Search Results for 'TB'

George W. Comstock, nonagenarian leader against TB

Dr Comstock Isoniazid (INH) is one of the classic “magic bullets” which revolutionized public health in infectious diseases. Eastern Europe, at least until recently, was still using BCG routinely. Unfortunately, as the articles below describe, once immunized, only X-rays can be used to screen for TB. The YK region still has high rates of TB, although nothing like it was, I believe.

George W. Comstock, 92, Dies; Leader in Fight Against TB
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, Published: July 18, 2007, NY Times

Dr. George W. Comstock, an epidemiologist who made major contributions to the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis and was regarded by many peers as the world’s foremost expert on the disease, died Sunday at his home in Smithsburg, Md. He was 92 and had worked until last week….

In 1957, the United States Public Health Service sought a doctor to study tuberculosis patterns in Alaska, where one of every 30 natives was in a tuberculosis hospital. Dr. Comstock volunteered, saying he saw an opportunity to study preventive treatment.

He conducted a controlled trial in 29 villages near Bethel, Alaska, where tuberculosis was rampant. Members of each household were given the drug INH or a placebo for a year, Dr. Chaisson said.

The study showed the effectiveness of INH in preventing tuberculosis: after a year, INH produced a 70 percent decline in cases of the disease; a follow-up study five years later showed the drug’s benefit had been sustained.

In the trial, Dr. Comstock and his family took INH themselves to convince the participants of his belief in the therapy’s safety, Dr. Chaisson said. After the trial, Dr. Comstock returned and gave INH to those who had received the placebo….

He was a lifelong advocate of public health efforts and expressed disappointment in later years that more doctors were not devoting their services to it. In an interview in 2003, Dr. Comstock said that members of medical school faculties had little contact with public health departments.

[read more]

George W. Comstock, 92; epidemiologist was influential in the treatment of tuberculosis
By Thomas H. Maugh II, LA Times Staff Writer, July 18, 2007

…Comstock was a young commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service after World War II when federal officials were considering a mass vaccination campaign against tuberculosis using the relatively new Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine, which is made from an attenuated strain of mycobacterium that produces TB in cows.

He organized a trial of the BCG vaccine in Georgia and Alabama that stretched from 1947 to 1951 and concluded that the vaccine had an efficacy of only 14% in preventing the disease. He argued forcefully that the efficacy was too low to produce widespread benefit and that vaccination would render the Mantoux skin test for detecting TB infections useless by making vaccine recipients permanently positive.

In a country like the United States, with a relatively low incidence of TB, he argued, it was more important to be able to identify those exposed to the mycobacterium and treat them. Federal authorities agreed, and the vaccine was never widely used here….

Comstock frequently quoted Horace Mann’s 1859 commencement address at Antioch College: “Be ashamed to die before you have won some victory for humanity.” Comstock expanded on that theme, noting that “most of us aren’t going to win any big victories, but we can win little ones every day, and they mount up. [read more at…]

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Senior softball champion is an enigma even to his teammates

from Boing Boing

Friday, November 18, 2005
Senior softball champion is an enigma even to his teammates
Sixty-four-year-old John Meeden is regarded as the best player out of the two million aging baby boomers who belong to "senior softball" leagues, but nobody knows much about him, even his teammates. J.R. Moehringer of the LA Times traveled to St. Louis to see if he could find out more about the mysterious Meeden. It’s a wonderfully-written piece.

Nonagenarian is world’s best squash player

“All my life, that’s what I’ve wanted to do – hit that ball,” said Hashim Khan, one of the sport’s all-time greats.

Khan recently took a tumble on the court, fracturing a hip and straining a rotator cuff. Doctors have said no more squash.

He refuses to listen.

Even at 93, Khan can’t bring himself to lay down his racket – he simply loves the game too much.

And squash – a game similar to racquetball – has given him so much in return. He’s travelled the world, found fame by winning seven British Open titles and become a national hero in Pakistan, his homeland…. He also started a stretch during which he or a member of his family won 13 straight British Open championships, considered the most prestigious squash tournament. […] http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/OtherSports/2007/12/28/4743861-ap.html

Hashim Kahn

See also the resources at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashim_Khan

I know next to nothing about squash but I do know his name.

Man who rediscovered the takahe, nonagenarian

The man who refused to believe the takahe was extinct died in Dunedin on Tuesday at the age of 98.

It was assumed, when Dr. Geoffrey Orbell rediscovered the takahe in Fiordland’s Murchison Mountains in 1948, that the bird had been extinct for over 50 years. Dr. Orbell described the magical moment this way: “Suddenly I saw in a clearing in the snow grass a bird with a bright red beak and a blue and green colouring. And there, no more than twenty metres away from us stood a living Notornis, the bird that was supposed to be extinct.”

I saw takahe at Mt Bruce. It is a wonderful place to visit. The birds are about a large chicken in size.
Takahe Maungaclick to enlarge

The Associated Press, Published: August 15, 2007

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: New Zealand doctor Geoffrey Orbell, who rediscovered a flightless bird that was believed extinct almost 60 years ago, has died in the southern city of Dunedin, his family said Wednesday. He was 98.

No one had seen a live takahe — a unique blue-green, hen-like bird with a bright red bill — since the late 1890s, when Orbell and three companions found a small colony in Fiordland on South Island in November 1948. The discovery stunned the world of ornithology and made front-page news across the globe.

Geoffrey Buckland Orbell was born Oct. 7, 1908, at Pukeuri on South Island… He graduated in medicine and chemistry in 1934, then went to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London where he received a Diploma in Ophthalmic Medicine and Surgery… Orbell didn’t retire from medicine until he was 70….

Almost 300 takahe (Notornis mantelli) now live in Fiordland and other sanctuaries thanks to careful husbandry and breeding programs…. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II made him a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1953

Regnum: Animalia • Phylum: Chordata • Classis: Aves • Ordo: Gruiformes • Familia: Rallidae • Genus: Porphyrio

Geoffrey Orbell, a doctor who was happiest in the outdoors where he found the “extinct” takahe in 1948, has died in Dunedin just a few weeks short of his 99th birthday. Orbell was a man of many talents – ophthalmologist, cabinet maker, boat and house builder, skilled shot (founder of the NZ Deerstalkers Association), tramper, fisherman and local body politician. But above all he will be remembered for his rediscovery of the takahe, the unique and flightless blue-green, hen-like bird with the bright red bill in the depths of Fiordland. […]

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