Travelling in the Year of the Rabbit

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

For many people in the US, travelling to visit our loved ones start in November for Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and then ends with New Year in early January.

Those who are however observing the lunar calendar still has another major holiday coming. The start of the year of the rabbit/hare is on Feb 3. For many people, this is going to be a very special day, a time to spend with loved ones even if they have to fly half away across the world. As I did last year, I bring you some tips on travelling during the Lunar New Year.

Health authorities are expecting a lot of people to visit Asia for the Lunar New Year celebrations. Here are some recommendations for you to be safe, healthy, and happy during your trip.

How to have a healthy and happy lunar new year.

  • Check with a doctor familiar with travel medicine. He or she can tell you what you would need depending on your destination.
  • Get your shots updated. You should take your vaccination records with you so the doctor can check which booster shots you need.
  • Take extra care when traveling with children since the young ones are more susceptible to diseases and are not very particular about hygiene.
  • Be sure you have your necessary medications for the whole duration of the trip. In addition, ask your doctor for a prescription for your drugs with the generic name and dosage clearly printed.
  • Check your health insurance coverage. Does it cover health costs outside your home country?
  • Learn something about the health care system of your destination. Do they have reliable health care facilities?
  • Be sure to take preventive measures.
    • Mosquito-borne diseases. These infections (e.g. malaria, dengue) are common in Asia. Prevention includes mosquito nets and insect repellents.
    • Flu. The flu season is not yet over. Observe strict hygiene, even on the airplane. You are not allowed to carry liquid hand sanitizer on board but wet wipes with disinfectant will do the job as well. Wearing surgical masks is widely accepted in Asia so do not be embarrassed to wear one if required.
    • Food-borne diseases. Traveler’s diarrhea , typhoid fever, and hepatitis A are just a few of the diseases that you can get by consuming contaminated food and water. Pay attention to what you eat.

The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) is especially concerned about avian or bird flu which originated in Asia. Thus, the following recommendations are given to prevent catching the bird flu:

Do not go to bird farms or live bird markets.

Avoid touching—

Live birds, including chickens, ducks, and wild birds, even if they do not seem sick.

Dead or sick chickens, ducks, or any other birds.

Surfaces that have bird droppings, blood, or other body fluids on them.

Make sure the meat and other foods from birds that you eat, like eggs and poultry blood, are fully cooked. Egg yolks should not be runny or liquid. Visit the Safe Food and Water page on the Travelers’ Health website for more information.

Keep raw meats away from other foods.

After touching raw poultry or eggs, wash your hands and all surfaces, dishes, and utensils thoroughly with soap and water.

Finally, even after you come back home, continue to monitor your and your family’s health for another ten days. Any illnesses within this period might be related to your recent travels. Malaria, on the other hand, can develop months after traveling. Be sure to inform your doctor about your recent travels.

The CDC gives the following links to resources for Americans traveling abroad but these links contain a lot of useful information for everybody.


In pursuit of happiness Part II: why the older are happier

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under AGING

Why are the frail elderly happier than the dynamic young? In last week’s post, I discussed a bit about the so-called U-Bend of Life as reported in the Dec 16 issue of The Economist.

This week, let us explore further the reasons for the well-being that comes with age. If you take a look at the elderly, we will see all the limitations that aging brings: lack of vitality, mobility problems, failing eyesight, hearing impairment, and cognitive decline. For those who put emphasis on appearances, think about wrinkles and receding hairline.

Why are the old happier than the young? As the report in The Economist had stated:

“Enjoyment and happiness dip in middle age, then pick up; stress rises during the early 20s, then falls sharply; worry peaks in middle age, and falls sharply thereafter; anger declines throughout life; sadness rises slightly in middle age, and falls thereafter.”

The young

  • has lots of expectations to live up to
  • has lots of dreams and ambition to pursue and achievr
  • experiences frustrations and disappointment

At middle age, people might

  • have children reaching puberty, thus adding to stress
  • have financial worries such as mortgage and college money
  • be stuck in a boring job with low pay, little challenge and very little xxx to move up the career ladder.

