Last August, Metafilter readers learned of the story of Laura Rothenberg,
a student at Brown University who chronicled her battle with cystic fibrosis on NPR's Radio Diaries.
Sadly, Laura died
last week at age 22. NPR remembers
her here and a moving tribute aired earlier this week on All Things Considered.
CDC posts medical alert for atypical pneumonia.
There is travel alert for those traveling from Asian countries around and in China. It seems that this type of pnenumonia has been found in North America. Symptoms include fever and hard-of-breathing. More articles about the disease here.
A rather extraordinary applet. Find out about the reportable communicable diseases in the US. Many hidden features.
The only fruit to ever appear on a Velvet Underground album cover (not to mention the title of a J. D. Salinger short story) may be on its way to extinction. Facts: I) total disappearance could occur within a decade; II) bananas are the staple diet for half a billion people and III) current genetic tampering mean that, even if the fruit doesn't quite disappear, it will taste and look
different (Guardian article here
). Feeling nostalgic already? Visit the stylish Banana Museum
or give someone you love the Enchanted Banana of Happiness
(not what you're thinking). first link via Fark
Inventing a new disease?
Some experts are saying that the drug industry is trying lump women’s sexual problems under the term “female sexual dysfunction” to create a market for lucrative new Viagra-like drugs. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association [abstract]
found sexual dysfunction is more prevalent for women (43%) than men (31%), but the jury is still out
3.1 million in 2002 comes out to some 8,500 a day, 354 an hour, and almost 6 a minute. Each minute. Each hour. Each day. Deaths. Of AIDS.
Intellectual property laws and the fight against disease
Lots of news, data and commentary at the "Health Care and Intellectual Property" page from the Consumer Project on Technology. Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research
is also worth a look.
The Access to Essential Medicines Campaign
is an initiative by Medecins Sans Frontieres
that seeks to "lower the prices of existing medicines in developing countries, to bring abandoned drugs back into production, to stimulate research and development for neglected diseases that primarily affect the poor, and to overcome other barriers to access
is one target disease. The Campaign's press releases
, press clips
on HIV give a good picture of recent developments. In light of this evidence, does anyone care to step up and defend "big pharma
" and the governments of the wealthy North? Have we/they "done enough"? What would "doing enough" look like, given the scope of the crisis?
"China's catastrophic mismanagement of its AIDS crisis has come to this:
Xie Yan is trying to give away her son. Ms. Xie's husband died last year of AIDS, and she has the virus as well. They are the victims of government-backed blood-selling schemes that have left about one million people infected here in Henan Province in central China. Multiply Ms. Xie's heartache a millionfold, and you understand the cost of the Chinese government's cover-up of its AIDS crisis. If China continues to be more concerned with hiding the tragedy than confronting it, then today's Chinese leaders could kill millions of people over the next two decades. We in the West must exert strong pressure on China to act quickly to address the AIDS challenge."
This isn't irony. The Department of Justice wants to deny justice to the families who have to deal with kids with autism
I guess if you're a vaccine manufacturer, you don't want people to know that what you're putting in kids is gonna screw their lives up forever, right? That would cost you alot of money
If the Vaccine makers are scared about huge rewards for families harmed by their products, they should have made sure their vaccines didn't cause children to develop autism
South African mining giant begins providing triple coctail for HIV treatment.
Something optimistic for a Friday post: AngloGold
along with DeBeers
is offering its employees HIV Triple cocktail
treatment for free. With almost 30%
of some of these companies' workforce affected with the HIV virus, is this an example of merging corporate and social interests or is this a sign of honest corporate citizenship?
is being hailed as the key to better treatments for the Parkinson's disease, marking a complete turnaround from a few weeks ago when ecstasy was condemned for causing the disease.
Bubonic plague strikes again...
It seems that bubonic plague
has never actually gone away with reports of occurences in Madagascar, Bolivia
and now it seems, from New Mexico. Given that the disease has been diagnosed and treated outside of the host cities in the cases of the Bolivian woman and the couple in New York, I think this highlights how diseases we tend to classify as third world health problems, are merely a plane ride away from causing an outbreak here.
"That's not funny, that's sick!" goes the old National Lampoon comic caption. Well, maybe this link
's both... Again, not
for the faint of heart.
Strike at Government Lab Enters Third Month.
This is happening at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which studies highly contagious viruses. Maintenance workers are on strike and the replacement workers have been involved with missing equipment and an accident. The official site
boldly declares that "Not once in our more than 40 years of operation has an animal pathogen escaped from Plum Island." Somehow I am not filled with confidence. And, while they say they only deal with animal pathogens, there is a lot of crossover with Foot and Mouth and West Nile. Should we be worried about this?
