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The Insanity Virus

I've been waiting for months for Discover magazine to put up this fantastic, utterly fascinating article on a possibly viral connection to schizophrenia (and maybe some other illnesses such as MS), and they have finally posted The Insanity Virus online.

If this pans out, it could be one of the most groundbreaking mental health developments ever. In the same magazine a few months before, they posted a long interview with the guy who discovered that almost all cases of stomach ulcers were in fact caused by a bacteria, not stress or spicy food, and the incredibly difficult battle he had convincing people of the viability of his research. I'm really curious to see where this virus thing for schizophrenia goes, and if it will have a similar resolution.

I'm sort of a ... geek about this topic, I guess, because I wanted to work with autistic children and schizophrenics when I was younger; that was my goal when I went to college, but I quickly learned I would never be a good scientist. But I've never stopped being incredibly interested in the topic; I watched the HBO movie Temple Grandin tonight, in fact, and was reminded that in the '60s, they called autism "infantile schizophrenia" and of course that was when they still blamed it on "refrigerator mothers." We've come a long way, but if there's a virus connection, that could change everything we think we know.

And even more than that, I'm watching it because of the MS connection -- the Northwest, where I live, has the highest incidence of MS anywhere, and an awful lot could be done if we can find out more about it. I was a caretaker for a woman with very advanced MS once, and it was devastating to watch; to have something we could hold on to, identify and deal with... it would make such a huge difference.

BTW, if you haven't seen Temple Grandin, I highly, highly recommend it. Claire Danes is stunning, and it moved me to tears a number of times -- including one part where she's explaining her humane slaughter ideas, where I very nearly sobbed. I've followed her career since she pretty much became known, and they did a magnificent job of translating her books and explanations of how autistic people think into an easily relatable film for people who aren't familiar with the issue. Incredible movie.

I owe a dear yuletide author letter soon, but I'm still having a funk about the whole thing since Charlie Jade the character was deleted from the Charlie Jade the fandom nomination form. It's going to take me a few days to get over my snit. I watched the first two eps with [personal profile] belmanoir the other night, and it made me feel intensely fannish for it again, and it was hard to lose that -- it's left me feeling really uninterested in participating. I'm going to have to snap out of it soon though. And man, watching CJ on the plasma... I have no idea why the hell it's taken me so long to rewatch it on the plasma hi-def, but wow, wow, wow.

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sdwolfpup
Nov. 18th, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
I loved Temple Grandin. They did an excellent job with it, and Claire Danes was spectacular.

Why did they delete Charlie Jade from the nomination form? I don't understand how Yuletide works, I think. Heh.
gwyn_r
Nov. 18th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
I know, I am so angry about Charlie I can't stand it. I don't understand the process at all, but they have gone to this autofill tag system instead of drop downs, and even though he was on the nomination form (I made sure of that), someone at some point took him out. I mean, if you don't know the fandom and you think "oh, his name's already there in the title," wtf is wrong with you that you'd do that without finding out? I get that people are volunteers, but that's just shitty -- you might as well take Harry Potter out because he's already listed in the title.

I really don't feel like participating, but I'm going to try to give it my best shot. I just have to stop being angry (and it's, I think, more angering because there's no one to talk to about it, and nothing to be done, and I have no idea what that means for next year).
kirbyfest
Nov. 19th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link to the article. Fascinating. I hope this leads to new, more effective treatments.

And sorry about Charlie. :(
gwyn_r
Nov. 19th, 2010 07:52 am (UTC)
Thank you for the sorry -- it helps to know that people feel bad for me. I know how small that sounds, indeed. I just have to get my shit together and remind myself that even if I can't ask for my most wanted fandom, it'll be okay.

I really do hope that this will lead to huge breakthroughs for so many things -- when they discovered the ulcer bacteria, it really shook things up, and this could be even more important if it pans out.
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