Showing posts with label video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video. Show all posts

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Happy World Digestive Health Day!

Today is World Digestive Health Day!

The theme is 'Gut Microbes -  Importance in Health and Disease'.

United European Gastroenterology (UEG), a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases, has launched a short video to raise awareness of such diseases:

In 2000, 600 million patients suffered from a gastrointestinal disease. By 2025, this is predicted to double to 1.2 billion (source).

For those interested (and with access!), there is a special issue on 'The Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease' in the journal Gastroenterology, one of the most renown and established journals in the field.

I would also like to bring your attention to the 5th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes, September 27-30 in Washington DC. Deadline for submission of abstracts is July 14.

Wishing everyone a nice World Digestive Health Day!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Blastocystis - 'Monsters Inside Me'

I woke up this morning, grabbed my smartphone and went on to check my Blastocystis Google Alert. There was one entry, and this was the one:

Now, I could probably do a post with hundreds of examples showing how the internet abounds with material that may misguide/misinform people on Blastocystis pathogenicity. As such, this video is a nice example of how you can diligently manipulate people into thinking that severe, debilitating disease can be caused by Blastocystis.

Now, before I move on, I have to say that if this is a documentary, I'm very sorry for the couple in this video who have suffered the pain and consequences of sudden debilitating illness. Precautions have to be taken when you are exposed to sewage to avoid contracting infections.

The symptoms that are described in the video - including the weight loss - could be attributable to many different bacterial and viral pathogens, even parasites such as Cryptosporidium and maybe also Giardia; to this end, the video provides us with no information on other pathogens found in the patient's stool. Even in the event that Blastocystis was the only potential pathogen found, other pathogens may have been overlooked if sensitive diagnostics were not taken into use.

It is possible that Bill Wilson contracted Blastocystis only after signing on to his plumbing contract, but it is also possible that he had it a long time before. Many of us (up to 30% of the healthy Danish population) are colonised, and colonisation is often chronic.

We are informed that the patient receives a course of metronidazole, a drug that is often used to treat Blastocystis, but which in fact has a limited efficacy in vivo when used alone. Bill apparently clears his symptoms after metronidazole treatment, but we do not know whether in fact Bill also clears his Blastocystis infection, which could be determined by post-treatment stool tests. Metronidazole is capable of clearing a large number of anaerobic bacterial and protozoan species, and it is not unlikely that the drug has eradicated one or more pathogens that Bill could have contracted during his work (or elsewhere), and so symptom relief may be due to clearance of a non-Blastocystis pathogen instead.

Finally, it may be so that symptom disappearance coincides with spontaneous pathogen resolution. Cryptosporidiosis, for instance, can cause quite debilitating disease even in immunocompetent individuals, causing the infected individuals to lose a lot of water due to diarrhoea lasting for days or even weeks, but the disease is usually self-limiting.

So, this video tells a story that makes the audience automatically think that Bill Wilson's disease is due to Blastocystis. Apart from the statement 'Complications from a Blastocystis hominis infection can be fatal' and the explanation of how metronidazole works on Blastocystis, there is not really any statements or information in the video that do not make sense; the video is just put together in a way so that the viewer automatically deduces that Blastocystis is the culprit. A diligent act of manipulation!

Please note that this post is about how information on Blastocystis can be conveyed to an audience and not about the particular case as such.


Stensvold CR, Smith HV, Nagel R, Olsen KE, & Traub RJ (2010). Eradication of Blastocystis carriage with antimicrobials: reality or delusion? Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 44 (2), 85-90 PMID: 19834337

Thursday, May 9, 2013

YouTube Video on Blastocystis Subtyping

For those who want to venture into Blastocystis subtyping - the easy way - I've recorded and uploaded a video on YouTube fyi.

For even more information, please visit a selection of relevant blog posts here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Blastocystis video

Just saw this on YouTube and had to share it. This is Blastocystis (and other microorganisms) viewed through a microscopy (light microscopy). Note that this is Blastocystis from a chicken, but Blastocystis from humans looks the same; at least I don't know how to tell the difference. I wonder whether this is from a culture or a completely fresh egestion... looks more like a culture to me. Note how the Blastocystis looks almost like fat cells...

The video comes with some nice music as well!