Saturday, 30 March 2019

HSA recalls 3 brands of high-blood pressure medicine used by 137,000 patients

Three brands of high-blood pressure medicine used by about 137,000 patients in Singapore have been recalled by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) as they contain nitrosamine impurity above internationally acceptable levels.

The affected losartan medicine – Losartas, Losagen and Hyperten – contain trace amounts of N-nitroso-Nmethyl-4-aminobutyric acid (NMBA), an environmental contaminant also found in food or the environment in very minute amount, said the authority on Thursday (28 March). The announcement comes after HSA completed its tests and reviews for the affected brands on 21 March.

While there is “no immediate health risk” associated with taking the affected medicine, exposure to nitrosamines at high quantities over a long-term period may potentially increase the risk of cancer, said the HSA.


Forum: Employers should treat foreign workers with dignity

Singapore's dependence on foreign workers has become irreversible. Without construction workers from Malaysia, Myanmar, China, India and Sri Lanka, our construction industry would come to a standstill. And domestic helpers from the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar also play an important role in our households.

These workers enter and work in Singapore legally, often forced by circumstances to come here so that their family back home can enjoy a better life.

Coming here is not easy. I have worked with many construction workers who told me they have to raise, on average, $5,000 to pay an agent for their journey here. I employ a maid, and it is a similar story, with agent fees deducted from her monthly salary.

We hear quite frequently of cases of delayed salary and maid abuse. I appeal to employers of construction workers and of maids to treat them with dignity and respect.

Some of the stories of maid abuse that have been reported, such as physical abuse and starvation, are inhumane. Have some compassion and be more gracious towards fellow human beings, regardless of their race or nationality.

Neo Poh Goon


St John's Island, Pulau Hantu cleared of asbestos: SLA

All asbestos removal works on St John’s Island and Pulau Hantu have been completed, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) announced on Friday (Mar 29).

SLA has since completed all asbestos removal works on St John’s Island and Pulau Hantu, and both islands will be fully reopened to the public.

The former St John’s Island Campsite and Holiday Bungalow have been renamed as the St John’s Island Lodge and overnight accommodation facilities will be reopened to the public on Jun 1, SLA said, adding that bookings are available for the St John’s Island Lodge “to increase access and encourage visitorship to the island”.

Kusu Island was cleared of asbestos last September and has been reopened to the public, SLA said in its press release on Friday.


Friday, 29 March 2019

Changi the first to win World's Best Airport for 7 straight years

Crown Plaza Hotel

Singapore’s Changi Airport has been named the world’s best airport for the seventh straight year, becoming the first airport in the world to do so.

It was announced as the award winner during the World Airport Awards at the Passenger Terminal Expo in London on Wednesday (27 March), after a global survey done by London-based research firm Skytrax, which involved more than 13 million travellers.

Coming in second was Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), while Incheon International Airport in South Korea was third. The top six airports in the world are all in Asia, with seventh-placed Munich Airport being the best among the rest of the world.

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport was also named World’s Best Airport Hotel, as well as Best Airport Hotel in Asia.


Best foods to keep your liver healthy

A functioning liver processes food, detoxifies your body, makes important proteins and keeps you healthy all-round.

Yet, more and more Singaporeans are getting fatty liver disease, no thanks to obesity, belly fat, high cholesterol and other chronic health conditions.

The good news is that fatty liver disease can be reversed. Food plays a huge part in keeping your liver healthy.

Load up on wholesome food like these:
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Oatmeal
  • Almonds
  • Blueberries
  • Herbs and spices like oregano, sage or rosemary. Other herbs include artichoke, dandelion, milk thistle.


You may want to read Sugarcane juice can help treat jaundice

Toddlers gain more from printed books than e-books

When grown-ups are reading to toddlers, they have more meaningful conversations when the stories are in traditional printed books than when stories are in e-books, researchers found.

Results of the small experiment suggest story time with tablets may not be as good for kids' development.

Pediatricians recommend against any screen time at all for children under age two. They warn that tablets, smartphones and digitally enhanced toys and games can get in the way of creative play and interactions with caregivers that are essential for social, emotional and cognitive growth.

That is not to say there is no benefit to electronic book, just less than when you compare it with a print book.


Forum: Do more to help vulnerable victims of phishing scams

There have been a number of news reports on the rise in phishing scams targeted at customers of local banks.

These cybercrimes are carried out by sophisticated and tech-savvy criminals out to mislead and ensnare unsuspecting victims who are no match for them.

It is also likely that investigations by banks and the police would have found out how fast these fraudulent transactions are made, or how well the money tracks are concealed, making most cases difficult to prosecute.

Those who fall prey to fraudulent scams are invariably reminded that the public has been repeatedly warned. This smacks of an "I-told-you-so" approach that does little to help anyone.

It is akin to a bank customer being told he should have been more careful with his savings after his bank is robbed.

Young or elderly bank customers who have little or no income, in particular, are vulnerable as they may need to borrow money and end up in debt as a result of not being able to recover the money they lost.

Bank customers are left helpless when they are cheated by skilled fraudsters. Maybe it is time that banks and the police go a step further to consider ways to help bank customers who are no match for very smart cyber criminals.

Eve Loh Chin Pey (Ms)


Thursday, 28 March 2019

Sleep-deprived Singaporean workers among most stressed globally: Survey

Singaporeans are not only sleep deprived, but they are also among the most stressed at work globally, according to a survey by health service company Cigna released on Tuesday (Mar 26).

Nearly 92% of Singaporeans surveyed were stressed from work, which was higher than the global average of 84%. Of this group, 13% said that the stress they faced was unmanageable.

Singaporeans’ physical wellness index also dipped by 4.4 percentage points from last year, which the survey attributed to an increase in sleepless nights.

Of the 23 markets surveyed, Singapore had the fifth lowest wellness index, which was measured across five key indices — family, financial, physical, social and work.

Read more @

Forum: Law should not allow dads to lose rights to kids without hearings

The report on the father who has not seen his daughters for more than two years is heartbreaking (Dad heartbroken that he can't see his 2 daughters, March 18).

What will be more troubling is if Singapore follows the example of the United States in depriving non-custodial fathers of post-divorce contact with their children.

Often, in the US, upon a caseworker's finding of a "family dysfunction" or a complaint from the custodial spouse and false allegations of abuse, fathers lose their rights to their children without any hearing.

The real victims are children who grow up without fathers, hearing them regularly demonised by the vindictive former spouses and, sadly, ultimately believing the worst about the dads they never knew.

Fathers deserve the joys of raising children and to share life's best moments with them too.

Mature and caring adults will set aside their acrimony and ill-will and focus on what is best for the children.

Our society and Government should enforce this.

John Timothy Driscoll


930,000 HDB households to receive S$132 million in S&CC rebates

Around 930,000 Singaporean Housing and Development Board (HDB) households will receive S$132 million worth of Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates in the 2019 financial year (from April 2019 to March 2020).

In a news release on Wednesday (Mar 27), the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said that in total, each eligible household will receive 1.5 to 3.5 months of S&CC rebate, depending on flat type.

Read more @

My photo - Life

This is the reality of harsh life.
It gives you something, then it takes everything away from you.
It is always evolving and never stops for anyone or anything.

Learn to accept changes (good and bad), learn new things (IN), and learn to let go (OUT).

Then you will find that life is actually making you smarter and a more balanced person. Then you will find that life is worth living for.

A public domain photo by me.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Exceptional people: Passers-by receive awards for helping to nab snatch thief, upskirter

11 people received the Public Spiritedness Award from the police yesterday, for rendering assistance in five separate cases.

(From left) Mr Kunwar Sidhant Singh, Ms Rifaransi Hodjatzadeh and Mr Grant Smith McLeod. Source: the new paper


Do not ignore the signs — stomach, colon cancer can hit the young


Although many early cancers do not have symptoms, there are warning signs you should look out for.

For colorectal cancer:
  • Blood in stool
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Anaemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Presence of a lump in the abdomen

For gastric cancer:
  • Upper abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Persistent indigestion
  • Heartburn after meal
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Black stools
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anemia due to blood loss from tumour

Source: Singapore Cancer Society


How the world's tiniest implant which you cannot see with the naked eye can stop you going blind

Little bigger than a grain of sand, this is officially the world’s smallest medical implant. Yet the tiny device is set to transform treatment for tens of thousands in the UK who are at risk of blindness due to glaucoma.

The £900 i-Stent – a hollow metal tube about ten times smaller than a grain of rice – is so minuscule it can only be implanted in the eye using a high-powered microscope.

Once in place, it drains off harmful fluid that accumulates in the eyeball and which puts pressure on the optic nerve, potentially causing irreversible vision loss.


Women freezing their eggs to raise their chances of conceiving

Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, provides women the possibility of preserving younger and possibly healthier eggs until they are ready to start a family.

The process first involves stimulating the ovaries with hormones to produce multiple eggs, which is similar to the initial stage of IVF.

A woman is born with a finite number of eggs which continuously depletes throughout her lifetime, said Dr Lim Lei Jun from Sunfert International Fertility Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

“Women are most fertile in their twenties and early thirties. After the age of 30, egg quantity and quality starts to decline,” said Dr Lim.

The rate of decline is steepest after 37 or 38 years old.

Read more @

You may want to read Children inherit their intelligence from their mother, not their father

Public domain FOOD photos by Marco Verch


Monday, 25 March 2019

An orange juice a day keeps the doctor away!

Drinking a glass of orange juice each day may cut the risk of deadly strokes by almost a quarter, a major study suggests.

Volunteers who downed a juice a day saw their risk of a brain clot drop by 24%, according to the decade-long trial.

Researchers in the Netherlands say it is not just orange juice that has the benefit, other fruit juices also appear to cut the risk.

Fresh fruit juices have long been thought of as healthy. But consumers in recent years have been put off by warnings over their high sugar content.

But the latest study suggests the health benefits in terms of stroke prevention could outweigh the risks from sugar content.


Cancer tumours in the gut feed off sugary drinks, new study shows

Sugar could be fuelling cancer by speeding up the growth of tumours in the body, according to a new study. 

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, found that mice consuming high-fructose corn syrup, used in biscuits, ice cream and energy drinks, saw intestinal tumours grow faster.

The amount was said to be the equivalent of people drinking about 12 ounces of a sugary drink a day.

Dr Lewis Cantley, a co-author of the study from Weill Cornell Medicine, said: 'This observation in animal models might explain why increased consumption of sweet drinks and other foods with high sugar content over the past 30 years is correlating with an increase in colorectal cancers in 25 to 50-year-olds in the United States.'


Technology: Scientists develop Terminator-style stretchable liquid metal

Long-term hormone use after menopause tied to Alzheimer's risk

Image for illustration only

Women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats may be slightly more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, a large Finnish study suggests.

Many women have been reluctant to use hormones for menopause symptoms since 2002, when the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study in the US linked treatments containing man-made versions of the female hormones estrogen and progestin to an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

The current study involved almost 85,000 women diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in Finland between 1999 and 2013 and a control group of about 85,000 similar women without this diagnosis. Roughly 30% of women in both groups used hormones; most took "systemic" hormones in tablet or pill forms but some used vaginal treatments.

Compared to women who did not use systemic hormones, those who did were 9% to 17% more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. The biggest risk was for older women who used HRT for more than a decade.

Read more @

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Using an asthma inhaler correctly - updated

You have to take off the cap, shake the inhaler for three to five seconds and connect it to the spacer (a chamber between the inhaler and the patient’s mouth that holds the drug suspended and makes it easier to breathe it in).

Then you are supposed to exhale completely, and put the mouthpiece or mask in or around your mouth correctly, forming a tight seal.

Then you release the medication from the inhaler by pressing the canister down, breathe in slowly and deeply through the spacer (for spacers with a whistle, you do not want to hear the whistle), and hold your breath for 10 seconds.

Finally, you exhale again - and then you wait a minute and repeat the process.

In a new study, 84% of the patients did not wait the 30 seconds that the researchers felt was the absolute minimum time between inhalations. More than 50% waited less than 15 seconds. Patients not using the inhalers correctly may not derive the full benefits of the drugs.


You may want to read There are 7 steps to use an asthma inhaler correctly – have you been wrong?

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Hit by stroke at 24

Darren Chua was home alone playing a computer game during a leisurely afternoon on 28 April 2000.

The 24-year-old medical student was about to start an orthopedic housemanship at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in four days.

Out of the blue, Chua experienced total darkness on the right side of his vision. He rested on his bed and evaluated the situation. The headaches came as if on cue: intensely, like “someone using a hammer to bash against his head”, he added.

He tried to stand up from his bed but fell down almost immediately – his right side had slackened.

It was only then he realised he was suffering from a stroke. His speech started to slur and he could not identify the right key to open the door. He went back to his bed and waited for help to come after calling his friend.

Latest available statistics (2016) have shown an increase in younger stroke patients in Singapore.

In particular, the rate among men aged 30 to 39 who had a stroke almost doubled to 37.3 per 100,000 population over the period. The rate of stroke cases among women rose significantly only for those aged 40 to 49, rising 11% to 57.8 per 100,000 population.

“Young people mistakenly believe that they will never get a stroke; that stroke is an illness of old age. Truth is – anyone at any age can get a stroke,” said Dr Ramani.


Singapore retains 34th spot in World Happiness Index; still the happiest country in Southeast Asia


Seven things you can do right now to improve your gut health

  1. Eat plenty of fibre
  2. Top up your gut bacteria with probiotics
  3. Feed those bacteria with prebiotics
  4. Cut down on sugar and rich foods
  5. Treat yourself to a massage
  6. Manage stress
  7. Make sure you drink enough water


Video: 12 ways of tying your shoe laces

Friday, 22 March 2019

AWARE extends hours for helpline

The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) has extended the operating hours of its Women's Helpline service from 3pm to 9.30pm to 10am to 6pm on weekdays, starting yesterday.

Singapore's first helpline for women in crisis, it provides emotional support, psycho-education, referrals for assistance and legal information.

Aware's Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC) Helpline has also begun operating under new hours to reflect more efficient use of the centre's resources. It will now run from 10am to 10pm, Monday to Friday.

Those seeking support or information can contact the Women's Helpline on 1800-777-5555 and the SACC Helpline on 6779-0282.

They can WhatsApp 9781-4101, e-mail or go to

They can also visit the Aware headquarters at Block 5 Dover Crescent, #01-22, Singapore 130005.


Measles cases on the rise since start of the year

Image for illustration only

The number of measles cases since the start of the year is more than three times that of the same period last year, but no deaths have been reported, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

In the first 11 weeks of the year, there were 38 cases of measles, compared with 11 cases last year.

It is also the highest number recorded for the first 11-week period since 2015.

MOH assured the public that there is no evidence of further spread of the disease in the community.


Straws made of rice have debuted in Singapore

Source: channel news asia

Rice straws, which are edible, made of a combination of rice and tapioca, are fully biodegradable, decomposing within 90 days.

In cold drinks, the rice straws last between four and 10 hours, and two to three hours in hot drinks.

The straws, which are Halal-certified, are produced by Penang-based Nlytech Biotech Sdn Bhd.

Mr Law Yee Tee, CEO, added that the price of the rice straws “will be very much affordable compared to other types of eco-friendly straws”.


Short walk once-a-week can lower risk of dying from heart attack, stroke, cancer: Study

Image for illustration only

A brisk stroll once or twice a week is enough to reduce the risk of dying from heart attack, stroke or cancer, according to a statistical study of nearly 90,000 people released Tuesday (Mar 19).

People who walked or gardened 10 minutes to an hour each week had an 18% lower risk of death from any cause compared to full-on couch potatoes, researchers reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Two-and-a-half to five hours weekly of such "moderate physical activity" - broken into segments of no less than 10 minutes - resulted in a 31% reduction in risk, they found.

And those who clocked up at least 25 hours almost halved the risk.

Read more @

My photo - MRT station

mrt station

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Free HPV vaccinations to be made available to 13-year-old girls - updated

From April, 2019, 13-year-old girls can get vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection, for free.

The jabs, which will be optional, will be made available as part of the national school-based vaccination programme, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said during a debate on her ministry’s budget in Parliament on Wednesday (March 6).

It will be offered to girls in Secondary 1 and 13-year-old female students in private institutions who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents.

There will also be a one-time cost of about S$10 million this year, as MOH will be making available a “catch-up” programme for current cohorts of female students in Secondary 2 to 5 to get vaccinated as well.


You may want to read HPV can cause cancers in both genders – so should boys be vaccinated too?

Well-organised people may be less likely to develop dementia, research finds

Tidiness and well organised 

Well-organised people may be less likely to develop dementia.

Nearly 900 people aged 70 and over were rated for their conscientiousness, characterised by self-control and good organisation. They were then monitored for eight years.

One theory is that conscientious people have greater mental reserves — the brain’s ability to form new connections.


Video: Yoga not 'masculine' enough for men? It actually helps your MMA game


Younger knee replacement patients have more complications

Total knee replacement is increasingly being performed in younger people, and new research suggests younger patients have higher complication rates.

"The number of knee replacements we are doing in younger and younger patients keeps increasing every year and we need to let these patients know that their failure rate is potentially higher," Dr Mark Figgie, orthopaedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, told Reuters Health in a phone interview.

After everyone's medical problems had been taken into account, patients younger than 40 and those ages 40 to 49 had almost three times the risk of early mechanical complications as everyone else. People under age 40 were also 63 per cent more likely than other patients to need rehospitalization within 90 days.

Read more @

Light physical activity tied to lower heart disease risk in senior women

Image for illustration only

Senior women may be able to reduce their risk of developing heart disease by increasing the number of hours they spend in low intensity activities, such as walking and gardening, a new study suggests.

In the study of nearly 6,000 older women, researchers found women in the highest category of daily low intensity activity were 42 per cent less likely to experience a heart attack or die from heart disease compared to those in the lowest category. And every extra hour of light activity per day appeared to cut women's risk even further, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.

Current physical activity guidelines suggest 150 minutes a week of moderate and vigorous physical activity, said the study's lead author, Andrea LaCroix, director of the Women's Health Center of Excellence at the University of California, San Diego. "That's been a non-starter for many older women like the ones in the study whose average age was 79," LaCroix said. "The bottom line in this study is that everything we do, even lower intensity physical activities, looks beneficial to the heart."

Read more @

How to tell if you are turning into an UNCLE... and how to avoid it

Remember back when you were a teenager, and you were constantly starving? How you would keep eating until the plate (and fridge!) were empty? And yet despite the mountains of food you consumed (a lot of it not even healthy), you never gained weight. Fast forward a few years to your NS days. With all that extra physical activity, you needed even more energy, which of course you were happy to supply by eating more.

Nowadays things are slightly different. You spend your days sitting at a desk instead of sweating it out on the basketball court or outfield, and during the weekends you are so busy catching up on your social life, looking after the kids or doing house chores that there isn’t much time to hit the gym. As a result, your waistline is not quite what it used to be. In fact, you are looking distinctly uncle-like!

There is a simple explanation for this transformation into an uncle-bod. It is called ‘energy balance’. Calories come into our body in the form of food and drink. These calories are then used to fuel basic metabolic activities such as breathing, blood circulation and other bodily functions, including physical activities (exercise). If your calorie intake is greater than the amount of calories you need, you will put on weight.

Read more @

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Exceptional people: Soh Rui Yong breaks 23-year national marathon mark

Source: channelnewsasia

Runner Soh Rui Yong has rewritten the national record for the men’s marathon after clocking 2:23:42 at the Seoul Marathon on Sunday (Mar 17).

Soh’s effort smashed the long-standing previous national mark, which was held by Murugiah Rameshon. Rameshon’s 2:24:22 time at the 1995 SEA Games in Chiang Mai had stood for more than 23 years before Soh’s effort on Sunday.

Read more @

A prolonged cough may be a sign of tuberculosis

If you have been concerned over a persistent cough which lasted over a month, there is a chance you have contracted tuberculosis (TB).

It typically refers to an infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and lung infection by the bacteria is termed pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Symptoms of PTB may include prolonged cough, bloody phlegm, fever, weight loss, night sweats and shortness of breath.

Dr Mark Ng Chung Wai, family physician at SingHealth Polyclinics Outram and chair of its Infection Control and Infectious Disease Workgroup, said: "According to the 2016 guidelines on the prevention, diagnosis and management of tuberculosis by Singapore's Ministry of Health, the possibility of PTB should be considered in anyone with prolonged cough of more than three weeks, and a chest X-ray should be done."