For years, it's been observed that some people infected with HIV never develop full-blown AIDS. Now American and Chinese scientists think they know why
. But remember kids, barebacking
is still dangerous, and a cocktail is not a cure. Maybe this research will change all that.
Is this the big one?
With some 18,000 sick and over 700 people having died of the flu in a country the size of France over the past couple of months, I find it odd that the media seems obsesessed with the US / Iraq thing and missing children.
The 1918 flu epidemic killed some 675,00 Americans alone, with a global tally in excess of 20 MILLION killed.
Some of the photos taken back then are pretty grim
. It seems the power of influenza is that it (ahhem) mutates
and thats why it could once again be a big killer. Cynical as it might sound, as a race maybe we need
something like this to teach us that we've got a lot more in common with each other than skin colour and religion might otherwise lead us to believe. ObDisclaimer: I'm unemployed right now, have maybe six months of canned goods in the flat; if this hits London, I ain't opening my door to nobody
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
raise serious questions.
No More Malaria?
The first step has been taken to making mosquitoes incapable of passing on malaria. But, should we?
such a mystery? Help needed! (old news, new information?)
OK, I'm going to try and do this without naming names...
The British troops in Afghanistan have been struck down by a mystery illness
recently, with an investigation finding that the illness was just a "winter vomiting
I've heard different.
The source may have been an Al Qaeda terrorist who had been captured.
The 'mystery illness' may have been caught when the British or US government used biological warfare to make it easier to find and capture members of Al Qaeda.
Can anyone help verify this? I should stress I only have word of mouth from a friend of a friend. All very speculative, but I've not been able to find anything else on this... yet...
Diane Petty, suffering from motor neurone disease, refused right to euthanasia by European Court. "Mrs Pretty, from Luton, who is paralysed from the neck down, had claimed the refusal breached the Human Rights Convention, which outlaws "inhuman or degrading treatment"."
seems to be on the rise. Working in a hospital lab I've seen an increase in tests for HPV
It's enough to make one wonder if sex is worth the risk.
AIDS Programs: An Epidemic of Waste.
Interesting article about AIDS funding in the USA... and these people want more taxpayer money! Heres a quote:
The Stop AIDS Project of San Francisco, which received $698,000 (39 percent of its budget) in CDC grants in fiscal 200139, has sponsored several "prevention" events, including a gay prom in April. Last August it held "Booty Call," a seminar about dildos, plugs, fisting, and rimming. The advertisement read, "After a little basic science, share tales of intercourse and orgasm. Find out why so many of us find ass play a major turn on."
SmallPox 2002 - Silent Weapon...
It is April 2002, and a smallpox outbreak occures in New York. 4 and a half months later and 60 million people across the planet are dead.
Tonight, The BBC broadcast a fictional documentary
as if it were filmed in 2005, looking back at the smallpox pandemic that swept the world in 2002 and killed 60 million people.
Heavily rooted in fact, it was disturbing viewing, to put it mildly. Did anyone else in Europe see this?
Teddy Bears spread infections
In a complicated world, even things we once held dear have become a threat.
wants to ban anyone with HIV or hepatitis from visiting or living on the island. I can't see how they can get away with this.
with comprehensive links, thanks to Sister Mary Elizabeth of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and AEGIS
(AIDS Education Global Information System), "...a service the Centers for Disease Control calls 'the best of its kind'..." (See How Aegis Began) People making a difference.
"Euro Coins Could Cause Skin Disease"
Obviously Lex Luthor is behind this and wants Europeans to throw away their change so he can gather it up and be rich, Rich, RICH! (maniacal laugh).
It's not germ warfare...
and it's not terrorism, but it is the strongest argument to put off that Hawaiian vacation this winter to date. Nothing like a little tropical disease to take the shine off of paradise. I wonder what else is passing underneath the radar with this whole war on terror thing.
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.
A success for gene therapy
to help hemophiliacs is announced. This is a first, but only time will tell if the treatment has a lasting effect and can be repeated. So far it's worked for only four of the six patients in the trial. The NY Times
explains the research.
the arrival of foot and mouth in the centre of the lake district national park
is horrific. One thing is clear; the Lake District will never be the same again.
Guardian weblog has assembled
a special page with foot-and-mouth disease links, mostly (tho not completely) Eurocentric. The links include one to an elaborate backgrounder (with a few graphic photos)
In light of the possible spread
of foot and mouth disease virtually anywhere--I was wondering how restricted UK citizens are. Is travel in the countryside difficult or impossible? Isn't it interesting how quickly movement is restricted and meat taken off the table?
Vaccine Prevents AIDS in Monkeys
and could lead to human medicine. Exciting huh? Anyway, if that should happen, how much do you think they'll charge for treatment, considering the conspiracy theories and all that?
