Tag Archives: Conditions and Diseases

5 Things I’ve noticed about… AIDS Denialism

by via The Soap Box

AIDS Denialism.

aidsdenialismDespite all the we know about HIV and AIDS from the many years of research into it in hopes of one day finding a cure for it, there are still people out there who do not believe that HIV causes AIDS, or that it even exists.

There are a lot of things I have noticed about AIDS Denialism (and none of them are are positive, pun not intended) but I have narrowed it down to five different things.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about AIDS Denialism:

5. It’s a very dangerous and deadly form of Pseudoscience/Alternative medicine.

Of all the different types of pseudoscience and alternative medicine out there, AIDS denialism is one of the most deadly types of pseudoscience and alternative medicine there is.

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is a very deadly disease, and if left untreated it can kill someone within a few years of being infected (this does vary from person to person), and will kill 100% of the time.

AIDS denialists deny that AIDS even exists, or that at least HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and encourage people not to take any medication after they’ve been diagnosed with HIV.

This is why AIDS denialism is considered to be so deadly. Because they are denying that HIV is dangerous, and that AIDS doesn’t even exist, AIDS denialists are basically encouraging those who have been infected to shorten their lives.

In fact many people consider AIDS denialism to be the second most dangerous form of alternative medicine and pseudoscience there is. Only the anti-vaccination movement is considered to be more dangerous, and that’s only because a lot of the diseases that vaccines are meant to prevent are a lot easier to get than HIV (although many of the diseases that are prevented via vaccines are usually not as deadly as HIV is).

4. It denies over three decades worth of research into HIV.

hiv_14_vialsWe know a lot about HIV and AIDS. We know how it’s transmitted from one person to another. We know how easy it is to prevent getting it. We know the average life expectancy of a person after they have contracted HIV, and we have known all of this for almost 30 years now.

Also, through the decades of scientific and medical research, we have developed medicines that can drastically extend the life expectancy of a person who has HIV by years, even decades, and even reduce the chance of a pregnant woman with HIV transmitting the virus to her unborn child to almost 0%. There are people who are alive today who were diagnosed with HIV back in the 1990’s who wouldn’t be alive today without all of this research (which has gone into the billions of dollars worth).

AIDS denialist just look at all of the research and all that we know about HIV and AIDS and says nope, it’s all fake…

3. It’s self destructive.

It shouldn’t be surprising to to many people but many AIDS denialists have also been diagnosed with HIV, and also not surprising many of them have died as a result of complications due to AIDS. A recent example of this would be . . .

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The terrors of sleep paralysis

By Ami Angelowicz via TEDEducation (YouTube).

View full lesson: The terrors of sleep paralysis – Ami Angelowicz

Imagine you’re fast asleep and then suddenly awake. You want to move but can’t, as if someone is sitting on your chest. And you can’t even scream! This is sleep paralysis, a creepy but common phenomenon caused by an overlap in REM sleep and waking stages. Ami Angelowicz describes just how pervasive (but harmless) it is and introduces a cast of characters from sleep paralysis around the world.

Mindscapes: First man to hear people before they speak

I am very fascinated by mysterious medical conditions – especially conditions affecting the mind and perception. I’ve never heard of the condition explored in the following article from New Scientist. Fascinating stuff.

MIB


by Helen Thomson via New Scientist

“I told my daughter her living room TV was out of sync. Then I noticed the kitchen telly was also dubbed badly. Suddenly I noticed that her voice was out of sync too. It wasn’t the TV, it was me.”

talking-headsEver watched an old movie, only for the sound to go out of sync with the action? Now imagine every voice you hear sounds similarly off-kilter – even your own. That’s the world PH lives in. Soon after surgery for a heart problem, he began to notice that something wasn’t quite right.

“I was staying with my daughter and they like to have the television on in their house. I turned to my daughter and said ‘you ought to get a decent telly, one where the sound and programme are synchronised’. I gave a little chuckle. But they said ‘there’s nothing wrong with the TV’.”

Puzzled, he went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. “They’ve got another telly up on the wall and it was the same. I went into the lounge and I said to her ‘hey you’ve got two TVs that need sorting!’.”

That was when he started to notice that his daughter’s speech was out of time with her lip movements too. “It wasn’t the TV, it was me. It was happening in real life.”

PH is the first confirmed case of someone who hears people speak before registering the movement of their lips. His situation is giving unique insights into how our brains unify what we hear and see.

It’s unclear why PH’s problem started when it did – but it may have had something to do with having acute pericarditis, inflammation of the sac around the heart, or the surgery he had to treat it.

Brain scans after the timing problems appeared showed two lesions in areas thought to play a role in hearing, timing and movement. “Where these came from is anyone’s guess,” says PH. “They may have been there all my life or as a result of being in intensive care.”

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Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

via examiner.com

f190792af99d26dbe81be25e8bffb3a3_250pxAlice-in-Wonderland-Syndrome, or AIWS, is a perceptual disorder where objects or people may seem to be out of proportion, different in size than they should be, colored strangely, or too far or too close away. The size disturbances include micropsia, where the object being looked at appears too small and macropsia, where objects seem too large. Sometimes, objects seem farther away than they should be, as in teleopsia.
If the problem is not in size or distance, it can even involve color, as in achromatopsia, where there is no perception of color. When the hallucination involves people, the person can appear too small, as in Lilliputian hallucinations (yes, this is the name of the disorder).

