213 posts tagged with disease.
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The terrorist inside my husband's brain

"This is a personal story, sadly tragic and heartbreaking, but by sharing this information with you I know that you can help make a difference in the lives of others. As you may know, my husband Robin Williams had the little-known but deadly Lewy body disease (LBD). He died from suicide in 2014 at the end of an intense, confusing, and relatively swift persecution at the hand of this disease's symptoms and pathology. He was not alone in his traumatic experience with this neurologic disease." (cw: discussion of suicide)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 3, 2016 - 20 comments

Roll up for the murderous mystery tour

Dark Tourism On her great blog, historian Donna Seger discusses the phenomenon of Dark Tourism - a cultural trend responsible for the proliferation of ghost tours, vampire tours, and graveyard tours as well as interest in more historically serious places such as Holocaust sites, Civil War Battlefields, and even contemporary war zones. Also known in academia as thanatourism, its subcategories include fright tourism[PDF], disaster tourism, morbid tourism, and grief tourism. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Sep 30, 2016 - 25 comments

The River Blindness Eradication Program

How Worm Warriors Are Beating An Unbeatable Worm When the program began, in some areas the disease was so widespread that riverbank communities had been abandoned, he says. Now, "people are suffering less," and people and agriculture have returned to areas where the disease was eliminated. (TW: Graphic medical descriptions.) [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Aug 12, 2016 - 10 comments

When I decided [to die], I felt extremely happy and sad at the same time

"But for her power wheelchair, Jerika Bolen is every bit an active 14-year-old girl – a hopeless romantic with shiny purple hair, a love of alternative music and an addiction to Facebook. She has a maturity and wisdom that belies her age, and on a recent spring day, as other 14-year-olds were finishing their final year of middle school and making summer plans, Jerika told her mother she was ready to die."
posted by AFABulous on Jul 15, 2016 - 13 comments

Why 'Tough' Treatment Doesn't Help Drug Addicts

Maia Szalavitz [mefi's own maias] talks about her new book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (transcript) - "We have this idea that if we are just cruel enough and mean enough and tough enough to people with addiction, that they will suddenly wake up and stop, and that is not the case."
posted by kliuless on Jul 11, 2016 - 55 comments

Living is complicated

Last Men Standing. The stories of eight men who aren't supposed to be here. Diagnosed with HIV in the 1980's, when that was a death sentence, they are now living lives they never expected to have. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 20, 2016 - 8 comments

Would it be wrong to eradicate the mosquito?

By spreading malaria, dengue fever, West Nile, yellow fever and now the Zika virus, they are the most dangerous animal in the world. What would happen if we got rid of them? It sounds like a promising idea, but what would take their place and would the rainforests survive?
posted by soelo on Jan 29, 2016 - 107 comments

20 Years Battling For Access To Drugs For The Poor

Jamie Love has spent years battling global drug companies, unshakable in his belief that even the world’s poorest people should have access to life-saving medicines. Is it time that our own government listened to him? [slguardian]
posted by ellieBOA on Jan 27, 2016 - 3 comments

You're breathing a potentially dangerous substance

Writer Michael Rosenwald called on Steven Welty to identify a strange smell in his home. Welty knows a lot about how air moves, and he knows about the stuff in moving air that can make us sick and die. From Popular Science: [more inside]
posted by bryon on Dec 24, 2015 - 11 comments

"He never touched the world..."

The New York Times looks back on the boy in the bubble.
posted by graventy on Dec 9, 2015 - 32 comments


Humans 2.0 - "With CRISPR, scientists can change, delete, and replace genes in any animal, including us. Working mostly with mice, researchers have already deployed the tool to correct the genetic errors responsible for sickle-cell anemia, muscular dystrophy, and the fundamental defect associated with cystic fibrosis. One group has replaced a mutation that causes cataracts; another has destroyed receptors that H.I.V. uses to infiltrate our immune system." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 16, 2015 - 69 comments

The cruel mystery of ALS and military veterans

"Studies show that if you've served in the military -- any branch, any war, or even if you served in a time of peace -- you have a much higher risk of dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) than if you were not in the military. And no one seems to know why." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 12, 2015 - 39 comments

"I don’t want to be left alone inside myself."

