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Archive for December, 2013

Priority Matrix: Brilliant Way to Manage your Projects and Tasks

prioritymatrix

Priority Matrix (4 stars with 926 User Ratings) 
iPad App 
$4.99 → Free

 

Priority Matrix for iPhone – Best to do list app for managers (4.5 stars with 255 Ratings) 
iPhone App
$2.99 →Free

 

Do you have too many projects to manage? Not sure which tasks to work on right now?

Priority Matrix helps you manage various tasks by dividing tasks in each project into 4 different categories presented in a matrix format. View at a glance which task should be completed immediately. Set important tasks that need to be completed but not immediately. You can easily move one task from one category to another. It is a different way to organize your daily tasks and keep you focused. It’s not essential to most people, but optional team project management is available via subscription as an IAP. If you have trouble managing tasks for your project, be sure to grab this great app!

App Screenshots

via Priority Matrix: Brilliant Way to Manage your Projects and Tasks | App Saga.

Mini Herbed Pommes Anna

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INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

12-24 small tender thyme sprigs plus 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped leaves

1 garlic clove, minced

1 3/4 pounds small waxy potatoes (such as Yukon Gold or German Butterball), each slightly larger than a golf ball

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

A standard 12-cup muffin pan; a mandoline.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Brush muffin cups all over with butter. Line bottoms with parchment-paper rounds. Arrange 1-2 small thyme sprigs in center of each round. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon butter into bottom of each cup.

Add chopped thyme and garlic to remaining butter in saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Using mandoline, slice potatoes crosswise into very thin rounds (less than 1/16-inch thick), placing them in a large bowl as you work. Pour herb butter over and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat well.

Divide potato slices among muffin cups, layering overlapping slices to create a circular pattern. Lightly press center of each to make compact. Drizzle any remaining butter and seasoning from bowl over.

Cover muffin pan tightly with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake until potatoes can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, about 35 minutes. Remove foil; invert a rimmed baking sheet over pan. Turn, lightly tapping on counter, releasing potatoes onto sheet. Rearrange any slices that may have fallen out. Using a metal spatula, carefully turn cakes, thyme sprigs facing down. Discard parchment. DO AHEAD Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Increase heat to 425°. Uncover cakes if needed. Bake until bottoms and edges are golden and crispy, 25-30 minutes. Carefully turn cakes, thyme sprigs facing up.

via Mini Herbed Pommes Anna – Bon Appétit.

Middle East attempts to ward off scourge of polio

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Vaccination campaigns have been stepped up

 

Polio scourge threatens Middle EastIt’s just a drop in the mouth but it’s the drop on which high hopes are pinned, universally.

Only vaccination can prevent infection with poliomyelitis (polio), a viral and highly contagious disease that paralyses children.

It was close to being eradicated worldwide, but has re-emerged in several parts of the world, most recently in Syria.

The outbreak sent shockwaves around the region, especially across Syria’s western border in Lebanon, where an intensive vaccination campaign was launched.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the first cases of polio in Syria were reported last October in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, 14 years after Syria was declared free of the disease.

 BBC News outlines the struggle against polio – in 60 seconds

The latest WHO update says that 17 cases of polio have been confirmed in Syria – 15 of them in Deir al-Zour, one in rural Damascus, and one in Aleppo.

The news prompted strong reaction across the region, the fear of the virus spreading focusing minds.

But for some experts, it should have all been anticipated, and perhaps prevented.

“It was of no surprise to public health and medical practitioners in the region that a communicable disease outbreak such as polio would eventually occur in Syria,” said Dr Adam Coutts, a public health researcher based in Lebanon, who has been monitoring the health situation in Syria for 18 months.

“Questions remain as to why WHO did not better prepare for this, given their own recognition about the risk of outbreaks.”

It is not the first time that the virus has reappeared in regions that were previously declared polio-free: in 2011 the virus spread from Pakistan to China.

What is polio?

