The wonders of medicine

Interesting articles and interviews by Íshildur Agla

Interview with Ásbjörg Geirsdóttir, doctor

Why did I choose Ásbjörg?

Ásbjörg Geirsdóttir was born and raised in Iceland. She is 37 years old and currently lives in Stockholm in Sweden. The reason why I chose to interview her is just because she is finished with so much of her study but it isn’t so long ago so she should be able to remember all the details I want to know about, plus she is my aunt.


Questions

1. Why did you choose to study medicine?

2. What school did you study at?

3. How long did the study take?

4. Are you/ did you specialize at anything?

5. Does much cost follow studying medicine?


The interview

I didn´t meet up with Ásbjörg for this interview since she lives in Sweden but thanks to the internet I could talk to her online. Ásbjörg is a general doctor but she is specializing in ophthalmology. The reason why she chose to study medicine is because she thought it was interesting and exciting field of work that would give her endless possibilities. Ásbjörg has studied at many schools; first she went to Menntaskóli Reykjavíkur to become a student, after that she studied medicine at Háskóli Íslands and from there she graduated as a general doctor. After graduating from HÍ she started specialization at Landsspítalinn and then she moved to Stockholm to finish her specialization there. According to Ásbjörg her study takes 14 years and now she has finished eleven of those fourteen years. The first six years she studied at HÍ then she took one year as a candidate to get the masters degree. After finishing those seven years to become a general doctor Ásbjörg took five years in general specialization in ophthalmology (she is finished with four of those five years). When she finishes those five years she will take two years in continued specialization in ophthalmology. The last seven years are really just work to get experience (almost no study in books). Thankfully she doesn´t have to pay for all these fourteen years of study, she only paid school fees at HÍ, which are about 50.000 isk/a year plus general maintenance (6x50.000=300.000 isk). After finishing HÍ there were no costs, she got salaries at her candidate year as well as when she is/was specializing. So the cost of becoming a doctor isn´t so much or at least not when you study in Iceland.

How I use sonar to navigate the world

In this video Daniel Kish tells his story about how he can “see” when he really is blind. He uses a form of echolocation and clicks his tongue and sends out flashes of sounds that jump of surfaces in the environment and return to him and by doing that he can understand the space around him. That is really interesting and that is the reason I chose this video.

Stríðið

Malaría á sér stað í nærri 100 löndum um allan heim, það tekur sinn toll á heilsu manna og leggur mikla félags- og efnahagslega byrði í þróunarlöndunum, einkum í sunnanverðri Afríku og Suður-Asíu. Áætlað era ð 207 milljónir manna hafi þjáðst af sjúkdómnum árið 2012 og að um 627.000 manns hafi dáið Um 90% dauðsfalla voru í sunnanverðri Afríku og um 77% voru meðal barna undir 5 ára aldri.

Malaría orsakast af snýkjudýrum sem flytjast með moskítóflugum. Jafnvel í tiltölulega vægum tilfellum getur snýkillinn valdið háum hita, kulda, flensulíkum einkennum og alvarlegu blóðleysi. Þessi einkenni geta verið virkilega hættuleg fyrir ófrískar konur sem og fyrir ung börn sem eru að upplifa sjúkdóminn í fyrsta sinn. Svæsin malaría getur valdið ævilangri þroskahömlun hjá börnum og er áætlað að efnahagslegáhrif malaríu leiði til töpunar á milljörðum dollar í glataða framleiðni á hverju ári.

Á undanförnum 10 árum hefur fjármögnun aukist næstum 10 falt og mikil framför hefur orðið í stjórnun á sjúkdómnum í þróunarlöndunum. Fjöldi nýrra tilfella hefur minnkað um í kring um 25% á heimsvísu og dauðsföll af völdum malaríu hafa minnkað um 42%. Þessi framför hefur átt sér stað í gegn um samsetningu á inngripum, þar með talið tímanlega greiningu og meðferð með áreiðanlegu greiningarprófi og áhrifaríkum lyfjum, svo sem innandyra sprey með öruggu langvarandi skordýraeitri og flugnanet sem eru einnig með langvarandi skordýraeitri til að verna fólk frá moskító bitum á næturnar.

