The 1000 Year Old Cow Bile & Garlic Remedy That’s Killing MRSA

Microbiologists have been amazed to find a 1000 year old Anglo-Saxon remedy has the power to kill antibiotic-resistant MRSA.

The British Library in London holds an old leather-bound volume that is known as Bald’s Leechbook, that experts say is one of the world’s earliest medical manuscripts.

Bald’s Leechbook contains not only medical advice, but also recipes for various medicines, treatments and ointments, including one for a salve that was used to treat eye infections. It is this eye ointment that proved to kill antibiotic-resistant MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

Scientists at Nottingham University made four separate batches of the salve using fresh ingredients – garlic, onion, wine and cow bile – as well as a control treatment using the same quantity of distilled water and brass sheeting to mimic the brewing container but without the vegetable compounds. The salve was then strained and left to set for 9 days before testing commenced.

“Take cropleek and garlic, of both equal quantities, pound them well together…take wine and bullocks gall, mix with the leek…let it stand nine days in the brass vessel…” the medieval recipe instructs.

None of the individual ingredients alone had any measurable effect, but when combined according to the recipe, the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) populations of bacteria, were almost totally obliterated – only about one bacterial cell in a thousand survived.

Image credit: Dirk-Jan Kraan


Spring Clean Your CV for Summer!

As spring has arrived, what better time to give your CV a thorough spring clean!

Your CV can be a powerful tool when it comes to marketing yourself to potential employers, and is often the first step taken towards securing that all-important first interview. Follow our tips below to ensure that your CV is appealing and content rich.


  • Take out information that no longer supports your career goals. Irrelevant roles can be deleted or grouped together in an “Additional Experience” section to allow prominence of those that are more relevant.
  • Get to the point! Keep sentences short yet informative.
  • Easy-to-read and visually appealing text is preferable to densely packed paragraphs with information that ‘waffles’. Keep to the point, keep relevant.
  • Keep it uniform – use the same font throughout and use bullet points to list duties.


  • Choose a font that is easy to read on screen, experiment with sizes (smaller for company details, for example) and use bold to highlight key information.
  • Tailor your CV to the role you are aiming for – ideally cross-reference the job description to ensure you are using appropriate keywords. Evidence is key!
  • List your job duties beneath each position. List your achievements, responsibilities and results.
  • Prioritise the order of your duties to match the requirements of the position you are applying for.
  • Work experience should be in reverse chronological order – current job first.
  • Use the past tense for previous jobs and the present tense for your current job.
  • Explain any gaps in your work history – travelling, maternity leave, education.


  • Thinking of changing career direction? Returning to a previous job? Aiming for a promotion? Older experience such as previous roles, skills, achievements, training, projects etc may now be more relevant!
  • Be prepared to rework the theme and layout of your CV. You may want to re-position older details to make them more prominent, or highlight different aspects of your experience to make them appear more relevant for your current goals.
  • Obtained a new professional or personal achievement? Additional duties added to your role? Constantly updating your CV every time a relevant happening occurs within your current role or personal life will assure that your CV is always ready and up to date, should the perfect opportunity arise.

Image credit: 3dpete

The Worms Detecting Cancer…

A research group in Japan has carried out a study which suggests that roundworms can be used to accurately detect cancers in patients through odours in their urine.

The nematodes (or roundworms) used in the study were attracted to the urine of cancer patients and avoided the urine of the healthy candidates taking part. Their behaviour provides a more useful method of detection than that afforded by dogs which have also been used in cancer detection. The dog’s ability to concentrate on the task affects the accuracy of diagnosis; an issue avoided through the use of nematodes.

The researchers were able to identify five cancer-positive patients who were not recognized as such when their urine was obtained.

The group is now working to produce a screening device incorporating this method to be put to use commercially as early as 2019.  The test is painless and would allow for urine samples to be taken at home and then along to a testing site. A patient’s results could then be obtained within ninety minutes in a process which would save time and reduce medical costs.

The nematodes detected cancers at an earlier stage than conventional testing, allowing for the possibility of earlier screenings and diagnosis in the future. Earlier treatment for those testing positive could also be achieved. With the sensitivity of the test placed at 95.8% (higher than tumour-marker diagnosis tests conducted using blood samples) more accurate results may be attained.