What will I hear when my ears stop working? by Ysabelle Cheung [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 28, 2015 - 30 comments

Game changer

New Ebola vaccine shows 100% success rate in clinical trial. Today the World Health Organization has announced that the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine had a 100% success rate in preventing onset of the disease if administered within 10 days of exposure (n=4,000). In response to the current outbreak in West Africa that has afflicted over 27,000 and killed over 11,000, this collaborative effort led by the WHO pushed the vaccine through a process that usually takes more than a decade in just 12 months. Official paper from The Lancet here (pdf).
posted by Ufez Jones on Jul 31, 2015 - 23 comments

The mystery remains. The stakes are high.

Seeking the Source of Ebola by David Quammen, photographs by Pete Muller [National Geographic] The latest Ebola crisis may yield clues about where it hides between outbreaks. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jul 18, 2015 - 5 comments

The Wasting

Raimondi had recently found himself undergoing an unexpected and not entirely desirable career shift: He had been thrust into the role of sea star detective. Though he is a marine biologist who divides his time between analyzing data and conducting research trips along the Pacific Coast, Raimondi is not entirely ill suited to the part. There is a private-investigator quality to his round, inquiring face, active eyes, and urgent, impatient voice.
posted by ellieBOA on May 19, 2015 - 9 comments

Rubella eliminated in the Americas

On April 29 the World Health organization declared North and South America to be free of rubella after the last reported endemic case in Argentina in 2009. The New York Times discusses the history of rubella eradication in the Americas and the case of Gene Tierney, an actress who caught the disease while performing a show in 1943.
posted by lharmon on May 3, 2015 - 15 comments

The needle and the damage undone.

The Lives Vaccines have saved in the U.S. in one chart.
posted by storybored on Apr 27, 2015 - 80 comments

Charging toward an era of genetically modified humans

The CRISPR Revolution [ungated: 1,2,3] - "Biologists continue to hone their tools for deleting, replacing or otherwise editing DNA and a strategy called CRISPR has quickly become one of the most popular ways to do genome engineering. Utilizing a modified bacterial protein and a RNA that guides it to a specific DNA sequence, the CRISPR system provides unprecedented control over genes in many species, including perhaps humans. This control has allowed many new types of experiments, but also raised questions about what CRISPR can enable." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 16, 2015 - 28 comments

The Struggle Between Pain and Not

The Butterfly Child is a short documentary about Jonathan Pitre, a fourteen year old with Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare skin disorder (NSFW).
posted by Lutoslawski on Apr 14, 2015 - 23 comments

Selfish shellfish cells cause contagious clam cancer

The clam leukaemia is a contagious cancer—an immortal line of selfish shellfish cells that originated in a single individual and somehow gained the ability to survive and multiply in fresh hosts. Until Metzger’s discovery, there were just two exceptions to this rule. The first is a facial tumour that afflicts Tasmanian devils. It spreads through bites, and poses a serious threat to the survival of these animals. The second is a venereal tumour that affects dogs. It arose around 11,000 years ago and has since spread around the world. That was it: two transmissible tumours. Now, there’s a third—and perhaps more on the way.
posted by sciatrix on Apr 10, 2015 - 27 comments

"...clinical-sounding terms like adipose, overweight, and obese."

How Obesity Became a Disease [The Atlantic] And, as a consequence, how weight loss became an industry.
posted by Fizz on Mar 24, 2015 - 66 comments

Shame and Ideology

Study Confirms That Abstinence Education Has Utterly Failed At Preventing AIDS In Africa
posted by Artw on Mar 7, 2015 - 22 comments

How Plagues Really Work

So what is wrong with listening to the drumbeat, to the endless calls to protect ourselves against the coming plague – against Ebola from Africa and bird flu from Asia? Is it possible that a huge pandemic could erupt from some as-yet unknown pathogen? Is apocalypse lurking out there, among rats or monkeys, or bats or flying squirrels or birds? The Black Death shows that you can never say never: there might be an animal pathogen out there that, under the right circumstances, can evolve and maintain both virulence and transmissibility among humans as well as animals.
posted by ellieBOA on Feb 19, 2015 - 23 comments

Stop calling me 'the Ebola nurse'

"I never had Ebola, and politicians who lie do nothing to protect your health."
posted by Artw on Nov 17, 2014 - 113 comments

We are continuous with everything here on Earth.

