaminated or if only a female has the bacteria, all future generations of mosquito will carry Wolbachia.

As a result, Aedes mosquitoes with Wolbachia become predominant without researchers having to constantly release more contaminated insects.

In Australia this happened within 10 weeks on average.

The research on Wolbachia began at the University of Monash in Australia in 2008. The researchers allowed the mosquitoes to feed on their own arms for five years because of concerns at the time Wolbachia could infect humans and domestic animals.

Three more neighbourhoods will be targeted next, and large scale studies to evaluate the effect of the strategy are planned for 2016.

Dengue re-emerged in Brazil in 1981 after an absence of more than 20 years.

Over the next 30 years, seven million cases were reported.

Brazil leads the world in the number of dengue cases, with 3.2 million cases and 800 deaths reported in the 2009-14 period.

Source: BBCNews

Make you Fink on Friday

Why you should ditch the tumble dryer and use your washing line

Times may have changed, but good old fresh air and sunlight will still do your laundry a world of good

‘Our ancestors knew a thing or two about laundry and were keen to get the best results with the least expense or labour.’ Photograph: Julie Habel/Corbis

Washing lines, strung up in back yards or criss-crossing courtyards, have become an image of a domestic past. According to the Energy Saving Trust we are all using our washing lines less and tumble dryers take a bigger share of the load. Washing lines, they argue, should not be a thing of the past but have a vital energy saving role in the future. But is the humble line still a useful tool in modern Britain?

If you take a look at the earliest images of laundry, there is not a washing line in sight. Instead clothes are spread out to dry upon meadows or draped over bushes. An Elizabethan map of London shows Moorfields in the days when it was still an area of open land on the edge of the city; little figures sit on the ground next to pegged-out clothes, the shape of shirts clearly visible. The best published advice on laundry matters, such as Henry Mascell’s Profitable Book of 1597, suggested drying your washing over lavender bushes for an additional bleaching effect.

The washing line is a child of coal fires. Medieval and Tudor laundry relied on wood ash to remove grease, after which the laundry was taken to a local river or stream and beaten to drive out the dirt. But from the 1660s onwards, wood for fires was slowly replaced by coal. Coal ash did not take the grease out of clothes as wood ash did, so people had to turn to soap, and early forms of soap only activated in hot water. The age of the washing copper heater and the washing line had begun.

Gradually more and more people did their laundry at home, far from the drying fields that had lined the rivers and streams of Britain’s towns and cities. Outdoor drying, however, remained the preferred option. Back yards were too small, and generally too dirty for a family’s wash to be laid out flat, but draped over a line, and pegged in place, sheets and shirts could still benefit from sun and fresh air.

Children sitting under a washing line hanging across a courtyard in a slum area of London in 1889. Photograph: General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Up and down the country the emergence of a washing line in the back yard on a Monday, the product of a clean change of clothes on Sunday, became a sign of housewifely competence and respectability. The poorest of the Victorian poor were unable to join in this weekly ritual. With one set of clothing in constant wear, they could only achieve clean clothes if they were washed late in the evening when the family could be naked in bed, and dried overnight to be put on, probably still damp, in the morning. The Monday washing line was a public statement to all your neighbours that, while you may not be exactly rich, nonetheless your household was holding its head high and managing to do more than just survive. The washing line could be a badge of pride, its absence a symbol of shame.

So what of today’s laundry needs?

Increasing numbers of us live in flats with little access to outdoor drying space and laundry habits have to adapt. Washing lines over the bath make for damp air and clutter, so a preference for tumble drying clothes is understandable. Even for those who do have access to outdoor space, tumble dryers offer the chance to defy the weather.

But there are still two very good practical reasons for hanging on to your washing line, in addition to the ecological argument about energy use, not to mention that unbeatable feel and scent of line-dried clothes. Sunlight bleaches beautifully, if you would like the whitest of whites then there is nothing so effective as hanging them out in the sun. But the strongest practical argument for a washing line comes from the anti-bacterial effect of sunlight: UV light kills the bacteria that may survive a cool wash, both those that might have a health impact and those that cause clothes to smell.

Our ancestors knew a thing or two about laundry and were keen to get the best results with the least expense or labour. So whether you dry it flat on the lawn, draped over the hedge or hanging from a line, don’t forget that good old fresh air and sunlight still have a lot to offer.

Source: TheGuardian

Opinion:

In these days of energy conservation it is a crime to use a drier, even in an apartment, there are solutions.