Although this method of testing cannot detect which type of cancer a person is suffering from, researchers have succeeded in developing nematodes to react in different ways to specific cancers.

Image credit: John Donges

Bionic Eye Restores Sight…

A bionic eye implant has been used to allow Allen Zderad, a man who has been blind for the past ten years, to see outlines of people and objects for the first time since losing his vision.

Zderad suffers from a degenerative condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa that causes the cells in the retina which collect light to die. Prior to the use of the implant, he was only able to see very bright light and relied on a cane to assist his mobility.

The bionic eye implant is made by Second Sight and was given to Zderad as part of a clinical trial. It is named Retinal Prosthesis and consists of a small electronic chip that is placed at the back of the eye. This chip sends visual signals directly into the optic nerve, bypassing the damaged cells in the retina.

A set of glasses containing a tiny camera makes up the external part of the device alongside a small computer the patient wears around their waist. The camera in the glasses takes pictures replicating those gathered by the human eye and feeds the information to the computer. The images are translated into light signals which pass through a wireless transmitter to electrodes in the patient’s eye. The electrodes transmit the light signals to the brain through the rest of the retina and the optic nerve cells which remain healthy.

Zderad was given the implant as part of a clinical trial and was immediately able to reach out and take his wife’s hand as the implant was activated.  He is about to undertake a course of physical therapy which will better enable him to interpret the light signals from the implant.

Image credit: Desirae

E.Coli Fibres as Strong as Spider Silk…

Spider silk is a protein fibre spun by spiders, and is stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar! Spiders use their silk to make webs or other structures, which function as nets to catch other animals, or as nests or cocoons to protect their offspring. They can also use their silk to suspend themselves.

Efforts to create our own spider silk have so far failed to match the real thing. Now a German research group has equalled its toughness.

Previous attempts have focussed on two molecules that provide material properties. However, Thomas Scheibel at the University of Bayreuth in Germany and his colleagues realised that this neglected two smaller molecules that help align the strands. His team spliced spider genes into E. coli, which enabled the bacteria to produce all four molecules in a bath of alcohol and water. The team then used a method called wet spinning to draw out the fibres, creating the artificial silk.

The material is not as strong as real silk, but is more elastic, so it can absorb as much energy as the real thing.

The toughness of the current fibre can be put to good use in making car airbags. “An airbag should have exactly the properties that a spider web has,” says Scheibel – strong and elastic. Current airbags, made from materials like Kevlar, are strong but not elastic, so they can reflect energy from a crash back into the driver and cause injuries. The artificial silk could solve this, provided the team can scale up production, which might be difficult, says Scheibel.

Image credit: Alias 0591

Does the Naked Mole Rat have the Power to STOP Cancer?

The underground naked mole rat has been found to produce a hybrid protein that prevents tumour growth. The discovery was made by scientists at the University of Rochester in New York.

The protein is associated with a cluster of genes (called a locus) that is also found in humans and mice. It is the job of that locus to encode several cancer-fighting proteins. The locus found in naked mole rats encodes a total of four cancer-fighting proteins, while the human and mouse version encodes only three.

Despite their names, naked mole rats are neither moles nor rats (nor are they totally hairless). These remarkable creatures are more closely related to porcupines and guinea pigs. They are subterranean rodents that have never been known to get cancer despite having a 30-year lifespan.

Naked mole rats live in the horn of Africa and are native to Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. They’re not blind, yet their eyes are very small and naked mole rats will often close them when they run through the tunnels.

The findings by Seuanov and Gorbunova research team have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesIn an effort to determine whether the effective protein is also found in mice and humans, the researchers tried to screen mouse and human cells and tissues for the protein hybrid, but were unsuccessful. “While our work doesn’t eliminate the possibility that the protein exists under some conditions in mice and humans, the results suggest that it’s highly unlikely,” said Gorbunova.

Tests have shown that the protein can prevent human cells from turning cancerous, and researchers hope to use it develop new treatments in the future for patients with cancer.

Image credit: Jedimentat44

On & On We Grow – Introducing Liz Holdsworth

At Kinetica, we are always on the hunt for new talent to join our team and have recently had the pleasure of recruiting our newest member – Liz Holdsworth.

Liz has five years’ experience in the recruitment industry – four of which have been spent in the pharmaceutical and medical device markets.