The Illusion of "Natural": In an excerpt from her new book On Immunity, Eula Biss deconstructs desires to flee from "toxins" and embrace what is "natural". Where the word filth once suggested, with its moralist air, the evils of the flesh, the word toxic now condemns the chemical evils of our industrial world. This is not to say that concerns over environmental pollution are not justified—like filth theory, toxicity theory is anchored in legitimate dangers—but that the way we think about toxicity bears some resemblance to the way we once thought about filth. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Sep 30, 2014 - 45 comments

Thinking about disease

Ebola and the Construction of Fear by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
[more inside] posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 29, 2014 - 74 comments

10 things you should never say to someone with bipolar disorder

Are you bipolar? This is a small thing, but there’s a little linguistic point to be made here. Referring to somebody as “bipolar” sort of insinuates that the only thing this person is is an illness. Their entire entity is just a disease. My surname is Parkinson so, can we not add to this, please? Rather, I think it is more polite to say someone “has bipolar” than “is bipolar”. You wouldn’t say that somebody “was cancer”. You wouldn’t say: “This is Maya. She is diabetes.” But people will talk of someone “being bipolar”.
posted by danabanana on Sep 28, 2014 - 108 comments

Google Tackles Aging With Calico

Calico, the company Google launched in September to try to cure death by tackling aging and illness, now has an official website..." [more inside]
posted by danabanana on Aug 12, 2014 - 133 comments

Visualizing contagion

Vax: Gamifying Epidemic Prevention "Players are tasked to prepare for an outbreak by vaccinating a network that resembles human social networks. After distributing vaccines, an infectious outbreak begins to spread and the player is tasked to quell the epidemic by quarantining individuals at risk of becoming infected." [more inside]
posted by GrammarMoses on Aug 1, 2014 - 16 comments

A few alternatives to Dr Google

Dr Google always thinks it's cancer, except when it's lupus. So how do you find reliable health information online? The (US) National Institute on Aging has some good rules of thumb, and the National Library of Medicine has a simple tutorial. Many of us, though, might prefer a list of general trustworthy resources. Here are some of my favorites, including some Australian and UK resources that American MeFites might not know. [more inside]
posted by gingerest on Jul 31, 2014 - 21 comments


Kali couldn’t hold her gaze. Her eyes rolled back into her head. She had an appointment for 3 p.m., but around noon, Traci called her husband, Joseph. “I got her in, but I don’t know if she’s going to make it that long.” This is the story of how Kali Hardig became the third known survivor of the naegleria fowleri amoeba.
posted by threeants on Jul 20, 2014 - 25 comments

Cross-cultural experiences of schizophrenia

A new study by Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann and others found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests.
posted by Rumple on Jul 19, 2014 - 24 comments

Medical student syndrome

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.”
posted by ellieBOA on Jul 14, 2014 - 48 comments

"The most endlessly fascinating specialty in all of medicine."

Dr. Mark Crislip is a Infectious Disease specialist—an ID doc. He's also the master of a vast* multimedia empire, all parts of which are inflected with his insistence upon scientific evidence and many with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor: the president of the Society for Science-Based Medicine, he also writes articles for the affiliated website Science-Based Medicine; he runs the Quackcast, a podcast that reviews Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicines (SCAMs) from an evidence-based perspective; the Persiflagers Infectious Disease Puscast, which reviews the infectious disease literature; and his blog on Medscape, Rubor, Dolor, Calor, Tumor, is the basis for the third of his podcasts (and my favorite): A Gobbet O' Pus. As Crislip puts it: "A cool ID case, a stupid joke and a factoid you can use. What more do you need?" *For certain quantities of vast. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Jul 9, 2014 - 14 comments

Nature's Perfect Killing Machine Can Be Killed With Soap

Ebola is nightmare fuel: a biological doomsday device conspiring with our bodies to murder us in uniquely gruesome fashion. It’s also killed fewer than 2,000 people. How has a virus with such a modest body count so fiercely captured the darkest corners of our imagination? - Leigh Cowart for Haziltt.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 8, 2014 - 56 comments

Save the Microbes

Humans have co-evolved with the resident microbes that call us "home", known as the microbiota, consisting of trillions of cells that colonize our bodies. The microbiota carry out many beneficial functions, such as producing vitamins, aiding in digestion, and protecting against invading microbes, but disruption from antibiotics or delivery by Caesarian section may have consequences for human health. Recently, antibiotic use has been linked with obesity and asthma. Using both human studies and experimentally observed mice, we are beginning to understand how antibiotics may lead to the disappearance of microbes and to identify key microbes that impact our health.
Save the Microbes
[more inside] posted by Blasdelb on May 8, 2014 - 24 comments

