The TWiV team notes the passing of Tom Steitz, an outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis in the US, a continuing Ebola virus outbreak in DRC, respiratory vaccinia due to inhalation of ground up rabbit skin, and how a human papillomavirus capsid protein directs virus-containing endosomes towards the nucleus.

Click arrow to play
Download TWiV 515 (60 MB .mp3, 99 min)
Subscribe (free): iTunesGoogle PodcastsRSSemail

Become a patron of TWiV!

Show notes at microbe.tv/twiv

At the First Annual Lab Coat Ceremony for Ph.D. and MD/Ph.D. students at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, at which I delivered the Keynote Address, the students and their mentors were asked to recite oaths pledging their dedication to the field. Such oaths have been called ‘Hippocratic oaths for Scientists’, similar to the Hippocratic oath taken by medical professionals at the onset of their training.

I strongly endorse the idea of having a Lab Coat Ceremony for Ph.D. students (the one at Icahn School of Medicine was the first in New York). While similar oaths for scientists have been previously proposed, I reproduce those from the Mt. Sinai event below to help guide other programs in developing their own ceremonies.

Ph.D. Pledge

I willingly pledge to uphold the highest levels of integrity, professionalism, scholarship and honor.

I will conduct my research and professional endeavors with honesty and objectivity.

I will apply the highest standards of rigor and respect for the generation and application of knowledge, and fully acknowledge the contributions of others.

I will not allow financial gain or ambition to cloud my judgment or decision-making nor cause harm to society or subjects of research.

I will embark on the furthering of knowledge through respectful interaction and collaboration with my colleagues and community, without prejudice or exclusion.

I will be a role model, and use my skills to inspire, mentor and empower future generations, instilling in them the highest principles of ethical behavior.

As witnessed by all present today, and in the tradition of graduates before me, i do affirm to uphold these guiding principles.

As teachers and mentors for our students, we pledge to maintain the highest professional standards in all of our interactions with students, patients, colleagues, and staff.

Faculty Pledge

We pledge our utmost effort to ensure that all components of the educational program for students will be of the highest quality.

We will respect all students as individuals, without regard to gender, race, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation; we will not tolerate anyone who manifests disrespect or who expresses biased attitudes towards any student. We will not tolerate any abuse or exploitation of students.

In an effort to nurture personal development, we pledge that students will have adequate time for reflection as well as personal and family obligations.

In nurturing both the intellectual and professional development of our students, we will celebrate achievement of academic excellence and demonstration of the highest virtues of our profession.

influenza vaccineWith the influenza season approaching in the northern hemisphere, vaccination is a means of preventing infection. If you have egg allergies, you no longer have to worry about receiving influenza vaccine.

Because most influenza vaccines are grown in embryonated chicken eggs, and may contain residual egg protein, their use in individuals with egg allergy has been discouraged. However this practice is no longer necessary. The results of many studies have shown that inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) is safe for people with egg allergies. Specifically:

  • Presence of egg allergy is not a contraindication to receive IIV or LAIV.
  • Influenza vaccine recipients with egg allergy are at no greater risk for a systemic allergic reaction than those without egg allergy.
  • Precautions, such as choice of a particular vaccine, special observation periods, or administering in particular medical settings, are not warranted and constitute an unnecessary barrier to immunization.
  • Vaccine providers and screening questionnaires do not need to ask about the egg allergy status of recipients of influenza vaccine.

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.

[continue reading…]

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.

**********

[continue reading…]

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.

Click arrow to play
Download TWiV 514 (66 MB .mp3, 108 min)
Subscribe (free): iTunesGoogle PodcastsRSSemail

Become a patron of TWiV!

Show notes at microbe.tv/twiv

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.

[continue reading…]

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.

[continue reading…]

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.

Click arrow to play
Download TWiV 513 (45 MB .mp3, 62 min)
Subscribe (free): iTunesGoogle PodcastsRSSemail

Become a patron of TWiV!

Show notes at microbe.tv/twiv

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.

[continue reading…]