What I'm Reading (Nov. 3)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Nov 03, 2022
The Fungus among us Standup comedy as an evolutionary advantage The GOAT pays it forward one more time, Ali and Parkinson’s Did Garlic Protect Rasputin?
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

"Fungi are the 'forgotten' infectious disease. They cause devastating illnesses but have been neglected so long that we barely understand the size of the problem," said Dr. Justin Beardsley, of the University of Sydney Infectious Diseases Institute, in a statement. Dr. Beardsley led the WHO Fungal Priority Pathogens List's study group.

The priority list breaks down 19 of the most common fungal pathogens into three priority tiers based upon surveys and discussions with fungal infectious disease experts. The most dangerous is the "critical group," which contains just four fungal pathogens: Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans and Candida auris.”

Even though COVID and now influenza remain doggedly not in our rearview mirror, up urps another pathogen, fungi. Although much rarer than bacterial or viral infections, they do occur. Fun fact, a study suggests that one of the reasons we have a body temperature of 98.6 is that it is the sweet spot where we are energetically efficient and have the least risk of fungal infections. As your temperature drops, the risk of fungal infection rises.

From NPR, WHO releases list of threatening fungi. The most dangerous might surprise you


“The laughter in Mr. Reagan’s 5th-grade classroom lasted just a handful of seconds before he ordered me to turn myself into the principal’s office. But that was all the time I needed to feel a bit more closely connected with my classmates.”

Why do we laugh? What is so funny? Nautil.us considers the evolutionary advantage of a good laugh; Why Is That Funny?


“In the late 1970s, Ali’s family members noted slowness. On October 2, 1980, prior to his last fight against Larry Holmes, because of health concerns, Ali was required to have a prefight medical examination at the Mayo Clinic. Despite an abnormal examination, he was allowed to fight and video footage revealed decreased movement on his left side.”

Muhammed Ali, the first and genuinely GOAT, had Parkinson’s disease. Was it due to boxing, a common narrative? His doctors speak out, honoring the “Goldwater” rule and not speaking about the medical conditions of individuals they have not examined. From JAMA Neurology, Muhammad Ali and Young-Onset Idiopathic Parkinson Disease—The Missing Evidence


“Though Rasputin had already survived an attack two years prior when a woman stabbed him in the chest, he seemed almost invincible on the night of his death. Especially after his assassins slipped potassium cyanide into his wine, and he didn’t keel over. However, he eventually succumbed to death after being shot, and his bullet-laden body was dumped into the frozen Neva River.

For more than a century, historians have wondered, did he really survive the poisoning? Or was it just another rumor about Rasputin? A new theory suggests that Rasputin could have survived the poisoning due to his high garlic consumption.”

Could it be that garlic offers some protection from cyanide? The science says yes, at least according to this piece from Discover Magazine, Garlic May Have Saved Rasputin From Just One Assassination.

Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA

Director of Medicine

Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., MBA, FACS is Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. He has over 25 years of experience as a vascular surgeon.

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