Discovered: Pediatricians warn of trampoline's dangers; a treatment for progeria; virus touted as cure for pimples; research universities in financial straits.
Pediatricians want to spoil everyone's fun. Bouncing around on trampolines until the point of nausea is one the childhood's most innocent joys. But trampolines are also responsible for about 98,000 injuries every year according to research from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Over 3,000 of those injuries led to hospitalization. Citing such figures, pediatricians have "strongly discouraged" parents from letting kids play on their backyard death traps. Mishaps mostly occur when multiple people are on the trampoline simultaneously. The International Trampoline Industry Association and the American Society of Testing and Materials Trampoline Subcommittee—which are both real organizations—has not updated their user safety recommendations since 1999. [Los Angeles Times]
Could bacterial acne be eradicated with a virus? No one wants acne, but close to 90 percent of us get zit outbreaks at least once in our lives. Various ointments and scrubs and pills and wipes all purport to reduce pimples, but there's still no sure-fire cure. But University of California, Los Angeles University of Pittsburgh scientists think they're on to something with their new research into the Propionibacteriumacnes phages virus. "Harnessing a virus that naturally preys on the bacteria that cause pimples could offer a promising new tool," writes Robert Modlin, co-author of a paper published in MBio. It might seem counter-intuitive to fight a harmless but cosmetically undesirable affliction with a viral infection, but the researchers say that their experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of P. acnes phages in killing acne-causing bacteria while remaining otherwise harmless. "Phages are programmed to target and kill specific bacteria, so P. acnes phages will attack only P. acnes bacteria, but not others like E. coli," says lead author Laura Marinelli of UCLA. "This trait suggests that they offer strong potential for targeted therapeutic use." [Smithsonian]