Category Archives: Uncategorized

Autoimmune/inflammatory disease in children associated with COVID-19 has a new name

Dr Paul Kelly, Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer has discussed this new and worrying paediatric syndrome at a press conference today. The new name is pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARSCoV2 pandemic or PIMS-TS for short. Catchy! He described it as an autoimmune disease. The world has a new autoimmune disease – just what we didn’t need. This is consistent with my prediction in an earlier post at this blog pointing out the similarities with complications of coronavirus infection in kids and teens and an adult autoimmune disease and its associated vascular disorders.

Dr Kelly stated that there has been no increase in Kawasaki syndrome in Australia, in an apparent rebuttal of my questioning whether Australia might have cases of P that have been misdiagnosed as the similar autoimmune disease with unidentified COVID-19 infection as an underlying cause. As far as I know, a lack of increase in the rate of Kawasaki disease diagnosis in Australia should not be reassuring, because it is my understanding that in Australia and globally there has been a general decline in people attending doctor’s clinics and hospitals during the covid crisis, so you’d expect to find a decline in Kawasaki disease, not a steady rate. I guess it also needs to be stated that statistical trends in small numers of data points can be hard to discern, so with small numbers of cases of a rare disease, we could be splitting hairs. But I like splitting hairs! It keeps my mind off the deadly pandemic menace.

Sad news from New York City, New York

The autoimmune/inflammatory Kawasaki-like disorder associated with covid-19 infection in children which I have written about in some previous blog posts, now named pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS), has claimed a number of young lives in New York. Given that covid-19 has been allowed to run out of control in the USA, hitting the densely populated and in parts poverty-stricken New York hard, and the state of New York has a governor who doesn’t sugar-coat or cover-up the truth about covid, it makes sense that this is a place where the real and deadly character of covid-19 infection in children and adults has been identified and documented. The UK is another “advanced” country in which covid-19 has been allowed to run out of control, and a press report from last month hinted at a cover-up of child patient deaths from PMIS.

These documented covid/PMIS deaths in young children and at least one teen raises the question of how many kids in other countries, including Australia and the UK, are infected with covid-19 or are even sick with PMIS but haven’t been correctly diagnosed and are potentially infectious? It looks like this has been happening in Australia. Are children dying of covid-19 or its complications, in “advanced” countries, without ever being identified as covid-19 cases? It now appears that there is no established scientific consensus about whether or not kids are less infectious than adults due to a lower viral load of covid-19, so every case of covid-19 in a child should be assumed to have the potential to spark a cluster that could kill. There seems to be a false-negative problem with covid-19 tests in children, even in countries with supposedly advanced medical systems. So why are some Australian states allowing schools to open in the absence of widespread operating public covid-19 surveillance testing regimes of asymptomatic people of all ages, with covid-19 tests that reliably work in child cases? Will Australian politicians now stop saying that covid-19 in children is generally mild while dismissing spread of covid-19 in schools as “not a problem for students”? 

My observation that “covid toes” found in children is simlar to a group of related autoimmune diseases was sadly close to the mark

A few days ago I argued that there could be important similarities beween the potentially fatal illness caused by the new coronavirus and a group of related vascular and autoimmune diseases, based on reports of “covid toes” and hands observed in chidren, which was reported in medical and press reports as a painful but minor oddity. Now a much more concerning inflammatory-vascular syndrome in children has come to light, probably caused by covid19. The autoimmune Kawasaki disease and toxic shock rather than the other inflammatory/autoimmune diseases that I named in my previous post are the diseases that a dangerous new syndrome observed in children in the UK has been compared with. Nevertheless, I think it is interesting that “red fingers or toes”, pain and “a rash” are listed as symptoms of Kawasaki at the website of the famous NHS. Those are defining or major symptoms of some of the vascular and autoimmune-related diseases erythromelagia and HGP which I mentioned in my previous post. 

