Tuesday 15 November 2022

ORGANIC BRAIN POETRY


CURRENT CONTENTS:
Brain disorders, organic
Hypothyroid depression
Cerebral metastases
CTE (chronic frontal encephalopathy)
High-dose steroids
Chronic subdural hematoma
Early-onset Alzheimer's
Hyperthyroid mania
Beri-beri (3 verses, a 'brief saga')
Delirium (3 verses, a 'brief saga')




 

Authors' Note:  A psychiatric workup for mental disorders starts with the separation of causality into two streams. In the first, brain function, thoughts and behavior may be altered by subtle or unusual manifestations of disease in body systems outside the brain — these are sometimes termed exogenous. In the second stream, manifestations are attributable to disorder of the brain itself (usually of unknown cause) in patterns reflective of neurosis, schizophrenia and depressive illness. In somewhat archaic, but still utilized descriptions, psychiatrists may refer to this distinction as indicating organic versus non-organic mental disorders. 



Authors' Note: 
rarefactive: (a non-standard use) — the condition of becoming less frequent; under-functioning
By far the most common cause of thyroid hormone deficiency or hypothyroidism (historically known as myxedema for a type of puffy swelling and rash in the legs) is progressive destruction of normal hormone-producing tissue by the process of colloid degeneration. Owing to the metabolic role of thyroid hormone, most body functions then slow, resulting, for example, in reduced heart rate and weight gain. For the brain, somnolence and depression may be accompanied in extreme cases by disordered mentation known as 'myxedema madness'.
Under normal circumstances, the anterior pituitary gland, stimulated by the brain's hypophysis, plays a key role as the 'master gland' in regulating hormone production. When the thyroid gland is flagging, the master gland increases its production of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), a messenger that is excreted into the bloodstream, targeted to normalize the peripheral gland's production. Fortunately, the robust sensing mechanism in the hypophysis and pituitary, not impaired by the metabolic slowdown elsewhere, produces high levels of blood TSH so reliably that a simple test can be used as the best test for detection of the hypothyroid state. 




Authors' Note: stroma: connective tissue that supports normal body structures and, on occasion, abnormal growths
Meningioma is a relatively common, slowly growing benign tumor within the cranium. Pressure on adjacent portions of normal brain induce neurological symptoms. When the tumor is located in the frontal cortex, neuropsychiatric manifestations may include bizarre thoughts, frequently paranoid, and unrepressed behavior. Fortunately, the tumors when suspected are readily diagnosed on neuro-imaging studies, and surgical therapy is usually curative.

Brain tumours account for only a small portion of patients suffering such neuropsychiatric symptoms; however, medical practitioners frequently hope that such a correctable cause may be discovered.


Authors' Note:  Although military recruits and physically abused spouses also number among the victims of this disease of insidious onset, (characteristically diagnosed with certainty only at post-mortem examination), it is the scourge of those who earlier in life indulged in contact sports, particularly those with a risk of repetitive minor brain trauma.
Everything that you wanted to know about chronic traumatic encephalopathy can be found in the author's note appended to MikeAq's verse on the subject.



Authors' Note: A course of high-dose synthetic corticosteroids, e.g. dexamethasone, may be used to help bring under control a severe exacerbation of a chronic illness, e.g. asthma, inflammatory diseases, or an initial presentation, e.g. anaphylaxis, septic shock or brain swelling. Owing to the common side-effect of drug-induced euphoria/mania and other psychiatric issues, doctors attempt to taper the high doses as soon as possible.


Authors' Note: A chronic subdural hematoma is a space-occupying intracranial lesion resulting from the body's failure to resorb blood that collected between the dural membrane and the brain parenchyma, usually caused by traumatic head injury. Whereas an initial expanding clot presents as a neurosurgical emergency, smaller clots, with a tendency to absorb fluid and expand gradually, may be later suggested only by chronic neuropsychiatric symptoms. In jargon used in actual medical settings and in televised fictional series, the term for the lesion responsible may be shortened to subdural.

In elderly patients, such as Hazel, and in those on blood-thinning drugs, the trauma required to incite events such as those in this tale may be minor or even subliminal.

Authors' Note: Recent reports point out the devastating effects of an early onset of Alzheimer's dementia. Fortunately, this variant, manifesting at an earlier than usual age, is relatively uncommon, but isn't it time that we discovered the cause and treatment for this tragic disorder?