  • Polio (poliomyelitis) mainly affects children aged under five
  • It is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system
  • Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and limb pain
  • One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis
  • Between 5-10% of those who suffer paralysis die because their breathing muscles are immobilised
  • Cases have fallen hugely, from around 350,000 in 1988 to 223 in 2012
  • However, polio remains a major problem in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan

Source: World Health Organization

However, Oliver Rosenbauer, a WHO spokesman in Geneva, said the immunisation operations were more complicated than they appeared, despite the WHO having access to all areas in Syria since 2010.

He said: “It’s about the nature of the disease that spreads with moving populations that makes it so hard to contain it. The virus is really good in finding susceptible children.

“In places of high risk like Syria, immunisation campaigns alone are not sufficient. A better level of routine vaccination and monitoring is required, and this is very difficult in dangerous areas.”

Regional emergency

Far from being just another Syrian crisis, the outbreak of polio is considered as a regional emergency in the Middle East.

Large vaccination campaigns have been launched in Jordan, Egypt, southern Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon.

 Rajesh Mirchandani visits the polio vaccination programme in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya

All these countries have taken a large number of Syrian refugees – but none took as many as Lebanon.

Large numbers of Syrians enter Lebanon every day, and the chances are high that an infected child could pass it on.

Insanitary and crowded conditions, coupled with low immunisation rates, decrease the odds.

The Lebanese authorities and international organisations have pledged to vaccinate all children under five on Lebanese soil.

Schools, nurseries and medical centres have all strived to reach every child in the country but it is a difficult task.

Authorities estimate that more than a million refugees live in Lebanon but there is no official database about their whereabouts or movement in the country.

The most difficult to reach remain those living in tented settlements.

There are more than 100,000 of them and they are spread all over the country, wherever they find an empty spot of land on which to erect their tent.

Reaching this group is often a matter of chance.

“We’re trying to get to each and every child among the Syrian refugees but we constantly discover new mini-camps hidden in one place or another,” said Dr Melhem Harmouch of Beyond, an organisation working in partnership with Unicef.

“Every time we spot a new settlement, we just pop in and ask whether the kids have been vaccinated.”

‘No strategy’

But polio is just one of countless health problems from which Syrian refugees, like some Lebanese, are suffering.

“The whole health system is collapsing, and there is no health strategy for the refugees,” said Dr Fouad Mohamad Fouad, a Syrian physician and professor of public health at the American University of Beirut.

Vaccination campaign
Some are concerned that polio has too high a profile

“Polio is somehow fashionable these days, so everyone is so concerned about it. But other illnesses are also dangerous and totally ignored.”

Dr Fouad said there were countless numbers of refugees suffering from cancer in Lebanon.

“What about those with diabetes, or those with kidney problems who need regular dialysis? What about those with heart problems or the disabled? And who’s taking care of the people with mental problems?”

The UNHCR offers a range of treatments for the refugees but is unable to expand the coverage to specialist healthcare assistance for all chronic disease. In Lebanon, medical care is mostly private and expensive.

“Syrians who are internally displaced and refugees have been dying and disabled in far greater numbers for the past two years and from conditions other than polio or infectious diseases,” said Dr Coutts.

“War injuries, chronic and non-communicable diseases are silently killing Syrians without much media attention.”

Or, as Dr Fouad puts it: “I guess media and the world are much more interested in gory deaths than in latent and slow ones.”

via BBC News – Middle East attempts to ward off scourge of polio.

Breast surgeon concerns ‘from 2003’

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Solihull Hospital has previously found surgeon Ian Paterson breached guidelines

 

Senior managers at a hospital trust did not respond effectively to concerns over a surgeon carrying out unnecessary or incomplete breast cancer operations, a report has found.

An independent report by lawyer Sir Ian Kennedy found concerns about Ian Paterson dated back to 2003.

He allegedly carried out “cleavage sparing” mastectomies while at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

The report made a number of recommendations.

Solihull Hospital previously found the surgeon breached guidelines over a procedure that involved leaving behind breast tissue to provide an improved cleavage.

The recommendations relate to better transparency, improved recording of information, the role of regulators, encouraging staff to raise concerns and increased scrutiny.

The report found senior managers at the trust did not respond effectively until 2007 and said their response was neither sufficiently robust nor rigorous.

