Saturday, 18 May 2019

Proton therapy system seeks to offer safer treatment for cancer patients in Singapore

Cancer patients in Singapore can soon choose a safer treatment with the ProBeam Proton Therapy System, the first of such advanced radiation treatment system in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The system, which costs about $32 million, has been successfully installed at the Biopolis by Proton Therapy, a subsidiary of healthcare diagnostics service provider Singapore Institute of Advanced Medicine Holdings (SAM). It is scheduled to be operational in early 2020.

It administers proton therapy treatment, a technologically-advanced method whereby high-energy proton beams target and kill cancer cells with precision.

This means that, unlike the standard method of X-ray radiation therapy, less radiation is given out beyond the affected area, thereby reducing the risk of healthy-tissue damage due to side effects.


Exceptional people: DHL driver stops vehicle to piggyback elderly man across traffic junction

Checkout the video @

Strong link between simple acts of kindness and volunteering, donating

People who give up their seats to others on the train, return their trays after eating, or provide directions to a lost person, are more likely to engage in bigger acts of generosity, such as volunteering or donating to charities.

These “micro-giving” acts of voluntary, spontaneous and everyday kindness were examined in 2018’s Individual Giving Survey by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).

Speaking to reporters on Thursday (May 16), NVPC’s chief executive officer, Ms Melissa Kwee, said that micro-giving acts were a “catalyst to much more significant, sustainable and impactful giving behaviour”.

People who engaged in these small acts of kindness, for instance, were about twice as likely to volunteer compared to those who did not, and were 29 per cent more likely to make cash donations.


My 2 cents:
One does not have to do big or to donate generously to be deemed as doing good. A small good deed a day will accumulate all the small deeds to a very big deed. So start doing small good deeds and your good karma will grow.

Pregnant women who snack on nuts during their first trimester are 'more likely to have a smart child

Image for illustration only

Pregnant women who munch on walnuts, almonds or pine nuts are more likely to have a brainy child, a study suggests.

Spanish scientists found children whose mothers ate three 30g servings of nuts a week in the first trimester scored better on cognitive function, attention and memory tests.

Nuts are rich in folate and essential fatty acids, which are thought to accumulate in brain tissue responsible for memory and attention spans.


My 2 cents:
Another way of having smart kids is to take fish oil during schooling. Fish oil is full of omega-3, which is the nutrient for your brain.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Fast walkers may live longer regardless of body weight

A recent study found that people who walk at faster paces may live longer than people who walk slower. The data was self-reported by nearly 475,000 people in the UK, revealing that this increased physical activity’s longevity benefit persisted despite the person’s body weight. The findings underscore the importance of getting adequate levels of physical activity.

Of all the people evaluated, the study found that underweight individuals who reported walking at slow paces had the lowest life expectancy: an average of 64.8 years for men and 72.4 years for women. The association pertains to people who ‘habitually’ walk at faster paces rather than people who just sometimes speed walk.

At the heart of the matter is physical activity, which is known to offer a number of health benefits. This is the first study a looked specifically at typical walking speeds and how it correlates to life expectancy; the information was self-reported by the participants.


My photo - trees and reflections

A public domain photo by me

Types of loneliness and how to beat them

1. Emotional loneliness
Emotional loneliness is not circumstantial but, rather, comes from within.

2. Situational loneliness
Situational loneliness can result from being in circumstances that make developing friendships difficult.

3. Social loneliness
Social loneliness is typically experienced by those who have problems in social situations because of shyness, social awkwardness, or a sense of low self-esteem.

4. Chronic loneliness
Chronic loneliness is the term used to describe those who have been lonely for so long that it has become a way of life to them.

Read more on how to beat them @

Quote: Lee Kuan Yew

New drugs could make cancer a "manageable" disease

Image for illustration only

The world's first drugs designed to stop cancer cells becoming resistant to treatment could be available within the next decade, scientists have said.

A £75m investment to develop the drugs has been announced by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).

Chief executive Prof Paul Workman said cancer's ability to adapt to drugs is the biggest challenge in treatment.

The new drugs could make cancer a "manageable" disease in the long term and "more often curable", he said.


Thursday, 16 May 2019

Warning: More than S$14,000 cheated from Instagram users in fake Lazada campaigns

There have been 14 reports of scams linked to fake Lazada campaigns on Instagram and at least S$14,000 have been lost to fraudsters, the police said.

