Arthropod Appreciation Day

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Soil arthropods, invertebrate animals with exoskeletons, including ants, termites and millipedes, munch their way through plant litter that ends up as the nutrient rich soil upon which complex terrestrial life depends. Most of us, though, are likely only dimly aware of the essential roles arthropods play in maintaining ecosystems. We are more apt to regard arthropods as pests, and thus with a vague annoyance, or in a fearful context. Termites, for example, are likely far better recognized for the terror they instill in homeowners, than for the fact that they process up to 60% of plant debris. This is no small feat, and it is worth understanding the critical role arthropods play as either plant litter ‘transformers’ or ‘ecosystem engineers’. Continue reading

Good News for BAD (Bile Acid Diarrhoea)

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Bile acid diarrhoea (BAD) is a common cause of chronic diarrhoea and can be highly debilitating, causing a significant reduction in the quality of life. It is unfortunately under-recognized and under-diagnosed by clinicians as the cause for this common affliction. This is mostly due to current definitive testing requiring expensive and advanced nuclear medicine technology that is not commonly available or not used at all in some countries (such as the US). Continue reading