Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stop killing and demonizing microbes!

Here is some relevant research. I have always followed in mind this line of thinking; microbes are our friends. Microbiota co-inhabiting us regulate our immune system and prevent us from allergies and immune deregulation. Daily shaving, shampooing, scrubbing with antibacterial soaps (Dettol, Savlon, Lifebuoy, etc.), gargles with spirited mouthwashes and then spraying denat and brut based deodorants - these have devastating impact on the body surface microbiota. We have been doing this for 50 years now and I am afraid, we might have by now grown a completely different bacterial microflora than what was populating our elders about 100 years ago. I think we can't say they were dirtier, but they were definitely healthier and active. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Recent and noteworthy in PLoS ONE: Testosterone and Cortisol Release among Spanish Soccer Fans Watching the 2010 World Cup Final

This field study investigated the release of testosterone and cortisol of a vicarious winning experience in Spanish fans watching the finals between Spain and the Netherlands in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer. Spanish fans (n = 50) watched the match with friends or family in a public place or at home and also participated in a control condition. Consistent with hypotheses, results revealed that testosterone and cortisol levels were higher when watching the match than on a control day. However, neither testosterone nor cortisol levels increased after the victory of the Spanish team. Moreover, the increase in testosterone secretion was not related to participants' sex, age or soccer fandom, but the increase in total cortisol secretion during the match was higher among men than among women and among fans that were younger. Also, increases in cortisol secretion were greater to the degree that people were a stronger fan of soccer. Level of fandom further appeared to account for the sex effect, but not for the age effect. Generally, the testosterone data from this study are in line with the challenge hypothesis, as testosterone levels of watchers increased to prepare their organism to defend or enhance their social status. The cortisol data from this study are in line with social self-preservation theory, as higher cortisol secretion among young and greater soccer fans suggests that especially they perceived that a negative outcome of the match would threaten their own social esteem.  Read this interesting Open Access article, in full, here.

Reference: van der Meij L, Almela M, Hidalgo V, Villada C, IJzerman H, et al. (2012) Testosterone and Cortisol Release among Spanish Soccer Fans Watching the 2010 World Cup Final. PLoS ONE 7(4): e34814. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034814

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

National Science Day: Commemorating the legend - CV Raman

Raman's Message is enough a science blogger's delight this day:

"I would like to tell the young men and women before me not to lose
hope and courage. Success can only come to you by courageous devotion
to the task lying in front of you and there is nothing worth in this
world that can come without the sweat of our brow. I can assert
without fear of contradiction that the quality of the Indian mind is
equal to the quality of any Teutonic, Nordic or Anglo-Saxon mind.
What we lack is perhaps courage, what we lack is perhaps driving force
which takes one anywhere. We have, I think, developed an inferiority
complex. I think what is needed in India today is the destruction of
that defeatist spirit. We need a spirit of victory, a spirit that will
carry us to our rightful place under the sun, a spirit which will
recognize that we, as inheritors of a proud civilization, are entitled
to a rightful place on this planet. If that indomitable spirit were to
arise, nothing can hold us from achieving our rightful destiny." -
Sir CV Raman

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gut Pathogens making a positive impact in 2012

The year has started positively for Gut Pathogens with the news that the journal will receive its first Impact Factor in June 2012.Gut Pathogens is aiming to be ranked in the first quartile of Gastroenterology and Hepatology journals.

Gut Pathogens, an internationally recognized journal, boasts an Editorial Board consisting of leading researchers from around the world. A key factor in the journal's success has been its commitment to publishing articles that are topical and relevant to researchers in this field. In particular, Gut Pathogens has consistently published highly popular articles on probiotics, and is becoming a key journal for researchers in the field to submit their research. The journal will continue to publish high quality articles on probiotics in the future. (Image credit: Probiotic Lactobacillus salivarius. Sleator, Gut Pathogens 2010 2:5)

There has been an increasing interest in pathogens such as Clostridium difficileE. coli and Salmonella because of the significant emerging health problems they are causing in western countries. Gut Pathogens would like to invite scientists to submit their research on these and similar themes to the journal for publication in 2012.