UTI – Bacteria Invasion

Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 | 0 comments

I’ve somehow made it through 5 stories without talking about one of the most famous pathological agents… bacteria.  It’s time.

Bacteria1 are incredibly different from us.  We are more closely related to dinosaurs, roses, mushrooms, and even slime molds than we are to bacteria!

A greatly pruned version of the tree of life - bacteria branch off from most other forms of life very early.

A greatly pruned version of the tree of life. Bacteria branch off from most other forms of life very early.

There are plenty of good bacteria – they make yogurt or break down our trash– but the most famous are the bad ones.  They have names like E. coli, Staph, and Strep, and we don’t particularly enjoy their presence.  Generally, when bacteria invade, the invaded part gets warm, swollen, and tender (though there are many exceptions).  Let’s learn more by looking at one particular kind of invasion: a urinary tract infection (UTI).

  1. Bacteria is plural, bacterium is singular (because it’s a Latin neuter noun).  Now you can sound like a nerd. []
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Hives – A Body on High Alert

Posted by on Feb 16, 2013 | 3 comments

Today, we’ll be following an anaphylactic reaction to an allergen.  

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor – just a bioengineer who happens to find pathophysiology fascinating.  If you find an error, please let me know!  Als0, NONE of my drawings are to scale.

An allergy starts out very innocently.  Everything is humming along: white blood cells patrolling the blood stream, stomach merrily digesting shellfish, or medicine destroying bacteria.

Meet Jill.



Jill’s taking a particular antibiotic for the first time, and it’s working great: fighting bacteria just like it’s supposed to.

Unfortunately, her white blood cells are getting curious. 

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