The elderly

Here are some insights as to why the aged are enjoying life more than I do:

In developed countries, the ageing population is considered a burden to the system. In western medicine, aging is viewed as a disease to be treated. Perhaps it is time to re-examine these concepts.

Empowered Health News | Seven Tips Men’s Health and Safety

January 28, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it! The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have some useful men’s health tips for the summer months. Practice Water Safety – In 2004, men accounted for 78% of accidental drowning deaths. Learn how to swim, and never swim alone. Also, don’t mix alcohol and boating. Story is produced and provided by Empowered Medical Media, LLC Visit to see the full story And if you are looking for a doctor check out our local doctor directory at

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Cancer in the headlines, 28 January

January 28, 2011 by  
Filed under CANCER

Some bad news…

Breast Implants: FDA Review Indicates Possible Association With A Rare Cancer
Women who had breast implants have a small but still measurable increased risk for developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare type of blood cancer, according to a recent announcement the US FDA. Women who had implants, even if they have no symptoms, should schedule follow-ups with their doctors. Women who are considering having implants should talk it over with their doctors to weigh the risks and benefits.

According to the Breast Cancer Action group (BCA), it has “long advocated that the FDA stop approving products for the marketplace before we fully understand their potential impact on human health. The fact that the risk was only revealed through postmarketing data, after the implants have been approved and implanted drives home the point of BCA.

Diabetes/Cardiovascular Risk with Prostate Cancer Drugs
The FDA has ordered an update of the labelling of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, drugs used in the treatment of prostate cancer The new label should warn about “an increased risk of diabetes and certain cardiovascular diseases.”  GnRH agents are available in the market under the following brand and generic names:

  • Lupron (leuprolide acetate)
  • Zoladex (goserelin acetate)
  • Trelstar (triptorelin pamoate)
  • Viadur (leuprolide acetate)
  • Eligard (leuprolide acetate).

Some good news…

New Drug Shows Promise Against Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Iniparib is an experimental drug currently being tested in a Phase III clinical trial. The drug shows promise in treating triple-negative breast cancer which is an aggressive form of breast cancer. Data from a small Phase II trial showed that iniparib treatment can shrink tumors and prolong life. “Triple-negative breast cancer is difficult to treat because its tumor cells lack certain receptors that some common breast cancer treatments, such as tamoxifen and trastuzumab (Herceptin), target.”

No Increased Cancer Risk Seen in Stem Cell, Marrow Donors
Does donation of stem cell and bone marrow present a risk for the donors? A recent study should reassure people that this is not the case. A study collected data spanning “55,228 observation-years of health data on 12,559 donors of bone-marrow and/or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC)” and looked especially at the incidence of common as well as rare cancers. The results found no evidence of increased risk associated with donation thereby indicating that bone marrow or PBSC donation are safe for donors.

Heart(y) news, 28 January

January 28, 2011 by  


First bioabsorbable stent approved in Europe
Absorb everolimus-eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS) stent is the first bioabsorbable stent to be in the market. The stent manufactured by Abbott “utilizes a poly-L-lactide polymer and is indicated for the treatment of coronary artery disease.” Absorb has been approved for the European market.

Nearly a quarter of ICD implants are not recommended by professional guidelines
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are mean to save lives and recommended by many clinical guidelines. Unfortunately, many ICD implant procedure do not meet guidelines specifications and were found to be increase risk for in-hospital complications.


Merck stops vorapaxar in stroke patients, closes out TRACER trial
Trials testing the investigational cardiovascular drug vorapaxar has run into problems. The data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) had recommended that the drug should be contraindicated in subjects with a history of stroke due to potential increased risk in intracranial hemorrhage.

FDA Alert: Multaq (dronedarone) and Risk of Severe Liver
TFDA has issued a safety communication regarding the antiarrhythmic drug dronedarone (Multaq). The drug was linked to several cases of rare but severe liver problems, two of which necessitated liver transplantation. The manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis has informed health care professionals about the risk but claims that causal association has yet to be established. The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are has expressed a need to update product info on dronedarone as precautionary measure.

