Friday, August 22, 2014

Douglas Reye

This week I read Mira Grant's Parasite. It's a medical horror story, and reading it inspired me to want to do another Australian medical researcher post.

I looked at Lord Wiki's list, skimmed through the entries, and decided on Douglas Reye. Reye's Syndrome is named after him. I've heard of it. There are dire warnings on pediatric websites. Do not give your child aspirin if they have a fever! This could lead to Reye Syndrome!

What is Reye Syndrome? I have no idea. Well, besides the fact that aspirin is involved. And maybe Chicken Pox?

Anyway, that's why I chose to write about Douglas Reye. I figured it would lead to me learning about this Reye Syndrome.

But first let's learn about Mr. Reye.

Lord Wiki says he was born April 5, 1912 in Townsville. He died on Tim's tenth birthday. 

He attended the University of Sydney. 

He worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital 

Lord Wiki has a whole entry on Reye syndrome. I'm trying to decide if I should read that, or go to another website to learn more about Douglas Reye.

Maybe I'll go with the syndrome first.

Lord Wiki says the cause is unknown, but it's associated with children who take aspirin while having a viral illness. But sometimes it happens without aspirin.

It causes problems for the liver and brain; plus it lowers blood sugar. 

The good news is most children survive and do well with medical support. BUT it needs to be caught early. 

Sometimes it's hard to catch things early, though. I've jumped on things before to only end up feeling like a hypochondriac later. Or a hypochondriac-by-proxy. There was the time I called the nurse frantically because I thought Jack had meningitis. Then there was time we rushed him to the doctor because we thought it was appendicitis. And we had the diabetes scare. 

I've also had scares about my own health.

It's like our bodies call wolf. And what if by the time the real wolf has arrived, we stop listening?

I'm looking at the stages of Reye Syndrome. The early stages are concerning, but they could be explained by other things. For example, Lord Wiki says there's persistent heavy vomiting. That would scare me, but I've heard there's persistent vomiting with bad cases of the Norovirus. 

I guess, though, that you would seek help eventually because of dehydration fears. But by the time that becomes a problem, is the Reye Syndrome already winning?

I think this is interesting. There's some evidence that children and teens who develop Reyes Syndrome have an underlying metabolic disorder. So maybe only some children are in danger. But we don't know which children are in danger, so it's easier to have all children avoid the aspirin.

Lord Wiki says the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend anyone under nineteen not using aspirin if they have a fever.

In people older than that, the syndrome is rarer, and full recovery is more likely.

Wow. The campaign against aspirin in children has made a difference.

In 1980, there were 555 cases. Since then, there have been about two cases per year. 

Lord Wiki talks a little bit about Douglas Reye in his entry on Reye Syndrome.  In 1963, he  and two other physicians published a study about it. I wonder why it's not called Morgan syndrome or Baral syndrome. Maybe they flipped a coin? I would think maybe Reye was the winner. Would most people want a potentially fatal syndrome named after themselves? I don't think I would. 

Now I shall learn more about Douglas Reye. I'll start with the Australian Dictionary of Biography. I haven't been to that wonderful site in a long time. 

Reye was the youngest child of nine. He had a lot of older siblings.

His dad was a fruit merchant. 

Reye did some rowing and played tennis. He owned a motor car, and liked classic motor cars. He had a garden. He also liked reading and art.

I love the details this website provides.

He married a woman named Corrie Saunders. She was a medical practitioner as well, and helped children with Cerebral Palsy. 

Maybe Reye didn't mind having a fatal syndrome named after him, because that's not the only thing. He also has two childhood malignant tumors. Reyeoma I and Reyeoma II. Yikes.

As for Reye's personality, he was known for being shy. Some folks felt put off by the fact the he kept his office door closed. But those who knew him well thought he was a delightful friend with his own brand of whimsical humour.

It sounds like he was an introvert.

I just googled the Reyeoma tumors. I pretty much just got pages about Douglas Reye. So I'm guessing the tumors are either often called something else. Or they're very rare.

Anyway, I think that's about all I'm going to do today. I think I learned what I wanted to know. So I think it's a good place to stop.