Núverandi tól og tækni eru ófullnægjandi, þó þau nái að útrýma sjúkdómnum í mörgum löndum. Og kostnaðurinn við að viðhalda þessu inngripi hefur náð í nokkra milljarða dollar á ári. Malaríu snýkillinn er byrjaður að þróa með sér ónæmi gegn skordýraeitrum og lyfjum og þessir ónæmu stofnar munu dreifast. Þeir smituðu sem eru einkennalausir – meiri hluti smitaðra- halda í gangi áframhaldandi smiti. Vegna nægrar heimsvísi skuldbindingu, mikilla fjárfestinga í rannsóknum og þróun, og ummyndandi nýrra tækja og afhendingar aðferða er hægt að mæta metnaðarfullra markmiða gegn malaríu. Án skjótra samræmdra heimsviðbragða til að útrýma malaríu mun þessi gluggi tækifæris lokast endanlega og framfarirnar sem náð hefur verið munu vera í hættu.



The original text

The Challenge

Malaria occurs in nearly 100 countries worldwide, exacting a huge toll on human health and imposing a heavy social and economic burden in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. An estimated 207 million people suffered from the disease in 2012, and about 627,000 died. About 90 percent of the deaths were in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 77 percent were among children under age 5.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquitoes. Even in relatively mild cases, it can cause high fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, and severe anemia. These symptoms can be especially dangerous for pregnant women and young children who are experiencing the disease for the first time. Severe malaria can cause lifelong intellectual disabilities in children, and malaria’s economic impact is estimated to cost billions of dollars in lost productivity every year.

In the past dozen years, malaria funding has increased nearly 10-fold and major gains have been made in controlling the disease in developing nations. The number of new cases has declined by 25 percent globally, and deaths from malaria have fallen by 42 percent. These gains have been made through a combination of interventions, including timely diagnosis and treatment using reliable diagnostic tests and effective drugs; indoor spraying with safe, long-lasting insecticides; and the use of bed nets treated with long-lasting insecticide to protect people from mosquito bites at night.

Current tools and treatments are insufficient, however, to achieve elimination in many countries. And the cost of maintaining these interventions has reached several billion dollars a year. The malaria parasite has begun to develop resistance to currently available insecticides and drugs, and these resistant strains will spread. Infected individuals who are asymptomatic—the majority of those infected—remain an ongoing source of transmission.

Given sufficient global commitment, major investments in research and development, and transformative new tools and delivery strategies, the ambitious goal of malaria eradication can be met. Without an immediate, coordinated worldwide effort to eradicate malaria, this window of opportunity could close indefinitely and the progress already achieved will remain at risk.


Very interesting text

The main reason why I chose this text is because i think it is so interesting and this is obviously something that touches everyone. It doesn't matter how far away from Iceland those sick people are, they are still people and deserve our help. Icelandic people live so good lives and if all of us would monthly give a little bit of our salary then we could be a part of the journey to cure this disease, as it says in the end of the text if there isn´t something done immediately then it could end badly.

3 reasons we still haven´t gotten rid of malaria

In this video Sonia Shah talks about three reasons why we haven´t gotten rid of malaria and she also says that these three reasons add pup to the fourth reason which probably is the biggest reason of all.

I think this video is just so interesting and that is the reason why i waned to put it on my webpage. As I said earlier it is important that people realise how malaria affects other people and that is why i strongly recommend for people to watch this video.

Sheep ticks can be dangerous

Sigurður Guðmundsson had a very interesting lecture about E-bola and thankfully it seems to be clearing up in developing vaccine and fighting against the virus. After that Ólafur Guðlaugsson had a lecture about the Lyme disease in Iceland, but that is connected to the discussion about sheep ticks and whether the populations that have been found in Iceland carry the bacterium that causes diseases. „In Ólafs speech came forward that no occurrence of the Lyme disease has been diagnosed in this country that can trace to a domestic-infection but on the other hand Icelandic doctors have diagnosed many people with the Lyme disease that have been infected in foreign countries. Ólafur asked for to be contacted if suspicion came that contagion had happened in Iceland, “ Magnús says.

