Microbiologist Jenna Capyk joins Joe, Toren, and Kevin to talk about Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy. What the heck is it? Does it cause your body parts to fall off? Are there any other animals that can get leprosy? What have we done in the past to keep lepers separate from society? All these questions and more are answered in this episode of Caustic Soda!

News update: Since recording a study strongly suggests that leprosy can transfer from armadillos to humans.

“Our research provides clear DNA evidence that the unique strain found in armadillos is the same as the one in certain humans,” said Stewart Cole, of the Global Health Institute in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Music: “Gimme Some Skin” The Andrews Sisters

Movies:

Ben Hur
Kevin: 10/10

Princess Mononoke
Toren: 8/10
Joe: 8/10

The Fog (John Carpenter)
Toren: 5/10

Kingdom of Heaven
Toren: 4/10
Joe: 4/10
Kevin: 5/10

Braveheart
Joe: 9/10
Kevin: 9/10

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Showing 23 comments
  • banks!

    I would also suggest watching “The Motorcycle Diaries”. It’s a bio pic on Che Guevara’s early life. He goes and works in a leper colony for a good part of the film.

  • banks!

    I would also suggest watching “The Motorcycle Diaries”. It’s a bio pic on Che Guevara’s early life. He goes and works in a leper colony for a good part of the film.

  • Jessica

    There was a recent episode on House, where the chick-patient has “pretty leprosy”:
    http://www.politedissent.com/archives/2077
    Is that actually a real form of leprosy?

  • banks!

    I’ve seen both versions of the Fog.

    The original The Fog is a great B-movie ghost story. I love it and own it on DVD. I’d give it 7/10.

    The remake was TERRIBLE. So terrible that when I knew it was going to be terrible, it was still terrible. It’s terrible for a terrible movie. Terrible squared even. I’d give it 0/10.

  • spookyparadigm

    Haven’t listened yet, but let me just say, armadillo is quite tasty.

  • spookyparadigm

    Haven’t listened yet, but let me just say, armadillo is quite tasty.

  • Matt

    That pic of the “face nodules” is really disturbing. It might take a few days to get over that one.

    Also, I shouldn’t really comment before I listen but if it wasn’t mentioned, Papillion has a wild leprosy scene.

  • Phav Nosnibor

    I’m not at all a fan of most fantasy writing, but the Thomas Covenant books are seriously good stuff when you’re in the mood for some high-school melodrama… plus, judging from the episode, they do a pretty solid job of describing leprosy (even by today’s standards) and how it was treated in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

    Another fun fact: the first semi-modern mental hospitals in Japan were repurposed leprosariums (“leprosaria”?), partly because of the pathetic state of the Japanese economy after WW2, but also because of a general disregard for the safety of mental patients.

    • Sigurd

      The Thomas Covenant trilogy is amazing. My favorite fantasy series by far. Deals with some real issues and pulls of the whole anti-hero thing really well.

      Also i saw someone mentioned Papillon. Even though they didn’t play a huge part, that book is still worth mentioning.

  • Phav Nosnibor

    I’m not at all a fan of most fantasy writing, but the Thomas Covenant books are seriously good stuff when you’re in the mood for some high-school melodrama… plus, judging from the episode, they do a pretty solid job of describing leprosy (even by today’s standards) and how it was treated in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

    Another fun fact: the first semi-modern mental hospitals in Japan were repurposed leprosariums (“leprosaria”?), partly because of the pathetic state of the Japanese economy after WW2, but also because of a general disregard for the safety of mental patients.

  • Lex

    I enjoyed the episode, but you guys missed the opportunity to talk about the the Leprosy Mission Canada and their great gift catalogue: http://www.leprosy.ca/Page.aspx?pid=348

    Because nothing says “I love you” like a terracotta garlic pot, handcrafted by a leper.

  • Karyn

    *Squeeeeeeeee* a female of great knowledge on the show. This makes me extremely happy. Great episode!

  • Karyn

    *Squeeeeeeeee* a female of great knowledge on the show. This makes me extremely happy. Great episode!

  • MissionBrown

    The only bit of this one that made me squeamish was the talk of drying out and scratched up eyeballs.

  • chantel

    I really enjoyed this podcast and look forward to hearing about tuberculosis!!

  • Shawn

    what did the leper say to the prostitute? You can keep the tip. OK, that’s both sick and wrong. I’ve been working my way through the archives and just want to commend you guys for a fantastic show.

    • Derek

      I think I just threw up a little bit into my mouth. 😉

      Nice one, bruvva.

  • Shawn

    what did the leper say to the prostitute? You can keep the tip. OK, that’s both sick and wrong. I’ve been working my way through the archives and just want to commend you guys for a fantastic show.

    • Derek

      I think I just threw up a little bit into my mouth. 😉

      Nice one, bruvva.

  • Bridgete

    So I listen at work, and they recently moved me to a new desk where I now face a common walkway past the cube farm, right in the front row. I’m sitting here giggling and wondering when someone is going to ask what’s so funny. “Oh, just this podcast on leprosy.”

pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] We’ve added another free ringtone to the Downloads page — from last week’s Leprosy episode it’s our reaction to hearing about rats eating a leper’s fingers. […]

  • […] We’ve added another free ringtone to the Downloads page — from last week’s Leprosy episode it’s our reaction to hearing about rats eating a leper’s fingers. […]

  • […] is no stranger to podcasts having appeared on the very funny Caustic Soda show discussing leprosy. Jenna is a biochemist at the University of British Columbia with an […]