Monday, January 12, 2009 0 comments

It is awfully horrifying to come to terms with the lame and inane reasons why Israel should bully Gaza and kill hundreds of Palestinians in the process. The ancient enmity between the Israelites and the Palestinians has never been so controversial until now. I was shocked to see hundreds of dead innocent bodies pile in the streets of Gaza, destroying families, leaving a bloody wake in their petty retribution and I find it equally appalling to understand their "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" justification because I am sure that they are overreacting and understating the real meaning of the old testament passage. Could the Israeli officials' brains been as ancient as their ancestors? Do they not know that the "eye for an eye" doctrine applies only to the biblical era? Do they have a false perception of time? Surely land domination, and empire building is a thing of the past.
The Jews have really exceeded themselves, acting like the David fighting the Palestinian Goliath when it is really them acting Goliath bullying the Palestinian David. Sure, they can defend their Israeli communities from Palestinian rocket attacks, however what they are doing lately is hurting innocent civilians more than the rebels. They are more fit to be called terrorists than those they try to punish.
Despite having received world condemnation, it is but annoying to see that Israel remains blatant in their barbarish pursuits. Israel recently rejected a United Nation's resolution calling for a ceasefire. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed the UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate and durable ceasefire. They said Hamas fighters were still firing rockets into their territory but no casualties in their turf were reported compared to the 784 casualties they have caused in Gaza.
80% of Gaza's 1.5 million population are in dire need of assistance, describing the health situation as "extremely worrying". Most of Gaza is without power, solid waste is piling up and over 21,000 people are now sheltering in UN schools amid shortage of blankets and other essentials.
The condition that the Israelis and the Palestinians want for the ceasefire to immediately happen is really possible and not that hard to attain. Hamas wants Israel to end its crippling economic blockade of the Gaza strip and the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the territory, while Israel demands for a complete halt to Hamas rocket fire and to stop the islamist group rearming via smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt. Plausible isn't it? So what are they thinking? Why not stop the bloodshed and get on with it? Have enough lives been wasted enough or they want more?
I will condemn Hamas for their selfish pursuit to cause damage and terrorize Israel but I will also condemn Israel for reacting so violently from a 'tickle'. I choose the lesser evil, Hamas, because as some experts say this Israeli-Palestinian war is lopsided. Miguel d'Escoto of the UN said "the behavior of Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that it illegally occupies." He also stated the following violations Israel incurred:
- Collective punishment - the entire 1.5 million people who live in Gaza are being punished for the action of a few militants.
- Targeting civilians - the air strike were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world.
- Disproportionate military response - the air strike have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza's elected government but have killed 784 and wounded thousands more.
It is true that peace can only be achieved when one is at peace with himself. Truly the people behind this ancient brawl are not in peace with themselves because they are clouded with their selfish ambitions and arrogance of power.

Fructose-based Softdrinks Blamed for Gout Incidence

Sunday, January 11, 2009 0 comments

The annual meeting of the British Society for Rheumatology recently disclosed the findings of their study about the sharp increase in gout among American adults that has occurred in recent decades was partly because of their consumption of soft drinks containing fructose.
Since the advent of the use of high-fructose corn-syrup in the sweetening of soft drinks there has been an increase in its consumption. It is found out that since the steady increase in its consumption there has been a steady increase in of gout incidence among adults who consumed these soft drinks.
Lay persons who have been afflicted of gout and those of us who have a medical background know that the conventional "low purine" diet is the widely accepted regimen for gout stricken individuals because uric acid is the breakdown product of purine. However, a rheumatologist at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver found out that fructose can increase uric acid production by breaking down adenosine triphosphate into adenosine monophosphate, a uric precursor.
Fructose also contributes to impaired glucose tolerance and increase insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia which could indirectly elevate serum uric acid levels.
Studies have found out in adults who consumed about 5-6 servings of sugary soft drinks per week had a multivariate relative risk of 1.29, there has been also an 85% increase in gout incidence among those who consumed two or more soft drinks per day.
Another study found out that drinking coffee may be protective, but only if it is drunk in considerable quantities. They have found out that serum uric acid levels in individuals drinking six cups of coffee per day were significantly lower by 0.43 mg/dL than those who did not drink coffee. They think that the chlorogenic acid in coffee is responsible, which is a powerful anti-oxidant.
In conclusion, people should halt dietary intake of sugary soft drinks if not limit it into moderation, not only for gout prevention but also for the common comorbidities it can cause and coffee intake is also beneficial.