CCB/macrolide antibiotic combo ups risk of hypotension
Millions of people are using calcium-channel blockers (CCBs) for treatment of hypertension, angina and arrhythmia. Many of them may also be prescribed macrolide antibiotics for infections. However, these 2 classes of drugs which are effective and safe can cause toxicity when combined. The dangerous drug-drug interaction especially concerns the use of the antibiotics erythromycin or clarithromycin together with CCBs which can result in hypotension.


Finally I got this through email:

Seeking patients to share their rehab experiences

The American Heart Association is working with international design consultancy IDEO ( to design a better cardiac rehab experience for patients. We are interested in speaking to several patients in the Greater Boston area for in-home visits to talk about their rehab experiences, after an event such as a heart attack or heart procedure.

Visits would take place in the participant’s home, will be conducted by 2-3 IDEO designers and AHA employees, and will last 1.5 hours. Each participant will be compensated $150 for their time. If interested, please complete our online survey linked here. All responses will be kept confidential.

Tips for Women’s Pull Up Power | Franz & Yoana Snideman

January 28, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it! Watch as Kettlebell experts Franz & Yoana Snideman give you 3 tips on how to improve Women’s Pull Up Power.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Fitness & Exercise Tips : How to Get Abs With Resistance Bands

January 28, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

Resistance bands can be helpful tools for building abdominal muscles, specifically through reverse curls that are done by stretching the bands over the feet while the legs point up to the ceiling. Discover how to choke up on a resistance band to work the core with help from a certified personal trainer in this free video on using resistance bands to work out the abs. Expert: Tanya Batts Bio: Tanya Batts has been a certified personal fitness trainer for more than 11 years. She specializes in Pilates, yoga, combat cardio, aerobics, core conditioning and overall strength training. Filmmaker: Reel Media LLC

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Smoking and rheumatoid arthritis

January 27, 2011 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

That arthritis pain is killing you? Well, it might be the pack you smoked today that caused it.

Recent research evidence indicates that smoking cigarettes can increase your chances of getting rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune form of the disease that has nothing to do with age. The study looked at 860 people and 605 of these had rheumatoid arthritis and 255 didn’t. Analysis of the data showed that heavy long-term smokers (e.g. those who smoke a apack a day for 10 years) are the most likely to develop the disease. According to study author Ted Mikuls of the University of Nebraska Medical Center:

“This is yet another thing for people to think about when they are picking up their cigarettes – they may be increasing their risk for arthritis.”

Smoking cigarettes is linked to many chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and stroke. Now we can add rheumatoid arthritis to this list.

So next time you feel that pain on your joints, check your lifestyle and check your health habits. What have you done today?

About rheumatoid arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. More women than men get rheumatoid arthritis. It often starts between ages 25 and 55. You might have the disease for only a short time, or symptoms might come and go. The severe form can last a lifetime.

Rheumatoid arthritis is different from osteoarthritis, the common arthritis that often comes with older age. RA can affect body parts besides joints, such as your eyes, mouth and lungs. RA is an autoimmune disease, which means the arthritis results from your immune system attacking your body’s own tissues.

No one knows what causes rheumatoid arthritis. Genes, environment and hormones might contribute. Treatments include medicine, lifestyle changes and surgery. These can slow or stop joint damage and reduce pain and swelling.

A tribute to Jack LaLanne: the man who lived healthy and lived well

January 27, 2011 by  

In the 40s, back when doctors voted Camels as the best smoke, Jack LaLanne was doing push ups and cutting down on sugar.

However, Francois “Jack LaLanne” was way ahead of his time and preached a healthy lifestyle way back then. Not only did he preach it, he practiced it.

Let us pay tribute to Jack LaLanne, fitness guru and visionary. LaLanne passed away last weekend at the age of 96.

LaLanne was well-known for his long-running TV show The Jack LaLanne Show. He built the first modern health club in the US and designed gym equipment. In doing so, he pioneered fitness and work outs in the US and the rest of the world.

