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Mar 24, 2020. 18 comments

New York Stock Exchange Chairman Sold Millions in Stock Before Crash

New York Stock Exchange Chairman Sold Millions in Stock Before Crash

Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold $3.5 million in stock on February 26, a month after his wife, Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, received a closed-door briefing about the covid-19 threat. According to SEC filings, Sprecher sold $15.3 million more in stock on March 11, at the beginning of the crash that has seen trillions of dollars wiped from the financial...

18 Comments

Mar 20, 2020. 23 comments

Republican Senator Pleads Ignorance After Selling Millions in Stock Before the Crash

Republican Senator Pleads Ignorance After Selling Millions in Stock Before the Crash

U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia defended herself overnight, insisting that both she and her husband had no input in the decision to sell somewhere between $1.2 million and $3.1 million in stock shortly before the stock market crash that was caused by fears over covid-19. Loeffler’s husband is Jeffrey Sprecher, a longtime Republican donor and chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and...

23 Comments

Jan 25, 2020. 13 comments

A Massive Locust Swarm Poses an 'Unprecedented Threat' to East Africa

A Massive Locust Swarm Poses an 'Unprecedented Threat' to East Africa

A grim report from the United Nations warns that unusually large swarms of locusts will be descending upon East Africa in the coming months, in what could be the worst infestation in a quarter century. The pests could pose a serious risk to crops and livelihoods in the region.

“The current swarms represent an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa,”...

13 Comments

Jan 15, 2020. 4 comments

A Man's Worm Infection Left Him with a 'Stony Hard' Testicle

A Man's Worm Infection Left Him with a 'Stony Hard' Testicle

There’s no good place for parasitic worms to wreak havoc in the human body, but doctors in India say their 80-year-old patient developed a particularly unfortunate case. The man’s worm infection left him with a massively swollen, calcified right testicle.

According to the paper, published earlier this month in BMJ Reports, the man had visited the doctor complaining of blood in his urine, a...

4 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Dec 18, 2019. 17 comments

The Weirdest Medical Cases of 2019

The Weirdest Medical Cases of 2019
Year In ReviewYear In ReviewWe look back at the best, worst, and most significant moments of the year, and look forward to next year.

2019 has truly been the year of too much. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the bizarre medical cases that made the news this year. So let’s go ahead and take a trip down memory lane, just in case you were hoping to get a good night’s sleep ever again.

Sperm...

17 Comments

Dec 10, 2019. 2 comments

Amber Fossils Reveal Lice-Like Bugs Crawling in Dinosaur Feathers

Amber Fossils Reveal Lice-Like Bugs Crawling in Dinosaur Feathers

Ancient insects similar to modern lice parasitized dinosaurs by feasting on their feathers, as evidenced by a pair of fascinating new amber fossils.

Modern birds are sometimes infested by feather-chewing and feather-feeding lice, and as new research published today in Nature Communications shows, their Mesozoic predecessors had a similar problem.

The new paper, led by paleontologist Dong Ren...

2 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Nov 28, 2019. 16 comments

A Man’s Love of Hot Pot Gave Him Brain Tapeworms

A Man’s Love of Hot Pot Gave Him Brain Tapeworms

A man’s love of delicious hot pot led him down a far more perilous path than he expected. His doctors in China say that the undercooked meal exposed him to a tapeworm infestation that riddled his brain with larval cysts and caused him to have seizures. Thankfully, though, he’s now on the mend.

Last week, doctors at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University published a report on the...

16 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Nov 09, 2019. 10 comments

'Yikes, I'm a Host': What It's Like to Have Parasitic Eye Worms

'Yikes, I'm a Host': What It's Like to Have Parasitic Eye Worms

It’s not every day that you turn into a medical curiosity. But that’s exactly what happened to Dianne Travers-Gustafson, a retired medical anthropologist and public health researcher from Nebraska. In February 2018, her eyes had the misfortune of becoming infected by a particular kind of parasitic roundworm spread by face flies. She likely fell victim to the parasite while trail running along...

10 Comments

Hudson Hongo Hudson Hongo Nov 08, 2019. 14 comments

Help! I'm Obsessed With Disgusting Parasites

Help! I'm Obsessed With Disgusting Parasites

By the time I knew I was sick, it was already too late. I had already binged on Diagnosis and burned through The Medical Detectives. It was only after I turned to the truly hardcore shit, a show about parasites called Monsters Inside Me, that I realized I had a problem.

My favorite TV characters now have names like “leishmaniasis” and “raccoon roundworm.” My dreams? A tangle of squirmy eyes...

14 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Nov 07, 2019. 20 comments

A Second Woman Has Gotten Parasitic Eye Worms, and Surely We're All Next

A Second Woman Has Gotten Parasitic Eye Worms, and Surely We're All Next

A species of worm that can infect human eyes has done it again, and this time it chose a 68-year-old woman from Nebraska. The woman is thought to be only the second human victim of these worms ever documented. But the incident signals they could become an emerging parasitic disease in the U.S.

The disturbing details of the case were laid out in a paper published this October in the journal...