Sir Ian said the breast surgeon, who has been struck off by the General Medical Council, was allowed to carry on operating on women for several years despite a series of concerns raised about him by other medical staff.

Up to 400 women are believed to be suing the trust for failing to take action over the claims.

NHS England said it “fully supports the recommendations that Sir Ian details in his report”.

Trust chairman Lord Philip Hunt said: “I wish to give a full unreserved apology to all patients and their relatives. This was completely unacceptable and I am very sorry indeed.”

He said a taskforce would be set up in January and that would oversee the implementation of Sir Ian’s recommendations.

via BBC News – Breast surgeon concerns ‘from 2003’.

Colchester Hospital: NHS England probe finds five cancer areas ‘unsafe’

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Andrew Pike of NHS England said his team had aimed to deliver a quick but thorough review
Cancer care at a hospital at the centre of a police inquiry has been found “unsafe”.

NHS England has reviewed hundreds of cancer cases at Colchester Hospital.

The investigation follows a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which found staff were “pressured or bullied” to change data.

NHS England has found five areas – including skin cancer and urology – were unsafe. All cancer cases dating back to April 2010 will be reviewed.

Essex Police is currently investigating the CQC’s findings.

Publishing its report on Thursday, NHS England said it had found problems with five cancer service areas including urology and skin cancers.

These problems were found as little as six days ago, it has emerged.

An additional 13 cancer patients are to be recalled, NHS England said.

‘Number of worries’

The report said:”A number of serious failings in cancer services organisation management and infrastructure have been identified.”

This includes “unsafe information ” and”unsustainable levels of staffing in key services”.

It added: “More worryingly the immediate review confirmed the CQC finding that some Trust staff had a lack of confidence that concerns would be listened to.”

The unsafe cancer services included urology, skin, brain, sarcoma, and radiology.

Dr Andrew Pike, Essex director of NHS England said: “We tried to respond to do a rapid but thorough review of services.

“A number of worries were found and mitigating actions put in place to address this.”

The review of cancer was prompted by the CQC after inspectors found staff had been bullied into changing patients’ cancer records to meet Government waiting time targets.

via BBC News – Colchester Hospital: NHS England probe finds five cancer areas ‘unsafe’.

Stress gene linked to heart attacks

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About one in 10 people have a genetic change linked to being more sensitive to stress

A stress gene has been linked to having a higher risk of dying from a heart attack or heart disease.

Heart patients with the genetic change had a 38% increased risk of heart attack or death, say US researchers.

Personalised medicine may lead to better targeting of psychological or drug treatment to those most at risk, they report in PLOS ONE.

The study adds to evidence stress may directly increase heart disease risk, says the British Heart Foundation.

A team at Duke University School of Medicine studied a single DNA letter change in the human genome, which has been linked to being more vulnerable to the effects of stress.

They found heart patients with the genetic change had a 38% increased risk of heart attack or death from heart disease after seven years of follow up compared with those without, even after taking into account factors like age, obesity and smoking.

This suggests that stress management techniques and drug therapies could reduce deaths and disability from heart attacks, they say.

Dr Redford Williams, director of the Behavioural Medicine Research Center at Duke University School of Medicine, said the work is the first step towards finding genetic variants that identify people at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

“This is one step towards the day when we will be able to identify people on the basis of this genotype who are at higher risk of developing heart disease in the first place,” he told BBC News.

“That’s a step in the direction of personalised medicine for cardiovascular disease.”

Identifying people with the genetic change could lead to early interventions for heart patients who are at high risk of dying or having a heart attack, say the researchers.

About one in 10 of men and 3% of women in the group of 6,000 heart patients studied had the genetic change associated with handling emotional stress badly.

Commenting on the study, Prof Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said the results provided further evidence that stress may directly increase heart disease risk.

“By finding a possible mechanism behind this relationship, these researchers have suggested tackling the problem either by changing behaviour or, if needed, with existing medicines,” he said.

“There are positive lifestyle changes you can make to help you cope with stress. A balanced diet and regular physical activity will help you feel better able to cope with life’s demands.

