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TWiV 162 Letters

Sarah writes:

Hello to the TWiV crew,

Here are a couple of picks I thought would be good for provoking thought and generating discussion...

While working on a project, I came across some papers attempting to define what "critical thinking" means. I appreciated the following quote and it reminded me of the many instances in TWiV where you hosts have discussed the scientific method and thinking critically about research findings. It came from a consensus statement on defining and promoting critical thinking, published in 1990 by a university Dean.

"The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fairminded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit."

(Quote is from Table 1)

Facione, P. (1990). Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction. Retrieved from http://assessment.aas.duke.edu/documents/Delphi_Report.pdf

Next, perhaps less of a pick and more to stimulate episode topic ideas for those of us who are "into" the medical side of virology, here is a paper about diagnosing viral acute respiratory infections using peripheral blood gene expression signatures. If this seems interesting to y'all, Dr. Zaas and/or Dr. Woods would be great guests on the podcast; they're both infectious disease physician-researchers.

Zaas, A. K. et al. (2009). Gene Expression Signatures Diagnose Influenza and Other Symptomatic Respiratory Viral Infection in Humans.Cell Host & Microbe 17, 207-217. doi:10.1016/j.chom.2009.07.006

Last, Dr. Woods would be an interesting guest for another reason - his interest and teaching activities in a movement called One Health, which looks at human health from a human, animal, and environmental perspective. I'm still wrapping my head around exactly what One Health is, but apparently it's even caught on at the CDC.



Keep up the great work - and keep having fun!

From justanotherkinase on twitter:

Dear TWiVatrons: FYI "mock" is a UK term for a practice exam. Loving the virology on TWiV 161. Please keep it up.

Gary writes:

Dear Wonderful TWiV People,

I just finished listening to your 161'st episode, well named "Concerto in B." Really well done! I've felt guilty that as a 30+ year practicing pediatrician, receiving my undergraduate and medical school education when most of this was necessarily only vaguely guessed at, I've not had the time and energy to explore the literature and bring myself up to date. This last podcast along with your previous work has provided a truckload of information that has made what would have been a K2 climb into an easy and fun one. Please consider dedicating a few of your future programs to more exploration of immune function basic science. In any case, I love listening to you guys!

All the best,

Gary, MD

Sebastopol, California

Thomas writes:

Dear TWIVers,

Firstly, my sincere gratitude for all the work you put in to making TWIV an absolute gem of a Podcast and a medium through which I can still feel involved in basic science and virology even though my studies currently have me memorizing the various proteins and associations of the coagulation cascade in medical school.

With that run-on sentence out of the way, I would like to comment on last week's TWIV regarding the CIDRAP release by saying I think you all handled it very well. Perhaps I make this conclusion due to my opinion being that which is shared by you all. Nonetheless, to suggest that science has a role in the progression of bioterrorism is probably not an incorrect statement, however, to suggest that scientists should refrain from certain works as a result of fear that knowledge and advancements may fall into the wrongs scientists' hands is ludicrous and I am glad you addressed this release.

This brings me to the reason I write you all today. I recently came across a video that shows a 1-on-1 discussion between an out-of-character Stephen Colbert and the always-fascinating Neil deGrasse Tyson. Briefly, the two discuss various issues regarding science, society, the universe, and knowledge. The entire discussion is well worth the 1 hour and 24 minutes, however there is a short section which I hope for you and all TWIV fans to watch which I think best portrays what my feelings (and I'm sure many others' feelings) regarding the issue that you discussed about scientific discovery in fields that are implicated in potential bio-threats. The section runs from about 16:00 to 17:40 and ends with Dr. Tyson stating that, "Everyone blames the scientists and we are collectively part of a society that is using or not using, to its benefit or its detriment, the discoveries made by science. And at the end of the day, it's not the discovery itself that is immoral, it's the application of it."

They go on to discuss many other issues I think are important regarding the scientific community and what role we take in society now, but I particularly like this one quote since it reminds us of an ever-developing collective scientific knowledge but does not blame the immoral application of this knowledge on science itself.

