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.