Saturday, 18 February 2017

How the Intelligent (sic) Designer Hurts Babies.

Differential Responses of Human Fetal Brain Neural Stem Cells to Zika Virus Infection: Stem Cell Reports

Let's play that game creationist frauds like to play with their willing dupes; the game of 'Pretend There Is an Intelligent (sic) Designer', only with slight tweaks to their rules. Let's not ignore inconvenient stuff, and let's play the game as though this designer is really real, then see what we can discover about this designer instead of trying to force-fit the observable evidence into a preconceived notion of it.

Okay? Here we go then.

Here is an example of how the Intelligent (sic) Designer makes human babies sick; in this case born with the incurable and life-limiting handicap, microcephaly, in which the baby's head and brain fail to develop properly leaving them mentally handicapped and dependent on others for their survival - so having an adverse effect on their parents and siblings too.

The means by which it does this, of course, is with the Zika virus, transmitted by a mosquito to the mother whilst she is pregnant with the baby the Intelligent Designer intends to harm, having selected the family he wishes to impose this on.

When did this Intelligent (sic) Designer come up with this brilliant piece of design? Probably shortly before the first cases were reported from Argentina. It must have been when the Intelligent (sic) Designer redesigned the Asian form of the Zika virus especially for the purpose, because the African form doesn't cause anything other than fairly mild symptoms which last a matter of days.

There are currently 70 countries and territories reporting active Zika transmission, according to the World Health Organization. While a Zika infection typically results in mild or symptom-free infections in healthy adults and children, the risk of microcephaly in the developing fetus is an alarming consequence that has created a worldwide health threat.

Babies with microcephaly can have a wide array of problems including a small brain and head, developmental delays, seizures, vision and hearing loss and feeding difficulty. Scientists are trying to determine how a Zika infection triggers these defects.

Since a normal brain develops from simple cells called stem cells that are able to develop into any one of various kinds of cells, the UTMB team deduced that microcephaly is most likely linked with abnormal function of these cells.

There are two main lineages of the virus, African and Asian. Recently, the UTMB team found that only the Asian lineage has been linked with microcephaly. So, what is it about this particular form of the virus that inflicts such damage?

The researchers established a method of investigating how Zika alters the production, survival and maturation of brain stem cells using cells donated from three human fetal brains. They focused on the impact of the Asian lineage Zika virus that was involved in the first outbreak in North America in late 2015.

“We discovered that the Asian lineage Zika virus halted the proliferation of brain stem cells and hindered their ability to develop into brain nerve cells,” said Ping Wu, senior author on the study and UTMB professor in the Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology. “However, the effect that the Zika virus had on the ability of stem cells to develop into specialized cells differed between donors. This difference seems to be linked with a Zika-induced change in global gene expression pattern, it remains to be seen which genes are responsible.

Amultidisciplinary team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has uncovered the mechanisms that the Zika virus uses to alter brain development. These findings are detailed in Stem Cell Reports in an open access paper.

  • Mexican ZIKV strain infects primary human fetal brain-derived neural stem cells
  • ZIKV inhibits neuronal differentiation in a cell-strain-dependent manner
  • Majority of differentiated ZIKV-infected cells are glial cells
  • ZIKV-mediated transcriptome alteration is cell-strain-dependent

Zika virus (ZIKV) infection causes microcephaly in a subset of infants born to infected pregnant mothers. It is unknown whether human individual differences contribute to differential susceptibility of ZIKV-related neuropathology. Here, we use an Asian-lineage ZIKV strain, isolated from the 2015 Mexican outbreak (Mex1-7), to infect primary human neural stem cells (hNSCs) originally derived from three individual fetal brains. All three strains of hNSCs exhibited similar rates of Mex1-7 infection and reduced proliferation. However, Mex1-7 decreased neuronal differentiation in only two of the three stem cell strains. Correspondingly, ZIKA-mediated transcriptome alterations were similar in these two strains but significantly different from that of the third strain with no ZIKV-induced neuronal reduction. This study thus confirms that an Asian-lineage ZIKV strain infects primary hNSCs and demonstrates a cell-strain-dependent response of hNSCs to ZIKV infection.

The research showed the the Asian strain of the Zika virus halted the proliferation of brain stem cells and hindered their ability to develop into brain nerve cells. However, they also discovered the effect that the Zika virus had on the ability of stem cells to develop into specialized cells differed between donors. This difference seems to be linked with a Zika-induced change in global gene expression pattern, it remains to be seen which genes are responsible.

So, how neat is that? The Intelligent (sic) designer has come up with a variation on the Zika virus that simply stops the brains developing of the babies it wants to handicap. It doesn't do it randomly but which ones it chooses depends on the genes of its victims. At the moment we don't know what genes are involved exactly and we don't know how it interacts with them; we just know it does. This means we don't have any way to predict the most at risk potential victims.

So, what does this tell us about the Intelligent (sic) Designer? (We are still pretending it's really real, remember!)

Well, the first thing is that it seems very inventive in finding ways to handicap children and cast a blight on their families. Who could have thought up something like a virus and gone to all the trouble of modifying an existing one to harm them with? Even inventing the mosquito delivery system was a master stroke because it's so difficult for people to protect themselves against being bitten by one.

So, although this designer seems to be clever and inventive, it doesn't seem to mind what harm it does to people; it even seems to be trying really hard to do actual harm and to the most defenceless and vulnerable. The terms 'malevolent' and 'evil' spring to mind; certainly gratuitously sadistic, even psychopathic. In fact, the sort of character who, if it were real, would be high on the list of public enemies, if not at the top of the list. The sort of person who should be isolated and kept well away from decent folk in a maximum security facility somewhere.

You know, the strange thing is that when creationists stop pretending the Intelligent (sic) Design notion is science and not a religion in disguise, they tell us what a loving god this hideous thing is. They even sing songs in its praise and tell us we should worship it as an omni-benevolent deity which seeks only to maximise the good in the world. They even call this love and boast a lot about how much it loves them and they it!

I can only assume they have private definitions of 'love' and 'good', which, since they frequently bang on about how much they love people, is more than a little worrying. Almost like one of Donald Trump's 'alternative facts'.

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  1. You don't have to post this comment mate. Just letting you know you spelled microcephaly incorrectly near the beginning. Microscopically is a real word too of course, it just means something else.

    1. Thanks, Heather. I think I selected the wrong choice from my spell-checker suggestions. It's amazing how you don't notice when you proof-read your own stuff, isn't it!


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