Sounds Gross, But Intestinal Worms Can Actually Be Good For You


Intestinal worms have an incredibly bad reputation. The thought of them sneaking around inside our bodies and eating us from the inside is pretty unpleasant. But for decades, results coming out of lab after lab have shown that some kinds of helminths can be extremely beneficial to their host, and aren’t parasites at… »10/30/15 12:50pm10/30/15 12:50pm


This Year the Medicine Nobel Prize Went to a Pair of Parasite Poisons

The 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine just went to three scientists who found parasite-killing chemicals that are now important tools for fighting human diseases. But the chemicals in question weren’t created in a lab: one is produced naturally by a bacterium, the other by a plant used in a traditional… »10/05/15 6:53pm10/05/15 6:53pm

A Scientist Who Writes Comics About the Secrets of Insect Life

Centuries ago, scientists relied on paintings and illustrations of animals to learn more about their anatomy. Today, that biology-art bond is as strong as ever. This is Carly Tribull, a PhD student studying the evolution of parasitic wasps, who uses her scientific knowledge and artistic talent to create fun… »1/30/14 9:00pm1/30/14 9:00pm

Meet the Scientist Who Is Solving the Mystery of Zombie Ants

Throughout the tropical forests of the world, there's a parasitic fungus that turns unwitting ants into "zombies." Just how the fungus is able to control the brains of its insect slaves is unknown, but Charissa de Bekker, a post-doctoral researcher at Penn State University, is determined to find out. We caught up with… »1/03/14 3:15pm1/03/14 3:15pm

This experiment changed our understanding of parasite resistance

It's common scientific wisdom that parasite resistance comes from repeated exposure to a parasite. But a new study has turned this idea on its head. Guppies who were removed from rivers swarming with parasites actually evolved an improved parasite tolerance in just a few generations. Here's how it happened. »11/06/13 4:00pm11/06/13 4:00pm

Great, the effects of toxoplasma are harder to fix than we thought

Toxoplasma gondii is a brain parasite that makes mice lose their instinctive fear of cats and may lead to schizophrenia in humans. Scientists think that the parasite works by inflaming the brain or by creating cysts. But it now appears that Toxoplasma is doing something far more insidious — and permanent — to the… »9/18/13 5:00pm9/18/13 5:00pm

Woman with eye infection had an entire microbial ecosystem in her contact lens solution

There's a reason why optometrists say you should regularly replenish your contact lens solution and throw out your lenses after the expiry date. Last year, a young woman contracted an eye infection after using tap water to dilute her cleaning solution, and while wearing contact lenses that were two months past their… »10/17/12 10:05am10/17/12 10:05am