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TWiM regularly receives listener email with corrections, comments, suggestions for show topics, requests for clarification, and additional information. A selection of these is archived on this page.
As a retired diagnostic radiologist, I have recently discovered twiv, twip, & twim, I greatly enjoy your discussions.
Don’t know how many students and graduate students who listen are aware of Layhe Bread, but all should be. The bread is better tasting than any bakery bread, incredible easy to make, doesn’t require a bread machine, and costs less than $0.50 a loaf. Because the dough doesn’t require kneading, my super-duper Zojirushi bread machine sits unused.
For most breads, the most expensive ingredient is the yeast, but Layhe Bread requires only a half teaspoon of yeast per loaf. The only other ingredients are 4 cups of flour, 2 cups of water, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Nothing else!
Believe it or not, the secret to making perfect loaves of bread every time is neglect and patience. Unlike other bread recipes, anaerobic bacteria begin working on the dough, imparting a slightly sour-dough flavor to the bread. The yeast are activated later. Don’t have clue what specific bacteria are involved. If one were asked to describe Layhe Bread in one sentence a good description would be cave-man bread.
It seems that there are many modifications and further simplifications of the Layhe technique. One of my own simplifications was doing away with wrapping the dough in a towel.
At any rate, Layhe is a baker who has a recipe book on how to make his bread. It would be probably a worthwhile investment for a group of students to go together to buy and to share one of his books.
Very interesting podcast! I loved the last one, too. I re-started the last one 5 times when I realized I was being too distracted by kids and life to pay close enough attention. It took me all week to find a quiet enough time to listen but I didn't give up.
When my oldest daughter was a baby and I was reading everything parent related I could find I ran across several articles mentioning that western countries tended to deal more with colic than some other societies. Mostly they tended to come to the conclusion that this was caused by parenting styles. I wondered at the time if there was a connection between colic and our microbe populations. I'd bet that if someone could show that inoculation with H pylori was correlated with a decrease in colic you'd have parents begging for a way to give it to their infants :-)
Thanks for the podcasts!
Hey guys, Imma avid listener to TWIV, TWIP and TWIM, and i would suggest a possible collaboration with another podcast i subscribe to: Star Talk Radio.
Its an astrophysics podcast hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson himself. The topics covered in this podcast are vast but they often touch on the topic of life on other planets. They have suggested that if we do find life in the planets nearby, it'll most probably be microbial life.
That's when i thought of you guys! and i thought you guys are the experts on this and could possibly conjure up a magical conversation that will excite and stimulate biologists and astrophysicists alike. I know the tag line of your show is "the podcast that explores unseen life on EARTH' but i'm sure your listeners wouldn't mind an intergalactic detour.
I'm also gonna write a similar email to Star Talk Radio to tell them of your awesome podcast and lets all hope to benefit from a possible love child between biology and astrophysics.
Just a thought, keep up the amazing work
I've been listening to the evolution of TWIM, week by week, and want to say that I am delighted by the direction it has gone. I listened to #11 yesterday and found the format especially informative and interesting. By format, I am referring to the selection of, in this case, two papers, both of which were introduced well to orient the listener to the context and the topic. In each case there followed a real discussion among the co-hosts that was accessible to listeners with varied backgrounds. Acronyms and specialized terms were defined, or replaced by more common words.
As if that weren't enough, the viewpoints presented this week were particularly relevant and important vis a vis our microbiota, allergies, antibiotic usage, agricultural practices, and such. This information needs to be widely disseminated, and TWIM make an excellent contribution to that process.
All the best,
Hello there Vince and friends!
I'm Jennie - an RN who has very much enjoyed your work (or is this play?) through TWIV, TWIP and now TWIM. Thanks for making fascinating subject matter approachable and fun. I've listened to your programs while traveling & caring for ill & dying family members - your voices helped me use the solidity of science as a kind of ballast during difficult times.
You'll probably pick & choose from this email what to discuss since I know I'm asking too many questions. Enjoy the choice!
Going back to TWIM # 5 - perturbation of Arctic soil using nanoparticles (gives me the willies) - one of your guests mentioned a thought - spraying human skin with nanoparticles to stop MRSA - yikes - another shiver of concern.
BUT WAIT! Way before I had a foundation for pro and pre biotics I quietly theorized that skin infections were an imbalance in the living systems that are usually on our skin - or that imbalancing the microbes there may be a prerequisite to skin infection. Also, I understand that when some pathogens invade the gut, one of the first tasks is to launch an attack on the commensal microbes that hold territory there.
Back to the skin & nasal mucosa. I understand now that the Human Microbiome project has identified many, many bacterial species on the skin that live in a complex interdependence on us. I believe a current CA-MRSA therapy is judicious use of antimicrobials & topical intranasal mupirocin - and that limiting use of mupirocin to avoid drug resistance is a concern for this treatment as it is for all antibiotic therapy.
So, let me make my case for this idea I have for a study - and perhaps personalized medicine. Attempted transplant of a cocktail of known NON-resistant commensal skin organisms to the skin (and nasal mucosa?) of person with CA-MRSA - perhaps after a reduction in bacterial numbers using a method that does not linger - so that the reduction method wouldn't interfere with the colonization of the new commensals. Perhaps drying? Perhaps phage?
Of course, not being a microbiologist, I don't understand the niche selection pressures for microbes, nor do I get why some colonize & why some are transient.
