theoretically...

Bacteria which are not killed by vancomycin, known as the antibiotic of last resort, are worrying Japanese scientists. With a growing number of hospitals becoming worried about "superbug" strains of MRSA - methicillin- resistant staphylococcus aureus - the Japanese team has found S. aureus strains which are not killed by vancomycin, reports New Scientist. Microbiologists had forecast that vancomycin-resistant S. aureus would emerge, after the discovery of resistant strains of the enterococcus bacteria. If MRSA strains also gain vancomycin resistance, the result could be "a nightmare", said one specialist. No new antibiotics have been developed since the 1970s.

The view that ice ages in the last two to three million years were probably caused by variations in the Earth's orbital path has won extra backing. Science published a report by a team who compared the past climate - as laid down in ocean corals from Barbados and samples from the Arizona desert. The corals indicated that the time of the sea-level change during the last ice age matches the idea that variations in the Earth's orbit changed our climate. The desert samples provided a "clock" against which to measure the corals' chronology.

South Korea's lack of guidelines over use of gene therapy hasn't stopped a group from carrying it out on a 33-year-old woman suffering from breast cancer. They treated her with a retrovirus with the interleukin-12 gene, which is reckoned to spark off the immune system to act against cancer cells, reported Nature. While the treatment might make sense, use of an advanced medical technique in the absence of a medical and legal framework might be cause for concern. One of the researchers, Sunyoung Kim, said that setting up government guidelines was taking too long and that "it would not be fair to be left behind" just because of their absence.

When hearts go wrong, could it be the fault of a single piece of the contraction mechanism? After all, your heart contracts more than three billion times in a lifetime - even a tiny defect would eventually turn into something dramatic. That's the suggestion of a team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the latest issue of Science. If they're right, high blood pressure (hypertension) could lead to a progressive decrease in the heart's ability to contract. The team points out that people with hypertension have heart cells that grow larger to compensate for the increased pressure. The over-large cells can't contract well, leading to a breakdown of the contraction mechanism. But the same flaw was also found in failing hearts - a clue, perhaps, that the same defect underlies the trouble.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee