Thursday, 31 January 2019

Can YOU tell which mouth is healthier?

She explained that the mouth with the yellow teeth is actually healthier because the gums were a pale shade or pink, while the white bright smile was surrounded by red, inflamed gums - indicating disease.

'If you brush properly in a way to interrupt plaque formation, your gums will have a light pink hue on the junction where the gum and the teeth meet (same for flossing between teeth), which is a good sign of health, no inflammation,' she said.

'During the inflammatory process of the gum area(s) affected, blood rushes to the areas and causes a red coloration of the gum. This inflammation is called gingivitis.


World's safest countries 2019


Lower blood pressure slashes the risk of Alzheimer's by 15%, study finds

Lowering blood pressure could prevent Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.

A study of more than 9,000 over 50s found those who got it below the newly recommended level - with a top reading under 120 - slashed their risk of memory problems by about a fifth.

They were also a sixth (15%) less likely to develop dementia, a figure that may be conservative to the short duration of the trial.

Dr Maria Carrillo, chief science officer at the Alzheimer's Association, said: 'Proof that lowering blood pressure can lower risk for dementia may be key to improving the lives of millions of people around the world.'


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

What you need to know about the new active mobility regulations - updated

From 1st February, 2019, cyclists and users of personal mobility devices (PMDs) will have to watch their speed when travelling on footpaths following the recommendations made by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel.

Among the regulations is 10kmh riding speed limit on footpaths for cyclists and PMD users.

Image for illustration only

Read the full article @

British lung cancer patients are the first in the world to benefit from lifesaving surgery that 'microwaves' tumours

British lung cancer patients told there was ‘no hope’ have been the first in the world to benefit from lifesaving surgery that ‘microwaves’ tumours, burning them away and leaving no scars.

Nine cancer sufferers have so far had the revolutionary ten-minute operation at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

They had been told by doctors they were too frail to withstand conventional surgery or radiotherapy for their tumours and that they had run out of options.

All nine are still alive nearly a year after doctors began using the revolutionary new technique.

Read the full article @

Forum: Legalise surrogacy for childless couples

While there are no explicit laws banning surrogacy in Singapore, in practice, health institutions here are not allowed to offer it (Hard choices on surrogacy in Singapore; Jan 17).

The Ministry of Health (MOH) allows for fertility clinics, but discourages surrogacy.

If Singapore is serious about remedying its declining birth rate, perhaps MOH should legalise local surrogacy for childless couples who are unable to conceive even with fertility treatments.

Surrogacy gives a couple the joy of being able to watch their baby grow up from the very beginning.

Adoption can be a long and tedious process, and couples may also prefer surrogacy as the child will bear their genes.

Infertile couples deserve the chance to be happy parents. They should not be denied the option of surrogacy if they are able to find someone willing to carry the baby for them.

Surrogacy is a matter of choice, not morality. It simply provides a means to the end of allowing a couple to have a child. While it may be a controversial issue, there is room for discussion and understanding among those concerned.

Why should the state stand in the way of a couple's desire or decision to have children? As long as there is informed consent and no one is taking advantage of anyone else, legal surrogacy should be made available.

I acknowledge that more research needs to be done before taking this step. To avoid unintended consequences, it is important for MOH to make sure that all aspects of surrogacy have been looked into, such as the welfare of the surrogate mother.

MOH should consider conducting a pilot trial for surrogacy, instead of closing the door entirely.

Cheng Choon Fei


Children who play on iPads or watch too much television have poorer problem solving, communication and personal skills by the age of five

Image for illustration only

Allowing pre-school children to play on tablets or iPads and watch lots of television affects their development by the age of five, researchers have found.

Scientists assessed the communication, dexterity, problem solving and personal skills of 2,400 children at the age of two, three and five.

They found those who were exposed to the most screentime at the age of two showed poorer development by the age of three.

And those who spent most time in front of a screen at the age of three had poorer development at age five.


You may also want to read Generation of child web addicts

My photo - flowers

A public domain photo by me

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Video: Chinese-Style Shuffle - The Most Amazing Dance in China's Cities

Confidential information of 14,200 individuals with HIV ‘illegally disclosed online’: MOH

The confidential information of 14,200 individuals diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and over 2,000 others are in the possession of an unauthorised person and has been illegally disclosed online, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (Jan 28).

The unauthorised person has been identified as Mikhy K Farrera Brochez, a male citizen of the United States who lived in Singapore on an employment pass between January 2008 and June 2016.

He is currently under police investigation for various offences and the authorities are seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts, as he is based overseas.

The MOH is also appealing to the public to notify it immediately if they come across information related to this incident, and to not share it further. Members of the public who have the information or have other concerns can call MOH’s hotline at 6325 9220.


Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin raising funds for charity through his photography

To mark Singapore's bicentennial year – the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles' arrival in Singapore in 1819 – Mr Tan will be launching a fund-raising photo exhibition for local charities on Thursday, in partnership with Hope Initiative Alliance, arts@work, Far East Organization and Far East Plaza.

Titled "Our Place In The World", the display at Far East Plaza Level 2 Concourse will be open to the public from Feb 1 to Feb 28 this year.

It showcases photographs taken by Mr Tan in 20 countries over the last 20 years.

The public can support the efforts through donations. They can receive a limited-edition exclusive metal print for a $10,000 donation, a premium photo book box set for a $5,000 donation, a special photo book box set for a $1,000 donation, or a postcard pack by giving $50.


Monday, 28 January 2019

Forum: Actor gave his life for his country - updated

The death of Mr Aloysius Pang saddens the whole nation and I struggle as I write to extend my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

As we grieve, let us ponder over the higher purpose of what Mr Pang, who served with such distinction, was doing.

He would not want us to decry the purpose of national service as some would in times like this.

Singapore is a jewel shining with success, much to the envy of many.

Sons like Mr Pang ensure the nation is to be treated with respect and equal standing.

Our national servicemen make Singapore strong and show that it is not there for the taking.

Given the opportunity to contribute to his epitaph I would stand and shout: "Here lies a true and talented son who gave his life for Singapore's defence."

Wong Bheet Huan


You may want to read Late actor Aloysius Pang’s ashes scattered at sea, near Pulau Ubin

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Video: School principal shuffles as he leads students in morning exercise dance routine

Even a 20-second exercise ‘snack’ like stair-climbing can improve fitness

As little as 20 seconds of brisk stair climbing, done several times a day, might be enough exercise to improve fitness, according to a pragmatic new study of interval-style training.

The study finds that people can complete a meaningful series of insta-workouts without leaving their office building or even changing out of their dress shoes, offering hope – and eliminating excuses – for those of us convinced that we have inadequate time, expertise, income or footwear to exercise.

By this point in January, many of us have begun to waver on our New Year’s fitness resolutions, often blaming jammed schedules for our neglected workouts.

Such perceived time constraints have fuelled interest in exercise that is short but strenuous, substituting intensity for duration. These types of workouts, structured as interval sessions, consist of brief spurts of high-intensity exercise, such as 20 seconds of all-out pedalling on a stationary bicycle, interspersed with periods of rest.

Read the full article @

Oolong tea extract may fight breast cancer because it stops tumours growing, claim scientists

Oolong tea extract has 'great potential' in the prevention of breast cancer, scientists believe.

Labvoratory tests showed the Chinese tea, used for centuries for its supposed health benefits, stopped the growth of breast cancer cells

Researchers found the extract hampered the DNA of the cancer cells, inhibiting the growth and progression of tumours.

Green tea showed similar promise, the scientists said. However, black and dark tea had little effect on the cells.


You may want to know What is the difference between oolong tea and black tea

7 in 10 youths unaware of cancer-causing chemicals in e-cigarettes

More than 7 in 10 youths are unaware that e-cigarettes contain nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals, according to a Health Promotion Board (HPB) survey, which polled 600 youths in 2018.

A campaign was launched on Saturday (Jan 26) to raise awareness on the negative health effects of e-cigarettes, which were banned in 2017.

"There is a worrying global trend on the use of e-cigarettes, especially among youths," said Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health, at the campaign's launch.

"We have to ensure that our public and young know the facts, and understand the reasons why we have banned Electronic Nicotine Delivery System, or ENDS, which include e-cigarettes."

Read more @

My photo - pink moss rose purslane flower

pink moss rose purslane flower

A public domain photo by me

Saturday, 26 January 2019

The few who follow US 'MyPlate' guidance have healthier diets

US MyPlate

Fewer than one in four U.S. adults follow the agriculture department's "MyPlate" dietary guidelines, but those who do have much healthier eating habits.

For the study, researchers examined nutrition data on a nationally-representative sample of 3,194 adults who were surveyed about their eating habits between 2011 and 2014. Overall, just 731 participants, or about 23%, followed MyPlate dietary guidelines or MyPyramid, an older version of these recommendations.

People who followed MyPlate or MyPyramid consumed fewer daily calories (2,120 versus 2,333) on average and had diets higher in whole grains and green vegetables and lower in fats and added sugars than participants who did not try to adhere to these dietary guidelines.


Singapore MyHealthyPlate

Singapore's equivalent of US 'MyPlate' is 'My Healthy Plate'.

Exercise DOES beat depression

Scientists have found some concrete evidence that exercising a little bit every day does reduce depression symptoms and boost overall mood.

For years, studies have found a connection between working out and lower depression risk - we all know exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy.

But until now, there was no evidence to show a causal relationship when it came to depression - whether physical activity really did affect the condition, or simply that people with depression exercised less.


AIA launches first insurance policy in Singapore that covers mental illnesses

Insurance group AIA has launched an insurance policy that offers coverage for mental illnesses - the first of its kind in Singapore - in what it says is a move aimed at tackling the stigma surrounding these conditions.

The AIA Beyond Critical Care policy will cover five conditions - major depressive disorders (MDD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and Tourette Syndrome. The policy will provide coverage up to age 75, except for Tourette Syndrome, which will be up to age 21.

Findings showed that the majority - or about 75% - of people who have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime did not seek professional help.

“AIA Beyond Critical Care fills the gaps in protection, providing comprehensive coverage for previously unprotected areas," said Ms Ho Lee Yen, chief customer and marketing officer at AIA Singapore.

Read more @

My photo - wild cosmos flower

wild cosmos

A public domain photo by me

Friday, 25 January 2019

Aspirin lowers heart attack risk but may cause severe internal bleeding

People without heart disease who take a daily aspirin may lower their risk of a heart attack or stroke, but a new study confirms they also have an increased risk of severe internal bleeding.

US doctors have long advised adults who have not had a heart attack or stroke but are at high risk for these events to take a daily aspirin pill, an approach known as primary prevention. Even though there is clear evidence aspirin works for this purpose, many physicians and patients have been reluctant to follow the recommendations because of the risk of rare but potentially fatal internal bleeding.

For the current study, researchers examined data from 13 clinical trials testing the effects of aspirin against a placebo or no treatment in more than 164,000 adults.

"The results demonstrate that there are cardiovascular benefits, but that they are quite closely matched by increased risks of serious bleeding," said lead study author Dr Sean Zheng of King's College London and Imperial College London.


Forum: Crack down on lack of decorum

The lack of decorum is not limited to young pupils at concert halls (Educate students on decorum at performances; Jan 22).

We see examples of it everywhere:
  • People speaking loudly among themselves or on their phones in public spaces such as trains.
  • Children treating public spaces as playgrounds and creating a din, without their guardians stepping in to control them.
  • People wearing foul-smelling and dirty clothes in public.
  • Bus and train commuters playing loud music or games without using headsets.

If Singapore wants to be home to world-class behaviour, much more needs to be done, beyond just demanding that teachers educate and discipline their students.

Parents and guardians must rein in misbehaving children immediately.

