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Soon, breath test for stress

A person's breath can be used to detect whether he or she suffers from stress, according to scientists.

A study has identified six markers in breath, which could be tested, for signs of stress, the Telegraph reported.

In experiments at Loughborough University and Imperial College London, breath samples were taken from 22 young adults, in both relaxed and stressful conditions. Two compounds in the breath - 2-methyl, pentadecane and indole - increased following the stress exercise.

A further four compounds were shown to decrease with stress, which could be due to changes in breathing patterns.

But lead author Professor Paul Thomas said if stress is measured objectively in a non-invasive way, then it may benefit patients and vulnerable people in long-term care who find it difficult to disclose stress responses to their carers, such as those suffering from Alzheimer's.
 
World on verge of drug resistant red plague

A new plague of antibiotic resistant infections may emerge with even common urinary tract infections now resistant to conventional treatment, Australia’s superbug experts have warned. 

They noted that powerful intravenous antibiotics are now being used to beat urinary tract infections that previously could be treated simply with a pill, News.com.au reported.

And unless the government regulates antibiotic use medical advances like organ transplants, joint replacements and critical care medicine will be under threat from rampant infections, the stated. Doctors are warning that these superbugs, which are being called the “red plague” because antibiotic bugs stain red under a microscope, could soon represent the same threat as a plague like the Black Death.

Professor David Looke, the president of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, said that common E. coli infections that cause 80 per cent of urinary tract infections are now resistant to multiple antibiotics.

Writing in Medical Journal of Australia, he said the proportion of E. coli bugs in Australia that were multi-drug resistant rose from 4.5 per cent in 2008 to 7.2 per cent in 2010.

Most people thought antibiotic resistant bugs were caught in a hospital setting but now they were being acquired in the community, he said.

Up to 30 per cent of the staphylococcus bacteria that cause common boil infections acquired in the community were now also resistant to penicillin, he said.

Many forms of sexually acquired gonorrhea were also resistant to most antibiotics.
He blamed the overuse of antibiotics in humans and in animals and farming practices for these growing resistances to treatments.

In India 100-200 million people were thought to harbour antibiotic resistant bacteria. InAsia antibiotics were injected into eggs, used in prawn and chicken farms.
Moreover, pharmaceutical companies have stopped developing new antibiotics that might beat superbug infections, he added.

Infectious diseases experts have suggested that government must set up a new regulatory body that would have control of the use of antibiotics in humans, animals and farming.

Government must also work with the pharmaceutical industry to encourage them to research new antibiotics, Looke concluded.

Ocean plankton absorbs twice the carbon assumed

A new work by UC Irvine and other scientists has found that trillions of plankton near the surface of warm waters are far more carbon-rich than has long been thought.
The finding suggests models of carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans need to be revised.

Global marine temperature fluctuations could mean that tiny Prochlorococcus and other microbes digest double the carbon previously calculated. Carbon dioxide is the leading driver of disruptive climate change.

In making their findings, the researchers have upended a decades-old core principle of marine science known as the Redfield ratio, named for famed oceanographer Alfred Redfield.

The new study’s researchers found dramatically different ratios at a variety of marine locations. What matters more than depth, they concluded, is latitude. In particular, the researchers detected far higher levels of carbon in warm, nutrient-starved areas (195:28:1) near the equator than in cold, nutrient-rich polar zones (78:13:1).

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