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An Ebola Question

Olytico-Question-Mark-1024x576I’ve had a question about Ebola posted on the StackExchange Biology page for some time without getting any answers. Basically, I was wondering about how antibody responses to Ebola can drive either sterilizing immunity (the goal) or actually improve the virus’s entry into host cells (a big problem). The idea that Ebola antibodies may be detrimental to the host was first raised by Baize et al, and my question is how this has impacted efforts to develop an effective vaccine. For background, I’ve written about this topic previously.

If anyone knows what the current thinking is in this area, please point them my way.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Case Study

IndianJRadiolImaging_2013_23_1_81_113621_u3A 25 yo man presents at the ER with abrupt, intense pain in the right flank and ipsilateral lower abdomen. In addition to abdominal pains, he also feels  pain in the right testicle and has had to urinate frequently and always with pain. Imaging was done to aid in assessment.

Given this information, what diagnosis might you suggest? Explain the symptoms and what is revealed by the imaging. What treatment do you suggest?

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Pathophysiology Exam Coming up

Riddle_Me_This...My Pathophysiology class is having its first exam coming up soon (February 19th) and it’s time to solicit questions for the exam. Really, this is for my students, however, if non-students want to contribute questions, I’ll entertain those too.

Qualifications to be accepted:

1. Be a well-phrased question with a clear answer (this is helped somewhat by #2)

2. Provide four or five answers (for multiple choice) to the question and indicate which one is correct.

3. Be on topic (i.e. regarding the basic anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system, peripheral vascular disease, defects of the heart (congenital), valvular disease, hypertension, or myocardial infarction – other topical questions will be considered, but may appear as extra credit if they were not covered in class)

4. Post here as a reply to this blog entry so that it is visible to others.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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RadioLab’s ‘What the Slinky knows’

My son and I were listening to RadioLab in the car – as we often do -and heard an interesting short on ‘What the Slinky knows‘. What an interesting podcast. Check out the attached video of the point in question. Here we see a slinky being held up at the top, but allowed to dangle until it settles and becomes still. At this point, the top is released, but the bottom doesn’t move:

The question posed in the podcast is: Why does the bottom of the slinky seem to levitate until the top reaches it and then the whole things begins to move together. The basic question is relatively simple if you think about the situation and model all the forces in operation (1. gravity – down; 2. 3. hand holding slinky-up; force of the spring’s tension – up.)

When the slinky is released, you eliminate force #2, leaving only #1 and #3 in operation. The interesting thing is that force #3 will continue to operate and pull up until the top of the slinky collapses on itself and then only force #1 remains.

But then Neil DeGrass Tyson was brought into the discussion and said something I didn’t expect. He started with what you might expect him to comment on – an immediate application to space, which seems completely appropriate. His example was about the sun. Given that the sun is several light minutes away from the Earth (just over 8 minutes), if the sun were to somehow disappear, we wouldn’t know for those intervening eight minutes.

During that time, we would be seeing light that had left the sun eight minutes earlier and everything would look fine. Then, at the 8:20 mark (give or take), we would finally see that the sun had gone missing….

…. and here’s the good part: He also said that it wouldn’t be until then that the Earth would be released from its gravitational attraction to the sun and go flying off at a tangent into space. This begs a question that I don’t know the answer to: what is the ‘speed of gravity’? Would it take eight minutes for the Earth to be released and go tumbling into space… or does gravitational attraction operate at a different speed than light?

I’m serious, I don’t know the answer – and even more frustrating, I don’t know how this question could even be asked. I’m all ears for the answer to this one.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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