However, not only did LaLanne promote physical exercise, he also advocated a healthy diet of less sugar, fat and white flour and more fruit and vegetables. Plus – very important – a positive attitude towards life. In one episode of his show (see YouTube video still in black & white), LaLanne listed the following as the things that make us feel tired:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Empty calories
  • Nervous tension

And this was done in the 60s!

In an interview with health author Connie Bennet (shared through the Huffington Post), LaLanne stated

“In my mind, nothing on this earth is more addictive than refined sugar.”

LaLanne’s healthy philosophy was based on health problems early in life which was attributed to being “sugar-holic”, according to a report by Reuters. He suffered from depression, mood swings, as well as headaches. Changing his diet made Lalanne feel better but he did not stop there. He went on to share his philosophy of a healthy lifestyle. He performed incredible fitness stunts to drive home his point.

“At age 45, in 1959, he did 1,000 push-ups and 1,000 chin-ups in 86 minutes. In 1984 a 70-year-old LaLanne had himself shackled and handcuffed and towed 70 boats 1.5 miles in Long Beach Harbor.”

Unfortunately, not many of his generation listened to what he had to say. Today, the American population is threatened by chronic health problems that include obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Even well into his 90s, LaLanne continued to be physical active. Reuters describe a typical Lalanne daily work out as:

“LaLanne exercised for two hours a day. A typical workout would be 90 minutes of weightlifting and 30 minutes of swimming, changing his routine every 30 days.”

However, not only did LaLanne live a healthy long life, he also lived “well”, loving and enjoying life to the fullest.

As Connie Bennet writes:

“In fact, the idea of “just surviving” or “getting by” was completely foreign to him. I mean, the “Godfather of Fitness” really lived, as I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing.”

Why didn’t more people listen to LaLanne way back then? Is it too late to change our ways.

I think LaLanne will be the first to say that it’s never too late to start living healthy. To start going back to the natural way.

Under evaluation: vagus nerve stimulation against tinnitus

January 26, 2011 by  
Filed under HEARING

Battling hearing loss is a topic that I sadly neglected in 2010. I aim to correct this by sharing at least 1 post per mo nth this topic.

Let us start 2011 with a short report on tinnitus, a poorly understood condition characterized by a persistent noise in the ear. It usually “comes in the form of a high-pitched tone in one or both ears, but can also sound like a clicking, roaring or whooshing sound.”

Millions of people of suffering from some form of tinnitus. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for tinnitus. Therapies to ease the symptoms include reducing the persistent sound or simply learning to ignore it. However, studies indicate that tinnitus adversely affect quality of life.

“…it is known to be a sign that something is wrong in the auditory system: the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, or the parts of the brain that process sound. Something as simple as a piece of earwax blocking the ear canal can cause tinnitus, but it can also arise from a number of health conditions. For example, when sensory cells in the inner ear are damaged from loud noise, the resulting hearing loss changes some of the signals in the brain to cause tinnitus.”

Conditions associated with tinnitus include “allergies, high or low blood pressure, tumors and problems in the heart, blood vessels, jaw and neck.”

A research study led by Dr. Michael Kilgard at the University of Texas at Dallas and Dr. Navzer Engineer at MicroTransponder, Inc indicates that tinnitus is not only in the auditory system but in the brain itself. The research team tried to find a means to reverse tinnitus by essentially “resetting” the brain’s auditory system. They did this by electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve (VNS) of lab rats using a tone. Through VNS, they could induce release of chemicals responsible for changes in the brain using different tone frequencies. By monitoring the neural responses in the rat’s brain auditory cortex during the test, they could determine that VNS plus tone stimulation restored responses to normal level – an indication of the absence of tinnitus. They were also able to demonstrate that VNS could reverse tinnitus even in noise-exposed animals.

“The key is that, unlike previous treatments, we’re not masking the tinnitus, we’re not hiding the tinnitus. We are retuning the brain from a state where it generates tinnitus to a state that does not generate tinnitus. We are eliminating the source of the tinnitus.”

This technique has a great potential in brining relief to tinnitus patients. Testing the method in humans is being planned.