In a sufferer, the eye is normal and there are no defects that would lead to the perceptual distortions associated with the disorder. Instead, the problems lay in the brain. There are theories that the disorder can arise during Epstein-Barr viral infection, which causes infectious mononucleosis (IM).

Sufferers of chronic migraines have reported visual disturbances that occur prior to onset of migraine pain. AIWS is sometimes associated with these hallucinogenic migraines. The AIWS episodes can occur even without the pain of a migraine. It is not fully known why AIWS occurs, especially when it is in conjunction with migraines.

One other possible cause of AIWS is temporal lobe epilepsy. As the name implies, the temporal lobes of the brain are involved. The temporal lobes, which are at the sides of your brain, control the brain’s language center, and are an important area in auditory processing. Why AIWS may be associated with this form of epilepsy is also unknown.

Also see:

Mermaids: Why they really are a myth – Part 2

Part 1 of this 3 part series can be found here.

Un-evolvable

via The Soap Box

melissa-mermaid_250pxIn a previous blog concerning the Discovery Networks docu-drama Mermaids: The Body Found I discussed how it isn’t possible for mermaids to hide for this long and never be found. Well, there is a very good reason why mermaids have never been found, and why they most likely don’t exist in the first place: It’s highly unlikely that humans could have evolved into mermaids (at least in the short period of time as the film depicts).

Most mermaids (including the ones in the film) are often depicted as having their legs being fused together into a tail, with their feet having evolved into a large flipper.

While there have cases of infants born with their legs fused, this is not an evolutionary process, but a very rare birth defect called Sirenomelia, and most infants that are born this way either don’t live very long, or they are still-born. Those that do manage to live for several years after they were born are only alive because of modern medicine and surgical techniques. Considering this it should be considered highly unlikely that someone born this way could live long enough to have children of their own (if they were even capable of having children in the first place, and most children born with Sirenomelia are usually born with underdeveloped reproductive organs, or none at all) or could even survive in the water. Also, considering the rarity of this birth defect it’s highly unlikely that enough people could be born like this in the first place to create a sizable population.

The reality in concerning the evolutionary process when it comes to limbs is that limbs usually do one of two things: they grow or they shrink to the point where they disappear.

Dolphins are a good example of both of this.

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Part 3 of this 3 part series can be found here.

What is deja vu?

Via HowStuffWorks

The term déjà vu is French and means, literally, “already seen.” Those who have experienced the feeling describe it as an overwhelming sense of familiarity with something that shouldn’t be familiar at all. Say, for example, you are traveling to England for the first time. You are touring a cathedral, and suddenly it seems as if you have been in that very spot before. Or maybe you are having dinner with a group of friends, discussing some current political topic, and you have the feeling that you’ve already experienced this very thing — same friends, same dinner, same topic.

The phenomenon is rather complex, and there are many different theories as to why déjà vu happens. Swiss scholar Arthur Funkhouser suggests that there are several “déjà experiences” and asserts that in order to better study the phenomenon, the nuances between the experiences need to be noted. In the examples mentioned above, Funkhouser would describe the first incidence as déjà visite (“already visited”) and the second as déjà vecu (“already experienced or lived through”).

As much as 70 percent of the population reports having experienced some form of déjà vu. A higher number of incidents occurs in people 15 to 25 years old than in any other age group.

Déjà vu has been firmly associated with temporal-lobe epilepsy. Reportedly, déjà vu can occur just prior to a temporal-lobe seizure. People suffering a seizure of this kind can experience déjà vu during the actual seizure activity or in the moments between convulsions.

Since déjà vu occurs in individuals with and without a medical condition, there is much speculation as to how and why this phenomenon happens. Several psychoanalysts attribute déjà vu to simple fantasy or wish fulfillment, while some psychiatrists ascribe it to a mismatching in the brain that causes the brain to mistake the present for the past. Many parapsychologists believe it is related to a past-life experience. Obviously, there is more investigation to be done.

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Unnatural Acts that can improve your thinking: inattentional blindness

Inattentional blindness is an inability to perceive something that is within one’s direct perceptual field because one is attending to something else. The term was coined by psychologists Arien Mack and Irvin Rock, who identified the phenomenon while studying the relationship of attention to perception. They were able to show that, under a number of different conditions, if subjects were not attending to a visual stimulus but were attending to something else in the visual field, a significant percentage of the subjects were “blind” to something that was right before their eyes.

Because this inability to perceive, this sighted blindness, seemed to be caused by the fact that subjects were not attending to the stimulus but instead were attending to something else … we labeled this phenomenon inattentional blindness (IB).*

Mack and Rock go on to argue that, in their view, “there is no conscious perception without attention.” We might add that visual perception does not work like a video or any other kind of recorder. Objects or movements may occur in the visual field that are not attended to and may not be consciously or unconsciously perceived. Things can change in the visual field without our being aware of the changes. Perception, like memory, is a constructive process, and it seems that the brain builds its representations from a few salient details, often determined by our purposes or desires. Thus, two people may witness the same events but see and remember quite different things, even if both are good observers paying close attention to what is going on.

Read More: Unnatural Acts that can improve your thinking: inattentional blindness.

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