trichuris trichiura

Trichuris comes from the Greek tricho, meaning hair and oura, meaning tail. Trichuris trichiura (T. trichiura)common name, whipworm. I gather the name refers to the shape of its hair-like anterior.

My quick note:
Trichuris trichiura (T. trichiura), aka, whipworm.
Trichuriasis, aka, whipworm infection aka a neglected tropical disease.

I particularly enjoy drawing the linear, yet sinuous T. trichiura. ↓

The whipworm has a thicker rear end (posterior) and thinner front end (anterior).  Female is larger (35-50mm) than  male (30-45mm).

I’ve introduced you to Dr. María Adelaida Duque, who enjoys her work with the biological pathogen. The focus of my current research is on understanding the interactions between the parasitic nematode Trichuris trichiura and the intestinal epithelia, their host cells. T. trichiura is an animal from the phylum nematoda. Maria reminds me, we can get infected with this parasite when we ingest eggs present in contaminated food or water.

My rendition of whipworms in the intestine.

Two questions direct Maria’s current work:
How does the larvae reach the bottom of the crypt and invade the epithelia?
What are the interactions between larvae and cells promoting this process?

When the larva is liberated, it infects the bottom of the crypts of the intestinal epithelia and creates tunnels inside them: it is a multi-intracellular parasite! One L1 larva (100um) infects about 40-50 cells in one tunnel.

In the tunnels, the larva moults 4 times, growing and shedding their cuticle with each moult, until they become adult worms, either female and male (about 3-5cm), which mate and produce eggs that are liberated in the faeces, thus completing the life cycle.

Unembryonated whipworm eggs

cross section- cecum inflamed with worms

Eggs hatch in the cecum/proximal colon and larvae immediately infect the cells of the epithelium in there.

My questions:
Do they move through any other organs in the body before heading back to the lumen?
How do they make there way and know where to land? What directs them? Is it chemistry? temperature? (I think this might be Maria’s question too.)

Cross section of cecum based on Maria’s photo. I wished I’d worked larger.

About the art: I especially like the active mark-making this cross section ↑ of the cecum allows.

You are looking at contents in the area where the large intestine begin. The center space is called the lumen (Latin for light). It appears like empty space but it is not. Use your imagination…the lumen holds/transports all sort of interesting things. (Is this chyme?)

Close up.Can you see both whipworms and eggs (in the light)?

My notes and stuff that goes on in my head as I paint:
Intra-multicellular parasite (influences black background and palette), you live and reproduce in/and/or outside of host cells. You produce and liberate 5000 eggs per day (yikes!) into the lumen of your host’s gut which eventually exit and drop into a new environment (soil). With support of warmth, moisture and week’s time, your eggs embryonate.
Ingestion of your now developing eggs leads to infection/s as they enter a new gut where a new generation of you burrow in fresh gut lining, molt x4, mature and if allowed, repeat the cycle of the parasites that came before them and you.
(I know this is a long run-on sentenced paragraph. Like I said… it’s the way my brain works when I paint.)

Soil-transmitted helminths (T. trichiura)
uninvited guest
you cause disease (Trichuriasis).

Is there is treatment for this worm infection? Yes, Maria says, but it is not efficient and often we cannot eradicate the infection. That is why we need new drugs and to find a vaccine.

Continued success in your research and public engagement work  → Dr. María Adelaida Duque.


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

muscles coordinate (tree of life)

out on my final run of last year
i spot a newly pruned shrub
eyes and legs, upright and steady
muscles coordinate
nature inspires me to draw a cerebellum
power of fine-movement, precision, timing
balancing eye and hand
muscles coordinate
to create first study of the new year

#LittleBrain #ArborVitae

cerebellum: sagittal cross section

 


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

an anopheles mosquito and the unicellular organism it transfers

Alejandro Marin Mendez is enthusiastic as he introduces himself to me and tells me about his work as a scientist.

Thinking he lives in Spain, he corrects me and explains he was born in Spain and currently lives in France. He mentions other places he’s lived as well as languages he’s learned. This is the life of a scientist, he happily notes.

We discuss Covid-19 restrictions and then go to the topic of Malaria.

He begins, I focus my research on the malaria parasite, which is called Plasmodium and it is unicellular.

There are 5 species of Plasmodium that affect humans: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale and P. knowlesi. It’s a vector-borne disease which means that it’s transmitted by mosquitoes (of the genus Anopheles).

According to the World Health Organization there are over 220 million cases of malaria infections reported in the world (mainly in the Southern hemisphere) and causes a 400,000 death toll per year, most of them being children under 5 years old infected with P. falciparum. Basically, it’s a massive health burden across the globe, especially affecting children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The parasite needs to invade the RBC’s (red blood cells) as part of its life cycle. In the process of invading and egressing in and out of RBCs in a cycle that lasts between 24 and 72 hours, depending on the species, is when affected people develop all the symptoms (fever, anemia, headaches, muscular pain and in severe cases cerebral comma and death). Within the human body it mostly reproduces asexually, while later in the cycle it produces gametocytes that will commence sexual reproduction (2 cells give 1 cell) within the mosquito. I find that bit fascinating, that an unicellular organism has asexual and sexual reproduction across it’s life cycle!

