Cure for the Common Cold? Silver Bullet Takes a Shot

What if you were getting really intimate with someone, you thought you were turning him on, and then he started sneezing uncontrollably? Some people have fits of sneezing right after orgasm, and still others sneeze just by thinking about sex. Mahmood Bhutta, a specialist in ear-nose-and-throat surgery at England's Wexham Park Hospital, did a little research in Internet chat rooms (yes, we know, not exactly hard science) and found that there seem to be people who have this rather unsexy problem, according to Web MD. Experts say it could be due to the fact that the inside of the nose has erectile tissue in it, which can swell, in some people, at inopportune times. It's not a disorder, just a condition, says clinical psychologist and sex expert Dr. Joy Browne. "Don't be embarrassed, just say you have allergies!' she says. istockphoto

(istockphoto)

(CBS) Silver bullets may work against werewolves, but what about the common cold?

A Belgian scientist says "friendly" bacteria studded with microscopic particles of silver could be used to prevent colds and influenza by destroying the viruses that cause them, according to the Daily Mail.

He says the silvery germs have already proven effective against norovirus, a common cause of vomiting and stomach upset.

The silver "nanoparticles" - each 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair - work by clumping around viruses, the paper reported.

"There are concerns about using such small particles of silver in the human body and what harm it might cause to human health, so we have attached the silver nanoparticles to the surface of a bacterium," Professor Willy Verstraete, a microbiologist from the University of Ghent in Belgium, told the newspaper. "It means the silver particles remain small, but they are not free to roam around the body."

Dr. Verstraete, who spoke about his research at a recent scientific meeting in London, said the bacteria could be incorporated into water filters, chopping boards, and other consumer products to prevent the spread of infectious viruses, as well as into nasal sprays.

Sounds exciting. But will it really work?

It's to soon to tell, Dr. Kathryn Edwards, director of the vaccine research program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., tells CBS News. "This is interesting research, and it certainly bears further study.," she says. "But we would need to know how much reduction of the viruses there is, and you would want to make sure there are no downsides," such as nasal irritation or wheezing.

Dr. Edwards said that several years ago a flu vaccine containing a toxin derived from cholera wound up causing transient facial paralysis.

Be wary of silver? Yes, says Dr. Edwards.

Just like werewolves.

  • David W Freeman

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