Teatime reading (15th October 2014)

Here’s what I have been reading recently. This time – HIV, On the brain, Health and medicine and giraffes…

HIV
A diagnosis of HIV isn’t the death sentence it was 20-30 years ago, but what does being HIV positive today mean? Mosaic meets 4 very different people living with HIV in Britain who explain how it affects their lives.

The development of effective treatment means that many people with HIV can expect to live to relatively normal healthy life and live to a good old age. Due to current organ transplant regulations, this group of the population is an inaccessible pool of organ donors. Likewise, HIV positive people in need of an organ transplant, are likely to die waiting. A surgeon from South Africa decided this must change and has begun to bring these two groups of people together for some pioneering and ambitious transplant trials.

A new drug can prevent being infected by HIV/AIDS but is this a good idea?

“The conglomeration of factors at play in Louisiana starkly illustrates why HIV continues to spread in the US despite the fact that it is entirely preventable, and why so many Americans are still dying of AIDS when the virus is almost entirely treatable.” Fighting HIV and AIDS in the US state of Louisiana.

On the brain
There is so much we don’t know about how the brain works. Recent news of a young woman who has lived a relatively normal life with half her brain missing, shows just how versatile and compensating it can be.

In amputees, pain in their missing limbs can be excruciating. This seems to be attributed to the brain trying to send sensory input to a limb it believes to be there, and a lack of feedback or conflicting signals is felt as pain. The Canadian Stephen Sumner, spends his holidays riding around Cambodia on a bicycle showing fellow amputees how to treat phantom pain with mirrors.

What does it feel like to have a stroke? Christine Hyung-Oak Lee descibes what happened when she had a stroke aged 33.

More health and medicine
How about using human fat to help heal damaged hearts and joints?

The inspiring story of the scientist fighting the deadly disease Tuberculosis and his failing sight.

Why do we have blood types?

Giraffes
I love giraffes. I think they are great, but apparently we hardly knew anything about them until recently. Here is all you need to know!.

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