This is not the first clinical application of the of VNS. The technique is already used in treating depression and epilepsy.

In pursuit of happiness: The U-Bend of Life

January 26, 2011 by  
Filed under AGING

Life begins at 46. This headline on the cover of the December 2010 issue of The Economist attracted a lot of attention among the middle-aged. Including me. I won’t tell you my exact age but it’s somewhere around that number.

The Economist article was not one of those end-of-the-year lifestyle quizzes to find out your score on a well-being scale. Like typical Economist articles, it was really serious stuff based on sound science.

The article was about the so-called “U-Bend of Life”, a phenomenon of modern sociology which indicates that the happiness of our childhood wanes as we age and unhappiness reaches its nadir (lowest point) at around age 46, after which it goes up again. As the article goes on to say, we shouldn’t fear aging because

“Life is not a long slow decline from sunlit uplands towards the valley of death. It is, rather, a U-bend.”

Indeed, at these times when we are bombarded with news about health problems especially among the elderly, this report is very comforting.

If you are to guess who is happier, a bunch of 30-year olds or a bunch of 70-year-olds, what would be your bet? I mean, you’d think that healthy 30-year olds at the prime of their life would be more contented with life than frail people in their 70s, right? Well, studies measured higher well-being among the elderly.

The skeptics would raise their eyebrows and argue that it is easy for the elderly to feel happy if they live in developed countries where healthcare and social benefits for the old are sufficient to enjoy life. However, it seems that the U-bend is evident in studies conducted in many different countries, rich and poor, and 40 years worth of data. The bend is very pronounced in some countries, less in many, the age of the all-time low may vary but the trend remains: the older we get, the happier we become.

In fact, the U-bend seems pretty universal even after taking into account socio-economic status, other demographic factors, cultural differences, and health. And the global average age of the least happy is 46.

So what’s the secret to the happiness of the elderly?

“Enjoyment and happiness dip in middle age, then pick up; stress rises during the early 20s, then falls sharply; worry peaks in middle age, and falls sharply thereafter; anger declines throughout life; sadness rises slightly in middle age, and falls thereafter.”

Personally, I believe I have reached my personal nadir and life is on the uptrend again. Suddenly, I am looking forward to aging…

Coming next: what determines happiness?

Parents are the key to prevent teen driving crashes

January 25, 2011 by  

I have twin seven-year old boys and though I look forward to the day when they leave the nest, I also dread the coming of puberty and the potential problems that come with it. Alcohol, drugs and smoking are just a few of the possible pitfalls that await them. As parents, we do our best to steer our kids clear of these dangers. Yet, risky and dangerous behaviours among teens are as common as ever.

But the situation is not as hopeless as it may seem. Studies that shown that teenagers generally would listen to what their parents have to say. Thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling to all parents to talk to their adolescents about driving safety, with the firm belief that parents “play a key role in preventing teen crashes, injuries and deaths.”

Here some statistics from the CDC about teen crashes:

Here is a recommendation from Dr. Arlene Greenspan of the CDC:

Talk with your teen about the dangers of driving, and keep the conversation going over time. In addition, supervise your teen’s driving as often as possible.”

She suggests at least 30 to 50 hours of supervised practice driving over a minimum of six months and this should include different roads and road conditions and times of the day.

In addition, CDC recently launched the campaign “Parents Are the Key” with the following recommendations to help reduce the risk for teenage crashes:

I have one more tip to add: set a good example.

From the backseat, your kids are observing how you drive. By setting a good example and explaining to them the safety issues as they happen, I believe we can convey to our kids early on the principles of early driving. Here’s some of the conversation I have with my kids while driving:

“I can only drive 50 kph here. See that sign over there?”

“I have to drive slowly and carefully today. It’s foggy/snowy/raining and I can’t see as clearly.”

“See what that guy did? He turned without signaling. That’s very dangerous.”

And finally, do not drive while intoxicated! Show your kids the right and safe way.

How many hours do spend in front of the screen?