The culprits would impersonate as the friends or followers of the Instagram users, telling them to sign up for campaigns by online shopping site Lazada to win money.

In a press release on Tuesday (May 14), the police alerted that common campaign names used include “Lazada Campaign”, “Lazada Raffle”, “Lazada Gift Money” and “Lazada Lucky Draw”.

They would ask the victims for their contact numbers, photos of their credit or debit cards as well as the one-time passwords from their bank accounts to carry out fraudulent transactions. The victims later realised that they were deceived after discovering unauthorised card transactions on their accounts.


Exceptional people: 3 people lauded for helping victims or the police

(From left) Recipients of the Community Partnership Award and Public Spiritedness Award include Ms Sitti Nahida, Madam Chan Mee Lian and Mr Foo Kong Soon Sam. Source: TNP

Mr Foo Kong Soon Sam, a security supervisor at the International Merchandising Mart (IMM), pulled a lady to safety from the ledge of IMM sixth-storey carpark. Mr Foo represented IMM in receiving the Community Partnership Award.

Public Spiritedness Awards were also awarded to two members of the public for assisting the SPF in two separate cases.

Ms Sitti Nahida, a senior care associate at Jamiyah Nursing Home, called the police when she saw a man scratching the side of vehicles and trying to unlock their doors.

The other award recipient was Madam Chan Mee Lian, a service officer from OCBC bank, who stopped a woman in her 60s from transferring $32,500 and becoming a victim of a love scam.


The secret of a successful marriage

Image for illustration only

With so much pressure on modern couples, many find their lives falling into different timetables and routines.

Sharing mealtimes is not always easy – but a report says it’s as important as a good sex life for long-term happiness.

The study by the Marriage Foundation found that more couples who eat together say they are happy with each other than those who routinely eat apart – 67% as opposed to 58%.

Foundation chairman Sir Paul Coleridge, a retired High Court judge, said neglect and boredom were the biggest relationship-killers and taking the time to eat together ‘is vital to ensuring to communicate properly, undistracted by screens, and surely every bit as important as sex’.


CO2 levels hit historic high sounding new climate change alarm

Scientists in the US have detected the highest levels of planet-warming carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere since records began, sounding new alarm over the relentless rise of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which has tracked atmospheric CO2 levels since the late 1950s, on Saturday morning detected 415.26 parts per million (ppm).

It was the first time on record that the observatory measured a daily baseline above 415 ppm.

The last time Earth's atmosphere contained this much CO2 was more than three million years ago, when global sea levels were several metres higher and parts of the Antarctica were blanketed in forest.


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Number of frail patients on the rise in Singapore: NHG

The number of frail patients here has increased by 35.5%, going from 36,208 in 2010 to 49,092 in 2017.

Associate Professor Reshma Merchant, head of the Geriatric Medicine division at the National University Hospital, highlighted five symptoms of frailty.

They are: Unintended weight loss of 5% or more within six to 12 months, a general feeling of exhaustion three or more days a week, a slow walking speed, muscle weakness and low levels of physical activity.

Those who experience one or two of the above symptoms are considered pre-frail.


S$1 million grant to boost support for people with special needs, ex-offenders, transient workers

Organisations across Singapore that help people in need such as ex-offenders, those suffering mental health problems, and transient workers, stand to benefit from a new S$1 million grant programme.

At least 50 social service and community organisations will each receive up to S$20,000 under the programme, called “Bless Our City”, unveiled on Monday (May 13). So far, 40 organisations have been invited to take part.

The programme is a joint effort between real estate developer Far East Organisation and the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC).


My photo - Singapore Japanese Garden

A public domain photo by me

Low-dose aspirin increases risk of bleeding in the skull

Taking low-dose aspirin could increase the risk of bleeding in the skull, especially among those with no history of heart issues or adults with a body mass index under 25.

Low-dose aspirin has been recommended in the past for older adults as a method to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke by preventing blood clots.

But several recent studies have found this positive benefit is negated by the increased risk of internal bleeding.

Now, a new review finds that taking low-dose aspirin regularly raises the risk of a type of skull bleeding, known as an intracranial hemorrhage.


Monday, 13 May 2019

Exceptional people: SBS bus driver hands over bag stuffed with $40k in cash to police without hesitation

When SBS Transit bus driver Saw Cheong Seng was given a bag on Friday morning while he was driving service 63, he did not think much about it. A passing glance inside showed piles of paper, which he assumed were betting slips. The bag had been handed to him around 8:40am in the Outram Park area by a passenger, who said it was left behind by another commuter.

