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Author Topic: Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?  (Read 3449 times)

Offline swadewade8

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To all the scientific community concerned:

     I am not a scientist but, I do have an I.Q. of 129+.  Not a genius according to the I.Q. scale so, I guess you can take this with a grain of salt if you will...  Here is my solution to all diseases that plague mankind.  It turns out that the "aids" virus got figured out within itself by looking at the components of the virus itself and taking steps to 'finally eradicating' by isolating each of the components and disabling by attacking certain properties of the virus which renders the aids virus benign.  What I don't get is how come this is not part of the scientific program overall in order to eradicate all diseases.  One thing I know is when you want to solve a problem, you have to look at the individual components that comprise the problem.  Does this not make sense to anyone?  If a certain part of the problem (disease in this case)is disabled, then there is no disease, right?  Why is this so complicated?   


 

Offline cheryl j

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #1 on: 28/10/2011 09:09:39 »
Well I think that is basically what they do, but its easier said than done. One thing that makes viruses difficult to attack is that they dont have many components to target. They are basically protein capsules with DNA or RNA in them. You cant screw up their metabolism, because they dont have one. You can't attack cellular components (like the cell wall that a bacteria has) because they dont have one. You may not even be able to vaccinate (like you can with polio virus) because not all antibodies generated by the body are sufficiently protective. And its especially hard to go after a virus that mutates a lot, because the immune system no longer recognizes it, or the drugs no longer have the same effect on the new strain. And the kicker with AIDs is, the virus destroys immune cells, the very cells that the body relys on to fight an infection.

As far as age related diseases go, even if you understand the components or the cause, that doesnt necessarily mean you can reverse the damage that has been done and regenerate new tissue, although that is one objective of stem cell research.

Cancer is also a tricky disease to treat. Its basically a chain reaction of errors in the genes that control cell division. Its difficult to design drugs that affect the cell division of cancer cells, without having any affect on normal cells. As far as I know, they havent figure out how to turn off a gene or correct errors in the DNA in cells.
 

Offline imatfaal

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #2 on: 28/10/2011 09:55:30 »
First off welcome to the forum Swadewade and Cheryl.  The question is a bit like saying football is just kicking a ball - how hard can it be?  Things are very simple when you look on them from the outside - and virology etc are a lot more complicated than might seem.  Cheryl give a bunch of good reasons why we cannot just wipe out all disease - but one main reason is that every step is fiercely difficult, it is difficult to link the steps together, and we only have a finite and dwindling set of resources

 

Offline swadewade8

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #3 on: 29/10/2011 03:31:49 »
Thanks Cheryl and Imatfaal as I appreciate your input.  I do believe it can be complicated when trying to figure out solutions to problems but, at the same time I believe sometimes a simplistic answer could be overlooked when trying to view with a microscope. :)
 

Offline CliffordK

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #4 on: 29/10/2011 09:09:46 »
The question is a bit like saying football is just kicking a ball - how hard can it be?

Is that an American Football or a British Football, because someone who is very good at kicking an American Football might be piss-poor at kicking a British Football or visa-versa.

Likewise, the solution for one disease might not suffice for another disease.

AIDS is particularly troublesome as there isn't a good vaccine.  And, it has such a high mutation rate, that it will rapidly mutate in a single infected individual if it is treated with a single drug, or inconsistent dosing regimen.  But, perhaps the effort to cure AIDS has helped the growth of virology studies.

Vaccines can knock down the prevalence of a disease to almost nothing, but it has to be done on a global scale.  Measles, Mumps, and Rubella have been virtually wiped out in the USA with vaccinations, but they certainly wouldn't be wiped out on a global scale so there is always a risk of re-introduction.

The varicella vaccine has knocked down the Chickenpox virus.  However, Chickenpox can go dormant in carriers for as long as 80 years, then crop up again and be infectious.  So, it would truly take a global effort for a century or more to wipe it out.  There is still some debate on how the varicella vaccine will affect the second phase of the disease, shingles.

The flu virus also has a high mutation rate...  but has a few top strains each year.  So, a vaccine has to be updated to cover the predicted most prevalent strains every year.  Being highly contagious with a high mutation rate, and the ability to repeatedly catch similar, but different strains would mean that it will be nearly impossible to wipe it out.

Malaria is passed from individual to individual by mosquitoes.  In theory, if one could stop the mosquito bites for a year, one could wipe out the disease, but that is easier said than done.

Rabies is carried by wild canines, skunks, and bats.  It is difficult to wipe it out in the carrier population.

Mad Cow disease is one of the very few communicable diseases that can spontaneously occur without contact to a diseased individual.  And, then this disease can be passed on including passing it to humans.

Staph Epidermis is generally an ubiquitous bacteria that is generally not pathogenic.  It is carried by essentially 100% of humans.  And, it may even provide some protection from problems such as yeast infections and overgrowth.  However, it can be an acute emergency if the bacteria ever infects an implant such as an artificial joint, or bone pin.