January 25, 2011 by  

In a previous post, I discussed a study that indicates that 2 hours is the maximum duration of time we should spend in front of a screen during leisure hours. To recap what the study authors have to say:

“This is a new research area, which has attracted attention only in the past 18 months to two years, but it has implications both for public-health recommendations and clinical guidelines. I think there is a direct message from our research, which is that there should be a cut-off of two hours daily screen time as a maximum during leisure hours.”

Unfortunately, I do not fully understand why this 2-hour limit should only apply to leisure hours. What about those who spend the whole day in front of a computer screen? And what about the fact that the boundary between working and leisure hours becomes hazy? A nephew of mine earns his living by playing the X-Box 8 hours a day.

 So how much time do we really spend in front of the screen? There are many numbers and figures around but surprisingly few from reliable sources and up-to-date data. Here are some figures  from

According to many sources, Americans spend 2.6 million minutes on Facebook each day.

The American Heart Association conducted a survey in 2009 and reported the following figures on social network use:

  • 37% of respondents (35% men, 39% women) spend less than an hour social networking
  • 18% spend 1 to 2 hours
  • 7 % spend 2 to 3 hours
  • 3% spend 3 to 4 hours
  • 3% spend more than 4 hours, especially those aged between 18 and 25.

According to figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) (as quoted in

Make nutritious eating fun and attractive

January 24, 2011 by  
Filed under OBESITY

How do you convince a 5-year old to eat fruit and vegetables? I know of moms who are tearing their hair out as to how to make their children eat healthy stuff. Cajoling, bribery, coercion. I am pretty sure these moms have tried all the tricks of their trade.

I want to share with you a couple of things that just might work for you. It worked for me although I must admit that my kids are easy when it comes to eating.

The traffic light trick

If you let the kids have a say in the matter, perhaps they’d be more amenable to eating fruit and veggies. Try the traffic light trick and let kids choose 3 healthy food items they could try for the week – one red, one yellow/orange, and one green. At the end of the month, they have the chance to vote as to the best-tasting traffic light trio.

The reds:

  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Red capsicum

The yellows/oranges:

  • Yellow capsicums
  • Oranges
  • Carrots

The greens:

  • Cucumber
  • Courgettes
  • Beans/peas

Add to the list some of the seasonal fruit and vegetables and your kid will have a wide range of food to choose from!

The fruit and/or veggie barbecue

Prepare slice of several types of veggies and fruit of different colors. Let the kids “string” them on a barbecue stick. You can also use the traffic light principle here to encourage diversity. The barbecue must include at least 1 red, 1 yellow/orange, and 1 green item. As an incentive, the kids can insert a marshmallow or gum drop in between. But only a teeny, weeny one.

The decorate-your-food strategy

A bowl of hot porridge may seem uninviting to many kids. So why not give them a chance to make it more appealing? Let them decorate their own porridge – with slices of fruit. Thin apple slices are perfect for hair. Blueberries make great eyes but raisins are great substitutes. There’s nothing like a strawberry to form red lips but a slice of peach or apricot can work, too. Or just simply take whatever is available in the kitchen and let the kids decide how they’d make their masterpiece. By then, the porridge has cool down enough to be eaten. Yummy! Check out the photos of kids’ handiwork!

Here’s another suggestion, a gem of a recipe I found at world’s healthiest foods (

10-minute Kiwi Mandala

Prep and Cook Time: 10 minutes


•             8-oz low-fat vanilla or soy yogurt

•             3 TBS fresh orange juice

•             1 TBS cream honey**

•             1/2 tsp grated orange rind*

•             1/4 tsp grated lemon rind*

•             1 kiwifruit

•             4 strawberries

•             Optional: 2 TBS chopped walnuts or pecans, orange zest for topping


1.            In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, orange juice, honey and grated orange and lemon rind, making sure the honey is completed blended into the yogurt.

2.            Place in 2 shallow soup dishes.

3.            Peel the kiwifruit and slice into 1/8″ rounds.

4.            Take the stems off of the strawberries and cut them lengthwise into 4 pieces.

5.            Arrange the fruit in a beautiful pattern on top of the yogurt mixture and sprinkle with some grated orange rind and nuts if desired.