It was only after he completed his route at Eunos Bus Interchange that the 59-year-old took a second, clearer look at the bag, and found stacks of $100 and $50 notes in it. The total added up to $39,602.10, said The Straits Times.

Being the kind Samaritan he was, Saw turned over the bag to the interchange manager, who later put it in the hands of the police. A spokesman for SBS Transit said a police report had been lodged.


Non-invasive fat loss treatments getting more popular

As new non-invasive fat blasting technologies hit the local market, more aesthetically-conscious people are turning to no-cut procedures as an alternative to surgery.

Since October last year, plastic surgeon Lee Shu Jin has seen an estimated increase of at least 300 per cent in requests for non-invasive fat loss treatments.

The most sought-after fat loss procedure at her clinic, Plastic Surgery by SJ Lee, is a non-invasive treatment known as Onda, which uses microwave energy. Coming in second is the more invasive procedure, liposuction.

Patients as young as teenagers (with their parents’ approval) have undergone the fat loss procedure. Her oldest patients are in their 70s.


Caution urged over breast implant use after Singapore sees first case of implant-linked cancer

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) advises people who have undergone breast enlargement to consult their doctors if they suffer pain or swelling around their silicone implants after a person in Singapore was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer associated with breast implants.

“HSA received the local case of cancer type, called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) in March 2019. The patient was implanted with the Allergan Natrelle breast implants and was diagnosed with BIA-ALCL two years post-implantation,” it said.

“Breast implants registered in Singapore have a silicone outer surface that is either smooth or textured. Global reports have indicated increased incidence of BIA-ALCL with the use of ‘macro-textured’ breast implants.

As a precautionary measure, HSA has disallowed the sale of the Allergan Natrelle breast implant in Singapore since April 2019, the HSA said.


Durian smell shuts down Australian library: 550 people evacuated

About 550 people were evacuated from an Australian university library on Friday afternoon after reports of a strong smell of gas.

The source of the smell was later traced to "a durian fruit in one of our bins", said a Facebook post by the University of Canberra Library.

The library also temporarily changed its Facebook profile picture to a sign that showed durians were prohibited.

Note: Even Singaporeans like durians so much, it is banned in all our public transport for this precise reason. NOT everyone can stomach the strong smell of durians, especially tourists.

Guess more countries are going to ban durians from public spaces.


First imported case of monkeypox in Singapore: MOH

The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Thursday (May 9) the first imported case of monkeypox infection in Singapore.

The patient, a 38-year-old Nigerian, travelled alone to Singapore on April 28 and tested positive for monkeypox on Wednesday.

He is currently warded in an isolation ward at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and his condition is stable, said the MOH.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus and is primarily transmitted to humans from animals.

The disease is usually less infectious then common flu and self-limiting, and most patients recover from monkeypox within two to three weeks. In some cases, the virus can cause serious complications such as pneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis (bain inflammation) and eye infection resulting in loss of vision.


You  may want to read What you need to know about the disease

Friday, 10 May 2019

A brilliantly simple way to check your body fat


Simple remedies can prevent back pain

To avoid injury, do not lift objects that are too heavy. When attempting to lift something, keep your back straight up and down, head up, and bend at the knees to prevent injury. Pick up objects close to you. Stooping over puts undue stress on the back and leads to injury. Tightening your stomach muscles also helps support your back muscles and reduces back strain.

Exercise and healthy weight are important for overall health. High impact activities increase the likelihood of back injury. Low impact activities, such as swimming, walking and bicycling, increase overall fitness without straining the lower back.

When standing for long periods of time, it is best to keep your head up and stomach tight. A stool or foot rest eases back discomfort when standing. Avoid wearing high heels. When sitting, place your chair at the appropriate height. Automobile seats should have adequate lower back support. If not, place a small pillow or rolled up towel behind the lumbar area.

Home care is recommended for the initial treatment of lower back pain. The application of ice followed by heat, each for 10 minutes, provides relief for some people. Bed rest for one or two days may provide the healing time necessary to alleviate pain. Most experts recommend no more than two days of bed rest or decreased activity. More than two days of bed rest can lengthen the recovery time.

Sleeping with a pillow between your knees while on your side or under your knees while on your back helps align the back and provides relief. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be useful for controlling pain. Ibuprofen also helps control minor inflammation that can cause pain.


