Watch Out Gay Boys!

January 18, 2008

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The SuperBug of the year MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is in the news again.  Now a new possible route of infection is causing a spike in MRSA cases in gay men.  You boys have to be careful.  MRSA often initially looks like a small dotted rash or allergic reaction, and people ignore it until it gets severe.  But it can be fatal or cause serious disfiguring.  The treatment must be done promptly and involves expensive antibiotics usually through IV.  Everyone should be careful in situations where they may be exposed like the gym or a hospital.  But new research indicates gay man are more likely to be infected than straight men (13 times more so in San Francisco).  So before the general public starts blaming gay men for yet another disease, be safe, be healthy, and be informed.

Here are some of the important points from a Reuters article on the topic:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A drug-resistant strain of potentially deadly bacteria has moved beyond the borders of U.S. hospitals and is being transmitted among gay men during sex, researchers said on Monday.

They said methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is beginning to appear outside hospitals in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

About 30 percent of all people carry ordinary staph chronically. It can be passed by touching other people or by depositing the bacteria on surfaces or objects.

The best way to avoid infection is by washing the hands or genitals with soap and water, Diep said.

Read the Article Here

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Faces of Autism and the Need for Screening

October 30, 2007

The Andrew Child Photography Project has an exhibit “Faces and Voices of Autism Photo Exhibition”

Presented by May Institute and the National Autism Center. The website has some of the sample photos. Here is one boy’s photo that caught my eye. It is just an intense look that translated well into the photo. It looks like he can just see right through the computer screen.

This is Austin.


“When Austin and I are together, we float away in our bubble. A giant bubble filled with appreciation, love, hope, and laughter. He has this effortless way of making me feel like a child all over again. When I am with him, it’s an escape from a chaotic world filled with noise and ignorance.” — Jessica, Austin’s cousin

 

Most popular news outlets are reporting what I have always supported and many medical practitioners have privately been saying for years, every child should be tested for autism. A condition as common as autism should be considered a priority in early childhood detection. Particularly because autism treated early has much higher rates of success. Additionally it helps parents cope with the process of raising an autistic child if they know that is what is wrong and what resources are out there.

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests screening every child for autism twice by age 2. The report gives explicit instructions for the warning signs of autism at various ages. Current estimates by the CDC say as many as 1 in 150 children have a form of autism. Read More.

Maybe with some autism education out there, people will stop blaming the MMR vaccine, and more research into a science based cause could be discovered (cough=pollution).


When Pedophillic Amoebas Attack

October 5, 2007

 This is gross.  You all laugh when I hold my nose while swimming.

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(CNN) — Ray Herrera does not mince words about what his 12-year-old son, Jack, went through.  “It’s beyond description to watch your most precious, beautiful, wonderful, loved one become a vegetable essentially and then die,” Herrera said.  In August, Jack returned from summer camp that included swims in Texas’ Lake LBJ. Five days after coming home he was dead, killed by a microscopic amoeba.

Jack is one of six people to die this summer in the United States from the naegleria fowleri amoeba.  The amoeba enters the human body through the nose. It then travels to the brain, where it begins to feed.  Symptoms of the amoeba’s rampage begin 1 to 14 days after infection and resemble the flu. At the onset of those symptoms the amoeba victim’s health swiftly declines.  “Folks lapse into a coma, there are abnormal movements of the eyes and a terrible cascade of events leading to the actual death of parts of the brain.”

Although exposure to the amoeba is usually fatal, Sherin says a cocktail of drugs can fight the amoeba if administered in time. The key, he says, is identifying the amoeba early.

Until this summer there were only 24 known cases of the virus in the U.S. since 1989, according to the CDC.  Health officials cannot explain the spike in cases this summer, except that weather plays a factor.

Another question health officials have is why the amoeba seems to appear more often in young males. All six victims this summer were male, ages 10 to 22 years old.  But other than wearing nose plugs while swimming or staying out of freshwater above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, there is little people can do to prevent exposure to the amoeba.

Health officials say federal or local governments have few tools to combat the amoeba.  The health department has posted signs at 15 swimming and boating areas where people may face exposure to the amoeba.  The effectiveness of the signs appears mixed.  As he sunbathed near a sign warning of amoebas, John Walters seemed unconcerned about danger possibly lurking beneath the clear, inviting waters. “Its no worse I suppose than the gator signs over there and somebody did get attacked here once.”