Syphilis (Warning: Images may be disturbing)

April 4, 2010

Syphilis is an infection with the bacteria Treponema pallidum. It has often been called “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases.  

Treponema Pallidum

What is it? Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum.

How do you get this disease? Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease, so you can it through intercourse and direct fluid contact such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid and etc..
Congential Syphilis-pregnant mothers that are infected can pass it down to their developing child in their womb.

 Symptoms Syphilis has several stages

  • Primary stage-Painless sores ( chancres) form at the site of infection after 2-3 weeks after you are first infected. There is a possibility of no symptoms at this stage or the symptoms are not clearly visible. The bacteria are dormant in your system at this stage and might go away without treatment.

Credit to A.D.A.M.
Syphilis Primary stage


  •  Secondary stage-Secondary syphilis occurs about 2-8 weeks after the first sores form. The bacteria are dormant in your system and might go away without treatment.

Credit to unknown.
Syphilis Secondary stage (Finger)
  • Tertiary stage- is the final stage of syphilis. The infection spreads to the brain, nervous system, heart, skin, and bones. The dormant bacteria may be detectable either by seeing the damage they cause to a part of the body, or through a blood test for syphilis.

Credit to unknown.
Tertiary Syphilis (hand)

 Treatments Antibiotics are an effective treatment for syphilis. The antibiotic of choice is penicillin. Doxycycline is used to those who are allergic to penicillin.


Life as a means to an end (Movie Spoiler)

April 4, 2010

I haven’t updated but last week I wanted to write about this movie I watched. The movie is called “Miss Evers’ Boys” directed by Joseph Sargent. Heres the  excerpt from the back of the movie case.

Based on the shocking true story. Miss Evers’ Boys exposes a 40 year government backed medical research effort on humans which led to tragic consequences. it is 1932 when loyal, devoted Nurse Eunice Evers is invited to work with Dr. Brodus and Dr. Douglas on a federally funded program to treat syphilis patients in Alabama. Free treatment is offered to those who test positive for the disease , including Caleb Humphries and Willie Johnson. But when the government withdraws its funding, money is offered for what will become known as “The Tuskegee Experiment”; a study of the effects of syphilis on patients who don’t receive treatment. Now the men must be led to believe they are being cared for, when in fact they are being denied the medicine that could cure them. Miss Evers is faced with a terrible dilemma – to abandon the experiment and tell her patients or to remain silent and offer only comfort. it is a life or death decision that will dictate the course not only for her life, but the lives of all of Miss Evers’ Boys.

Talk about being unethical, I think this movie fits perfectly with it. I really like this movie, not the plot of what happened but the concept of what the government would do to the people and how would people react to this. This movie greatly explains the principle of Utilitarianism by Jeremy Bentham, which is  to provide the greatest happiness to the greatest number. I personally hate this principle, but unfortunately it has the greatest effect in the shortest time.  In my opinion with many, suggested this principle to be a violation of human rights. Especially if you are a doctor, you are responsible for the health of your patients if you know anything that harms them or a way to cure them, you are to enact upon it and do your job. Syphilis isn’t a joke, it can lead to major damage to an individual eventually leading to death. “The Tuskegee Experiment” was a study from 1932-1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service, they recruited 399 African-American with high hopes of getting cured of Syphilis. This study was not a study that mainly focuses on curing the African-American but to justify how blacks and whites are the same and have the same natural progression of the untreated disease. I thought this “experiment” “study” was stupid, unethical, unreasonable, unnecessary and un-everything. Those 399 African-American were deceived into thinking they were getting a cure in no time but even when penicillin, an effective antibiotic treatment was created, it was not provided to them. Basically they were test subjects, they were people who live life as a means to an end.  By the end of the study after people finally spoke up and voices are heard, 74 of the 399 African-American was alive, many of them affected their wives and children as well. 