Related questions - I understand that, in some cases, simply by going for a while without anti-infectives, some people clear MRSA because of the lack of selective pressure for resistance - but that its not at all a sure thing - wonder what the odds are on that clearance - and what the factors are? Wonder how important it is that we have resistant microbes in our gut - is this a super complicated world of many kinds of plasmids - & are those plasmids in communication with our skin & nasal mucosa organisms?
Related questions on Triclosan & surfaces: do you think that Triclosan use in households selects for resistant microbes? What can you tell us about what you know on Triclosan in our homes & environment? I also wonder about the surfaces that we touch now - so many modern plastic or plastic coated surfaces instead of metal, wood & cotton. I was very much interested in your discussion on copper surfaces and know that wooden cutting boards are better antimicrobial surfaces than plastic after wash & dry.
And I leave you with a crazy idea. Of course I teach people to wash hands just before leaving work. How about washing, carefully drying - then recolonizing them with complex normal flora on their way out the door every shift - kind of like a handshake...? I can imagine one problem with this crazy idea might be - the complexity of microbes can't live off the human body long enough. I suppose there is nothing like a human handshake to transplant human commensals.
Alternatively - after washing & drying - apply a solution that selects NOT so much AGAINST MRSA etc. but provides conditions that FAVOR commensals - kind of like a pre-biotic for the skin. We would want to know what conditions make it a little shaky for pathogens while providing the best chance for beneficial commensal recolonization. Then, that recolonization might happen next time you touch another person - like your child when you come home...
Thanks for listening to my silly questions!
As a microbiologist I enjoy listening to your broadcasts. However, I was very disappointed on the one about Salomonella in cantaloupe and E. coli O157:H7 in Lebanon bologna. Many incorrect statements were made, such as "Salmonella enteritidis is the species", The species is Salmonella enterica. Also, it is not necessary for Salmonella to grow in a food to cause illness as was stated by one of the guests. Many foods that do not allow the growth of Salmonella (peanut butter, dry cereal, etc.) have caused outbreaks of salmonellosis. FDA does not regulate plants that make bologna - all such meat plants are regulated by USDA. Also, it was obvious that the guests knew very little about how fermented meats are manufactured and what factors are involved in destruction of E. coli O157:H7. It actually is a combination of pH, heat and time, not just pH as was mentioned.
The basic problem with this program was that none of your guests was a food microbiologist, so most of the conversation involved a lot of guessing. In the future I strongly recommend that you include guests that have expertise in the area of microbiology the program is addressing, so that they know what they are talking about!
Looking forward to more high quality TWIM programs!
This is neat in that a flatbed scanner is used repeatedly to generate time-lapse results that help in the identification of color changes. And, perhaps another example of simple technology that can be applied with less training.
Jim Smithfield, VA
Get a whiff of this: Low-cost sensor can diagnose bacterial infectionsvia ScienceDaily: Latest Science News on 4/27/11
Bacterial infections really stink. And that could be the key to a fast diagnosis. Researchers have demonstrated a quick, simple method to identify infectious bacteria by smell using a low-cost array of printed pigments as a chemical sensor. In only a few hours, the array not only confirms the presence of bacteria, but identifies a specific species and strain. It even can recognize antibiotic resistance -- a key factor in treatment decisions.
First of all I'd like to say that i really enjoy your podcast, its both informative and easy to listen to. I listen to it when i go on my long runs and it makes them go by so much faster! However, on one of these long runs I happened to see an oil sheen in the river next to the trail, and it got me thinking about oil degrading bacteria. I don't know much about them but I would really like to learn more and if possible I would love to see a TWiM about oil degrading bacteria. You could even tie it in with the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and talk about the impact the bacteria may or may not have made in the cleanup efforts.
Sincerely, Kendall an undergrad bio major
Enjoyed the last TWIM and thought of a great marketing idea for you all. Two nesting buckets with the TWIM logo on one side and "OOOHHH I should have listened to TWIM" on the other side.
May all your bugs be good ones!
Joe EH&S Manager
As a chemical engineer who has learned more than his share of physical chemistry over the years, I really enjoy your facility with the electro chemical aspects of biological systems. I am hoping you can provide some insight into something that has always seemed to be a paradox to me. (Note: the guys on TWIV seem to be somewhat mathphobic, so you are my last hope...!)
The third law of thermodynamics regards the property of Entropy and basically states that the amount of disorder in any system must always increase. This makes sense to me as an engineer in that there is always lost work or waste energy (heat, friction, chemical wastes, etc) generated. While living things obviously obey the third law, it has always amazed me that life processes seem to be about creating order out of disorder in incredibly complex ways. The more I listen to the TWIV, TWIP, TWIM podcasts the more striking it becomes.
Viral proteins that self assemble!
DNA and RNA that form machines to make more DNA and RNA!
Viruses that infect caterpillars and make a smell that attracts wasps to get a flight to a new host!
Ion selective membranes to send signals in cells
This is the stuff that makes science fun! I can appreciate that living systems consume high quality energy sources to create their ordered systems but the whole thing seems so counter to the idea of entropy that I feel like I am missing something.
So my question is do you have any insights into entropy and biological systems that will illuminate my understand and answer the age old question of "What up with that!? Thanks as always for all the great science.
Joe, EH&S Manager