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Archive for February 9, 2014

Pocket Month: A simple and intuitive calendar app that makes reading event a breeze

month-calc

Pocket Month – Easy calendar app for iCal, Google, Outlook, Exchange and more ( stars with Ratings) 
iPhone App

$1.99

Free Offer Ended. This app was free on February 8, 2014, but the offer has expired. Follow us on Twitter or Subscribe by emailor RSS feed to get daily App Gone Free notifications so you won’t miss it next time. The following impression was made during the promotional period.

 

Have you been searching for a new way to manage your schedule and calendar events? Then look no further than today’s app for the iPhone: Pocket Month.

The idea behind Pocket Month is that it syncs up with a host of services, like iCal, Google, Outlook, Exchange, and more to gives you a clear and readable monthly view of what you have on your plate, without any of the unnecessary frills. You can add an event in a single touch by simply sliding your finger to set a time for events. Instead of inundating you with dots on your month view, Pocket Month gives you colorful agenda item titles that also help mark your days in bold when there are events taking place within them, making it much easier to read and see what you have going on. The app allows for a lot of customization by giving you over 300 colors to choose and play around with for your views. In addition to all this, there are a few more special features that we will just encourage you to go over and check out with Pocket Month, because we think it would be quite worth your time.

App Screenshots

via Pocket Month: A simple and intuitive calendar app that makes reading event a breeze | App Saga.

Chicken and Dumplings with Mushrooms

chicken-and-dumplings-with-mushrooms-940x600

INGREDIENTS

CHICKEN STEW

6 oz. slab bacon, cut into ¼” pieces

¼ cup all-purpose flour

4 chicken legs (drumsticks with thighs; about 2 lb.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½ pound mixed mushrooms

1 medium onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic crushed

¼ cup dry white wine

6 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

DUMPLINGS AND ASSEMBLY

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs

¼ cup whole milk

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Calories (kcal) 500 Fat (g) 21 Saturated Fat (g) 6 Cholesterol (mg) 220 Carbohydrates (g) 29 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g) 5 Protein (g) 44 Sodium (mg) 1700

PREPARATION

View Step-by-Step Directions

CHICKEN STEW

Crisp bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.

Place flour in a shallow bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Working in batches, cook chicken, skin side down, in same pot over medium heat until deep golden brown and crisp (do not turn), 12–15 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Working in 2 batches, cook mushrooms in same pot, seasoning with salt and pepper and stirring occasionally, until brown, 5–8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add onion and garlic to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 5–8 minutes.

Add wine to pot; simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add chicken, bacon, thyme, bay leaves, and broth; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and gently simmer, partially covered, skimming occasionally, until chicken is falling off the bone, 2–2½ hours. Add mushrooms and simmer until flavors meld, 10–15 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

DUMPLINGS AND ASSEMBLY

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Whisk flour, baking powder, nutmeg, pepper, and ¾ tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in eggs and milk (batter will be slightly lumpy). Reduce heat until water is at a strong simmer. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter into water; cook until dumpling are cooked through and doubled in size, about 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon; add to stew just before serving.

DO AHEAD: Stew (without dumplings) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

via Chicken and Dumplings with Mushrooms – Bon Appétit.

Deaf children of our time

See Hear titles
Of the many projects I’ve worked on since joining the BBC’s long-running show for deaf people, See Hear’s Child of our Time is a personal favourite.

We were, of course, inspired by Robert Winston’s BBC series which has followed 25 children since their births in 2000, as well as ITV’s Up documentaries, which have visited 14 people every seven years since 1964, when they were aged just seven.

In 2007 I was tasked with finding four deaf primary school starters from a range of backgrounds, so we could follow their educational journeys and maybe shed some light on these issues.

There were many debates around deaf education in 2007 when we first broadcast our version of the programme – and they continue today. They ranged from opposition to deaf children being given cochlear implants, to deaf schools being closed in favour of mainstreaming, and discussions on whether it was better for deaf children to speak or sign or do both from an early age.

I found Lucy, Aidan, Yasin and Amie, all of whom were four years old. They had unique personalities and were representative of different family backgrounds, communication styles and hearing levels. Seven years later, it’s 2014 and we are returning to see how they’re getting on now they are 10.

Lucy

Lucy

Lucy was born to deaf parents in a strong signing household. When we met her, she was in the reception class at Heathlands deaf school. She had thick blonde curls and a mischievous twinkle in her eye. At four she was already a fluent signer and was really attentive in the classroom, hanging on the teacher’s every sign.

