Posts tagged: bacteria

Microbial Mob Mentality – In The Wake Of The Vancouver Riots

Clearly, the ability of bacteria to communicate with each other is limited – their unicellular form restricts them in this endeavour.  Bacteria can, however, communicate by giving off signals called quorum sensing molecules.  These molecules are constantly released by bacteria to let each other know how many of them are in the immediate vicinity.  When they realize that they have enough of their buddies around, their behaviour suddenly changes and the whole group begins acting in a different manner, often manifesting as an infection (note: the best lecture that I have seen on quorum sensing is available for free below from TED, and it’s only 20 minutes long).  Only recently, riots quickly engulfed my hometown of Vancouver, and I was struck by how similar the two processes were.  It gives me a small measure of satisfaction to write a piece comparing mindless bacteria to the equally mindless degenerates that briefly infected our city on June 15th.

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Biofilm Communities – The Organized Criminals Of Cellular Biology

Richard Longland is looking for a way to get word out about biofilm, and to spread that word beyond the scientific community with his coming film, Why am I Still Sick?.  After talking to the real brainpower here at Ondine, Richard sat down with me and captured my views on biofilm and infectious disease for his feature length piece on biofilm.  Richard was clearly familiar with the joy I take in making complex subjects easier to understand, and asked me how I would describe biofilm in order to make people aware of the danger it poses. It wasn’t something that I had given thought to beforehand, but the obvious answer was that biofilm communities are the organized criminals of cellular biology.

Stages of Biofilm Development - Source: Wikipedia Commons

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My Theory: Cancer and Pathogens

Ten years ago when I would mention my theory in public, my esteemed colleagues would give me either a heaven-bound roll of the eye or a terse shake of the head…depending on the audience. Ten years ago, my theory was considered radical, serving only to demonstrate my lack of scientific background. Ten years later, this theory is getting some traction and I am pleased to see a number of key researchers validating my beliefs1,2,3.

My theory: The changing composition and characteristics of the bacteria with which we coexist, are causing directly or indirectly our major systemic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers, arthritis, etc. To restore normal health, requires a 2 part process. First, we need to target the removal of the bad bacteria. Second, we need to replace them with the original (good) bacteria, reinstating  the ‘normal’ compositions and concentrations.  Widespread killing of all bacteria, therefore, as in the case of systemic antibiotics, only addresses the first element of this proposed protocol but not the second part, as antibiotic use clearly does not do much to restore the original composition of bacteria needed to promote good health. Read more »

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