*Taken from an article in the Philippine Star dated January 11, 2009.

Nursing shortage in the US seen till 2016?

Monday, October 6, 2008 3 comments

Taken from the article Healthcare Realities during a Pandemic by Laura H. Khan on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists website.

Despite the availability of antiviral medications and intensive care units, mortality rates for the 385 humans infected withavian influenza remain high. Virtually all of the victims have been from developing countries, with the case fatality rate in children younger than 15 years of age reaching almost 90 percent.

Whatever the age or locale, patients stricken with avian influenza would most likely require intensive nursing care. Yet, despite the critical role that nurses play in patient outcomes, by 2025, the United States is estimated to have a shortage of as many as 500,000 registered nurses, or RNs--the best trained and educated nurses who often supervise licensed practical nurses and nurses' aides. Already, 14 percent of U.S. hospitals report a severe nursing shortage with more than 20 percent of their positions vacant.

Worse yet, given the country's aging population, the need for nurses is only increasing; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that more than 587,000 new nursing positions will be created by 2016.

Contributing factors for the nursing shortage include restricted nursing school enrollment capabilities due to a lack of faculty and a high-stress workload that drives many nurses to leave the profession. Fear of workplace violence, particularly in psychiatric wards, emergency rooms, and nursing homes is cited as another factor. Of course, fewer nurses has meant an increase in patient violence, widening the gap further still.

There's also a significant gender gap. Ninety-five percent of the nearly 3 million RNs in the United States are women, meaning one-half of the country's population--men--typically don't become nurses. Needless to say, this disparity is alarming, and there should be a major effort to recruit more men into the field.

Unfortunately, given the current state of the U.S. healthcare system, it's unlikely that the nursing shortage will be resolved anytime soon. Addressing it would require more funding for education, training, higher salaries, and lower nurse-to-patient ratios--never priorities compared to investing in new technologies.

The rise of the nursing profession

Before Florence Nightingale and her team of 38 volunteer nurses went to care for sick and wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, nursing wasn't considered a respectable profession for well-to-do ladies.

At first, Nightingale was rebuffed by physicians at a military hospital in Scutari, Turkey, even though the medical staff was severely overstretched and sanitary conditions were appalling. A century before antibiotics, infections such as gangrene, dysentery, and typhus killed more soldiers than war injuries.

Nightingale was a firm proponent of the burgeoning "Sanitation Movement" and believed that clean food and water, hygiene, and comfort would be more beneficial to healing and recuperation than bleeding, mercury, and arsenic--the medical practices of the day. She and her nurses cleaned up the raw sewage on the wards, bathed and fed the soldiers, laundered bed linens, and installed retractable windows. She used her own money to provide soups, teas, cereals, and other easily digestible foods that the sick soldiers could eat rather than the army's meager war rations. Through her meticulous management skills and record keeping, she demonstrated an almost seventeen-fold drop in mortality rate over a one-year period. And her leadership had a profound and lasting impact on nursing, infection control, and hospital epidemiology.

Nursing care during the 1918 influenza pandemic

Because of World War I, there were severe shortages of health-care personnel during the 1918 influenza pandemic, as most nurses and physicians were caring for soldiers overseas. Many of the doctors and nurses who remained stayed away from patients because they feared for their own lives.