Either way, I hope you all enjoy the video, keep up the great work, and again thank you all for the weekly edu-tainment!




Kathy writes:

Hi Vincent, Rich, Alan, and Dick,

In TWiV 145, the inVinceable TWiV, a listener (David) wrote in to get suggestions of viruses that alter host behavior, resulting in increased transmission of the disease. He cited some parasitology examples and the classic rabies story, where rabies induces aggression that causes the infected animal to bite and transmit the virus. In TWiV 150, you read a suggestion from another listener (Kimberley), who described how baculovirus-infected caterpillars climb as high as possible, and then when the caterpillar melts from the infection, all the virus goo can fall down onto lower leaves. I have another suggestion, and that is viruses that cause pocks (P-O-C-K-S), including both varicella zoster virus, a virus in the herpesvirus family that causes chicken pox, and Rich’s own vaccinia virus. In both of these cases, the pocks or pustules that form are full of virus. The host response to infection causes these to itch, and scratching of the pocks then can release and spread the virus. I haven’t been able to find a good explanation of why mast cells or basophils might release histamine in the vicinity of pocks -- maybe there’s another explanation for the itchiness.

Another case might be any of the respiratory viruses that result in coughing or sneezing (think of the famous sneezing images, such as the top hits in a Google image search for "sneeze")...



Ayesha writes:

A few questions on on HPV.

Maybe you would be so kind as to pose a few questions to the next HPV expert you have as a guest. There are menstral tampon alternatives that women can reuse called the Keeper TM and the Mooncup (http://www.keeper.com/index.html). I was just wondering whether women using these products who are infected with the high risk HPVs could or would shed virus and if the virus could persist in these reusable cups (and act as a place where the virus can persist and reinfect cells on the cervix, leading to more risk for transformation). I can't find studies addressing this question in pubmed. I wonder what kills HPV: boiling, detergents, vineagar? How well does it persist in water? Maybe a cleaner could be devised to make these eco products safer if in fact HPV does persist in them. Maybe I should just send off an email to the HPV researcher you had on recently.

I work on HIV-1, epithelium and Candida albicans. I was really tantilized by the idea that retroviruses use the immune tolerace caused by gut flora as an opportunity to evade the immnue system. David Moyes a postdoc in the same group has described a mechanism by which oral epithelium tolorates resident yeast but sets off a defensive signalling cascade when hyphae become invasive.

Many thanks for your awesome podcast. It inspires me every time I listen and recommend it to anyone who will listen!

Michelle Ozbun replies:

Really good question. HPVs as non-enveloped viruses are much more resistant to desiccation and environmental assaults compared to enveloped viruses like (e.g.) HIV or flu or herpes. My friend and colleague Richard Roden showed some time ago that HPVs are sensitive to 70% EtOH. This is what we use to disinfect in my lab when working with papillomaviruses. Richard's work also suggested that boiling for 1 hr would reduce infectivity to near baseline. My lab reported that the particles are sensitive to acid and probably will fall apart in undiluted apple cider vinegar (pH typically between pH 4.25 - 5.00).

I recommend that the products be soaked in ethanol or 70% isopropanol for 1 hour or boiled for 1 hr (depending upon the nature of the product) before thorough rinsing in water.

Roden RBS, Lowy DR, Schiller JT (1997) Papillomavirus is resistant to desiccation. J Infect Dis 176: 1076-1079.

Smith JL, Campos SK, Wandinger-Ness A, Ozbun MA (2008) Caveolin-1 dependent infectious entry of human papillomavirus type 31 in human keratinocytes proceeds to the endosomal pathway for pH-dependent uncoating. J Virol 82: 9505-9512.

I'm sure that both women and men shed virus as a route of transmission. However, I don't think anyone has investigated the reinfection issues posed, and little is understood about re-infection or infection of adjacent tissues in an infected individual... though I suspect this occurs.


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