While this new threat to children is probably rare, it flies in the face of Australian government assurances the children are safe to return to school classes and that covid19 is mild in children. It also demonstrates that this new virus is an unknown quantity, and new understandings are emerging all the time. We live in interesting times, for sure.

Three cheers for the criminally-neglected NHS!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/27/nhs-warns-of-rise-in-children-with-new-illness-that-may-be-linked-to-coronavirus

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8260399/NHS-issues-doctors-urgent-alert-coronavirus-related-condition-children.html

 

If we knew anything much about Sjogren’s syndrome, could that knowledge help us to understand the world-wrecking illness caused by COVID-19?

I’ve just stumbled across an article about another of the odd features of coronovirus illness. I thought it was quite interesting that the infection can cause a temporary loss of the sense of smell, which could happen in a number of different ways, but the covid infection feature that really fascinates me right now is “covid toes” This feature, which can also affect hands, has been identified as an atypical form of perniosis or chilblains that is not triggered by cold as is typical of perniosis/chilblains. These discomforts of the extremities fascinate me because they seem to have a lot in common with a cluster of inter-related medical conditions involving small blood vessels and typically affecting the hands and feet that are often associated with autoimmune diseases, including Sjogren’s syndrome, and Sjogren’s syndrome itself could be viewed as having many features in common with the coronovirus illness. 

Both Sjogren’s and COVID-19 infection can cause lung damage that creates “ground-glass” CT images, inflammation in the lungs and lung conditions that sound pneumonia-ey. One of the many lung diseases that can be caused by Sjogren’s is bronchiolitis, an inflammatory lung disease that “is almost always caused by a virus”, except when it is caused by Sjogren’s syndrome, of course. 

Sjogren’s can be associated with Raynaud’s phenomenon and erythromelagia; two related conditions of “dysfunctional vascular dynamics” reacting to temperature, affecting sensation and typically affecting the hands and feet. COVID-19 is associated with the “covid toe” phenomenon, affecting the hands and feet, resembling perniosis/chilblains which is normally triggered by cold temperature and “may be an abnormal blood vessel response” and can co-occur with Raynaud’s. The bluishly discoloured extremities shown in photos of covid toes and hands looks a lot like Raynaud’s. Covid toes can be painful and “have a hot burning sensation”, which sounds a lot like erythromelagia, the evil twin of Raynaud’s which hurts like a bitch and is worsened by heat and can sometimes be relieved by cooling. 

The “covid toes” phenomenon can involve a rash, which maybe isn’t surprising considering how common rashes are in bacterial and viral infections. Sjogren’s can also come with a rash, a rash that can last not just days or weeks, but decades. Like Raynaud’s and erythromelagia this autominnune rash involves stupid things happening to or inside blood vessels. It typically affects the feet and lower legs, and sometimes the hands and other parts of the body. This rash that can go on forever also has a name of impressive length; hypergammaglobulinemic purpura of Waldenström, or HGP for short.

Like the coronavirus illness, Sjogren’s affects the blood vessels, parts of the head, the lungs and sometimes the extremities, and typically causes tiredness or fatigue. Sjogren’s can affect the nose area, in addition to it’s more well-known autoimmune attacks on the tear and saliva glands in the face, and like the coronavirus illness, Sjogren’s can impair the sense of smell

As I’ve explained already, Sjogren’s can damage the lungs in the same way that a virus might. I think it is also quite interesting that one of the vascular diseases that can co-occur with Sjogrens, erythromelagia, was, according to one report, once caused by infection of humans with a virus that is typically found in small mammalian animals. Can you guess which country those humans and little animals lived in? Yes, China. 

I have not been able to find any evidence one way or the other as to whether the COVID-19 illness can directly damage the foetus of an infected pregnant woman. I’m interested in any research or observations about this possibility because if there are non-trivial commonalities between this illness and Sjogren’s some unusual and distinctive problems in babies born of infected mothers might occur. Antibodies characteristically found in Sjogren’s cases can cause congential heart block in the foetus in utero or “neonatal lupus”, a strange solid red rash around the baby’s eyes, but even among pregnancies of women with at least one of these antibodies, these rare conditions are found at a rate of only one or two percent. 