Photos of Gardens by the Bay South: Bayfront Plaza

My photos of newly open Bayfront Plaza

Exceptional company: Courts gives $24,000 of furniture, appliances to low-income elderly

For Ramadan this year, the retailer of home electronics and furniture products yesterday donated items such as sofas, bedding, standing fans, kitchen appliances and digital TVs, worth more than $24,000 in all, to low-income elderly Malay beneficiaries of local charity Care Community Services Society (CCSS).

The 22 beneficiaries live in rental flats in the MacPherson area.

Courts employees volunteered to hand-deliver these products to the families, clean their homes and host them to iftar at the CCSS Senior Activity Centre.


Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Heart failure deaths rising in U.S., especially among younger adults

More U.S. adults are dying from heart failure today than a decade ago, and the sharpest rise in mortality is happening among middle-aged and younger adults, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on deaths from heart failure between 1999 and 2017 among adults 35 to 84 years old.

Between 1999 and 2012, annual heart failure death rates dropped from 78.7 per 100,000 people to 53.7 per 100,000, the researchers found. But then mortality rates started to climb, reaching 59.3 fatalities for every 100,000 people by the end of the study period.

About 5.7 million American adults have heart failure, according to the CDC, and about half of the people who develop this condition die within five years of diagnosis. Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to supply vital organs.


43 measles cases in first 4 months of 2019, almost triple from last year

Image for illustration only

The Republic had 43 cases of measles in the first four months of this year, nearly three times more than during the same period last year, as a result of increased global outbreaks.

However, there was no “community outbreak” and the cases were “sporadic” or had “limited spread”, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Tuesday (May 7).

Of the 43 measles cases in the first four months of this year, 33 of the patients were not vaccinated.

And among the unvaccinated cases, nine were infants who were not yet due to receive their measles vaccination, while the rest were aged between one and 54 years old, added Mr Gan.


8 subtle signs of autism in babies

Did you know that children with autism often begin showing signs within the first few months of life? Would you be able to identify these “red flags”?

Here are eight autism symptoms:

1. Reflux
2. Feeding disorder
3. Absence of crawling (this is the most clear sign)
4. No interest at object or item
5. Regressive speech
6. Repetitive behaviors
7. Low muscle tone
8. Extreme sensitivity to noise (another clear sign)


High levels of sunscreen ingredients end up in the bloodstream: study

The active ingredients of commonly-used sunscreens end up in the bloodstream at much higher levels than current U.S. guidelines from health regulators and warrant further safety studies, according to a small study conducted by U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers and published on Monday.

The over-the-counter products originally marketed to prevent sunburn with little regulation are widely used to block radiation from the sun that can cause skin cancer, the most common malignancy in the United States.

The study of 23 volunteers tested four sunscreens, including sprays, lotion and cream, applied to 75% of the body four times a day over four days, with blood tests to determine the maximum levels of certain chemicals absorbed into the bloodstream conducted over seven days.

The study found maximum plasma levels of the chemicals it tested for - avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and in one sunscreen ecamsule - to be well above the level of 0.5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) at which FDA guidelines call for further safety testing.


Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Why your doctor’s white coat can be a threat to your health

Doctors and patients prefer the white coat, viewing it as a defining symbol of the profession.

What many might not realise, though, is that health care workers’ attire - including that seemingly “clean” white coat that many prefer - can harbour dangerous bacteria and pathogens.

It is not just white coats that can be problematic. The review also found that stethoscopes, phones and tablets can be contaminated with harmful bacteria.

One study of orthopedic surgeons showed a 45% match between the species of bacteria found on their ties and in the wounds of patients they had treated. Nurses' uniforms have also been found to be contaminated.


Forum: Relief for employers of foreign workers with high medical bills

We refer to recent discussions on insurance coverage for foreign domestic workers (Responsibility lies with employer if maid's insurance cover is inadequate, April 29; Have simple system that gives maids proper healthcare cover, April 24), and the news report (Insurance coverage for maids too low: Agents, NGOs, April 12).

Employers are responsible for the welfare of their foreign work permit holders, including covering their medical treatments.

It is a more reasonable approach than to externalise such costs and impose them on taxpayers.

Employers are required to purchase medical insurance plans with a minimum coverage of $15,000 per year to help them manage the medical costs of their foreign work permit holders.

Employers who wish to be better protected against large medical bills can opt for insurance plans with higher coverage, which carry higher premiums.

In the past three years, 96 per cent of foreign domestic worker (FDW) medical bills was below $15,000.

