Kya Karu Mai Abb – Kya Karu Mai Abb – Sexual Problems – Oral Sex

December 31, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

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

Long considered a taboo subject women s sexuality is now openly discussed and portrayed on television in magazines and on the internet. Most importantly women themselves are becoming increasingly aware of their sexuality and their sexual health. Careworldtv brings another Taboo – Oral sex into the light. Subscribe NOW to get daily updates on many such useful videos and At-Home Tips

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

Fitness – Sexy Beast Workout – High Intensity Interval Training

June 13, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

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

To follow all of Zuzana’s daily home workouts, diet tips and healthy recipes visit her fitness site: www.BodyRock.Tv

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

September is the month to fight childhood cancer

September 16, 2010 by  
Filed under CANCER

September is an important month in our battle against cancer. Several cancer awareness campaigns are observed this month.

Childhood Cancer Month

September is also a month dedicated to increase awareness of childhood cancer which kills more than 10,000 American children under the age of 15 each year. September 13 was designated as “National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day.” One of the major advocates for childhood cancer awareness is none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton, former first lady and senator, mother and current US Secretary of State. She says:

“We have made tremendous strides in the fight against childhood cancer, but far too many children still suffer and lose their lives to this illness. The more we know as a nation the better able we will be to prevent and treat the disease and help those who are battling and surviving pediatric cancers.  National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day is an opportunity to reach out to all Americans with the facts about childhood cancer, and this day will be an important symbol of our commitment on all days to find a cure.”

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute presents in its website stories of victims and survivors of childhood cancer.

The National Cancer Institute cites the following as the most common childhood cancers:

  • Leukemias, especially acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
  • Common solid tumors, such as brain tumors (e.g., gliomas and medulloblastomas),
  • Less common solid tumors such as neuroblastomas, Wilms tumors, and sarcomas such as rhabdomyosarcoma and osteosarcoma)

Leukemias and brain cancer as well as cancers of the nervous system account for more than half of all childhood cancers. The causes of childhood cancers are still unknown.

The Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) gives a list of early signs of childhood cancer:

Continued, unexplained weight loss
Headaches, often with early morning vomiting
Increased swelling or persistent pain in bones, joints, back, or legs
Lump or mass, especially in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or armpits
Development of excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash
Constant infections
whitish color behind the pupil
Nausea which persists or vomiting without nausea
Constant tiredness or noticeable paleness
Eye or vision changes which occur suddenly and persist
Recurrent or persistent fevers of unknown origin

Other cancer awareness observances this month are:

  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness Month, sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). LLS is currently campaigning for more sponsors to support the National Blood Cancer Awareness Month Resolution to be submitted to the US Congress. Check out how you can help. Leukemia and lymphoma fall under the category of blood cancers and are also common childhood cancers.
  • Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC)
  • Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, sponsored by Zero, the project to end prostate cancer.

Other infos on childhood cancer are available at 

Take the pledge against cervical cancer

January 8, 2010 by  
Filed under CANCER

January: National Cervical Cancer Screening Awareness Month
Let’s kick off the year 2010 with the observance of the Cervical Cancer Screening Awareness Month. This is one big reason why we should look at updates and resources on cervical cancer today.

 Protect your cervix…take the Pledge…
Join the Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer and protect yourself from cervical cancer. Behind the campaign is a coalition of leading women’s health advocates that includes American Association Of University Women

  • American Medical Women’s Association
  • American Social Health Association
  • Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
  • Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
  • National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
  • National Council of Women’s Organizations
  • National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
  • National Association of Mothers’ Center
  • And many more women’s groups.

How do you take the pledge? It akes 3 steps

Step 1: Schedule your annual gynecologic appointment.

Step 2: Tell 5 friends about your pledge.

Step 3: Wear your pearl, a symbol of your pledge

The goal of the campaign: 4,070 pledges till Mother’s Day on May 9, 2010. Why this figure? Because it is the number of women expected to die from cervical cancer this year.

 MD Anderson answers questions on HPV
A large number of cases of cervical cancer starts with HPV infection or genital warts. In a series of audio and videocasts, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center offers  lots of info about HPV and the HPV vaccine. The series includes

ACOG revises cervical cancer screening guidelines
In November last year, the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released new guidelines which set the first cervical cancer screening age at 21, with less frequent follow ups. Women under 30 should have a Pap test every 2 years. From the 30th year on and beyonn, the screening should be every 3 years. According to Dr. Alan G. Waxman, who developed the document for ACOG’s Committee on Practice Bulletins Gynecology:

“A review of the evidence to date shows that screening at less frequent intervals prevents cervical cancer just as well, has decreased costs, and avoids unnecessary interventions that could be harmful.”