If it is true that there are non-trivial commonalities between COVID-19 illness and Sjogren’s syndrome, that might suggest a general explanation of the much-pondered question of why coronavirus kills more men than women. Sjogren’s syndrome, Raynaud’s phenomenon and erythromelagia are all more commonly found in women than in men. Maybe this indicates that the normal, healthy female body is generally more likely to manifest the kinds of immunological/vascular shenanigans that happen in these three related conditions. Maybe the normal male body rarely has these things happening, and has not adjusted to or accommodated these abnormal processes, so when male bodies encounter COVID-19, which apparently causes wierd vascular events to happen, the male body is less able to cope with these processes. Just a theory. Women have babies and men do not. Lots of interesting things happen during pregnancy to the vasular and blood systems that the male body will never have to deal with. Notice that I haven’t once mentioned the word “hormones” during this explanation? I so much hate it when boffins glibly explain differences in sex ratios for diseases and social problems as due to “hormones”. That is a non-explanation. That is inexcusably lame. 

As long-time readers of this blog might have noticed, I have quite a fascination for rare and autoimmune diseases. I was the original author in 2012, at this blog, of two hypotheses, one speculating that a rare form of dementia might be caused by high levels of a type of chemical that plays a part in both synaptic pruning and the immune system, and a twin hypothesis that the psychological/neurological developmental variation synaesthesia might be caused by low levels of one or more of the same group of immune chemicals. The latter novel hypothesis was later published in a peer-reviewed neuroscience journal, unfortunately without me listed as an author. Even though I’m pretty interested in a bit of amateur immunology (more than the average housewife), before tonight it had not occurred to me how much a cluster of inter-related autoimmune diseases could be similar to a virus.

So I guess the world-shaking, worth-a-million-bucks-to-someone-else, super-important question is whether established scientific knowledge about Sjogren’s syndrome and related autoimmune diseases could provide any useful insights into a vaccine or treatment or prevention of the COVID-19 illness. I think probably not, because I don’t think medical science knows terribly much about Sjogren’s or any of the other diseases that I’ve just wasted my time writing about here. It’s the same old story about rare diseases being the orphans of the world of disease research. Erythromelagia can be a horribly painful disease, once treated by amputation before doctors had any insight into how it works, and has been written about under a variety of names since 1878, but your GP has probably never heard of it. Like Raynaud’s phenomenon, there is apparently no blood/pathology test known to be useful for diagnosing erythromlagia. Has any researcher even bothered to search for pathology or autoimmune abnormalities in either of these diseases? If you Google Sjogren’s syndrome you will probably read that it is dry eyes and a dry mouth, then the details of symptomatic treatment. I guess that’s the level of interest and trivialisation that one might expect from the world of medical science for a mostly non-fatal disease affecting mostly middle-aged women. Outlines of Sjogren’s in medical literature and patient info might also give you the impression that Sjogren’s always coincides with rheumatoid joint problems, and the only pathology results associated with it are antinuclear antibodies, rheumatoid factors and SSA and SSB. None of this is true.

Does medicine understand how Sjogren’s syndrome works? No. Is there a unequivocally safe and effective treatment for it? Of course, no. Apparently “Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), a drug designed to treat malaria, is often helpful in treating Sjogren’s syndrome.” I have no idea whether that is a useful insight in relation to COVID-19. So often prescription drugs are worse in the side effects than the disease, or don’t really work at all, but I guess in April 2020 we are all grasping at straws. I guess there’s one positive thing that might come out of my thoughts and speculations; maybe I’ve just discovered what triggers the development of Sjogren’s syndrome? A coronavirus? 

