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Archive for December, 2013

Priority Matrix: Brilliant Way to Manage your Projects and Tasks

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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.

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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.

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