Could Antibiotics Make This Superbug Stronger? Plus, More in This Week’s Top Five Stories

Could Antibiotics Make This Superbug Stronger?

Recently published findings could indicate that certain antibiotics are actually making a strain of superbug stronger. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of superbug that researchers fear could become antibiotic resistant. In a recent study published in Cell Host & Microbe, findings indicate that MRSA became stronger and worsened when treated with beta-lactam antibiotics (commonly used types of beta-lactam antibiotics include penicillin and amoxicillin).

“Our findings underscore the urgent need to improve awareness of MRSA and rapidly diagnose these infections to avoid prescribing antibiotics that could put patients’ lives at risk,” said George Liu, co-author of the study. Find out exactly how beta-lactam antibiotics affect MRSA strains by clicking here.

This Material Could Revolutionize Access to Clean Drinking Water

Researchers in the U.S. have developed a low-cost, energy-efficient way to remove the salt from seawater, a move that could change the way we combat water problems in drought-ridden regions and places with little access to clean drinking water. The material, a thin sheet of molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) containing nanopores, allows huge volumes of seawater to pass through, filtering out salt and other pollutants. Desalination isn’t anything new, but with this cutting-edge material, developers on the project hope the volume of water they can filter increases while the cost decreases.

“Even though we have a lot of water on this planet, there is very little that is drinkable,” said Narayana Aluru, the leader of the study. “Finding materials for efficient desalination has been a big issue, and I think this work lays the foundation for next-generation materials,” Click here to read the full article.

HyQ, the “Disaster-Ready” Robot

Meet HyQ, the quadruped robot developed by Claudio Semini, of the Italian Institute of Technology in 2010, and copied by engineers at ETH Zurich in 2012. Now the makers behind HyQ are creating special algorithms to help prep the doglike robot in the event of a disaster. “That’s our research interest in this machine, that we have a machine that can go out there and work in environments that are not known to the robot and do these robustly, so that eventually we can use these robots to do something useful.” said Professor Jonas Buchli, robotics engineer at ETH Zurich.

The engineers hope that one day, HyQ can replace humans in events such as natural disaster recovery and nuclear disaster sites. Click here to watch a video of HyQ in action and hear sound bites from engineers working on the project.

Can Medicine Expire Faster in Space?

Medical degradation in space is not a cause for concern, according to one study out of Baylor College. The study used samples of common medications such as pain relievers, sleeping aids and decongestants, which were sent back to Earth after spending 550 days on the International Space Station (ISS). Testing of the samples indicates that extreme conditions presented in space, such as elevated levels of radiation, had little effect on the viability of the medications tested.

Given all the talk of colonizing Mars –where medicines will be harder to restock than on the ISS — researchers admit they will need to conduct more studies before coming to a conclusion on the effectiveness of drugs in space. Click here to read the full article on the study.

New Bike Helmet Gives You Eyes in the Back of Your Head

Is this the smartest helmet ever created? Skully Inc., a California startup, has developed a motorcycle helmet that literally gives you eyes in the back of your head. After a brutal bike accident in Barcelona, the idea for the state-of-the-art helmet came to Skully CEO Marcus Weller in a dream (no, really). “What the video system in the helmet does is with zero latency it takes a 180-degree blind spot camera. It’s an ultra-wide-angle camera and it gives you eyes in the back of your head and it renders that in the heads-up display,” said Weller.

The helmet is also Bluetooth compatible, allowing for hands-free navigation and streaming music. Click here to find out when you could get your hands on a Skully helmet and watch a demo of it in action.

Regards,

Amanda Stiltner
for The Daily Reckoning

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