2 UC Davis neurosurgeons accused of experimental surgery are banned from human research. Bacterial infection after surgery to remove glioblastoma is thought (anectodally by neurosurgeons) to confer survival advantage to patients, despite limited and contradicting information from previous studies (abstract 1, abstract 2). Drs. J. Paul Muizelaar and Rudolph J. Schrot, with patient consent, introduced Enterobacter aerogenes into open wounds of 3 terminally ill patients in an effort to prolong life. Two patients later died due to sepsis. Upon learning that Muizelaar and Schrot had given patients the bacteria, UC-Davis notified (pdf) the Food and Drug Administration of the serious non-compliance issue. Currently, both Muizelaar and Schrot remain employed at UC-Davis, and Muizelaar remains chairman of the Nuerological surgery department.
To Disneyland - you can now throw away that "Banned for Life" file you have on me, I'm not a problem anymore - and SeaWorld San Diego, too, if you read this. Val Patterson, 1953 - 2012, wrote his own obituary as he was dying of throat cancer. He made a few confessions.
His name is Jack Andraka, and he loves science and engineering with every inch of his 15-year-old soul.
15 year old reinvents cancer detection, wins Intel International Science and Engineering Fair [more inside]
Since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against screening for prostate cancer, the debate has been furious. In fact, screening rates are likely to remain high, because most urologists disagree with the recommendations. One argued, "If you don’t do it, it’s negligent." (The debate is not new. Previously on Metafilter.) [more inside]
Undoctored photograph of a Chicago milk-truck driver's face. What we're seeing is called photoaging.
On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet carrying 243 passengers and 16 crew members, took off from Heathrow Airport in Britain, bound for New York.
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, Convicted in 1988 Lockerbie Bombing, Dies at 60. [NYTimes.com] Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of an American jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, has died in Libya, family members told news agencies on Sunday, nearly three years after Scotland released him on humanitarian grounds, citing evidence that he was near death with metastatic prostate cancer. He was 60.
Since she is not truly an emergency patient, she is triaged to the back of the line, and other folks, those in immediate distress, get in for treatment ahead of her. She waits on a gurney in a cavernous green hallway. The “chief complaint” on her chart at Grady Memorial Hospital, in Downtown Atlanta, might have set off a wave of nausea in a hospital at a white suburb or almost any place in the civilized world. It reads, “My breast has fallen off. Can you reattach it?” (via Boing Boing) [more inside]
The Band singer and drummer Levon Helm is in the final stages of cancer, according to a note posted on his website Tuesday by his wife, Sandy, and daughter, Amy. [more inside]
"As a career patient, I’ve learned one thing at least: the importance of clinging to the rag-end of your sense of self, however you define it—intellect, sense of humor, generosity of spirit, a stoicism worthy of Seneca or Mr. Spock, or, in a writer’s case, the mind that makes sense of itself as a reflection in the mirror of language. In the M.A.S.H.-unit chaos of the E.R.; in the nowhere, notime of the hospital room; in the O.R., where the euphoria of oncoming anesthesia and the doting attentions of apparitions in scrubs make you understand, in an instant, the perverse seductions of Munchausen’s Syndrome as you ride into the stage-light radiance on your gurney like the Son of Heaven in his sedan chair, feeling for all the world like a pathological celebrity—in these moments of inescapable embodiment, I’ve learned to float free in my head, a thought balloon untethered from the body on the sickbed or the operating table."-A Season in Hell by (Mefite) Mark Dery [Previously]
On May 19, 1984, an unemployed ice cream truck driver named Michael Larson went on Press Your Luck and over the course of two episodes, took home more money than had ever been won in the history of television: $110,237 -- to the shock of the show’s producers and host, the late Peter Tomarken. How did he do it? The show’s game board had only 5 patterns of 18 squares, and Mr. Larson had memorized them all. After the show, CBS tried to disqualify him but couldn’t, because Larson hadn’t done anything illegal. But they did refuse to allow those episodes to be aired in syndication. So, they didn’t re-air until 2003, when the Game Show Network produced a Tomarken-hosted documentary about Mr. Larson’s incredible win: Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal. [more inside]
Young Edd Gould always enjoyed drawing comics of himself and his friends. Growing up in the internet age, his doodles evolved into Flash animations of increasing complexity, and in time Edd and pals Tom Ridgewell and Matt Hargreaves teamed up to produce an "Eddsworld" series of online webtoons and comics. At first crude and halting, the group's "eddisodes" progressed from surreal shorts and one-shots into full-fledged productions that pushed the boundaries of amateur web animation, with expressive characters, full soundtracks, complex effects, and a fast-paced, off-kilter sense of humor: MovieMakers - Spares - WTFuture - Rock Bottom - Hammer & Fail (2). At its height, the college co-op was producing shorts for Mitchell & Webb and the UN Climate Change Conference, fielding offers from Paramount and Cartoon Network, and racking up millions of hits on YouTube. Work slowed, however, when Gould was diagnosed with leukemia -- a relatively survivable form, though, and Gould carried on working gamely through his hospital stays. So it came as a shock last week when Matt and Tom announced that Edd had passed away, prompting an outpouring of grief and gratitude from all the fans he'd entertained and inspired in his short 23 years.
