This podcast might not actually kill you, but it covers so many things that can. Each episode tackles a different disease, from its history, to its biology, and finally, how scared you need to be. Ecologists and epidemiologists Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke make infectious diseases acceptable fodder for dinner party conversation and provide the perfect cocktail recipe to match
What exactly is disease ecology anyway? How did TPWKY come to be? How do we come up with our quarantinis? What?s our favorite pathogen? In this very special episode, you get to hear exactly what you?ve been asking for -- literally. Today we answer listener questions and don?t hold anything back. From what are the effects of climate change on vector-borne disease to what we were like at age nine, you asked and we answered!
Giardia may be the most common intestinal parasite in the US and one of the most common worldwide, but did you know it was only in the last 40 years that it was officially recognized as a human pathogen?! In today?s episode, we?ll travel back to a time before humans knew microbes even existed to discover alongside Leeuwenhoek a whole new world of animalcules like giardia. We?ll find out how seeing these critters for the first time changed everything, and how long it has taken to recognize their impact on the globe. Plus, we?ll tell you all about how giardia gives you such bad poops.
Imagine this: a sickness where millions fell into a deep slumber from which they never woke. Of those that did, many remained trapped in a cage of their own bodies, unable to move or speak but fully aware of the world around them. Imagine that this sickness appeared suddenly, without warning, and spread across the globe, affecting millions in just a few decades. Then, just as quickly as it emerged it disappeared. Survivors were left to suffer, eventually forgotten, while hundreds of questions remained unanswered. This is the story of encephalitis lethargica, the subject of our first ever medical mystery episode. Encephalitis lethargica was a ?sleepy sickness? epidemic which afflicted millions in the early 1910s and 20s but has caused only sporadic cases since the 1940s. This mysterious illness revolutionized the fields of neurology and psychiatry and forced physicians to examine where the brain ends and the mind begins. What could cause such an illness and why haven?t we seen it since? Tune in to hear us tell you the story of this fascinating medical mystery.
On this very special crossover episode with our friend Matt Candeias from In Defense of Plants, we?re switching things up from poison to remedy, focusing on the plant-derived wonder drug, aspirin! We cover the ancient use of salicylic acid-containing willow bark to relieve pain and fevers and then reveal how such a harsh compound was transformed into a useable pharmaceutical. We also delve into what happens in your body when you pop an aspirin and discuss why on earth so many plants make this incredible compound. Spoiler - it?s not just a wonder drug for humans.
This week's episode comes with a warning: don't attempt this at home. While self-experimentation has led to many a scientific breakthrough, we're definitely not advocating it. But it happened to work out for the best for Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, even earning them a Nobel prize. That?s right folks, today we?re talking about none other than Helicobacter pylori, the curvy little bacterium identified only a few decades ago to be a causative agent of peptic ulcer disease, a major risk factor in the development of gastric cancer, and a fierce warrior who can survive the harshest of environments: your stomach.
Were you stoked about the history and biology of vaccines we covered in part 1, but left with even more questions? Were you really hoping to hear us talk about anti-vaccine sentiment and address misconceptions about vaccines in detail? Did you want even more expert guest insight?! Well then do we have the episode for you! Today, we delve into the history of the ?anti-vaccine movement? which, spoiler alert, is nothing new. With the help of Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Co-director of the Texas Children?s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development we address some of the most common concerns and questions that arise about vaccines, their safety, and their efficacy. And finally, we hear from Bill Nye The Science Guy about dealing with the challenges of science communication in the modern world when diseases spread as fast as fake news headlines. Y?all. This is the episode you?ve been waiting for.
You can follow Dr. Peter Hotez on twitter @PeterHotez and check out his book ?Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel?s Autism?
And you can listen to ?Science Rules!? the new podcast from Bill Nye the Science Guy, available now on stitcher https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/stitcher/science-rules-with-bill-nye or wherever you are listening to this podcast!
The wait is finally over: this week we are very excited to bring you the episode we?ve been teasing for weeks: vaccines! This week and next (you don?t have to wait a full two weeks for the next episode!), we are presenting a two-part series on vaccines. In today?s episode, we dive deep into the biology of vaccines, from how they stimulate your (amazing) immune system to protect you, to how they make you into an almost-superhero, shielding the innocents around you from deadly infections. We take you back hundreds, nay, thousands of years to when something akin to vaccination first began, and then we walk along the long road of vaccine development to see just how massive an impact vaccines have had on the modern world. The best part? We are joined by not one, but two experts from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Gail Rodgers and Dr. Padmini Srikantiah explain the process of vaccine development, highlight the challenges of vaccine deployment, and shine a hopeful light on the future of vaccines. And be sure to tune in next week for part 2 where we?ll focus on vaccine hesitancy and address common misconceptions surrounding vaccines in even more depth.
For more information on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiatives, visit: https://www.gatesfoundation.org/
For more information on vaccines currently in development, check out: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ and https://www.who.int/immunization/research/vaccine_pipeline_tracker_spreadsheet/en/
And, as always, you can find all of the sources we used in this episode on our website: http://thispodcastwillkillyou.com/episodes/
This bug deserves a big round of applause and not just because it?s nicknamed ?The Clap?. Check out this week?s episode to gasp in wonder at the tricks that Neisseria gonorrhoeae uses to tiptoe past your immune system. Then prepare to cringe at some old-timey treatments for the disease while we trace the history of this ancient pathogen. Finally, make sure you have a quarantini or placeborita in hand for when we chat about the not-so-cheery outlook for this particular sexually-transmitted infection. Believe us, this is one episode you?re not gonn(orrhe)a want to miss.