Video: Tips for tying a headscarf

The doctor turned cancer survivor Laura Libermanonce wrote in her book I Signed as the Doctor: “Losing your hair can mean gaining hat.” It can also be a headscarf. In this video clip at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute site,  WCVB TV’s NewsCenter 5 reporter and breast cancer survivor shares her experience with other women on how to tie a headscarf to while recovering from the side effects of chemo.

December 1 is World AIDS Day

December 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, HEALTHCARE

AIDS ribbonToday, December 1, we join the rest of the international community to observe WORLD AIDS DAY. This observance was started 21 years ago in December 1988 by the World Health Organaization to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS all over the world. This year’s theme is “human rights and access to treatment.” The official color for AIDS is RED.

We list here some events organized in observance of this special day.

Alicia Keys holds YouTube concert for World AIDS Day
Watch for Alicia Keys today when she perform a YoutTube concer to commemorate this day. concert will be broadcast live on her official YouTube page. The proceeds of the concert will be donated to Keep A Child Alive. Check out

Cities go (RED) on World AIDS Day
The city of Columbus, Ohio will join many other cities and go “RED” today by illuminating its City Hall as well as the Columbus Public Health building in red lights to show support for World Aids Day. Other cities in the US going RED include:

Award Winning Musical Icons Lend Their Voices to World AIDS Day
In the African continent, musical celebrities will perform at the 5th Annual World Aids Day Gala Concert at the Artscape Theatre. These include Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, The Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, Black Eyed Peas, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Jimmie Earl Perry

IFRC report on HIV released
In keeping with this year’s theme, today, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) released the report “Inequalities fuelling HIV pandemic” especially focused in the regions Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the report

“The HIV pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean is fuelled by a range of social and economic inequalities exacerbated by high levels of stigma, discrimination of highly vulnerable groups, and persistent gender inequality and homophobia, says a new report issued in Lima, Peru by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).”

How can you help increase HIV/AIDS awareness?

DoctorNDTV gives some recommendations:

Photo credit: stock.xchng

COPD Awareness Check

November 23, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER, Featured

lungsNovember is COPD Awareness Month. In addition, World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day was observed last November 18.

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Doesn’t ring a bell? What about “chronic bronchitis” or “smoker’s cough”?

About 210 million people worldwide suffer from COPD. It is a leading cause of death worldwide and is expected to rank as the 3rd leading mortality cause by 20230. COPD is not a cancer per se but it increases the risk for lung cancer as well as other chronic diseases.


Let’s take a look at what the experts say about COPD. According to the World health Organization (WHO):

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by chronic obstruction of lung airflow that interferes with normal breathing and is not fully reversible. The more familiar terms ‘chronic bronchitis’ and ‘emphysema’ are no longer used, but are now included within the COPD diagnosis. COPD is not simply a “smoker’s cough” but an under-diagnosed, life-threatening lung disease.

According the Mayo Clinic staff:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it increasingly difficult for you to breathe. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two main conditions that make up COPD, but COPD can also refer to damage caused by chronic asthmatic bronchitis. In all cases, damage to your airways eventually interferes with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your lungs.


Most cases of COPD are caused by long-term smoking. It can also be caused by long-term exposure to secondhand smoke or environmental pollutants such as toxic fumes, dust, and chemicals. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also worsen COPD. A rare genetic disorder that results in low levels of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin can also cause COPD.

Signs and symptoms

Emphysema symptoms will include

Chronic bronchitis symptoms are

  • A chronic cough that produces excessive amounts of sputum, usually yellowish in color
  • Frequent respiratory infection
  • Tendency to clear throat in the mornings
  • Breathlessness or shortness of breath
  • Asthma or bronchospasm in case of chronic asthmatic bronchitis


Don’t start smoking. If you are a smoker, quit as soon as possible. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and other environmental pollutants.


COPD can lead to the following conditions:

  • Respiratory infections, including pneumonia
  • Lung cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Heart problems
  • Depression

Resources for COPD

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD)

WHO COPD Fact Sheet

US COPD Coalition

Let’s Go Blue on World Diabetes Day

November 13, 2009 by  
Filed under DIABETES, Featured

WDD_logo_EN_200pxWhat is World Diabetes Day

This Saturday, November 14 is World Diabetes Day. As the name suggests, it is a day dedicated to global awareness of diabetes. The annual observance of this special was started by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO). November 14 was chosen to be the day because it is the birthday of Frederick Banting who, together with Charles Best, discovered insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.