Therefore, student nurses and doctors were recruited to help alleviate the shortage. Isaac Starr was just starting his third year at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine when he went to work as a nurse on the hospital wards. In a published recollection of his experiences, he wrote , "I soon found myself 'head nurse' on the top floor for the shift starting at 4 p.m. and ending at midnight. . . . Thinking of my function as that of a nurse, I was prepared to carry out the orders given me. But for most patients there were no orders, and many died without having been seen by any medical attendant but me. . . . As their lungs filled with [fluid] the patients became short of breath and increasingly [blue]. After gasping for several hours they became delirious and incontinent, and many died struggling to clear their airways of a blood-tinged froth that sometimes gushed from their nose and mouth."

The estimated mortality rate was somewhere between 2 to 3 percent. Many of those who died were healthy young adults; in 1918, there weren't intensive care units, ventilators, antibiotics, or antiviral medications. In fact, most people were cared for by family members in their homes.

Informal caregivers

Today, about 52 million people in the United States voluntarily provide care to a family member or friend with a chronic illness or disability. Thirty-eight percent of these family caregivers are adult children who provide care to their aging parent(s); 11 percent are spouses who take care of an ill husband or wife. Both men and women provide informal care, and most are middle-aged and employed. Family caregivers' services have been estimated at an economic value of $257 billion (in 2000 dollars).

TheNational Family caregivers Association, founded in 1993, provides resources for family caregivers through educational materials, support, and advocacy. In 2002, the organization supported the passage of the National Family Caregivers Support Program --an amendment to the Older Americans Act. The program helps states and local agencies provide family caregivers with information, assistance, support groups, and training. It also provides grant funding for innovations to help family caregivers.

This vast network of unsung heroes shows that people will care for family and friends when the need arises. A similar support system could be developed during an influenza pandemic when overwhelmed and understaffed healthcare facilities turn people away.

In addition to government support, nongovernmental organizations could play a major role in pandemic preparedness. For example, the Red Cross provides information on home preparedness in the event of a disaster and offers courses in babysitting, CPR, and first aid. And although it already provides basic information on influenza, it could go a step further and offer courses in family caregiving to help people learn how to monitor vital signs (temperature, pulse, respiration), food and fluid intake, and output during an influenza pandemic. Along these lines, the Red Cross has begun a new program for family caregivers who provide care to the elderly and disabled.

There should also be a Family Caregiver magazine and website that features news and information for those who informally care for others with acute (e.g. hepatitis A, rubella, pertussis, influenza) and chronic illnesses (e.g. diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease). The need for such information will only grow as the population ages. In the face of the current and future nursing shortage, the public should be prepared that their family and friends would likely not receive professional nursing care during an influenza pandemic. In fact, the responsibility might fall on you and me.

GMA calls for the UN to help alleviate global food and oil problem

Thursday, September 25, 2008 0 comments

Taken from the article Philippines calls on UN to help poorer countries fight soaring food, fuel prices on the UN News center dated September 23, 2008.

