Archive for the ‘Disease’ Category

Yosemite Park – Scenic Vistas Spoiled by Deadly Virus!

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Yosemite. The word conjures up postcards and beautiful nature photography.

Not anymore.

It’s beginning to conjure up bad horror movie dealing with parasites and viruses.

That’s right, kids…

Yosemite’s hiding something creepy.

Health officials have made an announcement to 22,000 nature lovers that they may have been exposed to something called the Hantavirus.

A park-goer infected with the Hantavirus in July died just last week.

While investigators believed that only a small area in the Curry Village section of Yosemite had been affected, an eighth person infected with the virus spurred health officials into warning visitors of the problem.

Since 1993 only 602 cases of the deadly Hantavirus have been reported. But out of those 602 cases? 216 of those infected have died.

The CDC lists the symptoms of the virus which appears similar to the flu…

Fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups — thighs, hips, back and sometimes shoulders … There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Within a week your lungs begin to fill with liquid and it’s practically guaranteed that it’s game over, man.

The transmission of the disease is rare and is typically transmitted by being in contact with infected mice feces or urine.

We’re suggesting that when you’re in the area, you hit a battered gas station, snag a postcard from one of those squeaky, spinning racks and just keep driving past all the fun that those nature-loving hikers are probably experiencing (yes…that’s sarcasm).

[NYTIMES]

[Video]: Woman Grows Fingernails…All Over Her Body!

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

We’ve seen a LOT of weird things before in the medical field. But THIS? This is a whole new level.

Back in 2009 a woman by the name of Shanyna Isom had an asthma attack. No biggie, right? Wrong. Isom experienced an allergic reaction to the steriods used to treat the asthma attack.

The result? A reaction like a d-lister from the Xavier Institute…she’s growing fingernails where she would normally grow hair.

No…really…fingernails are sprouting from her body.

Johns Hopkins University doctors are baffled at the condition. There’s no precedent for what’s happening to Isom. She began growing skin cells at 12 times the rate of a normal person and each follicle began producing a fingernail!

Doctors seem to have the bizarre disorder under control and are working to figure out how to fix whatever strange effect the steroid treatment created which caused this entire mess to start in the first place.
[I09]

Rare Disorder Causes Girl to Feel No Pain!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Imagine not being able to feel pain. Sounds great, right? Games of ‘Slug Bug’ or ‘Butt Ball’ would be much easier to handle, right? Stubbing your toe wouldn’t suck as much. Banging your head would never be an issue again. You’d feel like a freakin’ warrior because you don’t feel a damn thing.

Now for the downside…

What if you developed appendicitis or something else as internally life-threatening? You’d have no indication anything was wrong until it was seriously too late.

That’s the case with 12-year-old Ashlyn Blocker of Georgia. Ashlyn was born with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA), a extremely rare condition that kills most people born with it when they’re just toddlers. Babies born with CIPA might have something severely wrong, yet they won’t cry because they just don’t feel anything.

As an infant, Ashlyn had a huge corneal abrasion across her eye. Everyone was astonished that she wasn’t crying over what, to most people, would be a painfully excruciating sensation.

CIPA affects about 100 people in the United States every year.

Ashlyn is not letting anything stop her from doing what she wants. Described as a determined girl, she is currently working with doctors at the University of Florida to understand how our brains interpret pain. This tough little girl has also started a summer camp called ‘Camp Painless But Hopeful’ to help other families whose children suffer from CIPA.

[Daily Mail UK]

Cat’s Litterbox Causes Suicidal Tendencies!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Feeling a little down lately? Maybe even depressed? Possibly eyeballing that extension cord in the garage and just thinking the world might be better off without you? Own a cat?

Then it’s really not you. You’re worthwhile. Stick around and enjoy life because it really is about to get better.

Just get rid of your cat and its litter box and all those suicidal feelings you’re having will go away.

Confused?

So was Dr. Teodor Postolache, an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine after studies showed low-grade activity in the immune systems of suicide victims.

A new study is suggesting that there is a link between Toxoplasma Gondii and suicide attempts among women.

No…really…someone’s studying that.

Toxoplasma Gondii (T. gondii) has also been linked to schizophrenia and other psychological issues associated with suicide. So…what does all this have to do with your cat’s crapper? Easy…the T. gondii bacteria is often found in been-used cat litter. According to the US National Library of Medicine one of the ways you can get T. gondii is by:

Carelessly handling cat litter, which can lead to accidental consumption of infectious particles.

While the study points out it’s likely that while T. gondii might quietly be causing suicidal thoughts in women, it’s also possible that a large majority of the population is already walking around with this parasite in their bodies and just aren’t acting on the impulse.

“It appears that toxoplasmosis does things that unbalance emotional mental functioning,” said Raison, CNNHealth.com’s mental health expert. “Depending on other risk factors, maybe it makes you depressed, maybe it makes you impulsive.”

