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Disease Prone

Disease Prone

To be sensitive or susceptible to disease. Exactly what this blog is.
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    James Byrne Dr James Byrne has a PhD in Microbiology and works as a science communicator at the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus), Australia's unique national science hub, which showcases the importance of science in everyday life. Follow on Twitter @JB_blogs.
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  • Goodbye SciAm Blogs

    sad face

    I’m a little sad to be writing this but its come to that point. I have to leave the Scientific American network. I haven’t been asked to leave (as I thought I would) or lost interest in blogging, I just simply can not dedicate the time to do it properly and to a standard that I set [...]

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    Bioengineering the bugs

    Vibrio cholerae. Credit Tom Kirn, Ron Taylor, Louisa Howard - Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility via Wikimedia

    “Probiotics” are an enormous field and even bigger market but and as interesting as they are an, arguably, more interesting –biotic is starting to gain traction as more innovative researchers explore its possibilities. This is the field of “designer probiotics”. The central idea is this, certain pathogenic bacteria (and I am speaking exclusively within the [...]

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    Meliodosis is currently poking its head above the surface in Australia and is causing a few problems. This nasty little disease is caused by the bacterial species with my favorite name, Burkholderia pseudomallei.   B. pseudomallei is a soil and water dwelling gram negative organism that spends most of its time not doing much, but, [...]

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    Mucous Cancer – The mess of Pseudomyxoma peritonei

    Gray Peritoneum

    This is re-posted from my old blog because it has been getting a few hits lately. My wife is a nurse and she sees some properly interesting medicine at times. A little while ago she told about this doosey of a cancer and I couldn’t help but write about it. Pseudomyxoma peritonei is a relatively [...]

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    What the fractal?


    As part of my job at RiAus I get asked to write the occasional blog about an upcoming event. I wrote this for an event that occured last week about fractal geometry with the amazing Prof. Michael Barnsley. It was a great event and my blog post was just a little teaser for it. Only real short [...]

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    You should rub honey on your everywhere

    Indulge me while I digress my way to dibetes

    Honey is awesome. I’ve found its best consumed when combined with nougat and wrapped in dark chocolate but I digress. Honey also has some pretty amazing properties, it’s broadly antimicrobial and seemingly able to promote healing. My Nan would always give me a spoonful of honey alongside other meds when I had colds and flus [...]

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    Adelaide Fringe 2012

    FRINGE 2012

    I am so super busy at the moment because someone decided, a long time ago, that Adelaide should do all of the things in March. We have car races, Fringe festivals, multi-arts festivals, my wife’s birthday   It’s because of this I am worked to the bone as the organisation I work for/with possess a [...]

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    Disease Prone on FiSTChat!


    A week or so ago I was asked to be interviewed for a videoblog called FiSTChat. I tossed it around my head as to whether or not I should do it but then I remembered it is my boss’s videoblog and so I said yes immediately. I’ve embedded it below but you should head over [...]

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    The bacteria in your belly Pt. 3 – Disrupting the balance

    In the previous two posts we have established how the microbiome is established and then the pressures the host puts on it to maintain a balance between the required functions and the commensal bacteria providing them. In this post I want to look a little deeper at what happens if this balance is disturbed or [...]

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    The bacteria in your belly Pt. 2 – Adults

    In the last post I talked about babies eating poo how babies develop a gut flora. In this post I wanted to look at how that flora matures into adulthood. As a baby grows it interacts with its environment and after about a year an infant’s flora will resemble their parent’s. This becomes particularly important [...]

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