Seven years later she is still signing thanks to support around her, has become a confident swimmer and hopes to compete in the Deaflympics one day. She still has the same twinkle in her eye.

Aidan

Aidan

Aidan was born to hearing parents, both of whom used speech to communicate with him. When we met him in a 2008 update, his mum Donna was attending regular classes so that she could also speak with him using sign language. He wore a cochlear implant in one ear and also a hearing aid, and communicated with a mixture of sign language and speech. He was a real bundle of energy. He started his education at a school for deaf children but now attends a small mainstream primary.

Aidan has since been diagnosed with verbal dyspraxia, a condition where a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to. But he has overcome this and is now confident both with speaking and signing. He seems more at ease in the deaf world than in previous years. He pours all that excess energy into performing in rock bands and with the Chicken Shed theatre company for young people with disabilities.

Amie

Amie

Like Aidan, Amie was born to hearing parents and grew up using a mix of speech and sign to communicate. She had a cochlear implant in one ear and went to a school with a deaf unit. We saw her being very confident and sociable from an early age, whether in the classroom or in the playground. She seemed to prefer speaking to signing.

Amie is now becoming more and more comfortable in the hearing world, to the extent where she is learning the violin. Her speech has become clear enough for her to stop attending speech therapy sessions and she hopes to go on to a mainstream girls’ school. Amie has a cochlear implant in both ears now, as has Aidan, but they’ve had differing results since having the second one fitted.

Yasin

Yasin

Yasin was born in Birmingham. His mum Razia chose to speak rather than sign with him from very early on, to make him master hearing with his cochlear implant. He went to a mainstream school. When we first met Yasin, it was remarkable how little his deafness seemed to affect him. Whether his mum was calling the names of different fruit out behind his back (so he couldn’t see her lip movements), or taking us on a tour of his bedroom, he seemed to really understand the words he heard spoken aloud.

These days, Yasin plays the trumpet in a band and hopes to attend a local mainstream secondary school. His speech is more or less indistinguishable from that of a hearing child of the same age.

Changing deaf world

In our updates this week and next, we’ll see how much all four have grown, both physically and as individuals over the last seven years.

Since first meeting Lucy, Aidan, Amie and Yasin we’ve seen governments change, educational policies change and more deaf schools close.

We’ve seen huge rises in the use of social media by deaf people, also online video communication and other internet innovations. Its impact has been profound.

The four children live in a world which is more accessible than it was seven years ago, but also a world of austerity and benefit cuts.

But what have we learned?

Have we solved any of the debates about sign v speech, whether cochlear implants work or not, whether deaf children should be mainstreamed or kept in deaf schools? We hope to shed some light on this.

via BBC News – Deaf children of our time.

Strokes: Women sufferers ‘have poorer life quality than men’

Older woman
Women over 75 were particularly affected

Women have a poorer quality of life after a stroke than men, a study has found.

The US research, published in Neurology, assessed the mental and physical health of 1,370 patients three months and a year after a stroke.

Women had more depression and anxiety, pain and discomfort, and more restricted mobility.

UK experts said women tended to have strokes later, and might therefore need more support.

But the study did say more people survive a stroke now than 10 years ago because of improved treatment and prevention.

The researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, North Carolina, looked at patients who had had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke.

Quality of life is calculated using a formula that assesses mobility, self-care, everyday activities, depression/anxiety and pain.

At three months, women were more likely than men to report problems with mobility, pain and discomfort, anxiety and depression, but the difference was greatest in those aged over 75.

After a year, women still had lower quality-of-life scores overall than men but the difference between them was smaller.

Support needs

Prof Cheryl Bushnell, who led the study, said: “We found that women had a worse quality of life than men up to 12 months following a stroke.”

She said mood, ability to move about, and having pain or discomfort may contribute to the poorer quality of life for women.

And she suggested that women may have less muscle mass than men before their strokes, making it harder to recover.

She added: “As more people survive strokes, physicians and other healthcare providers should pay attention to quality-of-life issues and work to develop better interventions, even gender-specific screening tools, to improve these patients’ lives.”

Dr Madina Kara, a neuroscientist at the UK Stroke Association, said: “This study shows that women fare worse after stroke compared to men. However, the reasons for this are not entirely clear.

“It also shows that women over 65 are more likely to be living alone, which could be a contributing factor to their reduced quality of life, as they have inadequate support.”

She added: “We already know that women tend to have strokes at a later age than men, which lowers their chances of natural recovery post-stroke.

