Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Seeking help for burnout is ‘not weak’

Image for illustration only

As work stress can exact a toll on workers and employers, sufferers should not be ashamed to ask for help, says IMH psychologist.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies burnout as an "occupational phenomenon", not a medical condition. Burnout occurs due to chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

It is characterised by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job, and reduced professional efficacy - all of which Mr Wong experienced.

Burnout among workers can exact an economic toll on employers in terms of medical expenses, lost productivity and employee morale.

Ref: https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/seeking-help-burnout-not-weak

Forum: Time to develop Singaporeans' soft skills

I was pleased to read that both Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore occupy the top spot in Asia in an annual global ranking of universities (NUS and NTU tie as Asia's top university, June 19).

As a nation, we can derive great satisfaction from the way our tiny red dot has made its mark and punched well above its weight, be it in our university rankings or the fact that we have some of the best minds in the academic circles and medical fields operating in Singapore.

Now we need to move beyond this.

We need to see how Singaporeans at the top of the pile can infuse elements of compassion, care, inter-personal relations and heart into all that we do.

University lecturers should work to improve on creating rapport and instilling passion into all that they teach.

Let us also review how we select our academics beyond their academic prowess.

There are too many great academics lacking in motivational skills - reservoirs of knowledge, but not mentors that students want to emulate.

Similar observations apply to our hospitals. Last month, my mother died at a government hospital.

Did she get good medical care? Mostly, yes. I am grateful that the Singapore doctors I encountered were medically at the top of their game, explaining the essence of what my mother was experiencing.

Foreign doctors were equally competent, but the difference was that they sat down with us for a significantly longer time, went beyond the medical conditions, and spoke passionately about the medical, ethical and moral issues that we were experiencing as we made tough medical decisions.

In other words, they treated my mother as more than just a medical entity. I was extremely touched by their humanising approach.

Perhaps I generalise.

Yet my observations of "business-as-usual versus compassion" cut across other sectors as well.

I think that while Singaporeans have done extremely well professionally, now is the time to put some empathy and passion behind all that we do. With our trained competence and diligence, we can take Singapore to an even more exalted level.

Let's begin softening the rough edges now, and have more heart in all that we do.

Satish Kumar Khattar

Ref: http://str.sg/oCzV

You may want to read NUH staff lacked compassion

My photo: Lower Peirce Reservoir

A public domain photo by me

Washington is 1st state to allow composting of human bodies

The body can be turned into organic soil for your garden

Ashes to ashes, guts to dirt.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Tuesday making Washington the first state to approve composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains.

It allows licensed facilities to offer "natural organic reduction," which turns a body, mixed with substances such as wood chips and straw, into about two wheelbarrows' worth of soil in a span of several weeks.

Loved ones are allowed to keep the soil to spread, just as they might spread the ashes of someone who has been cremated — or even use it to plant vegetables or a tree.

Ref: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/washington-1st-state-allow-composting-human-bodies-192350954.html

Sore eyes? It may be more than fatigue

Ref: https://www.tnp.sg/lifestyle/health/tired-dry-and-red-eyes-you-may-have-meibomian-gland-dysfunction

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Almost an accident a day on Singapore’s escalators - updated with parents' comments

On average, one escalator accident takes place in Singapore almost every day. And of the more than 350 incidents reported last year, over 90% were caused by user behaviour, such as using prams on escalators, running on them and not holding the handrails, while the rest were down to technical faults.

Dr Sharon Goh from the Department of Emergency Medicine in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital has seen patients as young as one month old suffer from serious escalator-related injuries, such as to the head or spine.

And more than half of those who arrive at the hospital with injuries involving prams on escalators tend to be admitted, said Dr Goh.

Read more @ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/almost-accident-day-singapore-escalators-reasons-why-prams-11639410

You may want to read 
1) Parents address flak over 'irresponsible' use of baby strollers on escalators
2) Commentary: Prams and escalator incidents – how about lift priority queues for new parents?