Here, kitty, kitty!

[CNN]

Deer Afflicted with ‘Gnarly Buck’

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Ola Enbagen of Gothenburg, Sweden casually went out to grab his morning paper from the post office box. As a bonus he got to see a cute little deer grazing quietly.

Only there was something different about this deer.

“He was looking straight at me and I just thought, “Damn, he looks strange.”

What caught Enbagen’s attention was the weird cactus-like growth on the deer’s head. A moment later the deer leaped over a hedge and disappeared.

“But when I was having breakfast he returned, so I took some pictures and filmed him through the window,” said Enbagen.

Enbagen’s little deer friend was suffering from something called ‘cactus buck’ or better still “gnarly cactus”.

Gnarly cactus is a condition which causes the animal’s antlers to continue growing until they cover its eyes. Normally, a hormonal impulse stirs the bucks to rub the velvet off its antlers every year, and eventually shed them.

When a hormonal imbalance disturbs the shedding of the animal’s antlers, each growing cycle produces more velvet and antler material on top of the previous year’s until they eventually grow over the deer’s eyes, resembling a cactus.

An animal with this condition will have very small or completely undescended testicles. Animals with this condition are not expected to live for a long time. Once the antlers grow over his eyes, the animal will be unable to fend for itself.

Enbagen said deer visit his garden frequently but never one that looked like this.

[The Local - Sweden]

Is a Space Plague Killing Scores of Antelope in Kazakhstan?

Friday, June 1st, 2012
antelope space plague.jpg

In my country there is problem. And that problem is dead antelope.

Three major die-offs of the antelope population have occurred in the past three years due to mysterious causes. In fact, each death boom happened almost exactly one year apart from the previous one. Some suspect overuse of fertilizer, others believe they ate too much “wet” vegetation.

But reasonable minds agree: it’s probably a space disease brought down by the Soyuz capsule.

But some ecologists in Kazakhstan and Russia are instead blaming the fatalities on the April landing of a Soyuz capsule from the International Space Station. At least 120 dead saigas were found near the village of Sorsha, where the Soyuz landed last month. Others see a possible link to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site in central Kazakhstan. “It could be from chemical elements left from space rockets that fly over this place,” ecologist Musagali Duambekov, leader of the For a Green Planet political movement, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Throw the space disease down the well! So my country can be free!

[Scientific American]

Study: Sexually Transmitted Disease Makes Your Armpits Stink Worse

Friday, December 9th, 2011

skitched-20111209-143537.jpg

Follow your nose! To a sexual partner not beset by disease!

A Russian study found that men dealing with gonorrhea has less attractive smelling armpit sweat than those without, therefore deterring potential mates.

In the study, armpit sweat was collected from 34 Russian men, ages 17 to 25. Thirteen of the men had gonorrhea, 16 were healthy, and five had had gonorrhea in the past, but recovered. The men wore T-shirts with cotton pads in the armpits for one hour, then the pads were placed in glass vials…

The women rated the infected men’s sweat as less than half as pleasant as the healthy men’s sweat. And the women said about 50 percent of men who had gonorrhea had sweat that smelled “putrid,” whereas only 32 percent of the healthy men were described as putrid. And while 26 percent of the healthy men smelled “floral,” just 10 percent of those with gonorrhea were described that way.

Researchers suggest that changes in the immune system could cause the alteration in sweat stink. I like to think of it as Mother Nature’s way of telling women, “Get away from him girl, he nasty.”

[Live Science]

Man Cured Of Hearing His Own Eyeballs Roll

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Stephen Mabbutt was diagnosed with superior canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS), which is a rare condition where sounds inside the body become very loud.  Aside from hearing his own eyeballs roll in his head, he could hear his own heart beating and chewing food was a deafening experience.  Surgeons were able to repair the condition and the patient is doing fine.

“Eventually I could hear my heart beating and my eyes moving in their sockets. It was really distracting.”

Mr Mabbutt was referred to Martin Burton, a surgeon from the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital who helped establish the Cochrane Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Group. A CT scan found perforations inside the semicircular canals inside Mr Mabbutt’s ear.

He was diagnosed with superior canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS), a rare condition discovered by American surgeon Lloyd B Minor in 1995, which is thought to only effect one in 500,000 a year in Britain.

The operation to cure the problem involved a 5cm (2in) incision behind the ear, making a channel through the bone to find the “balance organ” and using the patient’s own bone to create a seal around the defect, the BBC said.

[The Telegraph]

 

The Worst Diseases You Can Get From Caving

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Wired has catalogued the worst diseases you can catch underground. They are, in no particular order:
  1. Histoplasmosis - also known as Cave Disease or Spelunker’s Lung, is caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum and primarily affects the lungs. It is fatal if untreated, and hey, it grows in soil contaminated with bat droppings.
  2. Rabies – Bats make up a quarter of the rabid animals reported to the CDC. Enough said.
  3. Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever – Found in equatorial African caves, this cousin of Ebola incubates in fruit bats that live in caves and mines.
  4. Leptospirosis - Also known as Rat Catcher’s Yellow, this is caused by infection with bacteria of the genus Leptospira which grows in water contaminated with the urine of bats and rats. Do not drink cave water.
  5. Cave Fever – Also known as relapsing fever, this disease comes from getting bitten by infected ticks.