“What this study highlights is that women may not be getting the support they need to improve their quality of life after stroke.

“It is essential that all stroke survivors receive the best care and support from health and social services to make their best possible recovery.”

via BBC News – Strokes: Women sufferers ‘have poorer life quality than men’.

Vitamin C keeps cancer at bay, US research suggests

Vitamin C:
Vitamin C has long been used as an alternative cancer therapy but evidence is mixed

High-dose vitamin C can boost the cancer-killing effect of chemotherapy in the lab and mice, research suggests.

Given by injection, it could potentially be a safe, effective and low-cost treatment for ovarian and other cancers, say US scientists.

Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, they call for large-scale government clinical trials.

Pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to run trials, as vitamins cannot be patented.

Vitamin C has long been used as an alternative therapy for cancer.

In the 1970s, chemist Linus Pauling reported that vitamin C given intravenously was effective in treating cancer.


Further studies are needed before we know for sure what benefits high dose vitamin C may have for patients”

Dr Kat ArneyCancer Research UK

However, clinical trials of vitamin C given by mouth failed to replicate the effect, and research was abandoned.

It is now known that the human body quickly excretes vitamin C when it is taken by mouth.

However, scientists at the University of Kansas say that when given by injection vitamin C is absorbed into the body, and can kill cancer cells without harming normal ones.

The researchers injected vitamin C into human ovarian cancer cells in the lab, into mice, and into patients with advanced ovarian cancer.

They found ovarian cancer cells were sensitive to vitamin C treatment, but normal cells were unharmed.

The treatment worked in tandem with standard chemotherapy drugs to slow tumour growth in mouse studies. Meanwhile, a small group of patients reported fewer side-effects when given vitamin C alongside chemotherapy.

No patent potential

Co-researcher Dr Jeanne Drisko said there was growing interest in the use of vitamin C by oncologists.

“Patients are looking for safe and low-cost choices in their management of cancer,” she told BBC News. “Intravenous vitamin C has that potential based on our basic science research and early clinical data.”

One potential hurdle is that pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to fund trials of intravenous vitamin C because there is no ability to patent natural products.

“Because vitamin C has no patent potential, its development will not be supported by pharmaceutical companies,” said lead researcher Qi Chen.

“We believe that the time has arrived for research agencies to vigorously support thoughtful and meticulous clinical trials with intravenous vitamin C.”

Dr Kat Arney, science communications manager for Cancer Research UK, said there was a long history of research into vitamin C for treating cancer.

“It’s difficult to tell with such a small trial – just 22 patients – whether high-dose vitamin C injections had any effect on survival, but it’s interesting that it seemed to reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy,” she said.

“Any potential treatment for cancer needs to be thoroughly evaluated in large clinical trials to make sure it’s safe and effective, so further studies are needed before we know for sure what benefits high dose vitamin C may have for patients.”

via BBC News – Vitamin C keeps cancer at bay, US research suggests.

Jungle Fever: The Exotic Disease Detectives

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People have long been warned about the dangers of tropical diseases

When a patient goes to the doctor, most expect to come out with a diagnosis. But what if your disease is a mystery? Then it’s time to call in the exotic disease detectives.

“I travelled to Peru last summer and about a month afterwards noticed what looked like a large boil,” says Bob Gilbert, who lives in east London.

“It was continuously scabbing over. I couldn’t understand it.”

After waiting three weeks for it to clear up, Mr Gilbert finally visited his GP and was given a course of antibiotics.

This was followed by two further GP visits, investigations at four different hospitals and concerns about both tuberculosis and cancer.

It was only after being referred to the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in London that he finally received the correct diagnosis – New World cutaneous leishmaniasis.

“When I saw him, I was able to make the connection based on his travel history,” says Diana Lockwood, a consultant at the hospital and a professor of Tropical Diseases.

“We were then able to confirm the diagnosis by performing a test on a sample of the ulcer.”

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease spread by bites from infected sand flies. In most cases, it causes open sores on the skin (cutaneous leishmaniasis) but it can also infect and damage the organs (visceral leishmaniasis).

