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mzmolly

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Current location: Minnesota
Member since: Sun Oct 19, 2003, 10:29 PM
Number of posts: 49,654

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Scientists Find Bacteria Where It Isn’t Supposed to Be: The Brain

As anyone who’s seen a yogurt commercial knows, our guts are teeming with bacteria. So, too, are our hands, feet, ears, and mouths.



But our brains?

Until recently, scientists would have said no way. The brain was long thought to be a kind of fortress, separated from the body by a virtually impenetrable barrier of specialized cells. Now, that view is beginning to shift, with increasing evidence that aliens can, and do, sneak in.

The latest evidence comes from a team of researchers in Canada, who found that a type of bacteria usually found in soil may make its way into some of our brains.

That possibility is “a mind-bending concept,” said Kathy Spindler, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the new work. If confirmed, the study would “upset the dogma that the brain is normally a sterile site,” said Vincent Young, an infectious diseases physician and microbiologist also at the University of Michigan. If living bacteria help to maintain brain health in some way, disruptions to them, for example from antibiotics, could contribute to disease. (In other parts of the body, disruptions to native bacteria may play a role in some asthma, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and even obesity, he added.)....


More at: THE DAILY BEAST

Billionaire Horse Breeder’s Polio Shot to Undercut Glaxo

Indian billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, founder of the world’s biggest maker of vaccines, will slash the price of polio immunization and introduce shots for diarrhea and pneumonia, undercutting Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc. (GSK)

Poonawalla, who set up the Serum Institute of India Ltd. in 1966, will use last year’s acquisition of a Dutch vaccine business to add the injectable form of polio inoculation to the oral drops the Pune, India-based company supplies to organizations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund, he said. The closely held group also plans to sell a low-cost pneumococcal shot to compete with Pfizer’s $4 billion Prevnar pneumonia vaccine by 2016.

The plan by Serum Institute, which says it supplies vaccines used to immunize two out of three children worldwide, will “revolutionize” efforts to eradicate polio that affects nerves and results in paralysis, said Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general at the World Health Organization. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a key funder of the effort to exterminate the malady, has backed the proposal as oral drops, made of live virus, carry the risk of infection.

“On May 30, Mr. Gates came over for a private dinner at my house,” and asked that Serum Institute remain family-owned, Poonawalla, 71, who also rears thoroughbred racehorses, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters. “The obvious reason was that, as soon as we sell the company, ‘big pharma’ would immediately double the price of vaccines.”

More at BUSINESSWEEK.COM
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