Authors' Note

TSHthyroid stimulating hormone, also known as thyrotropin, initialism for a substance produced by the anterior pituitary gland in a feedback loop that regulates production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland

The operation of the feedback loop in relation to states of thyroid deficiency is discussed here.





Here's a LIST OF LINKS to collections of intriguing poems (over 160 of these!) on medical/dental topics that can now be found on various posts. 


DIRECTION FOR WEB-TRAVELLERS: 
To resume daily titillations on our related blog 'Daily Illustrated Nonsense', click HERE. Once you arrive, you can select your time frame of interest from the calendar-based listings in the righthand margin, and check the daily offerings for any month in the years 2020 to the present. (As of September 2023, there are over 1200 unique entries available on the Daily blog, and most of these are also presented here on 'Edifying Nonsense' in topic-based collections.) The 'Daily' format also has the advantage of including some videos and other material that are not shown here on this topic-based blog.


Thursday 10 November 2022

Mirthful Memes: MYTHED OPPORTUNITIES



CURRENT CONTENTS:
Infernal ("Divine Comedy")
Aurora and Tithon
Dryads
Eliyahu
Galatea
Ovid's "Metamorphosis"
Leda and the Swan
Cronus (Saturn)
Eos (Dawn's early light)
Shooting dice with Satan










Authors' Note:   Well, this is about as close as you can get to the bona fide Greek myth. In actuality, Eos became enamored of a series of mortal lovers, but wanted to get on with things, and eventually turned the formerly handsome Prince Tithon/Tithonus into a cicada (which does not match the rhyming scheme). Be careful what you wish for!

   The legend continued into Roman times, during which Aurora personified the role of Eos, and Jove or Jupiter the role of Zeus. Much later, the dilemma of the once-mortal hero was fantasized in the poem "Tithonus" by Alfred Tennyson. Also, the involved deities have been immortalized in human names for astrophysical phenomena.

  In any case, this story fits an immutable pattern in which we mortals get clobbered in interactions with Greco-Roman deities.

 Click HERE for another verse about Eos's astronomical protégé.







Authors' Note: 

Eliyahu HaNavi -- ay-lee-YA-hoo ha-na-VEE-- (Elijah the Prophet) plays an important role in the traditional Passover Seder service. At the end of the multi-course dinner for family and friends, the fifth glass of wine is poured, but reserved for the prophet. The door of the home is then opened briefly, recitations from the Old Testament chanted, and the Prophet (who, some day, will announce the arrival of the Jewish Messiah) enters and may sip from the wineglass; children watch to see if the level in the glass really does go down. The distinguished visitor is not offered a dessert or any other food, and the door is not opened to let him out again, as I recall, but attention turns from the arrival of Eliyahu to the completion of the service, and finally the group singing of traditional songs.

  Note that Eliyahu may come by his reticence to use modern technology for good reason. Last week, Israel's chief rabbis decided that even in this plague-ridden year, video-conferencing is subject to the usual ban on the holiday use of electronics. 



Authors' Note: The ancient Greek myth about the Cypriot sculptor Pygmalion was recounted by the Roman poet Ovid in his epic work "Metamorphoses" in 8 CE. The name of Pygmalion's self-crafted ivory love-object was not recorded until French romanticists picked up the issue in the 19th century. In 1871, the British comic playwright W.S. Gilbert composed a modernized spoof in blank verse, "Pygmalion and Galatea", that became a successful hit, as did Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw's 1913 theatrical contribution, and its musical and cinematic adaptations (1956 and 1964 respectively) known as My Fair Lady.





Authors' Note: Sulmona is a town in Italy's Abruzzo region where the renowned Roman poet Ovid (Ovidio in modern italian), contemporary of Horace and Virgil, started writing his works in Latin. His magnum opus "Metamorphoses" is a monumental epic of 15 books, recounting chronologically the creation of the universe to the reign of Julius Caesar. Although many of its tales are recounted with a personal twist, it is the source of much of our knowledge of Greco-Roman myth.





Authors' Note: King T. refers to Sparta's King Tyndareus, husband of Leda. These characters in the story of "Leda and the Swan" were presumably mortal. However, relevant accounts, as depicted in literature and representative art, vary as to the mortal status of the couple's famous offspring (the twins Helen and Clytemnestra, and Castor and Pollux were hatched as human babies from the oversized eggs.)