This means that the vast majority of FDW employers were able to claim the full medical cost from the insurers.

Employers can approach the healthcare institutions for assistance in the remaining cases.

In the case of the employer, Mr Saw, which The Straits Times reported on, the hospital did offer him medical relief but he has yet to respond.

Mr Saw had incurred medical bills of at least $60,300 for his maid after she suffered a stroke.

The Ministry of Manpower reviews its policies regularly to ensure adequate medical insurance coverage for work permit holders.

In 2010, the mandatory insurance coverage for work permit holders was raised from $5,000 to $15,000 to keep up with the higher medical bills.

The ministry has to balance sufficient insurance coverage with affordable premiums for employers.

While providing relief to employers with genuine need, we are also mindful of over-consumption of services in our public healthcare system.

Chew Ee Tien
Director, Foreign Manpower Unit
Workplace Policy and Strategy Division
Ministry of Manpower


If you want one mantra, it comes from Singapore's first prime minister: Charlie Munger

Image for illustration only

Berkshire Hathaway’s vice chair, Charlie Munger, said Saturday that the one mantra he followed in life came from Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore who governed for three decades.

Responding to a question about human nature at the annual Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, Munger said the country’s founding father had a formula for success that he quite liked.

“Lee Kuan Yew - who is the greatest nation builder, probably that ever lived in the history of the world - he said one thing over and over and over again all his life,” and that was to “figure out what works and do it,” said Munger.

Because with that attitude, said Munger, “You just go at life with that simple philosophy from your own national group, you will find it works wonderfully well. Figure out what works and do it.”


Skipping may be easier on the knees than running

Source: the new paper, may 06, 2019

Monday, 6 May 2019

When carers are burnt out, who cares for them?

It is estimated that there are over 210,000 caregivers and counting in an ageing Singapore, with some 70% of them aged 40 and above.

Anyone caring for a frail or disabled loved one will experience fatigue and stress and eventually into a state of mental and physical exhaustion known as caregiver burnout.

Among carers of stroke survivors, 40.2% have depressive symptoms, according to a 2017 study by the Institute of Mental Health and the National University of Singapore.

Carers of cancer patients are also at greater risk of developing depression than the general population, according to a Singapore Medical Journal study.

Read more on how and where to get help @

Forum: Prudent to have limits to Medisave withdrawals

Mr Robin Yiu is right when he laments that the Flexi-Medisave annual limit of $200 is woefully insufficient when one seeks specialist medical care in the hospitals (Consider raising Flexi-Medisave limit, May 2).

Each full-paying specialist consultation charge in restructured hospitals before Pioneer Generation considerations is already way beyond $100, while private specialists will charge multiples of that.

But when the purse strings are opened, there is a tendency for medical expenses to balloon to fit the budget available for it.

Remove any constraints and the medical fraternity can empty out a Medisave nest egg in no time.

Pioneer Generation privileges available to Mr Yiu's wife for chronic ailments amounts annually to $540, while $500 can also be withdrawn using Medisave, and another $200 via Flexi-Medisave when spouses are also beyond the age of 65.

The limits of Medisave withdrawal have incrementally expanded from $300 to $500 now.

Of course, patients and doctors will always clamour for more, but enough must be left over for emergencies, and even more healthcare still when we become more stricken towards end of life.

Meanwhile, this is almost always enough in the primary healthcare setting for the appropriate management of two or three chronic conditions, with a little topping up if there is a fourth condition. Where necessary, spousal and children's Medisave can also be mobilised for utilisation.

It is expected that if patients want the latest, new-fangled treatments, which some do despite financial limitations, even where these are superfluous and cost-ineffective, then the sky is the limit because medical expenses are indeed extremely expansile.

Medical practitioners can exploit patients the way they innocently want to be mercilessly exploited, not judiciously treated.

Patients should use a primary healthcare professional they are assured of and entrust to him their medical problems.

A competent primary-care physician will know when more sophisticated, complex and much more exorbitant care in the tertiary-healthcare environment is needed for his patients and then refer them when necessary.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)


Doctors struggle with families’ lack of understanding of HOTA

While the pool of potential organ donors has increased since the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) was enacted more than 30 years ago, the overall organ transplant rate is still low, with more than 400 people waiting for organ transplants as at the end of last year, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.

Under HOTA, all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents aged 21 and above are deemed donors, unless they chose to opt out. It allows for their heart, kidneys, liver and corneas to be harvested for transplantation when they are declared brain-dead.

