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TWiP 8 letters

Christina writes:

Dear Vincent and Dick Just a quick message to say thank you for this informative and fun podcast series, I have enjoyed all three episodes and hope to listen to many more. Jusy the right thing for a former leishmaniac, now teache

Shawn writes:

Hi I just found your podcast and am enjoying it immensely I just have one nagging question about the first episode where it was said there was no parasites more complex than insects. I wondering about lampray witch i find kind of horrifying and then I also was thinking of vampire bats.

Thank for the podcast and your time.

Michael writes:

Hey guys,

I love the show, but am disappointed that it is only once a month! Please do at least twice a month. (I'm sure we'll be begging for every week then)

I am a pre-med student and love to learn from TWiV and TWiP.

I would also love if you would talk some more about how the body will respond to some of these parasites, in regards with the various humoral responses. (How will the parasites you are talking about show up in the blood chemistry)

Thanks for your time.

Destanie writes:

Hi I recently started listing to twiv a few weeks ago, through which I found twip. I must say I didn't think that parasites could be so interesting! I love what you guys are doing and the only thing I would change is the frequency! I'd love to hear more.

Jessie writes:

Hi Dr. Racaniello and Dr. Despommier, I was wondering if you could go over information about tapeworms.  Could you also discuss the myths vs. facts of tapeworms.  For example, can tapeworms help you lose weight?

I enjoy listening to your show and hope it continues for a very long time.

Mike writes:

I’m a garbage truck mechanic who is hoping to teach High School biology upon retirement. I received a master’s degree in Chemical and Life Sciences from UOM College Park last year and wrote my thesis on the nitrogen cycle in wastewater treatment.

TWIV and TWIP are my favorite podcasts. Your knowledge, experience and Socratic teaching style make listening and learning a joy. I’m definitely in the camp that would like to hear a new episode twice per month. The world (borrowing a line from Dr. Mark Crislip) needs more TWIP. It would also be wonderful if you could entice a bacteriologist to join your crew and add TWIB to the line-up. I am cc’ing this email to my 18 year-old granddaughter who plans to study microbiology at UC Davis. She is interested in leprosy and thinks rifampicin can be an effective drug for treatment if modified to reduce its hepatotoxicity. I’ve told her that MRSA, AIDS or malaria research would be better bets for grant writing.

Before I get to my question, I’d like to mention the two most startling bits of information Dr. Despommier related in TWIP 5, paraphrasing: 1) Some scientists believe that human aging genes are an aberration. 2) Type 1 diabetes may be caused by an over zealous immune system response to a virus with an antigenic appearance similar to that of pancreatic islet cells. I know these were intended as tangential remarks, but they piqued my curiosity. Perhaps you can revisit the concepts in the future.

TWIP 5 question: In the Trichinella nurse cell illustration on your webpage (see below) should one of the venules have been identified as an arteriole?  The Wikipedia entry (apologies, I didn’t look for a primary source) for venule http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venule shows blood flow as artery to arteriole to capillaries to venule to vein. Wikipedia’s entry for sinusoid has no illustration, but equates capillaries with sinusoids, noting the latter’s discontinuous endothelial cells to allow protein entry and exit from the bloodstream. If your illustration is correct, does it mean that larvae prefer venous blood exclusively because Trichinella is an obligate anerobe? And, if that is the case, how is a pressure differential maintained to move blood through the sinusoids?

Thank you and more power to TWIP!

Jeff writes:

You have a great set of shows going. I’ve been listening to both TwiV and TWiPa (I think TWiP is reserved for This Week in Photography, isn’t it?) I’m a lab tech at the CDC working on anaerobic bacteria (specifically C. difficile) and while I’m somewhat familiar with the workings of viruses (Cell Bio degree) I think the workings of parasites are fascinating.  I’m only a bit familiar with them and their lifecycles are amazingly complicated.  Also, I enjoy the random tangents with interesting anecdotes from science history. Keep ‘em coming.  And I’d love to hear more TWiPa  The current schedule is not enough.

You’ll have to find somebody who specializes in bacteria so you can cover the three major sources on infection.  There’s lot’s to talk about in the bacterial world.

Last: I think you said the Jungle was written by Sinclair Lewis in one episode?  It was Upton Sinclair.

Jim writes:

Thanks again, gentlemen, for an excellent podcast.

You know I can't keep up with all this. You keep adding links to other podcasts and books and topics that need to be studied and my garden is starting to grow, and I now have a used text on biochemistry, one on microbiology and the 2-vol virology set you so kindly sent, Vince.

I finally just gave up on your Virology Lecture 10 (transference or translation); watched it, but just too many new terms, like elongation, that represent a myriad of microcosms of knowledge. Still it's fascinating to hear and watch, and some of it does soak in.

Your asides, like the venules and sinusoids in this TWIP, oftentimes have more meaning and value to me than the more technical information. It's like little bits of critical information that click into place, the Ah-hah wow! type moments.