I am Laughing my Socks Off!

I have always considered that we are too hygienic, so hygienic that our systems have lost the resilience to germs.

It’s documented here on the blog.

Cow poo is good for you!

Now read this…

Alzheimer’s may be linked to better hygiene, say scientists

Reduced contact with infectious agents might stall development of key elements of immune system, researchers suggest

The researchers say hygiene is positively associated with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Photograph: Jeff Blackler/Rex Features

Improvements in hygiene could partly explain increased rates of Alzheimer’s disease seen in many developed countries, according to research into the link between infections and the condition.

The researchers studied the prevalence of the neurodegenerative disease across 192 countries and compared it with the diversity of microbes in those places.

Taking into account differences in birth rate, life expectancy and age structure in their study, the scientists found that levels of sanitation, infectious disease and urbanisation accounted for 33%, 36% and 28% respectively of the discrepancies seen in Alzheimer’s rates between countries.

In their report which was published in the journal Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, the researchers concluded that hygiene was positively associated with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Countries with greater degree of sanitation and lower prevalence of pathogens had a higher burden from the disorder. Countries with greater degree of urbanisation and wealth also had higher Alzheimer’s burdens.

Whether hygiene causes the pattern is not yet clear – cleanliness or infectious disease might be associated with some other factor – but the team does have a speculative hypothesis for how the two factors might be linked.

Exposure to micro-organisms – good and bad – is important for the body to develop proper immune responses.

The researchers’ “hygiene hypothesis suggests that as societies have become cleaner, the reduced level of contact with bacteria and other kinds of infectious agents might stall the proper development of important elements of the body’s immune system such as white blood cells. The team suggest that developing Alzheimer’s might be linked to autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks itself.

“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) shares certain etiological features with autoimmunity,” the researchers wrote in the journal Evolution, Medicine and Public Health. “Prevalence of autoimmunity varies between populations in accordance with variation in environmental microbial diversity. Exposure to micro-organisms may improve individuals’ immunoregulation in ways that protect against autoimmunity, and we suggest this may also be the case for AD.”

James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, who was not involved in the research, said it was well known that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease varied between countries. “That this discrepancy could be the result of better hygiene is certainly an interesting theory and loosely ties in with the links we know exist between inflammation and the disease,” he said.

“However, it is always difficult to pin causality to one factor and this study does not cancel out the role of the many other lifestyle differences such as diet, education and wider health which we know can also have a role to play. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia. The best way to reduce your risk is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, not smoke and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check.”

Opinion:

I agree that this report is not conclusive, but it does represent so many links in common, that it cannot be discarded entirely.

The hygiene industry is huge, globally amounting to trillions of dollars, we have swallowed all the propaganda that germs are bad and flocked to the stores to protect ourselves. Much, as it seems, to our detriment.

“Waiter, there’s a hair in my soup!” Maybe that hair is there for a reason, ever thought about that? I bet you hadn’t! Misadventures like finding the erroneous in places it’s not supposed to be maybe part of nature’s design to keep us healthy. Meanwhile, we are doing our utmost to go against that design.

Once again, we are trying to control the way Mother Nature works, and to me it looks like we have created more problems than we have solved.

Dirt and germs CAN be good for us.

000theGuardianLogo

Make you Fink on Friday

Got smelly feet?

Do you suffer from foot odour?

All hail the silver socks…

Read:

Silver Socks

By now just about everyone has heard of the fabulous benefits from infusing silver nanoparticles into socks. No more foot odor, no more smelly shoes and sneakers, no more athlete’s foot when using silver socks.

Benefits of silver socks:

  • Silver kills odor-causing bacteria, preventing odors
  • Silver Socks promote better foot health and hygiene
  • Unique antimicrobial properties of silver fight athlete’s foot and odor

Make Silver Socks at Home For Pennies

No need to purchase high priced silver socks from specialty stores. Just spray MesoSilver on socks you already own. MesoSilver consists of silver nanoparticles that absorb into absorbent cotton fibers to produce the desired antimicrobial properties. Any sock that consists of cotton or has some cotton content will make a fine silver sock. To make silver socks from socks you already have could not be easier. Here is a simple four step process to make silver socks.

  • Find a pair of all cotton or cotton containing material.
  • Wash, rinse and dry the socks.
  • Spray on MesoSilver colloidal silver and let air dry.
  • Your socks are now impregnated with silver nanoparticles ready for use.
  • Reapply lightly after each wash.