But there are challenges when putting the legislation into practice, doctors told CNA.

One major hurdle they face is the objection from family members.


You may want to read What is HOTA all about?

Older people with a poor sense of smell are 50% more likely to die in the next 10 years, study finds

Image for illustration only

A poor sense of smell in retirement may be a warning sign of an early death, researchers have warned.

A study of more than 2,000 people in their 70s and early 80s found that those who had trouble recognizing common odors were almost 50 percent more likely to die in the next ten years than individuals with sensitive noses.

Even healthy people at the beginning of the study had a higher death risk if their sense of smell was impaired - suggesting the problem may flag up deteriorating health years before more serious problems appear.

Scientists believe smell tests could one day become routine in doctors' surgeries.


You may want to read No smell is one early marker for Parkinson disease

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Exceptional people: Australian couple who applied CPR to save 7-year-old boy in Sentosa get SCDF award

An Australian couple who saved the life of a 7-year-old boy at a Sentosa resort received SCDF's Community Lifesaver Award from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Friday (3 May).

Husband and wife Roger and Jennifer Valenta were on vacation at the resort last Sunday when they heard cries for help near its swimming pool, according to a Facebook post by the SCDF.

Jennifer, who is a paediatric nurse, assessed the boy to have no pulse and was not breathing, added the SCDF.

The couple proceeded to take turns to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the boy until he regained consciousness.


Man fails breathalyser test after eating DURIAN

People are being warned against eating an exotic fruit while driving after a man surprisingly blew over the limit.

A clip uploaded to Chinese website Pear Video shows a man being pulled over on 17 April and failing a breathalyser test.

He justified the reading by saying he ate durian fruit – known as the world’s stinkiest fruit and apparently one that can put you over the limit.

According to the BBC, a blood test later confirmed there was actually no alcohol in the man’s system.

Other food that may cause a false reading include lychees, using mouthwash and eating hot cross buns.


Public domain photos of SPACE by NASA Johnson

More photos here.

Obituary: Star Wars star Chewbacca died, aged 74

Peter Mayhew, the actor who portrayed the iconic Star Wars character Chewbacca, has passed away at the age of 74, his family have announced.

The 7-foot-3 actor, who was born in Richmond-on-Thames, London, in 1944, died peacefully at his home in Texas on Tuesday surrounded by his family.

A family spokesman told ABC that he died of a heart attack, having suffered health complications for years due to his towering height.


The end of AIDS?

HIV-suppressing medication can make the AIDS virus 'untransmittable' even among couples who have sex without condoms, new research showed today.

A Europe-wide study monitored nearly 1,000 gay male couples over eight years, where one partner was HIV-positive and receiving antiretroviral (ART) treatment, while the other was HIV negative.

Doctors did not find one single case of in-couple HIV transmission within that time.

This raises hopes that widespread ART programmes could eventually end new infections.


Friday, 3 May 2019

Wheelchair-bound GrabFood delivery woman lauded for her tenacity in making an honest living - updated

Netizens found something to lift their spirits up in this cold, rainy Friday when a picture of a lady on an MRT train went viral online.

Judging from her attire and the bulky food bag hanging from her back, the lady in wheelchair should be a GrabFood delivery person.

Folks are finding it inspiring that even someone with limited mobility would willing to go beyond what was expected of her and find work that involves traveling distances to pick up and distribute food orders for a living, rather than waiting for hand-outs.


You may want to read Jobless for 7 years, woman with cerebral palsy finds hope, faces new hurdles

My 2 cents:
1) Jobs can be found almost everywhere in Singapore if you are willing to work. A lot of people complaining of not finding a job is because they want a job that suits them rather than they change to suit that job.

2) The dark side of this story is that even a handicapped person has to work hard for a living says plenty of the high expenses in Singapore.

3) If she can travel daily for her delivery job, it shows that Singapore's transport and building infrastructures have improved a lot to such an extend that it is possible to travel in a wheelchair in most parts of Singapore.

Hair for Hope 2019: 455 supporters make bald statement for cancer

(From left) Mr Chong Hui Kwee, Joanna Chong and actor Andie Chen. Source ST
As many as 455 people shaved their heads yesterday to raise more than $100,000 for children battling cancer at the annual Hair for Hope event, held at the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery.

They included staff from the monastery, volunteers, devotees and Buddhist patrons.