Harvard University uncovers DNA switch that controls genes for whole-body regeneration

Image for illustration only

Humans may one day have the ability to regrow limbs after scientists at Harvard University uncovered the DNA switch that controls genes for whole-body regeneration.

Some animals can achieve extraordinary feats of repair, such as salamanders which grow back legs, or geckos which can shed their tails to escape predators and then form new ones in just two months.

Now scientists have discovered that that in worms, a section of non-coding or ‘junk’ DNA controls the activation of a ‘master control gene’ called early growth response (EGR) which acts like a power switch, turning regeneration on or off.

Humans also carry EGR, and produce it when cells are stressed and in need of repair, yet it does not seem to trigger large scale regeneration.


Sunday, 17 March 2019

Singapore Heritage Festival 2019 - The Peranakan or Baba-Nyonya (Mar 2019)

Peranakan Museum

Peranakan museum @ Armenian Street

Decorations based on Chinese culture

Ladies in Peranakan attire based on Malay style

A cardboard Peranakan lady

Singer and audience dancing to the music

Peranakan wedding show - everyone trying to get a good shot of the bride and groom

Enjoying the food

The crowd

The crowd

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Hope for breast cancer patients who suffer heart woes from chemo

Scientists have discovered how to predict which breast cancer patients will suffer heart problems from chemotherapy - and how to prevent these side effects.

Around 15% of patients who take trastuzumab, used for a fifth of breast cancer cases, suffer heart issues, slowing their heart rate and sometimes leading to heart failure.

And yet, there are currently no methods to mitigate the debilitating and life-threatening reaction, short of quitting the drug.

But they also found that metformin, a drug already approved to treat diabetes, rejuvenated heart cells, countereact the side effect of chemotherapy.


Forum: Why the prejudice against academically weaker students?

It is sad to learn that we have become such a class-conscious society that the less academically inclined are not spared prejudiced attitudes (End of streaming: How will changes affect IP schools?, March 10).

It is strange that parents perceive students from the Normal streams as a bad influence on their children.

If we were to encourage social mixing, what better place to start than in school, when children are young and malleable? They will take naturally to the habitat and accept differences among their peers. They will learn that it takes all kinds of people to make the world. When they begin adult life, they will know how to socialise in a diverse world.

Parents should be more confident in how they have brought up their children, who hold them up as role models, and trust that they have laid a strong enough moral foundation for their children to not be easily influenced.

The young have to learn to be accepting and take ownership of their own decisions, whatever the outcome. We should not be quick to pin the blame on others, such as teachers or students in a lower stream, when our own children make mistakes.

As adults, we should not plant toxic attitudes, such as that lower-stream students are a bad influence to be avoided, in our young. It is unhealthy to shelter our young from differences, whether natural or otherwise.

School is only a small part in life's long journey. Who is to say that we will always stay at the top of the band in this journey?

Perhaps we should tell our young to reach out to slower peers and help them to elevate their lot. This would be an invaluable learning experience.

Lee Teck Chuan


You may also want to read How does bringing up children in isolation equip them for future?

‘Harmless’ organism may be linked to gastrointestinal diseases

Local researchers have discovered that a gut organism previously considered harmless may be linked to gastrointestinal diseases, including colon cancer.

A subtype of the Blastocystis organism was found to reduce good, anti-inflammatory bacteria in the gut that prevent infection and cancer, researchers from the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) said yesterday. The parasite, Blastocystis subtype 7, injures the gut lining directly and indirectly by triggering an inflammatory response, causing ulcers.

It is spread through food contaminated by faeces from infected animals, especially birds, or from humans who are already infected with the parasite.


Air pollution is a bigger killer than SMOKING

Air pollution kills nearly nine million people across the world each year - twice as many as global health chiefs assumed, a study has claimed.

Scientists now say breathing in toxic air caused by vehicle exhaust fumes, factories and power plants is responsible for more deaths than smoking.

The World Health Organization (WHO) previously estimated air pollution was to blame for 4.5million deaths across the world.

But German researchers recalculated available data to discover the true toll is closer to the 8.8million mark, with most caused by heart diseases. WHO estimated tobacco smoking was responsible for 7.2million deaths globally in 2015.