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TWiM 82 Letters

Follow-up on TWiM #81:

Dave writes:

Friends, please forgive brevity of pleasantry; sleep is overdue (internet Player FM re-podcast excellent soporific).

Fear presumptuous correction of trivia you already know, but, re: stress and arterial plaques, some points. Stress is not just perceptual/emotive response to psychological irritants like commuting. The popular usage has been misleading us. It is bodily response to stressors including many non-psychological events, including physical exercise. Therefore, sudden BP changes in even "moderate" exercise, at least when not begun with modulated warmup, is a stressor to arteries and their plaques. Regular exercise benefits longevity in many documented ways, but burst of exercise can also rupture (burst) plaque deposits (as well as initiating arterial damage for initiation of plaque site), releasing gruel into circulation and setting off the big trouble as it clogs the smaller vessels. (With bad luck, even well modulated exercise might do it.)
Arterial plaques, Vinnie, unless my ignorance has overtaken me, are distinctly macroscopic. You can definitely see them. Resident bacteria and biofilms are fascinating news to ignorant self, certainly microscopic, and must have distinct role in plaque derived sudden circulatory injuries. The whole topic sounds thrillingly promising.

So maybe Vince doesn't need a driver, and Michelle had better watch out how she exercises. And we should all hope for fortunate expression of our genes. And for magical cold iron transport, or whatever.

PS Re: pre-, proto-, or prokaryotes vis a vis eukaryotes -- awhile back, in a perverse moment, I skimmed an interview with a Bible literal believer who is biology professor (Dept. Chair? !) at Regency or Liberty University (who can keep em straight), arguing for a 6000 y/o earth and denying evolution "dogma", which he illustrated by nonsense about pro-evolution bias being built into modern bio by sly usages of language such as "pro" and "eu". Since "pro" means "before," he said, the bias is a built in acceptance that they came before "true" cells, thus adding years to the story of life and denying the Biblical true age of life, the earth, and everything, including the evolution of species in any meaningful way..

I betcha the pre and proto discussion mentioned by the letter writer has some place in this teapot tempestuousness. I'd guess "protokaryotes" protects against the suggestion that those cells may have temporal precedence, but are merely simpler versions of the fully formed thing. Or something.

On which note, as long as PhD candidates aren't misled about jobs, the more educated the better. Staff scientist is one good idea. So is Forest Ranger. So is RN. So is high school teacher, or teaching college. Etc. Besides, faculty need students.

Admiringly,
Dave
Fresno

Tarwin writes:

As always thanks for the podcasts.

Weather jumping between 20 / 30 (celsius, depending if I'm in San Francisco or Palo Alto).

Very quick idea / question. Do you think there could be a link between hypoferremia (anemia) and defence against bacteria in relation to it being a conserved trait in humans?

Regards,

Tarwin

Rick writes (re:zombie plants):

Interesting that you focused more on the behavior of the zombie more than that of the vampire.

My question is: what is the mechanism providing the awareness that you would assume would be necessary to comprehend the behavior of the creature being influenced or zombificated.

Does the virus have a telescope to see what's going on at our human scale of existence?

Another great show. Thanks.

Alice writes:

An interesting study regarding the development of the microbiome of infants - would be a fascinating discussion, I think, following your discussions of evidence for bacterial species in brain and urine.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/22/health/study-sees-bigger-role-for-placenta-in-newborns-health.html?_r=0

Might be a good pair with the lung data.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/lung-microbes-keep-mice-breathing-easy/

Geoffrey writes:

Doctors:

I believe that you missed the most important question in this episode. Can the N-formylated peptides that were found to induce pain in some bacterial infections be used in cooking? I smell a whole host of potential patents in the spicy foods marketplace.

Thanks, as always, for the show.

Shane writes:

Hi TWiM hosts,

I have been a long time listener to TWIM, TWIP and TWIV, but have never written to TWIM before.

I really enjoyed your episode Twim #79, in particular the story about using Listeria as an immunotherapy for Cancer. I am not very familiar with Listeria and my knowledge of the immune system is limited to what I have heard on TWIV and Vincent's Coursera course so this story prompted me for clarification on a few points.

1. If you can use the surface antigen from the tumor to stimulate an immune response against the tumors why don't the tumors themselves already stimulate the required immune response. If the immune system isn't responding to the antigen on the tumor why would it respond to the antigen secreted by the listeria, does the antigen have to be in the cytosol of a cell to be detected?

2. If the listeria has a mutated internalin which won't allow it to attach and get into cells, how is it getting into the cytosol to stimulate the immune response or is it just secreting the antigen in the extra-cellular space? Or is it only picked up and eaten by macrophages?

3. If the the listeria is using these Actin rockets to propel itself from cell to cell, how does it get out of the existing cell, does the actin propel it through the membrane to it just breaks through the both the current cell and the destination cells membrane, or does it use the actin to get to the cell membrane and then use the internalin to get out of the cell and get into the next cell?

Thanks for your amazing efforts on the best science podcasts on the internet, keep up the great work.

 

 

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