Thursday, September 29, 2016

Alberta opposes eugenics

they kill Indigenous people, don't they?

Metis (and ex MP) Mrs Gay Caswell (and the Catholic bishops of Alberta) are pointing out the legal irregularities of the Suicide bill in Canada mandated by their courts and then rammed through the Parliament with little discussion by Baby Trudeau....

she points out that the public was told the court decision was final, but as an MP she knows there is a clause that lets parliament overturn decisions that go against (section 31 of the Canadian Charter).

Hmm... maybe the US should have a similar way to stop the court system from making law, which is after all supposed to be done by the people's elected representatives...

The Indigenous people of Alberta were victims of the Eugenics movement in the 1920's, so like the Black Americans who remember the Tuskegee project, they tend to be suspicious....
and if you think this is about personal freedom, well, follow the money.


speaking of medical problems: CDC on poor coverage by influenza vaccine.

Ironically, it is not a strong vaccine, so giving it to adults, caretakers, and children would do more to stop the elderly from catching it than actually giving the vaccine to those whose immune system might be too weak to develop immunity.

CDC reports 12 percent of working age Americans have at least one disability.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Polio like Enterovirus

The WAPO article about cases of polio like paralysis from an enterovirus.

Just a couple dozen cases a year, but a recent upspike in cases has people worried.

I am old enough to remember the polio epidemics in the 1950's, when we couldn't go to the local swimming pool in August because of the outbreak. Two of my friends caught polio, and in later years I met two doctors who had caught the disease caring for folks (one who ended up in a wheelchair).

Polio is an "enterovirus": The virus causes stomach flu/diarrhea. Only one strain of the polio virus causes paralysis.

But we also learned that other enteroviruses could cause paralysis, but that these cases were rare. But when we had outbreaks of some types, we also would see viral meningitis or encephalitis.

So this is not a puzzle, but I will report more when I see the actual CDC or medical articles on the virus.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Medical news: Hillary Polio and EColi

LINK Hillary has lost TedRall, a Bernie supporter:

Access should be, has to be in a democracy, determined solely by meritocratic criteria. Political leaders like Hillary Clinton need to be meeting with people who can offer them the best advice and who need the most help -- not those who bought their way in. Anyone who doesn't understand that access always equals corruption, even when access doesn't result in favors, doesn't deserve to hold political office.

about the Clinton foundation's appearance of ethical problems. Give money for a good cause, get a visit with the secretary of state. Results are not guaranteed so it's not bribery.

of course, in Mrs Clinton's case, there are also questions about getting huge sums for corportate speeches.

and the meme that 80 percent of the Clinton Foundation money goes to "overhead" is wrong, as Polifact explains:

While measuring charitable endeavors by the amount of grants awarded may be appropriate for many private foundations, it is not for an organization that acts as a direct service provider like the Clinton Foundation."
They name three such grass roots initiatives, which would require only small grants if they had outsourced it. They go on to say that actually if you include the many foundations that exist under the Clinton foundation umbrella, that over 85 percent of their funding goes to "program services".

And then Polifact insists:

While measuring charitable endeavors by the amount of grants awarded may be appropriate for many private foundations, it is not for an organization that acts as a direct service provider like the Clinton Foundation."
they then bring up that they got cheap generics for poor HIV patients in Africa.

Heh. I wrote about that last week: That they got them from a company who was fined for faking their quality control data. And since substandard, fake and counterfeit medicine is a major problem in the third world, getting a bargain generic is not always a good thing.

From the right wing WashingtonExaminier:

Clinton denied on Sunday that she participated in any foundation activities while she served as secretary of state, employing a new defense of its operations by highlighting the negotiated healthcare deals.But under her leadership, at least a handful of the State Department's global health efforts relied on drug companies that were also major Clinton Foundation donors in arrangements that raise questions about the distance Clinton kept from her family's philanthropy

So where does the money go? InsidePhilanthropy notes that the organization is so complicated that few can actually follow the money.

I'll have to read it later.

but the UKMail has an article on Jerome Corsi's book, and he was on C2C recently about the problem. VideoLink. He's a nut case, of course, and I would put an article from the MSM to refute this, but all their articles seem to be (correctly) pointing out that this guy is a cospiracy theorist, but not actually discussing his accusations. Sigh. Ad hominem attacks before facts. And the question is if the generic medicines didn't work, and if as Corsi claims that many of those getting the medicines died.

