Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some scary science

I keep seeing this new commercial. I'm not even sure what it's for. I'm guessing a meningitis vaccine because it shows happy children touching and smooching while someone warns that they're going to get meningitis and die.

I have a lot of bitterness over my own bout of meningitis, mainly because I feel it was grossly mishandled. When I came into the hospital I saw a young lady who looked at my feet and shins and said she thought I had meningitis and that treatment should be started right away and everyone who came into contact with me should get prophylaxis. The older "wiser" doctor who was with her told her she needed to be thinking of common diseases, not something exotic. As a consequence it took several days of agony before I was diagnosed with the very disease she thought I had and my brain suffered extensively during that time.

As a point of fact meningitis can show up as petechiae, a kind of spotty rash, and is sometimes seen on the lower extremities. You can read a little about that here: http://www.bsac.org.uk/pyxis/CNS/Meningitis/Meningitis.htm

I was already in trouble because this was my second trip to the ER. They sent me home the first time and Chris brought me back because I was so ill.

Anyway, if treatment had been started sooner I might have ended up with permanent damage and disability. I was so sick that I couldn't even get out of bed to go the bathroom without help for a long time after and I have problems with activities of daily living even now, six years later.

So naturally I try not to think about meningitis much. The commercials annoy the hell out of me.

What with thinking about it more I was doing some more research and found this interesting article from Science Daily. Check this out:

"The vessels just start exploding," McGavern says. "This tells us that killer T cells recruit monocytes and neutrophils that actually produce the pathology we see with meningitis. What we thought were the cells responsible actually only recruit accomplices who commit the crime."

I don't know about you but I prefer that things in my head NOT explode.



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