Every disease is a social disease. When a person is diagnosed, his or her family, friends and community are involved as well. The shock moves through a widening circle, and the questions are always the same: How do we react; how should we react? Will I say the right thing; is there a right thing to say? Should I call, buy a gift? The questions and uncertainties pile up because every serious disease is a social disease.
"Nightmare bacteria" that have become increasingly resistant to even the strongest antibiotics infected patients in 4 percent of U.S. hospitals in the first half of 2012 and in 18 percent of specialty hospitals, public health officials said on Tuesday.
In the story, a young prince in an old and distant kingdom is mesmerized with salt.
When Rabbi John Rosove of Temple Israel of Hollywood was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009, he was devastated. Given a dire prognosis by his first doctor (who later turned out to have exaggerated the circumstances), he felt the weight of his own mortality for the first time.
Susan and Brad Stillman grew concerned following their son Benjamin’s birth in September 1998. He was fussy and congested, had difficulty breastfeeding and didn’t take to the bottle.
It is a proud and glorious week as Israel, her 7.2 million citizens and millions of friends around the world celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel's birth as a modern, democratic nation.
Carol Kirsch is among the 5 percent to 10 percent of individuals with early onset Alzheimer's, those who develop symptoms before the age of 65. And she is one of the growing number who are being diagnosed at an early stage of the disease.
When Michael Margolis was 4, his doctor took his parents aside and told them he had a rare disorder called Type I Gaucher Disease. The disease, which strikes Ashkenazi Jews seven times more often than the general population, is a genetic disorder that robs patients of an enzyme that prevents a buildup of fatty tissues in the body.
The upfsherin (hair cutting ceremony) took place on the last day of Shevat -- an auspicious time for a healing ritual. The day before Rosh Chodesh (first day of the month) is observed, in the medieval mystical practice of Yom Kippur katan (little Yom Kippur) -- a day for cleansing, purification, and preparation -- just what shaving my head represented, as I began my fifth week of chemotherapy.
Gaucher Disease is a rare, inherited disease caused by a hereditary deficiency of a single essential enzyme, glucocerebrosidase, according to the National Gaucher Foundation (NGF).
Gaucher is sufficiently rare that many doctors weren't and still aren't aware of it. And when LaBelle was diagnosed, "they were just doing research, and there was not a glimmer of hope" for a treatment, she said
George Smith hates to lose. A Harvard Business School graduate, Smith founded one of Southern California's largest, most prominent real estate investment banking firms and will receive an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University next week. Still, he smarts a little from a grievance endured at Hamilton High more than 50 years ago.
"I graduated second in my class to a home economics major," said the 70-year-old real estate guru and father of four. "She had one B in three years and I had two. My physics teacher graded me at a different level than anyone else because she knew I was going on to Cal Tech."
He holds no grudge. And this small injustice would help to fuel rather than blunt his drive to succeed, which has served Smith well in building a firm that exceeded $2 billion in commercial financing last year. He never imagined that he'd also apply this indomitable will another way: in a fight to save his daughter's life.
Becca Smith was 5 years old in 1983 when she was diagnosed with Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T), a rare, progressively degenerative neurological disease for which there is no cure. Children with A-T have difficulty walking and with balance, and are more susceptible to infection and certain cancers. Smith and his wife, Pam, were told that Becca was unlikely to reach her 20th birthday.
Judah White's shoulders curl in and his eyes shut tight as he coughs violently. A look of pain flashes across his face. As his coughing slows, he looks up to the ceiling of his mother's kitchen and takes a deep breath.
White is battling his third occurrence of Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the lymph nodes. The fight has taken most of his energy.
"For me, the disease has always been associated with pain, and it's been a smorgasbord of pain," he said, his voice trailing off. "There's burning, there's aching, there's stiffness, there's bruising.... Literally, any type of pain you could possibly imagine."
White, a 38-year-old resident in internal medicine at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, recently completed his latest round of chemotherapy, a traditional treatment for his disease. As expected, the chemotherapy has weakened his immune system, leaving him vulnerable to common infections and other complications.
To rebuild his immune system, to restore his health and vigor, White is trying a newer treatment, one that has been linked to a national debate over medicine, religion and ethics. Doctors have given White donated stem cells. If he's lucky, these stem cells will replenish his lost bone marrow.
Nancy Kearson knew she had high blood pressure, but she wasn't aware of any other health problems until a friend urged her to see a physician four years ago. That exam may have saved her life.
Twice in the past couple of days, I've been in conversation and found myself grasping for a word. On both occasions, my 4-year-old supplied the word before I could come up with it. And, of course, there are the times that I walk into a room only to realize that I have no idea what I wanted to do once I got there. Are these natural lapses or early signs of something more sinister?
