In what is being called a world first, a young Australian woman has been hospitalised following a diagnosis of MPA. Emergency Departments and GPs have reported a sharp rise in people presenting with a range of issues, including: headaches, disturbed sleeping-patterns, inability to focus, restlessness, rash-like symptoms appearing on palms, severe depression, loss of recognisable speech patterns, mood swings, and an inability to control emoticons.
Dr Martin Cooper of the CDC first reported symptoms of MPA as early as 1973; in recent days he has spoken about this new development, describing it as worrying.
“It is, of course, a concern to see the sudden and rapid spread of MPA, especially in young people. In the late 1980s funding for a vaccine was cut after years of failed research; however, to detect MPA in the early stages we still recommend regular app-smears.”
As the symptoms manifest, there are many who can see similarities with the swine-flu pandemic of 2009, and while some of the early developments were on a par with H1N1, MPA is now believed to share many common traits with the W1F1 virus that decimated parts of California last year.
The greatest medical concern at this stage, according to Antonio Meucci of WHO, is panic. Due to the prevalence of sharing and social media being ingrained in today’s society, there is a sense of disquiet for many in the medical community as young people share their experiences online. In some extreme cases, patients have developed dissociative identity disorder as a result of MPA, with one sufferer reported to have up to 140 characters.
It is symptoms such as these that can create a sense of alarm in the community as people react to the sensationalist headlines favoured by the media today. One such example includes a recent headline that was run by a number of News Ltd outlets screaming, “Bad i-Sight: Lost vision linked to digitech”. This led to a severe rise in cases of poor eyesight being attributed to the use of digital technology, however, no such link was proved to exist.
Mass media hyperbole in relation to MPA could be devastating in the panic it generates, and many medical professionals are racing against time; not to beat the disease, but to educate the public before it is too late.
There is a renewed search for a vaccine for MPA, and many immunologists are currently focused on harnessing natural immunity from Amazon berries, specifically blackberries.
“An apple a day once kept the doctor away and people have turned away from healthy eating, we’re trying to bring that back,” said Professor A.G. Bell of the University of Pittsburgh.
“BlackBerrys have a very strong effect on those suffering from MPA, we’re trying to find out why.”
Yet a growing belief exists in many hospitals and universities that a vaccine, or possibly a cure, could be found in technology markets; specifically in nanotechnology. In fact, a new unit of measure has been created, somewhat ironically, for this exact purpose: the instagram. As nanotech expands, the potential for new cures develops with it; it’s been suggested that even 10ig of specially programmed nanobots could protect against some of the later-stage symptoms of MPA.
Androids are also believed to potentially hold a solution to the MPA crisis. If scientists can create nanobots capable of reacting to mutations in the MPA virus, they could wipe it out permanently. Windows for testing are shrinking though, and as time runs out, the opportunity to adequately develop this technology falls away as government pressure builds towards a quick-fix solution.
There is no cure on the horizon, and at this stage our best hope is the potential for a vaccine. Though we cannot forget the importance of facts, misinformation spreads like wildfire and internet rumours are troubling at best. To believe in a future without MPA, we have to work to separate fact from fiction; we must prove the conspiracy theorists wrong and most importantly, we have to raise awareness of the deadly threat of mobile phone addiction.