“If you often feel anxious and you’re worried about your stress levels, make an appointment to talk it through with your doctor.”

via BBC News – Stress gene linked to heart attacks.

植物營養素顏色落漆!最缺藍紫色

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每天均衡攝取五拳五色蔬果,才能完全照顧到身體每一部位所需營養素。

你知道嗎?蔬菜水果的營養素與顏色,是有密切關連的!根據美國國家健康和營養檢測調查資料顯示,成人攝取的「植物營養素差距」顏色比率,最少的是白色,其次為橙黃色,飲食上一旦缺乏部份顏色,就可能會對健康帶來不少隱憂。

植物營養素差距 台灣最少吃藍紫色

近年來,美國建議的蔬果攝取量從2005年的5~9份提升到5~13份,每種蔬果顏色(包括白、橘黃、紅、藍紫、綠色)建議每天要各攝取2份才足夠,不過調查結果中發現,10個成人中有8名成人都無法達到這項建議攝取量。

安麗紐崔萊營養師劉馨嬬表示,蔬果攝取未達標準所產生的差距就是所謂的「植物營養素差距」,如果長期缺乏某一種顏色的蔬果,就會對身體某部份造成負面影響。在美國的研究報告中顯示,美國人最缺乏白色與橙黃色。不過根據2013年遠見雜誌針對台灣地區民眾所做的一項調查,台灣人普遍較缺乏藍紫色蔬果。

這一項調查結果也顯示,台灣人吃綠色蔬果的比例最高(87%),其次是白色(55.4%),藍紫色的蔬果攝取比例最低(27.6%),所以建議紫色的食物可多多攝取,像是茄子、木耳、海帶、紫米、黑豆、葡萄、藍莓、蜜棗、黑芝麻等,都是優質的藍紫色蔬果,對於腦部跟腎臟有所幫助。

調查顯示,台灣人普遍最少攝取藍紫色食物,例如葡萄、茄子、木耳等。(圖片/華人健康網)

調查顯示,台灣人普遍最少攝取藍紫色食物,例如葡萄、茄子、木耳等。(圖片/華人健康網)

 

五色蔬果不偏廢 均衡攝取營養才夠

此外,調查報告中也發現,超過6成的台灣人一天只會攝取2~3種顏色的蔬果,平均攝取的植物營養素明顯不足。營養師劉馨嬬強調,5種顏色的蔬果都不可偏廢,因為每種顏色都有對應到的身體所需營養,如果缺少了任何一種顏色,就會影響身體不同器官的健康狀況。

在美國的調查發現,成人最少攝取的白色與橙黃色為例,白色食物像是蘋果果肉、洋蔥、大蒜、白花椰菜、洋菇類、山藥等,是與骨骼及預防心血管疾病有關,橙黃色的蔬果例如金盞花、葡萄柚、柑橘、檸檬、胡蘿蔔、甜玉米、南瓜、地瓜、橘子、柳橙、木瓜、芒果、鳳梨,則是幫助眼睛與皮膚抵禦紫外線攻擊。

其他包括與泌尿系統、消化系統有關,且含有茄紅素或糅花酸的紅色蔬果,或是含有異硫氰酸酯、對於預防癌症有很好功效的綠色蔬果,也都應該均衡攝取。掌握「5拳5色」的蔬果攝取原則,每天吃足5個拳頭、不同顏色的蔬果,就能讓植物營養素增強身體各部位的健康,預防慢性病的發生。

via 植物營養素顏色落漆!最缺藍紫色 | 20131218 | 華人健康網.