However symptoms can take weeks or months to develop – meaning that many people might not make the link to their foreign travel.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Tumbu fly infection
  • Cutaneous myiasis An infestation of larvae under the skin (see image). Caused by coming into contact with the eggs of certain species of fly, including the bot fly and tumbu fly. These can often be laid on clothes.
  • Ross River Fever A viral infection spread by mosquitoes in places including Australia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Causes severe joint pain, fever and an itchy rash. Symptoms tend to disappear in around six weeks.
  • Leptospirosis (aka Weil’s disease) Caused by bacteria and spread by the urine of infected animals, such as rats. Can be picked up in the UK but is also seen in people after white water rafting in Thailand – usually after walking in muddy riverbanks.
  • Typhoid Gut infections affect 4,000-5,000 UK travellers every year. Typhoid is the most serious and strikes down around 500 people. It is highly contagious and is usually spread through contaminated food and water. Can be fatal without prompt treatment.

Sources: NHS, LSHTM, SA Health

This can lead to a delay in diagnosis, and in the case of leishmaniasis, the risk of severe scarring and the destruction of tissue in the nose and throat.

But Mr Gilbert is not alone in coming back with something other than a suitcase full of dirty washing.

Every year thousands of UK residents are diagnosed with so-called imported diseases – and it’s down to experts based at tropical disease centres in London and Liverpool to track them down and find the right treatment.

“I feel very relieved to have a diagnosis,” says Mr Gilbert, “and feel grateful to have a health service that will pursue something so doggedly.”

Unwelcome souvenirs

The difficulty with diagnosing exotic diseases is the sheer range of conditions that doctors face.

“We get lots of people coming to our walk-in clinic, with everything from diarrhoea to fevers and skin diseases,” says Prof David Mabey, a consultant at the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in London.

“Many people have nothing to worry about, some have self-limiting viral infections. But from time to time we also see more serious conditions such as Lassa fever and Ebola,” he told the BBC.

But despite the weird and wonderful conditions people can pick up abroad (see box), the key concern for tropical disease doctors is spotting the signs of malaria.

“We see well over 1,000 cases of malaria in the UK each year and although exact numbers vary, we could expect up to around 10 of those to die,” says Prof Mabey.

The latest figures from Public Health England and the Malaria Reference Laboratory reveal that almost three-quarters of malaria cases were caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

This is the strain of malaria most likely to be fatal.

Prof David Lalloo, a tropical disease expert at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, says that in up to 80% of cases people travelling to see family – rather than holiday-makers – are most at risk of contracting malaria.

“People visiting friends and relatives often don’t get travel advice because they don’t see it as exotic travel, even though they tend to go to environments that are more risky than those chosen by the average traveller,” he says.

“They can also assume that they have immunity to diseases such as malaria, especially if they lived abroad when they were younger. But people start to lose that immunity within two to three years, meaning they are no more protected than a child.”

Exotic diseases on the rise

Wherever and however people pick them up, cases of imported disease are on the rise. And new ones are appearing too.

One example is chikungunya – a viral disease that causes fever and severe joint pain.

It originally emerged in East Africa but has since been spreading around the tropics to places including India and, more recently, the Caribbean – both popular destinations for UK residents.

This has made it much easier to catch.

But diagnosis isn’t always straightforward, as the symptoms are at first glance very similar to the much more common viral disease, dengue.

This is where the services of the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory at Porton Down come to the rescue.

Dr Emma Aarons is one of the doctors there who work to find definitive diagnoses as quickly as possible.

“Diagnosis is prognosis,” says Dr Aarons.

“So if we know that someone has chikungunya instead of dengue, then we also know that although they may have joint problems that could be troublesome for many months, unlike some cases of dengue, this infection is not life threatening,” she told the BBC.

“Knowing what the infection isn’t can be just as important as knowing what it is.”

Spotting malaria

Mosquito feeding
  • The symptoms of malaria are pretty non-specific and can vary from person to person, meaning that it can be difficult for a non-expert to diagnose.
  • Possible symptoms include a fever, sweats, chills, a headache, muscular aches, an upset stomach and generally feeling unwell.
  • Infected patients can fall ill five to six days after the last bite, but some forms of malaria may not show up for weeks or even months.
  • Fever and aches can sometimes be mistaken for signs of influenza.
  • A blood test is needed to confirm malaria infection.
  • If not treated, the most serious form – falciparum malaria – can lead to severe anaemia, liver failure, brain damage and even death.
  • If you travel to a malarial zone and develop a fever in the next twelve months, be sure to tell your doctor.

Source: NHS, LSTM

Leaving on a jet plane

So what can people do to stay safe?

“Most vaccinations take a week to 10 days to give you full protection,” says Prof David Lalloo of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

“So people need to think ahead, book an appointment with their GP or travel clinic and know where they plan to travel in some detail.”

