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hp blogger Jason Tetro's Comments

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New Strain Of 'Bird Flu' That Killed More Than 160 Baby Seals Could Be Harmful To Humans

New Strain Of 'Bird Flu' That Killed More Than 160 Baby Seals Could Be Harmful To Humans

Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 10:51:13 in Green

“I don't believe that there is any threat to humans. We have seen the H3 influenza viruses infect seals in the past. There is even a review paper on this phenomenon. I also had the chance to work on the immune profile of some of the seals in the 1992 outbreak and know that it's specific to the animals.

http://vir.sgmjournals.org/content/76/1/199.full.pdf

theveggiedude on Aug 3, 2012 at 13:15:54

“Evolution. It hasn't stopped. It continues.”
How You Are Contributing To Antibiotic Resistance

How You Are Contributing To Antibiotic Resistance

Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 21:47:54 in Canada Living

“Make that phages - sorry about the autocorrect.”
How You Are Contributing To Antibiotic Resistance

How You Are Contributing To Antibiotic Resistance

Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 20:52:47 in Canada Living

“Hi PortMoodyGal,

Thanks for the comment. Pages have been on the radar for almost a century as you say but there have been issues with perception that inevitably led the public to shun the treatment.

I have talked about this at length in The Germ Code and explain why there has been such a slow uptake of this valuable option.

There is one hurdle that has yet to be overcome - the transference of resistance through phages. This continues to be an issue but with further work and the selection of non-resistance-transmitting phages, the future is bright.”

hp blogger Jason Tetro on Nov 19, 2013 at 21:47:54

“Make that phages - sorry about the autocorrect.”
Good C-DIFF Agents May Keep Our Homeland Safe

Good C-DIFF Agents May Keep Our Homeland Safe

Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 11:47:07 in Canada

“Hi there,

I did a bit of research to find out a little more and it turns out that the TCD and BI/NAP1/027 seemingly have come about due to environmental pressures. There seems to be a part of the DNA of these bacteria that can lead to the development of the toxin. The use of antibiotics and other chemical stressors appear to cause the toxin to be produced.

What this means is that our own actions through overuse and misuse of antibiotics may have led to the rise of these factions. While this hasn't been proven outright, if one looks at the data over the last 30 years, that association makes sense.

Unfortunately, we are now stuck with TCD and BI/NAP1/027 as they are now hiding in plain sight. Our communities are threatened and our food supply is too. We simply have to be more diligent in our hygiene efforts and do our best to rid our bodies and our environments of these villains before they have a chance to spread even further and cause greater damage.”

TT Esty1 on Oct 10, 2013 at 23:48:54

“I like your application of critical thinking skills. Research is the antecedent of knowledge.

There is a TV show called Under the Dome. Perhaps you have watches it. The Dome is analogous to earth in that like the Dome, Earth is a closed system. I agree that the Dome may be less impervious that our system.

Furthermore, after a few hundred years of debate, two guys by the name of Mayer and Joule, at about the same time confirmed that energy or heat can be neither created nor destroyed, but can change form.

Taking these two concepts into consideration, it could be said that we are inhaling Caesar's breath. Thus, change is being generated internally and not introduced from the outside. In a sense, we are making TCD and BI/NAP. We're just not sure how we are doing it and for that matter are in a stage of denial that we are at all responsible.

Keep that cognitive process going.”
huffingtonpost entry

Fermented Foods Are Fantastic for Health

Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 12:37:55 in Canada Living

“Hi Nancy,

Thank you for the comment. I would suggest the best place to look would be your local natural food store. They usually have a few fermented products and some have them in abundance. Just try to ensure that the fermentation was done naturally.

Hope this helps.”
huffingtonpost entry

Germs May Hold the Key to Infant Health

Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 10:42:04 in Canada Living

“Hi Ikell,

Thanks for the comment.

Indeed, I focused this article on infant health and the differences - or lack thereof - between caesarean and trial of labour delivery.

As to maternal health and delivery method, articles are available discussing the nature for making a delivery decision - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3175284/ - and also some of the health concerns involved - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2993644/

That being said, the choice should be made between the mother and her health professional who should share all the information you provided as well as the content of the articles I am citing here.

I hope this helps.

Jason”
huffingtonpost entry

The Healthy Benefits to Cold Weather

Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 17:17:32 in Canada Living

“Hi Skinned,

Alas, the Emerald Ash Borer is one of those insects that has developed a way to cope with the formation of ice crystal. Still, when the temperature drops even further, below -30, they tend to die off. This winter might be enough to bring their population down.

You can read more in the following news article which is based on a scientific paper that is sadly behind a paywall.
http://www.saultstar.com/2011/03/04/how-the-emerald-ash-borer-survives-canadian-winters

The abstract and figures for the paper are here:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022191010003021

Fingers crossed!”
When it Comes to Germs, Norovirus is Public Enemy Number One

When it Comes to Germs, Norovirus is Public Enemy Number One

Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 13:35:42 in Canada Living

“Hi Lapetus,

Thanks for the questions.