The event is organised by the Children's Cancer Foundation (CCF), which aims to get at least 6,000 participants and raise $3.6 million this year.

The main event of Hair for Hope will be held on July 27 from 11am to 7pm and on July 28 from 11am to 6pm at VivoCity.


Do not be so hard on could lead to OCD and anxiety

People who are too hard on themselves may be more likely to develop OCD or anxiety, a study suggests.

Those who blame themselves when things go wrong were more likely to have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

Researchers said those with OCD are 'tortured' by 'negative thinking', while those with GAD 'worry about everything'.

But simply questioning why you are fretting could be all it takes to snap out of the bad habit, they added.


Trying for kids? Wifi devices lower your chances, new study shows

A new study has found that exposure to Wifi connections lowers male fertility rates and reduces couples' chances of having children by killing sperm, adding to mounting evidence that electromagnetic waves are harmful.

The Japanese study, carried out between August and November last year on 51 men, is reportedly the first such trial that focuses on the effects of electromagnetic waves from Wifi devices such as mobile phones and home routers on sperm motion and death.

Researcher Kumiko Nakata, from the Reproductive Medicine Research Centre at Yamashita Shonan Yume Clinic, noted that electromagnetic waves have been said to be safe for humans, in terms of health and wellbeing.

But her study showed that prolonged exposure to the waves from Wifi devices lowered male fertility.


My joint pain has gone!

After 18 months of suffering from back pain, Roz Palmer was at her wit's end when she came across Turmeric+; 'The back pain was so bad that I could hardly stand upright,' she says. After seeing numerous doctors, she was starting to lose hope and resign herself to a life of permanent discomfort.

'My mum had heard about turmeric and suggested that I had nothing to lose by trying it. I thought I'd give it a go, but didn't suppose it would work,' she admits.

But after just three weeks, Roz started to notice the benefits. 'Now, I no longer have to hang on to desks to get from place to place at work and I'm now not waking up at night from the pain.'

'It is well known that curcumin [the active ingredient in turmeric] is poorly absorbed in the gut. Turmeric+ combines curcumin with lecithin to prevent it being destroyed in the stomach. This allows it to be absorbed and distributed around the body,' explains Professor Lindberg of the supplement's superior delivery system.


My photo - cosmos flowers

Public domain photos by me

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Duke-NUS study finds possible link between autism and antidepressant use during pregnancy

A team of scientists led by Duke-NUS Medical School has found a potential link between autism and a commonly prescribed antidepressant — but also a possible treatment.

The team of researchers from Singapore and South Korea found that mice that had been exposed to the antidepressant fluoxetine in the womb behaved differently, compared with unexposed mice. Fluoxetine is commonly sold under brand names like Prozac and Sarafem.

Those mice that had been exposed to fluoxetine in the womb were observed to be less inclined to explore unvisited areas and had impaired "social novelty recognition" — they had difficulty remembering mice they had already been introduced to.

But treating fluoxetine-exposed mice with a compound that blocks the overactive receptor alleviated their behavioural problems and improved their working memory.


IKEA recalls SUNDVIK changing table-chest after incidents of children falling

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA on Tuesday (Apr 30) announced a recall of its SUNDVIK changing table and chest after it received reports of children falling.

In a Facebook post, IKEA Singapore wrote that it has received three reports of incidents where “the foldable part” of the furniture came loose, causing children to fall off the changing table.

The company urged those who have the changing table and chest to secure the folding part with the safety locking fittings provided and to contact IKEA to receive new ones, free of charge, if they have lost them.

As a precautionary measure, the furniture is also being recalled for repair services.

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Camel milk could be the future of dairy. Are you ready for a camelcino?

Camels were first domesticated for their milk in 3,000 BC, according to the UN, and the liquid is a staple in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, where it can be cheaper than cow’s milk. Now it is gaining popularity with producers and customers elsewhere, from health nuts in America to farmers in sub-Saharan Africa reckoning with climate change.

The milk is low in lactose, allowing it to be digested by people with a dairy intolerance and cutting into the market share of nut milks.

Touted by fanatics for its alleged medical benefits and by foodies for its full flavour, camel milk is now stocked on shelves in Asda supermarkets in the UK, while a camel dairy in the Netherlands offers next-day delivery to London doorsteps. Camel-milk ice cream is popping up on menus at culinary hotspots such as west London’s 108 Garage and the two-Michelin-starred minibar by Jose Andres in Washington DC.