By Nick Bakalar
Delightful doses of scientific miscellany approximately wacky medical professionals and their curious sufferers, from their smallest bones (the stapes) to their heaviest organs (the liver)
In this addictive choice of minutiae, Nicholas Bakalar, the “Vital Signs” columnist for The long island Times, spoons out the belongings you by no means discovered you really need to understand approximately your physique and your overall healthiness.
Bakalar stocks the wonders of drugs, from scientific firsts (in 1667, the 1st survivor of a blood transfusion obtained sheep’s blood) to clinical onlys (rabies is the single infectious ailment that's 100% curable whilst handled and 100% deadly if not). he is taking a journey of illnesses that belong in horror videos: liquefying organs, flesh-eating micro organism, mushrooms sprouting within the throat. He notes outstanding treatments, corresponding to darkish chocolate, that can stand in for blood-pressure capsules. And he dissects the chemistry of the human physique (including the 0.0000000000000015259 percentage that's radium).
With a specialist’s awareness to the humorous bone in addition to the grey topic, Bakalar tickles the interest of either the fit and the hypochondriac, following Voltaire’s dictum that “the paintings of medication comprises fun the sufferer whereas nature therapies the disease.”
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Extra info for The Medicine Cabinet of Curiosities: An Unconventional Compendium of Health Facts and Oddities, from Asthmatic Mice to Plants that Can Kill
Her worms have been eradicated by way of therapy with a drug referred to as mebendazole, that is bought less than a number of model names, together with Ovex, Vermox, and Antiox. There are a part dozen species of those roundworms, often known as intestinal roundworms, and no less than one in every of them, Enterobius vericularis, or the pinworm, is reasonably universal in youngsters within the usa. it's transmitted in feces—by young children who contact feces and every different, or adults who don’t wash their arms adequately after altering a child’s diapers. such a lot infections are asymptomatic, yet they could reason itching round the anus and vagina, plus obscure signs of restlessness or intermittent nausea and different gastrointestinal difficulties. one other type of roundworm, referred to as tissue roundworms, may also infect people. between those is the outdated favourite Trichinella spiralis, the reason for trichinosis, present in red meat and red meat. It motives the standard choice of disagreeable symptoms—nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach soreness, and fever, plus a number of extras like complications, chills, eye swelling, aching joints, itchy epidermis, and muscle discomfort. There are a couple of different species universal in different components of the area, together with Onchorcerca volvulus, the malicious program that explanations river blindness, a affliction that blinds approximately 300,000 humans a 12 months, just about all in Africa. ultimately, the larva migrans. There are forms, the creeping eruption as a result of Ancylostoma braziliense and visceral larva migrans as a result of Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati. Creeping eruption factors itching, blisters, and raised snakelike tracks alongside the outside because the organism strikes round. it may be handled with medicines, or it may depart on its own over a interval of weeks or months. It’s now not universal, other than in tropical nations. Visceral larva migrans, nonetheless, has all over the world distribution, and in addition to taking place of abode in people it additionally, because the Latin names recommend, lives in different mammals, together with canine and cats. whereas light infections reason no signs, extra critical infections may cause belly ache, cough, fever, and wheezing. thankfully, it always is going away on its own. Maggot treatment The U. S. foodstuff and Drug management (FDA) doesn’t like maggots a great deal once they happen in, say, canned tomatoes—although it has to discover or extra according to grams (a little greater than seventeen oz.) ahead of it deems the product repulsive sufficient to forbid its sale. however, the enterprise reveals them very good for treating wounds, and it licensed them as a clinical machine in January 2004. medical professionals practice blowfly larvae—Phaenicia sericata, ordinarily known as eco-friendly bottle flies—to support heal strain ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, neuropathic foot ulcers, and wounds from trauma or surgical procedure that don’t heal through themselves. In its Product type Database, the FDA calls them “Maggots, Medical,” which has a pleasant ring to it. There are files of utilizing maggots on wounds that date again to the 16th century, and in his memoirs, Baron Dominique-Jean Larrey, one in every of Napoleon’s surgeons, vividly describes how the lads arriving at his box clinic with maggot-infested wounds healed extra quick.