半夜腿抽痛!喝牛膝山藥排骨湯

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中醫師建議,老人預防腿抽筋,可以吃「十全大補方」,另外,也推荐一道「牛膝當歸山藥排骨湯」。(圖片提供/中醫師廖千慧)

 

老人最怕冬天的晚上,不是沒有原因,尤其不少老年人夜間睡熟時,突然發生小腿抽筋,以致痛醒,雖然起床活動一下之後,可以緩解症狀,但是,整晚卻不得安寧。中醫師建議,老人預防腿抽筋,可以吃「十全大補方」,另外,也推荐一道「牛膝當歸山藥排骨湯」,食用之後,能溫經通絡,腿部不再抽痛難耐。

老年人腿抽筋,大部份與動脈硬化腿部血液供應障礙有關。當動脈硬化,腿部供血減少,以致血流不暢,代謝產物不能被血液帶走,當代謝物積累到一定濃度時,就會刺激肌肉收縮,引起疼痛抽筋。

牛膝當歸山藥排骨湯 可補養氣血

中醫學中的內經中已經提到:「肝苦急,急食甘以緩之」。這裡所說的「肝苦急」就是指抽筋,因為肝主筋,而「食甘」就是指要喝糖水,所謂糖水指的是蔗糖水,就是紅糖水,可以說是傳統老祖宗留下來的智慧。

中醫師廖千慧表示,傳統食用十全大補方,確實有助於補氣、補血,以及溫通經絡的效果,所以對於預防腿抽筋,有一定的效果。另外,也推荐一道「牛膝當歸山藥排骨湯」,可以補養氣血、活血化瘀、祛風散寒、養筋柔筋。

老年人腿抽筋,大部份與動脈硬化腿部血液供應障礙有關。

老年人腿抽筋,大部份與動脈硬化腿部血液供應障礙有關。

 

★牛膝當歸山藥排骨湯

藥材:黃耆2錢、桂枝2錢、白芍2錢、當歸2錢、牛膝2錢、葛根2錢、甘草2錢、老薑3片。

其他:新鮮山藥200g、肋骨排300g、食鹽、米酒。

效果:以黃耆、當歸補養氣血;還有桂枝及老薑可以溫經通絡;白芍養血止痛、柔筋止痙;牛膝可以強筋壯骨、活血去瘀;至於葛根及甘草,可以緩解痙攣抽痛。整個藥膳還有補養氣血、活血化瘀、祛風散寒、養筋柔筋的效果。

★十全大補方

人參5克 、白朮5克 、茯苓5克 、甘草5克、 當歸5克、 川芎5克 、熟地黃5克 、白芍5克、 黃耆5克 、肉桂5克 、生薑5克 、大棗2枚 。

效果:方中參、苓、白朮、草為四君俱益氣補中,健脾養胃之功,是治療脾胃氣虛、運化乏力之方;歸、芎、芍、地為四物俱補血調經之效,有補而不滯、活瘀而不破之功,加黃耆補氣升陽,固表止汗;肉桂溫補命門,並填補真元。

【中醫師小叮嚀】:

為了減少夜間腳抽筋發生的次數,日常飲水量一定要足夠;成人每天至少要攝取1500到2000毫升的水量,在運動方面,應該選擇合適的日常運動,以水中運動為例,對於舒緩筋骨有所幫助。

via 半夜腿抽痛!喝牛膝山藥排骨湯 | 20131219 | 華人健康網.

炙燒乾癬?亂用偏方細菌感染恐致命

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乾癬患者病症嚴重時,尤其冬天來臨,皮膚會變得更乾更痛,一拉扯就容易龜裂。

 

小心誤用偏方會害人!1名30歲罹患乾癬的余先生,聽信別人傳言,為解除乾癬,花大錢尋遍各種偏方,從中草藥膏、一帖3萬的昂貴水藥,還有號稱能以毒攻毒的燉蟾蜍,甚至利用坊間偏方來「炙燒乾癬」,但是病情不但未獲得改善,甚至病灶更加速惡化。

乾癬患者症狀嚴重 皮膚易龜裂乾痛

患者甚至因積年累月使用高劑量類固醇的藥物,使得皮膚變薄、萎縮,不得不求助醫院醫師。

余先生表示,每當冬天來臨,皮膚變得更乾更痛,一拉扯就容易龜裂,需塗抹質地較油膩的乳液,下班回家,襯衫上時常沾滿混雜的血漬及乳液。經常會掉落滿地白色皮屑,因此常受到異樣眼光,甚至其他人的排斥。

