Patients Describe Life With AIDS
Three people living with AIDS shared their stories during a panel discussion in recognition of World AIDS Day 2014. Shannon Galvin, MD, assistant professor in Medicine-Infectious Diseases, moderated the December 1 event, which was presented by the Center for Global Health on December 1.
The panelists represented an array of circumstances, from a woman who grew up in Zambia – where she lost her parents and siblings to the disease – to a man in his 20s just diagnosed last year in Chicago. All talked about how the disease has affected their lives. They described the fear of sharing the news with others, struggles with the high cost of care and their symptoms from antiviral therapy.
They each noted the importance of educating youth on prevention.
“I don’t care how easy treatment seems; life is not one of those ads that you see in a magazine or on TV,” said Will Wilson, an activist diagnosed with the AIDS in 2002. “HIV is 100 percent preventable. The fact that the infection rate is increasing in our younger people makes me crazy.”
They also gave advice to students in the audience about providing care to patients with HIV/AIDS.
“We just want to be acknowledged as human beings,” Wilson said.
Shakespeare Conveys Real Renaissance Medical Practice
To celebrate the opening of a new visiting exhibit at the Galter Health Sciences Library, Catherine Belling, PhD, associate professor in Medical Education-Medical Humanities and Bioethics, delivered a lecture about how the emotions depicted in Shakespeare’s works were determined by the era’s understanding of physiology.
According to Renaissance thinking, the human body was organized around the four humors: melancholic (black bile), phlegmatic (phlegm), choleric (yellow bile) and sanguine (blood). The humors translate to every aspect of life, from elements and seasons to human personality.
“The idea of humoral physiology informed Shakespeare’s account of emotions and motivations,” Belling said. “We think of these terms just as symbolic, because we don’t believe in them anymore. But I would suggest that we miss out thinking that way. The humors represent real physiology and medical observations available at the time.”
While too much or too little of a particular humor were thought to provoke passions such as anger or grief, an imbalance could also bring on sickness – that’s why bleeding was such a popular therapeutic technique during Shakespeare’s time.
“We’re very confident that now we’ve got it right,” Belling said. “But imagine 400 years from now. What parts of our medical theory will have been discarded?”
The exhibit, produced by the Exhibition Program at the National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine, runs through January 2.
Women Have Unique Stroke Risk Factors
Earlier this month, the Women’s Health Research Institute presented its 61st forum: Ilana Ruff, ’08 MD, assistant professor in the Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology, took the podium to discuss ischemic stroke and its risk factors for women.
“I think among the general public, it’s thought that there are more strokes in men than in women. That’s not true,” said Dr. Ruff. “Also interesting is that women have worse functional outcomes and poor quality of life following ischemic stroke.”
Ischemic stroke, the most common kind of stroke, is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Dr. Ruff explained ischemic stroke’s epidemiology and common risk factors: Hypertension, atrial fibrillation, obesity, diabetes and smoking increase risk for both sexes, but research shows that physical differences between men and women, including hormones and reproductive concerns, affect stroke prevalence.
She also explored risk factors unique to women: migraines (which are more common for women), taking oral contraception, pregnancy, menopause and hormone replacement therapy.
The schedule of upcoming monthly Women’s Health Research Institute forums is available here.