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TWiP 54 Letters

Tommy writes:

Hi Vincent and Dickson,

I was listening to the new episode of TWiP (episode 52) and one of your listeners wrote in asking about tree parasites. While plant parasite is not my main field of research, I have written about one such parasite on the Parasite of the Day blog - the nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus which causes the tree disease known as Pine Wilt.


The basis for that post was actually a PLoS Pathogens paper on the genomic characteristics of that particular parasite.

In addition, there are also numerous insects, nematodes, and bacteria that can infect plant tissue and induce gall formation. I feel that
Dickson might be fond of those plant parasites because much like Trichinella spiralis, these organisms are capable of manipulating the
architecture of the host's tissue, forcing it to grow structures that both house and feed the parasites - much like T. spiralis with its
nurse cell.

Mike writes:

Dear doctors Racaniello and Despomier,

I just wanted to write in with a bit of praise. I have been a regular listener of TWIV for over a year now, and I'm just now catching up with both TWIM and TWIP. I have to say after having listened to the episode on hook worm and the remarkable back story given by Dickson about that organism in a historical context, that I am truly impressed. I spent ten years reading about history outside of school in my youth, and I must say that I am deeply impressed by both the depth and breadth of Dickson's knowledge.

Thank you both for a wonderful show and the hours and hours of edutainment.


Suzanne writes:

RE: earthworms

They come out when it rains because they can. It's not so much that they avoid wet tunnels when it rains as they usually avoid dry ground. When the ground is wet they can come out so they do.

Jeff writes:

Hello twip hosts,

I just listened to TWIP 52 and all the emails had to do with you guys mentioning stopping TWIP. I just discovered TWIP last summer (2012), and I've caught up with all the episodes! I just wanted to let you guys know that TWIP has kept my mind constantly busy during half day hikes in the Pacific Northwest Cascades! I thoroughly enjoy the report Vincent and Dick have. I love the jokes. It is one of my favorite podcasts.

I was trained as a Chemist at San Diego State, so I have a special connection to TWIM, with the SDSU hosts that are often on there. I now live near Portland, Oregon and hike quite frequently.

I hope none of the TWI's die, and I thank you two for all your work and information you've given to thousands of people.


Rick writes:

Hello Dr. Racaniello and Dr. Despommier!

I, like many, had a sinking feeling in my stomach when cancelling the show was proposed earlier. I was refreshed to hear this will not happen! Dr. Despommier, do you know the Komuniecki's at The University of Toledo? I had the opportunity to do some work in her lab (Patricia) working with Ascaris suum. Ah, the trips to the slaughterhouse.

If I may make a suggestion for a TWIP, TWIM, and TWIV: drugs. A review of antiparsitic agents and resistance mechanisms. Likewise antibiotics and resistance mechanisms (the New Delhi metallo-beta lactamase, cfr resistance, erm resistance, effluc pumps, gyrase mutations and everything TB has). What a show(s) that would be. TWIV, well i know there are not as many antivirals (for non-retroviral infections) but why not. Then again there is no shortage of TWIV episodes (sorry Dr. D).

Thank you both so much for all of the education and the history lessons. I am always captivated by Dr. D's stories.

Best regards,
Rick in Toledo OH, patiently waiting for spring to come

Spencer writes:

Dear Vincent and Dickson,

Attached is a letter which I think represents a sad state of affairs for parasitologists, epidemiologists, physicians and particularly for patients. It is a decision probably driven purely by cost. In the past year, I have treated a patient at this hospital with amoebic dysentery. Was this patient part of the 0.3 percent? Could you address the quoted statistic about the overwhelming giardia/cryptosporidium being found nationwide?


Spencer Kroll MD PhD

Frank writes:

Dr. Racaniello,

It is 50F and sunny today in Central Illinois, with plenty of flooding in low lying areas.

I would like to start by saying Thank You for the three TWiX podcasts. I enjoy listening to them during my commutes and while I am out walking. They are helping to keep my skills in Immuno/Micro/Etc while I am busy with my medical school studies in many other topics also.

I want to point out one clarification that applies to this weeks TWiP #53. You stated that a positive PPD indicated an active TB infection. It actually indicates that the patient has been infected with TB at some point. Most individuals that are PPD positive will not develop active TB unless if there is an issue with their nutrition or immune system.

The active disease is when there is clinical or radiographic evidence of the disease. Without either of these the patient at worst has a latent form of TB. This is important to know because latent TB is virtually non-transmissible.

It is also important to note that some patients with HIV and other immune disorders that effect the T cell population will not react appropriately to a PPD test due to a lack of T cells that cause the skin reaction.

SIU School of Medicine

PS I will be at the ASM conference in Denver. Do you know where and when you will be recording any TWiXs while you are there?

Marcel writes:

Hello TWIP team,

I love your family of shows, but while listening to TWiP 53, I noticed that Dickson used the word Eskimo. I hate to play politically-correct police, but Eskimo is now considered as fairly derogatory (at least in Canada and Greenland). The word, meaning "eaters of raw meat" by some accounts, has been replaced here by the word Inuit.

Just something to consider. Love the show!

Marcel in Canada

Justin writes:

I bought crabs from a local grocery (Pathmarket ) and noticed these small black ovals the size of sesame seeds (image attached and compared to the size of a quarter) on one of the legs and I was hoping you could identify this and confirm its normal and an ectoparsite. I love the show.

Thank you!

IMG 20130426 231444


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