Ebola spreads to new territory

There's been an ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. With 122 cases so far, this is the worst outbreak since 2007's 264-case outbreak. The worst outbreak was 2000-2001's 425 cases. What makes this one different is the way it has spread so widely. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 1, 2014 - 51 comments

a leap between kingdoms is not an everyday event

Suspicious Virus Makes Rare Cross-Kingdom Leap From Plants to Honeybees
When HIV jumped from chimpanzees to humans sometime in the early 1900′s, it crossed a gulf spanning several million years of evolution. But tobacco ringspot virus, scientists announced last week, has made a jump that defies credulity. It has crossed a yawning chasm ~1.6 billion years wide.
posted by andoatnp on Jan 31, 2014 - 37 comments

Sugar Cane Workers and Chronic Kidney Failure

In El Salvador and Nicaragua, Chronic Kidney Failure accounts for more deaths than HIV, diabetes, and leukemia combined. In affected communities, 69% of sugar cane workers are affected. "CKDu" is the second leading cause of death in El Salvador among men, and between 20 and 25 thousand men have died in the last 8 years of the disease. NYT Photos.
posted by thisisdrew on Jan 30, 2014 - 21 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside] posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Speech Aid for People Losing the Ability to Speak

Modeltalker has been around since at least the early 90s ... Modeltalker is a company that, for free, provides people with a synthetic version of their own voice and the software that lets users convert any text they want into that voice. It is continually updating it's software and in beta stages. But for people with onset neurological diseases that threaten to rob them of the ability to speak, Modeltalker will provide them with an 1800 word list to read. From that list, it will deliver a software program that contains their voice, the software and the tools to adjust the voice to make it as natural as possible. At some point, the company will make it product public. There are many synthetic voice programs, but only Modeltalker can make a synthetic voice out of your voice. For now, people can get a free version.
posted by CollectiveMind on Dec 12, 2013 - 13 comments

The 'grotesque beauty' of medieval Britons' diseased bones

Digitised Diseases is an open access resource featuring human bones which have been digitised using 3D laser scanning, CT and radiography. The resource focuses on a wide range of pathological type specimens from archaeological and historical medical collections, specifically examples of chronic diseases which affect the human skeleton for which many of the physical changes are often not directly observable within clinical practice. Of major interest to many will be high fidelity photo-realistic digital representations of 3D bones that can be viewed, downloaded and manipulated on their computer, tablet or smartphone. [more inside]
posted by shoesfullofdust on Dec 9, 2013 - 7 comments

“Hold a live Puppy constantly on the Belly.”

In the late 1740s, John Wesley—a British evangelist and the co-founder of Methodism—published Primitive Physick, or, An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases. The tome gave regular people ways to cure themselves, using items they could find in their own homes. - Here are some of his suggested home remedies.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 29, 2013 - 56 comments

And so in 1632 seven men were left in Smeerenburg to wait out the winter

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.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Sep 29, 2013 - 28 comments

Censorship Doesn’t Just Stifle Speech—It Can Spread Disease

The Saudi Arabian government has been tight-lipped about the spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), a disease first discovered in 2012 that has "killed more than half of those who contracted it", "responding slowly to requests for information and preventing outside researchers from publishing their findings about the syndrome. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Aug 24, 2013 - 13 comments

What’s Killing Minnesota’s Moose?

The iconic monarch of the North Woods is dying at an alarming rate. Is it climate change, a brain-piercing parasite, or is something else to blame?
posted by brundlefly on Jul 26, 2013 - 40 comments

Obesity Reclassified as a Disease

The A.M.A. has officially recognized obesity as a disease. [more inside]
posted by astapasta24 on Jun 19, 2013 - 339 comments

The girl who turned to bone.

A rare disease is defined as any condition affecting fewer than 200,000 patients in the United States. More than 7,000 such diseases exist, afflicting a total of 25 million to 30 million Americans.. One of them, fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), might be approaching a cure. [more inside]
posted by dmd on May 24, 2013 - 21 comments

"I want to show that you can still be beautiful or sexy with cancer."

A day before her 32nd birthday, Jill Brzezinski-Conley was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. She's now 35, and her cancer has metastasized to terminal, stage-4. Sue Bryce won Australian Portrait Photographer of the Year in both 2011 and 2012, and last year's prize was a one-person trip to Paris. After hearing her story, Bryce took Brzezinski-Conley with her to the City of Light for a photo shoot and brought along a videographer. The resulting short film: "The Light That Shines." (Also on Vimeo.) Photos. (click the open magazine at the top of the page). The video and photos both show a topless Ms. Brzezinski-Conley, and may be nsfw. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 6, 2013 - 25 comments

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