6.            Refrigerate for 1/2 hour so that the yogurt is well chilled.

Or simply create a mandala with other fruits.

Or what about vegetables to make a mandala salad?

Bon appétit!

4-year old Canadian is youngest breast cancer survivor

January 24, 2011 by  
Filed under CANCER

Aleisha Hunter is only 4 years old, barely just out of toddlerhood. Yet she has, in her short life, faced, battled and won over the monster that is breast cancer.

When Aleisha was 2 and a half years old, her mother noticed a small lump on her chest which grew and became painful. The case baffled the doctors at first and misdiagnosed her condition as lymphatic inflammation which is a bacterial infection of the lymph nodes.

Aleisha, who is from Ontartio, suffered from what is now known as juvenile breast carcinoma or secretory carcinoma of the breast, a disease so rare that the number cases can literally be counted on one hand.  Fortunately, this type of cancer is slow-growing and not as aggressive as the more common type of breast cancer diagnosed in adults.

According to Dr. Nancy Down, a surgical oncologist at North York General Hospital who was part of Aleisha’s surgical team:

“Cases like Aleisha’s are so rare you can almost count them on one hand. We’ve looked through the literature & the youngest we’ve found is three.”

Aleisha underwent a radical modified mastectomy that entailed removal the entire breast and the lymph nodes under the arm and is now pain and cancer-free. Like any other 4-year old pre-schooler, she’s happy and playful. However, the scar on her upper torso would always remind her of the ordeal she went through as a toddler. Dr. Down believes that Aleisha’s prognosis is good. When she gets older, she will have the option for reconstructive surgery.

About secretory breast carcinoma:

Secretory breast carcinoma is “a rare type of invasive breast cancer in which the tumour secretes fluid. Because cases of it are so rare, little research has been done on this type of cancer. But what is known is that it’s a relatively non-aggressive form of cancer that doesn’t spread quickly, and most patients recover well with treatment.”

Shaving Tips for Men [ Epi #205]

January 21, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it! Getting irritated after a shave is common, but is also easily preventable. In this episode of DermTV, Dr. Schultz provides some shaving tips for men to avoid razor burn and shaving irritation.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Health and Fitness online “Gym” for Muslim Women

January 21, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it! Fit Muslimah is the online gym for Muslim Women. Muslim Personal Fitness Trainer and Wellness Coach Reveals ALL! Finally a Health and Fitness Website for Muslim Women The ONLY website on the internet dedicated to the physical mental and spiritual health of Muslim Women and best of all it’s FREE! Exercise Library Over 100 illustrated exercises with NEW Exercises added each week Exercise Videos: 20 Minute Exercise Videos Workouts by Personal Trainer and Fitness expert Mubarakah Ibrahim for you to watch online, download, or even burn on your DVD and do in the privacy of your own home. Printable Fitness Programs: Fully Illustrated Weekly Workouts for download and printing Articles: Health and Fitness Articles written for Fit Free EXCLUSIVE members only LIVE Events LIVE Monthly Teleconferences Weekly Dua for you to listen to and even download Weekly Video Health and Fitness Tips

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Healthcare updates, 21 January

January 21, 2011 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE


Medscape’s FREE app for iPad™
The latest must-have iPad app for health professionals is available now for free. “Medscape from WebMD is the LARGEST, MOST COMPREHENSIVE, FREE medical app available”, says iTunes.

 Surveys show significant proportions of hospitals and doctors already plan to adopt electronic health records and qualify for federal incentive payments
Four-fifths(81%)  of the American hospitals and 41% of office-based doctors aim to adopt the use of electronic health records (EHR) technology. In doing so, they will be entitled to federal incentive payments.


FDA Approves Head Lice Treatment for Children and Adults
Natroba (spinosad) Topical Suspension 0.9% has been approved the FDA for the treatment of head lice. Natroba is indicated for adults and children at least 4 years old. Head lice infestation is a common problem among preschoolers and school-aged children.

