27 June, 2018 – Episode 677 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast


Polio Against Cancer, Stellarator Update, Clean Signals, Rat Ticklers, Parasite Molecules, Organic Enceladus, Bloodhound Robot, Wolfie Genes, Prosthetic Foot, Beaver Bot, Hayabusa 2!, And Much More…

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As we approach the anniversary of independence in what some call “the greatest country,”
It is important to remember to look back, and look forward.
It is also important to address the present, but keep it in perspective.
The United States is a nation of immigrants, a nation of freedom.
A nation of mutual respect, and of newfound friends.
This nation helped humankind explore the deepest reaches of the oceans,
as well as the outer limits of our solar system.

But none of that would be possible without the inclusion of all people who ever wondered. Whether they were newcomers to our land,
those that were here before us,
or people who were once not even considered people.

Whether they were men, women, black, brown, familiar, unfamiliar,
or something we had never seen before,
progress depended and will continue to depend on everyone
near, far, similar, different, human, mouse, or extra terrestrial.
Science, technology, and the continuation of life on this planet is for and by every one of us.

So let’s hear what newfound knowledge we all now share…
on This Week in Science!
Coming up next.

Polio Against Cancer
In a Phase I clinical trial, a modified polio virus was successfully used to treat glioma.

Stellarator Update
The Wendelstein 7-X stellarator fusion donut advanced the maximum plasma temerature and length of time it could produce it according to a recent study published in Nature.

To be a good partner, you gotta speak the same language.
Cleaner shrimp signal their intentions, and fish in turn let them know they won’t be eaten.

What do you do? I’m a rat-tickler.
Tickled rats are happy rats, which is important at home and in the lab.

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“The saga, of how the collective publication of scientific and medical Open Access
research has “literally” rescued me. Medically, physically, and psychologically. But this
evolving story isn’t over yet just yet.

More than 20 years ago I started having medical issues, where when I ate certain foods
I would begin have severe cramping and an obvious immunological response. I sought
the help from my medical plan practitioners but they could offer no advice as to what
this “food intolerance” was or even what could be causing it. I had been tested for food
“allergies” (e.g IgE mediated immune response) and all antigen samples tested negative
for any “food allergy”, and the immunologists were done with me. Over time this immune
response both worsened in intensity, duration, and the number of foods I was able to
eat without problems slowly dwindled over time.

I was then diagnosed as having Sarcoidosis[1]. This condition is usually the immune systems last
ditch effort to combat some hard to kill invading organism like tuberculosis. I was
serologically tested, CAT-scanned, PET scanned, and finally biopsied on the operating table. The result? Yes, they confirmed I had sarcoidosis, but without attribution to any causative agent. They had no clue as to why, but the sarcoid condition eventually passed on its own. The doctors never gave the cause any thought, but the food intolerance not only persisted, but continued to get worse.

All was not lost because I could still think clearly, and I had Science. Not just science,
but a really really deep passion for understanding everything around me, and I had the
Open Access research on the Internet. I began by searching the Internet for the same
unique patterns of a seemingly diverse set of unrelated symptoms, and matching them to the set of all known human diseases, and kept notes. I began pulling research papers from across all the various fields of the medical and biological sciences. I used Google Scholar? for fine grained search, Google Alerts? to find real time updates as they were made available online, Wikipedia
for cross indexing basic fundamental definitions and concepts, Mendeley Desktop? to
store and organize the plethora of related scientific papers by topic and shared across
my work and home desktops, and even podcasts for getting ideas on the current
scientific breakthroughs (TWIV?, TWIP?, TWIM?, and of course we all know TWIS, ?and
finally a new addition the “Immune?” podcast ).

Through doing the comparatives for each disease, and through the long process of
elimination, the list of possible causes kept growing smaller over time. The trail of
evidence eventually lead me systematically towards a certain set of helminth parasitic
diseases, as it is well established that most all successful stealthy parasites will directly
retune their hosts immune defenses in order to remain unseen for years, and my
immune system was absolutely going crazy. This mystery disease is a subcutaneous
parasitic disease? called Dirofilaria[2], despite it being called a “pulmonary” disease in the US. There are 27 known species world wide, but you likely know one of them by the common term “Dog Heartworm”. It is spread by arthropod vectors which are required to complete its life cycle. The CDC will tell you it is only spread by mosquitoes, but it has also been documented as being spread by black flies (Simuliidae?), and horse flies (Tabanidae?) as well. I had personally
been bitten by a horse fly the summer before all my troubles started, and I had removed
a skin nodule from my leg where I had been bitten. The CDC says this disease is not a problem?, yet there is no viable clinical test to tell you if you? even have it?. To make things worse, the disease is said to be ?asymptomatic in humans?.

Absent any medical available test I could purchase, I instead purchased my own lab
equipment as I assessed it from descriptions in the various clinical case study
publications. A 1600x microscope, overkill for this, with a CCD camera, blank slides,
materials, reagents, chemicals, and all important H&E [5] stain – the suggested stain for
visual microfilaria diagnostics.

I set up shop in my home office, drew my own blood, prepared the slides, applied the
stains. Bingo, there it is. And another, and another, and another… I now have many
photographs of the microfilaria, from a disease that I can not possibly have.

This story is not over yet, and I’m not out of the woods. I have now seen the mugshot of
my nemisys, and I have read up on what needs to be done. My goal is to not just to survive this ordeal, but then to also do everything I can to correct the “official protocol”, and push for a more compassionate approach to the diagnosis and treatment of potential victims of this disease.
–Steve Coleman”

Parasite Molecules
Chemists have created a chemical system in which molecules parasitize other molecules in order to replicate demonstrating that parasitism could have evolved before life.

Organic Enceladus
Complex organic molecules were discovered in ice grains emanating within the vapor plumes from Enceladus strengthening the idea that the distant moon could harbor life.

Hayabusa 2!
The Japanese craft is in orbit around an asteroid.

Prosthetic Foot
MIT researchers have developed a low-cost prosthetic foot.

Beaver Bot
Operating similarly to dam-building beavers, scientists have developed an autonomous robotic system that can navigate rough terrain.

Bloodhound Robot
OK, that’s the last straw, robots. Replacing dogs?? Too far…

When is a wolf a wolf?
When the DNA says so, that’s when.

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I'm the host of this little science show.