By David Tuller, DrPH

Since 2008, the English arm of the National Health Service has been rolling out a program called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, or IAPT. More than 900,000 people now receive IAPT services annually. This program arose out of the notion that many people were suffering from untreated depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders, and that a more streamlined system was needed to ensure that they received appropriate psychological therapies. In parallel with that, it was further suggested that the program should be expanded to people with long term conditions (LTCs), such as diabetes and cancer, as well as those suffering from so-called “medically unexplained symptoms” (MUS). The main but not the only therapeutic intervention offered through IAPT is cognitive behavior therapy.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

I sent the following e-mail today to Dr Nick Brown, the editor-in-chief of Archives of Disease in Childhood, the journal that published the Lightning Process study a year ago. I cc’d Dr Fiona Godlee, editorial director of BMJ, which publishes Archives.

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The TWiVumvirate reviews this years crop of Nobel Prizes, and how cells prevent leakage of mitochondrial double-stranded RNA into the cytoplasm, which would otherwise lead to the production of interferon.

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mitochondrionMitochondria are descended from bacteria that invaded cells 1.5 billion years ago and never left. The mitochondrial genome is like that of bacteria: circular double-stranded DNA, only smaller. And just like the genome of bacteria, RNA can be made from both strands of mitochondrial DNA – which results in the formation of dsRNA. Fortunately there are systems in place to make sure that this dsRNA does not cause excessive interferon (IFN) production, which would damage the cell.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

So I attended the CFS/ME Research Collaborative conference two weeks ago in Bristol. The two-day event was a refreshingly PACE-free zone–as far as I could tell, I was the only person who mentioned that piece of crap in public comments. (Although I wasn’t on the schedule, CMRC vice chair Chris Ponting, a professor of genetics at University of Edinburgh, suggested that I speak for a few minutes at the end of the first day.) Other than that, the event focused almost exclusively on biomedical rather than psychiatric issues. No one promoted treatments based on the theory that deconditioning and “unhelpful” illness beliefs were root causes of the illness. None of the presenters endorsed the biopsychosocial approach.

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From the 13th International Symposium on dsRNA viruses in Belgium, Vincent speaks with Harry Greenberg about his career and his work on rotaviruses, noroviruses, hepatitis B virus, and influenza virus.

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ddhCTPSome antiviral drugs, like acyclovir for treatment of herpes simplex virus infections, are chain terminators that block RNA or DNA synthesis. They are modified nucleotides that can be incorporated into a growing RNA strand, but no additional nucleotides can be added. Amazingly, a cell protein has been found that can synthesize antiviral chain terminators.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Last week, more than three dozen advocates for people with chronic illnesses signed an open letter to Netflix protesting Afflicted, a multi-part documentary. The open letter was posted on Medium. I have posted it below. (I have added my name to the list of signatories; I meant to sign on beforehand but forget to inform the folks from MEAction who spearheaded the effort.)

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Anne Simon joins the TWiV team to talk about plant viruses, including plum pox virus that devastates nut and stone fruit trees, and a geminivirus protein that regulates viral DNA synthesis.

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CRISPR-ing HIV-1

HIV-1 genomeBy Gertrud U. Rey

Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been highly effective at controlling HIV-1 viral loads in the bloodstream of infected individuals, the virus remains latent in infected cells and starts replicating within a couple of weeks upon termination of therapy.

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