Body scanners attacked again as US blogger Jon Corbett who blogs for TSA Out of Our Pants! exposes how to beat the body scanners, carrying a metal box in a secret shirt pocket through security at two airports. [more inside]
Shit Cancer Patients Say is a video filmed by five-time cancer survivor Woody Roseland at Presbyterian St Luke's Hospital.
The SCAR Project is a series of large-scale portraits of young breast cancer survivors shot by fashion photographer David Jay. (NSFW)
NPR is reporting that the Susan G. Komen foundation is severing it's ties and halting grants to Planned Parenthood, cutting off "hundreds of thousands of dollars", mainly earmarked for breast exams. Komen says the key reason is that Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress — a probe launched by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion groups. [more inside]
"I believe the time has come to realise that breast cancer screening programmes can no longer be justified ... I recommend women to do nothing apart from attending a doctor if they notice anything themselves." [more inside]
Paterno, Joseph Vincent (Joe Pa)
Born: December 21, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York.
Died: January, 22, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania.
Vocation: Football Coach
Penn State, Retired.*
Born: December 21, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York.
Died: January, 22, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania.
Vocation: Football Coach
Diagnosed with cancer, my father decided to have his tongue removed. It’s an extreme treatment, but he’s always known how to make things work out.
This cat is presumptuous. Before Sockington, before Simon's Cat, before Maru, the Internet had the Complaint Department. [more inside]
I live online as much as I live offline. Often, I move around in the world staring into a device as I walk, sharing bits of one realm with the other. The morning I went in for my first mammogram, I felt nervous. I would tweet this new thing, like I do with lots of new things, and make the unknown and new feel less so. Maybe by doing so, I thought while I was driving, other women like me who'd never done this would also feel like it was less weird, less scary, more normal and worth doing without hesitation. I'd crack some 140-character jokes. I'd make fun of myself and others. I would Instagram my mammogram.
Trial of the Will. "Reviewing familiar principles and maxims in the face of mortal illness, Christopher Hitchens has found one of them increasingly ridiculous: 'Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.' Oh, really? Take the case of the philosopher to whom that line is usually attributed, Friedrich Nietzsche, who lost his mind to what was probably syphilis. Or America’s homegrown philosopher Sidney Hook, who survived a stroke and wished he hadn’t. Or, indeed, the author, viciously weakened by the very medicine that is keeping him alive." [Via]
Jim Valvano and 6th seeded North Carolina State completed one of the all time greatest Cinderella upsets in basketball history, winning the 1983 NCAA tournament title over the top ranked "Phi Slamma Jamma" out of Houston, featuring two future Hall of Fame and Top 50 all time NBA superstars Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. On March 3, 1993, shortly before his death from bone cancer diagnosed the previous year, Jimmy V delivered an iconic speech at the inaugural ESPY awards announcing the creation of The Jimmy V Foundation, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. Jimmy V week is celebrated each year on ESPN and has since raised over $100 million for cancer research.
The Burzynski Clinic (selling an unproven cure for cancer) has started to threaten those who talk about them with legal action. Even going as far as trying to intimidate young blogger Rhys Morgan by sending him pictures of his own house (very, 'I know where you live...') and threatening another blogger's family.
Australian legislation mandating tobacco products are sold in plain packaging today passed the last hurdle today with plain packaging becoming a reality by December 2012. Some had misgivings, some disagree that plain packaging will be an effective deterrent; while some believe it will be counter-productive, while others take a different view.
The Academic Ob/Gyn: Taking Care of the Dying Jehovah’s Witness. The comments are good too.
A Harvard oncologist answers the question (and more): Why did Steve Jobs choose not to effectively treat his cancer?
Patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital are finding messages written to them in huge letters when they look outside their windows. The Ironworkers Local 86 crew assembling the frame of the hospital's new seven-story expansion building next door have been spray-painting greetings to them on the steel beams. "The new building’s skeleton is alive" with more than 50 names: "greetings to Kitty, Colby, Kyle and Istvan. To Violet, Seth, Josh and Austin. To Rachel, Adam, Gillie-Jane and Christofer." Photo Gallery. Local television news segment. (Via)
In 1973, while working as a young post-doc in Zanvil A. Cohn's laboratory in Rockefeller University, Ralph Steinman described a completely new immune cell within the lymphoid organs of mice (original paper can be read here). Based on it's distinctive shape, with it's many branched projections, he named the cell "dendritic cell" (derived from the Greek word for "tree"). Such began a prolific and illustrious career, devoted to the further understanding of these cells, which transformed the way the world understood how the immune system worked. Yesterday, Dr Steinman was awarded the The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011 "for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity". Tragically, he had died just three days earlier of pancreatic cancer, and never learned that he was to be awarded science’s top honour. [more inside]
A series of emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request shine light on collusion between the United States government and TransCanada, a corporation building a controversial pipeline from the Canadian Athabasca oil sands into its southern neighbor. The controversy extends beyond the currently poor safety record for delivering oil between the two countries, and beyond the environmental and health consequences of the oil extraction process for locals and the cost of climate changes it will contribute to, all the way to legal wrangling between Canadian media and Saudi Arabia over the "death panels"-like term "ethical oil", based upon a conservative group's advertising that argues that the purchase of Canadian-sourced oil is a morally superior act, because of oppression of women and human rights violations by the Saudi kingdom.
Seattle mourns the passing of Electron Boy, otherwise known as Erik Martin. Erik died at home on Friday, from a rare form of cancer called paraganglioma. He was 14. Previously on Metafilter.
Chat History: a story of love, loss, and IM.
At first, nothing happened. But after 10 days, hell broke loose in his hospital room. He began shaking with chills. His temperature shot up. His blood pressure shot down. He became so ill that doctors moved him into intensive care and warned that he might die. His family gathered at the hospital, fearing the worst. A few weeks later, the fevers were gone. And so was the leukemia. - (NYT Link)
Recent research on whether dogs can smell lung cancer supports prior research on the subject, which concluded that dogs can smell both lung cancer and breast cancer. [more inside]
"In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone." [more inside]
Documenting his own cancer treatments with his pinhole camera Gregg Kemp is not only brave but visionary. One of the main pillars in the pinhole photography movement for many years, Gregg is now on a new journey with uncertain results who has decided to take it head-on with setting up a pinhole camera in each surgery which exposes throughout the entire procedure producing a single unique photograph as testament to his hope.
The Summer 2011 issue of Stanford Medicine Magazine is about "Surviving Survival": The Woman Who Fell To Earth / Khmer Rouge on Trial / A Kid Again / Her Stroke of Insight / RxErcise [more inside]
Based on a lack of evidence for efficacy, "an FDA panel unanimously voted to revoke its approval of Avastin (bevacizumab) for breast cancer. The decision evoked cheers from some groups and jeers from others. At least one group derided the decision as the work of a 'death panel'". An interesting article on the withdrawal of a "miracle" drug from a section of the market, explaining the reasoning behind the decision and discussing the reaction from patients, many of whom believe -- despite the evidence -- that the drug was actually helping them. [more inside]
Burzynski, the Movie is the story of a medical doctor and Ph.D biochemist named Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski who won the largest, and possibly the most convoluted and intriguing legal battle against the Food & Drug Administration in American history.
A documentary by Eric Merola.
A documentary by Eric Merola.
Alice Pyne, a UK teenager with cancer, recently started her blog, Alice's Bucket List, with a personal wish-list. Top of the list is 'To make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor'. Her request has been brought up in parliament and helped by likes of Charlie Brooker (NSFW) has since become a top trend on twitter.
The Internet Is My Religion. Jim Gilliam gives a moving ten-minute speech at the Personal Democracy Forum on surviving cancer, faith, activism, interconnectedness and the internet. [more inside]
In a shift from its earlier position, the World Health Organization has stated that cellphones "possibly carcinogenic." Full report (PDF).
"In 2006, Mr. Snow had Stage 3 melanoma, a disease usually found in people three decades older." A short New York Times piece on a young couple going through the end of a cancer diagnosis. Make sure you watch the video in the multimedia column.
"Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor at the U of A Department of Medicine, has shown that dichloroacetate (DCA) causes regression in several cancers, including lung, breast, and brain tumors. " Between rumors that pharmaceutical companies have no interest in this discovery because it can't be patented and quacks jumping on the bandwagon to sell home made DCA to hopeful cancer patients for self medication, things are not exactly going the way Dr. Michelakis would have probably hoped.
"I'm dead, and this is my last post to my blog." Writer, editor, musician and marine biologist Derek Miller, author of Penmachine, wrote this blog post to be published after his death from colorectal cancer. He died on May 3rd.