Singaporeans living longer but spending more time in ill health

Singaporeans may be the world’s longest-living people, but they are also living a slightly greater proportion of their lives in poor health compared with about 30 years ago.

  • Life expectancy: 84.8 years in 2017 compared with 76.1 years in 1990, an increase of 8.7 years
  • Healthy life expectancy (which assesses quality of health): 74.2 years in 2017 compared with 67.1 years in 1990, an increase of 7.2 years
  • Singaporeans spent 10.6 years in ill health in 2017, about 1.5 years longer than they did in 1990
  • A person born in 2017 would live an estimated 12.5% of his life in ill health, compared with 11.8% for a person born in 1990

Ref: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/singaporeans-living-longer-spending-greater-proportion-time-ill-health-study

Parkinson’s disease spotted in brain before symptoms shown

Brain imaging showing loss in serotonin function as Parkinson's disease progresses
Source: Neurodegeneration Imaging Group, King's College London
An early warning signal for Parkinson's which appears years before any symptoms occur has been uncovered by scientists.

Researchers from King's College London found damage to the brain's serotonin system was an 'excellent marker' for the cruel disease.

Experts have hailed the findings, branding them 'fascinating' and saying they help to fit a 'crucial gap' in the knowledge of the condition.

Parkinson's takes hold in the brain years before patients notice symptoms, which include tremors and slow movement.

Ref: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7158327/Researchers-uncover-earliest-signs-Parkinsons-brain-years-symptoms.html

Forum: Inequality will correct itself over time

Inequality is a natural state of mankind for the simple reason that people are born with different talents and under different circumstances.

Few doubt that more intelligent people will do better economically than less intelligent people, as will children with wealthier parents compared with poorer ones.

In a cosmic sense, this is unjust, but how does one seek cosmic justice in a real world?

One way is to level the playing field. Take from the haves and give it to the have-nots via government taxation and spending.

Another way is to let the system correct itself over time, which is what a free society with strong rule of law and private property will accomplish.

In a complex and dynamic world, the notion that anybody can engineer solutions to complex social or economic problems is sheer hubris.

But I will admit that Singapore and Hong Kong have done remarkably well in managing them.

However, both are city states with small populations, strong cultures and a deep understanding of the power of free markets.

The problem with trying to do it in a large and culturally diverse country like the United States is that it could and often does lead to devastating unintended consequences.

Some problems, inequality among them, are not amenable to solutions, only to trade-offs.

So please, don't try to solve them, let the market do its magic.

Mark Castelino (Professor)

Ref: http://str.sg/oCuv

You may want to read Growing pie does not mean bigger slices for all

Eating yogurt twice a week could lower the risk of pre-cancerous bowel growths in men by 20%

Image is for illustration only
Eating at least two servings of yogurt a week may help protect men from developing growths that lead to bowel cancer, a new study finds.

Researchers say that men who ate at least two pots of yogurt had a nearly 20% lowered risk of developing the growths, known as adenomas, than men who didn't eat yogurt.

And men who ate yogurt had a 26% decreased risk of developing adenomas that were highly likely to become malignant.

The findings support previous research that suggests consuming yogurt may lower bowel cancer risk by altering both the type and volume of bacteria in the gut.

For those who cannot eat yogurt, you may want to consider cultured dairy blends. The differences between cultured dairy blends and yogurt are low-sugar, high-protein alternatives to conventional yogurt, and they are suitable for diabetics, people who are lactose intolerant, and anyone watching their calories and carbs. 

One BIG difference is yogurt may or may not contain good bacteria where else cultured milk contains good bacteria.

1) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7155481/Eating-yogurt-twice-week-lower-risk-pre-cancerous-bowel-growths-men-20.html
2) https://slate.com/culture/2013/01/yogurt-vs-cultured-dairy-blend-whats-the-difference.html