Tag Archives: leroy

Your Top 5 Posts for Feb 11th

The Super Bowl dominated the first half of this week, followed by a lot of bad news the rest of the week. But our Jillian Seaton knocked it out of the park with two really interesting article this week, so I guess you could say she’s this site’s savior of the week!

I was sick Wednesday, so there’s not a lot of linking going on. Sorry! But I hope you all enjoy this list of links and I’ll see you next week!
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Copyright Run Amok: Chrysler’s Superbowl ad blocked on their own YouTube channel » DragonFlyEye.Net

The real losers in Super Bowl XLVI were the people who insist on watching just for the commercials.

Amazing but true: about the only commercial most Super Bowl watchers agreed was awesome got blocked on the Chrysler YouTube channel because the NFL disputed the copyright on…. well, what, exactly? Maybe the word “half time.”

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The refreshing taste of carbonated water, sugar and flame retardant » DragonFlyEye.Net

Pictured above: death in carbonated form.

Ah! The delights of factory-made food! Jillian Seaton gives us a glimpse into some of the uglier facets of Mountain Dew, including melted mice and flame retardant.

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Hard-boiled egg recall expands, eggs in 33 states » WebWire.com

Pictured above: death in ovarian form

The story started out that Wegmans was recalling hard-boiled eggs. It now appears that a single supplier sold eggs that show traces of lysteria to several grocers in as many as 33 states.

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Food packaging plant Cryovac closes, 180 jobs cut » 13WHAM.com

Pictured above: death in small business form

As if the City of Rochester could use more bad news this week, a local food packaging producer announced this week that they will be closing their doors, leaving 180 employees without jobs. This is especially tough because they’re manufacturing jobs, and those are getting increasingly hard to find within city limits.

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Lake Ontario’s Very Own Nessie – Could a ‘Sea Monster’ Appear on Charlotte Beach? » DragonFlyEye.Net

Dead.

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water – well, ok, not altogether “safe,” exactly. This is Lake Ontario we’re talking about here.. Well, erm. Pig-dog weird thing washes ashore on the Canadian side. Just read it.

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Your Top 5 Posts for February 4th, 2012: Erin Brockovich, Ashleigh Banfield and Miss Piggy

The situation in LeRoy – the “mystery illness” if you like, or the “mystery refusal of diagnosis” if you’re more in line with my thinking – has predominated much of the time here on DFE. But that’s not to say that we didn’t have some fun. Ashleigh Banfield and the comedy of errors on CNN’s morning show starts us off, Miss Piggy jumps in Fox News’ shit, our Jillian Seaton talks condoms in schools, and a local boffin discovers a way to figure out where you live based solely on your tweets and Facebook posts… no location needed!

Have a great weekend, folks! Big things in the works for DFE, so stay tuned. Until next week:
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CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield Quizzes David Vitter Over Prostitution Scandal » Huffington Post

Could any one screen cap more perfectly capture CNN's irrelevance?

As if they hadn’t had enough after the prank calling fiasco, CNN continues to let their morning show just sort of “wing it” through their day. This time around, they brought David Vitter on to talk about Newt Gingrich for some unknown reason, then end up interviewing him about his prostitution scandal. Really? Is this why I should be tuning into CNN?

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Doctor Issues Statement About Meeting With LeRoy Teens » WGRZ.com

Photo: WGRZ.com

The list of uninvited guests in LeRoy continues to climb, but answers other than the original diagnosis – which has been so summarily dismissed by the media and parents alike – are not forthcoming. One doctor claims the girls are suffering from a condition known in some circles as PANDA.

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The grey area in LeRoy: when is a diagnosis not a diagnosis?

Thera Sanchez and Katie Krautwurst appear on the Today Show

After all the speculation, I think it might be time to reevaluate what the media wants out of this story. Trading one medical mystery for another does not get us any closer to getting the people affected by this problem better.

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What your online trends reveal about where you are   New Scientist

Little did they know: the CIA considers blended ice cream treats unamerican.

Local boffin comes up with an algorithm that can predict your location within a few hundred feet. Is he using Lo-Jack on your car? The recently-overruled GPS tracking systems the White House wanted to install? No. Just your tweets, check-ins and general townie-ness. By the way: you need to clean the cat box.

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The best rejection letter rejection, ever » Geeks are Sexy

Don't go down without a fight! Or at least, confuse the shit out of them so they think twice the next time.

We’ve all been there: after working your hands numb filling out job applications and working your mind numb going to interview after interview, sometimes that rejection letter is just too much to take. Well, one inventive job seeker decided to have a little fun with it. Hell, if it was me? I’d hire him just on the strength of this letter alone.

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The grey area in LeRoy: when is a diagnosis not a diagnosis?

The latest developments in LeRoy include the arrival and press release of a New Jersey doctor who specializes in identifying a syndrome called PANDAS (Pediatric Acute Neurological Disorder Associated with Streptococcus) or as its apparently been renamed, PANS (Pediatric Acute Neurological Syndrome). So, if we may take a step back and look at the current top contenders for culprits, we have:

  1. Mass Hysteria (a syndrome)
  2. PANS (a syndrome)
  3. An unproven link between TCE and Tourette’s-like symptoms

Doctor Trifiletti states that mass hysteria is a “diagnosis of exclusion,” basically meaning a diagnosis of last resort. But his own pet disorder is in fact no more specific than mass hysteria at all. Whereas mass hysteria is thought to be brought on by stress, PANDAS is believed to be brought on by Streptococcus (strep throat, basically). The only reason one might be perceived as better than the other is if we dismiss the idea of communicable psychological disorder.