Glenn Greenwald interview here includes some stuff about the Clinton Foundation

I have a personal interest in this: the hospital I worked at in Africa and some of the nuns I worked with run HIV medicine programs... and one African sister just lost her 19 year old niece from HIV related causes even though she was on anti virals. Did the medicines stop working or were they substandard, I wonder...

Having cheap generic medicines is literally lifesaving for people in the third world, not just for HIV but for malaria and ordinary infections. People die because they can't afford the medicine, or they take a smaller dose or stop it too soon because of the cost.

But unless you realize the problem of substandard, fake and counterfeit drugs, you are fooling yourself.

PEPFAR works with the FDA to insure HIV medicines are okay.

I couldn't find any articles to back Corsi yet, but this PLOS article on Thailand HIV drugs says only a small percentage are inferior. (3%).

Annals of Internal Medicine worried about the problem: Economic savings vs Health Loses. and this article on generic anti virals

but the WHO defended the use of generics.

Translation: Problems that people are trying to stop

and as a cynical doc, remember: Lots of money could be made by stealing/diverting the real pills and selling them on the side. not just by patients but also by Pharmacists, import businesses and bypeople who transport
And how many people remember to take their pills?


Speaking of Hillary: That National Enquirer story on her health is just rehashing the here-say. No hard facts...And a lot of it is absurd. (she might have congenital Muscular dystrophy? give me a break.)

What is behind this hysteria?
She needs help going up stairs? Looks like quadriceps are weak....Lower back problems or knee problems from arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, or it could be muscle weakness from hypothyroidism or post stroke weakness on one side.

The real question is: what are her cognitive abilities? Were these affected by her strokes?

They are either printing this nonsense to make money or to suck up to Trump.


Bad superbug has reached Massachusetts.

Colisten resistant E Coli.

The mcr-1 gene was first reported in 2015 in food, animal, and patient isolates from China (1) and is notable for being the first plasmid-mediated colistin resistance mechanism to be identified. Plasmids can be transferred between bacteria, potentially spreading the resistance gene to other bacterial species. Since its discovery, the mcr-1 gene has been reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and North America (2,3), including the United States...

apparently, it was from antibiotics being given to farm animals in China.

But the real danger is overusing antibiotics in chicken and pigs farms.

scientificAmerican story.

and the bad news: The gene can be spread to cousin bacteria.

the good news: no links, but my "chicken business" email newsletter has a lot of articles about using probiotics or other ways to keep the chickens safe without filling them with antibiotics.

the "free range" and people thinking a backyard chicken is the answer need to realize that these birds are more likely to catch bird flu from passing migrating birds than those brought up en masse in chicken houses.

And of course, without "chicken farms", the poor in the mega cities would have little or no cheap sources of protein in their diet.

 a spoonful of sugar no more.

The problem of the rare mutation of the weakened polio virus becoming strong again and causing mini epidemics has led to using the old fashioned shot that uses the dead virus.

it is being phased out. Technical report:
CDC report here.

a shorter version of this is on my regular blog

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Plague! the Plague!

BBC reports that the London Plague epidemic of 1665 was indeed caused by the YPestis bacteria, aka Bubonic plague

supposedly, in between plagues the bacteria merely infected rodents: which is why we get occasional cases in the Navajo area each year.

But is the plague still alive in European rodents?

"We don't know why the Great Plague of London was the last major outbreak of plague in the UK and whether there were genetic differences in the past, those strains that were circulating in Europe to those circulating today; these are all things we're trying to address by assembling more genetic information from ancient organisms."

The rumor is that the massacres and famine deaths from Genghis Khan's army conquering the Middle East were the source of the Plague, but this hasn't been proven.

related factoid: When I googled for the disease, I used the older term, Pasteurella Pestis, but apparently they change the name.

Yup, it used to be named after good old Louis, who not only invented Rabies vaccine and pasteurization but proved that "spontaneous generation" was nonsense.

but apparantly, YPestis was not discovered by Pasteur, but by a scientist working from his Institute.