If medical science had taken diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome and associated vascular and autoimmune disorders seriously before now, would we now understand how COVID-19 kills and sickens people, and would science have already developed a safe and effective treatment for it? 

A note of warning – If you are thinking about copying or plagiarizing any of the text, original ideas or descriptions in this post or using it in your own work without giving me (C. Wright, author of the blog “Am I a Super-recognizer?”) the proper acknowledgement and citations, then think again. If you do that you will be found out and my objection will be well publicized. If you believe that you published any of these ideas before I did, please let me know the details in a comment on this article. If you want to make reference to this blog post or any of the ideas in it make sure that you state in your work exactly where you first read about these ideas. If you wish to quote any text from this post be sure to cite this post at this blog properly. There are many established citation methods. If you quote or make reference to material in this blog in your work, it would be a common courtesy to let me know about your work (I’m interested!) in a comment on any of the posts in this blog. Thank you.

Is there a human sense of psychological and physical distress in others that operates below the level of consciousness?

I’ve just been watching the former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull being interviewed on the 7.30 news program. I was particularly struck by his revelation that during the period of his career following his gross misjudgement in the “Utegate” affair he was in a very dark emotional state, despite maintaining his usual polished and confident image. When Turnbull fell for the deception of an unhinged and ill public servant who claimed implausibibly that the very wealthy and ambitious leader of the party opposing Turnbull’s party had accepted an old utility truck as a political bribe, that destroyed my confidence in Turnbull as a leader, and we now know, it also wrecked his own self-image. As I marvelled at the contrast beteen the politician’s inner state and his exterior image, I was reminded of a baffling dream that I had when Turnbull was still a political leader.

I rarely remember my dreams, but this one was also remarkable for other reasons. In the dream I somehow percieved that Turnbull was in a dire state of unhappiness due to his work and this concerned me. His facial expression was sad but not extreme, so this was one of many examples of a dream in which I simply knew something by telepathy or unclear means. In my dream I said something like “Cheer up, it’s only a job”. Upon waking I was baffled that I even cared about this politician in my dream, as I deplored his party and never had much interest in him as an individual. I hadn’t recalled noticing any particular news or media coverage at the time suggesting a drop in this politician’s career satisfaction. After wondering what in the world had prompted this oddly vivid dream, it seemed to me that the dream was a manifestation of a basic human concern for others that operates independently of conscious rational judgements about another person’s character. Now that I know that possibly at the time of my dream I might have seen Turnbull on TV during the time when he was feeling secretly bleak, I’m left wondering whether I had unconsciously sensed something in his voice, appearance, words or manner that betrayed his real state, and this perception was explored in my dream. This wouldn’t be the first time that I apparently sensed stress and serious danger in a person I was not particularly close to.

When I was in my 20s I once got the idea into my head to write in a Christmas card a sincere hope that the recipient (not a close relative by any means) not suffer a heart attack. I thought twice about that choice of wording and asked my flat-mate if she thought it appropriate. She clearly thought I had lost my mind,  as any sensible person would, but still I felt genuine concern about this ambitious and busy person who I saw only occassionally, who always seemed to be bathed in sweat. Roughly a year later I recieved news of that person’s full recovery from a heart attack. A few years later I formed the opinion, based on what I am not sure, that one of my work supervisors, a kind person but not one who I felt was a friend, was headed for trouble due to trying to do too much in tackling the roles of mother of young children, wife, career-builder and property investor. Not long after that she came down with shingles, a nasty disease that can be triggered by stress. I’ll never know why I felt constantly concerned about a friend of one of our young adult offspring in the week before we were shocked by the terrible news of her suicide. I had only met this striking person a few times and we weren’t friends or close, but the day before we recieved the news I had been asking questions at work in the faint hope that there might be a job opportunity for her there. In hindsight, many other people would have known enough to be very concerned for her welfare, much more than I did, so I’m baffled as to how I apparently sensed imminent danger in the life of a person I barely knew and was not in direct contact with.

