Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

The government estimates that about 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s roughly 22 million people suffer from some sort of mental disorder, with nearly 800,000 suffering from depression. Studies in the northeast, where much of the fighting was concentrated, found as many as 30 percent of children suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder around the end of the war.

For many, the trauma has been refreshed by the latest political crisis. Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who led a brutal offensive against the rebel Tamil Tigers, is back at the center of power, his face looming from posters on the street.

See below the New York Times, a well written piece on the human trauma of that chapter of Sri Lanka’s civil war. The United Nations says at least 40,000 civilians were likely killed in the last stage of the war.

A government psychiatrist in Sri Lanka goes door to door in an area…

Medications are best taken with water because beverages such as milk, mineral water and juice can sometimes alter their effects, warned Ursula Sellerberg, spokeswoman for the Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists.

“Milk contains the mineral calcium, which can bind with medications and prevent them from entering the bloodstream,” she said.

For this reason, milk and dairy products reduce the effectiveness of certain active pharmaceutical ingredients, for example in thyroid hormones, medications for osteoporosis and a number of antibiotics.

“A dash of milk in a cup of coffee can be enough to interfere with a medication’s effectiveness,” Sellerberg noted. A similar effect is also possible from calcium-fortified juices and calcium-rich mineral water. There is no problem, however, when one or two hours separate the intake of calcium from the intake of a medication.

Grapefruit juice, on the other hand, can intensify both the effects and side effects of various medications. “The juice inhibits enzymes in the body responsible for breaking down many medicines,” Sellerberg said.

The medicines affected are frequently for hypertension, heart diseases, lipid metabolic disorders and other chronic illnesses. No comparable interactions have been observed to date with orange or apple juice.

Medications should not be washed down with alcoholic beverages either because they, too, can interact with certain active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans had mental illness in 2009. No wonder, I always thought that the Americans were a little strange compared with people any where else. It was the Americans in high places whom I always thought was a little different and it worried me if they were mentally OK. People like George Bush, Al Gore and Rumsfeld and many others for example.

Read here story from CNBC
Nearly 1 in 5 Americans had mental illness in 2009

CHICAGO – More than 45 million Americans, or 20 percent of U.S. adults, had some form of mental illness last year, and 11 million had a serious illness, U.S. government researchers reported on Thursday.

Young adults aged 18 to 25 had the highest level of mental illness at 30 percent, while those aged 50 and older had the lowest, with 13.7 percent, said the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA.

The rate, slightly higher than last year’s 19.5 percent figure, reflected increasing depression, especially among the unemployed, SAMHSA, part of the National Institutes of Health, said.

“Too many Americans are not getting the help they need and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed,” Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA’s administrator, said in a statement.

“The consequences for individuals, families and communities can be devastating. If left untreated mental illnesses can result in disability, substance abuse, suicides, lost productivity, and family discord.”

The 2009 mental health survey hints at the impact of record unemployment rates, which last year hit a 25-year high as struggling employers slashed jobs to cope with a weak economy.

For many, lost employment meant loss of health insurance, leaving many of the nation’s mentally ill unable to get treatment.

According to the survey, 6.1 million adults last year had a mental health need that went untreated, and 42.5 percent said it was because they could not afford it.

It found 14.8 million Americans had major depression last year, and 10 percent of the jobless did, compared with 7.5 of retired people or those not in the job force, 7.3 percent who worked part time and 5.4 percent who worked full time.

Only 64 percent of adults aged 18 or older with major depression were treated last year, compared with 71 percent a year ago.

Being jobless also increased the risk of suicide.

Adults who were unemployed last year were twice as likely to have serious thoughts of suicide as people who were fully employed, with 6.6 percent of the unemployed considering suicide, compared with 3.1 percent of those who were working.

The survey also found that 23.8 percent of women had some form of mental illness, compared with 15.6 percent of men.

Copyright 2010 Reuters

Read here : Are We Going Mad


Are we going bonkers !? Is it just me or are we all going CRAZY !?

