diseases

cbc.ca
Ebola vaccine from Canada seems to work in trial in Guinea: WHO
Experimental vaccine from National Microbiology Laboratory '1st ray of hope': Doctors Without Borders

The experimental Ebola vaccine designed by Canadian scientists seems to work, the interim results of a trial in Guinea suggest.

If proven effective, the vaccine could be “a game changer,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, which sponsored the trial.

The interim findings were published online Friday in the medical journal The Lancet.

The findings so far are persuasive, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, a senior author of the trial, told reporters from Geneva.

“The data so far shows that none of the 2,014 persons vaccinated developed Ebola virus disease after 10 days after vaccination,” said Kieny, who oversees research and development related to Ebola at WHO.

Continue Reading.

A perfect example of a severe case of OCD or Obsessive compulsive disorder may be witnessed in Nikola Tesla, the genius mad Serbian Scientist, inventor and engineer. Nikola Tesla is best known for his Tesla coil, alternate current motors, contribution to the radio and other electrically engineered patents.

  • Nikola Tesla held an obsession for the number three and it’s multiples
  • ate with 18 napkins which is divisible by 3 
  • walked around a building 3 times before entering.
  • When eating, he counted his chewing and estimated the approximate mass of his meals.
  • Nikola Tesla would not eat alone with a woman
  • if a woman worked for him they had to dress to his standards
  • He grew a phobia of hair, jewelry and round objects
  • Tesla was a mysophobic or germaphobic and would not shake hands with acquaintances
  • If he read a book from one author he felt compelled to complete all of the books by the same author.
  • He was not fond of overweight people and fired his secretary who may have only been slightly over weight. Nikola himself was a very slim man with a constant weight

* This post is from my former blog, Hepatoma.

Chart: How does Ebola compare to other diseases

Information is Beautiful’s David McCandless’ insightful new infographic provides a bird’s-eye view of diseases and infections that have made headlines in recent years, from swine and avian flu to HIV and Middle East respiratory syndrome.

And while Ebola is not quite as infectious as malaria or even chicken pox, it is one of the deadliest diseases that made it onto the graph, sitting at third place behind rabies and HIV.

The Ebola epidemic is getting worse | 
Follow micdotcom

Article: Fantastical Biology – Part Eight: Fantasy Diseases

When creating a believable fantasy world, we often focus on things like politics, religion, culture; but there’s a tiny (microscopic, in fact) detail that can flesh out a story world and be used to create tension and conflict. Protagonists in fantasy novels often get cuts and bruises, or spend a few nights camping in the cold, drinking from ponds they hope are safe. Sometimes they worry about infections, but more often they just wrap a piece of their dirty, sweaty shirt around the cut and continue on their way. We usually don’t read about the part where they get a raging infection from the cut, and a case of the runs from the pond water, and what this does to their ability to fight. And so, this Fantastical Biology article will take a look at the tiny creatures that can do more damage to a stalwart knight than any dragon could.

read more

Art by Studio XVIVO.

If you live in the US, you might have heard that the flu vaccine released this year is not a “good match” for the viruses going around. How could this have happened?

Influenza viruses have proteins on their surfaces that the immune system can recognize. Two of these proteins are called hemagglutinin (HA, shown in the graphic above) and neuraminidase (NA), which are the “H” and “N” found in the virus names. One of the reasons why flu viruses are so successful is because they can easily mutate and change the structure of these proteins. Here are two ways in which these mutations can happen:

  • Antigenetic drift: Errors occur in genes when they are being copied to make new viruses. This is common for flu virus genes because they are made of RNA, not DNA. The virus’ host cells have mechanisms to fix errors in DNA but they cannot fix RNA.
  • Antigenetic shift: Different subtypes of the same virus infect the same host cell and mix and match their genes to make a new virus. This happens often with flu viruses because of their ability to jump species. A flu virus that mostly infects birds may be able to infect a human cell and mix its genetic information with a flu virus that mostly infects humans, producing a new subtype of virus.

