Why are some diseases more prestigious than others?

Diseases are subject to fashion, just like so much else, writes Jocelyn Wright.

The misery caused by specific diseases varies enormously, but rarely does the community or even the medical profession rank them based on simple utilitarian calculations of their actual human cost.

Associate Professor Louise Stone, a GP academic at Australian National University, wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia last week that there needs to be a greater awareness of so-called “disease prestige”.

It not only