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No. 32: Mar-Apr 1984

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Subtle Is The Virus

"Without causing noticeable structural damage, a virus administered to laboratory mice has been found to dis rupt hormone production in a particular type of pituitary cell. This novel observation -- that viruses are able to injure their hosts in ways not previously suspected -- may trigger a far-reaching search for viruses as causes of many unexplained human diseases."

Some of the other types of diseases mentioned as possible consequences of virus infection are those involving the faulty manufacture of insulin, neurotransmitters, hormones, and immune system regulators.

(Miller, J.A.; "Subtle is the Virus: Cells Stay Intact," Science News, 125: 70, 1984.)

Comment. This item dwells on the negative aspects of vial infections. Indeed, we automatically assume every infection by any virus or bacterium to be bad for the organism. This may not be so. Now that we have discovered that viruses can cause bodily changes without damaging the cells of the infected organism, we should ask whether favorable physical changes might not be caused by viruses, but not recognized as such. Going a few steps further: Is intelligence a disease? Could evolution be accelerated or directed through the mediation of viruses? See below for more on this.

From Science Frontiers #32, MAR-APR 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987