Maybe these anecdotes are all nothing more than unhappy coincidences that appear to be predictions when viewed in retrospect. Could I or anyone have altered fate? Even if it is possible to sense the approaching date when a friend or acquaintance will reach beyond their physical or psychological limits, I ask you, how do you save someone from themself?

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/malcolm-turnbull-the-7-30-interview

34 COVID-19 questions

The new coronavirus pandemic is the topic dominating our lives at the moment, so I hope you won’t mind if I diverge from the usual neuroscience and psychology themes of this blog, to pose some questions (some a bit rhetorical) related to the virus.

A note of warning – If you are thinking about copying or plagiarizing any of the text, original ideas or descriptions in this post or using it in your own work without giving me (C. Wright, author of the blog “Am I a Super-recognizer?”) the proper acknowledgement and citations, then think again. If you do that you will be found out and my objection will be well publicized. If you believe that you published any of these ideas before I did, please let me know the details in a comment on this article. If you want to make reference to this blog post or any of the ideas in it make sure that you state in your work exactly where you first read about these ideas. If you wish to quote any text from this post be sure to cite this post at this blog properly. There are many established citation methods. If you quote or make reference to material in this blog in your work, it would be a common courtesy to let me know about your work (I’m interested!) in a comment on any of the posts in this blog. Thank you.