Dick, the details of your career is so much more enlightening as representing what the majority of science is about than the rare example of a Nobel Prize winner's work. You provide that huge base of knowledge built one jigsaw piece at a time that's needed that leads to breakthroughs. God bless you for your patience and perseverance.

Thanks, too, for the rundown concerning sushi. I've seen many mentions of flash-freezing fish for sushi to insure product quality, but no one wants to point out freezing kills parasites, too. I'm also pleased to hear that marine parasites are not zoonotic -- is this correct or an over simplifciation?  It would explain why we don't drop dead after falling in the ocean, considering the quantity of microorganisms there.

I need to ask, now, if there isn't a growing need to make a list of all the research projects and topics in need of further discussion that you two, and your guests, have noted in TWIP and TWIV. Do you have notes about each one of these? I'm still working on transcriptions and eventually one should be able to consolidate all of those, so searches can be made, but that may not help much.

I listened twice to this TWIP and TWIV 72 (lagging behind on those, it seems).  What a powerhouse, you guys.

Thanks, again.

Jesse writes:

Hello Drs. Vincent and Dickson!

I am still enjoying this podcast ("so far"), and discovering that multicellular parasites are even more fascinating than I had thought! I had a comment about something that was mentioned in episode 6 though:

When I took a medical parasitology class in college, the professor said that when the pork tapeworm is living in a person, it can sometimes get so long that it loops around up into the stomach, where it releases eggs which then hatch and reinfect that person as juveniles, causing cysticercosis and such serious problems. Is this incorrect? I know Dr. Despommier mentioned that it might not happen because the immune system would prevent reinfection. If it IS correct though, then maybe on that House episode you mentioned, the woman had an adult Taenia solium growing in her gut from the ham, which laid eggs in her stomach, resulting in the neurocysticercosis. Is it possible?

Thanks for the podcast!

Jesse writes:

I know this has nothing to do with viruses or parasites. I thought it was interesting to hear Dr. Despommier explain what vertical farming is along with the benefits.

CNN : Eco Solutions : Vertical farming

Paul writes:

Dear Drs

I am a retired chemist who is not that excited about chemistry any more but am fascinated by virus and other human diseases. I am a devoted listener and would like more TWIP, I find audio learning much more effective than reading, keep up the good work. My daughter works in biotech and also listens to your podcasts so we have interesting things to talk about besides grand children. We feel that diseases will play an increasingly important role in the future of mankind as the planet becomes more crowded and climate change puts more stress on human populations, understanding these things will help us prepare our progeny for an uncertain future. Thanks for helping with my education.


Could the pork tape worm be a potential for bioterrorists?

Potential scenario :  Set up a pig farm in Mexico, infect pigs with tape worm, harvest the eggs from the pig manure, contaminate fresh produce ( such as lettuce) grown in Mexico bound for the US with the eggs and let nature take its course. It seems to me that this would be hard to detect because there would be no acute infectious out break and could go on for months with lettuce being shipped all over the US. Would this be a significant public health problem?

I often travel to Mexico and would like to be able to protect myself from tape worm infections, I got the idea from this podcast there is no defense if food gets contaminated after cooking. Did I get this right? Is there any spice, like chile peppers, that might prevent the eggs from hatching?

Anxiously awaiting your reply.

Lindsay writes:

Hey guys!

I am currently a graduate student at the University of Michigan, where I study infectious disease epidemiology and disease ecology. My primary interests lie in the ecological factors that give rise to certain parasitic and environmental infections, and also the evolutionary ecology of pathogen systems. I have been learning a bit about the evolutionary ecology of parasites and think that that topic would make for a really interesting conversation.

This coming summer, I will be working on a project involving malaria transmission in a sub-Saharan Africa urban center. Because malaria and other invertebrate-borne parasitic infections are such big deals in the developing world, I hereby request some casually educational back and forth rapport on those topics.

I was sure glad to hear a new episode - I was worried that the project had been given up.

Keep up the good work.

Michael writes:

Hi Vincent and Dickson,

Thought you might want to share a link to the CDC concerning the basics of common parasitic invaders if you haven't already done so.


Keep up the great work with TWIP.


Gary writes:

First, I just want to thank you for a great podcast. I find it both educational and entertaining.

I was wondering if either of you have read about a treatment, developed at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, that uses gold nanoparticles that attach to toxoplasmid-hunting antibodies. The gold carrying-antibodies then spread through the circulatory system, affixing themselves to parasites in the blood. Once the gold particles are well distributed and widely attached to the parasite, a laser heats up the gold, incinerating the parasites. According to the researchers, the laser could be tuned to the so-called "tissue window", a wavelength of light to which the human body appears transparent. That way, the laser can pass harmlessly through the skin, burning up the parasites along the way.

I came upon the article "Gold nanoparticles take out brain parasite" in Cosmos Magazine and found it very interesting and I would like to hear both of yours comments on the technic in a future eposode of TWIP.

Here is the link to the article: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/3345/gold-nanoparticles-take-out-brain-parasite?page=0%2C1

Thanks again, I look forward to your next podcast.


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