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posted by martyb on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the no-laughing-matter dept.

The Zika virus has been known for quite some time, but it gained notoriety recently due to its possible linkage to birth defects.

Science News has a summary report on Zika virus:
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/special-report-heres-what-we-know-about-zika

A report on the studies of its possible linkage to microcephaly, a birth defect of babies with undersized and underdeveloped brains:
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-zika-became-prime-suspect-microcephaly-mystery

In short, studies are continuing, evidence is mounting, but still not quite a confirmation.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:59AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:59AM (#324195)

    I must insist on double-blind, otherwise the study is not scientific.
    You don't believe me? Ask the mighty buzz.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:09AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:09AM (#324200)

    One of the worst aspects of climate change is the loss or northern shift of four-season temperate zones away from current areas of dense human population, leaving behind climates hospitable to vast assortments of dangerous and novel critters ranging from microscopic to larger than man.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:35AM

      by c0lo (156) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:35AM (#324221) Journal

      leaving behind climates hospitable to vast assortments of dangerous and novel critters ranging from microscopic to larger than man.

      Solution: occupy those niches before the critters do.
      After losing the War on Drugs and with the War on Terrorism not putting enough in the MilInd coffers, the War on Critters becomes a necessity.

      (grin)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:48AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:48AM (#324230) Journal
      In the good old days before evil climate change, malaria was present all the way up to Chicago [the-scientist.com] in the eastern US and southern England [wikipedia.org] in Europe. It's not at all a stretch to expect, even in the hypothetical complete absence of climate change, for the Zika virus to assume a similarly broad range in the absence of human intervention.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:59PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:59PM (#324403)

        No question the critters are adaptive, but I'd rather we don't help them out by making an ideal habitat for their colonies. Florida has a much bigger problem with invasive species compared to the US northeast. That doesn't mean you can't find these pests living in the wild up north.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:02PM

        by HiThere (866) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:02PM (#324458) Journal

        Not clear, though possibly true. Zitka seems to require a particular species of mosquito, which I don't believe is currently present. A coulple of cases in Florida an Texas may mean that it's starting to arrive...or may represent some other source of infection. I believe shared bodily fluids could do it, possibly even a kiss. And most people are essentially asymptomatic.

        OTOH, I'm not an expert in any of the related areas. I'm relying on vague memories of general science news reporting, so any of this could be wrong in two or three different ways.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by khallow on Thursday March 31 2016, @02:12PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 31 2016, @02:12PM (#325263) Journal
          The two species of Adeles genus mosquitoes which are known to spread Zika virus go well into [wsj.com] the US:

          A study published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the potential range of Aedes aegypti, a tropical mosquito species that is the primary carrier of Zika, blanketing the southern U.S. and reaching as far north as San Francisco; Kansas City, Mo.; and New York City. The likely extent of another Zika-carrying mosquito species, Aedes albopictus, stretched across the Southwest and covered most of the eastern U.S., including northern New England, according to the study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

          Previously, the CDC’s maps showed the ranges of both species generally concentrated in the South, though Aedes albopictus ranged north to New York City and Illinois. The changes were based on new data collected by the CDC and its local partners that show where the mosquitoes have been found. Areas where the mosquitoes are endemic—Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the Gulf states—remained the same.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:12AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:12AM (#324216)

    In medicine this means they've cherry picked enough (usually about 5) positive/negative correlations that are consistent with some favored speculation (while ignoring the others that don't fit). We still won't know what happened decades after this, because there will be no model making falsifiable predictions ever tested.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:41AM

      by c0lo (156) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:41AM (#324225) Journal

      We still won't know what happened decades after this, because there will be no model making falsifiable predictions ever tested.

      And... do we really need to know [soylentnews.org]?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:53AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:53AM (#324232)

        Double blind just minimizes inaccurate measurements due to researcher biases. Unless that is the only other explanation for some observation it doesn't help much. Definately a cheap and useful tool that should be used wherever possible though.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @05:00AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @05:00AM (#324233)
          In biology, there always exist other possible explanations.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @05:17AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @05:17AM (#324237)

            As a group, biologists don't seem to put much effort into figuring out the consequences of their theories or designing studies to rule out as many explanations as possible. That is probably why.

          • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Tuesday March 29 2016, @10:49AM

            by deimtee (3272) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @10:49AM (#324307) Journal

            "Under the most carefully controlled conditions of light, temperature, humidity, pressure, and nutrient concentrations, the organism will do whatever it damn well pleases."
              - every biologist ever.

