Viruses, flu, & immunology

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Category archives for Viruses, flu, & immunology

The damage done resembles that found in bird flu as well as ‘acute respiratory distress symptom,’ reports Branswell – the latter being a condition that can rise from a number of causes, and which kills 30% of those who get it. (That is, get ARDS, not swine flu.) Yet more signs that this is a…

On the radar of late: Neuroskeptic ponders reports that antidepressant use in the U.S. has doubled in the last decade. As he notes, perhaps the most troubling thing finding in the study is that the number of Americans using an antipsychotic as well as an antidepressant increased by a factor of more than 3. This…

Both Mind Hacks and Jonah Lehrer took interesting note — Jonah’s the longer, and a pretty nice summary itself — of the fascinating NY Times piece on ultramarathoner Diane Van Deren, who began running long distances after brain surgery removed much of her right temporal lobe. This gave her a great advantage: the lack of…

Swine flu digs in

Helen Branswell delivers some sobering news: Swine flu viruses are missing at least two key features seen in all flu viruses present and past that transmit well among people and yet the viruses are spreading quite efficiently, two new studies suggest. The research groups which produced the work differ slightly in their views of the…

U.S. Cases of New Flu Hit a High This Week, notes the WS Journal. Or, as the BBC puts it, US passes million swine flu cases. Effect Measure, meanwhile, ponders the flu’s course in South America, where Hospitals `Overwhelmed’ By Flu Cases In Argentina. We have just 90 days till flu season resumes here. H5N1…

Having lived with fire ants, stepped in fire ants, laid down with fire ants, and been bit just about everywhere by fire ants, the news that parasitic flies turn fire ants them into zombies by eating their brains pleases me immensely. Speaking of pleasure: Vaughn whacks the dopamine = pleasure meme. Sharon Begley says Obama…

I should just have a permanent pointer from here to Effect Measure. But as I’ve not figured out how to do that, here’s some more sensible thinking from Revere: No one on the public health side has over reacted. When an outbreak or pandemic is unfolding, you get only one chance. The window is a…

I’ve noted several times here how more measured heads keep emphasizing that a) we’re working on partial information in responding to the current swine flu outbreak and b) new developments may complicate things at any point along the line. Here’s a great example of what these folks (like Effect Measure, Crof, and Avian Flu Diary)…

While I’m at it, here are a few other recent posts about modulating our thinking about the swine flu outbreak that is a) so far less horrid than our worst fears and b) still working its way around the globe, as it may well be doing for some time to come. Greg Laden notes that…

In a post titled “Dead, Your Majesty,” H5N1, Crof ponders why we scramble to deal with swine flu while ignoring other problems ranging from cancer to the 3000 children a day who die of malaria in Africa : Most of us are comfortably settled in rich industrial countries where problems like TB and AIDS are…