Of Rabies and Resilience

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Last year University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Karsten Hueffer and his team reported they had determined how the rabies virus makes its way to hosts’ brains. When I talked with Hueffer at the time, I learned the rabies virus holds a unique fascination for many researchers. It consists of only five genes, yet it manages to hijack and modify the behavior of much more sophisticated animals, including humans. I began our discussion trying to get a handle on the virus’ size.

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Well, it is a new year and if you are like me you are staring down some resolutions you made in a euphoric haze of champagne. Exercise is often one of vows we make to ourselves after a season of snacking and heavy meals, but at this time of year, Alaska provides plenty of excuses for not getting to the gym or even walking around the block. My next guest has heard most of those excuses. Corrine Leistikow, MD is a family medicine physician at Tanana Valley Clinic. She is also a distance athlete of some note. She and her husband Eric Troyer regularly compete in ski and bike races measure in tens, if not the hundreds of miles.  What many people may not know about Leistikow is that for decades she has battled a painful disease. Also, she recently had both her knees replaced. Those conditions haven’t slowed her down and she can still be found enthusiastically participating in races. I decided to begin an occasional series on Northern Soundings that salutes resilience. I began my conversation with Leistikow by asking if she grew up in an athletically engaged family.

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And Chris Lott at katexic clippings provides a thoughtful word to turn to as you work out this season.

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