A friend of mine says he hear voices all the time in his head and he says GOD is talking to him. He tells me he cannot sleep. He tells me he had just gone for psychological evaluation. When he told me I was a little shocked but I chose not to ask any questions. I figure if he has something to open up about, then probably best to just let him talk. But I was also bugging a little bit because I too was curious.

He said there wasn’t anything wrong with him and he just wanted to get some answers from me regarding the voices in his head. Maybe he just wanted to hear something else from some outside entity with no personal involvement whatsoever.

Either way it struck me as little odd. I couldn’t help but to think the work place may have gotten to him a bit or even his family or it could be a love affair which turn sour.

But he has just turned 25.

I couldn’t really understand why a 25 year old is going through this.

I mean he is so young, yes life just started and he does not have many problems but for some reasons he felt he needed psychological evaluation because of the voices he keeps hearing.

Then there is this 20-something year old girl who walks up to me while I’m having coffee with my friend Alex, somewhere in Kota Kinabalu, and tells me “Abang, I wanna kiss you now and if you don’t allow I’m going to strip here, you have been smiling at me and I cannot take it anymore”. I don’t even know this cute little thing, never saw her before, but she seems to know me. I was so shocked and so was my friend Alex. Never have I encountered anything like this in my entire life. Something very new.

I asked “Are we going crazy?” This is bananas!

I meant are we all just going crazy and we don’t know it?

I meant I want some answers too (but to what?)

Where do i start?

I can’t lie that sometimes I too feel crazy, wacky and weird.

But when I look and listen to my friend and the girl who came up to me, I just cant help but to think: “what if we cant pull it together and we just snap?”

Will we be able to prevent it?

Will we be able to pinpoint it?

Will we be able to express it in a positive way?

When I look around today I cant help but to take notice to the fact that there are more and more sadistic crimes being committed as well as more desperation, depression, scandals to say the least.

I don’t know if I am watching TV3 or reading the news or a tabloid sometimes. I watch the news and they are reporting on the death of Teoh Beng Hock while being interrogated by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) in their custody…shit! I also hear in the same news a Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu @ Aminah who had a secret relationship with Prime Minister was brutally murdered and her remains destroyed with C-4 explosives in a deserted area in Shah Alam, by some cops linked to the Prime Minister himself. Then there is a story all over the internet saying young Indian boys beaten to pulp by cops, in police stations, and a number of them even killed in police custody, like the poor chap Kugan, who was foaming in his mouth before death. I guess that’s news also. Just like how Anwar Ibrahim got his famous black eye from the Inspector General of Police himself.

When I think about the day to day it worries me and I become overwhelmed. Then when I think about the countless amount of folks who continue to go on each day, we are survivors of some of the most cataclysmic occurrences in history to date. Yet we are victims and very well may be perpetrators of even more indescribable events that have shaped our very way of living.

Its hard not to feel a little crazy sometimes or to feel like you are going to snap any minute because of all these stories and these happening right in front of us.

I mean whom of us is really exempt?

It could be because of an annoying boss or crappy job, a nagging wife or husband, kids, girlfriend drama, Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, $$$, bills, health or sheer bad luck or whatever or maybe just the day to day hustle and bustle of trying to be progressive and productive and forward our career or improve our life, or maybe we are just fed up.

That’s when the pressure builds up, and at that point, or at any given moment any one of us could snap.

Its been said that many of our political leaders may have been a little nuts or ultimately driven mad. And if we look today we can see living testaments to that in some of our leaders, to say the least.

I look out my window and I see Pulau Gaya, I watch the television, listen to the radio, read the paper and I find more than enough evidence to support the theory that we’re going mad. “Man kills wife, wife kills husband, lover kills lover, man jumps down from high-rise building, drug overdose, Mongolian model C4ed, law maker breaks the law and all these sounds like “THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END” to me.

The thought alone is enough to drive me to say “What the Fucks!

I mean its all enough to drive any “sane” person over the edge. But for us who think we are the “sane” ones I ask “Are we really crazy and just don’t know it?, how do we know, do we know our breaking point, will we be able to prevent it, curtail or direct it in a positive fashion? Will it bend or snap?