I think the real lesson here is that bats are filled with disease.

For a casual tourist, like the 500,000 annual visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, walking through a cave is essentially as safe as walking down the street. It is the sport cavers, those who crawl through muck and mud into little-explored crevices, that must protect themselves from things living on bats, rodents, ticks and other bugs, Igreja said.

Igreja surveys the classic and emerging cave-borne diseases in the June 10 Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. We’ve collected a gallery of the offending cave fauna, along with tips about how to keep sickness away next time you’re slithering among the stalagmites. Note: None of these diseases are exclusive to caves. Strange bugs can strike almost anywhere.

[Wired]

HIV Makes Beautiful Music

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

skitched-20101110-173229.jpg

A graduate student attending the University of Georgia has created a 52-minute album featuring musically transcribed HIV afflicted DNA.

On sale now at Amazon!

[Amazon via reader Tess]

Cheap Out On Windshield Wiper Fluid? Weaponize Legionaires’ Disease

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

“Why do I need to buy windshield wiper fluid?” wheezed the Cheapest Man in the World. “I’m just going to shoot it out on the street!”

As it turns out, those who try and use tap water to clean the bug incrusted looking glass are likely poisoning themselves with Legionnaries’ Disease.

If you use standard tap water in your windshield washer fluid reservoir instead of a cleaner, you may have effectively turned your vehicle into a biological weapon. Sure, that sounds cool and all, but according to BBC News, the only person you’re going to be hurting is yourself. As it turns out, using plain water can cause the washer fluid system to become a breeding ground for Legionella bacterium – the same nastiness that causes Legionaires’ Disease and pneumonia. Spray your windshield and the bacteria becomes airborne, allowing it to easily enter your lungs and wreak havoc with your immune system.

Don’t be such a cheapskate. Buy the fluid. Save on antibiotics.

[BBC via Autoblog]

CSI Cairo

Friday, October 9th, 2009


It took 2,500 years but investigators finally cracked the case of out what killed an Egyptian woman. What makes this particularly interesting is how recent DNA extraction techniques made it possible to extract fragments of tuberculosis bacteria DNA. She had been misdiagnosed just a decade earlier as having been killed by ovarian cancer.

After analyzing ancient DNA from tissue samples, Helen D. Donoghue of University College London and colleagues say that the mummified woman, who lived around 600 B.C. and was entombed in Thebes, died of tuberculosis, not ovarian cancer.

link: Observatory – Revising the Diagnosis Behind an Ancient Death – NYTimes.com


Alice In Wonderland Syndrom Is The Weirdest Disease In The World

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Medicine Net.com:

A syndrome of distorted space, time and body image. The patient with the Alice in Wonderland syndrome has a feeling that their entire body or parts of it have been altered in shape and size. The syndrome is usually associated with visual hallucinations. The majority of patients with the syndrome have a family history of migraine headache or have overt migraine themselves.

The syndrome was first described in 1955 by the English psychiatrist John Todd (1914-1987). Todd named it, of course, for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Perhaps not coincidentally, Lewis Carroll suffered from severe migraine. Also known as a Lilliputian hallucination.

Thanks to everyone who helped out with the chat today! See you next week!

Weirdest Thing In The World: Diseases

Friday, August 14th, 2009
skitched-20090814-051431.jpg

Time to get your shots in order, we are delving into the weirdest diseases in the world on this week’s edition of WTitW.

Here are the rules:

- The disease has to be medically verified.
- The visual the better.
- This is NOT a contest for the grossest disease ever, so therefore we are disqualifying all flesh eating bacteria and the like.

Email all submissions to JustinRobertYoung@Gmail. I’ll see you kids in the Weird Things TinyChat room at 5:30 p.m. EST where we will hash out the ultimate champion.

Your baseline is hypertrichosis or as it’s more commonly known, Werewolf Disease. Mainly because they’re the only people on the planet who would scoff at the beards I grow. Let’s get down with the sickness.

Creepy Bird Masks of the 14th Century

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

plaguemask
Image Credit: j_naturalia_2

We know what you’re thinking, and no the Bird People have not decided to rise up against their human overlords….yet. The photo above depicts an individual fashioning the get up Plague Doctors wore when visiting patients during the Black Death in the 14th Century.

1/3 of the population of Europe was wiped out by the plague and the costume definitely reflects the creepiness of the times. Plague Doctors wore the frightening get up to mitigate their chances of catching the highly infectious disease, think of it as an archaic hazmat suit.

(more…)