But that the name PANDAS was changed to PANS suggests that this link, too, is in doubt. Or at least, perhaps more links have emerged. PANDAS is not even recognized officially as any kind of disorder at all.

As a person who blogs about and dearly loves science, I would never suggest that finding the actual cause of the LeRoy girls’ symptoms is unimportant. But looking at the current list of suspects, you do have to wonder what immediate benefit that answer will provide those girls and their parents?

I’ve discussed what a syndrome is before, but basically: it’s a set of symptoms with no known cause. If the three best answers include two syndromes and a potential red herring, aren’t we back where we began?

The treatment for PANDAS appears to be a course of antibiotics and vitamins. The treatment for mass hysteria is a few trips to the psychologist and maybe a course of anti-anxiety medication. The treatment for the TCE “intoxication” would probably depend on whether or not that actually exists.

Maybe its time to focus on getting those kids better.

LeRoy mass hysteria: what is trychloroethylene?

The big news this weekend in LeRoy has been about Erin Brockovich and a camera crew being ordered off LeRoy High School property after having attempted what appears to be – for lack of a better word – a guerrilla soil sample. Mrs. Brockovich says that she’s looking into a chemical spill that happened some forty years ago involving trychloroethylene. The @DandC reports that traces of trychloroethylene (TCE) can still be found in the water there.

What, then, is trychloroethylene?

TCE is a very commonly-used solvent whose primary function is removing grease and oil off machined parts in factories. It is what’s known as a “Volatile Organic Compound,” which basically means that, when exposed to air, it generally evaporates off.

TCE is definitely some serious stuff, causing burns on the skin and respiratory problems for those exposed to it for long stretches without proper ventilation or safety equipment. It does also cause problems in the nervous system, but according to the Department of Environmental Protection, these symptoms include dizziness, sleepiness, confusion and blurred vision. If those symptoms sound a lot like what happens when you’re exposed to any type of fumes, that’s because they are.

There are not, however, any official documents anywhere that I can find that suggest even the remotest possibility of Tourette’s-like symptoms from exposure to TCE. Even more dubious: 12 girls and 1 boy out of approximately 700 would have to have been particularly exposed to TCE in a way that the rest were not. Way back at the beginning of this exercise, it was determined that the kids did not seem to have the same classes in common.

Anything is possible and we’ll have to see how things play out. But on a list of potential suspects for the LeRoy girl’s condition, I’d have to put TCE at the bottom of the barrel.

For more information about what TCE is and does, here’s a few links to get you started:

“Mass Hysteria” in Leroy: not the only case?

By now, most of us have heard a fair amount about the girls in LeRoy who all simultaneously came down with the same mysterious symptoms and suffered with them for four months or so. The symptoms resembled those of Tourette’s Syndrome, a complex neurological disorder that is usually identified by motor and verbal tics.

In this case, the girls were all tested for a battery of potential causes, from drugs to environmental causes like CO2 or other pollutants. All came up negative. In short: no solution to the mysterious problem that came as fast as it went.

Earlier today, the Buffalo News reported that a professor at U of Buffalo, Dr. Lichter, identified one possible culprit as being “mass hysteria.” This diagnosis has been met with a fair amount of skepticism, and its pretty hard to imagine a group of people all suffering from the same affliction without there being some specific epidemiological cause. Specifically of the physical kind.

But as it turns out, mass hysteria is an acknowledged syndrome in the medical community which has been studied more deeply in recent years. Previously, mass hysteria has not received as much attention as it’s currently getting, which in part explains the lack of information and the public’s resistance to it as a diagnosis.

In fact, here is a report from 2004 outlining an almost identical case in North Carolina. In this case, 10 girls of various backgrounds and health conditions all came down with seizures symptoms similar in this case to syncope – a condition wherein the patient loses consciousness due to loss of blood when they stand up.

In both cases, the girls are similar in age and go to the same school, but this is where the similarities stop. They are of different ethnic backgrounds, don’t share classrooms despite being in a very small rural school – yet another similarity to the LeRoy case.

One thought that jumps out in my head is: Is it possible these girls maybe are doing a drug for which we cannot screen, such as the currently-popular fake weed and bath salts? In the North Carolina case, they don’t appear to have tested for drugs at all, merely asked. But in the case of the LeRoy students, they appear to have been tested.

I don’t mean to say that they *were* doing these drugs, just wondering if bath salts and similar compounds could be tested for. I’ll have to look into that.

In the meanwhile, it bears mentioning that a “syndrome” is not a disease: syndrome is a word the medical community uses to denote a collection of symptoms for which a specific cause has not yet been identified. Chronic sleep disorder, Tourettes and Mass Hysteria all fall under these categories.

They may all eventually have a specific cause attributed to them. Or perhaps not. But in looking for clues, its important to understand that not every puzzle yet has a solution.