“The history of global health is littered with grand plans that never panned out.”

– #HillaryClinton, speaking last year about which grand plan: A) #PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-Free Generation. B) #Obamacare. C) WHO’s “Final Push Strategy to Eliminate #Leprosy as Public Health Problem” in 2003 D) WHO’s 1991 resolution to eliminate leprosy by 2000. E) The Anti-Leprosy Campaign of 1925 (renamed the Leonard Wood Memorial Fund in 1931). […]

Leprosy hijacks body’s cells and reprograms them as stem cells

According to a study published in the journal Cell today, the leprosy mycobacterium can reprogram cells, turning adult cells into stem-like cells that are able to infiltrate the body’s muscle and nervous system. This mechanism explains one of the great mysteries of leprosy — how it spreads throughout the body–and could pave the way for early intervention […]

Leprosy Patients Also Wish for Gift of Pain

While somewhat light on science, the recent New York Times Magazine cover story “The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly” is a fascinating profile of Ashlyn Blocker, a girl who suffers from a rare, harrowing, and little-understood condition known as “congenital insensitivity to pain.” Although not mentioned in the article, one of the only other diseases that rob patients […]

Ugly, Indeed

Gee, how many of the millions disabled by leprosy do you think will attend England’s “Leper Festival”? This annual event takes place on January 29, World Leprosy Day, in Taddiport, Devon, a hamlet that was a leprosy colony in the Middle Ages. The festivities include a torchlit procession, a “Leper Ball,” and an “Ugly Pageant.” […]