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article imageNew insight for tackling syphilis

By Tim Sandle     Nov 29, 2013 in Health
The bacterial pathogens that cause Lyme disease and syphilis penetrate tissue barriers. By understanding this, researchers hop to develop new treatments.
The bacteria that cause Lyme disease and syphilis are called spirochetes. These organisms are able to work their way through human tissue and are regarded as highly invasive.
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by at least three species of bacteria. After several months, untreated or inadequately treated patients may go on to develop severe and chronic symptoms that affect many parts of the body, including the brain, nerves, eyes, joints and heart. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection, symptoms most commonly involve the skin, mucous membranes, and lymph nodes.
Until recently, scientists have not fully understood how these bacteria move through and into organs, tissues, and the central nervous system. The reason is that the bacteria are very clever at adapting to different environmental stresses. Specifically, the bacteria can vary their swimming speeds, and they are able to decrease their speed with increases in the viscosity of their external environment, allowing them to work through different tissues.
Knowing this could lead to ways of preventing the bacteria from entering certain tissue by tricking them that an environment is more or less thick than it actually is.
The findings have been published in the publication Biophysical Journal. The paper is titled “Viscous Dynamics of Lyme Disease and Syphilis Spirochetes Reveal Flagellar Torque and Drag”.
More about Syphilis, Lyme disease, Tissues, Disease
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