My brain finds it hard to keep up….unicellular, P. falciparum, vector borne, RBC cycles…
I quick-note (aka doodle quickly) with stuff laying on my desk.

female Anopheles mosquito

My take:
An infected (and pregnant) Anopheles mosquito (vector) bites (sucks nutritious blood for maturation of its eggs) a human (host), injecting the malaria parasite (via its saliva glands) into the bloodstream (in the elongated form of a sporozoite).

The sporozoite (infective agent) enters the liver (hiding from the immune system) and multiplies (asexually) within liver cells (polyhedral hepatocytes). Liver cells eventually burst, sending what are now merozoites (who escape) out into the blood stream.

Did I get this right? Correct me if I didn’t.
Some merozoites (rounder form of the parasite) enter (bind to the surface) erythrocyte (aka, blood cell), where cycle continues in further complex stages: Ring stage, Trophozoite stage, Schizont stage (mature sporozoites)…while other merozoites develop into gametocytes.

Whew…there’s more but I’ll leave it for another day…

work in progress

Early in the zoom call, Alejandro referred to the parasite as a serial killer.

The last thing I ask: Do/does the parasite, in its various stages, communicate with each other?  I paraphrase here ↓ (cuz I found it complicated).
He explains, the parasite is basically a single-celled organism. (This doesn’t answer my question.) He says, we can talk philosophically or perhaps spiritually, and perhaps we might consider it communicates. Perhaps. And then he goes into the molecular and hypotheses…

…serial killer…silently creeping…plasmodium falciparum…

mosquito goes dark. work in progress.

Muchas Gracias Alejandro. Me gustó hablar contigo!
_________________

Alejandro Marin Mendez is a scientist and an avid bicyclist. He’s combined the two things he loves into a Public Engagement initiative where he brings cutting edge science to Secondary Schools and the general public, around the world.
For more  →
scicling.org.

#circles #cycles


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

a visually driven post

I wanted the light to be the revelation. It has to do with what we value. I want people to treasure light. – James Turrell


Eye-balls, they’re weird and wonderful, these organs that house vision. I like the form and shape, the simplicity and complexity. And based on many a conversation, I know others enjoy them too.
#thevisual

I didn’t expect to revisit the eye. But I’m looking at the brain and they are one….

Cool fact: Your eyes are the part of your brain that sit outside your skull. Their primary job is to inform you (your brain) through signal, when to wake up and when to sleep.
#sunrisedetectors #sunsetdetectors

At the back of each eye-ball are a layer of various cells. The thin layer ↓ called the retina, is made up of neurons that sense patterns of light carried by photons. This patten travels via the optic nerve, to your brain.
#lightwaves #transduction #electricalsignals #nervousimpulses #neuralsignals

Neural Cells of the Retina

Vision is your ability to detect light patterns.
#electromagneticwaves #nanometers #electromagneticspectrum #wavelengths

Your eye(s) and brain communicate via your optic nerve(s). A conversation between them could go something like this…

Eyes to Brain: I admire the color blue! Do you?
Brain: Yes! Blue light wakes me right up! I also appreciate blue light as it goes darker. And, I enjoy yellow and orange light as it gets brighter too.
Eyes: All of this. Yes!

Basically they’d be talking sunrise and sunset, alertness and sleep. The brain might  continue and clarify how light affects cortisol, heart-rate and hormones.

Everything really starts in the eye. The eye sheds light on the brain which activates all the rest of the cells (every single cell!) in your body.
#circadianclock #circannualclock #entrainable #everysinglecellinyourbody

postscript:  all my posts are visually driven


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

the appendix

Looking up the word appendix in my copy of a “Medical Meanings” glossary (thank you Wright), I am directed to see vermis. (Vermis?) Vermis is the Latin word for worm. (Of course it is!) It continues….Veriform appendix, Latin for addition or supplement, which is stuck on the base of the cecum for no apparent purpose in man but to serve as a seat for appendicitis. (hmmm). Out of familiarity, we seldom use the full name of this little organ; we call it simply the appendix.
And a note… A vermifuge (Latin fugare, to chase away) is an agent that expels worms or similar vermin from the gut.


My previous post, on the ileum, receives a comment from pediatrician, Dr. Betsy Triggs. She writes, Oooh! Please do the nasty little innocent looking troublemaker appendix next. Ileum’s neighbor. 😊

I’m going to stop saying I especially love some particular part of the body (like the appendix), cause it’s getting old. Truth is, I love learning about the whole incredibly complex and connected organism.

And another note: I appreciate my glossary definition of the word autopsy
Autopsy is a misapplied term when used to refer to postmortem examination. The Greek autopsia (auto-, “self,” + opsis, “seeing”) meant, in fact, “seeing oneself.” According to Professor Alexander Code (JAMA. 1965;191:121), for the Greeks this had an even more mystical meaning in the sense of “a contemplative state preceding the vision of God.”