I'll start by saying the flu and noroviruses have very different stability in the environment.

In terms of survival length, the flu is usually stable for up to a day on surfaces with which we come into contact. On the hands, however, the flu is only stable for less than an hour at infectious levels. So, the key to prevention is simply to keep the hands clean through hand hygiene or simply do not touch your nose or mouth for an hour after contamination.

Noroviruses, on the other hand, are quite stable and can survive on surfaces for up to a week on foods, surfaces and presumably, hands (although I hope no one goes that long without washing them!). It's why they are so easily spread; without proper cleaning, contaminated surfaces are a problem for a very long time.

As to your second question, both pathogens are viruses, which means that they need to infect a living cell to multiply. So, on a surface or the hand, they are simply residing there waiting to be picked up and transferred to cells that may offer a nice home (the lung for flu and the gut for noroviruses). If that home doesn't come within a certain time period, the viruses will decay and as a result lose their ability to infect and subsequently die.

I hope this helps.

Jason”

Lapetus on Jan 15, 2013 at 16:26:46

“Yes Jason that helps immensely, thank you so much for the detailed explanation.

I think it would help a great many people if they were actually provided more detailed information, such as you just provided.

To often we are only given direction without much explanation & so we tend to ignore what is being said or dispute it.”
Probiotics and Your Gut: A Match Made in Heaven

Probiotics and Your Gut: A Match Made in Heaven

Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 17:25:32 in Canada Living

“Hi April,

Thanks for the comment.

It's true that there are few studies that discuss probiotics and RA/AS. The studies that have been published have been small and the results have been inconclusive. There appears to be a benefit with probiotics but nothing has been overly conclusive.

The key in RA/AS is normally considered to be HLA-B27 (which I hope is familiar to you) and the fact that mimicry either by bacteria or food could lead to flare ups and other problems. For more on that, I would suggest reading the following article in Discovery Medicine:

http://www.discoverymedicine.com/Taha-Rashid/2011/09/12/gut-mediated-and-hla-b27-associated-arthritis-an-emphasis-on-ankylosing-spondylitis-and-crohns-disease-with-a-proposal-for-the-use-of-new-treatment/

While there is evidence that PPARG activation is helpful, the data is again rather scant and really not trustworthy at this time.

I would suggest that in addition to doctors and pharmacists, you consult someone who is a nutrition expert as they may be able to help you gear your diet to one that would leave you less prone (the article also discusses that).

Once these issues are better managed, I have a feeling that the probiotics will offer significantly more help to complement rather than to cure.

Hope this helps...at least a little...”

AprilCrawford on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:09:46

“Thank you very much! It was helpful, I appreciate your advice!”
Why the Recipe for Health Includes Germs

Why the Recipe for Health Includes Germs

Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 10:04:12 in Canada Living

“Hi NickHP,

As you can see, the links provided in the piece can show you exactly how inflammation is involved in these chronic diseases.

To your point, there is significant research on the properties of sugars and other dietary chemicals on the impact of inflammation. Here's just one paper discussing how sugars are contributing to an inflammatory microbiota and subsequent obesity: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3402009/

The scope of inflammation is very wide and cannot be contained in a 1000 word piece, let alone a 100,000 word textbook. But having spent much of my research life learning the immune system, I would be happy to discuss further should you have any specific questions. Just put them here and we can move forward.

Thanks again for engaging in the discussion and I wish you a great day,

Jason”

NickHP on Dec 14, 2012 at 07:29:34

“I stand corrected. I read your bio after I commented on the article, and that modified my appreciation of your text. My immediate reaction was that I did not notice any primary source references in the material, and I mistakenly grouped your commentary with a lesser froth from non-technical commentators.

Nick”

Graham Mills on Nov 20, 2012 at 08:59:04

“Well said Jason! Time for the naysayers who use the mantra "There isn't any evidence to support..." to start backing up their arguments with a few 3rd party, peer-reviewed studies.”
How Safe Is That Tattoo You're Getting?

How Safe Is That Tattoo You're Getting?

Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 09:19:27 in Canada Living

“Hi there. When I spoke with Lizzie, we talked about HIV and other infections and I was happy to hear that in the industry, sterility and hygiene are extremely important. When done right, there is no chance of acquiring a bloodborne infection. It's been mandated since 1999 and with new regulations coming, there should be even less concern in the public.”
Want to Cure AIDS? We Need More Than Hope

Want to Cure AIDS? We Need More Than Hope

Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 20:42:43 in Canada Living

“Just a quick correction: the donor for the "Berlin Patient" was HIV negative, You can read the article here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0802905#t=article

I should note that CCR5 is a specific marker of the immune system and HIV typically requires the presence of this molecule to infect T-cells. Those who are lacking the marker can be resistant to HIV infection. You can read more about the CCR5 and other receptors in this great paper from the U of T: http://www.moleculargenetics.utoronto.ca/Documents/publications/Joshi.pdf

Finally, in terms of the allele, you can read more about it here:
http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.0030339

Hope this helps!”
Want to Cure AIDS? We Need More Than Hope

Want to Cure AIDS? We Need More Than Hope

Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 11:57:14 in Canada Living

“"The Berlin Patient" story is tricky as it involves a combination of factors including a genetic trait found in less than 15% of the population (called CCR5Δ32), the incidence of a blood disease, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and an aymptomatic HIV infection (stage A2).

