Sunday, 23 June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Singaporeans living longer but spending more time in ill health

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

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


Parkinson’s disease spotted in brain before symptoms shown

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

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

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

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


Forum: Inequality will correct itself over time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Castelino (Professor)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saunas have effects to exercising but not weight-loss

Saunas can be just as exhausting as a workout, research suggests.

A study found spending 25 minutes in a sauna raises a person's heart rate and blood pressure as much as a stint on a rowing machine.

These then fall once the sauna session is over, resulting in 'similar long-term positive effects to exercise'.

However, the researchers added saunas would not help people lose weight because there is no muscle activity involved.