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Archive for September, 2012

廖中萊:解決停車位不足‧隆中央醫院將增1500車位

廖中萊突擊檢查吉隆坡中央停車位問題時,發現一輛汽車因為違規停放而被上鎖。(圖:星洲日報)

 

(吉隆坡27日訊)衛生部長拿督斯里廖中萊表示,中央醫院將會在近期內增加至少1千500個停車位,以解決停車位嚴重不足的問題。

他表示關注中央醫院及國內其他醫院面對的停車位不足問題,因此,並指示衛生部秘書長尋求解決方案。

廖中萊今日突擊檢查中央醫院停車場,召開新聞發佈會這麼表示。陪同出席者包括衛生部秘書長拿督卡馬魯查曼及中央醫院院長拿督再妮娜。

中央醫院目前有2千364個停車位,分別是1千818個職員停車位及546個公眾停車位,每日出入中央醫院的車流量是5至7千。

再妮娜今日也聲明,雖然院方有興建多層停車場的計劃,但是,有關計劃並沒有說明是要交給當前負責醫院停車場的BISMARK承包商,後者只是提呈建議書的眾多公司之一。

與承包商訴訟下月開審

她說,BISMARK為期兩年的停車服務承包合約原本今年12月杪到期,但是院方基於對方沒有履行合約,已在去年12月15日提前終止合約。

不過,由於雙方將合約糾紛帶上法庭,因此目前還是由該公司負責醫院的停車場事項。

中央醫院是基於5個原因提前終止該公司合約,包括中央醫院範圍內停車位不足、缺乏交通指揮人員、靠近彭亨路及足球場的主要路段經常關閉、收費機器經常損壞及接到投訴後遲遲未採取行動。

星洲日報

Man creates DIY prosthetic limbs after losing hands

China – Thirty-two years ago, Chinese farmer Sun Jifa, 51, lost his forearms in a dynamite fishing accident when a blast-fishing explosive detonated prematurely.

He could not afford to buy the prosthetic hands recommended by the hospital, but was desperately in need of hands to work on the family farm to feed his family.

“I survived but I had no hands and I couldn’t afford to buy the false hands the hospital wanted me to have – so I decided to make my own,'” he told the Croatian Times.

Instead of wallowing in his plight, the enterprising man from Guanmashan, Jilin province, northern China, instead decided to build himself his own set of prosthesis from scratch.

He spent eight years in total developing a working model that would allow him to grip, hold and mimic other hand movements with a system of wires and pulleys inside the prosthesis’s shell.

He spent two years guiding his two nephews to build him prosthesis from scrap metal, plastic and rubber.

He can control the movements of his hands from his elbows so well that he can feed himself, wash his face and even work in the fields.

However, he told reporters that the one drawback is that the steel is relatively heavy, so it is tiring for him to wear them for long periods of time. In addition, the steel can get quite cold in the winter and burning hot in the summer.

Over the years, Sun and his nephews have built about 300 prosthetic limbs for people in need, charging 3000 RMB ($585) each.

“I made this from scrap metal for virtually nothing. There is no need to pay hospitals a fortune,’ he said.

Xinhua reported that an estimated 24 million people in China have limb disabilities.

 

AsiaOne

 

 

He lost his forearms in a dynamite fishing accident 32 years ago.

 

He could not afford to buy prosthesis so he made himself one.

He spent two years guiding his two nephews to build him prosthesis from scrap metal, plastic and rubber.

 

What S’pore office workers want: A place for a nap

Janice Heng
The Straits Times
Friday, Sep 28, 2012

A nice place to take a nap is what Singaporean professionals desire most in the office, according to a survey by professional networking site LinkedIn.

More than a third of the 384 participants in the online poll said their dream future office includes “a quiet place… where they’re allowed to take a nap”.

Singaporeans were among the 7,000 professionals who were surveyed in 18 countries. Overall, fewer than one in four of the 7,000 wanted a spot for dozing.

