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Comment: AIDS is your immune system's fault (Score 1) 172

by etinin (#48511419) Attached to: Study: HIV Becoming Less Deadly, Less Infectious
Some people have been commenting about the huge differences between time of AIDS-onset in different HIV-infected individuals. What makes your immune system better at controlling HIV is your MHC capacity for presenting the antigens. The viral antigens have mutated to i) avoid triggering an immune response so it won't be well degraded in the first place, that happens by avoiding inflammatory pathogen associated molecular patterns (gp120 bings to a crappy receptor called DC-SIGN); ii) not fit well in most people's MHC cleft's, meaning that even when the pathogen is properly degraded, if you don't have good affinity with the MHC cleft, you won't be able to mount a good response based on T lymphocytes. The item II is what usually impacts the viral fitness in clinical practice. People with the same promiscuous MHC clefts which can cause autoimmune diseases are the ones who are usually slow developers. Since they can mount a good cellular response from the start, they will easilly get rid of most copies of the virus. What will be left will usually be the ones who have had mutations so big that they will not only not fit in the MHC cleft but they also won't bind well with CD4 or the correceptors. I've taken an extreme case, but this will happen in people with standard MHC`s who mount a standard answer. Also, the interesting thing about elite developers is that they don't mount the standard cytotoxic response which is expected against viruses. The dominant answer will be based on a novel type of T CD8+ nicknamed non-cytotoxic (duh) lymphocyte. These will, instead of killing the infected CD4+ lymphocytes, secrete anti-viral factors which will stall the virus reproduction. Another interesting example which shows that many diseases which we have are less harmful than our immune response. In this case, killing the infected cells means killing the own cells which will keep your immune system working, so it's a terrible idea, since the virus evolves faster, changing the antigens very fast while our immune system takes too long to mount a specific response. you will eventually suffer from immune exhaustion and that's AIDS.

Comment: Hacking gets a whole new sense now... (Score 1) 183

by etinin (#47866907) Attached to: In France, a Second Patient Receives Permanent Artificial Heart
Those will be days when hacking will be far more profitable than any physical mischief. You won't need to physically kidnap people anymore. Imagine a ransomware malware which gets into your heart? Crazy things become possible if they are ever stupid enough to make something too controllable by other devices. Also, I can see a black market for hearts coming for life: both the artifical ones being sold for a very high prices and, while they aren't as good as a real one, people selling their real heart for money and fitting an electronic one.

Comment: My experience: paper but focus on what's important (Score 1) 364

by etinin (#40875915) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Take Notes In the Modern Classroom?
So, I'm still in the second semester of Med School but I have already tried a few things. iPad fails completely. Notebook does as well. Actually, even pen and paper do fail if you don't use them properly. What you should do is write what is really important down. Like stuff that you know might be hard to find on a book. You can get verbatim copies of everything your teacher has said from your colleagues, since there'll always be the one who writes everything down. But this material will be of limited usefulness when you're desperate before a test. What is actually rare is decent condensed material. You will seldom get this from your peers. Most people don't realise how important it is to figure out during the class what's important and what's not. If you know that, you'll get good grades and be a successful professional. It is useless to force every bit of useless crap down your memory if you won't remember it when you need it. It is far better to focus on what's important so you can properly retain it and study the bulky useless crap only close to tests as needed. If you really get the core of the subject, it'll be far easier to understand and memorize the rest anyway.

Comment: Re:This is why we need more unions and more worker (Score 1) 439

by etinin (#40736077) Attached to: Subcontractor Tells Fukushima Workers To Hide Radiation Exposure
Problem is that when you look at a country such as Brazil you have union leaders going around by helicopters while the ones who they represent can barely pay for their food. Heck, the current ruling party even got elected because of support from unions and the ones who they have most benefited are bankers and corporations. Point being that unions can be corrupted by corporations as much as politicians. Corruption arises from people. Countries which are culturally more ethic tend to be a lot less the corrupt. The right way of fixing the problem is from bottom to top, not from the top to the bottom.

Comment: Re:I don't understand (Score 1) 364

by etinin (#40203259) Attached to: How Chemistry Stymies Attempts To Regulate Synthetic Drugs
Thalidomide was a fucking medication. It was said to be safe. We're not talking about deregulation of health products. Thing is: If you want to take an unproven possibly dangerous chemical, that's your problem. Shit is that 'health agents' claimed thalidomide was safe. And really, nowadays you're much better off buying research chemicals from a reliable vendor, because you know what you're getting and the purity is good compared to street vendors. Of course, they sell pretty dangerous stuff as well. Now, that's the user's problem to find out what's gonna fuck them for a high and what is hather harmless. On a related note, LSD is a lot safer than stuff like acetaminophen. Do you know how many thousands of people die each year because of paracetamol-induced liver failure?

Comment: Low level radiation may be protective (Score 1) 142

by etinin (#40012831) Attached to: MIT Study: Prolonged Low-level Radiation Exposure Poses Little Risk
My teacher, who has a PhD in Radiobiology, once did an experiment on the subject. He had two groups of mice. One of the groups was exposed to laser radiation. The other one was a control group. Both groups were then subjected to high energy ionizing radiation. Guess what: the ones who were exposed to the laser had a high survival rate than the ones who were not. So there is this belief that very low levels of radiation might actually activate your body's repair system without doing much damage. The caveat may be an increased incidence of mutations. We do not have many reliable methods to quantify that.

Comment: Faith x Science (Score 1) 566

by etinin (#39255515) Attached to: Growth of Pseudoscience Harming Australian Universities
Well, while is is true that the descartian way of thought closes some doors, it opens many more. People are too willing to have faith in some treatment because they want it to work. Often belief is enough for it to present results, but you don't need an elaborate placebo "science" for that. Some german doctors were even prescribing placebo/vitamin pills to patients who thought they were sick and obtained great results (I believe there was a slashdot article about it). Unfortunately I happen to be studying medicine in one of the few serious institutions around the world that include homeopathy as an obligatory subject in medicine. And whenever I bring up the subject, someone claims that homeopathy works because they know someone whose symptoms were cured and improved. People really do underestimate the placebo effect.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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