Another interesting TED talk today.
This one is by Bonnie Bassler, who discovered how cell populations use chemical powwows to stage attacks, evade immune systems and forge slimy defenses called biofilms. For that, she won a MacArthur "genius" grant.
At the beginning of Bassler's slideshow, she displays Lyme Disease as one of the bacteria we are in a war against, and she proceeds to explain how bacteria communicate with one another to invade us.
Once bacteria reach a certain population level after dividing, they release a chemical message that triggers their virulence. This communication is known as "quorum sensing" and many bacteria do it.
There is also another bacterial communication method known as "efficiency sensing" which is not mentioned here, but worth investigating.
I highly recommend taking 18 minutes out of your day to watch this video, and think about the implications of her research for Lyme Disease patients - as well as for anyone needing to treat bacterial infections in the future.
Bonnie Bassler's Homepage: http://www.molbio.princeton.edu/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=27