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Scientists: Musk's Roadster a 'Biothreat'

Scientists point out risk that car's Earthly bacteria might contaminate life on Mars

(Newser) - In the small chance that Elon Musk's space-exploring Tesla Roadster comes crashing back to Earth, experts say the planet will be just fine. It's a different story with Mars, where the car could become what one scientist calls a "biothreat." The Tesla, in a large orbit... More »

200K Antelopes Died Suddenly. Now Scientists Know Why

High heat and humidity altered bacteria in their bodies: study

(Newser) - Saiga antelopes have been roaming Central Asia since the time of the woolly mammoth, an achievement only a resilient species could pull off. But now, "total extinction" may be on the horizon. That's according to researchers studying the deaths of more than 200,000 endangered saigas in Kazakhstan... More »

Safety Experts Say 'Raw Water' Trend Is a Very Bad Idea

Drinking untreated water has more drawbacks than the price tag

(Newser) - Is drinking "raw water" a great way to get beneficial minerals and microbes removed by filtration—or do people who pay $15 a gallon for untreated water have more money than sense? The subject has been hotly debated since a New York Times story last week looked at people—... More »

No Proven Benefits, Several Risks to Eating Placenta

Placenta capsules may carry bacteria, heavy metals: study

(Newser) - The trend of eating placenta after childbirth "borders on cannibalism" and is only lining providers' pockets, rather than offering any benefit to women or their newborns. That's according to researchers of a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, which finds "no known scientifically... More »

Houston Floodwaters Are Full of Sewage: Report

Testing by 'NYT' shows E. coli is rampant

(Newser) - Houston's floodwaters are contaminated with dangerous bacteria likely responsible for an upswing in health issues, reports the New York Times . The Times organized a team of scientists from Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University who tested floodwaters in two Houston neighborhoods. In a family's living room at... More »

Puppies From Petland Are Making People Sick: CDC

39 people have come down with 'Campylobacter' in the last year

(Newser) - Don't look now, but those adorable baby Labradors and basset hounds you've fallen in love with might be getting you very sick. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control announced that the "likely source" of an outbreak of Campylobacter —bacteria that can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain,... More »

Purple Spots Marring Vatican Scroll Have Unlikely Source

Parchments around the world are covered in mysterious purple splotches

(Newser) - Call it the attack of the purple pigment. Live Science reports purple splotches are damaging old animal-skin parchments around the world. Take, for example, a 16-foot-long scroll inside the Vatican Secret Archives. The parchment was written by Italian villagers in 1244 asking the Church to make Laurentius Loricatus a saint.... More »

Twice as Many White Kids Get Unnecessary Antibiotics

Researchers call for investigation of parental expectations

(Newser) - It's becoming something of a mantra: Antibiotics do nothing to treat the flu or common cold. And it apparently needs repeating, because even though antibiotics treat bacterial instead of viral infections, as many as 75% of kids with viral respiratory infections like a cold are prescribed them, reports Health... More »

Yep, Blowing Out Birthday Candles Is Actually Gross

How many germs are spread depends a lot on the person

(Newser) - Let's get one thing out of the way: Our mouths are positively brimming with bacteria. But as gross as that may seem to some, the vast majority of those bacteria are benign. Still, it may be hard for some to swallow the latest news that blowing out candles on... More »

Girl Dies of E. Coli Infection Days After Visiting Petting Zoo

3-year-old Kallan Maresh's 5-year-old brother is still fighting for his life in Minnesota

(Newser) - Not long after 5-year-old Kade Maresh and his 3-year-old sister, Kallan, visited a petting zoo in Minnesota in early July, they began vomiting and had nonstop diarrhea. After several emergency room visits, they were rushed by ambulance to the University of Minnesota's children's hospital, where they fought for... More »

Newborns Got Legionnaires' Disease in Birthing Tubs

There's no sign either baby breathed in water during the birth

(Newser) - Legionnaires' Disease, a severe and sometimes fatal complication caused when tiny droplets of water with Legionella bacteria make it to the lungs, was diagnosed in 6,000 people in the US in 2015. Almost 600 of them died. In Arizona, the number of cases has more than doubled from 46... More »

You Can Cut Hand-Washing Time in Half

10 seconds appears to do the trick: Rutgers study

(Newser) - You don't need to risk scalding yourself in order to get clean hands. According to researchers, washing your hands in cold water is just as effective at reducing bacteria as washing your hands in hot water. That's based on a small study of 21 people described in the... More »

Got Acne? A Vaccine Could Be Coming

Still a long way to go, but initial results on a possible vaccine seem promising

(Newser) - Eric Huang says he's "good at vaccine development." The UC San Diego dermatology professor tells the university's Guardian he has even worked on a biodefense vaccine to fight anthrax , with a boost from the National Institutes of Health. Huang's latest development on the vaccine scene,... More »

Neanderthals Used Aspirin, Too

Plaque on their teeth reveals their dietary and medical ways

(Newser) - Scientists are thrilled to have discovered a gross buildup on a few fossilized teeth, and with reason. Not only were they able to discern the three Neanderthals' diets (two ate primarily meat, one primarily plants), they're also feasting their eyes on prehistoric microbiomes that are shedding more light on... More »

Scientists Claim Discovery of World's Oldest Life

But not everyone is convinced

(Newser) - Researchers say they've found fossilized bacteria that may date back to shortly after the formation of the Earth (geologically speaking, anyway), the New York Times reports. They published their findings Wednesday in Nature . The rocks were collected in 2008 from the Nuvvuagittuq geological formation in Canada. The rocks are... More »

These Are the 12 Bacteria We Should Worry About Most

According to the WHO

(Newser) - The World Health Organization has issued a list of the top dozen bacteria most dangerous to humans, warning that doctors are fast running out of treatment options. In a press briefing on Monday, the UN health agency said its list is meant to promote the development of medicines for the... More »

Smartphone Residue Says a Lot About You—Really, a Lot

Contains clues about gender, diet, health, hygiene, location, pets, and more

(Newser) - Much like our keyboards, our smartphones are anything but clean. So researchers at UC San Diego decided to analyze the molecules on a handful of them and see what they could deduce about the phone's owners—and it turned out to be a whole lot. They swabbed four sections... More »

Scientists May Have Found Migraine Trigger —in Our Mouths

Oral bacteria could be the key

(Newser) - Certain foods like chocolate, wine, and processed meats have long been linked to migraines, and while nitrates in those foods are often seen as the culprit, it's not entirely clear why some people are more susceptible to ensuing headaches than others, reports Quartz . Now scientists are reporting in the... More »

2.8M Bottles of Craft Paint Recalled for Possible Bacteria

Sargent Art warns people with weak immune systems could be at risk

(Newser) - No injuries or illnesses have yet been reported, but Sargent Art isn't taking any chances after finding that 13 different types of its craft paint may be contaminated with a harmful bacteria, Consumerist reports. Per a notice on the art supplier's site and one from the Consumer Product... More »

For Blue Bell, a Deja Vu Recall

Two flavors may be contaminated with listeria

(Newser) - Blue Bell is now about as synonymous with listeria as it is with ice cream—and apparently for good reason. Following a listeria outbreak last year and the discovery of the bacteria at one of its facilities in January, the company says it's voluntarily recalling two ice cream flavors... More »

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