Foot-and-mouth disease marches forward
in Europe. In order to try to slow down the spread of the virus, UK authorities are urging cancellations of any events that bring people and/or animals together. Which means no horse racing. Which means the Brits are going insane because they have nothing to bet on. (Unlike the US, they don't consider gambling to be an evil on the level of homicide.) What to do? Rodents to the rescue
is offering live webcasts of hamster races to satiate your betting jones. Look at 'em go
! In other hamster news, some dork blew £3000 on a 6-foot-tall fiberglass hamster
left over from the carnage of the Millennium Dome.
Andromeda MIR Strain.
Russia pushed back the MIR deorbit dates
by another two weeks on Tuesday. Meanwhile, questions have surfaced about whether the mutant micoorganisms
that inhabit the station
will survive the fiery decent. Just another sci-fi story
? Or should we be worried both about the ISS and Biosphere One
In 2000, 40% of chickens sent to stores from seven plants was contaminated.
And this is just the one we've heard about. Between stories like this and the animal diseases in Europe, meat is looking less and less appetizing. It looks like what the food industry gets away with may finally be too outrageous to be ignored. Not to mention whether non-meat foods are processed with any more attention to sanitation than meats. Of course if they can get away with cutting costs this way, they will.
Foot and mouth disease
in cattle is not
the same as Hand, foot and mouth disease
in humans. This, I found out only today.
Is Bill Really that bad?
Giving away money steadily, tens of millions of dollars at a time, Mr Bill Gates has become the single most influential force trying to reverse the growing health crisis afflicting the world's poor. With his wife, Melinda, he outspent the United States Government last year by nearly $US300 million ($538 million), to fight global health threats such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
"A mysterious epidemic, hitherto unknown, which had struck terror into all hearts by the rapidity of its spread, the ravages it made, and the apparent helplessness of the physicians to cure it." — on syphillis, in the 16th centruy.
Highlights from the CBC's 1996 Ideas shows on AIDS in historical perspective, available in real audio for downloading or streaming. I remember stopping the car and listening to the whole thing four years ago: "The programs underline how a whole series of biological, psychological and social factors shape the public's perception of disease, and society's response to it. The strengths and limits of past approaches to detecting sexually transmitted diseases are explored, in order to shed light on approaches that could be used to control AIDS today."
AIDS Project Los Angeles
can help you observe World AIDS Day and
get a start on those pesky holiday cards. For $5 each, APLA will personalize and send your choice of holiday cards to friends, family or clients! Cards are also available in sets of ten for $25 to be mailed by you.
Have you heard the news?
"A growing group of bio-medical scientists claim the cause of AIDS is still unknown. These heretics do not believe in a lethal AIDS virus. They claim that the virus is indeed harmless. Most of them think AIDS is also not sexually transmitted; it probably has toxic causes. People die because they are poisoned to death by antiviral drugs. Part of the AIDS dissidents even question the existence of a virus entity. These skeptics say that the AIDS virus has never really been isolated, and the AIDS tests are worthless..."
Yeah. And my childhood dog really did
go live on a nice farm after he was hit by a car.
Four out of 10 people mistakenly believe
it is possible to get HIV by sharing a drinking glass or being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person. The survey, released Thursday, was conducted by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It's scary that so many people are still so ignorant of what
causes HIV-AIDS," said Marty Algaze, a spokesman for
the Gay Men's Health Crisis. "Almost 20 years into this
epidemic, it's disturbing that people think you could still
get it from casual contact."
Today is World AIDS Day
, and to commemorate this event (and the day without art
and day without weblogs
), I'll be posting AIDS/HIV-related links and I ask you all to do the same. A good information resource for today is the CDC's FAQ on AIDS
. And I bet you've never seen the virus' life cycle before
Mad Cow disease spreads through Europe.
Now as I understand it, cattle get it by eating food which contains parts of other cattle or sheep who had the disease.
The solution seems straightforward enough: stop using animal-derived ingredients in the food fed to cattle. SO WHY THE HELL ARE THEY STILL DOING IT? Why is this so complicated? Is there something I'm missing here?
BSE Inquiry report
Took me the better part of two weeks of fishing around to find the online version
of the £300 million U.K. report on BSE
didn't work. Got this one from the redoubtable Mad-Cow.org
Circumcision seen to help prevent the spread of AIDS. Unfortunately, that's a little late for those already infected. You just have to hope that the people understand that it is male circumcision, and not female that helps protect.
Use MetaFilter to prevent Alzheimer's disease.
It seems that a love of reading may help reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease.
People with more education, in contrast, seem at lower risk of Alzheimer's. A study presented Sunday of Swedish twins where one twin had Alzheimer's and the other was healthy suggests a love of reading [metafilter.com], as a child and adult, might be protective.