  1. How many children, women and men will die or become victims of abuse as the result of increased domestic violence and opportunities to hide abuse and neglect under conditions of social distancing and online schooling?
  2. Are there any aspects of the medical care of people infected by the virus or other measures to deal with it which could conceivably become the subject of a medical reversal in the future or be later regarded as negligent?
  3. Is there any evidence that social distancing indoors and outdoors should be the same?
  4. Would medical clinics or other places where people must share space be safer in terms of social distancing if they were conducted outdoors?
  5. Are there documented cases of infection from the new coronavirus caught through the air in an outdoor place?
  6. Are there any particular immune deficiency conditions or genetic immune system variations that are over-represented among people who have died from the new virus?
  7. Have any researchers studied the vitamin D status of people infected with or killed by the new virus?
  8. Vitamin D deficiency makes people more vulnerable to infection, and this deficiency related to limited sun exposure is surprisingly common, even in sunny nations like Australia, so could government prohibition of outdoor activities in which people often gain sun exposure, such as swimming and sunbaking at closed beaches, intended to prevent transmission of the virus, prove counter-productive by raising people’s vulnerability to the virus, if the virus is encountered?
  9. Should saturation mass media messages from celebrities to “stay inside” be modified to a more nuanced message to prevent an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and associated autoimmune diseases come the end of winter 2020?
  10. Are any of the fatalities that followed after infection by the new coronovirus attributable to secondary infection by pneumonia-causing bacteria?
  11. Is there a cohort of young Australians who have never been immunised against pneumococcal bacteria because they were born before it was scheduled as a standard childhood immunisation?
  12. If the adult vaccination against pneumonia bacteria is safe and effective, and pneumonia is not a rare disease, why isn’t it recommended and funded in Australia for all adults, rather than recommended for a confusing collection of categories of adults?
  13. Why is vaccination against influenza widely promoted as a good idea for everyone, especially within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, while this does not appear to be the case in relation to immunisation against pneumonia bacteria?
  14. Are social problems resulting from social distancing restrictions on recreational activities outside the home particularly acute in new suburbs in which tiny residential block sizes or large homes with tiny gardens have been compensated for by land developers with quality recreational facilities in public parks, which are now shut down or restricted?
  15. Is it true that India has never been the site of origin of an infectious agent responsible for a major epidemic or pandemic, even though it is a large nation in terms of geography and massive in terms of human population? China is another massive nation, and it and surrounding nations have bred some troublesome infectious agents in recent years, including COVID-19. Does this show that the lacto-vegetarian/Hindu values of the Indian nation are safer and a benefit to all of humankind, because the lifestyle these values promote involves less human interference with and caging of wild animals? The WHO has recently thanked India for engaging the WHO’s national polio surveillance network to strengthen COVID-19 surveillance in India. Should India also be thanked for refraining from doing stupid and cruel things with disease-riddled bats and other wild animals?
  16. Should wildlife carers be banned from caring for or touching bats?
  17. In 2018 an estimated 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis. Why has the world stopped in its tracks to control covid-19, but has not solved the very long-standing global TB problem?   
  18. The potential benefits of the BCG anti-TB vaccine on the immune system beyond TB protection have been known for many years, including potential to prevent allergy. Allergy has been described as a modern-day “epidemic” causing life-threatening medical problems for countless children and adults. Why has it taken the COVID-19 pandemic for Australian researchers to study the important possible benefits of the BCG vaccine? 
  19. In the UK sniffer-dogs are being trained to sniff out cases of coronavirus. Already dogs, and even one British woman, have been used to sniff out medical conditions such as cancer and infectious and non-infectious diseases, and of course trained detection dogs have been used for a long time to sniff out drugs and explosives. Are there any disease-sniffer dogs in Australia?
  20. Can anything be done about police informant drug dealers who fail to observe social distancing by hosting a steady parade of guests at their home? 
  21. Does taking ACE inhibitor drugs make it more likely that you will die if you catch coronavirus?
  22. Does coronavirus directly cause birth defects or other forms of harm to a child born to an infected mother? 
  23. What is the evidence-base or group of published studies upon which Autralian governments’ policies of returning children to school in person has been based? 
  24. How common among children infected by covid-19 is the development of the Kawasaki-like inflammatory/autoimmune disorder that has been reported recently?
  25. Could there be unidentified deaths from or cases of the above disease in Australian children, as is possibly the case in the UK?
  26. Why was the “Socialist medicine” NHS in the UK the first institution to alert the world to the new covid-19-associated Kawasaki-like inflammatory/autoimmune disorder affecting children, when it appears that evidence of the development of this new potentially serious disease in kids has been observed in Australia and other nations? 
  27. Is it possible or likely that a thing to emerge from the covid-19 pandemic will be blocs or groupings of countries into a handful of categories: those nations with effective coronoavirus control, those without with current new infections, nations still to be affected by the virus, and nations with unreliable statistical reporting. If Australia and New Zealand might one day be able to have an arrangement to open borders, might this exclusive club one day widen to incorporate other nations that appear to be on top of covid-19, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, some Scandinavian countries, with trade, travel and tourism resuming between nations? Even though PNG and Indonesia are geographically closer to Australia than New Zealand, in the new post-covid world order New Zealand seems much closer to Australia, as on May 4th 2020 New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was invited to remotely attend an Australian National Cabinet meeting between Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the state and territory heads.  Will Australia’s historically close social and trade ties with countries such as the USA, the UK and China be downgraded because these countries have done a poor job of controlling or honestly reporting about covid-19?
  28. Is there any evidence or observations that people with autoimmune diseases are affected by covid-19 in a more or less serious way than the average person? 
  29. Can people who have other diseases register a false positive in a covid-19 test, as is the case with the RPR Test for syphilis?
  30. Can immunisation with existing vaccines cause a person to register a false positive in a covid-19 test, as is the case with the BCG TB immunisation that can cause a false positive result on a TB infection test? 
  31. Given that there is still a lack of scientific consensus about whether children infected with covid have lower viral loads than infected adults, and thus might be just as infectious as adults, why are so many state and national governments in Australia and globally forcing parents to send their children to schools?
  32. There appears to be a lot of uncertainty in reports of the emerging Kawasaki-like illness seen in children (now named pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome), and among recent cases of Kawasaki disease in children in Australia of an unexpected number, about whether or not all of these cases have had or do have covid infections. Is this evidence of a problem globally with identifying or testing covid-19 infection in children? Are children dying of covid-19 or its complications, in “advanced” countries, without ever being identified as covid-19 cases?
  33. Given that pediatric multisymptom inflammatory syndrome clearly associated with covid-19 in kids killsbut has not reliably been identified or tested as being associated with covid-19 infection in cases seen in various parts of the world, including in Australia, pointing to the likelihood that covid-19 in kids “flies under the radar”, not reliably detected as the cause of illness by many doctors or by covid-19 testing, does Australia or the Australian states need to set up a reporting system in which doctors are compelled to report to a team of investigative medical specialists any adult or pediatric cases which could potentially be novel infectious diseases or novel presentations of known infectious diseases? 
  34. Given that pediatric multisymptom inflammatory syndrome clearly associated with covid-19 in kids kills, with at least one press report suggesting a cover-up of PMIS deaths in the UK, and PMIS was not initially identified or tested as being associated with covid-19 infection in many cases seen in various parts of the world, including in Australia, pointing to the likelihood that covid-19 in kids “flies under the radar”, not reliably detected as an illness or by covid-19 testing, should schools in parts of the world where covid-19 is not close to eradicated and monitored by large-scale public random testing programs be open?