After watching this movie, this law became one of my favorite. The National Research Act signed on July 12 1974 enacted by the 93rd U.S Congress. It created the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research to oversee and regulate the use of human experimentation in medicine. It was partly a response to the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study.
-Joe Li


A brand new start…

March 25, 2010

You know how many people wants a brand new start? A chance to change everything and have a new beginning. I don’t want that…I love the position where I stand. I appreciate all the lessons that I have learned. I am thankful to each and every person in my life. Regardless, the good and the bad experience, the pleasurable and painful moments, and the essential and unnecessary situation among others, I am really thankful for them. If I was given a chance to change anything in my life, I wouldn’t do it. I would not change anything because I know if I change any little thing, my life would be different. I wouldn’t be sitting here, I wouldn’t have the experience I have, I wouldn’t meet the people I’ve met, I wouldn’t know the stuff I’ve learned, I wouldn’t have the goal I strive to achieve,and I wouldn’t have the determination and motivation that I have gained among others.

I think life is very simple and doesn’t have to be so complicated. Life is fragile, that’s why it need protection. I look at life very optimistically, probably because of this quote from my coordinator.

“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.”

A positive attitude towards anything, I mean anything is beneficially and would never harm you nor anyone. Yeah, life is hard and sometimes very unfair. But what could you do? If there is something you could do about it, do it… but think about the future and the consequences, and think about if its necessary or unnecessary. Do you need it? would it help you? Is it beneficial? And most importantly, would it hurt you? Would it hurt others? I am not persuading you into applying yourself into these “morals” “rules” and whatever you call them. This is how MY life works and is how I live.

Well, this post wasn’t suppose to be a lecture. I was planning to rant about what I think, but I guess its relevant in a way. Here I go.

You know the feeling where you get when going into a new school? Ex. from High school to College. That exciting feeling but also scary. I’m currently going through that psychological phase right now. Despite all my “life is not complicated” and “morals”, I am very very indecisive. This is all due to the fact that I think so much about the future. Today, I was browsing through my e-mail and I got my acceptance letter to Hunter College. I am currently in my 2nd year at College of Staten Island, and I love it there. During these 2 years of college, I have built many relationship, gained many connections, made many friends, taken many opportunities, learned even more about the advantages of this school and learned to love this college. Now with this chance to attend Hunter College, I am scared to attend this college and start over again. (meaning I have to make new connections, make new friends, find out all the opportunities, and more.) Why do I want to transfer? For several reasons that aren’t really good enough, but acceptable. For convenience, to challenge myself, for my major of Anthropology, and others. I’m intimidated and very reluctant of going to Hunter, but I like challenging myself therefore I am going to go for it anyway. Hope it all ends well.
-Joe Li

“Being challenged in life is inevitable; being defeated is optional”
-Roger Crawford


Stroking a stroke!

March 17, 2010

I came upon this article which I thought was pretty interesting. Here’s the link to the article. Yahoo always has their way of getting people’s attention, that’s for me at least. This article explains 7 ways of raising your risk of getting a stroke. Catchy title isn’t it?…this is what I said to myself “Oh my, I sure would like to raise my risk of getting a stroke, so I’m going to go ahead and read this.” Sarcasm….

First off, what is a stroke? Stroke is placed third for killing in the United States! Congratulations stroke! however you’re still behind heart diseases and variety of cancers. Keep up the bad work or just give up! Stroke aka “brain attack” occurs when blood circulations are inadequate or is vanquished. Due to lack of blood and oxygen, this may result in the deaths of many brain cells which would cause major brain dysfunction and damages. There are two types of stroke, one being the Ischemic stroke and the other being the Hemorrhagic stroke.

I do not own this image. Credit to unknown

Ischemic stroke: Most common stroke that causes a blockage of a blood vessel around the brain.
Three types of conditions:

  • Thrombosis-forms a clot within a blood vessel.
  • Embolism-clot that was move from another part of the body such as the heart.
  • Stenosis-narrowing of an artery toward or around the brain.

Credit to Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Hemorragic Stroke: Bleeding into the brain
Two main types:

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage-uncontrolled bleeding on the surface of the brain between the brain and the skull.
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage-ruptured artery deep within the brain.

