Medical News Of The Weird

Dracunculus medinensis larvae. Parasite.

Image via Wikipedia

There must be a significant astrological congruence of some kind – or maybe it’s just more drugs in our water – but just recently there has been a spate of health new of the weird or just gross. Not all the news is bad, but some of it is very strange.

We start with the news that gout – the disease of choice for wealthy Victorian and Georgian gentlemen of means – is on the rise in the US. Unfortunately I don’t think this is because there’s been a huge outbreak of people deciding to LARP (live action role play) the novels of Jane Austen. Instead it is undoubtedly linked to the corresponding rise in obesity.

In a huge success, Ghana has announced that it has eradicated Guinea Worm Disease after a 23-year campaign. There have been 14 consecutive months with no reported indigenous cases. Guinea Worm disease is a spectacularly gross disease where eggs lodge inside a microsocpoic flea that people ingest in untreated drinking water. The eggs hatch into parasitic worms that live in the body for up to a year and then emerge through the skin – a process that is apparently incredibly painful. The worms can be as much as three feet long. A hat tip to Jimmy Carter as well for his support over the full 23-year period for this campaign.

One man has made himself a clear frontrunner for the Darwin Awards. He reportedly operated on his own hernia with a butter knife and then put a lit cigarette in the open wound. The mind boggles. Astonishingly the police erport states that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Finally, Korean scientists have created a glow-in-the-dark dog, a genetically modified beagle named Tegon. The dog actually only glows in the dark if fed a specific antibiotic and then is exposed to ultraviolet radiation. The scientists claim that they can use the same technique to genetically modify other dogs so they can trigger diseases by modifying their diets, which would hopefully help in developing treatments and cures.

All that in the course of a day or two.

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