Ever since Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down came out in 1998, Lia Lee, the epileptic child of Hmong refugees, has been the most famous cautionary tale in America of the cultural gap between patients and their doctors.  After a short life lived almost entirely in a vegetative state, Lia Lee passed away at the end of last month.  The New York Times has a brief summary of her experience caught between two radically different understandings of her condition, and the impacts of her case on medical training and hospital policy.

Lia Lee in 1988
(c) Anne Fadiman via The New York Times

Micah posted this in March, with the comment, “Do hair relaxers cause uterine fibroids in African-American women? Sounds like ice cream and murder to me.”

This author agrees: Chemical relaxers linked to high uterine fibroid risk in African-American women? I doubt it.

From the New York TimesFighting a Drawn-Out Battle Against Solitary Confinement

Micah drew attention to this quote from the article about the politics of a bare life/homo sacer existence, “You take a person and you just peel back the skin and make him just some raw flesh in a tomb.”

Matt K. shared this article during the Winter 2012 semester class, wondering if this is an example of a culture-bound syndrome: Mysterious nodding disease debilitates children

“A sufferer of Nodding Disease is put in a child’s crib at Antanga Health Center, Uganda, so that he doesn’t injure himself. The affliction is associated with violent epilepsy-like convulsions that can lead to permanent disabilities.” – CNN