The experiment used bone marrow stem cell therapy in which cells were taken from a genetically appropriate donor (same blood marrow type, similar immune function and CCR5Δ32 status) and transplanted into the patient. It wasn't perfect and there had to be yet another transplant as well as a full body irradiation. In the end, however, it seemed to work.

If it sounds complicated and rare, it is. That's one of the reasons why this 'cure' is not the answer.

The other two cases seemed to indicate that normal bone marrow was used for donations (I haven't seen a paper for publication yet, just media report). However, it was clear that HIV may still be present in these individuals. Another study released in May http://jvi.asm.org/content/86/10/5719.abstract suggests that the use of stem cells that contain several anti-HIV factors, including a means to 'mimic' the CCR5Δ32 may also work.

I would love to say that you could sign up to donate marrow and and that you would help to cure a patient but we're still a little ways from that although it could be sooner than later, depending on what the results from the two recent cases say.”

hp blogger Jason Tetro on Sep 11, 2012 at 20:42:43

“Just a quick correction: the donor for the "Berlin Patient" was HIV negative, You can read the article here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0802905#t=article

I should note that CCR5 is a specific marker of the immune system and HIV typically requires the presence of this molecule to infect T-cells. Those who are lacking the marker can be resistant to HIV infection. You can read more about the CCR5 and other receptors in this great paper from the U of T: http://www.moleculargenetics.utoronto.ca/Documents/publications/Joshi.pdf

Finally, in terms of the allele, you can read more about it here:
http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.0030339

Hope this helps!”
West Nile Virus: The Sequel

West Nile Virus: The Sequel

Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 20:05:31 in Canada Living

“Bird infections and deaths were big here in Ottawa during the last outbreak but we have yet to start looking at that factor this year. I can say that many crows here look sick and I've seen a significantly more dead birds than normal but we have had only 2 human cases.

I think that eventually there will be some stats but again, the primary concern is the health of humans so we just have to wait.”
West Nile Virus: The Sequel

West Nile Virus: The Sequel

Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 11:46:15 in Canada Living

“I believe the answer is both.

The virus is cyclic and depends on the population of vectors and hosts (humans are dead end so we don't count). Climate plays a role in which water sources need to be shared to allow transfer of the overwintering (and perhaps evolved) virus into the birds. The bird population, particularly crows, has to be significantly naive to the strain such that it can amplify, and then the conditions have to be perfect for humans with the most vulnerable immunities to be open for mosquito bites.

BUT...

If this was solely the case, then human infections would be limited to those who are naive to the virus. As we saw with H1N1pdm2009, even the most elderly who had seen 1918 were able to fight off the virus; WNV would simply cause mild infection but not the deaths that are being seen this year. An adaptive mutation however, would offer an excellent explanation to this observation. Going back 2009 flu a single amino acid drift in the HA (D225G) had deleterious effects that led to an incredibly high mortality rate (as opposed to the D225E which only increased the severity of symptoms but did little to increase mortality).

In my estimation, a similar mutation has occurred and then amplified thanks to the right climactic conditions and that is why we are seeing this sequel.”

jf12 on Sep 7, 2012 at 17:55:11

“I live in Texas and can't report an increase in the number of birds, nor bird deaths, so my hypothesis is not supported by my observations. Do you have any access to bird population/infection data?”
West Nile Virus: The Sequel

West Nile Virus: The Sequel

Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 10:52:13 in Canada Living

“I spoke with Dr. Alan Barrett at the University of Texas Medical Branch on the current state of the investigation into the evolutionary adaptation of the virus. He believes that WNV has adapted, perhaps in a similar manner as described in his paper from 2011 in Emerging and infectious Diseases, however he admits that the sequencing has yet to be performed. The problem comes down to resources and capacity and the fact that there is no time to focus on the sequence. Eventually, when the case numbers decline, there will be an investigation and most likely a paper that results but for the moment, we have to wait.

I for one am anxious to know what that change might be.”

jf12 on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:08:04

“Thanks for the information. Since WNV is mostly avian, and since bird populations are extremely susceptible to many other influences, especially local weather and food resources, I wonder if the new epedemiology is not due to the virus mutating to dodge immunity, but instead non-immune birds simply proliferating more than usual.”