I was once CONVINCED I had Boerhaave syndrome, an extremely rare condition where your esophagus is ruptured and acid and air spill into your chest, because my chest tickled after a small bout of coughing. I spent two hours in the dark, unable to sleep, listening to my chest with a stethoscope, and UpToDate-ing (our version of WebMD) the various ways in which I'd be dead before morning. I ran to the Emergency Room and told them I needed a stat Gastrografin Esophogram, stat as in: yesterday. The attending took one look at me and said, “Congratulations, you're a cliché! Go Home.”
We tend to think now of scurvy as mainly a punch line, if anything—“scurvy-ridden rats” is the kind of popular pirate epithet that appears in even the most G-rated family fare. Partly this is because now, fully understanding its mechanism, it seems a particularly ridiculous problem. But ask anyone who's suffered from it: it is a singularly horrid and terrible way to die.- The Spoil of Mariners, Colin Dickey, Lapham's Quarterly.
Imagine if you were the only person on earth; if no one else could understand you except yourself. No matter how hard you tried, you could never make contact with the outside world, not for long at least. This is the life of a Schizophrenic. Here, in a simulation created to understand what a typical trip to the pharmacy is for a patient suffering from Schizophrenia [previously], you will experience for a few minutes what life is all about for people afflicted with this disease. (via) [more inside]
How Safe is the Blood Supply? A tainted donor infects two with HIV in Florida. The people in charge of the blood claim it's safe. But recent books and documentaries raise serious questions.
Hepatitis G virus may inhibit HIV from becoming AIDS (NY Times link). The Hepatitis G virus doesn't seem to cause any disease, but is now being pointed at as a factor that slows the progress of HIV. It's the second time this year I've heard of a virus being used to defeat a virus. There's a connection there, but I'll leave it at that.