The appendix (study) world as seen under magnification.


I paint a cross section of the appendix and ask Dr. Triggs, for her thoughts on the organ.

She writes, The appendix is now thought to be the repository for the “good gut bacteria” that doesn’t get pooped out when you have diarrhea. Maybe because it’s a tiny little wormy thing with a small Lumen, offset on the cecum (which in itself is a blind pouch off the large intestine) gut bacteria can survive there even when we take antibiotics. It’s such a cool little finger/wormy thing that can flip and be in different positions so making the diagnosis of appendicitis tricky.

Detail

As I read Betsy’s (great visual) description, I note the appendix a dead-end of sorts, or maybe more like a cul-de-sac. Either way, I imagined it to be a hot-spot where bad bacteria collected. I recall reading different areas of the intestine holding different bacteria due to temperature…or something like that. What is the temperature of the appendix (temperature in the appendix)?

Anyway…I want to keep this post short and sweet…perhaps like the appendix.


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

ileum

I do like the word ileum (i-lee-uhm). When I first hear about it, I wonder exactly where this area that holds B12, sits in the body. Eventually, I learn it is the last section (of the 3 sections) of the small intestine (lower right side, pelvic region) before arriving to the large intestine (whew!).

When drawing the gut, I am in the habit of giving the ileum more attention and playful highlight.

Last year, while researching the GI tract, I find a cross section of it (wow!) and know I will eventually paint it. #Now #HereItIs↓

Ileum comes from the Greek eileos and means tightly twisted. Yes, it certainly appears this way.

Note: The GI tract (also called the alimentary canal) is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube that includes mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine and anus.

Here is my  interpretation of a cross section of the distal intestine AKA the ileum. Imagine that, like a hollow tube, you are looking into it. #AMostCoolPerspective

I may go back in and add a few more shapes (fat cells) around it.

A few things…
The ileum absorbs methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin (2 more fun words) AKA vitamin B12. It also absorbs bile salts.
And…I can’t help but think about the microbes that set up house in there too.

The more I draw out the more I draw in… #ACoolEmptyNotSoEmptySpace


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

rip rbg

“I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Thinking about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I get out paper, pencils and paints to compose a small drawing. And because I’ve been studying the brain and neurons, I wonder about her…brains. Can we study brains like hers? Do we study brains like hers?

I collage the organ from a Washington DC map.

I honor the woman’s intellect. I honor her voice, her tenacity and her sense of agency.
I honor the outlier. I honor her courage.

RIP RBJ

#VOTE
#GenderEquality #WomensRights #CivilRights


©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

see one do one teach one

Video

This week I learn about the methodology See One, Do One, Teach One, especially used in the medical world for teaching and/or learning through direct observation. The process can be applied to most any form of education. It feels particularly natural to the Fine Arts and reminds me of an apprenticeship.

While I did go to art school, some of my best teachers were the ones who let me work in the studio with them.

I was introduced to printmaking by artist Kurt Kemp. Kurt began his teaching career in my last year at UTEP. I needed one final Drawing class and an elective, day and time were issues for me. As luck (and kindness) would have it, he allowed me to sign up for his advanced independant studio classes. I was drawing in the early morning, and ending the evening with printmaking. I’d never printed at that point, though it melded naturally with drawing. Kurt loan me tools. He taught me to get rich black, printed marks using a hand-made mezzotint rocker on a sheet of copper. I can still hear him say Don’t drop it! This one is my own personal rocker. I’ve had it for years (yikes!).

I fell in love with drawing, copper plates, BFK paper, ripped edges, the smell of ink and all things drawing and printmaking (yes, art-making heightens all the senses). And I redirected my studies, 3D to 2D. Eventually attending NMSU for graduate school, I continued printmaking with Spencer Fiddler, whom like Kurt, had at one time worked under the great Mauricio Lasansky.  I watched both of these men make their ink from raw material, both were sensitive to the tarlatan clothe, the inking and the final printing of their copper plates.

But I digress…
I sure didn’t expect to take this trip down memory lane today, nor while creating a quick video on drawing a neuron, a few days back.

Back to drawing…
I rip a piece of heavy duty black drawing paper (deckled edges) and video tape about 34 seconds of the process as I lay in my subject, a neuron. I turn the video off to work freely, hoping to move easy and steady.
(Note: The video, I use as a means to practice focus, quick-decision mark-making, and  loosen up.)

I’m looking to balance the study with both play and accuracy by its final stage.

I stop moving quickly. I fuss with materials, edges and lines. I probably work a little more than an hour to get the first layout. A few more to get the second set up. The next day I work the composition to a final stage (btw…this drawing of a neuron is small!)

I decide the image expresses a control balanced by a loose and playful quality.

Which is probably why I think about Kurt and Spencer today.

My first study above, is a neuron. My smaller, second composition below, done in similar process, is the neuron’s supporting cell called a glial cell.

#BackInTheStudio #It’sBeenAToughSummer #UrBeautifulBrain #LiveAndLearn #SeeOneDoOneTeachOne