後來經過新竹馬偕紀念醫院皮膚科主治吳南霖醫師的診斷與治療策略,余先生按部就班從口服藥物、外用藥膏到照光治療,最終通過長效型生物製劑申請,終於病症獲得控制。

乾癬患禁用偏方 避免細菌感染風險

吳南霖醫師表示,乾癬病患需積極且長期接受治療,控制病灶。有些患者在心急之下,可能自行尋求偏方解決,反而花了大把鈔票還不見治療效果,甚至病情加劇,使原本的乾癬治療更加困難。

冬季乾癬保養有三步驟,主要包括:保濕、止癢、避免抓傷。

冬季乾癬保養有三步驟,主要包括:保濕、止癢、避免抓傷。

 

舉例來說,乾癬皮膚本來就不易照顧,若採用較激烈如「炙燒乾癬」的錯誤療法,可能增加傷口細菌感染的風險。或誤以為乾癬是免疫力不佳,重金購買靈芝、蛇粉等補品,反而增強免疫反應,讓乾癬更為嚴重。

乾癬治療有進展 持續用藥不放棄

乾癬治療需要多更耐心,持續性地配合療程。目前乾癬的治療方式已有相當大的進展,治療方式包括:口服藥物、照光,以及生物製劑,都已獲得健保給付,且經過嚴格的安全性把關。以生物製劑治療為例,頻率從每一個星期施打2次、到每3個月施打1次,中重度患者不需頻繁進出醫院,可節省時間,並提升生活便利性。

*乾癬保養有三步驟 保濕、止癢、不抓 *

冬季乾癬保養有三步驟,主要包括:保濕、止癢、避免抓傷。沐浴時,通常水溫較高,同時也會帶走皮膚油脂,容易讓皮膚變得更乾更癢,塗抹乳液的時間點很重要,在擦拭身體多餘的水分後,當肌膚還處於濕潤的狀態時,馬上塗保濕產品,防止肌膚乾燥並達成鎖水保濕,以避免產生龜裂,或因乾癢而抓傷皮膚。

via 炙燒乾癬?亂用偏方細菌感染恐致命 | 20131219 | 華人健康網.

桂圓取代砂糖 一碗湯圓少40卡

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砂糖熬製的糖水熱量高,用具有天然甜味和香氣的桂圓取代,可大幅減少湯圓湯底的熱量。(圖片提供/台中市衛生局)

 

每到冬至,民眾免不了都會應景吃湯圓,但每60公克小湯圓熱量140大卡,加上甜湯,一碗就有約200大卡,相當於7分滿白飯,建議改用有天然甜味的桂圓取代砂糖,可減少糖水熱量約三分之二,讓整碗湯圓的熱量減少40大卡。

桂圓天然甜 煮水熱量少三分之二

台中市政府衛生局計算民眾常食用的小湯圓,60公克的熱量約140大卡,相當於半碗白飯,若再加上甜度15度的砂糖水,約100c.c.就會增加60大卡,這樣小小一碗湯圓吃下肚,就有200大卡的熱量下肚,相當7分滿的飯。

湯圓由糯米製成,不易消化,且熱量高,過量攝取容易形成脂肪堆積。而砂糖水的熱量高,常常是造成肥胖的兇手之一,衛生局建議民眾煮糖水時,可用具有天然甜味和香味的桂圓(龍眼乾)或紅棗替代,以桂圓為例,只要在100c.c.的滾水中加入10公克桂圓,不僅可帶出甜味和湯品色澤,熱量更僅有20大卡,是傳統糖水熱量的三分之一。

冬至吃小湯圓 每天10顆為限

湯圓的熱量高,衛生局提醒民眾採「淺嘗即止、吃巧不吃飽」的原則,小湯圓一天勿超過10顆,大湯圓最多2顆為限,才不會造成生理負擔。

台中市政府衛生局局長黃美娜也表示,糯米不易消化,民眾應多搭配蔬菜和水果,可幫助腸胃消化,尤其是上了年紀的長輩,更要小份量咀嚼,預防噎食的情況發生。

via 桂圓取代砂糖 一碗湯圓少40卡 | 20131219 | 華人健康網.

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