Toolkit: Teaching Children about the Flu: lesson plans and activities for child care and early childhood programs
The CDC has now made available on its website lesson plans and activities to help teach children about the flu and its prevention. The resource is aimed for child care facilities and early childhood programs.

FDA: Gardasil approved to prevent anal cancer
FDA has recently approved Gardasil as vaccine for the prevention of anal cancer and associated precancerous lesions caused by the human papilllomavirus (HPV). The vaccine covers HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 in people ages 9 through 26 years. Gardasil was previously approved for the prevention of cervical cancer in women.


FDA limits acetaminophen in prescription combination products; requires liver toxicity warnings
Acetaminophen (aka paracetamol) is indicated as fever- and pain reliever as and is available over-the-counter (OTC) products. Although considered safe, high doses of acetaminophen is linked to increased risk for liver toxicity. The FDA is concerned about acetaminophen combined with other ingredients in many prescription drugs and is asking manufacturers to limit acetaminophen content to 325 mg per tablet.

FDA warns public of continued extortion scam by FDA impersonators
Clever extortionists are preying on Internet or telepharmacies by impersonating US FDA officials. The victims (many of whom engaged in illegal business themselves) are threatened with arrest, deportation and other legal action if they refused to pay a certain amount of money.

HHS and EPA announce new scientific assessments and actions on fluoride
Fluoride is present in tap water and is supposed to prevent tooth decay. However, recent data indicate “the development of dental fluorosis that may occur with excess fluoride consumption during the tooth forming years, age 8 and younger.” The HHS recommends lowering water fluoride content to 0.7 mg/li (previous recommendation was range of 0.7 to 1.2 mg/li).

Cancer celebrity news, 21 January

January 21, 2011 by  
Filed under CANCER

Steve Jobs went to Switzerland in search of cancer treatment

I guess the biggest cancer news this week is the announcement that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence for health reasons. Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had surgery in 2004. He also underwent liver transplant in 2009. Both procedures were performed in the US. The latest news according to CNN’s Fortune is that he also secretly underwent “a special form of hormone-delivered radiotherapy to treat neuroendocrine cancer”, in Basel, Switzerland in 2009. The said treatment is currently not available in the US. Currently, there are many speculations about the latest leave of absence of the Apple chief. Rumors about organ rejection and return to Switzerland abound. Fortune continues to write:

A neuroendocrine cancer expert at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics said Monday that recent studies show that “survival rates are improving” due to better treatment. At the time Jobs’s cancer was originally diagnosed in 2004, according to Dr. Thor Halfdanarson, the five-year survival rate for metastatic disease was thought to be less than 20%. Today “the prognosis is getting better,” with the five-year survival rate at 55% to 57%, he said, according to one recent study.

Wherever he is, we wish Steve Jobs all the best.

Kylie Minogue still in treatment

Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy in 2005. As of October 2010, Minogue was still undergoing cancer treatment and admitted to be suffering from severe side effects that included “extreme sickness and headaches.” The Australian pop start admits “she often cries over her ongoing cancer treatment” and that the side effects “left her distraught and despondent.” There were times when Minogue felt like giving up and really looked forward to the end of treatment in 2011.

“I’ll finish early next year and that will be amazing, but I’ve also heard you can feel quite insecure when you first come off it because you have relied on this medication for so long. It’s going to be a big adjustment.”

Good luck, Kylie!

Michael Douglas has overcome throat cancer

Another celebrity who has been battling cancer is actor Michael Douglas. Douglas was diagnosed with throat cancer last year and underwent intensive chemo- and radiotherapy. In a recent interview on NBC, the actor happily reported that his cancer is gone. According to Douglas on his first interview since starting cancer treatment:

“I think the odds are with the tumor gone and what I know about this particular type of cancer that I’ve got it beat… I have to check out on a monthly basis now to maintain. I guess there’s not a total euphoria. I’ll probably take a couple of months of getting checked out. But it’s been a wild six-month ride.”

We are so happy for you, Michael. Keep it up.

Photo credit: wikimedia commons

Best Aerobic Exercise?

January 21, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

Which is the best aerobic exercise and which aren’t that good.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.