Effectiveness of Colloidal Silver is Unparalleled

Colloidal silver is reported to be unparalleled at killing bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens hence very effective for making silver socks. Colloidal silver has a history spanning hundreds of years as an effective germ fighter. It is believed that the pathogens cannot become immune to the killing power of silver. The known germicidal properties of silver combined with the high particle surface area of silver nanoparticles provide unsurpassed antimicrobial properties needed to make the perfect silver socks.

[NB – this image is representative of colloidal silver and not the brand advertised here]

What is the Active Ingredient in MesoSilver?

Mesosilver is 0.9999 pure silver sub-nanometer sized particles suspended in pure deionized water. This combination is called a colloid. The silver particles in Mesosilver have been measured to be 0.65 nanometers in diameter, which is less than three times the diameter of an atom of silver. Because these silver particles are so small and the concentration of particles is high, the result is a silver colloid with a very high particle surface area. In the world of chemistry, surface area determines how effectively a substance will react with its environment. It is the surface area of the silver particles coming in contact with the microbes that is believed to kill them on contact. The germicidal properties of metallic silver have been known for hundreds of years. While the silver particles are believed  to be one of the most effective natural agents known for killing pathogens, they are non-toxic to humans.

Mesosilver is the Most Effective Colloidal Silver

Many products are advertised as being colloidal silver, but in fact are mostly ionic silver solutions. A true silver colloid consists mostly of silver nanoparticles. Learn The Truth About Ionic Silver that other producers don’t want you know. Mesosilver has the highest percentage of its silver content in the form of silver nanoparticles, not silver ions, which make it perfect for making silver socks at home.

From: Purest Colloids

Opinion:

But wait!

This silver is smaller than microscopic, we are talking atom size here. Correctly the colloidal silver is Bacteriostatic Colloidal Silver…

Now read what Wiki has to say on this new word “bacteriostatic.’

“Some nanoparticle products may have unintended consequences. Researchers have discovered that bacteriostatic silver nanoparticles used in socks to reduce foot odor are being released in the wash. These particles are then flushed into the waste water stream and may destroy bacteria which are critical components of natural ecosystems, farms, and waste treatment processes.”Wikipedia

Wiki says ‘may‘, I have read sources that say ‘do!

The products are not harmful to humans on the skin, in fact silver has been used as an antibacterial since the time of Alexander the Great, because it’s effectiveness is as a catalyst, which means it doesn’t actually react with the body.

Apparently laboratory rats and mice inhaling these nanoparticles aren’t so lucky. In fact, there are thoughts as a result of this research that indicate these nanoparticles of colloidal silver could be as bas as, or maybe worse than asbestos if inhaled in sufficient quantities.

Which raises the question, is nanotechnology environmentally friendly?

Are your socks impregnated with colloidal silver?

UPDATE:

After a comment from a reader, I will add this very important link:

http://www.straight.com/article-404589/vancouver/tiny-nanoparticles-could-be-big-problem?page=0%2C1

Pink Slime – Update

Check out Food safety News for further information on the Pink Slime issue

Make you Fink on Friday

Pink Slime

Officially called lean finely textured beef

It even looks disgusting as it’s nickname suggests, pale and insipid.

Some of the things we are offered by the meat industry really need to be examined. Nothing to do with nutrition, everything to do with profits and to hell with your health.

‘Pink slime’ beef off US school menu

Some liken the boneless beef to pet food, but others say it is not a nutritional concern

Schools across the US are to be allowed to stop serving so-called “pink slime” beef to their pupils at mealtimes.

In a statement, the US Department of Agriculture said schools buying beef from a central government scheme could now choose from a range of options.

The term has become used to describe a type of beef trimming commonly found in school and restaurant beef in the US.

Reports it was widely used in schools prompted a popular outcry, although the beef is certified as safe to eat.

Social media campaigns and an online petition sprung up to oppose the use of the product. The beef’s producer led a campaign to explain it was nutritional and safe.

Last year, British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver publicly criticised the product on his now-defunct US TV show, and McDonald’s recently said it would phase out the use of “pink slime” in its burgers.

Centrifugal beef

The US agriculture department said on Thursday it would now offer alternatives to the beef – officially called lean finely textured beef – for schools buying meat through its programmes.

The department (USDA) said the change was “due to customer demand”.

“USDA continues to affirm the safety of Lean Finely Textured Beef product for all consumers and urges customers to consult science based information on the safety and quality of this product,” it added.

School administrators reacted positively to the change.