It hasn’t been studied whether the Icelandic sheep tick has the Borelli-bacterium that cause the Lyme disease, according to Magnús, but foreign studies have shown that only few percent of ticks have the bacterium. „ But of course people should be careful if they get a bite,” says Magnús. „Another Icelandic tick, that has been called Lundalús (puffin louse) here in Iceland, can bite puffin hunters but nothing implies that any sickness like the Lyme disease follows those kind of bites“

Magnús says that it is important for people to be aware of the danger of infection by ticks if they are planning on traveling to or staying on places where they are endemic. „In addition to the Lyme disease one kind of encephalitis-virus can be infected from mites but it is possible to immunize that virus and of course there are prophylaxis if people plan to travel.“

It is right to highlight that; if the Lyme infection is caught early it is relatively easy to treat the infection with antibiotics, according to Magnús. „There are, however, three things that can prevent analysis. To begin with people don’t always realize the have been bitten. Secondly, the symptoms can be a little sneaky and finally the confirmation test isn’t totally trustworthy in every case“


The original text

Skógarmítill getur verið varasamur

Sigurður Guðmundsson flutti mjög áhugaverðan fyrirlestur um ebólu og sem betur fer virðist vera að rofa til í þróun bóluefna og baráttu gegn útbreiðslu veirunnar. Síðan flutti Ólafur Guðlaugsson fyrirlestur um Lyme-sjúkdóm á Íslandi, en það efni tengist umræðunni um skógarmítla og hvort þeir stofnar mítla sem fundist hafa hér á landi beri í sér bakteríuna sem veldur sjúkdómnum. „Í erindi Ólafs kom fram að ekkert tilfelli Lyme-sjúkdóms hefur greinst hérlendis sem rekja má til smits innanlands en hins vegar hafa íslenskir læknar í vaxandi mæli greint fólk með Lyme-sjúkdóm sem hefur í öllum tilvikum smitast erlendis. Ólafur kallaði eftir því að haft yrði samband við sig ef grunur léki á smiti hér innanlands,“ segir Magnús.

Ekki hefur verið rannsakað hvort skógarmítillinn íslenski ber Borreliu-bakteríuna sem veldur Lyme-sjúkdómi, að sögn Magnúsar, en erlendar rannsóknir hafa sýnt að aðeins lítið hlutfall mítla ber bakteríuna í sér. „Vitaskuld er þó rétt að hafa allan vara á sér ef fólk verður fyrir biti,“ segir Magnús. „Annar mítill íslenskur, sem hér á landi hefur verið kallaður lundalús, getur bitið lundaveiðimenn en ekkert bendir til að slíku biti fylgi veikindi á borð við Lyme-sjúkdóm.“

Magnús segir mikilvægt fyrir fólk að vera meðvitað um smithættu af völdum mítla ef það hyggst ferðast eða dvelja á svæðum þar sem þeir eru landlægir. „Til viðbótar við Lyme-sjúkdóm getur ein tegund heilabólguveiru smitast með mítlum en fyrir henni er hægt að bólusetja og sjálfsögð forvörn ef fólk hyggur á ferðalög.“

Rétt er að undirstrika að ef Lyme-sýking greinist snemma er tiltölulega auðvelt að lækna hana með sýklalyfjum, að sögn Magnúsar. „Það er þó þrennt sem getur komið í veg fyrir greiningu í tíma og það er í fyrsta lagi að fólk gerir sér ekki grein fyrir að hafa orðið fyrir biti, í öðru lagi að einkennin geta verið dálítið lúmsk og í þriðja lagi að staðfestingarprófið er ekki alveg áreiðanlegt í öllum tilfellum.“


It is important to stay awake for the danger of sheep ticks

The main reason I chose this text is because I also think this text is interesting and I think it is really important for people to stay awake for the danger of sheep ticks. When I first read this article I learned a lot that i didn´t know about and I think other people should know. People should know about the danger of sheep ticks because even though they aren´t dangerous in Iceland, people travel a lot so they are always in danger of getting bitten by sheep ticks.

Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?

In this video Brian Goldman talks about making mistakes as a doctor. He talks about few mistakes he made and what he learned from them. He says doctors say they only make mistakes at their first five years as a doctor but that is just a lie because doctors are ashamed of their mistakes. The system that is now is a complete denial of mistakes. He says that if every doctor that makes mistakes would quit then there probably wouldn´t be any doctors.

The reason why I chose this video is because I think this kind of shows how much responsibility it is to be a doctor. Being a doctor probably isn´t always easy, you make mistakes and you learn from them but people judge those who make mistakes and that is not right.