Many of the H3N2 viruses circulating this season have undergone drift. Their antigens have become different from the H3N2 strain (dubbed A/Texas/50/2012) that researchers predicted would be most common. Because it takes about six months to develop and release a flu vaccine, researchers have to start early, drawing up a projection from data reported to the World Health Organization from 111 different countries. Sometimes the viruses will undergo changes during those six months, causing the vaccine to be less effective.

So should you still get the flu vaccine? Yes! Even though the H3N2 viruses’ surface proteins have changed, there is still a good chance that the H3N2 virus parts in the vaccine are similar enough to them that the vaccine can help teach the immune system to respond to them. There are also other two other viruses included in the vaccine that it can help protect you from.

The CDC has a nifty little vaccination pledge you can fill out if you have gotten the vaccine or are ready to get it.

You can read more about the flu vaccine, its safety and why it’s so important here.

Pellagra is a vitamin deficiency disease most frequently caused by a chronic lack of niacin (vitamin B3 or synonym: vitamin PP (from: Pellagra Preventing factor)) in the diet. It can be caused by decreased intake of niacin or tryptophan and possibly by excessive intake of leucine. It may also result from alterations in protein metabolism in disorders such as carcinoid syndrome or Hartnup disease. A deficiency of the amino acid lysine can lead to a deficiency of niacin, as well.(Source)

anonymous asked:

Went to that antisemitic blog & found peals like "The filthiness of white Europeans and the diseases they carried were basically the real reason they were able to take over so much of the world so quickly." Am I the only one bothered by tumblr's lack of love & knowledge of history? The reason why there are very little European descent people in Africa is because they'd die in that continent. So much for superior European diseases. People evolved to different continent specific maladies. Period.

Parts of tumblr have become so ideological that it has become actively anti-intellectual, I’m not even surprised anymore. I mean, there’s no need to make things up- real human history is extremely interesting and diverse. 

  • Europeans managed to take over the world due to the advantages of inventing modern guns, then the Industrial Revolution and then modern medicine, let’s be clear. Diseases of all sorts have stalked mankind since antiquity: and before the germ theory, there is little people knew about it though certain diseases have been known since ancient times, like rabies. The Romans, Egyptians, Sumerians and Chinese wrote about it. But you’ll see we all understood shit about it beyond vaguely connecting that rabid animals spread it- considering all the treatments Europeans and non-Europeans prescribed for it were mostly useless. If I recall correctly…one treatment called for rubbing the dead dog’s fluids on your wound (a surefire no-no today!) 
  • Sure, civilisations like the Chinese may have been cleaner than Europeans at certain points in history but we still had people dying from the Bubonic Plague anyway. Europe was indeed filthy at certain points but that’s hardly the sole reason behind European dominance (plus if they were that disease-ridden, it hardly makes them in a good state to pillage and conquer. You should see the life expectancy in those days). During the American Revolutionary War, the poor hygiene led to thousands of soldiers being plagued with bloody diarrhea due to dysentery and cholera, for example. 

In the Americas, yes, smallpox helped to kill huge numbers of indigenous Americans. But that was not all. Europeans also played off the various Mesoamerican city-states against one another. And in fact, Europeans literally died like flies in Africa because they had zero immunity to things like malaria, yellow fever, sleeping sickness, which pretty much didn’t faze Africans who had built up strong immunity to these diseases over thousands and thousands of years. Many people of African ancestry today continue to have a mutation in their red blood cells that effectively makes them immune to the malaria parasite, whereas my sister and her friends were all religiously popping anti-malarial pills while in Uganda. 

  • Also, I’ve got to point out that immunity-wise, Africans in general were (are) much tougher, considering the continent has had contact with Europe for thousands of years so they did have immunity for most diseases Europeans had + immunity to the various African diseases that thrive in warm climates. Europeans were completely unsuited for the climate too, without modern sunscreen, hydration pills and whatnot. Why do you think Europeans had to buy slaves from other Africans at the ports in the 1600s? They could not have trekked in to seize people- they’d have been dead long before that. Why did they even want African slaves in the first place? Because Europeans ended up bringing malaria to the Americas, and it thrived in the warmer regions. And they noticed that for some reason, many Africans withstood this disease (due to the genetic mutation) whereas Europeans and Native Americans succumbed to it. Oversimplifying things therefore wipes out a crucial part of the history behind African slavery itself.

