Discussion:
"The Cat Who Could Predict Death" (NOT fiction)
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l***@yahoo.com
2018-09-30 20:44:41 UTC
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https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/ev7pxj/algorithm-to-predict-death

by Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD
|
Sep 25 2018


First paragraphs:


Over several years, Oscar the cat had curled up next to 50 patients. Every one of them died shortly thereafter. How could doctors reproduce this ability?

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Of the many small humiliations heaped on a young oncologist in his final year of fellowship, perhaps this one carried the oddest bite: A 2-year-old black-and-white cat named Oscar was apparently better than most doctors at predicting when a terminally ill patient was about to die. The story appeared, astonishingly, in The New England Journal of Medicine in the summer of 2007. Adopted as a kitten by the medical staff, Oscar reigned over one floor of the Steere House nursing home in Rhode Island. When the cat would sniff the air, crane his neck and curl up next to a man or woman, it was a sure sign of impending demise. The doctors would call the families to come in for their last visit. Over the course of several years, the cat had curled up next to 50 patients. Every one of them died shortly thereafter.

No one knows how the cat acquired his formidable death-sniffing skills. Perhaps Oscar’s nose learned to detect some unique whiff of death — chemicals released by dying cells, say. Perhaps there were other inscrutable signs. I didn’t quite believe it at first, but Oscar’s acumen was corroborated by other physicians who witnessed the prophetic cat in action. As the author of the article wrote: “No one dies on the third floor unless Oscar pays a visit and stays awhile.”

The story carried a particular resonance for me that summer, for I had been treating S., a 32-year-old plumber with esophageal cancer. He had responded well to chemotherapy and radiation, and we had surgically resected his esophagus, leaving no detectable trace of malignancy in his body. One afternoon, a few weeks after his treatment had been completed, I cautiously broached the topic of end-of-life care. We were going for a cure, of course, I told S., but there was always the small possibility of a relapse. He had a young wife and two children, and a mother who had brought him weekly to the chemo suite. Perhaps, I suggested, he might have a frank conversation with his family about his goals?

But S. demurred. He was regaining strength week by week. The conversation was bound to be “a bummah,” as he put it in his distinct Boston accent. His spirits were up. The cancer was out. Why rain on his celebration? I agreed reluctantly; it was unlikely that the cancer would return.

When the relapse appeared, it was a full-on deluge...

(snip)




Lenona.
MJ Emigh
2018-09-30 21:03:42 UTC
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Interesting, but not nearly as cheerful as the chicken that predicts winning lottery numbers.
RHDraney
2018-09-30 22:02:22 UTC
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Post by MJ Emigh
Interesting, but not nearly as cheerful as the chicken that predicts winning lottery numbers.
And isn't there a squid that picks the winners of hockey matches?...r
Alfalfa Bill
2018-10-01 07:09:22 UTC
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Post by RHDraney
Post by MJ Emigh
Interesting, but not nearly as cheerful as the chicken that predicts winning lottery numbers.
And isn't there a squid that picks the winners of hockey matches?...r
It was an octopus in Las Vegas which predicted the winners in this year's World Cup soccer matches.

https://www.reviewjournal.com/sports/lights-fc-soccer/las-vegas-octopus-predicts-who-will-win-world-cup-2018-video/
RHDraney
2018-10-01 10:42:05 UTC
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Post by Alfalfa Bill
Post by RHDraney
Post by MJ Emigh
Interesting, but not nearly as cheerful as the chicken that predicts winning lottery numbers.
And isn't there a squid that picks the winners of hockey matches?...r
It was an octopus in Las Vegas which predicted the winners in this year's World Cup soccer matches.
Well, I was close...maybe I should wait a few months before announcing
that I've got a capybara who can name the winners of next year's Oscars....r
David Carson
2018-10-01 00:16:47 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
Of the many small humiliations heaped on a young oncologist in his final year of fellowship, perhaps this one carried the oddest bite: A 2-year-old black-and-white cat named Oscar was apparently better than most doctors at predicting when a terminally ill patient was about to die. The story appeared, astonishingly, in The New England Journal of Medicine in the summer of 2007. Adopted as a kitten by the medical staff, Oscar reigned over one floor of the Steere House nursing home in Rhode Island. When the cat would sniff the air, crane his neck and curl up next to a man or woman, it was a sure sign of impending demise. The doctors would call the families to come in for their last visit. Over the course of several years, the cat had curled up next to 50 patients. Every one of them died shortly thereafter.
No one knows how the cat acquired his formidable death-sniffing skills. Perhaps Oscar’s nose learned to detect some unique whiff of death — chemicals released by dying cells, say. Perhaps there were other inscrutable signs. I didn’t quite believe it at first, but Oscar’s acumen was corroborated by other physicians who witnessed the prophetic cat in action. As the author of the article wrote: “No one dies on the third floor unless Oscar pays a visit and stays awhile.”
The references to Oscar are written in the past tense, but to my
knowledge, he is alive.

