Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Apoplectic Ebola Syndrome

With only one confirmed ebola death in the US of an individual who contracted the disease elsewhere, and a half-dozen or so cured of ebola in the US mostly contracted elsewhere, the warning must go out about the risk of death by apoplectic fit over unnecessary fear and subconscious political linkage of things from Africa that have a lot of vowels and "b"s.

Yes, the risk of death by apoplectic fit in the political arena is real. A glance at The Political Graveyard website lists more politicians than you can count dying as a result of stroke or apoplectic fit, some in the very act of politics itself!

Take John Caldwell (1757-1804) of Kentucky who died of an "inflamation of the brain" (a likely form of apoplectic fit) while presiding over the Kentucky State Senate. Then there was Charles Atherton, AKA "Gag" Atherton (1804-1853), U.S. Representative from New Hampshire who suffered a stroke of paralysis while attending court. Or consider Alpheus Starkey Williams (1810-1878), U.S. Representative from Michigan who suffered a stroke and died in the US. Capitol Building. Most famously, perhaps, was former President John Quincy Adams, AKA "The Massachusetts Madman," who suffered a stroke with speaking on the floor of the House and died two days later in the Speaker's Office. And most recently was former Speaker of the House, Tom Foley, who died from complications of a stroke in Washington, DC. The anti-conspiracy-theory policy of this blog will make nothing of the facts that he was a member not only of the Council on Foreign Relations, but also the Trilateral Commission (check the link! I'm not making this up!)

In all seriousness, my heart goes out to these public servants and their families. And, I will link here some straight facts about stroke prevention and treatment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sam Wang, upcoming statistician celebrity from Princeton Election Consortium, has a pretty good analysis of media frenzy about ebola in this election season. Look at the actual numbers in comparison with other killer diseases and maybe you can calm down about ebola.

My concern is that so many politicians, media figures, and regular voters are getting so worked up about the disease from Africa, that they are at risk of apoplectic stroke, particularly if their lifestyles don't match up well with CDC scientific recommendations.

And if you really want to help address the real ebola problems in West Africa, consider volunteering or donating to the Red Cross.

President Barack Obama greets Nina Pham, a Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola after caring for an infected patient in Texas,
in the Oval Office, Oct. 24, 2014. Pham is virus-free after being treated at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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