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The world’s worst disease

While many ailments are considered terrifying, Lesch-Nyhan is the stuff of nightmares. An extremely rare genetic neurological disorder with no cure, it often compels its victims to self-mutilate, even when they understand that doing so causes them harm. Richard Preston used Lesch-Nyhan as a plot device in his best-selling thriller The Cobra Event, and went on to write a fascinating article about the disease, its sufferers, and its implications for human behavior in the New Yorker. [PDF]. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jun 5, 2008 - 35 comments

The Demon in the Freezer

The Demon in the Freezer An article by the author of The Hot Zone. " The water contained the whole molecules of life from variola, a parasite that had colonized us thousands of years ago. We had almost freed ourselves of it, but we found we had developed a strong affinity for smallpox. Some of us had made it into a weapon, and now we couldn't get rid of it. I wondered if we ever would, for the story of our entanglement with smallpox is not yet ended".
posted by Mack Twain on Sep 30, 2002 - 10 comments

It's not about anthrax, but this piece

It's not about anthrax, but this piece (by Hot Zone author Richard Preston) from the New Yorker a couple of years ago discusses smallpox, the reasons why we keep samples around instead of getting rid of it, how effective it would be if used as a biological weapon, how prepared we are, etc. etc. Also contains an interesting bit mentioning other threats of anthrax (and this was '99).
posted by sherman on Oct 14, 2001 - 6 comments

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