Sorry, kids. No time for a big post, but here’s a poem I wrote about resident bacterial/viral flora to tide you over.
That’s what they call it
In the plains, in the valleys, in the walls
As disease-causers and bloody anarchists
Almost unnoticed by the self-appointed Empire
Between us and this floating isle
A grain of greed
Tempts tumbling, cascading white cells
Coiled tightly around taut leashes
Maddened by M.A.D.
We embrace awkwardly amongst sleeping dogs
as klaxons echo throughout the ranks
Peacekeepers ready their weapons
Shot and sunk for the company they keep
The finest sieve finds no justice
In geological time, slow as melting glaciers
A resentful kiss
Between lovers, contains more bitterness than it seems
Edit: A version of this article was published in The Advertiser on September 13, 2011.
July 28th was World Hepatitis day; the day to raise awareness of hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Both are very important diseases: together they cause >1 million annual cases of liver cancer, one of the most deadly cancers. Hepatitis viruses (A, B, … G) are completely different viruses. The thing that they have in common is that they all infect the liver.
You may have heard of Hepatitis C recently, as an anaesthetist was charged with infecting 54 women with Hepatitis C in a Melbourne hospital a few months ago.
Biohazard cookies! (Cookies by James Kleinig and Gen Sinclair; photo by Thomas Tu)
The cause of Hepatitis C, the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), was discovered very recently in 1989. But since then, we’ve recognised that 3% of the world’s population have been infected with HCV. Famous patients include Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson, the infamous Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read, and stuntman Evel Kinevel.
Update: According to a good work-up, there’s a very high probability this video is a hoax that just recently went viral. I blame the stout for my lack of reasonable doubt. Indeed even Yahoo news and Fox news have fallen for it. Anyway, I’ll leave this post here because the idea of lab-grown meat made from waste products is an interesting idea that has scientific merit. (Cheers to Bobster’s house)
Sorry again for the lack of activity on the blog. I am going pretty well on my thesis, thanks for asking.
Anyway, I was drinking with a couple of friends of mine who are doing their PhDs in environmental health and bioremediation the other night. Long story short, I wake up with this on my hand:
At least it wasn't a dick and balls. Picture taken by Thomas Tu
After some greasy food and coffee, I summoned enough courage to look up “shit burgers” on Google. Then it came back to me, we had been talking about a nutty bit of science where a Japanese team had created faux meat from sewage. While I’m not sure that it isn’t a hoax, here’s a video:
In the last post I talked about babies eating poo how babies develop a gut flora. In this post I wanted to look at how that flora matures into adulthood.
As a baby grows it interacts with its environment and after about a year an infant’s flora will resemble their parent’s. This becomes particularly important as the baby starts to eat solid foods and no longer survives on a milk diet. Now any and all bacteria can have a shot at colonising. So what shapes the bacterial population from this point onwards? Tolerance dictates this uneasy state of play. Continue reading
We try to not be alarmist here at Disease of the Week but two papers were brought to my attention by a PhD student in the discipline (this one and this one). The first response to a new paper should be that the researchers have moulded the current understanding and made some new insights. I have never approached reading papers this way, to my own detriment it must be noted. I always expect each and every paper to have changed the world.
With that preamble I present two papers WHICH CHANGE OUR UNDERSTANDING OF IMMUNOLOGY AS WE KNOW IT! Continue reading
Just a quick one today. Polio was a hugely disabling worldwide disease. Now with the help of the polio vaccine, we are on the cusp of seeing its eradication. This article gives a first-hand account of what it was like to live in a world with rampant polio: the fear, the segregation, the children struck down and sometimes permenantly disfigured. Really interesting stuff.
By Photo Credit: Content Providers: CDC/Charles Farmer [Public domain
Polio: The deadly summer of 1956 by Patrick Cokburn (1999) – http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/polio-the-deadly-summer-of-1956-2117253.html
I’ve been on a conference, so I haven’t had time to write a new article this week. Instead, you get sloppy seconds this week. This article was previously published in On Dit (2006) as my first public article. Still carries on the series though. Oh, and happy birthday, Disease of the Week!
Smallpox is a now-eradicated disease that is caused by the variola virus. There are two main types of small pox: variola major, the typical case of smallpox that killed up to 30% of those infected with it; and variola minor, which was a less deadly, but rarer form, leading to deaths in around 1% of those infected. Two extremely rare forms also existed: haemorrhagic and flat smallpox, both of which are basically death sentences. Variola major is the primary focus of my story today.
Eradication through vaccination is possible, as the case of smallpox has shown (Photo by the American Federal Government via the Public Health Images Library (PHIL))
Waaaaaay back in the first post of my sub series on vaccines I said I would cover vaccine styles, how they work (and Pt. 2) and why we can’t rely on therapeutics alone. I promise I’ll get to the last one at some point but after a couple of weeks writing about vaccines something occurred to me that I hadn’t really thought about before, what is actually in a vaccine? Continue reading
Australia seems to have pulled its finger out in a big way and contributed $60 million ($58 million US) to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation! Thus doubles Australia’s previous commitment and puts us up amongst the highest level contributors worldwide.
The pledge comes as Alliance members meet in New York to discuss the GAVI Alliance’s funding plans regarding its 2010-2015 programs. During that time GAVI hope to vaccinate 240 million children and in the process prevent 4.2 million deaths, primarily in the developing world.
The Australian pledge tops up the previous pledge agreement to help the GAVI Alliance reach its funding goal of $6.5 billion. At this stage the fundrasing effort leaves GAVI $4.3 billion short but more pledges are expected to come in over the next few years.
GAVI’s aims of childhood vaccination are targeted at the worlds 2 largest killers of children under 5 years of age; pneumonia and diarrhoea which together account for nearly 40% of all deaths in children under 5.
For more info check out the GAVI Alliance website here.