Y. pestis was discovered in 1894 by Alexandre Yersin, a Swiss/French physician and bacteriologist from the Pasteur Institute, during an epidemic of the plague in Hong Kong.

 However, Pasteur did discover another animal disease so has that family of germs named after him 

The genus is named after the French chemist and microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, who first identified the bacteria now known as Pasteurella multocida as the agent of chicken cholera.

the disease still pops up on and off in the Southwest (most docs working for the IHS in the Navajo area know to keep an eye out for the symptoms) but also pops up now and then in VietNam and/or in the deserts of China... and Gerbils on the Steppes were probably the source of the epidemics of the middle ages.

The Black rat fleas were supposed to be the reason it spread, but now these rats have pretty well been replaced by the Brown rat in Europe. is this why we don't see more epidemics originating there? The reoccuring outbreaks of plague in Europe suggest a vector that allowed the disease to pop up again and again, then it stopped...So where was the source animal?

Camus' book The Plague was based on an epidemic in French colony of North Africa (in Oran in 1944). He used the reaction of the locals as an analogy on how the French people reacted to the Nazi takeover.

And it still is hiding there somewhere: LINK to the 2003 outbreak

Epidemiologic and biomolecular findings strongly suggested the existence of a local animal reservoir during this period, but its origin (resurgence or re-importation) could not be determined.

so why worry?
This sudden and unexpected reemergence of plague, close to an important commercial seaport, is a textbook illustration of a public health event of international importance. It also demonstrates that the danger of plague reoccurrence is not limited to the currently indexed natural foci.
ah, and could terrorists get hold of the plague and spread it?

This 2009 outbreak in an terrorist camp in Algeria worried a lot of people. But apparently they were just dirty (body lice and lack of hygiene) not trying to develop it as a WMD...

But of course, some smart bozo could theoretically find some and spread it again. Luckily bathing and pest control and antibiotics would stop the epidemic.

nor was this the only recent epidemic:

The last reported serious outbreak was in 2006 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa, when at least 50 people died.


and the "ideology before reality" items on Zika:

Related item: Florida green types want to stop spraying for mosquitoes that carry Zika virus.

Hmm... wonder if they know about the Yellow fever epidemic in Angola, which could be spread by the same bug?

and the Zika funding bill was blocked  by Democrats in Congress because it did not include Planned parenthood funding. 

uh, a separate bill could have restored the PP funding, but never mind.

Related item: The fall of the Roman empire has many causes, but there is a good argument that Justinian could have revived much of the empire in Europe except for the Justinian plague...
which was found to be caused by YPestis.

and of course, the plague weakened the eastern Roman Empire and opened the area for conquest by Mohammed's armies.

  NIH link.

The epidemic plague significantly contributed to the weakening of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the rapid decline of the Persian Empire, while during the early expansion phases of Islam, it indirectly favoured the nomadic Arab tribes which, moving on desert or semi-desert territories, succeeded in escaping the contagion more easily.


Ottoman History podcast on how that empire handled the plague

Friday, September 2, 2016

Mad Cows or mad deer?

make sure you don't contaminate your venison with spinal cord or thymus, or maybe you could get a variation of mad cow disease.

cross posted from my main blog

A lot of hysteria a couple years back about mad cow disease on the talk show circuits.

But that sort of disappeared when they started to butcher cows more meticulously.

Ah but are you aware of mad deer, mad moose, and mad elk disease?

PhysOrg: white tail Deer population decline from CWD...

"Chronic wasting disease has likely been present in southeast Wyoming deer and elk populations for approximately 50 years," Edmunds says. "It has been steadily increasing to the point that some hunt areas are seeing populations with as many as 30 percent to almost 50 percent of harvested deer testing positive for this disease."

ah but can it spread to humans? CDC report say no, or maybe in rare cases.... but since most cases take years to develop, the number of cases might be underestimated.

So they advise you to be careful while butchering the meat and wear gloves.

 Hunters should avoid eating meat from deer and elk that look sick or test positive for CWD. They should wear gloves when field-dressing carcasses, bone-out the meat from the animal, and minimize handling of brain and spinal cord tissues. As a precaution, hunters should avoid eating deer and elk tissues known to harbor the CWD agent (e.g., brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes) from areas where CWD has been identified.

CDC map identifying areas with infected deer etc.