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Take Our Word For It NOE No. 16  Melanie Crowley
 Jan 31, 2004 23:30 PST 

Take Our Word For It NOE No. 16

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We're back again, but we have to be brief! Mike's lecturing in
Vancouver, BC and Melanie is off to another trial. Busy busy busy!

**This Week's NOE**

We were discussing some diseases that are making a comeback in the 21st
century (gosh, what an uplifting conversation, eh?) and polio came up.
We got to wondering about the derivation of that word. Is it a
corruption of poly-something? We knew that polio was a truncated form
of the disease name, and we both said, "Oh, yeah!" when reminded that
the full form is poliomyelitis. Before we leave the short form, let us
tell you that it dates in writing from only 1930. The full form dates
from 1878. That is not surprising if you are aware that the disease was
first clinically described as late as 1789! At that time British doctor
Michael Underwood called it "debility of the lower extremities".

Poliomyelitis is a learned term from Greek polios "grey" and myelos
"marrow" plus -itis "inflammation". This is a reference to the fact
that, in severe cases of the disease, the gray matter of the spinal cord
is inflamed. Robert K. Barnhart notes that the disease was previously
(1843) known as infantile paralysis (because it most often affected
children). Edmund Sass, Ed.D., says that the disease has also gone by
other names, such as Heine-Medin's disease, debility of the lower
extremities (Underwood), and spinal paralytic paralysis. Note that most
people who contract polio suffer only mild symptoms and do not even
realize they're ill! Only when the virus (yes, it is caused by a virus)
is able to get to the central nervous system does "true polio" result.

The good news is that there is a vaccine available to prevent the
disease! The bad news is that not everyone is vaccinated.

**Laughing Stock**

We're running low! Send yours in!


We are pretty sure that you all knew that "volano" in last week's e-mail
newsletter was supposed to be "volcano". Oops!

**Next Issue**

We should be back next weekend.

Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike

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