New Study Reveals Microbe That Causes Food Poisoning Exerts Radically Different Symptoms in Mice


miceApproximately 48 million people get sick as a result of food poisoning every year, and about 3,000 of them will lose their lives from food-borne illnesses. While the microbe causing this usually makes us want to do anything but eat, a new study revealed that it had the opposite effect when injected into mice.

Immunomicrobiologist Janelle Ayres of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego and her colleagues began the project with the goal of determining how reduced eating affects a certain type of Salmonella bacterium.

Researchers who worked on the study believe that they may be able to use this information to formulate a new way to increase appetite in cancer patients and elderly individuals, who often lose their desire to eat.

Immunophysiologist Keith Kelley of the University of Illinois in Urbana wasn’t involved in the study, but he believes that the researchers have the right idea. “It’s the way disease responses should be investigated,” he said.

After in-depth research, Ayres and her team discovered that SlrP, a bacterial protein, could be used to increase or decrease the effects of the Salmonella bacterium. In turn, the appetite of the infected mice would change.

The research results suggested that Salmonella actually uses this protein to control how much the mouse is capable of eating. A disease that kills its host isn’t very effective at spreading, after all, which means the virus has to find ways of surviving while also keeping its host alive.

Humans may not have to worry about this Salmonella-induced binge eating, but food poisoning is still something should be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, many Americans may be getting bad advice when it comes to safe cooking techniques.

Researchers at Kansas State University recently concluded that celebrity chefs don’t practice proper food safety, which may turn more than a few people off to eating out for a while.

The USDA, FDA, and CDC all sponsored the study, which observed 100 cooking shows hosted by celebrity chefs. Almost all of the shows exhibited some form of poor food preparation behavior.

The biggest finding of the Kansas State University study was that celebrity chefs could influence better or worse food prep practices in the homes of those people watching the shows. Even simple changes like reminding viewers to wash their hands and change out their cutting boards could have saved many people from common food-borne illnesses.

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