Tag Archives | Disease

Chilean Woman Cries Tears Of Blood

Via I Love Chile, doctors are baffled by the incredibly rare, quasi-religious condition of haemolacria, or crying tears of blood:
The rare disease haemolacria is known as one of the “most alarming and unusual complaints in opthalmology.” Twenty-year old Yaritza Oliva from Purranque, who cries tears of blood, says, “Nobody knows what I need, they don’t know what I have or what to do.” At first, Chilean doctors believed Yaritza to have an infection or the like, but since then ophthalmologist Dr Alexander Lutz has clarified doubts about this strange condition. The illness has not been declared as deadly, but the different victims have to suffer the pain of their condition and cases of discrimination as well. Until today, only three other cases of haemolacria have been reported: Calvino Inman, a 16-year-old boy from the United States, Twinkle Dwivedi, living in India and 12 when the illness broke out, and Rashida Khatoon from India.
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Animals Self-Medicate Far More Than Previously Realized

animals self medicateScience Daily on animal pharmacology as part of the ecosystem:

It’s been known for decades that animals such as chimpanzees seek out medicinal herbs to treat their diseases. But it now appears that the practice of animal self-medication is a lot more widespread than previously thought, according to University of Michigan ecologist Mark Hunter and his colleagues.

Animals use medications to treat various ailments through both learned and innate behaviors. The fact that moths, ants and fruit flies are now known to self-medicate has profound implications for ecology and evolution.

Wood ants incorporate an antimicrobial resin from conifer trees into their nests, preventing microbial growth in the colony. Parasite-infected monarch butterflies protect their offspring against high levels of parasite growth by laying their eggs on anti-parasitic milkweed. Lacking many of the immune-system genes of other insects, honeybees incorporate antimicrobial resins into their nests.

“Perhaps the biggest surprise for us was that animals like fruit flies and butterflies can choose food for their offspring that minimizes the impacts of disease in the next generation,” Hunter said.

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Anti-Vaccine Book For Kids Extols The Virtues Of Measles

Via Salon, the new hot genre of children’s books. No word on whether “vaccine vampire” young adult versions are on the way:

Measles is responsible for thousands of tragic (and preventable) deaths each year. Which is perhaps why so many reviewers are panning a new book by Stephanie Messenger, an Australian author and anti-vaccine activist. According to the author’s page, “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles” was written to:

Educate children on the benefits of having measles and how you can heal from them naturally and successfully. Often today, we are being bombarded with messages from vested interests to fear all diseases in order for someone to sell some potion or vaccine, when, in fact, history shows that in industrialized countries, these diseases are quite benign and, according to natural health sources, beneficial to the body.

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Beware of the Superspreaders

"Typhoid" Mary Mallon

Modern day Typhoid Marys are on the loose! Carrie Arnold describes the dangers for Slate:

If germs hung a recruiting sign for their hosts, it would probably be a version of the World War I poster of Uncle Sam pointing: We want YOU to help us reproduce. All hosts were equally eligible for service, infectious-disease researchers thought. Assuming the recruits weren’t immune due to a prior infection or vaccination, anyone should have roughly the same potential to spread a disease’s pathogens. But then came severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

This pandemic started as just another strange pneumonia from southern China, but in 2003 it turned into a global outbreak that infected 8,098 people and killed 774. Key to the disease’s spread, researchers found, was a small but crucial portion of the population that became known as “superspreaders,” people who transmitted the infection to a much greater than expected number of new hosts.

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Flesh-Eating Fungus Unexpectedly Killed Five People After Missouri Tornado, Scientists Warn

How society could crumble: chaos sown by flesh-eating fungus attacks in the aftermath of global warming-induced extreme weather. Via EurekAlert!:

A fast growing, flesh-eating fungus killed 5 people following a massive tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., according to two new studies based on genomic sequencing by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health officials should be aware of infections caused by the fungus Apophysomyces, according to the studies, which tracked 13 people infected by the pathogen during the tornado [which] plowed through Joplin on May 22, 2011, initially killing 160 and injuring more than 1,000.

The common fungus — which lives in soil, wood or water — usually has no effect on people. But once it is introduced deep into the body through a blunt trauma puncture wound, it can grow quickly if the proper medical response is not immediate, the studies said.