            --
            No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
            • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:03AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:03AM (#324312)

              That is just because hey are bad at their jobs. My experience was very similar to this:

              For example, there have been many experiments running rats through all kinds of mazes, and so on—with little clear result. But in 1937 a man named Young did a very interesting one...He finally found that they could tell by the way the floor sounded when they ran over it...That is the experiment that makes rat‑running experiments sensible, because it uncovers the clues that the rat is really using—not what you think it’s using. And that is the experiment that tells exactly what conditions you have to use in order to be careful and control everything in an experiment with rat‑running...he subsequent experiment, and the one after that, never referred to Mr. Young. They never used any of his criteria of putting the corridor on sand, or being very careful. They just went right on running rats in the same old way, and paid no attention to the great discoveries of Mr. Young

              http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/51/2/CargoCult.htm [caltech.edu]

              People in these areas do NOT want to do the necessary work, they prefer to come up with excuses about how it is all "so complicated".

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:45PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:45PM (#324385)

                Infectious disease is easier to demonstrate than psychology studies.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:10PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:10PM (#324462)

        We don't really want to know. Should it turn out that Zika is beneficial, the public health authorities who warned against it will be embarrassed.

    • (Score: 2) by bart9h on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:33PM

      by bart9h (767) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:33PM (#324380)

      Fact is, Medicine is still in the stone age. We know very very little of how things actually work, 99% of the so called "science" in this area is just statistics.

  • (Score: 2) by FakeBeldin on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:30AM

    by FakeBeldin (3360) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:30AM (#324314) Journal

    The country urged women not to get pregnant until 2018... e.g. Daily Mail [dailymail.co.uk], Refinery29 [refinery29.com], Volkskrant [volkskrant.nl], etc.

    Just imagine a situation where you feel advising people not to get pregnant for 2 years is better than the effect that THAT will have on your nation. For El Salvador, apparently, current evidence linking Zika to birth defects is good enough.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @01:17PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @01:17PM (#324345)

    Has anybody mentioned that Monsanto introduced pyriproxyfen to the water supply of the countries where Zika is prevalent just a couple of years ago? This chemical was introduced to kill insect larvae. Guess what? Nobody ever tested it on humans (or worse, Monsanto decided to test it on poor brown people). Now we are finding a correlation with children being born with brain defects?

    Who knew? That introducing a poison to drinking water which is used to kill mosquitoes would cause brain defects when that same water is drank by humans?

    Zika has been around for 50 years. It started in Africa, moved to Asia, and then went to South America with the World Cup in 2014. NO OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD has Zika been "linked" to microcephaly. It was only after Monsanto introduced this poison to the drinking water that we have brain defects. Hmmm. I think I might see what's really going on here. As a matter of fact, doctors in Argentina have also debunked the link of Zika and raise the point of the pyriproxyfen in drinking water.

    http://ecowatch.com/2016/02/12/larvicide-cause-not-zika/ [ecowatch.com]
    http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/zika-or-insecticide-pyriproxyfen-behind-microcephaly-cases/ [toolsforfreedom.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:04PM (#324392)

      The virus was in Brazil before the World Cup and pyriproxyfen is not associated with microcephaly. There has also been virus isolated directly from the CNS.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/health-experts-dismiss-claims-larvicide-linked-to-microcephaly/ [cbsnews.com]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:37PM (#324399)

        You still never answered the questions: why doesn't Zika cause microcephaly in other countries? And why did microcephaly only start after pyriproxyfen was added to the drinking water?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @05:06PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @05:06PM (#324416)

          Brazil has a large Zika naive population while other countries have had Zika for a while. It looks like acute Zika virus infection during fetal development is what is causing the problem.
          Microcephaly isn't only occurring in areas with Pyriproxyfen.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by HiThere on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:20PM

      by HiThere (866) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:20PM (#324467) Journal

      Are you the same person who made this same claim last time this came up? I went looking for evidence to substantiate your claim, and what I found was that everywhere Zitka is associated with neural abnormalities. This makes it causing microcephaly quite plausible. It's not an inevitable effect, so it probably depends on exactly what stage of the pregnacy the infection occurs in, and on how severe a case the infection is. Also most people who catch Zitka have minor symptoms, minor enough that it often isn't reported. This would make tieing the cause to the result difficult.

      My guess is that this is an effect of Zitka that has always been present, it just hasn't been noticed. Detecting it depends on good public health records and lots of statistical correlation. And being able to test for residual antibodies. Etc. Things that have only recently started to become widely available.

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    • (Score: 3, Informative) by gidds on Thursday March 31 2016, @10:30AM

      by gidds (589) on Thursday March 31 2016, @10:30AM (#325200)

      According to Snopes [snopes.com]:

      "Speculative reports connecting Monsanto and pyriproxifen as culprits had no basis in any accepted science or research and, at worst, served to exacerbate unfounded fears about larvicides during a mosquito-borne disease outbreak.  To date, medical research hasn't reached any firm conclusions about why a decades-old virus (Zika) potentially led to a sudden increase in microcephaly cases; however, the use of a similarly decades-old larvicide (pyriproxyfen) as the only cause was dismissed by experts across several related fields as improbable and without merit."

      --
      [sig redacted]