Since joining Kinetica, Liz has focussed her efforts purely in the pharmaceutical sector, as this is where her strongest professional relationships have been built with clients and candidates alike.

With a genuine interest in the pharmaceutical industry, Liz can often be found pouring over articles and news items on the movements and progress of technology and science in this area.

Liz specialises in mid to senior level appointments, covering functions such as: Quality & Regulatory, Technical, R&D, Engineering & Manufacturing, Sales & Marketing, Operations Management and Continuous Improvement. She recruits both permanent and contract roles, and geographically covers the UK and Europe (Liz is also SECO registered for Swiss recruitment.)

Liz is a proven headhunter and a large majority of her work is exclusive or retained due to her impressive success rates. She has never placed a candidate in a role that didn’t prove fruitful, and can boast of 100% rebate-free track record.

If you are seeking an opportunity in the pharmaceutical sector, give Liz a call on 0113 261 71 81 or email or connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Liz Holdsworth

World First: the Woman with the Magnetic Spine

An Irish woman has become the first adult in the world to receive a revolutionary remote controlled ‘robo spine’.

Deirdre McDonnell was diagnosed with scoliosis as a newborn baby. After undergoing the first of many operations at just six weeks old, surgeons decided to try the pioneering MAGEC rod operation back in June 2014.

After three decades of living in pain with a 130 degree ‘C’ shaped spine, surgeons performed an operation that involved screwing magnetic rods in to Deidre’s spine. These rods can now be controlled externally to correct the curvature and straighten her spine.

Deirdre said: ‘The operation has completely changed my life. Before, I could only walk short distances without being in pain but now I love to walk everywhere.

‘After more than 30 years of operations and taking painkillers, I’m finally hopeful for the future.’

Up until now, the £15,000 procedure has only been performed on children, as it was thought only to be effective for early onset scoliosis – typically diagnosed before the age of ten.

Thanks to the success of Deirdre’s operation, doctors are now hopeful that the bone implant will help other adults, many of whom have undergone a number of unsuccessful and painful invasive surgeries in an attempt to straighten and lengthen their spine.

Image credit: Kevin O’Mara

First Organ Donation from UK Newborn

Organs from a recently-deceased baby have been successfully transplanted in to two patients.

In a procedure described as a milestone in neonatal care, a newborn baby girl’s kidneys and liver cells were given to two separate recipients after her heart stopped beating.

It is the first time in Britain that transplant surgeons have carried out such an operation involving a new-born child. Despite newborn organ donations being performed in the US, Germany and Australia, doctors say guidance about the diagnosis of newborn death in the UK may hamper life-saving operations.

Experts argue there is potential for more life-saving donations, but say current UK guidelines are prohibitive.

Prof James Neuberger of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are pleased the first transplant of organs from a newborn in the UK was a success and we praise the brave decision of the family to donate their baby’s organs.

“The sad reality is for everybody to get the lifesaving transplant they are desperately in need of, more families who are facing the tragic loss of their young child will need to agree to donation.”

The parents of the deceased gave permission for the life-support to be switched off and for the baby girl’s organs to be used by the National Organ Retrieval Service after death had been confirmed.

In the last year, 4,655 organ transplants were carried out in Britain from donations made by 2,466 living and deceased organ donors. These included 206 heart transplants, 3,257 kidney transplants and 924 liver transplants.

At the present time, about 10,000 people in Britain are in need of an organ transplant and each year about 1,000 people die while waiting for a transplant.

Image credit: Christine Szeto

Implant Allows for Paralysed Rats to Walk Again

A new medical device attached to the spines of paralysed rats, has allowed for them to walk again.

Scientists have made a soft, flexible electrical implant that mimics the elasticity of the brain and spine’s protective tissue.

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology built the implant, called “e-dura,” after the dura mater, which is one of the layers of protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.

The device delivers electrical and chemical stimulation to the brain and spine, and when implanted in paralysed rats, gave the animals the ability to walk again – with some help.

Previously, it had been difficult for scientists to find a way to connect an electronic device to the spinal cord without damaging it. One obstacle is that electronics are made of stiff materials, whereas the spinal cord and its protective covering are more flexible. The new flexible device moves with the animals, keeping the stimulation attached to their neural tissue. The implants also did not trigger an immune response, the team reports.

The results could have implications for long-term treatment of paralysis and certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s, in humans.

Image credit: Harraz