Category Archives: Disease

How Did Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Get To Spain? Via Immigration, Of Course!

An exotic fever is popping up in Spain, and no, it’s not a new dance craze–it’s Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. See How Did Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Pop Up In Spain?, July 13, by Maanvi Singh, NPR, 2017

What’s funny about these MSM stories is they are oblivious to the immigration dimension. Either that or they ARE aware but consciously avoid talking about it to avoid being accused of stirring up anti-immigration sentiments.

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Migrants Bringing Rare Diseases Similar To Ebola – Straining European Health Service

migrants

All migrants upon arrival in Germany are required to undergo medical screening.  German doctors have been struggling with the high number of post-traumatic stress disorder cases amongst migrants, but are also finding it increasingly difficult to diagnose diseases that have been wiped out in Germany but are still prevalent in the Middle East and Africa.

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Korean Parents to Blame For Obese Children, Says Study

Well, of course. Cram schools (hogwans, if you will), long schedules, little parental guidance and introduction to the Western diet will do that:

Parents are entirely to blame for the obesity of their children, an explosive study suggests.

The Korean Society for the Study of Obesity said that 22.4 percent of children who do not eat dinner with their parents are obese, while the rate among kids who sit down to a family dinner is just 5.1 percent.

The KSSO said this is the first-ever study linking childhood obesity with the living patterns at home.

Childhood obesity in Korea rose steadily from 5.8 percent in 1997 to 9.6 percent in 2012. The number of children and teens with diabetes surged from 15,100 in 2005 to 21,300 in 2013.

The KSSO studied nutritional intake from 2009 and 2013 and analyzed data on 3,281 children between six and 11 and their parents, as well as surveying 1,000 parents of elementary schoolchildren this year.

It concluded that mothers who consume more than one carbonated drink a week increase the risk of obesity in their children 1.6 times. Also, families that eat out more than 5.5 times a week consume 204 kcal a day more than families that stay in.

Kim Dae-jung, a doctor at Ajou University, said, “The problem is that children who do not have dinner with their families often eat fast food, which is high in calories and low in nutrition, and don’t get enough exercise after their meal.”

Chung So-chung at Konkuk University Medical Center said, “If children eat alone, they don’t acquire a proper taste and only want salty, sweet or spicy foods. Eating together as a family is not just important from a purely nutritional point of view but also impacts what children learn about food.”

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Viruses Uncovered In Arctic Ice

It’s good that people are uncovering these things:

Let’s get one thing out of the way really quickly: The ancient, giant virus recently discovered in melting Arctic ice is not going to kill you.

But here’s the bad news: It’s not the first ancient virus that scientists have found frozen — it’s the fourth found since 2003. And you can be sure it won’t be the last. And with climate change causing massive melts, it’s not totally alarmist to suggest that something deadly might one day emerge from a long, icy sleep. …

The newly discovered, 30,000-year-old virus is reported in a paper published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mollivirus sibericum is a whopping .6 microns across, making it what scientists call a giant virus. In addition to towering over modern viruses (and even some bacteria), size-wise, these ancient microbes had a lot more genes.

M. sibericum has more than 500 genes, compared to just 9 in HIV. One of the previously discovered giant viruses, Pandoravirus, has a staggering 2,500 genes. Scientists are still figuring out what that means for a virus, and what it says about the way viruses evolved — and how we should deal with them.

If scientists can confirm that humans and animals won’t be susceptible to sibericum, they’re going to go ahead and wake it up so they can study it. But they’re proceeding with caution. These viruses may be ancient, but they’ve also been kept in nature’s own deep freezer. They want to be sure they’re not reviving anything potentially harmful.

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Have American Scientists Found A Way to “Switch Off” Cancer?

Cancer cells have been programmed back to normal by scientists in a breakthrough which could lead to new treatments and even reverse tumour growth.

For the first time, aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer cells have been turned back into harmless benign cells by restoring the function which prevents them from multiplying excessively and forming dangerous growths.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida in the U.S. said it was like applying the brakes to a speeding car.

So far it has only been tested on human cells in the lab, but the researchers are hopeful that the technique could one day be used to target tumours so that cancer could be “switched off” without the need for harsh chemotherapy or surgery.

 “We should be able to re-establish the brakes and restore normal cell function,” said Prof Panos Anastasiadis, of the Department for Cancer Biology.
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Japan Benefits From MERS Outbreak in South Korea

Patient Zero is believed to be a businessman who travelled to the Middle East.

The outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome deepened the wounds of the Korean tourism industry, which is already losing to Japan as the neighboring island country is benefitting from the weak yen.

Some 1.5 million Chinese tourists are reportedly cancelling their trips to Korea between June and August and instead opting to visit Japan due to fears of MERS. This is expected to widen the gap in the number of foreign visitors between Korea and Japan to more than 3 million this year.

Industry insiders say that the government should do its utmost to get the outbreak under complete control as soon as possible and draw Chinese tourists back for the Chinese National Day holidays in October.

