Discussion Questions

A. Define and differentiate vehicle transmission, vector transmission and contact transmission.

B. How do bacteria develop antibiotic resistance? Discuss the various skills that bacteria possess in order to become antibiotic resistant.

C. What are the varied factors that influence virus spread so that others become infected? What are the best ways of thwarting viral spread?

D. How is the microbiome associated with diseases? Can microbiota manipulations be used to treat illnesses? How strong is the evidence supporting your answer?

E. What are some of the most common autoimmune disorders? Why do you suppose these conditions predominantly occur in women rather than men?

F. Women live longer than men. This is apparent across species, suggesting a biological basis for this dimorphism. Yet, women are more prone to developing several chronic illnesses, such as anxiety, depression and autoimmune disorders. Aside from having two X chromosomes, what biological or psychosocial factors are responsible for the female advantages with respect to longevity? Do you think that the longer life span among women is paralleled by longer health span?

G. Many tropical diseases are not frequently studied. In fact, they are often referred to as ‘neglected tropical diseases’. Some of the reasons for this seem fairly obvious (e.g. lack of finances within these countries to conduct the needed research; distance from developed nations makes it more difficult to study these diseases). Are there other reasons that might account for the failure to treat or scientifically examine these diseases? Furthermore, could studying neglected diseases be relevant to understanding diseases that affect most of the rest of the world?

H. Most autoimmune disorders occur far more frequently in females than in males. However, Type 1 diabetes and psoriasis occur equally in the two sexes. Why would this be? Does it inform us about the mechanisms responsible for autoimmune disorders?