The LinkedIn study, done in July and whose findings were released yesterday, asked respondents to choose one of four dream office perks: a place to nap, a clone or assistant to help one through the workday, a place with sunlight or a mute button for co-workers.

The top choice globally was a clone, but only 22 per cent of Singaporeans cared for one.

Slightly more – 23 per cent – wanted a spot in the office with natural sunlight, while the mute-button option got only 14 per cent of the votes in Singapore.

Survey participants could also come up with their own wish list, with Singaporean responses ranging from a good office pantry to better air-conditioning temperature control to a teleportation machine.

The LinkedIn survey also asked which office tools or trends might be extinct by 2017. Tape recorders and fax machines were voted most likely to go by Singaporeans.

They also felt that standard working hours would soon be a thing of the past. Also bound for the scrap heap: a Rolodex – an organiser for business cards, desktop PCs and desk phones.

What might be the next big thing?

For Singaporean professionals, it was cloud storage, where files are stored in a virtual space rather than in a computer’s hard drive.

The Straits Times

Pasta with Pistachio Pesto

Pasta with Pistachio Pesto
  • Pulse 1 1/2 cups unsalted, shelled roasted natural pistachios, 1 cup chopped tomato, 2 garlic cloves, a handful of fresh mint leaves, a handful of grated Parmesan, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper in a food processor until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a bowl; stir in 2 Tbsp. olive oil (or more) to form a thick, chunky sauce. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Toss 1 cup pesto with 1 lb. freshly cooked pasta, adding pasta cooking liquid by the tablespoonful to form a glossy sauce. Chill remaining pesto to spread on sandwiches.

Bonappetit

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‘Scar free healing’ in mice may give clues to human skin repair, says study

African spiny mouse

The mouse skin’s tensile strength was 20 times weaker than in other mice.

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News

Mice with brittle skin, which tears off in order to escape predators, may offer clues to healing wounds without scarring, according to US researchers.

Some African spiny mice lost up to 60% of the skin from their backs, says the study published in the journal Nature.

Unlike wounds in other mammals, the skin then rapidly healed and regrew hairs rather than forming a scar.

Scientists want to figure out how the healing takes place and if it could apply to people.

Salamanders, some of which can regrow entire limbs, are famed for their regenerative abilities. It has made them the focus of many researchers hoping to figure out how to produce the same effect in people.

Mammals, however, have very limited ability to regrow lost organs. Normally a scar forms to seal the wound.

Although many scienctists are trying to speed up the healing process, our studies on spiny mice and salamanders show that slowing things down is the path towards regeneration”

Ashley Seifert University of Florida

“This study shows that mammals as a group may in fact have higher regenerative abilities then they are given credit for,” said Dr Ashley Seifert from the University of Florida.

Regeneration hub

As well as rapid skin healing, the mice were also able to heal large circular holes punched in their ears – they regenerated hair follicles, sweat glands and cartilage.

Tests showed the mice produced a “regeneration hub” known as a blastema in order to repair the injury. It is this bundle of stem cells that is also used by the salamander to rebuild missing body parts.

Dr Seifert told the BBC: “It is thought that one of the main constraints on regenerating appendages in humans, or mammals for that fact, is the failure to form a blastema.”

He wants to investigate how the structure forms in these mice.

Another difference was in the web of proteins that holds cells in place – the extracellular matrix.

He said: “These mice appear to deposit extracellular matrix into their wounds at a slower rate than mice, pigs or humans.

“Although many scienctists are trying to speed up the healing process, our studies on spiny mice and salamanders show that slowing things down is the path towards regeneration.”

However, working out what is happening and then trying to transfer the findings to people is likely to be a long journey.

Commenting on the study, Elly Tanaka, from the Technische University Dresden, said: “These studies suggest that the pathways leading to regeneration, at least of the skin, that are normally associated with amphibians are also accessible in mammals.”

She added that harnessing the process “in a controlled manner in other wound situations may help to promote scarless healing”.

