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Ills and illness

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726655.  Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:00 am Reply with quote

In slang terms to be ill means "to be wild or crazy" although, as with a lot of slang, it can also mean the opposite, "to be chillin'".

Accordong to "The Wonder of Whiffling and Other Extraordinary Words in the English Language" by Adam Jacot de Boinod, to be ill can also mean to be taken in for questioning by the police*.

"Have you seen Fred?"

"No, he's ill."

"I'm sorry to hear that. What's wrong?"

"He fell downstairs."

"That's terrible. When did that happen".

"Sometime in the next couple of hours I expect."

Ian Dunn
736190.  Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:06 am Reply with quote

On 16 August 1951 the residents of the French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit all fell ill with hallucinations. At the time it was blamed on a bakery whose bread had been affected by ergot.

However, new evidence has come to light which may suggest it was actually caused by LSD that was spread by the CIA.

Source: BBC

748690.  Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:01 am Reply with quote

I've always wondered...when you're ill with a simple cold or fever, do your senses slow down ever so slightly? It seemed to occur while watching this week's episode - the theme tune played a tiny bit slower to me.

748725.  Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:18 am Reply with quote

Or speed up. If the theme seems slow perhaps it's because your perception is racing ahead (as per pigeons watching The Matrix).

749148.  Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:59 am Reply with quote

This prompted a memory long buried.
I hit a taxi, on my motorbike, at about 40mph. I had the brakes on, there wasn't distance enough to slow very much. I could see it was inevitable that I was going to collide.
Everything slowed down tremendously. I felt a heat in my belly so intense, I almost looked down to see what was happening - I later surmised it was adrenaline concentrating blood flow, or something.
The processing power of the brain under extreme stress is quite impressive. Even as I was catapulted over the handlebars (my grip was so strong I bent them and pulled off the rubber grips) I heard the smashing of glass, "That's my headlight", the silence of my engine, "I wonder what this sort of impact does to the piston rods". I landed on the road shoulder/crash helmet first, rolled and stood up, "Tah dah!" (ok I didn't think that!).

Anyway, this doesn't really come under I, unless you say Impact, but it is Interesting that our perception of time can be so dilated (to borrow a physics term).
Internal Clock!
Is that a potential area of Interest? As has been already alluded to, a previous QI touched on this with pigeons & snails, but there may be mileage in studying the Human Internal Clock.
Was it the same QI which mentioned a study where one group were frightened by a loud noise, which halved their reaction times? I remember seeing some footage of the experiment, so perhaps not.

749263.  Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:46 pm Reply with quote

I wonder if it's something to do with the impact of adrenaline on the nervous system?

749311.  Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:36 am Reply with quote

Maybe fever accelerates the metabolism?

As a teenager I saw a friend get hit by a car (not seriously, thank goodness) and it all seemed to go in extreme slow motion.

Even just tripping over and falling down, it seems to be ages before you hit the floor. I think it's been experimentally confirmed that adrenaline has this time-dilation effect. You take in and react to far more information per millisecond.

749363.  Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:02 am Reply with quote

There was a programme about perception of time on Radio 4 last week, featuring an experiment in which they played very quick sounds to people being given an adrenalin rush by being put on a roller-coaster ride (or something like that). IIRC the subjects did not experience the sounds any more than they did without the stimulus, ie there was no observable time dilation effect at work in this particular experiment.

749406.  Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:28 am Reply with quote

They think that the brain expands the memory card by 36% during adrenalin rushes. Everything is a new experience and the brain are so busy recording all the exiting events, that time seems to slow like 36%

-I think they should try Mescaline..

