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Archive for September, 2012

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

廖中萊:與世衛保持聯繫‧新冠狀病毒未擴散他國

(吉隆坡27日訊)衛生部長拿督斯里廖中萊表示,雖然中東出現類似沙斯的新冠狀病毒,但並沒有擴散至其他的國家。

他說,衛生部會與世界衛生組織保持緊密聯繫,以及跟進該病情的發展。

他說,隨著人與人之間的交流和交通的迅速發展,衛生部需要在處理方面,需非常小心的處理,並繼續觀察事態的發展。

廖中萊在國會對記者表示,“自從H1N1發生後,馬來西亞的機場關卡都有監督的系統,以徵查病毒的帶菌者。"

 

星洲日報

教你自测:妇科癌症的5种症状

2008年,超过80万妇女被诊断出患有妇科癌症,接近3万名妇女因此死亡。一项新的研究表明,通过提高对妇科癌症症状的认识可以进行早期预测,并且提高存活率。

妇科癌症主要有五种类型: 子宫颈癌,卵巢癌,子宫,阴道和外阴癌。

这项研究观察了40到60岁之间的妇女,她们生活在芝加哥、纽约、洛杉矶和迈阿密。研究人员给每一个参与者一份列表,列表中的内容是与妇科癌症相关的一些症状。参与者根据自己遇到的任何一个症状以及自己关注的部分来回答这些问题。

警告信号

根据健康传播疾病控制和预防中心的专家、研究的主要研究员辛西娅·盖尔布称,有五种症状与妇科癌症有关联。

     妇女应该注意的五个症状:

阴道瘙痒或灼痛

背部或腹部疼痛

任何时候都感到疲劳

小便异常或比平常多很多

腹胀

      你什么时候应该去看妇科医生

盖尔布建议妇女应该意识到什么是不正常的。女人应该知道他们的月经持续了多长时间,与月经周期相关的其他症状,这是非常重要的问题。例如,异常出血或月经周期比平时长等等,这些迹象表明,你应该立即去看妇科医生。

此外,如果一个女人腹胀和其他症状超过两周,盖尔布建议寻求专业护理。该研究表明,这样的症状明显会长于两周。

盖尔布建议提高对症状的意识,做到早期检查及预防。 她认为,妇女应更多地了解妇科癌症,因为许多症状可能看似与生殖器官并不相关。

这项研究结果发表在《家庭医学》杂志上。

医药日报发布

儿童肥胖:孩子们说,“我就喜欢快餐的标志!”

儿童肥胖已经成为一个日益严重的健康话题。对我们当中的许多人来说,肥胖已经临到自己孩子了。研究表明,家长们为孩子提供的不健康食品,导致孩子肥胖。另外,快餐公司过分营销宣传也成为了主要诱因。因为这些营销活动已在孩子们幼小的头脑中烙下了快餐商标品牌。

通常情况下,孩子们会选择品尝麦当劳的汉堡,而不会去吃无标签盒子所装有的汉堡。(图片:Mike Blake/路透社)

 

根据美国疾病控制和预防中心(CDC)称,与过去的30年相比,儿童肥胖增加了两倍之多。也许政府机构报告的更确凿,在美国6-11岁的儿童肥胖率从1980年的7%增长到2008年的20%。 同样,与上年同期相比,年龄在12-19岁的青少年肥胖率从5%增加至18%。

密苏里州堪萨斯城大学和堪萨斯州医学中心大学的研究人员主持了研究,选取了60个受孩子欢迎的食品品牌标志,如肯德基(KFC);非食品品牌标志,如宝马(BMW)和联邦快递(FedEx)。这些孩子的年龄大约在10岁至14岁之间。

当看到快餐公司的图片时,控制快乐和食欲的大脑部位就活跃起来;而没有显示食物图像时,大脑的该部位不会出现类似的反应。

大脑的反应看起来没什么大不了。 毕竟,当有人提到的食物,常见的身体反应是感到饥饿。但是,研究人员还发现,孩子们更倾向于选择自己熟悉的食物的标志与品牌。通常情况下,孩子们会选择品尝麦当劳的汉堡,而不会去吃无标签盒子所装有的汉堡。

研究人员关注的是,在儿童能养成自我控制能力之前,这些公司的营销人员利用奖励措施来吸引这些儿童。此外,大多数提供给儿童的食物都含有较高的糖,脂肪和钠。

带领这项研究的布鲁斯博士说,“儿童的大脑被印上了“食品品牌”的标识。青少年很容易受到食物的诱惑而做出错误的选择。”

医药日报发布

GST to be mulled as a way to spread tax burden

KUALA LUMPUR: Goods and Services Tax (GST) is not expected to be introduced in Budget 2013, but Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to make a case for it.

Senior Treasury officials said the Government realised that only a fraction of the population paid income tax and that the tax regime needed to be fairer.

“This can only be done via the GST, which is a consumption tax. After a short period, it will not only increase Government revenue but also spread the tax burden to a wider group.

“At present, less than 1.7 million people out of the almost 13 million workforce earn enough to be taxed,” said a tax consultant, stressing that the present tax regime burdened the middle class.

The officials agreed and said Najib was expected to touch on this matter in his speech as he was keen to readjust the income tax regime downwards.

On the budget deficit, the officials said the Government remained committed towards further lowering it to around 4% in 2013 from 4.5% in 2012 and to 3% by 2015.

This, they said, was being done through reducing wastage and channelling subsidies to the right target groups instead of blanket subsidies.

Asked whether the question of lower excise duties for motor vehicles would be addressed in the Budget, they said Najib would touch on this in his reference to the National Automotive Policy that expires this year.

The Star

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