I do not own this image. Credit to Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

How do you get this disease? The article stated 7 ways to raise your risk of getting a stroke, which is somewhat analogous to getting the disease. Here are some risk factors in getting a stroke among others:

  • High cholesterol rate
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive amount of alcohol intake

Also according to the article, here are some additional risk factor of getting a stroke:

  • High-fat diet
  • Being single
  • Being unhappy
  • Being obese
  • Being born in wrong demographic
  • Being a born and bred Southerner

So, in order to prevent yourself from the risk of getting a stroke; change your diet by cutting down on meat (this also helps prevents animal cruelty), quit or limit smoking and the consumption of alcohol, exercise more often (you can never go wrong with that), find a significant other (don’t be single!), make sure you are not raised near the south (not much of a choice now isn’t it?) well for future reference, don’t raise your child near the south, and “live like we’re dying” so enjoy life and do your best to be happy. Life is too fragile.

“Live like we’re dying” by Kris Allen

-Joe Li


Chondromalacia of the Patella

March 16, 2010

Chondromalacia of the Patella aka Runner’s knee- This injury is common to runners or people who jogs.

"Runner's Knee" 

What is it? Chondromalacia of the Patella is basically the articular cartilage being worn out or torn down around the patella. Wearing down of the articular cartilage would result in pain or inflammation due to the fact that this cartilage helps cushion three bones: the Patella, the Femur, and the Tibia, the cartilage also allows these three bones to move freely and easily.

How do you get this injury? Based on my research, you can get it from improper ways of running, direct trauma on your knee, muscle imbalances, repeated pressure or too much force on the knee and simply overuse of the knee.

Symptoms: Sounds made from the knee such as crackling or grinding/Sharp pain/pain from sitting for a long period/pain from walking or using the stairs

Treatments: Resting/refrain from applying pressure to knee/Ice/when better, quadriceps and hamstring strengthening/limit sport activities/surgery on extreme case

-Joe Li


Typical exercise that ended bad.

March 16, 2010

So, today I went to Caesar’s Bay to jog for about an hour. This is irrelevant but I can’t wait untill I get to show off my body. Hahas just kidding (maybe not).  Anyways, this is my second time jogging since this year started. I feel really healthy considering the fact that I have started my morning exercise routine around 2 months ago, started jogging at Caesar’s bay and I haven’t done anything negative that affects my health…. except eating junk food, which is bad. As I was jogging today, I encountered a slight problem with my right knee, it started hurting as I was jogging. Unfortunately as stubborn as I am, I thought it was nothing so I didn’t give up running therefore, I kept going with my unknown injured knee. So as I came home, I had to suffer the consequences while walking up 3 flights of stairs. Every step I took has granted me a sharp pain on the right posterior lateral side of my patella. From a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being the worst, I would say the pain rating would be around 8. Personally I think that it was pretty serious. I decided to research about it and I come upon this minor injury call Chondromalacia of the Patella aka Runner’s knee."Runner's Knee" This injury is common to runners or people who jogs (like me but not really).

Chondromalacia of the Patella is basically the articular cartilage being worn out or torn down around the patella. Wearing down of the articular cartilage would result in pain or inflammation due to the fact that this cartilage helps cushion three bones: the Patella, the Femur, and the Tibia, the cartilage also allows these three bones to move freely and easily.

How do you get this injury? Based on my research, sadly you get it from improper ways of running which means I have to work on my jog, you can also get it from direct trauma on your knee, muscle imbalances (I think that might also be my case since I have “chicken legs”) and repeated pressure on the knee.

As of right now, it really sucks to live on the third floor, my right knee hurts so much that I have to walk up and down the stairs only with my left leg while dragging my right leg. I hope my knee heals by tomorrow, I do not want to walk around  College of Staten Island’s campus limping, and considering the fact that the campus is huge, that would be like torture right there!

Despite the fact that I injured my knee, I was impressed with my jogging result. It took me around 20 minutes to get to the Verrazano bridge and around 25 minutes coming back. It’s usually the other way around but my knee started to hurt a lot coming back so I had to take a break.

By the way, here’s some pictures of where I jog.

Seems so far… I think it’s around 3 miles?

 I probably saw them. Cute couple…

Isn’t this picture beautiful? I wish I could take pictures like that. See that road? I passed that.

I am surprised that I actually typed this much… but this is it. Beautiful weather! Enjoy.

-Joe Li