This Week in Parasitism

TWiP is a monthly netcast about eukaryotic parasites. Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier, science Professors from Columbia University, deconstruct parasites, how they cause illness, and how you can prevent infections.



Ant-appetising slime balls

The TWiP hosts solve the case of the Thai Woman With Red Bumps, and reveal that a master manipulator contacts ant brain tissue to control its behavior. Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, and Daniel Griffin Become a patron of TWiP. Links for this episode:

  • Imaging parasites in ant brain (Nat Rep)
  • Brain worm turns ants into zombies (Nat Hist Museum)
  • Hero: Giovanni Battista Grassi
  • Image credit
  • Letters read on TWiP 158
Case Study for TWiP 158 Male in 50s comes to see Daniel, concerned that is infested with parasites. Retired firefighter, 9/11 survivor. Several years of skin issues not resolved. 2009 dating Haitian girl, goes to Haiti to assist with disaster relief efforts, there notices itchy rash, worse at night, elevated eosinophils.  Prior biopsy showed arthropods with compound eyes. Treated with oral ivermectin, topical permethrin. Ulcers form, preceded by small white objects that pop off skin and these can swim in water. Repeat cystoscopies triggered by hematuria. Multiple biopsies and skin scrapings, all unrevealing. Had episode with forked headed worms came out while on toilet. Became temporarily blind. Another physician suggested were drug related. Brings Daniel video of swimming, skin scrapings. Spent time in Egypt where he swam in fresh water. Has issues with substance abuse. Family history unremarkable. One exam, has ulcerated areas widely. CBC eosinophil 700. Calcification at bladder periphery. Many negative tests returned. Review of many biopsies, stool ONP, all unremarkable. Send your case diagnosis, questions and comments to Music by Ronald Jenkees


 2018-09-14  1h22m