Health Stories Of The Week: Belle Gibson, India’s Surrogacy Industry And Catholic Vs. Jewish Guilt

16 Apr

ICYMI Health features what we’re reading this week.

This week, we were drawn to a Q&A with the journalist correspondent in a new film on the dark realities of India’s surrogacy industry, as well the news that Australia’s poster girl for healthy living might have misled the public about her cancer diagnosis. We also read up on the cultural differences between Catholic and Jewish guilt just in time to jump-start the conversation at Easter dinner or Seder this weekend.

Read on and tell us in the comments: What did you read and love this week?

1. The Cancer Show: Part I — On The Media

cancer crab
“The Cancer Show,” part of WYC’s Living Cancer Series (radio companion to Ken Burns new PBS documentary, “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies”), is packed full of insights about the way we talk about about cancer. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the Pulitzer-prize winning book that inspired Burn’s film, traces treatments back to oldest medical documents we possess as humans — including a papyrus scroll of case histories from ancient Egypt.

Quote: “It turns out the war metaphor neither serves the patient, nor even describes the reality of contending with cancer in the designated battlefield of one’s own body.”

2. How the Gluteus Became Maximus — The Atlantic

A scientific explanation for why straight men prefer women with large backsides, as well as proof that health literature doesn’t have to be dry.

Quote: “Men want healthy offspring, so, the thinking goes, they wanted women who could get their butts out there, literally, and forage like champs.”

3. Inside the Dark Realities of the International Surrogacy Industry — New York Magazine

outsourcing embryos
A Q&A with Vice corespondent Gianna Toboni, who investigated the seedy underside of India’s gestational-surrogacy industry for the new HBO documentary “Outsourcing Embryos.”

Quote: “We’d heard rumors that there are extra babies and orphanages of white babies in India. We didn’t find any orphanages, but then, when a couple offered me a baby for sale over dinner, it was shocking.”

4. The Mystery of Belle Gibson, Who Claimed She Cured Cancer With Clean Living — Mashable

Belle Gibson, a 26-year-old social media star in Australia, seemingly battled five kinds of cancer — and won! — with the help of alternative therapy and a healthy diet. But when donations to her not-for-profit organization went missing in 2013, new information surfaced. As it turned out, Gibson was lying about her age and may have been lying about having cancer, too.

Quote:“‘I have the most intense bruising from the paddles when they electrocuted me back to consciousness. [I] went straight into a coma situation for 6 hours and just woke up crying for my iPhone… They’re amazed I’m sitting up testing already and claim miracle.'”

5. The Difference Between Jewish and Catholic Guilt — Pacific Standard

catholic jewish guilt
Even lapsed Catholics may feel like they are disappointing a Higher Power when they skip mass, while Jews may feel pressure from family and friends if they fail to uphold traditional Jewish values like marrying inside the faith and supporting Israel.

Quote: “Being right about to bite into my steak burrito, then realize it’s a Friday during Lent. I eat the burrito, still, because I’m not crazy. But I don’t enjoy it.”

6. A Heroin Overdose Never Leaves Just One Casualty: I Should Know — The Guardian

Two friends wrestle with survivor’s guilt after their friend James dies of a heroin overdose in Washington, DC.

Quote: “For every person who OD’s and dies, there is a person who stumbles upon the body -– the image imprinted forever in their brain, the nightmares and the guilt and the ‘what-ifs’ always there.”

7. Re: Our Relationship — The Atlantic

A statistician analyzes her long-distance relationship using data from the 5,500 emails sent between her boyfriend and herself over four years.

Quote:“We used the word ‘promise’ more frequently early in our relationship, often to make the sort of charming but trivial pledges that build trust — ‘I promise not to kill you,’ or ‘I promise never to make you go to a yacht club.’ On the other hand, we began to use nicknames and endearments only later in our relationship — promises replaced by pet names.”

8. The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records — The New York Times

After Steven Keating, a 26-year-old doctoral student at the MIT’s Media Lab, had an abnormal brain scan eight years ago, he refused to leave monitoring his condition to medical experts.

Quote: “When he started smelling whiffs of vinegar last summer, he suspected they might be ‘smell seizures.’ He pushed doctors to conduct an M.R.I., and three weeks later, surgeons in Boston removed a cancerous tumor the size of a tennis ball from his brain.”

9. Morgellons Disease, Joni Mitchell’s Condition: Yes, It’s ‘Real’ — The Huffington Post

joni mitchell
Joni Mitchell was found unconscious in her Los Angeles home this week, following years of suffering from Morgellons disease, a highly controversial condition that many doctors think doesn’t exist.

Quote: “Coverage of Mitchell’s illness has focused on whether Morgellons is real, perhaps undermining her own efforts to gain credibility for people with who think they have the condition.”