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TWiV 169 Letters

Sophie writes:

Dear twiv/twip/twim hosts (not really sure where this mail belongs).

I recently started reading a lot more papers than what I'm used to (school related) and I actually find it quite difficult to use them.

Of course it doesn't help that English is my second language, but I can't help thinking that it's more than that, so:

How do you make a paper accessible to yourself? I mean, everybody can read a paper, but actually extracting the relevant information seems more like an art than anything else.

How do you avoid getting lost in the details or missing them completely? When I read the methods for example, everything kind of runs together, especially when they repeat the same experiments just with different doses or a slightly different composition of drugs (vet school student).

In short, I guess I'm asking: How do you decode a paper, to get out the relevant information without getting lost?

Thanks again for the great podcasts:)

Sincerely Sophie

P.S. (Dickson): I just started my parasitology course and I must admit, I never really appreciated the intricacies of protozoa, I mean, they're amazing (I'm going all "squee" when reading about them)! I can't comprehend how a single cell can have a "mouth" and everything, I think I might just found out what I want to do my bachelor project on (final project you do at the end of your undergrad).

Joanna writes:

Greetings! I have a question regarding the Influenza Type A H5N1 virus.

Why is its genome purely avian? (Why isn't it like some other flu virus genomes which are partly human in nature and partly avian...?)

The answer will really be helpful to me. Thank you very much.


Simon writes:

Hi Vincent and friends,

I recently finished reading this fascinating book on the black death caused by the parasite Y. pestis which was carried by the oriental rat flea throughout Europe during the 14th Century (1340-1350s) and I thought it would be great to recommend the book to those interested in infectious diseases.

The Great Mortality written by John Kelly is a, fascinating tale concerning the "rise and fall" of plague throughout Europe. John Kelly takes the reader through each country of Europe describing in great detail the horrors of the arrival of a new disease to a continent where little immunity ment 2/3 of the European population perished. The book begins with the arrival of the disease through the ports of Italy with particular attention given to Genoa it then details the advancement of the pestilence giving an idea of the epidermatological considerations for a new pandemic. A discussion of recent scholarship on both the origin and the nature of the plague is also included.


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