"We are all one day closer to Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Gary Small says forebodingly in his book "The Memory Bible: An Innovative Strategy for Keeping Your Brain Young" (Hyperion, 2003). "Alzheimer's and dementia begin forming in our brains much earlier than anyone previously imagined, even in our 20s."
Turkey, potatoes and gravy, candied yams -- all the foods you love to pile on your plate come Thanksgiving.
As young adults, brothers Babak and Daniel Darvish, born less than two years apart, were avid athletes, music lovers and medical students who planned to become surgeons.
Soroya Nazarian learned about hereditary inclusion body myopathy (HIBM), an uncommon muscular disorder that affects the Persian Jewish community, while in Israel on a Hadassah mission about five years ago. There, she met professor Zohar Argov, from the department of neurology at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, the researcher who first discovered the rare disease in 1984. Although Nazarian did not know anyone personally affected with HIBM, the self-described "professional volunteer" knew her involvement with Hadassah Southern California put her in a unique position to increase awareness and raise funds for the condition that seemed to unfairly target her community.
On this April day, Drescher converses in a lackadaisical, morning-after drone that is, quite frankly, downright seductive.
Yet the topic of conversation -- uterine cancer -- is not sexy. Drescher feels that it is imperative to talk about the deadly disease and why women need to be proactive in discerning it. Her new memoir, "Cancer Schmancer" (Warner Books, $24.95), in stores May 1, chronicles her own experience detecting and surviving uterine cancer. "Cancer Schmancer" also documents a new chapter in her life. When her best-selling autobiography "Enter Whining" was released in late 1995, Drescher was the envy of Hollywood both for her storybook romance to high school sweetheart Peter Marc Jacobson and her serendipitous rise to fame in the 1990s. On a plane ride, the then-unknown actress sold her idea for "The Nanny" after pitching the concept to a CBS executive that happened to be seated next to her.
As far as foot-and-mouth disease is concerned, it's good to be Jewish.
Ten million Americans have glaucoma, though only an estimated 2 million to 4 million have been diagnosed with the often symptomless disease.
A conference on genetic diseases held by the Cultural Foundation of Habib Levy in November led The Journal to examine the Jewish community's reduced state of awareness about genetic testing for prospective parents. During the past 30 years, large-scale genetic screening of Ashkenazi Jews in the U.S., Israel and other countries has reduced the number of babies born with Tay-Sachs, the most widely known Jewish genetic disease, by 90 percent. Yet today, younger Jews are less conscious of Tay-Sachs and even less aware of testing made available during the past five years for a newer array of genetic diseases. Geneticists and physicians confirmed that many people are not adequately informed about their genetic testing options. Regardless of their educational background, few individuals know if they fall into a high-risk category for genetically transmitted diseases. Experts interviewed maintain there has been a relaxation in vigilance about carrier screening and a consequential rise in danger signals for American Jews of Ashkenazi descent.
As a scientist and a believer in human progress, I have been concerned about how well the established process of teshuvah (repentance) has worked. Yom Kippur after Yom Kippur - in fact, since the 11th century - we have recited the same confessional prayer, "Al Chet." If we were any good at repentance, shouldn't the list have changed in 1,000 years? Even if we don't want to change the ancient formula, shouldn't we be able to feel that we had eliminated or reduced at least a few on the list? Yet the list of sins remains the same, as does the ritual for expunging them. Why haven't we improved?
When Ofra Haza, the 41-year-old Israeli Yemenite singer, succumbed to complications of AIDS in February, she died under a heavy cloud of silence.
When Pam Acosta's mother, Rose, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June of 1996, Acosta was at a loss. The only thing she knew about the disease was that it claimed actor Michael Landon's life. "The doctors offered no answers, no hope. Only a three- to six-month sentence," says Acosta. In anguish, she wondered, "If Michael Landon couldn't save himself, how can I save my mother?"
Los Angeles residents Pam and George Smith never expected to create a foundation that would raise more than $4 million for research.
A typical seventh-grade essay might be about a soccer game, a trip to the mall or a favorite pet. But Mathew Rudes isn't a typical 12-year-old.
My mother is 87. Or is it 90? As long as I can remember, I thought that she had been born in 1910, was named Miriam Euffa, and brought here from Kievas a 5-year-old by parents who were educated, and who had been part of what must have been a turn-of-the-century minority: the Russian-Ukrainian Jewish professional class. Now Medicare tells methat her Social Security card lists her year of birth as 1907.