David Carson
--
Dead or Alive Data Base
http://www.doadb.com
danny burstein
2018-10-01 00:39:04 UTC
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[snnnnnnnniiiippppp]

debunked, for whatever it's worth, in an episode
of "House, MD", where the titular characted explains
that the cat is simply looking for the extra warmth
that the very ill - running temperatures - tend to have.

Oh, and when confronted by his colleagues who said
many deathly ill people are cold, he replied
with "warming blankets".
--
_____________________________________________________
Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
***@panix.com
[to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]
David Carson
2018-10-01 00:59:02 UTC
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Post by danny burstein
[snnnnnnnniiiippppp]
debunked, for whatever it's worth, in an episode
of "House, MD", where the titular characted explains
that the cat is simply looking for the extra warmth
that the very ill - running temperatures - tend to have.
I realize I may be playing along with another effort of yours to "get" me,
but that doesn't make any sense, even for something a network TV writer
came up with. Surely a whole lot of patients run fevers, not just
terminally ill ones. Also, Oscar visits the dying within *hours* of their
deaths.

And even if that explanation could somehow be true, it doesn't "debunk"
anything. It just explains it.
danny burstein
2018-10-01 01:10:50 UTC
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Post by David Carson
Post by danny burstein
[snnnnnnnniiiippppp]
debunked, for whatever it's worth, in an episode
of "House, MD", where the titular characted explains
that the cat is simply looking for the extra warmth
that the very ill - running temperatures - tend to have.
I realize I may be playing along with another effort of yours to "get" me,
but that doesn't make any sense, even for something a network TV writer
came up with. Surely a whole lot of patients run fevers, not just
terminally ill ones. Also, Oscar visits the dying within *hours* of their
deaths.
Oh, not trying to "get you", just pointing out an alternative
option to the possiblity of magical, mystical, tours...
Post by David Carson
And even if that explanation could somehow be true, it doesn't "debunk"
anything. It just explains it.
Indeed.

Best wishes to all, and while many a cat may cross your (and my)
path(s), let's all live long andprosper.
--
_____________________________________________________
Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
***@panix.com
[to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]
Rick B.
2018-10-01 11:31:58 UTC
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On Mon, 1 Oct 2018 00:39:04 +0000 (UTC), danny burstein
Post by danny burstein
[snnnnnnnniiiippppp]
debunked, for whatever it's worth, in an episode of "House, MD", where
the titular characted explains that the cat is simply looking for the
extra warmth that the very ill - running temperatures - tend to have.
I realize I may be playing along with another effort of yours to "get"
me, but that doesn't make any sense, even for something a network TV
writer came up with. Surely a whole lot of patients run fevers, not just
terminally ill ones. Also, Oscar visits the dying within *hours* of
their deaths.
And even if that explanation could somehow be true, it doesn't "debunk"
anything. It just explains it.
The original stories noted that Oscar did not particularly like people.
However, cats crave warmth. So Oscar has figured out a way to get warmth
without putting up with all those annoying scratches behind the ears and
stupid questions about who's a good kitty. Perhaps he smells somthing;
perhaps he notices a lack of motion in his targets.
Larc
2018-10-01 14:21:56 UTC
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On 1 Oct 2018 11:31:58 GMT, "Rick B." <***@sprynet.com.aq> wrote:

| The original stories noted that Oscar did not particularly like people.
| However, cats crave warmth. So Oscar has figured out a way to get warmth
| without putting up with all those annoying scratches behind the ears and
| stupid questions about who's a good kitty. Perhaps he smells somthing;
| perhaps he notices a lack of motion in his targets.

I hardly think a cat would sense a combination of warmth and quiet patient from the
floor rooms away, go to a particular room and jump up onto a hospital bed just for
that. If those who were actually present were impressed by Oscar's actions, I don't
believe any of us is in a position to second-guess them unless we assume they were
all lacking in common sense.

Larc
W.C. Green
2018-10-01 16:52:27 UTC
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Post by Larc
| The original stories noted that Oscar did not particularly like people.
| However, cats crave warmth. So Oscar has figured out a way to get warmth
| without putting up with all those annoying scratches behind the ears and
| stupid questions about who's a good kitty. Perhaps he smells somthing;
| perhaps he notices a lack of motion in his targets.
I hardly think a cat would sense a combination of warmth and quiet patient from the
floor rooms away, go to a particular room and jump up onto a hospital bed just for
that. If those who were actually present were impressed by Oscar's actions, I don't
believe any of us is in a position to second-guess them unless we assume they were
all lacking in common sense.
A forensic pathologist I knew once told me that a dog will wait until
it's starving to eat my dead body, but a cat might wait until I'd
stopped breathing. If this place had fed Oscar more often, we never
would have heard of him.

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