BBC

Exercise sessions have ‘little impact on child activity’

Children playing on climbing frame

Children may spend less time outdoors at the playground if they go to after-school exercise clubs

 

Extra-curricular exercise sessions have little impact on children’s overall daily physical activity, research in the British Medical Journal suggests.

Researchers from Plymouth University found attending these sessions was only equivalent to doing an extra four minutes walking or running per day.

Children who attended did less physical activity at home afterwards, they said.

They looked at 30 studies, each lasting for at least four weeks, that monitored the bodily movements of the under-16s.

Eight studies involved overweight and obese children only, while the rest involved children who were a range of different weights.

Their results came from controlled trials that took place between 1990 and 2012.

The researchers looked at the effects of extra exercise sessions on total physical activity during waking hours as well as on overall time spent doing moderate exercise.

A PE lesson can be 10 minutes of running, 10 minutes of walking and 20 minutes of standing around…”

Brad Metcalf Plymouth University

Minimal impact

Despite the extra sessions, they found there were only “small to negligible” increases in children’s total activity and small improvements in time spent doing moderate or vigorous exercise.

They calculated this would have minimal impact on children’s body fat or BMI (Body Mass Index), equivalent to a reduction of 2mm (0.07in) in waist circumference.

“It could be that the intervention specific exercise sessions may simply be replacing periods of equally intense activity,” the study said.

“For example, after-school activity clubs may simply replace a period of time that children usually spend playing outdoors or replace a time later in the day/week when the child would usually be active.”

Brad Metcalf, lead author of the study and a medical statistician from the department of endocrinology and metabolism at Plymouth University, said extra-curricular PE lessons could often be far from energetic.

“A PE lesson can be 10 minutes of running, 10 minutes of walking and 20 minutes of standing in a queue waiting for your turn.”

Children may also end up eating or snacking more at home afterwards because they feel they have been more active – or parents may decide not to take their children to the park because they believe they have already had their exercise for the day.

‘Realistic’

Obesity is estimated to cost the NHS £4bn a year.

Mr Metcalf suggests any initiatives to combat obesity should emphasise diet and healthy eating, rather than relying solely on physical activity to solve the problem.

In an editorial in the same issue of the BMJ, Mark Hamer and Abigail Fisher, from the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, said the devices used to measure the total activity of the children were a more reliable tool than questionnaires.

“The small effects reported by Metcalf and colleagues are probably more realistic and provide the best evidence to date on the effectiveness of activity interventions in childhood.”

But they added that the accelerometers could not measure activities like swimming or cycling.

Looking to the future, they said it was important to identify how best to promote exercise to children, “because a wealth of evidence supports the association between an active lifestyle and many facets of child health”.

BBC

Epilepsy ‘is a global health problem’

Brain

Epilepsy can develop after an infection or damage to the brain

Epilepsy is twice as common in low and middle-income countries as it is in the developed world, according to an international team of researchers.

They say the higher incidence is linked to increased risk factors, including head injuries and infections such as pork tapeworm and river blindness.

And more than 60% of sufferers in those countries receive no appropriate treatment, they say in the Lancet.

A Lancet editorial said epilepsy had to be a global health priority.

Epilepsy is a condition in which disturbances to the brain’s normal electrical activity cause recurring seizures or brief episodes of altered consciousness.

There are about 40 different types. Epilepsy is not a mental illness, but can develop after injury or damage to the brain.

About 85% of the global burden of epilepsy occurs in low and middle-income countries.

‘Bewitched’

Writing in the Lancet, researchers led by Prof Charles Newton, of the University of Oxford, say the death rate in developing countries is much higher than in developed ones – and that the reason for this is likely to be a failure to treat people with the condition.

It is time for all governments to take epilepsy more seriously”

Lancet editorial

Prof Newton said: “The burden of epilepsy in these regions is at least double that found in high-income countries, and sadly, adequate facilities for diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of epilepsy are virtually non-existent in many of the world’s poorest regions.”

