This comic comes to you courtesy of Beatrice The Biologist:
Today's a twofer! Today's LinkedIn video reminded me of the paper I presented for my pathology class (which was more like a journal club). Both deal with the study of fruit flies (Drosophilia sp.) in space. The video focuses on the role of the flies in studies on the ISS in space, while the paper focuses on a specific study done in 2006 and the probable importance of that study. Specifically, the paper focused on the way that changes to gravity during the development of Drosophilia sp. resulted in altered immune pathways, leading to specific weaknesses in those flies raised in a microgravity environment. This finding in a model species (one that can be used to illustrate how humans work, but on a simpler scale), may help explain why many astronauts are more prone to illness upon return from space and may also help provide clues for how to counter the impact of gravity on immunity in the future.
I love to find videos or apps that help review or overview essential concepts. I'll have to work on finding & sharing the ones I've found so far, but this one was even better than the one from Pfizer. This is slightly longer, just under 7 minutes, but it's a more complete overview of the immune system. It still isn't perfect, but it's hard to get a good, complete, perfectly accurate overview of an entire system in such a short video. This is one of the best I've seen. I haven't watch the other videos, but I'll be checking them out - watch for updates on the channel here. Why You Are Still Alive - The Immune System Explained
Another video from LinkedIn, this video from Pfizer shares how the immune system creates an inflammatory response and how the response works against the body in auto-immune disorders. The video is less than 5 minutes, and is only the most cursory of discussions, but it's a decent start and might be a semi-decent way to review these concepts if you need it.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I'd been stockpiling articles and posts for daily uploads. This is the first of those, but before I get into that, I want to share where many of these are coming from, because that is, by itself, an incredibly useful professional tool. Recently (between starting the blog and restarting the blog), I joined/became more active on LinkedIn. I found groups there, including groups by interest. Among them are microbiology & immunology groups, and many of the links I will be sharing were discovered when they showed up in my inbox via a LinkedIn group!
This may well be old news to many of you, but I didn't want anyone to overlook useful tools. Finally, remember: employers look at all online and social media when hiring, so be mindful of what you post (or what your friends may be able to post).
Now, with no further ado: A video on how the flu invades the human body. Because light microscopy can't capture viruses, this is an animation, but it is very well done and has explanation with it.
There are illnesses that we take in stride (the common cold), and then there are the ones that scare us at a visceral level (Ebola). Sometimes, that fear is justified - some bacterial pathogens are both amazingly virulent and stunningly endurant (tetanus). Other pathogens are commonly misidentified at first, but frightening lethal in a very short time (Ebola again). However, sometimes the larger public panic about disease is a holdover from an older time. Leprosy, or Hansen's Disease, is mix of both. Misunderstood by most people, and nowhere near as contagious as feared, leprosy is certainly not the threat it is often portrayed to be. However, as another disorder that is often misdiagnosed and with terrible consequences, it certainly is terrible for the 200,000 people diagnosed each year and those living with it already. In this article from the BBC, a new rapid diagnostic test was discussed. This could allow for rapid and accurate detection of infection with Mycobacterium leprae, the bacteria which causes Hansen's disease. This could lead to earlier treatment with the cocktail of antimicrobial drugs needed to treat the disease. The sooner patients can be started on appropriate antimicrobials, the better their prognosis is: they are less likely to suffer the nerve damage that leads to tissue necrosis and disfigurement.