So will we resort to psychopathic drugs like ECSTASY…”K”…LSD..COCAINE, which is so easily available and which is the obvious choice?

THAT’S CRAZY! WHAT MADNESS…..360 degrees of Insanity

But funny it seems that it may be this same madness that drives us to succeed and pushes us to new limits and bounds that show the continuous evolution of human in society as a whole.

As my Late DAD use to tell me ” son, you got to be a little crazy to deal with this or put up with that”.

So am I the crazy one here?

My dad use to tell me and my sisters when I was very much younger that if  we drank cold drink or had cold food and had pain in our teeth, it is a sign of tooth sensitivity. Never paid much attention then to what he said although he was fixing our teeth cavities with those dental fillings.

Anyway what dad said was so true as according to a study recently, 20% of Malaysians experience pain when they eat something hot or cold. This study also says that sensitivity as a problem has the second highest incidence among Malaysians.

The latest findings indicate that 46 per cent of cases suffering from sensitivity belong to the age group 30-40.

The study also says that it is estimated that 50-90 per cent of people brush their teeth with too much pressure.

Sensitivity of teeth occurs with the passing of age and time, with years of brushing, significant tooth tissue as well as gum tissue get removed, exposing the inner portion of the tooth and the roots.

Anyway what is sensitivity of teeth?

Our teeth are made up of three layers. The outermost layer which covers the upper half of the tooth is called enamel and the layer which covers the root section of the tooth is called cementum. The layer beneath these is called dentine. This is not as mineralised and is less dense than the outer layers and, more important, it contains thin tubes which connect it to the soft portion of the tooth which contains nerve endings. Dental sensitivity is a condition that arises when this inner layer called dentine is exposed.

If a taste of ice cream or a sip of coffee is sometimes painful or if brushing or flossing makes us wince occasionally, we may be suffering from sensitive teeth. Sharp or shooting pain caused while eating hot or cold, sweet or sour food is the most common symptom of tooth sensitivity. When hot or cold foods and liquids come into contact with the root surfaces, they may stimulate the nerves, causing us to feel pain.

So how to get relief? It is suggested that using a desensitising toothpaste which contains compounds can help block sensation travelling from the tooth surface to the nerve.

Since some sensitive toothpastes are available in a mint flavour as well, they can be used as ‘regular’ toothpastes.

If the desensitising toothpaste does not relieve pain, then  normally some dentist will suggest a fluoride gel or special desensitising agents that may be applied to sensitive areas of the affected teeth.

When even these measures do not correct the problem, I know my dad would quickly do a filling as he would have definatly found a cavity somewhere in between our molars.

A fruit fly’s tiny tongue holds clues to our eating habits, potentially opening new ways to treat obesity, says a new study.

Drosophila, commonly called fruit flies and smaller than a grain of rice, are found worldwide with 1,500 species. The word is Latin for “dew loving”.

Paul Hardin, professor of biology from Texas A&M University, along with colleagues, examined the taste organs on Drosophila’s proboscis (tongue), which triggers the minute fruit fly’s desire to eat or not to eat.

They found that several factors, especially the creature’s internal daily clock, determine feeding behaviours – and these same taste sensitivities very likely apply to humans.

“The ‘clock’ that influences this decision to eat or not to eat is found inside the taste sensing cells, which send a signal to eat,” Hardin explains.

“Once this signal is sent, the brain then tells the fly to eat or not, but all of this seems to depend on the time of day. These clocks have a very direct link to its eating habits,” says Hardin.

Like most flies, they have a natural instinct to seek out food and they are always looking for something to eat, Hardin adds.

“These inner clocks control the sensitivity to food and also affect how much the flies eat. We found that the highest sensitivity to sugar is in the daytime, and far less at night.”

“But we found that if you eliminate these clocks, the flies will eat much more food. So these clocks seem to suppress the desire for food at certain times of day,” adds Hardin.

Hardin notes that there are obvious parallels that could be drawn comparing the desire for food by the fruit flies and the human desire for food. “It’s long been established that as humans, we have clocks, too,” he adds.

“If clocks in our taste-sensing cells also control when and how much we eat, it could greatly impact weight gain.” he said.

