Cuscuta europaeaHosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin

The TWiPlets solve the sad case of the Boy Who Went Swimming, and explain why the tomato is resistant to the plant parasite Cuscuta.


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Download TWiP #115 (70 MB .mp3, 97 minutes)
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Case Study for TWiP 115

This week’s case is more challenging, but with a better outcome than last time. Thailand: 32 year old Thai man from southern coastal part of country, comes to ID hospital in Bangkok with two months of watery diarrhea. Rapid onset. Looks emaciated, protuberant belly. Ten times per day, has trouble flushing feces in toilet, floats. Eats normal fare, boat noodles, fish, rice, vegetables. Som tam – fish sauce from raw fish. Also with salted crab, not well cooked. No unusual past med history, healthy fisherman, no medication. Married with kids, everyone healthy. No bad habits. Monogamous. HIV negative. Liver, spleen not enlarged. Abdominal xray with contrast: loss of villi. Good appetite. No abdominal pain. Too weak to work. No vomiting.

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Mango varietiesHosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin

The TWiP troika solve the case of the Female from the Bronx, and reveal how feeding on different plants affects mosquito capacity to transmit malaria.


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Case Study for TWiP 114

12 year old boy brought to hospital ER by parents with severe headache, stiff neck, fever, decreased alertness. No rashes. Has been healthy with no prior medical problems. No one else in family is ill. In summer, boy has been engaged in usual summertime activities: soccer, swimming in warm freshwater, playing outside. Undergoes lumbar puncture for CSF: start on meningitis treatment. No surgeries, no allergies. Not on any meds. Lives with Mom, Dad, few brothers. No substance abuse. Not a geographically limited illness. Has had bug bites – lots of mosquito bites. Dogs around as well. Symptoms began a day or two before hospital visit. Eats whatever family eats, food is cooked. Exam: 39.4C, bp low, heart rate up, resp up, decreased responsiveness, stiff neck, looks ill. WBC elevated, neutrophil predominant, eosinopenia. CSF glucose low, cells increased, no bacteria, fungi, acid fast bacilli on stain. CT scan, diffuse swelling of brain. Doing poorly, not a good outcome.

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Brain cysticercusHosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin

Guest: Jason Zucker

The TWiP ternion solve the case of the Man from Mexico, and discuss a transgenic toxoplasma vaccine for chickens using Eimeria tenella.


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Download TWiP #113 (73 MB .mp3, 101 minutes)
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  • Transgenic Eimeria as a toxoplasma vaccine (Sci Rep)
  • Image shows cysticercus of T. solium in brain (Parasitic Diseases, 5th Ed)
  • Letters read on TWiP 113

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Case Study for TWiP 113

22 yo female comes to clinic in Bronx, reports one week of vaginal discharge and itching. Looks bad, yellowish. Sexually active with boyfriend. He has no symptoms. Some discomfort on urination. Healthy, no prior surgeries, no allergies. Mother with diabetes, father has high bp. Takes oral contraceptive pills. Not employed, lives with mother and sisters. Substance abuse: some on occasion, marijuana and alcohol, no i.v. No pets. Diet: lot of fast food. Physical exam: slightly heavy, normal but vaginal exam: discharge, thick, slight yellow light green color, no strong odor, some redness to vaginal walls, no changes to cervix. 2 weeks from last menstrual period.

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t_trichiura_adult_femaleHosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin

The TWiP trio solve the case of the Woman from Washington Heights, and reveal how helminth infection protects mice deficient in the Crohn’s disease gene NOD2 from intestinal disease by inhibiting colonization with an inflammatory bacterial species.


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Case Study for TWiP 112

A case here at CUMC, 59 yo male, past medical history of childhood polio, presents with worsening lower extremity weakness, bowel and urinary incontinence. 2 year before worsening back pain, weakness, could not work. Cannot walk up one flight of stairs since 1 month; 1 week prior to admission had fever, no headaches, diarrhea, cough, or any other symptoms. Splits time between Washington Heights and Mexico. Construction worker. Rural town in southern Mexico, 10 months of the year. Worked in the corn growing area. Has been exposed to bugs. Stopped working in cornfields 20 years ago. Has son and daughter, visits them. Lives with wife, stays in Mexico, she is fine. HIV negative. Eats home prepared foods, no dietary restrictions. Physical exam: not febrile, vital signs all good, neurological: upper strength good, weakness in hip flexors, ⅗; quadriceps, but ⅕ in lower extremities ⅖ in right. Sensory has decreased as well. Possibly spinal lesion. Labs: elevated glucose, ESR 33, CRP 2.2, whites 8, 30.6 hematocrit, guaiac negative. Imaging: MRI of spine shows normal vertebrae, T9/10 inflammation of spinal cord, mass lesion, compromise of canal. Brain MRI: hydrocephalus. Problem with recirculation of CSF.

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Cimex lectulariusHosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin

The TWiP trio solve the case of the bug bites all in a row, and talk about a secreted Toxoplasma protein that is central to the parasite’s manipulation of host cells.