 


Authors' Note: The nasty Greek deity Cronus, (sometimes transcribed as Kronos) has intermittently been conflated with the Father Time-like figure Chronos, but eventually merged with the more benign Roman god Saturn, for whom Saturday, the planet Saturn, and the harvest festival saturnalia are named.

In the harsh Greek version of the myth, the youth Cronus castrates his father, Uranus, at the urging of his peevish mother Gaia. Later, Cronus learns that he, too, is fated to be overturned by his own offspring, and devours them, except for Zeus, who escapes and eventually does overthrow him to become king of the gods.


Author's Note: The asteroid known by astronomers as 221 Eos is apparently a large orbiting body with a diameter of over 100 km. It has a potential, should it strike the Earth, to bring about an extinction similar to that produced 60 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaur population.
  Like most heavenly bodies, this one was named after a figure from Greco-Roman mythology, Eos (Aurora), the Goddess of Dawn; the irony is apparent. 


Author's Note: Many floriculturists would sell their souls to find a cultivar of the lush perennial hosta, Hosta spp., whose foliage would persist through the winter. Although the plant routinely dies back during icy months, it usually returns in the following spring.

John Milton's epic work Paradise Lost, and the crapshoot are described in other verses.

DIRECTION FOR WEB-TRAVELLERS: 
To resume daily titillations on our related blog 'Daily Illustrated Nonsense', click HERE. Once you arrive, you can select your time frame of interest from the calendar-based listings in the righthand margin, and check the daily offerings for any month in the years 2020 to the present. (As of September 2023, there are over 1200 unique entries available on the Daily blog, and most of these are also presented here on 'Edifying Nonsense' in topic-based collections.) The 'Daily' format also has the advantage of including some videos and other material that are not shown here on this topic-based blog.

Saturday 5 November 2022

A selection of ECTO-PARASITES, in progress


CURRENT CONTENTS:
Flea species
Cat fleas
Hog louse
Bedbugs
Hosts
More to follow


Authors' Note: The fleas, wingless blood-sucking hopping insects, infest and make miserable a variety of warm-blooded host species including most famously man and dog. In America, the vast majority of infestations of domestic pests involve the cat fleaCtenophalides felis.




Authors' Note: (tee-no-seh-FA-li-deez FEE-luhs).
As discussed in our previous verse on fleas, our voracious protagonist, Ctenocephalides felis, is the chief ectoparasite inflicting misery on canines in North America. Unfortunately, its life-cycle — egg, larva, pupa, adult (the hopping wingless blood-sucker), can result in its persistence for up to a year in a warm environment, like the carpet in your rented flat (apartment). In the absence of its usual victims, the flea will consider humans as a predation target of secondary interest. Another piece of bad news is that, through longstanding attempts at control, the species is becoming resistant to insecticides.

Authors' Note: This agricultural pest, Haematopinus suis, commonly known as the hog louse, lives its life only on porcine hosts, with the larvae (nymphs) concentrating on the head region. Apparently, infestations of swine herds can be treated easily with avermectins, a class of veterinary antibiotics.


Authors' Note:  Details of the allegory: The protagonist needed some vacation following a busy time of downsizing and changing residences. A few days prior to taking off on Snowbird flight 203, it became obvious that a domestic infestation of bedbugs, presumably acquired during the household move, had pre-empted his search for a subtropical respite. 




 Authors' Note: The term host has become a classic descriptor used in infectious diseases, and particularly in parasitology, although such usage may seem distasteful to many. Symbiosis describes a relationship in which the parasitized host and the invading organisms share a mutually beneficial association.

Here's a LIST OF LINKS to collections of intriguing poems (over 160 of these!) on medical/dental topics that can now be found on various posts. 


DIRECTION FOR WEB-TRAVELLERS: To resume daily titillations on our related blog 'Daily Illustrated Nonsense', click HERE. Once you arrive, you can select your time frame of interest from the calendar-based listings in the righthand margin, and check the daily offerings for any month in the years 2020 to the present. (As of September 2023, there are over 1200 unique entries available on the Daily blog, and most of these are also presented here on 'Edifying Nonsense' in topic-based collections.) The 'Daily' format also has the advantage of including some videos and other material that are not shown here on this topic-based blog.