Friday, January 23, 2015

Mrs Wilde diagnosed? Nah.

TeaAtTrianon links to a UK Guardian article on Mrs Oscar Wilde, saying that some South African doc has written an article saying she had Multiple Sclerosis not neurosyphilis of the spine.
color me skeptical.

Syphilis was called "the Great imitator" and few modern docs have seen tertiary syphilis. Ironically, one of the doctors penning the original article being reviewed is a South African. Now, one does see tertiary syphilis there, mainly because their social policies separated the men in mines and factories from their wives. Yet one does not see MS in black Africans. I believe the rate in white Africans is the same as in Europeans, but I'd have to look that up to be sure. So why does this doc have expertise in both diseases, since the populations are different and the diseases are treated by different subspecialists? (One, infectious disease specialist the other Neurologists).

Neurosyphilis was common back then, including spinal versions where only the spine was affected...and neuropathic pain and paralysis from heavy metal poisoning from medicines used to treat these diseases was also a problem. (some doctors think Isaak Dineson's leg pains and paralysis was from her treatment, not her syphilis, for example)...

Since the saying in medicine is "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras", let me doubt the MS diagnosis, although I don't have access to all the symptoms, headache is not a symptom of MS, and I didn't see any reference to blindness or arm symptoms, which is seen in that disease. But without access to the original article, I can't be sure.

See the book Shakespeare's tremor and Orwell's cough.

which discusses the mercury neurotoxicity from treating "the great pox".

Modern docs tend to shy away from these things, yet one wonders how much of the eccentricities of folks like Henry VIII or Ivan the terrible were heavy metal problems.

And of course, the deterioration of Nietze, whose writings resemble one in a manic phase of bipolar disease, were probably from the manic phase of neurosyphillis, which slowly deteriorated into dementia and paralysis.

Ironic, isn't it, that the philosophy of the modern world and the philosophy of the Nazis might be from a diseased mind?

Lots of denial here: I've even  read that his Nazi sister "edited" the writings to support Hitler's ideas. Well, maybe she did, but she wasn't that talented, so the ideas were still his. She seemed to be narcissitic, not demented...

And the modern physicians often get headlines by pointing to exotic rare diseases as the cause of something. For example, the black plague, diagnosed as "ebola", or the plague of Athens, which turned out to probably be typhoid, being something else. Disease in the past often didn't look like it does now, which also confuses matters.

The evolution of syphilis to a more "benign" disease for example is well known.

Of course, rare diseases do occur: Polio is almost eradicated, but with the Mullahs reading the UKGuardian and other papers insisting polio vaccine causes ____ (fill in blanks with favorite problem) we now see almost as many cases of mutated Oral polio virus (in a tiny percentage of those given OPV, the weakened virus mutates back to full strength, and can infect those in contact with the child. Given the large populations of unvaccinated kids, this has caused outbreaks of polio in Africa and Pakistan). And now, in the US, a variation is found in another enterovirus causing paralysis in rare cases.

That hasn't gotten publicity of course except on right wing blogs, since there is some suspicion that it came up from Central America with the children illegal immigrants who obeyed Obama's policy to come quickly and get in free before President Cruz gets elected.

one more thing: One quack decided it was her gynecology problem causing the problem, and Mrs. W died of surgery. Well, that implies she had adhesions and chronic pelvic pain from PID (Untreated gonorrhea). That disease, however, doesn't cause paralysis, but points to the fact she might also have had syphilis.

Or maybe he decided her problems were psychological, and could be cured by hysterectomy. Given my problems with ovarian cysts and "raging hormones" there is a little truth in that statement, but a lot of this was Freud's influence too.

Indeed, Freud got into trouble when some quack influenced him to think that nasal problems were sexual and almost killed one of Freud's patients in a surgical procedure.

Freud is still seen as a pioneer scientist, but the truth is that most of his theories are philosophical, not scientific, and few psychiatrists do psychotherapy anymore, since drugs work faster and more efficiently for such things.