Public transport operators and the owners of buildings where people congregate must put up posters reminding the public of the expected decorum. They can also make use of periodic public announcements, like how it is done on Japanese public transport.

Only then can Singaporeans live and work peacefully.

Cheang Peng Wah


Gum disease may cause premature labour

A study of dozens new mothers found 45% of those whose waters broke early had swollen, sore or infected gums.

In comparison, only 29% of the women who did not give birth prematurely had signs of gum disease.

Bacteria in plaque are thought to travel to the placenta via the bloodstream, causing it to became inflamed.


You may want to read Home remedies for gingivitis

Having gum disease 'raises your risk of Alzheimer's

Scientists have found for the first time that bacteria which cause bleeding gums can get from the mouth into the brain.

Signs of this gum disease bacteria were found in the brains of 51 out of 53 people with Alzheimer's disease.

The findings suggest that people who brush their teeth properly could lower their risk of dementia.

However, it raises concerns for the 45% of people in Britain who already have gum disease and may be at greater risk.


You may want to read Home remedies for gingivitis

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Forum: Maids are no less human than us

The report (Does boss' son have the right to scold the maid?; Dec 20) made for interesting reading.

The hurtful and heart-wrenching words that were used by the six-year-old toddler - "Aunty stupid, aunty bad, aunty die" - were probably not understood by him.

Those words were clearly uttered by some adults in the house regularly enough for the child to pick up and use them.

The blame for his behaviour should fall on the mother and other adult family members in the household.

Maids who work in Singapore often come from poorer countries. Most of them leave their families back home, to work here for a few hundred dollars each month so that those back in their home countries may have a better life.

They don't deserve to be treated this way.

My family has had a maid for the past two decades. On the maid's birthday and on Hari Raya, we give her hongbao.

She also receives hongbao from us and other relatives during Chinese New Year.

For us, that is just one way of showing our appreciation to her.

A maid may come from a poorer country and be less educated than us, but that does not make her any less of a human being.

Neo Poh Goon


Warning: Scammers duping victims into buying software to fix fake virus infection: Police

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) is warning people against falling for tech support scams after at least four reports were made this month.

SPF said in a news release on Tuesday (Jan 22) that victims were tricked into making payments for software to address a fake virus infection in their computers. In some cases, they were told to provide credit or debit card information where they subsequently discovered unauthorised charges.

More than S$28,000 was lost to such tech support scammers in 2018, police added.

Read more @

New medical device uses magnetic field to boost muscle recovery

NUS Associate Professor Alfredo Franco-Obergón (left) leading a demonstration of MRegen. He led a team of researchers in developing the medical device that uses magnetic field to regenerate muscle cells. - TheNewPaper
Patients who have undergone anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery — a common type of knee operation — typically take about 16 weeks to heal, but researchers here have developed a medical device that can shave a month off the recovery period.

The device, developed by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), harnesses magnetic field to speed up muscle recovery. The procedure is non-invasive and painless, and the creators say it could benefit post-surgical patients, the elderly and professional athletes.

Named MRegen, the magnetic stimulation “tricks” muscle cells into thinking that they are exercising. The cells are then activated and regenerate at a faster speed. All one needs is only 10 minutes.


My photo - sinquas

A public domain photo by me

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

The depressing '10-year challenge' against antibiotic resistance

Dr Kate Flavin did not post pictures of what she looked like 10 years ago versus now, but of what antibiotics effects on resistant bacteria were in 2009 versus today.

As can be seen in year 2019, the antibiotics have lost much of its effectiveness.


Forum: Teachers should not give up on 'difficult' students

I recently attended a parent-teacher meeting at a neighbourhood secondary school, as the son of a relative had to repeat a year in Secondary 3.

The purpose of the meeting was to solicit the help of the teachers, and to understand how best to coordinate with the teachers to help the boy make progress in his studies and improve his behaviour in school at the same time.

During the conversation, the teachers shared that there are a handful of students in the same class who belong to either dysfunctional or single-parent families, or have parents who are overly busy with their work or have somehow lost control over their child.

