The ability to control fire brought our ancestors countless benefits, but as a new study by Australian researchers suggests, it may have also triggered the spread of one of the worst blights to afflict our species: tuberculosis.
Leprosy is not a disease of the past. Nor is it particularly rare. It’s one of the many diseases we get without ever knowing we have them . . . most of the time.
Bovine tuberculosis is a serious problem in many parts of the world, resulting in the culling of thousands of cattle each year and at tremendous cost. Now, Chinese scientists have produced a herd of transgenic cows that exhibit an improved ability to ward off the disease.
Buffalo live a long time, and they live together in big social groups. This makes them surprisingly good models for human diseases. When researchers treated one malady in buffalo, they discovered a surprising downside — they made them worse, but in a totally different way.
There have been a lot of bad news this year. And a lot of good ones too. Sadly, many of the good ones never get the proper coverage they need and they get lost in the storm of crap that we have to suffer every day. Luckily, Bill Gates has highlighted the best five news of 2014 that you probably missed.
Tuberculosis is one of the most common infectious diseases on the planet: about a third of the current global population has had TB. It's also one of the most deadly. Left untreated, it kills about half of all those it infects. Now it seems the disease could date back to humanity's origins in Africa.
Science marches on, improving over time. We know that. It's still weird to watch it improve, and realize that you now come from an era of outdated science.
When the human body becomes infected with particularly severe forms of diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy, its immune response is to produce lots of interferon-beta, a virus-destroying protein. There's just one problem. Those diseases are bacteria, not viruses.