He added: “Many people with epilepsy or their families do not even know that they have a disorder that can be controlled with biomedical treatment, so it is vitally important that awareness is raised and medical care improved in these regions.”

Medications are available – but there can be problems distributing them, especially to remote areas.

The researchers say there are low-cost ways of improving the situation and of reducing the stigma often faced by people with epilepsy and their families – such as working with traditional healers and awareness campaigns to increase understanding of the condition.

In some countries, traditional beliefs about the causes of the condition, including bewitchment, spiritual causes and curses, lead to stigma and increase the chance that a person with epilepsy will not get the treatment they need.

A Lancet editorial adds: “Given the prevalence of epilepsy globally, it should be included as a priority on the public health agenda, and access to treatment should be greatly improved in developing countries.

“It is time for all governments to take epilepsy more seriously.”

BBC

‘Melt in the body’ electronics devised

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News

 Water dissolving an electronic device – Courtesy Beckman Institute, University of Illinois and Tufts University

Ultra-thin electronics that dissolve inside the body have been devised by scientists in the US and could be used for a range of medical roles.

The devices can “melt away” once their job is done, according to research published in the journal Science.

The technology has already been used to heat a wound to keep it free from infection by bacteria.

The components are made of silicon and magnesium oxide, and placed in a protective layer of silk.

It is part of a field termed “transient electronics” and comes from researchers who have already developed “electronic tattoos” – sensors that bend and stretch with the skin.

They described their vanishing devices as the “polar opposite” of traditional electronics, which are built to be stable and to last.

Getting the electronics to fade away in a controlled manner relies on two scientific developments – getting the electronics to dissolve at all and using a shell to control when that happens.
Melting electronics

The device dissolves when it comes into contact with water
Silicon dissolves in water anyway. The problem is that the size of components in conventional electronics means it would take an eternity. The researchers used incredibly thin sheets of silicon, called a nanomembrane, which can dissolve in days or weeks.

The speed of melting is controlled by silk. The material is collected from silkworms, dissolved and then allowed to reform. Altering the way the dissolved silk crystallises changes its final properties – and how long the device will last.

Prof Fiorenzo Omenetto, from Tufts school of engineering, said: “Transient electronics offer robust performance comparable to current devices but they will fully resorb into their environment at a prescribed time, ranging from minutes to years.”

The future?

A range of uses have already been tested in the laboratory including a 64-pixel digital camera, temperature sensors and solar cells.

John Rogers, a mechanical science and engineering professor at the University of Illinois, said: “It’s a new concept, so there are lots of opportunities, many of which we probably have not even identified yet.”

He told the BBC one likely use would be in wounds after surgery.

“Infection is a leading cause of readmission, a device could be put in to the body at the site of surgery just before it is closed up,” he said.

“But you would only need it for the most critical period around two weeks after surgery.”

The team of researchers have tested on rats a device that heats a wound to kill off bugs.

There are also ideas around using the technology to slowly release drugs inside the body or to build sensors for the brain and heart.

It could also be used to make other items such as computers or mobile phones more environmentally friendly.

“Imagine the environmental benefits if cell phones, for example, could just dissolve instead of languishing in landfills for years,” said Prof Omenetto.

BBC

80小學生喝牛奶後集體吐瀉

(柔佛‧麻坡28日訊)麻坡砂禮路的巴力士洞葛國小逾80名小學生,昨日疑因喝下“一個大馬牛奶”計劃所供應的牛奶後,集體出現嘔吐及腹瀉狀況。

其中一名就讀該校6年級的學生表示,學校每星期都會派發3次“一個大馬牛奶”計劃所供應的免費牛奶給全校師生飲用,惟在今日上午10時休息時段里,部份喝了牛奶的同學在30分鐘後開始感到不舒服。

他表示,雖然自己也喝了,但並沒有感到不舒服,而就讀4年級的弟弟則出現嘔吐及腹瀉的情形。

他說,校方安排約5名醫療人員到學校為學生們檢查身體情況,並給予診治。(星洲網

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