The teachers hinted that this group of boys will not be getting as much help from the teachers due to their behavioural issues and uncooperative parents.

It was extremely disappointing to hear that the teachers have given up on these students as they are the ones who would need help the most.

It begs the question: Who bears the responsibility of educating difficult students who are both academically weak and are having behavioural problems at the same time?

I would like to urge teachers to never give up guiding these troubled youth as that is the minimum one would expect from an educator.

It is widely understood that a teacher's role, apart from imparting knowledge, involves being a mentor.

If every teacher were to continue to mentor and guide the students to the right path despite the lack of parental support, our society would definitely be a better place.

Aisling Ong (Miss)


Singaporean scientist-engineer devises waterless car wash solution

Like every engineer, Dr Joseph Sun saw a problem and started devising a solution to solve it. In this case, the 52-year-old materials scientist noticed that the car-washing industry is plagued by the issue of excessive water wastage.

To date, he estimates his firm — which is backed by Mr Richard Li, the son of prominent Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing — has saved between 12 and 13 million litres of water. This is roughly equivalent to five Olympic-sized swimming pools.

He said that the potential amount of water saved can “help us achieve our national target” of consuming around 130L each person daily by 2030.

To use the service, car owners first have to download the EWash app and create an account. Then, they can select the type of service required; apart from washing, the company also provides other services such as polishing, waxing and interior care services. The washing will be done from 7pm to 1am at the customer’s car park.


Reasons why your lips are always dry

  • Dehydration
  • Breathing through our mouth
  • Allergic reaction
  • Licking your lips
  • Medication
  • Strong toothpaste
  • Vitamin B deficiency


Monday, 21 January 2019

Dengue cases in first 2 weeks of January triple the number in the same period in 2018

There has been a steady rise in the number of dengue cases in recent weeks, with 455 cases reported in the first two weeks of January.

This is three times the number reported over the same two-week period in January 2018, said Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor on Saturday (Jan 19).

“We anticipate that higher temperatures and rainfall patterns brought by climate change may encourage mosquito breeding and worsen the spread of such mosquito-borne diseases,” she said in a Facebook post.

Read more @

Long-term exercise by older adults tied to lower risk of falls

Older adults who have exercised regularly for at least a year may be less likely to experience falls or related injuries than their less active peers, a research review suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from 40 clinical trials with a total of 21,868 adults who were 73 years old on average. All of the smaller trials randomly assigned some participants to do a variety of exercise programs for at least 48 weeks while others joined a comparison group that didn't exercise or, more often, an "active control" group that might exercise outside the context of the workouts being tested.

Participants assigned to the tested exercise programs for at least one year were 12 percent less likely to fall and 26 percent less likely to sustain injuries if they did fall than people who were not part of exercise interventions, the analysis found.

Exercise programs were also associated with a 16 percent lower risk of fractures.

Read more @

My photo - Preparing for Chinese New Year - peach blossoms

A public domain photo by me

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Just one or two experiences with marijuana may alter teen brains

Teens who use pot just one or two times may end up with changes to their brains, a new study finds.

There were clear differences on brain scans between teens who said they had tried cannabis a couple of times and those who completely eschewed the drug, researchers reported in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"Research using animals to study the effects of cannabis on the brain have shown effects at very low levels, so we had reason to believe that brain changes might occur at even the earliest stages of cannabis use," Orr said in an email.

With an estimated 35% of US teens using cannabis, the new findings are concerning, the researchers noted.

Read more @

Too little sleep tied to increased heart disease risk

People who sleep less than six hours a night may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who sleep seven to eight hours, a Spanish study suggests.

Researchers found that compared to people who got seven to eight hours of sleep, those who slept less than six hours a night were 27% more likely to have "preclinical" atherosclerosis: structural changes and thickening in the artery walls that is not yet serious enough to cause complications.

Previous research has linked lack of sleep to traditional risk factors for heart disease like high blood sugar, high blood pressure, inflammation and obesity.

Read more @