How does smoking marijuana make the human immune system stronger?

I don’t believe there is any evidence that smoking marijuana makes the immune system stronger – that is, able to better fight off infections. Smoke of any kind will cause lung damage, and is likely to make you more susceptible to lung infections. There is some evidence that pot smokers suffer from increased rates of Read More …

How long will it be before antibiotics become useless?

Useless? Never. The key thing to keep in mind is that antibiotic resistance usually carries a fitness cost. Generally speaking, resistant bacteria grow more slowly than susceptible bacteria. This is true for most classes of antibiotics: And it is true for most pathogens: Figures from The fitness costs of antibiotic resistance mutations It’s also generally Read More …

What probiotic strains help with the digestion of proteins?

Quite possibly, none. Protein digestion begins in the stomach, with acidic hydrolysis (breaking apart by water) and enzymatic cleavage of protein peptide backbones. Protein-degrading enzymes are also abundant in the upper small intestine, which has a relatively low level of bacteria. By the time proteins get to the large intestine, where most of our bacteria Read More …

Why are we getting all kinds of diseases nowadays? Are our immune systems becoming weaker? If so, why?

It does seem like we are being confronted with an onslaught of new diseases – Ebola, Zika, MRSA, CRE etc. But seeming and being are two different things. Our notions of probability and prevalence are strongly biased by their availability to our memory. Dying from these diseases is a horrible prospect that triggers a strong Read More …

What happens if you lick a petri dish filled with bacteria?

Unless you slurp up an enteric pathogen like Salmonella, probably not much. How do I know? As a grad student and post-doc I commonly mouth-pipetted bacterial cultures. This technique, which involves sucking up liquids into a tube (a pipette) with volume markings, is now considered unsafe. As it should be. From Pipette | Wikiwand Do Read More …