“Our district has long advocated for purity and disclosure in food products. And we will definitely be moving to the pure ground beef when that becomes available,” John Schuster, spokesman for Florida’s Miami-Dade school system, told the Associated Press.

“Pink slime” – a term reportedly coined by a microbiologist working for the US government – is a form of lean beef formed by reclaiming the small parts of meat from leftover cuts with a high fat content.

The beef is spun in a centrifuge to separate the meat from the fat, before the final product is treated with a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas to kill any bacteria.

Produced in bulk by a firm in North Dakota, the derogatory nature of the term “pink slime” has coloured the debate, some experts say.

It is “unappetising”, Sarah Klein, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Los Angeles Times, “but perhaps not more so than other things that are routinely part of a hamburger”.

“What pink slime reveals to us,” she told the newspaper, “is the unsavoury marriage of engineering and food, but it’s present in a lot of the products we eat.”

Source: BBC News

Opinion:

Safe to eat. Then why is it treated with ‘a puff of ammonium hydroxide’ to kill the bacteria. Doesn’t that sound harmless ‘a puff’? So what about the residue of the ammonium hydroxide? If ‘a puff’ of ammonium hydroxide kills bacteria, what does it do to the meat?

It appears from the article that this was the only option for schools buying meat from “a central government scheme” although that appears it is now changing and “a range of options” are available. Notice that it doesn’t say that natural beef will be optional. Which prompts me to ask, what are the ‘range of options’, are they as equally as horrendous as pink slime?

I love the statement: “The department (USDA) said the change was ‘due to customer demand’.” Translated, that means, “We had to change because the public had the politicians by the balls!”

Nutritional… It’s made from parts of the animal that housewives throw out; why, because it’s ‘nutritional’?

And, of course, the likes of McDonald’s will be quick to reassess the use of pink slime because people will stop buying burgers. And their chicken nuggets are just the same, made from pink chicken slime.

In Brazil the supermarkets are full of products made from various slime themes. Ready-made hamburger patties, all sorts of chicken nibbles, the euphemistically called ‘chicken steak.’ I have no doubt that this is a worldwide problem. If it’s in the USA and I see it here in Brazil, then one can safely assume we are not alone.

The problem is that because these products are available and cheap, many of the world’s poor are forced by financial constraints to buy them.

Here’s something to consider… Is pink slime served in the White House? Will you ever hear one of the Wall Street thieves say, “I’ll have Chardonnay with my pink slime”?

Make you Fink on Friday

Cow poo – fresh ‘feel good stuff’

Mycobacterium vaccae

Cow poo

Yes, cow poo. Mycobacterium vaccae was first discovered or recoginised in cow poo hence it’s name vaccae.

It’s a bacteria, it’s a mind altering bacteria. It’s a ‘feel good’ substance. If you live in a concrete jungle and feel stressed, there’s a good chance that you are missing out on the cow poo smell.

Have you ever wondered why you feel good in the country? Why the agricultural aromas (cow poo) smell wonderful? When in all reality they should smell repulsive.

It’s because of Mycobacterium vaccae it’s everywhere in nature and is an antidepressant with the ability to enhance intelligence. Now I understand why so many bankers in their ivory towers are just plain stupid.

Mycobacterium vaccae is present in all natural soil, in compost and we breathe it in the air. The bacteria stimulates neuron growth and reduces anxiety, which increases the production of serotonin (a type of neuro-transmitter) and in turn increases the ability to learn.

Now you can see why gardeners are happy to garden, hikers are happy to hike, while the rest of the world live in their concrete jungles stressed and anxious.

Could it also be that country kids are less stressed at school than city kids?

Maybe we need the germs

Could it also be that getting kids into the country regularly to smell cow poo is important. Let our kids get their little hands dirty to improve their academic and social performance. Perhaps we should stop listening to all these soap manufacturers that tell us that their product removes 99% of the bacteria. Because to me it seems as though we need some of that bacteria. Our super squeaky clean lives might just be a major part of our downfall both as a society and in academia.

The effects are not permanent. Freshly doped up on cow poo makes learning new things easier. If the stimulant is removed, you still learn faster than those who have not had the cow poo pleasure, but not as fast as when you had had a good dose of cow poo. So there is a definite sign that you need cow poo regularly.

Cow poo, it’s the odour  of life.

That’s my thoughts on the matter, hop across to TreeHugger and read some more there, follow the links, you may just be surprised.