References / Links

Aranow C. (2011). Vitamin D and the immune system. Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research59(6), 881–886. https://doi.org/10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755

Nowson, C. A., McGrath, J. J., Ebeling, P. R., Haikerwal, A., Daly, R. M., Sanders, K. M., … & Mason, R. S. (2012). Vitamin D and health in adults in Australia and New Zealand: a position statement. Medical journal of Australia196(11), 686-687. https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2012/196/11/vitamin-d-and-health-adults-australia-and-new-zealand-position-statement

Brooks, M. (2013). Small shot, big impact. New Scientist219(2930), 38-41. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24027-booster-shots-the-accidental-advantages-of-vaccines/

World Health Organisation. Tuberculosis. 24 March 2020. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis

Worldometer. Coronavirus. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Quaggin, Lucy (2020) Coronavirus vaccine: West Australian hospital workers to take part in COVID-19 experiment. 7NEWS. Tuesday, 14 April 2020. https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/health-wellbeing/coronavirus-vaccine-west-australian-hospital-workers-to-take-part-in-covid-19-experiment-c-974237

Coronavirus: WHO thanks India for support, borrows polio-fighting strategy for COVID-19. business Today. April 16, 2020. https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/coronavirus-who-thanks-india-for-support-borrows-polio-fighting-strategy-for-covid-19/story/401156.html

Dogs join fight against COVID-19 by learning how to detect the virus. Sandie Rinaldo. CTV National News. April 12, 2020. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/dogs-join-fight-against-covid-19-by-learning-how-to-detect-the-virus-1.4893325

 

 

Why can I only sneer with the right side of my mouth raised, like this bloke?

https://www.facebook.com/MuseumsNews/photos/a.2352312438404452/2356016804700682/?type=3&theater

 

If dogs and some gifted people can smell diseases and illicit drugs, why can’t someone train dogs (or synaesthete people) to detect COVID-19 by scent?

Amazing British synaesthete super-perceiver gets to use her super-power to aid science and medicine!

 

Detection dog – Wikipedia

 

P.S. Turns out I wasn’t the first to think of this excellent idea: 

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-52057543

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/sniffer-dogs-trained-recognise-coronavirus-2020-4?r=US&IR=T

 

 

Article about Australian police use of facial recognition AI in The Conversation

Australian police are using the Clearview AI facial recognition system with no accountability.

Jake Goldenfein

The Conversation

March 4, 2020

http://theconversation.com/australian-police-are-using-the-clearview-ai-facial-recognition-system-with-no-accountability-132667

 

SYNAESTHESIA IS NOT A CROSSING OF THE SENSES, BECAUSE CONCURRENTS ARE MEMORIES OR LEARNED ASSOCIATIONS, NOT EXPERIENCES!

