Tag Archives | Germs

Your Filthy Smartphone Is Crawling With Your Personal Mix Of Staph, Strep, And Other Passengers

240px-Staphylococcus_aureus_01Your smartphone is filthy, and I don’t just mean what’s in your browser’s search history folder. A group of scientists have discovered that our cell phones carry our their owner’s individual devil’s brew of bacteria: A house blend of staph, strep, and other biological goodies.

To test our biological connection with phones, University of Oregon researchers sequenced microbes from the dominant-hand index fingers and thumbs of 17 subjects and from the touchscreens of their smartphones, during a recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation workshop in Princeton, New Jersey. The study found smartphones closely resembled the microbiome sampled from their owner’s finger, with 82 percent of the most common bacteria on participants’ fingers also found on their phones.

Interestingly, women were found to be more closely connected, microbiologically speaking, to their phones than were men. Although men and women were both statistically similar to their own phones, the relationship was stronger for women than for men.

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Footage Released Showing British Military’s 1952 Biological Warfare Experiments On Monkeys

The horrific testing, conducted in secret and dubbed Operation Cauldron, took place offshore on a ship near the Isle of Lewis. Over the course of several months, dozens of terrified monkeys and thousands of guinea pigs were subjected to "germ bombs" containing bubonic plague and other deadly diseases, with many of the animals dying after a few days. The project was part of the U.K. military's effort to develop biological weapons that could be used on real people in a potental war against the Soviets. Needless to say, the Ministry of Defence was reluctant to release the incredibly disturbing 47-minute film documenting the experiments:
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Doctors Are More Harmful Than Germs

DoctorsAreMoreFrontCoverAdapted from Doctors Are More Harmful Than Germs: How Surgery Can Be Hazardous to Your Health - And What to Do About It by Harvey Bigelsen, MD. Reprinted by permission of North Atlantic Books.
“Well Mrs. So-and-So,” says Dr. Almighty, “since you are fifty years old and reaching menopause, you don’t need your uterus anymore; in fact it is probably getting in the way. Since we will be in there, we may as well take out your appendix because you don’t need it either, and taking it out will prevent future appendicitis. Most older women have gall bladder problems, so let’s take that out too, for prevention. Oh, and one of my friends is a plastic surgeon: While you are asleep and can’t feel anything, he can do a tummy tuck and smooth out some of your wrinkles with Botox. Don’t worry, it’s very, very poisonous, but we will just use it on your wrinkles. No big deal!”1 Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it? One-stop surgery: magically taking care of everything that could possibly affect you over the next ten years...
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Your Hands’ Germs Can Identify You

Another reason to whip out the Purell? AFP reports:

Forensic scientists could soon use hand germs to help identify criminals and victims, a study said Monday.

Researchers led by Noah Fierer of the University of Colorado at Boulder swabbed individual keys on three personal computer keyboards, extracted bacterial DNA from the swabs and compared the results with bacteria on the fingertips of the keyboards’ users.

They also lifted germs from an unspecified number of other private and public computer keyboards that the three individuals did not use to see if there was a cross-over between the bacteria on an individual’s hands and bacteria on keyboards that had never been touched by that individual.

The bacteria on each person’s fingers were “personal” and gave a much closer match to the germs on the keyboard they used than to bacteria found on keyboards they had never touched, the researchers said.

The researchers also swabbed nine personal computer mice that had not been touched for at least 12 hours and took bacteria samples from the palms of their owners.

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Cigarettes Might Be Infectious

CigaretteJanet Raloff writes in Science News:

The tobacco in cigarettes hosts a bacterial bonanza — literally hundreds of different germs, including those responsible for many human illnesses, a new study finds.

“Nearly every paper that you pick up discussing the health effects of cigarettes starts out with something to the effect that smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke experience high rates of respiratory infections,” notes Amy Sapkota of the University of Maryland, College Park. The presumption has been that smoking renders people vulnerable to disease by impairing lung function or immunity. And it may well do both.

“But nobody talks about cigarettes as a source of those infections,” she says. Her new data now suggest that’s distinctly possible.

If these germs are alive, something she has not yet confirmed, just handling cigarettes or putting an unlit one to the mouth could be enough to cause an infection.

Read More: Science News

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