The developing world is at a “tipping point” due to fluctuations in the global economy, the President of the Philippines told the General Assembly today, calling on the United Nations for its assistance in ensuring that financial uncertainties do not roll back development gains.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, addressing the annual high-level debate in New York, underscored how her country is suffering from the burden of soaring prices of food, fuel and rice.
“Our people pursue the universal dream of a better life for themselves and their children: better education, better health care, higher wages, a dignified retirement,” she said.
The Philippines has made “hard-earned” gains over the past seven years that have allowed the South-East Asian nation to weather the first tide of global price surges that swept across the world earlier this year, Ms. Arroyo said, but the recent economic turmoil in world markets has had a profound impact.
“To address these global challenges, we must go on building bridges among allies around the world: to bring the [price of] rice to where it is needed to feed the people, investments to create jobs; and keep the peace and stability in the world,” she stated.
The President praised Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for taking swift and decisive measures to address the global food crisis that brings together multilateral organizations, donor countries, civil society and the private sector.
“This is a model of the Untied Nations in action,” she said.
Regarding the southern island of Mindanao, which has been wracked by recent deadly violence, Ms. Arroyo voiced her commitment to peace based on inter-faith dialogue.
“We maintain high hopes in inter-faith dialogue as a means to building bridges rather than barriers between communities of different cultures and ethnicity.”
Viewing the global food crisis through the lens of climate change, Finnish President Tarja Halonen said that managing natural resources in a more sustainable manner will help to alleviate poverty, especially in rural areas, offering her nation’s support in this arena.
Global warming has the potential to “bring into question the whole future of mankind,” she said, adding that recent extreme weather phenomena are a harbinger of worse events to come.
“Multilateral engagement and shared responsibility are the only effective means to tackle this global menace,” Ms. Halonen said. “There is no place for petty politics and recrimination.”
She highlighted the importance of the UN in responding to climate change, emphasizing the need to reach agreement next year in Copenhagen, Denmark, on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012.
Many sectors of society – including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, individual citizens and governments – must be involved to mitigate global warming, the President noted. “We need everybody; it is necessary that also women can participate in this work.”
Further, both industrialized and developing nations must take part in combating climate change, she said.

Ghost Private Organizations or Just GMA Herself?


Recent news have said that the Department of Agriculture are now investigating the alleged ghost private organizations that received almost 450 million pesos of funds for the said agricultural and food productivity project of GMA. Antipolo Philanthropy Foundation, Inc. received 146 million in 2007 and an additional 30 million in 2008. The Chairman of this foundation was a certain Johnny Tan. National Organization for Agricultural Enhancement and Productivity, Inc. got 44 million, Commoners Foundation, Inc. 9.1 million, Las Marias Foundation, Inc. also received 34 million pesos. These were only the few private foundations received money from the Department of Agriculture suppose to be for the farmers for the Philippines to raise rice, vegetable and animal production. But when the Commission of Audit investigated these foundations were non existent. How can this huge amount of money be not secured and assured that it will not go into the wrong hands? Could it be that it was really a big cover up? Could it be that GMA used this money on the election for her own use?
How can our country be on the road to progress when we, the people, are clearly mocked by the persons that are supposed to be leading us. Are we just content on just sitting and doing nothing while these malicious people rob us of our own money? Surely I can't let that happen, but while a few corrupt people control the three seats of this government, we are left to squander in the dark. It is annoying and insulting to hear this kind of news everyday and it is even more insulting to hear that this has remained to be the longest ever disease that is plaguing this country since the Marcos regime. How can corruption be cured? These autocrats should be thrown down to hell, be punished and left there to burn forever. Progress in this country will remain as a painfully long nightmare that will never cease unless we act and do something about it.

A New Threat to the Ozone Layer

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 0 comments

Taken from the article Scientists Discover New Global Warming Threat: 'Methan Time Bomb' Under Arctic Seabed by Andrew Williams, published on September 23rd, 2008.

Scientists have today warned that global warming could rapidly accelerate as millions of tons of methane escape from the arctic seabed. According to preliminary findings, as the Arctic region gets warmer massive deposits of the greenhouse gas - 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide - are rising to the surface.
Orjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University, one of the expedition’s leaders, said in an email from their Russian research ship that, for the first time, the team had discovered an extensive area of methane release so intense that “the methane did not have time to dissolve into the seawater but was rising as methane bubbles to the sea surface.” The team believe that the accelerated release is connected to rising temperatures throughout the Arctic region.
Gustafsson went on to report that “the conventional thought has been that the permafrost ‘lid’ on the sub-sea sediments on the Siberian shelf should cap and hold the massive reservoirs of shallow methane deposits in place.” However, extensive research across thousands of square miles of the Arctic seabed had revealed growing evidence “that the permafrost lid is starting to get perforated and thus leak methane.”

How Ecco-savvy are You?

Sunday, September 21, 2008 0 comments

Take this quiz here.

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