Download TWiP #111 (62 MB .mp3, 85 minutes)

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Case Study for TWiP 111

82 yo woman living in Washington Heights NYC 10 days of watery diarrhea, not smelly, does not float. Wakes her up at night. No fever, sweats at night. Losing some weight, appetite. No recent travel. Born in DR early 1930s, moved to US age 30. Sometimes goes back but not for several years. Springtime. Lives with extended family, only one sick. Eats whole assortment of cooked foods, rice, beans, fresh fruits. Drinks tap water. Not working. No pets. Stays mostly inside. History of reflux, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, diagnosed with temporal giant cell arteritis. Put on prednisone, doing better. Has had gall bladder removed. HIV negative. Extended family works in city, no taxi drivers. Belly uncomfortable for >week. Temp 38.1, BP 116/78, HR 105, breathing 12/min. Exam: looks ill, has diffusely tender abdomen, decreased bowel sounds. Liver, spleen not enlarged. Oriented. Has rash on abdomen: odd patchy distribution, looks like multiple thumbprints, front of belly, extending from umbilicus. White count 8, 78 polys, 14 lymphs, 4 mono, 1 eosinophil. Sodium 129, BUN 15, Creat 0.6. Urine histoplasma negative, TB test negative.

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin

Guest: Paul Calle

The TWiP trio visit the Bronx Zoo where Paul solves the case of the Four Year Old with Pulmonary Edema, and talks about his career as the Chief Veterinarian and Director of the Zoological Health program for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Download TWiP #110 (66 MB .mp3, 90 minutes)

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Case Study for TWiP 110

This week’s case involves humans. Young woman, 40s, concerned about bug bites. Several weeks ago her 13 year old daughter woke up in morning, reported bug bites. Several small, red, raised itchy areas, 3-4 in a line, just above belt line. They go on vacation in Europe, no problems. Upon return, several weeks later the Mother woke up with a similar pattern. Then second daughter has the same problem. Family lives in NY metropolitan area, which is an epicenter for this problem. Always on trunk, not on arms or legs. No travel before the first daughter’s bug bites. Husband does not report any problems. Family spends a lot of time outdoors, live in suburban wooden area.

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falciparum_cycleHosts: Vincent Racaniello and Daniel Griffin

Guest: Paul

Daniel and Vincent solve the case of the Truck Driver from India, discuss why parasites resistant to an antimalarial drug are not transmitted by mosquitoes, and introduce Paul who presents a new case study.

Download TWiP #109 (50 MB .mp3, 69 minutes)

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HepatosplenomegalyHosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin

The case of the Man from Assam is solved, and phagocytosis of Leishmania by B-1 cells is brought to you by the Three Twipeteers on this episode of TWiP.

Download TWiP #108 (66 MB .mp3, 91 minutes)

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Case study for TWiP 108

Todays case is a 26 yo male longhaul truck driver from northern tiger country of India. Comes into hospital at end of rainy season with 6 days of fever, chills, muscle aches, small loose stools, vomiting, trouble breathing, cough, decreased urine output. Lives in mud hut with coconut leaf roof. No one else in family  is sick (wife, two children). Significant animal and insect exposure (dogs, cows, monkeys). Got sick after coming home from a trip up north. No significant medical probs, no surgery. Really sick. Pain everywhere. Occasionally drinks palm wine. Some yellowing of eyes. Has lost a little weight. Ketonic breath. Exam: 39 fever, bp 100/71, 126 heart rate, 24 resp rate. Looks distressed, not fully sharp. Nothing focal on lung exam. Belly tender, esp upper right, spleen enlarged. Liver is tender but not enlarged. Some labs: bun elevated 102, creatinine elevated, Hg decreased 11, platelets 9000 (down), white count 10.3 no eosinophils. LDH 8000 AST/ALT normal, bilirubin 21. Never been this sick.

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Tritrichomonas murisHosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin

The TWiPtastic trio solves the case of the Surfer from Switzerland, and reveal how taste-chemosensory tuft cells in the gut regulate immune responses to parasites.

Download TWiP #107 (68 MB .mp3, 93 minutes)

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 Case study for TWiP 107

Todays case is a fun case about a 45 year old gentleman from Assam India, with sixteen years of fever, abdominal pain, darkening of skin, yellowing of eyes. Farmer, does not have much energy. Works barefoot in fields. Fever occurs every other day. Prior medical problems, nothing out of the ordinary. No surgeries, no meds, has never seen physician. Married, kids, no extramarital affairs, HIV negative, eats mostly cooked vegetables. Lives in concrete house, no screens, mosquito netting. Other people in area have similar problems. Water comes from pump, fill plastic jugs. Been in Assam sick his whole life, finally came to regional med center for evaluation. Underweight. No pets. Dogs around, avoids dogs. Cows, monkeys are around. Fair appetite. Exam: febrile, in face can see darkening which is increasing, also extremities. Whites of eyes are yellow (jaundiced). Striking is has a very large liver, spleen. Elevated bilirubin. Some increased liver enzymes. No physical scarring or lesions.

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Biomphalaria glabrataHosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin

The TWiP triumvirate solves the case of the Missionary in Kenya, and review the finding of a soldier caste in flatworms that parasitize snails.

Download TWiP #106 (87 MB .mp3, 121 minutes)

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 Case study for TWiP 106

This week’s case comes from an ophthalmologist colleague Florian in Switzerland. Swiss female, early 20s, returns after surfing vacation in northern Africa. Accommodations were rustic, lots of animal and insect exposure, right on the beach. No screens. Had loose stools there, now left eye is bothering her, eyelid swollen, eye red. This happened after return. Thinks she has seen things moving around in her eye. Opthalmologist gave eyedrops, now looking for second opinion. Healthy, no med/surg/allergies, no meds, student lives alone, occasional alcohol. No AIDS. Surfing in Morocco. Lots of insect bites. Little tiny things moving around in eye, on surface when she looks in mirror. All blood work was negative. Florian inspects her eye, surprised to see several tiny mobile objects, headed towards lacrymal ducts. Is able to grab one, about 1 mm long, plucks three off.

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