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Obesity Is Bigger Health Crisis Globally Than Hunger

At the beach - male abdominal obesityIt’s not just America y’all. Via CNN:

Obesity is a bigger health crisis globally than hunger, and the leading cause of disabilities around the world, according to a new report published Thursday in the British medical journal The Lancet.

Nearly 500 researchers from 50 countries compared health data from 1990 through 2010 for the Global Burden of Disease report, revealing what they call a massive shift in global health trends.

“We discovered that there’s been a huge shift in mortality. Kids who used to die from infectious disease are now doing extremely well with immunization,” said Ali Mokdad, co-author of the study and professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which led the collaborative project.

“However, the world is now obese and we’re seeing the impact of that.”

The report revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades.

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Pennsylvania Teenager Sleeps For 64 Days Straight

Imagine existing mostly in a dreamworld, with interludes of sleepwalking to eat, drink, and use the bathroom. Is it a burden or a blessing? Daily Mail reports:

A Pennsylvania teenager slept for 64 days from Thanksgiving into January — her longest sleeping episode yet. Nicole Delien, 17, struggles with a rare sleep disorder called Kleine-Levine, or ‘Sleeping Beauty Syndrome’.

During her sleep spells she will wake up in a confused state for small periods of time to eat and go to the bathroom and then fall back to sleep. Nicole’s mother, Vicki, says her daughter will sleep 18 to 19 hours a day, and when she eventually wakes up to eat she is in a ‘sleepwalking state which she doesn’t remember’.

A doctor at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was able to pinpoint the disorder and offer some suggestions on how to manage it, including medication. Affected individuals may go for a period of weeks, months or even years without experiencing any symptoms, and then they reappear with little warning.

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Possible Cover-Up of Dangerous West Nile Virus Mutation?

Picture: CDC (PD)

Most people who contract the mosquito-borne pathogen West Nile virus are asymptomatic, and even those who do get sick usually experience flu-like symptoms that resolve on their own. In a small percentage of those infected, the symptoms can be much worse: swelling of the brain and permanent neurological damage among them. Now, the Washington Post reports there are signs that the virus could be getting worse and evidence of a possible cover-up in the form of a “recalled” email:

Last month, Leis asked a Food and Drug Administration scientist who studies the genetics of the virus whether a new, more virulent strain was circulating.

“You are absolutely right . . . that new genetic variants of WNV might have appeared this year,” the scientist replied in an Oct. 23 e-mail obtained by The Washington Post. The scientist continued that “it is not easy to correlate” the new mutations with any specific type of brain damage.

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The United States Is Collecting World Leaders’ DNA

In the future, synthetic viruses will be unleashed which spread quickly, producing no symptoms — until they reach a targeted person whose DNA sequence unlocks the virus’s lethal abilities. The Atlantic reveals that preparations are already underway for this coming era of biological assassination:

The U.S. government is surreptitiously collecting the DNA of world leaders, and is reportedly protecting that of Barack Obama. Decoded, these genetic blueprints could provide compromising information. In the not-too-distant future, they may provide something more as well—the basis for the creation of personalized bioweapons that could take down a president and leave no trace.

DNA of world leaders is already a subject of intrigue. In the President’s Secret Service, Navy stewards gather bedsheets, drinking glasses, and other objects the president has touched—they are later sanitized or destroyed—in an effort to keep would‑be malefactors from obtaining his genetic material. Personalized bioweapons are a subtler and less catastrophic threat than accidental plagues or WMDs.

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FDA Expands Warning Regarding Medicines Contaminated With Deadly Fungus

“Dangerous impurities” is frequently given as one of the reasons to avoid street drugs, but dangerous impurities in the products of Big Pharma seem to be killing more people. CNN reports:

More patients will soon be told that they received potentially contaminated drugs from the New England Compounding Center, whose products are associated with 308 illnesses and 23 deaths.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration posted on its website a list of more than 1,200 hospitals and clinics that had purchased steroids and other drugs from the compounding center that, if contaminated, would be especially dangerous for patients. [Drugs of concern] include triamcinolone acetonide, an injectable steroid used to treat pain; injectable drugs used for eye surgery; and cardioplegic solutions, which are used during open heart surgeries.

Tennessee has been the hardest-hit state in the meningitis outbreak, with 70 cases as of Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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