According to the Korea National Tourism Organization, some 5.92 million tourists visited Korea during the first five months of this year, 1.62 million fewer than Japan. The gap has been increasing since November last year when Japan overtook Korea for the first time in seven years.

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Scientists May Have Found A Way to Locate Lost Memories

The conventional wisdom regarding memory-loss diseases such as amnesia and Alzheimer’s has long been that all affected memories are erased or destroyed.

But a new study from MIT is suggesting a possible alternative: that while the ability to access memories may vanish, the memories themselves may still be fully intact and encoded within the brain.

“If you ask a neuroscientist what we know about memory, most people will say we have these pathways, or traces, that are formed in the brain, and these are somehow required for us to recall information accurately,” MIT researcher and study co-author Dheeray Roy told Yahoo Canada.

“In cases of amnesia, a lot of people would believe these traces actually are non-existent, and that’s the underlying cause of the disease. Our study came in, I think, to ask whether amnesia truly is a storage-type issue, or whether some memories do persist and there is just no way to access them – and can we do something about it?”

A technology called optogenetics is enabling researchers to implant memories in rodents, create amnesia, and revive the memory using precisely-focused microbeams of light, Roy said.

“In our study, we tagged or engineered these memory engram cells, which we believe participate, or are necessary for, the formation and retrieval of a stable memory,” Roy explained.

A mouse or rat with amnesia is placed in a setting where it suffered a frightening experience it can no longer remember. With the activation of the light, the memory returns.

“Animals, like humans, have a very robust response when they don’t like something,” Roy said.

“They quickly display avoidance behavior. This becomes a way of testing specific memories.”

And it’s not a fluke, either.

“It’s amazing how robust the response is, and how long it lasts – up to one year,” Roy said.

The findings are very new. Roy freely concedes it will take more than this for many in the field to accept and embrace the findings. And while the MIT research clearly singled out amnesia, any breakthrough in memory science will always raise hopes of a possible imminent treatment or cure for the ever-increasing global epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease.

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U.S. military lab shipped live anthrax samples to Canada

Live anthrax samples were shipped to three laboratories in Canada by a U.S. military lab, USA Today reported on June 1, following disclosures last week that samples of the bacteria were mistakenly sent to 11 U.S. states and two other countries.

The newspaper cited two Defense Department officials as saying the samples sent to Canada came from the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where the other samples appear to trace back to as well. It is one of the U.S. military labs responsible for inactivation and shipping of biological material.

A Defense Department official said on June 1 the Pentagon had nothing to announce about the anthrax shipments and that the investigation is continuing…

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First deaths from MERS spark panic in South Korea; case also confirmed in China

A couple wear masks as a precaution against MERS in Seoul, South Korea

A deadly respiratory disease has sparked widespread panic across South Korea after claiming its first victims in the largest outbreak outside the Middle East.

A 58-year-old woman died of acute respiratory failure yesterday and tests later came back positive for MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), the health ministry said.

The other victim was a 71-year-old man who was confirmed to have the virus several days ago and who died on Tuesday.

Six more South Koreans were diagnosed with the MERS virus Monday night, the ministry said, bringing the total number of people infected to 25 including the two deceased…

The first case – a 68-year-old man diagnosed after returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia – was reported on May 20…

Note also: China last week reported its first MERS case. A South Korean man who tested positive after breaking a voluntary house quarantine last week, flying to Hong Kong and then traveling to mainland China.


A few previous posts on MERS to refresh your memory:

June 6, 2014: DNA Test Indicates Camel-To-Human Transmission Of MERS

June 7, 2014: Pilgrims Converge On Mecca, Undeterred By MERS

July 14, 2014: MERS Virus Detected In Air Samples From Saudi Camel Barn

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Paris migrant camp taken down over scabies fears

The 400 migrants who had set up a temporary shelter not far from Montmartre in northern Paris have been told to leave after officials warned of the high risks of epidemic sicknesses spreading.

The migrants had been camping beneath the overground Metro tracks near La Chappelle, just around the corner from the Gare du Nord and the Eurostar terminal.

The migrant camp underwent the first stages of evacuation on Thursday, however, prompted by French police, who said last week that the migrants were in “imminent danger” of falling sick.

This came shortly after a report from France’s health authorities revealed there were risks of epidemic sicknesses spreading…

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Volatile region: Policemen guarding polio team attacked in Mardan

Photo of police guarding a polio vaccine station in Pakistan. Source.

MARDAN: Armed men on Tuesday opened fire at police personnel guarding a polio vaccination team, and injured a law enforcer. The police in retaliation killed one of the attackers and rounded up three others allegedly involved in the attack.

According to the police, two constables were guarding polio vaccinators in the city’s Tamboolak area, when a group of armed men opened fire at them, causing injuries to one of the cops, Habib. The other policeman, however, opened fire in retaliation and killed one of the attackers.

The police claimed the attackers later took shelter in a nearby house. “However, policemen from surrounding areas rushed to the site and cordoned off the house. After a brief encounter, they arrested three persons,” said an official…


Note: Mardan is in Taliban country.

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