I thought I’d share my response to question that I saw posted on the internet “What is it like to have “crossing” of the senses known as synesthesia?

It is nothing like a “crossing of the senses”, because that is not what it is or how it works, regardless of the countless times that clueless non-synaesthete academics have described it that way. I do not see a colour in response to a sound instead of hearing a sound. My senses of smell, taste, vision and the other senses are normal or good for my age. Another way in which synaesthesia is not a crossing of the senses is the countless types of synaesthesia that do not have simple sensory experiences as either inducers or concurrents. Sometimes thinking of a very specific concept will trigger for a very brief time a visual memory of a scene of a place that I visited decades ago, as it looked then. The inducer is purely abstract, not sensory, and the concurrent is a memory of a visual nature. Clearly the concurrent is not a sensory experience because it is not a scene that I saw at that time, md also because the scene was the way the place looked many years ago, not as it looked at that time. This type of synaesthesia, a type that I experience quite often among many other more widely-known types of synaesthesia, is a memory of a visual sensory experience, and is not an actual sensory experience. If I actually thought that my synaesthesia concurrents were real sensory experiences, I’d be fit for a psychiatric institution, because that would be a type of hallucination.

Clearly synaesthesia as a phenomenon that involves memory, or the neural processes that give rise to memory, because numerous studies have found various types of memory superiority associated with various types of synaesthesia, often these links being between memory and synaesthesia centred upon the same areas of mental processing. This is one of the intriguing things that I have noticed about my own synaesthesia, which inspired me to write the very first post in this blog, about The Strange Phenomenon, which is an unusual and not previously described type of synaesthesia in which the inducer is a specific face viewed from a very specific angle and the concurrent is a memory of another person’s (similar) face and entire persona (face, mannerisms, personality, voice). This repeated experience linking synaesthesia with face memory prompted me to do face memory tests, including the short form of the CFMT, and unexpectedly discover my own status as a super-recognizer, a form of memory superiority in face memory.

Synaesthesia is not hallucination and synaesthetes generally understand that concurrents are not real, current sensory experiences. We understand this because we can see set patterns among groups of inducers and concurrents and know what to expect because of the great reliability of these associations between thoughts that belong in set categories. An example would be grapheme colour synaesthesia, in which most of the letters of the alphabet (a category) are individually reliably asspcoated with specific colours (another category). The way this trype of syanesthesia is experienced is more like learning or knowledge than the rapid and fleeting triggering of memories, but Iguess learning and knowledge are based on memory. With some more rarely-experienced types of synaesthesia with concurrents that seem like current sensory experiences (as in my white chocolate-flavoured hugs synaesthesia), I have been able to pick them as synaesthesia concurrents or sensory memories rather than hallucination or normal sensory experiences because the sensations are extremely brief in duration – they flash in and out of the mind in an instant, or hit like a bolt of lightning, leaving you wondering, and if I hadn’t made the effort to keep a record of these associations by writing them down, they would be quickly forgotten and not obvious as instances of synaesthesia due to their ephemeral nature. These sensations or experiences cannot be mistaken as normal sensory experiences. I think anyone who describes their synaesthesia as hard to pick from reality or like a hallucination, or constantly-occurring, is probably lying, or at least confused.

A note of warning – If you are thinking about copying or plagiarizing any of the text, ideas or descriptions in this post or using it in your own work without giving me (C. Wright, author of the blog “Am I a Super-recognizer?”) the proper acknowledgement and citations, then think again. If you do that you will be found out and my objection will be well publicized. If you believe that you published any of these ideas before I did, please let me know the details in a comment on this article. If you want to make reference to this blog post or any of the ideas in it make sure that you state in your work exactly where you first read about these ideas. If you wish to quote any text from this post be sure to cite this post at this blog properly. There are many established citation methods. If you quote or make reference to material in this blog in your work, it would be a common courtesy to let me know about your work (I’m interested!) in a comment on any of the posts in this blog. Thank you.