749424.  Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:37 am Reply with quote

I'm under the impression that it is well documented that life or death adrenaline rushes have this time-dilation (if we're going to use that term) effect.
It's a terrible curse, the TV, long may it remain. I recall interviews on the goggle-box with survivors of grounded aeroplane fires, where time slows down and those pushing and fighting to get out have tunnel vision and only see in black and white.
The explanation for this is that colour processing takes longer, so it's dumped for greater visual processing. I think survivors also reported being aware of much greater detail within the tunnel. Conversely I also remember that they had a much greater recall of details in the wider scene. I'm not sure if this was stages of the event experienced by one individual, or differing accounts by multiple survivors.

749999.  Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:44 am Reply with quote

Here's an interesting experiment showing a time-dilation effect in a non-life-and-death situation.

There's a very ancient reflex causing anxiety when anything is seen "looming" (rapidly taking up more and more of the field of vision). An image looming on a screen seems to be taken as enough of a threat to cause a slight time dilation.

750050.  Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:54 am Reply with quote


I had measles when I was a child and one of my most vivid memories is of the extreme deja vu I had for a whole day. I assume it was because I had a fever. It was certainly very weird and not unenjoyable.

750180.  Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:52 pm Reply with quote

It's been shown that all that's happening is that more stuff is being recorded. You can't actually perceive things you couldn't normally perceive. You just remember more. Listen to this story from a recent Radiolab episode from NPR. It's in section #1 on "Falling Time", although section #3 on "Falling Cats" is pretty interesting, too. Those, and the hypnic jerks.


752045.  Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:35 pm Reply with quote

Something I read in a sample chapter from a book today:

For example, far more people die each year from adverse reactions to prescription and over-the-counter medications than succumb to all illegal drug use. Illicit drugs kill anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 Americans a year. The estimates for U.S. deaths from legal drugs have ranged from 45,000 to over 200,000 per year, which represents 2 to 9 percent of the 2.3 million people who die annually, thereby qualifying as at least the sixth leading cause of death in America, and possibly as high as the third-behind only heart disease and cancer. Of course, many people take many medications without experiencing such problems, which are referred to as "adverse drug reactions" in the United States, "medication misadventures" in the U.K. and "drug-induced sufferings" in Japan. But according to studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), as many as 11 percent of all hospital admissions are the result of adverse drug reactions, or ADRs, as they are often called. More than one-quarter of all inpatients have adverse reactions to the drugs they are given in the hospital-many the result of preventable medication errors-which makes ADRs the leading cause of in-hospital injury.

In America more people die each year from reactions to the drugs they get in the hospital than are killed in automobile accidents. (Some 10 percent of all auto accidents involve drivers impaired by medications.) Outpatients are victimized in greater numbers in another way by drug reactions: they stop taking their pills after being spooked by annoying side effects, neglect to tell their doctors, and are then hurt or killed by the untreated illness.

Source: Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs by Stephen Fried.


753191.  Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:03 am Reply with quote


The hysterical reaction among Eskimo peoples known as pibloktoq, one of a group of aberrant behaviors occurring among Arctic and Circumarctic societies termed 'arctic hysterias', has been explained by a variety of theories: ecological, nutritional, biological-physiological, psychological-psychoanalytic, social structural and cultural. This study hypothesizes the possible implication of vitamin intoxication, namely, hypervitaminosis A, in the etiology of some cases of pibloktoq. Its biocultural approach implicates elements of several explanatory classes, which are not mutually exclusive. Experimental and clinical studies of nonhumans and humans reveal somatic and behavioral effects of hypervitaminosis A which closely parallel many of the symptoms reported for Western patients diagnosed as hysterical and Inuit sufferers of pibloktoq. Eskimo nutrition provides abundant sources of vitamin A and lays the probable basis in some individuals for hypervitaminosis A through ingestion of livers, kidneys, and fat of arctic fish and mammals, where the vitamin often is stored in poisonous quantities. Possible connections between pibloktoq and hypervitamonosis A are explored. A multifactorial framework may yield a more compelling model of some cases of pibloktoq than those that are mainly unicausal, since, among other things, the disturbance has been reported for males and females, adults and children, and dogs.

I'm looking forward to the episode of "House" that has this one.


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