The discovery of the anti-malarial properties of quinine and subsequent manufacture of anti-malarial drugs was EXACTLY what allowed Europeans to seize for themselves African colonies. That’s why there wasn’t much successful European colonisation of Africa (beyond North Africa) before the 1800s onwards- African diseases like malaria mowed them down ruthlessly. Ergo, technological advantages- like guns, like defeating diseases (and not spreading it) was far more crucial to allow empire to spread. Disease has played a big role in imperialism, but it’s hardly as simple. 

NO SPARK

Sparks from an iridium electrode (top) generate therapeutic nitric oxide (NO) from nitrogen and oxygen in the air. NO therapy can treat conditions such as pulmonary hypertension and chronic lung diseases. The gas is different from the one you get at the dentist, which is nitrous oxide (N2O). Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital developed this electrical method of producing NO as a lightweight, portable alternative to the large, expensive equipment currently used to administer the gas.

Credit: Brian Wilson, Massachusetts General Hospital Photography Department; Science Translational Medicine, 2015, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa3097

Let’s talk about Lyme disease!

Lyme is an infection caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is the most common tickborne disease in America and Europe and is transmitted by the bite of the deer tick or black-legged tick. Here’s a nifty picture of the former with some of its eggs:

In America, Lyme occurs most commonly in the midwestern and northeastern states, and a few cases have popped up in Oregon, Washington and northern California. The first symptoms show up 3-30 days after exposure and may include a rash, flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. The rash occurs in 70-80% of infected people and may take on a characteristic “bull’s-eye” shape.

After this, the disease can progress to additional rashes, arthritis in joints, Bell’s palsy (partial paralysis of the face), and the headache and neck stiffness associated with meningitis (infection of the tissues around the brain.) Rarely, the brain itself can become inflamed or the heart, eyes or liver can become involved. Sometimes the disease resolves on its own, while other times antibiotic treatment is needed.

The recommended treatment for Lyme is a 14-21 day course of antibiotics. If Lyme is left untreated, chronic arthritis occurs in about ¼ of patients (the disease was actually first discovered when twelve children were diagnosed with arthritis in the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut–a prevalence way above background levels.) In 10-20% of patients, especially those who received a late diagnosis, some neurological symptoms might persist after antibiotic treatment. The medical term for this is “post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome” (PTLDS). Though some studies in animals have shown that B. burgdorferi may persist in tissues after treatment, it isn’t clear whether this can happen in humans. Most medical professionals believe the persistent symptoms are instead due to damage that occurred during the infection or an autoimmune response triggered by the infection, like how Guillian-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder where the immune system attacks nervous tissue, can be triggered by infection with Campylobacter bacteria or other disease-causing organisms.

What is clear is that long-term antibiotics don’t help these persistent symptoms. Multiple studies have concluded that there is no real benefit to continuing antibiotics for months or years and because antibiotics have side effects and can kill off beneficial organisms in the body too (allowing things like C. diff to grow out of control), prolonged use can be harmful to the patient.

So how do you keep from getting Lyme if you’re in an area where the ticks are hanging around? Unfortunately, a vaccine for it failed to sell well and was discontinued, but you can take simple measures to stay healthy, like using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and long pants when walking in the woods or tall grass, and making your yard less hospitable to ticks by clearing out brush and putting up fences to keep deer out. Ticks often lurk on the skin for hours before actually attaching themselves, so you can often just wipe them off with a washcloth. If they are attached, the best way to remove them is by gently grasping them with a pair of tweezers and pulling straight up (not twisting, as this can break off the mouthparts in the skin.) Afterwards, just clean the area with soap and water, wrap up the tick and throw it away.