Obesity is one of the major threats to health worldwide, especially in the US, where the number of obese people has skyrocketed in recent years.

Their work was published in the latest issue of Current Biology.

Guys this is interesting, most of my family members and friends just love to pop VITAMINS. And I’m afraid that really would push me over the edge whenever I tell them not to overindulge in VITAMINS..

So, that’s that. I’ll keep exercising, of course. I’ll eat a reasonably healthy diet, mutton curry including some grilled meat (carcinogen! probably!) here and there. I’ll enjoy a few beers, laugh whenever possible, and plenty of sex and — yes — smoke my daily THC.

Wish me luck. A close friend once told me “I’ve heard that life can result in death. Better watch out for that one”

All those who want to live long here is the new study….

A new study by Catherine Fields the Professor of Nutrition from the University of Alberta say that eating food rich in nutrients is more than enough to boost our immunity against colds and flu instead of just popping too many vitamins.

The good Professor Catherine a dietitian, in her study say “almost all vitamins and minerals play some role in ensuring an optimal immune response…but high doses do not help and may do harm,.”

Here are the vitamins and minerals to fight viruses, and in which food they are found, most, based on the evidence provided by Professor Catherine.

Vitamin C: Optimal vitamin C status has been identified as important for the immune cells involved in defence against viruses.

The main function of vitamin C is to help heal cuts and wounds; keep gum, teeth, and bones healthy; keep blood vessel walls strong and help absorb iron from the foods we eat.

Despite being studied for over 40 years, there is insufficient evidence to advise taking more vitamin C to prevent colds or the flu. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men (an additional 35 mg should be added for smokers).

This is easily obtained by having one to two servings of vitamin C rich citrus fruits (such as oranges), or vegetables like sweet peppers and broccoli.

A higher dose of vitamin C is not without side effects such as causing digestive problems.

Zinc: Zinc is important for the cells involved in defence against viruses. Zinc is also involved in many bodily functions. It supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence.

It is also required for a proper sense of smell and taste so that low zinc status can influence your appetite and enjoyment of food.

The current RDA for zinc is eight mg for women and 11 mg for men. The best sources of zinc are seafood, meat, seeds, cooked dried beans, peas and lentils.

A serving of lentils (3/4 cup) provides almost two mg of zinc. Plant sources are less reliable as the level of zinc in plants depends on the content in the soil.

As a result, vegetarians who mainly depend on plant sources of nutrients are advised to consult a dietitian to ensure their needs are being met.

Selenium: Although selenium is important for a healthy immune system, there is little evidence that consuming selenium supplements will reduce the risk of viral infections.

Recommended amounts are small, only 55 micrograms daily for adults, readily obtained from nuts, seafood, organ meat, pork and whole grains. Half a cup of cooked brown rice provides eight to 10 micrograms of selenium and a serving of mixed nuts (or 1/4th cup) has about 150 micrograms of selenium.

Viral infections, such as the flu, are often associated with a fever. However, there is no evidence that “starving a fever” by reducing the amount of food eaten will reduce a fever, says the University of Alberta statement.

In fact, a fever is a helpful means used by our own immune system in order to fight off the viral infection. If we stop eating, the immune system doesn’t work as well and all of the nutrients mentioned above, as well as many others, are important to the immune system.

The bottom line is “the key to good health is eating a well-planned balanced diet that focuses on variety”, concludes Professor Catherine.

Today is International Meatless Day – Animal Rights Day.

I am not having any meat today and I hope all my friends who had pledged to go meatless today will abstain from consuming all forms of meat, fish and fowl for the entire 24 hours. It is so nice to know that nearly 11 thousand in Malaysia had pledged to go meatless today.

The International Meatless – Animal Rights Day campaign was first started in India in 1986 by the Sadhu Vaswani Mission- a social service organisation with a spiritual aim dedicated to serving mankind, especially the poor and downtrodden. The mission has declared the 25th day of November as an international meatless day to honour and remember its founder, Dadaji T.L. Vaswani – a saint, philosopher, spiritualist and educationist.