Monday Moaning

Supermarket meat crawling with bacteria

Overall, food poisoning sickens up to a quarter of all Americans every year

Sell a little healthy raw milk to a willing consumer, and you can expect cops to burst through the door with their guns drawn — but you can pass off tainted meat on unsuspecting customers all day long, and the feds won’t do a thing about it.

Case in point: The latest study in Clinical Infectious Diseases, which showed that up to HALF of all supermarket meat is contaminated with bacteria — and half of those are resistant to multiple antibiotics.

Researchers bought 136 packages of beef, chicken, pork, and turkey from 26 supermarkets in five cities — and what they found would even make someone with an iron stomach a bit queasy.

Tests revealed that 47 percent of the meat was contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus. Nearly all of the samples were resistant to one antibiotic, and 52 percent were resistant to at least three different drugs.

And believe it or not, that’s not even the worst news — because S. aureus doesn’t even make the Top 10 list of the U.S.’s leading pathogens.

Americans are routinely infected by campylobacter from poultry, toxoplasma from pork, and E. coli from beef, just to name a few. All told, the top 14 pathogens are responsible for nearly 9 million illnesses a year, including 55,678 hospitalizations and 1,322 deaths.

But wait — because that’s STILL not the worst news.

Overall, food poisoning sickens up to a quarter of all Americans every year –- leading to some 325,000 hospitalizations and up to 5,000 deaths that we know of.

Who knows how big the real numbers are.

You may call it “contaminated meat,” but I call it “biological warfare.”

This is a bigger national crisis than airline safety, terrorism, or natural disasters — and the FDA and USDA won’t do a thing about it.

But you can.

Many of these diseases and infections begin at factory farms — festering stinkholes where animals live in filth, eat filth, and die in filth.

Along the way, they’re pumped so full of so many drugs that you get a dose with every bite.

If you can’t get your meats direct from a small farm, find a good butcher who does. Going organic is often a waste of money with many products — but in this case, it’s worth every last cent.

Source: The Douglas report

Is Supermarket Meat Safe to Eat?

Going grocery shopping today? You may want to think twice about buying meat or poultry.

A new study of 136 samples of beef, chicken, pork and turkey purchased from grocery stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Flagstaff, Ariz., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., found more than half contained Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause food poisoning, The Associated Press reports. And half of the contaminated samples had a form of staph that’s resistant to at least three kinds of antibiotics.

“This study shows that much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with multidrug-resistant staph,” Paul Keim, one of the study’s authors at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Arizona, said in a statement.

Among the types of drug-resistant germs the researchers found, one was methicillin-resistant staph, or MRSA, a superbug that can be fatal, according to the AP. They found MRSA in three of the 136 samples.

But don’t panic. Staph germs are commonly found on the skin and in the noses of up to 25 percent of healthy people. Hand-washing and proper cooking are the best ways to kill the bacteria, and federal health officials estimate staph accounts for less than 3 percent of foodborne illnesses.

“Despite the claims of this small study, consumers can feel confident that meat and poultry is safe,” James H. Hodges, president of the American Meat Institute, said in a statement on Friday.

Do you believe him?

Source: SodaHead

Opinion:

I don’t believe anything they say. They say want they want us to hear so they can continue making a profit.

The passing of the local butchers shop in favour of the supermarkets is a sad thing. Once we could believe in the safety of buying meat, today there is no knowing what goes on behind the swinging doors of the supermarket meat department.

I have bought ground beef from the supermarket and the next day it was unusable. When I buy from the butcher it is ground in front of me, I know that it’s freshly ground and hasn’t sat around all day sweating in a plastic wrap allowing the bacteria to multiply.

When you read reports like those above, then you see statements like this:

Supermarket meat CANNOT be considered safe for human consumption. According to a Government Accountability Project (GAP) White Paper dated November 1997, consumers today pay for USDA Approved fecal-soup and other filth, when they think they are buying meat stamped as wholesome. What’s worse…Consumers are being victimized by a new food chain, foisted upon them by an uncaring, greed motivated industry.

It’s enough to make your stomach turn.

The time has come when we must pressure politicians to allow farm meat production, return to the old ways.

Grass fed meat, milk and eggs need to be a right, not the whimsical choice of some politician who wants to get reelected.

The status quo is totally against the health of the nation and responsible for much of the government over spending on healthcare.

Get the corporations out of our kitchens because they are poisoning us in the grab for profits. The corporations don’t give a shit about your health or well-being, as long as their CEOs get their obscene paychecks and bonuses.

 

 

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