20 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Jun 08, 2019. 5 comments

Woman Relieved After Suspected Brain Tumor Turns Out to Be Tapeworm Egg

Woman Relieved After Suspected Brain Tumor Turns Out to Be Tapeworm Egg

You wouldn’t expect that finding a tapeworm egg in your brain would be seen as good news, but such was the case for New York resident Rachel Palma this past fall. That’s because the larva found inside was the true cause of Palma’s worsening symptoms of insomnia and hallucinations, rather than a brain tumor that her doctors initially suspected. Once the egg was removed, though, her health...

5 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Nov 29, 2018. 11 comments

Infected ‘Zombie Spiders’ Forced to Build Incubation Chambers for Their Parasitic Overlords

Infected ‘Zombie Spiders’ Forced to Build Incubation Chambers for Their Parasitic Overlords

Parasites that control the behavior of their hosts for their own benefit are a well-documented natural phenomenon, but the discovery of a previously unknown relationship between a parasitic wasp and a social spider is particularly upsetting.

Hijacking the brains of unsuspecting hosts is a thing that some organisms do, typically for reproductive purposes. Famous examples include a

fungus that...

11 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Oct 25, 2018. 11 comments

Scientists Think They Can Use Silver to Help Kill Brain-Eating Amoebas

Scientists Think They Can Use Silver to Help Kill Brain-Eating Amoebas

In folklore and movies, silver is often one of the best tools against terrifying monsters like vampires and werewolves. But a recent study seems to show that silver could help defeat some real-life horrors, too. Silver nanoparticles loaded with common anti-seizure drugs might be able to safely and effectively treat brain-eating infections caused by amoebas, the study found.

Amoebas are...

11 Comments

Kim Kelly Kim Kelly Oct 25, 2018. 12 comments

Real-Life 'Zombie' Animals Walk the Earth Thanks to Thousands of Parasites

Real-Life 'Zombie' Animals Walk the Earth Thanks to Thousands of Parasites

Consider the ladybug. Our polka-dotted little friend spends its days munching aphids, climbing leaves, occasionally alighting upon a delighted child’s outstretched finger, and generally beetling around being adorable. It’s one of nature’s most inoffensive critters, which is perhaps why the Dinocampus coccinellae wasp is such a troubling one by comparison. See, in order to lay her egg, the...

12 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Sep 28, 2018. 18 comments

Moths Caught Drinking Tears From the Eyes of Sleeping Birds

Moths Caught Drinking Tears From the Eyes of Sleeping Birds

In an oddly poetic act, moths will on occasion drink the tears from the eyes of a sleeping bird. Sounds harmless, but this rare interaction is an unmistakably one-sided affair.

Scientists actually have a word for this unique tear-feeding behavior, which they call “lachryphagy.” To feed in this way, moths gently insert their straw-like proboscis into the eyes of their unwary hosts, sucking out...

18 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Aug 21, 2018. 6 comments

We Need to Pay More Attention to a Deadly Disease Spread by Kissing Bugs, Heart Doctors Warn

We Need to Pay More Attention to a Deadly Disease Spread by Kissing Bugs, Heart Doctors Warn

A disease that often causes no symptoms, but which can suddenly become fatal years after a person was infected, is receiving a big spotlight from the American Heart Association (AHA). On Monday, the organization published a scientific statement in its journal Circulation, urging heart doctors in the U.S. to start paying attention to Chagas disease, a parasitic infection mainly spread by...

6 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Aug 09, 2018. 19 comments

Oh Great, Americans Have a New Tick to Worry About

Oh Great, Americans Have a New Tick to Worry About

Ticks and insects in general are steadily spreading across the United States and causing more disease, aided by an ever-cozier climate. If that’s not bad enough, though, it’s almost certain that an invasive species of tick, newly discovered last year, has firmly established America as its home. And this tick is potentially capable of causing even more frightening illnesses.

The Asian...

19 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Aug 01, 2018. 6 comments

A Parasitic Disease Spread by Sandflies Is More Common in the U.S. Than Previously Thought

A Parasitic Disease Spread by Sandflies Is More Common in the U.S. Than Previously Thought

A disease spread by sandflies seen as an exotic nuisance in the U.S. might not be solely a traveler’s disease after all. A new study published Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology suggests that most American cases of leishmaniasis are actually spread by native bugs, not caught while traveling. And thanks to climate change, the parasitic illness may become even more common in the years to come.

6 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Jul 15, 2018. 17 comments

People Are Getting Sick With a Parasite After Eating McDonald's Salads

People Are Getting Sick With a Parasite After Eating McDonald's Salads

Even under the best of circumstances, ordering salad at McDonald’s is a dicey endeavor. But now an outbreak of the foodborne parasite cyclospora has sickened over 100 people in Iowa and Illinois since May, and several cases are tied to salads purchased at the fast food giant.

The outbreaks were jointly reported Thursday by Iowa and Illinois health officials. In Illinois, about 90 cases have...

17 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Jul 15, 2018. 12 comments

Doctors Find Tapeworm Larvae in Spine of Woman Hobbled by 'Electric Shocks' in Legs

Doctors Find Tapeworm Larvae in Spine of Woman Hobbled by 'Electric Shocks' in Legs

A tapeworm that normally infects barn animals and dogs came as a literal shock for one 35-year-old French woman, according to a case report published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. The woman learned her three-month ordeal of worsening muscle weakness and electrical zaps in both legs was ultimately caused by worms that had lodged themselves inside her spine.

By the time the...

12 Comments

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