Polio is one of the diseases that has been in the news recently with a global effort to eradicate the disease.  For the vaccine to be effective, it needs to be given in multiple doses, something that can be difficult to do on a global scale.  There are two different vaccines.  Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is a live, attenuated virus, and is perhaps the easiest to dose and most effective vaccine.  However, there is a very rare complication that there are a few children a year that get vaccine associated polio.  Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) uses a dead version of the actual polio virus, so it can not cause people to get the disease.  However, it is less effective than OPV, and requires multiple doses which may not be easy to do in a 3rd world nation.

Anyway, there is a plethora of different diseases.  Each is unique.  There may be some overlap in general treatment, but not everything that will work for one will also work for the other.
 

Offline swadewade8

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #5 on: 03/11/2011 00:19:27 »
I have received great input so far regarding the intricacies of many diseases.  Thanks to all who have responded to what I have asked.  I hope this helps anyone as I have another input I would like to add:  One thing I noticed when diseases are found there always seems to be some type of constant.  As far as aids goes, it turns out that the 'cholesterol' portion (from what I have read so far)can be eliminated and render the ever mutating and evolving AIDS virus vulnerable in order to be eradicated by the immune system.  There is something else I would like to add concerning this as I have heard this before:  If you are too close to the trees you can't see the forest.  Please correct me or add if you like..  I love to learn about new things.  One can either accept or reject but, one must have proof on order to do so.  Right?         
 

Offline imatfaal

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #6 on: 03/11/2011 08:53:59 »
I think you are being more than a little unfair on those researching the potential cures for diseases.  We do not receive handbooks and specifications provided with these diseases and the bacterial/viral carriers  - and the molecular structure is something that needs to be understood through many half hints, vague clues and guesses by inspired and dedicated professionals
 

Offline swadewade8

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #7 on: 04/11/2011 23:51:44 »
You are right I think I am being a bit unfair.  Like I said I am not a scientist but I would love to see all diseases exorcised in order to make our world a better one for all.  I am sure the scientists involved feel the same otherwise they would not be doing what they do.  My hat is off to all who do.  I have to thank god I have not yet been afflicted and hope I never will with anything as of yet.  I thought I would try to add a new perspective in hopes of helping maybe someone to think in a new direction indirectly.:) Kinda like on many discoveries are made by happenstance through other means.  Thanks again for your input as you are right.
     
 

Offline CliffordK

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #8 on: 05/11/2011 03:57:34 »
Can we eradicate all "diseases"?  Infectious, genetic, metabolic, structural, etc. 

Do we want to extend lifetimes to 300 years? 
Could the Earth support 300 year lifespans without serious population control measures?

I certainly don't want 50 years of "quality life", and 250 years of being a babbling idiot!!!  If my brain becomes toast... then to me, my life is over.

We get so intense on conservation of life, that sometimes we forget those individuals that are just waiting to die.  Pneumonia, for example, has often been called "The Old Man's Friend".
 

Offline swadewade8

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #9 on: 06/11/2011 01:17:38 »
I do appreciate the input Clifford.  I can see your concerns as I have felt this way also.  Yes I am quite sure one day our planet will be fully populated one day.  Maybe, maybe not. I guess it may depend on scientific advances we make as a people in order to advance.  The more people, the more potential a possibility will arise in order to advance that could exponentially change our every day lives more so than ever if that individual had not contracted that deadly virus or disease and died younger than expected.  Imagination plays a role here too of course.  From what I noticed the older I get the more thought and imagination I receive through learning and everyday life in which enables me to tie things together through experience and allows me wisdom in which to elaborate.  If it was me on the list of the ill fated I know I would not be happy s I can only imagine you would feel the same way.  What about those that are in their prime and still have so much to potentially give?  I mean no disrespect to you Clifford.  I hope you don't see it as though I do.  I do understand the implications of having the norms of "attrition" one could call it but who decides?  There are incredible people out there who don't get the opportunity to change their lives or ours for that matter. 
 

Offline CliffordK

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Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #10 on: 06/11/2011 07:19:38 »
Yes I am quite sure one day our planet will be fully populated one day.
I believe the day where the planet is "fully populated" is today.

Yes, there is some land that isn't covered by crops.  Some wilderness.  Is the grass that deer eat "wasted"?

Yes, you can drive through Kansas and see open fields without houses....  but those open fields are our FOOD CROPS.

There are many people who believe that our energy consumption is unsustainable, and potentially causing critical damage to our environment.  At least we are making changes that we do not yet fully understand. 

What will happen in 100 years if the population doubles again (14 billion), and all our coal and oil run out?

As far as curing all the diseases...  yes, I would like to see certain diseases that cause extraordinary pain and suffering eradicated.  It might be nice to even rid ourselves of the common cold and flu. 

However, I don't wish to see us all live in a sterile environment like the boy in the bubble. 

Many organisms are only marginally problematic if maintained in balance.  For example, we have both yeast and bacterial skin colonies.  Get rid of one, and one gets overgrowth of the other.

In the future, will I be one that will fight for those last few breaths...  I don't know.  But, at this point, I don't want my life maintained beyond the point where I know who I am or where I am, whether that means succumbing to a potentially treatable illness, or leaving this world in some other way.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Why are any/deadly diseases so hard to figure out?
« Reply #10 on: 06/11/2011 07:19:38 »

 

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