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Some superbugs lurk in Britain’s surf

Cornwall Beach

British beach waters harbor low levels of drug-resistant bacteria, researchers find.

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A small fraction of Escherichia coli floating at the surface of Britain’s coastal waters are resistant to antibiotics, researchers from the University of Exeter reported March 29 at the Society for General Microbiology’s Annual Conference in Birmingham, England.

Sampling 97 sites around England and Wales in 2012, the team found that 15 contained E. coli that was resistant to third-generation cephalosporins, a class of antibiotics used to treat everything from ear infections to gonorrhea. On average, only about 0.12 percent of the E. coli found at these sites was drug-resistant.

That number might seem low, but it represents an overlooked exposure risk for aquatic sport enthusiasts — depending on how much seawater they swallow. Surfers and swimmers, the researchers estimate, have the highest risk of exposure to such superbugs.

Health

Performance gains from Tommy John surgery still up for debate

By Nathan Seppa 9:00am, March 30, 2015
Major league baseball pitchers who undergo two Tommy John surgeries have shorter careers than peers who don’t have the surgery, a new study finds.
Science & Society,, Microbes,, Health

White House unveils strategy against antibiotic resistance

By Nathan Seppa 5:09pm, March 27, 2015
The Obama Administration has launched a long-term plan to curb antibiotic resistance, unveiling incentives and requirements designed to boost surveillance and diagnosis of resistant microbes.
Animals,, Conservation

Panda stalking reveals panda hangouts

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, March 27, 2015
Scientists used GPS trackers to learn about the giant panda lifestyle.
Evolution,, Animals

Bright bird plumage resulted from natural, sexual selection

By Bethany Brookshire 2:00pm, March 27, 2015
Darwin hypothesized that bird color differences resulted from sexual selection. Wallace disagreed. A study shows that both were right after all.
Animals

For bats, simple traffic patterns limit collisions

By Kate Baggaley 6:34pm, March 26, 2015

Humans aren’t the only ones who follow traffic rules. Bats do it too, researchers report March 26 in PLOS Computational Biology.

Scientists eavesdropped on echolocating Daubenton’s bats (Myotis daubentonii) as the animals cruised for dinner. Once a bat locks on to a peer’s  sonar calls, the bat copies its movements to within a few wingbeats, the researchers found.

Planetary Science,, Astronomy

NASA has a plan for putting rock from asteroid in moon’s orbit

By Christopher Crockett 5:46pm, March 25, 2015
NASA selects concept for its Asteroid Redirect Mission, which will let astronauts train for future missions to Mars.
Science & Society,, Numbers

John Nash, Louis Nirenberg share math’s Abel Prize

By Lila Guterman 4:53pm, March 25, 2015
John Nash and Louis Nirenberg will receive the 2015 ‘Nobel of mathematics’ for their work on partial differential equations.
Quantum Physics

One photon wrangles 3,000 atoms into quantum entanglement

By Andrew Grant 2:00pm, March 25, 2015
A single photon can trigger the creation of quantum entanglement between thousands of atoms.
Microbiology,, Agriculture

A vineyard's soil influences the microbiome of a grapevine

By Helen Thompson 7:00am, March 25, 2015
Vineyard soil microbes end up on grapes, leaves and flowers, study finds.
Neuroscience

The brain sees words, even nonsense ones, as pictures

By Ashley Yeager 5:28pm, March 24, 2015
Once we learn a word, our brain sees the string of letters as a picture, even if the word isn't a real one.
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