Time for Thorns

An independent view on life.

Posts Tagged ‘medicine

How testing works…

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This is an understandable article on what COVID-19 testing can and can not accomplish, and its very real limitations.  Most of those running about screeching “TESTING! TESTING!” don’t understand what the test can show,  much less what it means.   Not even virologists can say with certainty that having had the disease makes you immune to it, but the current view is that antibodies don’t recognize the whole virus.  Each antibody,  essentially trained to recognize a piece of a puzzle but not the whole,  binds only to a small piece of the virus.  Antibodies made by a person previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 may not recognize the parts of the virus used in a particular diagnostic lab test.   Or perhaps  the person’s immune system needed to develop only a small amount of antibodies,  beneath the level that a test could detect.   In either case, the test would show that the person didn’t have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2,  delivering a “false-negative” result.  Similar mechanisms could present a “false positive” result.  They are working with plasma from patients who recovered or showed no symptoms as a treatment for the seriously ill.   They are hoping that the combined antibodies will overwhelm the virus.

Testing is good for statistics.  It is helpful to know how many people were infected,  how many were asymptomatic,  how many cases were mild,  how many were serious, and  how many proved fatal.  The latter category will be tricky, as doctors are being urged to claim COVID-19 as the cause of death,  when an underlying health problem  actually caused the death of an infected patient.  We went through this same numbers game with HIV/AIDS, and to a lesser extent Ebola and other pandemics.  Medical facilities and health charities and governments get more more money if they have a pandemic and higher death rates.   If somebody lays some numbers on you,  ask if the patients died WITH or FROM COVID-19.  It makes a very large difference.

Some people have very robust immune systems.   I am one of them,  having nursed family members through rotavirus and norovirus,  neither of which I caught.   I have not had a cold in over 50 years,  and have never had seasonal flu.  I skipped the customary childhood diseases,  and my childhood was so long ago that they had few vaccines against them.  I can remember being given a sugar cube with Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine on it.  Remember that  polio was  never the raging epidemic portrayed in the media  (sound familiar?) .   Even during its height in the 1940’s and ’50’s,  ten times as many children died in accidents and three times as many succumbed to cancer.   It was still a very scary disease.  So is COVID-19,  but virologists and researchers are hard at work to learn how to defeat it.   They will succeed in at least taming it,  if not destroying it.

The experts don’t know it all, and are quite reluctant to admit how much they don’t know.    Take what they say with a large grain of alt and apply your own logic and common sense.   Be of good cheer and stay vigilant and prepared against those who are trying to use this crisis to destroy the economy and make you permanently dependent on the government for survival.  In the end,  I think we will find that the  lock-downs are  producing more deaths than the disease it is supposed to protect us against.

Written by timeforthorns

April 23, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Cystic fibrosis therapy…

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Cystic fibrosis patients over 12 years of age who have a particular genetic mutation now have a  newly approved  drug treatment.   This could offer hope for the 90% of patients who share this mutation, which means about 27,000 patients.  The drug combination appears to be more effective when used together than when used separately.  The CF diagnosis isn’t an automatic death sentence, but sufferers tend to acquire digestive problems,  diabetes,  and other life-shortening diseases and symptoms so they seldom reach age 50.

 

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

October 22, 2019 at 2:05 pm

James Harrison, hero…

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James Harrison is the most prolific blood donor in the world,  having kept a promise made at 14 to donate blood as often as possible,  prompted by being the surgical recipient of donated blood himself.

Soon after he began donating in 1954,  the Australian’s blood was found to have  unusually strong and persistent antibodies used to develop an injection called Anti-D, which helps fight against rhesus disease.  Rhesus occurs when a mother with RhD negative blood carries a baby with RhD positive blood, inherited from the father,  and the mother’s body produces antigens to destroy what it senses as a foreign threat — the baby’s red blood cells.  The result can be miscarriages,  stillbirths,  brain damage,  or fatal anaemia in newborns.   It kills thousands of babies a year.

But the Australian’s weekly blood donations since then have saved the lives of an estimated 2.4 million babies and earned him the moniker. “the man with the golden arm.”   He made his final donation last Friday,  aged 81,  when doctors declared he should stop for his own health.   Australia normally ends donations at age 71,  but  James Harrison’s special blood,  and his remarkable fealty to a promise made,  earned him the designation of hero.

 

Written by timeforthorns

May 14, 2018 at 3:16 pm

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Life from nothing…

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I can’t quite decide whether to applaud or run for cover  over this.   It is potentially a huge step towards human cloning,  and if you believe scientists and researchers will restrain themselves,  you don’t understand human nature very well.

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

May 4, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Flu vaccine fail…

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I don’t take flu shots,  for the simple reason that I haven’t had flu or a cold in many decades.   Apparently the same mechanism which causes the allergies that make me so miserable also provide protection against flu and colds.  I suppose it’s a fair trade-off,  since allergies aren’t contagious,  but I feel sorry for people who like good sheeple got the shots this year thinking they were safe.

Now they are learning that this year’s  concoction is  only about 36% effective against flu serious enough to prompt medical attention.   That means that older,  frail patients,  and the very young or those with compromised immune systems have scant protection against this year’s  crop of nasty bugs.   Do bear in mind that the vaccine is a government creation…

Written by timeforthorns

February 16, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Virtual reality savior…

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Doctors have used virtual reality to save the lives of conjoined twin sisters. Yeah,  it sounds dry and too technical,  but it isn’t.  Read it  and have some hope for the future!

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

July 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Autism breakthrough?

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A drug more than a century old may hold the key to combating autism symptoms,  according to a study by researcher Dr Robert Naviaux of the San Diego School of Medicine.   Go here  to learn about suramin,  a drug first developed in 1916,  and join me in praying that the drug will actually free those who suffer from it.

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

June 2, 2017 at 9:59 pm

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