Stop Spillover

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. U. S. Agency for International Development Emerging Threats Program launched the infectious disease surveillance program PREDICT in 2009. It included teams from more than 60 countries that would survey the world for unknown viruses in animals and assess their risk of causing … Continue reading Stop Spillover

Coronaviruses That Spillover

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. In the Family Coronaviruses cause diseases in humans ranging from mild colds, which may do little more than annoy the sufferer, to MERS, which kills 37% of those infected. Seven types affect humans so far, but thousands exist. Most come from bats, … Continue reading Coronaviruses That Spillover

Spillover in the Modern World

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. Human society traded one brand of disease outbreaks for another. In the past, we lacked hygiene, medical infrastructure, and knowledge of what causes disease. Today, we’re better in all three categories, especially in developed countries, but we’re disturbing ecology more and more, … Continue reading Spillover in the Modern World

Spillover

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. We have been slow to learn the role of virus ecology in human health. J.S. Koen, a veterinarian and inspector for the U.S. Bureau of Animal Industry in Fort Dodge, Iowa, became unpopular during the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918. He saw … Continue reading Spillover

Unpopular Vestigial Structure

Science classes from middle school up to the second year of university, popular science books, and many internet sources cling to cliche examples. Don't talk to me about the bottleneck effect and use cheetahs as an example--just don't. If you're a complete nerd like me and constantly prowl for something new to learn, finding a … Continue reading Unpopular Vestigial Structure

Neurons

Cognitive Distortions: The Term That Had to be Out There

“Who would want to get even?” I was the only one to raise my hand, and after noticing that I withdrew it. Something was wrong. The mockery began. Fifth grade teacher and several students pfft and rhetorically asked what person would spend a genie-granted wish on revenge? Then it clicked. The words “get” and “even” … Continue reading Cognitive Distortions: The Term That Had to be Out There

Dysautonomia Awareness

Dysautonomia Awareness in 2015

Last year I aggregated what I thought were the most useful, informative social media posts by Dysautonomia International for Dysautonomia Awareness Month. This year their approach was less cue card and more infographic and news--and the advocates did #makenoiseforturquoise, as they like to put it. Dysautonomia, also known as autonomic dysfuction, is the umbrella medical … Continue reading Dysautonomia Awareness in 2015

Cabin

Adrenaline and Hypothermia: Fact versus Hollywood Fiction

Adrenaline. This is the magical solution for many a questionably-survivable scenario in a movie or video game. As a biology nerd and exploration history buff I feel like shouting to the world, “That’s not how adrenaline works!” More recently I’ve watched a YouTube playthrough of Until Dawn, which is a survival horror game set in … Continue reading Adrenaline and Hypothermia: Fact versus Hollywood Fiction

Noise for Turquoise

Dysautonomia Awareness Month: In Case You Missed It

The master of the brain has many agents reporting from a myriad of stations across all the organ systems. Maybe the master of the brain could be the frontal lobe where all of our more exalted functions, our thoughts, primary reside. However, the frontal lobe would have trouble usurping energy, and even emotional priority, if … Continue reading Dysautonomia Awareness Month: In Case You Missed It

POTS

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Not enough credit goes to your neurological system. If you have a gastrointestinal disorder, you have a gastrointestinal disorder (and sometimes an immune one). If you have a cardiac condition, you have a cardiac condition. Skin blemish? It is usually just on your skin. However, if you develop a neurological illness you may have all … Continue reading Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome