I first wrote this article in 2013, yet it continues to be one of the top read articles on this blog. I’m not sure why, it may be because the outbreak was blamed on many factors that cross paths with internet conspiracies about health. Like vaccines.
Since this article about the LeRoy neurological disorders is so popular, I decided to update it (and clean up the huge number of broken links). I have also looked at the recent news about “outbreak,” and I will post links to some of the more intriguing hypotheses here.
Actually, it’s not so annual, cause this is the first time I’ve done it, more or less.
I started this blog in January 2012. Just three years ago. I really didn’t know what subjects would be my focus, but it was science generally. I kind of wandered around for the first few months, before I think I hit my stride with vaccines, junk medicine, evolution (though I really need to move back into that area), and other things that captured my interest.
In January 2012, I had precisely 262 page views. For the whole month. I really thought “why bother.” For 2012, I had 184,000 page views, which still made me wonder if the effort was worth it.
In November 2014, I had over 278,000 unique page views, meaning I did more in November than I did in all of 2012. For 2014, I had nearly 1.2 million unique page views, which meant this website is ranked 278,000th in the world. OK, that sounds terrible, except that there’s 1,200,000,000 (1.2 billion if you hate counting zeroes) websites on the interwebs as of this moment. So this blog ranks in the top 0.023% of all websites on the internet. It’s no Facebook or Amazon, but then again, I have reach goals for this blog, and those aren’t it!
My goal is to provide scientific evidence for science and medicine, while doing the same against pseudoscientific myths and memes that are popular on the social networks. I do it with my style–take no prisoners, and use the highest standards of evidence. I refuse to accept a cherry-picked study that supports an a priori conclusion, when the scientific consensus, based on a mountainous body of evidence, is a formidable fortress of knowledge.
None of the teens had ever exhibited other symptoms of a neurological deficit, and most of them have subsequently recovered. Two new cases appeared in 2013, but none since.
Numerous individuals, including officials of the Monroe County and New York State Departments of Health, attorneys, antivaccination cultists, and others whose speculation ran from useful to outright delusional. Many individuals who “diagnosed” the teens without actually ever meeting them (proper diagnosis of neurodevelopment disorders requires one on one assessment, not the famous “let’s diagnose medicine over the internet). Continue reading “Update to the LeRoy (NY) teenagers’ mystery neurological illnesses”
Updating previousarticles about the group of mysterious neurological symptoms in LeRoy (NY, outside of Rochester) High School students along with a few non-students, the EPA has tested the groundwater around the high school, and it shows no contaminants including tricholoroethylene (TCE) that was spilled from a 1970’s train derailment nearby. Whatever the cause of the symptoms are, it is probably not pollutants. And the mystery continues.
Since I last wrote about the group of individuals suffering from some neurological issues in LeRoy, NY (outside of Rochester), very little new information has come to light. The junk science purveyors, such as the Age of Autism, is still trying to insinuate that vaccines have something to do with the “outbreak”, although they provide not one tiny bit of evidence supporting such a belief.
A few individuals still claim it is PANDAS, or Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections, but I am highly skeptical of physicians who self-promote their ideas outside of the standard peer-review process, and that a lot of reviews of the research into PANDAS has come out negative. As I’ve mentioned before, a recent review of research in PANDAS came to this conclusion: “Despite continued research in the field, the relationship between GAS and specific neuropsychiatric disorders (PANDAS) remains elusive. It is possible that GAS infection may be but one of the many stressors that can exacerbate tic/Tourette’s or OCD in a subset of such patients.” If there’s not even agreement that PANDAS exists, then a self-serving promotor of this particular diagnosis should be met with a high level of skepticism. Even researchers who accept PANDAS as a legitimate diagnosis, such as Susan Swedo of the NIMH, are skeptical of such a diagnosis. Continue reading “LeRoy neurological illness mystery–update 3–is it conversion disorder?”
(Updated to add more information about the anti-vaccination lunatics weighing in.)
When I write postings here, I never search google for information or sources, I always go to trusted locations for my information. For example, if I read a news article on some interesting subject, I check with the original source, usually at PubMed, for medical articles, and the original abstract (at least) for other science articles. I click on nearly every outlink in postings that I read, to confirm whether the information presented is accurate. A google search is practically useless, especially for medical articles, because the amount of cruft and junk science makes it a challenge to sort. Continue reading “LeRoy neurological illness mystery–junk science–update”
When I write postings here, I never search google for information or sources, I always go to trusted locations for my information. For example, if I read a news article on some interesting subject, I check with the original source, usually at PubMed, for medical articles, and the original abstract (at least) for other science articles. I click on nearly every outlink in postings that I read, to confirm whether the information presented is accurate. A google search is practically useless, especially for medical articles, because the amount of cruft and junk science makes it a challenge to sort.
WordPress blogs (which I use) tells the user if a blog posting was searched on google (or Yahoo…does anyone use that anymore?) Apparently, my postings about the LeRoy (NY) neurological show up on google (but not that far up the list, so people must be digging), and I was kind of surprised. This led me to do something that I just vowed I wouldn’t do, I googled it. Continue reading “LeRoy teenage neurological illness mystery–junk science everywhere”
I’ve published a few postsover the past month about a group of teenagers and one adult who are experiencing some neurological symptoms in LeRoy, NY, a small town outside of Rochester, NY. Those symptoms seem to mimic Tourette Syndrome (TS), a neuropsychiatric disorder that is characterized by multiple physical or motor tics plus at least one vocal tic. It is probably inherited, although a gene for it has not been identified. Since most of the teenagers who exhibit the symptoms attend LeRoy High School, the New York State Department of Health has carefully examined the school for any environmental issues, and have found none. Erin Brokovich, of the eponymous movie, has gotten involved and has postulated that a train wreck over 40 years ago spilled toxic chemicals, such as arsenic and trichloroethylene, which may be the cause. Continue reading “The newest cause for the LeRoy neurological issues”
Erin Brockovich is really getting involved with the cluster of alleged neurological issues in teenagers in the Leroy, NY area. The article describes the symptoms as “Tourette’s-like”, but I’m troubled by the lack of a definitive description (let alone diagnosis). Brockovich, as discussed previously, is still focused on the 1970’s train derailment which spilled arsenic and tricholorethylene. The speculation about what is causing these issues run from mass hysteria, even outright feigned behavior, to something environmental, such as vaccines or chemicals.
It’s hard to tell what’s going on. I am almost certain that during the next few days or weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will get involved, interviewing and testing the students, and trying to determine if there is some correlation and possible causal factor. We probably should wait until the real scientists get involved and provide some real analysis with evidence.