Zika virus may not have as long and storied a history as many diseases we've covered, but in a short time it has managed to make a big impression. Today we'll talk about how Zika wriggled its way out of obscurity and cover its journey from a mosquito's mouth straight to our newspaper headlines. From the first discovery of the virus in a Ugandan jungle, to the heartbreaking effects only recently discovered, to the future of Zika research and vaccine development, we'll fill you in on everything you want to know and then some.
Today we?re taking a bite out of hookworm, our first macroparasite. We start, as all hookworm journeys must, from the dewy grass, where larvae burrow into your exposed flesh and make their long and winding way to your guts, where the eggs of a fortunate few will be immortalized in fossilized poop. It?s a tale of human migration, of failed eradication, and of overburdened populations. So pull up a chair, take off your shoes, and rest your feet in the cool dew-soaked grass. But watch out for the ground itch...
Find more from Meramec Valley Girl at https://meramecvalleygirl.com/ and on instagram @meramecvalleygirl
Are you ready to dilate your mind? Or at least your eyes? We hope so, because that means you?re ready for another Poisoncast episode! This week we?re joined by our friend Matt Candeias from In Defense of Plants to chat about Atropa belladonna, a lethal yet beautiful plant that lives up to all of its many names, including deadly nightshade, belladonna, devil?s berries, and naughty man?s cherries (yes, really). We?ll explore the ancient myth, medieval lore, and modern murder that make up this plant?s history, and then we?ll venture into the nervous system to find out what belladonna has to do with fight or flight. Finally, we talk evolution to see how this deadly substance helps out its plant producer. Pour yourself a quarantini and listen up, making sure you?ve added the right berries to the mix, of course.
Check out Matt?s website indefenseofplants.com and follow him on twitter @indfnsofplnts!
You?ve seen the recent headlines and heard the news reports, but they?re only part of this deadly virus?s story. This week we?re covering the rest. We take you on a one-of-a-kind tour of measles, exploring how this vaccine-preventable virus can wriggle its way into your cells and cause short-term misery and long-term damage. Then we trace the history of this notorious killer from its bovine beginnings to the devastation it wreaked on unexposed populations. The tour ends with a look at measles by the numbers around the world today. If you take home one souvenir from this tour, let it be gratitude for vaccines!
This week's episode is nothing like any of our past episodes, and there will never be another quite like it. How can we be so sure, you ask? Because this week, we're covering prions, the terrifying, genetic material-less infection that is 100% fatal and caused by nothing more than a humble protein. And not just any protein, a protein you already have in your body. Are you sweating yet? Good. Then settle in and listen to the amazing biology of this terrifying twisted proteinacious particle, the fascinating and fraught history that led to its discovery, and the current research on just how scared you need to be of prions in your brain.
Arr, mateys, climb aboard for a swash-buckling tale of when the high seas were full of disease! Today we?re covering a non-infectious but no less terrifying scourge that has wrecked millions of lives and sent even the bravest of sailors quivering in their boots: Scurvy. From the open ocean to the California gold rush to modern times, scurvy has been causing collagen breakdown throughout human history, and we can blame it all on...evolution?
What do Korea, Slovenia, Finland, and the southwestern US all have in common? If you guessed Hantaviruses, you?d be quite correct. Today we bring you all the details on hantaviruses, from the deadly and terrifying hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, to the less lethal but still horrifying hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. From its long road to discovery, through the infamous 1993 outbreak and up to the present day, you?ll never look at an adorable little deer mouse the same way again.
Are you hungry for braaaaiiiinnnnssss? Or for fugu at the very least? We hope so, because this week we?re talking zombies and tetrodotoxin. In this crossover episode with Dr. Shane Campbell-Staton from The Biology of Superheroes Podcast, we trace the origin of the modern pop culture zombie back to its Haitian roots. We explore the outrageous evolutionary arms races in which tetrodotoxin, the principal component of so-called ?zombie powder?, has played a major part. And finally, we answer the age-old question: can a pufferfish make you into a zombie? Be sure to check out Part 1 of this crossover episode, Episode 7 of The Biology of Superheroes Podcast, where we discuss the biological basis of death, whether we?re prepared for a zombie outbreak, and behavior-manipulating parasites. You can follow Shane @superbiopodcast on Twitter.
This episode is so good that we?re putting it out a full day early. Pour yourself a quarantini and cozy up with us as we tell you a story of a bacterium that slowly strangles children to death, a scientific quest that helped shape the understanding of infectious diseases, and a great dog sled race across wild and frozen lands to stop death in its tracks. The main character of this story is, you guessed it, Diphtheria. This dreaded disease still lingers, infecting children throughout the world today with its stinking pseudomembrane. But don't worry, it's not all bad news... we have a vaccine.
We've gotten pretty graphic on this podcast before, but this episode takes it to a whole new level. The omnipresent Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that wears many faces. Often that face is harmless, but Staph has the power to invade and infect nearly every organ of the body, leaving destruction (and a lot of pus) in its wake. While Staphylococcus aureus has been wreaking havoc on humans since well before the discovery of antibiotics, Methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) has risen to terrifying prominence as resistance becomes the new norm. If any disease could make you run out (or stay in) and wash your hands, it?s this one. As always, you can find all of our sources at thispodcastwillkillyou.com/episodes.
After a long hiatus we are back with a much anticipated look at one of the most feared diseases of all time: rabies. We cover everything from its evolutionary history to its massive case fatality rate, from why it makes you slobber so much to how Pliny the Elder thought you should treat it (spoiler: don't try it at home, folks). Sit back with a foam-topped quarantini in hand and enjoy our first episode of season 2.
That's right.. this is the poop show! Today we talk cholera- the bacterial disease that makes you liquid-poop your pants (and then some). Travel back in time with us to when London was a sewage-filled cesspool until the Original John Snow stepped in to save the day and created the field of epidemiology. But is cholera a thing of the past? Not so much.