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Tough-to-Treat Bladder Infections:
Stubborn bladder infections may persist after treatment because the bacteria that cause them multiply inside the lining cells of the bladder wall, forming "pods" that contain huge numbers of bacteria, new findings suggest. The majority of urinary tract
infections are caused by certain strains of E. coli, which colonize the epithelial cells lining the bladder. Gregory G. Anderson and colleagues discovered that the bacteria are clustered together in a matrix called a "biofilm," creating pod-like bulges on the bladder surface in mice. The pods are sealed
off from the host immune responses and coated with the same substance that makes the bladder wall impermeable. Every so often the pods break open to release the bacteria, which triggers another round of inflammation and causes a recurrence of symptoms. This discovery "establishes a new paradigm in our
understanding of acute and recurrent urinary tract infections," the authors write and should help future work on developing
treatment for this common condition. The Science Journal
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