Dadaji T L Vaswani set forth on a noble mission with a vision of practicing kindness that has created a phenomenal transformation that has saved the precious lives of millions of innocent and defenseless animals.

Many Hindus and Buddhists refrain from meat twice a month, on the 1st and 15th of the lunar calendar. Now, the idea has been raised to extend the practice to once a week. This idea might be useful with other religions that have meatless days.

Even Sir Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono, and our Late John Lennon were all for Meatless Day.

It is an inspiration to know that Sir Paul McCartney a vegetarian had urged the world to have TWO meatless days per week – the suggestion being that if the entire planet did this, it would reduce the amount of beef, sheep and pigs required for the table, cut down greenhouse gasses and help with climate change.

So guys, just try having one meatless day in a year in our household – just think it is good for the body – but if it contributes to the planet – what the heck – I can live with 20 days a year without meat lah.

What say you guys?

This is specially for all those nut eating addicts including myself. Hear this….

A daily dose of nuts-walnuts, almonds, pistachios- can make up for a heart-healthy diet, according to Mayo Clinic researchers.

Most nuts contain some nutrients that can benefit heart health and help with cholesterol control. They include unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, 1-arginine and plant sterols. Nuts have been shown to reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) levels in the blood.

Eating nuts also can reduce the risk of developing blood clots and improve the health of the lining of the arteries. The above benefits suggest that eating nuts, in limited amounts, may reduce the risk of heart disease, though studies haven’t yet proved this conclusively.

Almost any type of nut is nutritious – and high in calories. It is best to eat nuts in moderation, no more than a handful a day. Also, choose unsalted or low-salt versions and use nuts as a substitute for saturated fats, such as those found in meats, eggs and dairy products.

The study has been published in the latest issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s Health Source.

Users say it’s fun, it’s cheap, and it’s beginning to shake off its hardcore party drug image.

Is ketamine the new drug of choice for young people in Malaysia?

See here my own indulgence not so long ago…

I was in a 100% Chinese Karaoke joint in Kota Kinabalu with 6 0ther friends.

Ranny and me decided that we would try it out. So I did a line of “K”, that’s all it took, although it was a pretty fat line…

within 15-20 minutes I’d say I was falling into a “k – hole”, things started moving in slow motion, I looked down to see my legs gone, but could move, but also able to stand up, and then, thinking, hey! I’m walking now, but I can’t feel my limbs. My mind watched everything becoming cloudy and I’m on a cloud floating, next I’m up on the table trying to reach for the speakers. Then I am on the other side of the dance floor, I danced in slow motion and felt like I was in some strange place. I feel so happy and peaceful, so nice, cannot describe the feeling of happiness. I leave the dance floor and walk outside to the smoking area. Sat on a chair but the chair was very small and I am slipping down as if I was going to fall right down into a hole in the ground.

My mind was just going crazy….all kinds of thoughts was going on…very confusing

My friends too were spaced out like me, strange behavior, but i don’t regret doing it and would probably do it again.

Anyway, according to some medical experts from Israel, there is also some good out of ketamine. Its not as bad as how its being portrayed. It seems this new party drug “ketamine” or “K” can also be of help for people with suicidal tendencies. It can bring down depression levels rapidly, a preliminary study has revealed.

Treatment of depression can take weeks to produce positive results, which is inadequate for those contemplating suicide.

However, in early trials, intravenous (IV) ketamine, previously used as an anaesthetic, has brought down depression levels rapidly.

Ketamine cuts down suicidal thoughts when patients were assessed 24 hours after a single infusion. This reduction in suicidal tendencies was maintained when patients received repeated doses over the next two weeks.

Study co-author Rebecca Price, psychiatrist, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said: “If these findings hold up in larger samples of high-risk suicidal patients, IV ketamine could prove an attractive treatment option in situations that might endanger a patient’s life”.

Since this was a preliminary study in a small group of depressed patients, further research is needed to replicate these results.

However, the findings are promising and could result in improved treatment for suicidal patients in the future.

These findings were published in the September issue of Biological Psychiatry.

See here my indulgence in chemical romance.

So, want to know the kind of music ketamine users love? Here goes….