Even with malaria tablets, travellers should try to avoid mosquito bites in order to reduce their risk of catching dengue or chikungunya – diseases for which there are no vaccines or cures.

And if you do think you might have an exotic disease, Prof Lalloo says, speed is of the essence.

“If you look at the small number of deaths from malaria, you can see that they all involve a delay in diagnosis,” he told the BBC.

“With malaria, just one to two days can make a difference as symptoms can escalate rapidly. So people should always mention any foreign travel to their doctor.”

For Bob Gilbert, his path to a diagnosis of leishmaniasis was long and stressful. But he remains philosophical about his experience.

“I certainly didn’t connect it to the trip at the time, and don’t resent anyone for not spotting it immediately,” he says.

“I chose to go on that holiday and took all the medications and creams they tell you to take. It was just the one that I got wasn’t one I knew to look for.”

via BBC News – Jungle Fever: The Exotic Disease Detectives.

紅棗維生素王!煮熟吃脾胃更健康

吃紅棗的好處的確很多,尤其是對於女人來說,更是不可缺少的美容補血聖品。

吃紅棗的好處的確很多,尤其是對於女人來說,更是不可缺少的美容補血聖品。

 

過完春節,象徵春天來臨了,是適合養肝肺的季節,也別忘了把腸胃照顧好,尤其過年期間大吃大喝,許多人紛紛出現腸胃不消化的情況,對於原本脾胃虛弱的人來説,更是雪上加霜。建議不妨熟吃素有「維生素之王」之稱的紅棗,不但能健脾胃、助消化,也可以避免胃酸分泌過多,造成胃痛。

有句俗語:「天天吃紅棗,一生不顯老」,儘管有點誇張,但吃紅棗的好處的確很多,尤其是對於女人來說,更是不可缺少的美容補血聖品。紅棗是屬於溫熱性食物,富含維生素A、維生素C等,賴氨酸、精氨酸等氨基酸,以及鈣、鐵等36種微量元素。紅棗中還含有三萜類化合物,具有抗疲勞作用,能增強耐力。

脾胃虛弱熟吃紅棗 有助消化

每100克紅棗維生素C含量高達243毫克。生吃紅棗,可保留棗中更多的維生素C,具有改善毛細血管壁功能,以及幫助消除皮膚上的瘀斑。雖然熟吃紅棗可能會導致維生素C等不耐熱的維生素流失,但是鐵、鉀等礦物質仍然會被保留,可以達到補血作用。脾胃虛弱的人生吃紅棗會分泌過多的胃酸,導致胃痛。因此,比較建議熟吃紅棗,因爲蒸熟的紅棗較容易消化。

脾胃虛弱的人適合吃水煮紅棗,不但可以保留紅棗的營養價值,也避免脾胃虛弱的人生吃會胃痛。也可以把紅棗打成濃漿,加點熱牛奶沖調即可。

脾胃虛弱的人比較建議熟吃紅棗,因爲蒸熟的紅棗較容易消化。

脾胃虛弱的人比較建議熟吃紅棗,因爲蒸熟的紅棗較容易消化。

 

推薦熟吃紅棗的食譜

【當歸紅棗粥】

材料:當歸15克、糙米50克、紅棗5顆。

做法:

1.將當歸浸泡在200cc溫水片刻,過濾取汁液約100cc。

2.再加入糙米、紅棗及300cc的水,煮至米熟湯稠即可。

【黑木耳紅棗補血湯】

材料:紅棗幾顆、黑木耳一把、冰糖適量

做法:

1.黑木耳泡發,洗淨摘好,紅棗用手捏開。

2.黑木耳與紅棗一起放入砂鍋中,加足量水,大火煮開後轉小火煮半小時以上。

3.出鍋前幾分鐘加冰糖即可。

【健康小叮嚀】:

紅棗雖然是進補佳品,但過量攝取反而對健康不佳。棗皮纖維含量很高,不易消化,一次吃太多容易胃脹。紅棗含糖也較多,吃多了會加重脾胃負擔,造成食積。此外,痰多和容易便祕的人要謹慎食用,因為紅棗偏熱,會助火生熱。有腹脹的人也不宜吃紅棗,以免生濕積滯。水腫的人也不適合吃紅棗,因為紅棗味甜,多吃容易生痰生濕,水濕積於體內,使水腫的情況更加嚴重。

via 紅棗維生素王!煮熟吃脾胃更健康 | 20140207 | 華人健康網.

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