Sunday, April 02, 2006


Origins: The two disparate explanations for these photographs given above are a good indicator of a common Internet phenomenon: Someone makes pictures available on-line, they begin to circulate through e-mail forwards, the original attribution is lost along the way, people begin to make up stories to explain the origins of the now-sourceless photographs, and those fabricated explanations become attached to the pictures as they continue to
Click Here!

Asking a dozen different medical experts about the photographs shown above produced a dozen different answers — everything from a skeptical "It's possible" to a flat-out assertion that the pictures had "obviously been faked" (either at the photographic level using a prosthetic device, or at the digital level with image editing software). However, too often people get caught in the trap of assuming that because photographs don't match the explanations accompanying them, the pictures must have been fabricated or manipulated, and one conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from the other.

Although the explanations quoted above are erroneous, these images are in fact real and undoctored, and they are indeed photographs taken of a patient whose brain surface was exposed and crawling with insects. The pictures date from October 2002, and they are photographs of a man in his 70s who was suffering from an unusual form of cancer which had eaten away at the upper portion of his skull and scalp but who had not sought any medical treatment because the condition was not causing him pain. The man was brought to the trauma center at Stanford University Hospital (where the photographs shown here were taken) by San Mateo County paramedics who had been summoned to the scene after the man was involved in a minor automobile accident and who found him in his car in the condition pictured.


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