The theme of World Diabetes Day from 2009 to 2013 is Diabetes Education and Prevention. This year’s slogan is “understand diabetes and take control.”

The Blue Circle: The diabetes symbol

The World Diabetes Day logo is the blue circle, a symbol well-known globally to represent diabetes adopted since 2007. The logo was developed as part of the Unite for Diabetes awareness campaign. Here’s what the logo means:

“…the circle symbolizes life and health. The color blue reflects the sky that unites all nations. The blue circle signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes pandemic.”

Global statistics on diabetes

  • 246 million: the number of people worldwide currently affected by diabetes
  • 380 million: the number of people worldwide expected to have by diabetes and by 2025.
  • 7 million: the number of new people developing diabetes each year.
  • 3.8 million: number of deaths each year linked directly to diabetes-related causes including cardiovascular disease made worse by diabetes-related lipid disorders and hypertension.
  • 26.8 million: number of Americans with diabetes
  • 10: every 10 seconds. 2 people develop diabetes;  a person dies from diabetes-related causes.
  • 12 to 20%: proportion of adult population affected by diabetes in many countries in Asia, the Middle East, Oceania and the Caribbean.
  • 7 out of 10: proportion of countries in the developing world with the highest number of people living with diabetes
  • 80%: proportion of all diabetes cases will be in low and middle-income countries.
  • 40 to 59: age rangeof 50% of all people with diabetes
  • 45 to 64: age range of diabetes patients in low and middle income countries
  • 41 million: The number of people in India with diabetes, amounting to 6% of the adult population, the % highest in the world.
  • 4.3%: proportion of the Chinese population with diabetes; this number is expected to exceed 50 million within the next 20 years.
  • 3% per year: the rate of increase of Type 1 diabetes, which predominately affects the young.
  • 70,000: the number of children aged 14 and below who develop Type 1 diabetes each year.
  • 8 years: youngest age among children who develop Type 2 diabetes; reports reveal the existence of this type of diabetes in child populations previously thought not to be at risk.
  • 13.9 per 100,000: prevalence of Type 2 diabetes amongst junior high school children in Japan from 1991 to 1995, up from 7.3 per 100,000 in 1976 to 80; Type 2 diabetes now outnumbers Type 1 diabetes in that country.
  • 5%: proportion of all deaths globally each year caused by diabetes.
  • 50%: increase in diabetes expected in the next 10 years is nothing is done now.

Events on World Diabetes Day

Monuments and landmarks to go “blue”

About 600 major landmarks and monuments the world over will be lighted blue to observe World Diabetes Day on November 14. Some of these landmarks are:

  • London Eye (London, UK)
  • Empire State Building (new York, USA)
  • Burj al Arab (Dubai, UAE)
  • Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Table Mountain (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Tokyo Tower (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Obelisque (Paris, France)

In the US, more than 40 American cities and landmarks will “go blue” this coming Saturday, including:

  • the Alamo,
  • the California State Capitol
  • the Ferry Building in San Francisco
  • the Morrison Bridge in Portland, OR
  • the Philadelphia Free Library
  • the Wright Brothers’ Flyer in Dayton, OH
  • the Chase Tower in Austin, TX, and
  • the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Indianapolis, IN

For a complete list of participating monuments and landmarks, check out

World Diabetes Day videos launched on YouTube

Check out two short video clips launched by the International Diabetes Federation for World Diabetes Day.

The videos “feature people from all ethnic backgrounds and walks of life being quizzed about their knowledge of diabetes and its international symbol.”

The clips, titled “Understand Diabetes, Get Involved” and “Diabetes Blue Circle – Wear & Share”, can be viewed on the World Diabetes Day YouTube channel at:

November is Diabetes Month

November 5, 2009 by  
Filed under DIABETES

medic_alert_braceletNovember is the month focused on diabetes. It is only right that we take a look at what we know about this condition.

Diabetes mellitus is a group of chronic conditions characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood. This high glucose levels were due to disruption in insulin production, diminished action of insulin, or both. Diabetes is incurable but manageable.

There are several types of diabetes mellitus, namely:

  • Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile diabetes and accounts for 5 to 10% of all diabetes cases.
  • Type 2 diabetes is also known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult diabetes and accounts for 90 to 95% of all diabetes cases.
  • Pregnancy or gestational diabetes occurs in about 5% of all pregnant women.
  • There are rare types of diabetes which account for 1 to 5% of all cases of diabetes.

The statistics

Some statistics from the American Diabetes Association (ADA):

  • 24 million children and adults in the United States live with diabetes
  • 57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes
  • 1 out of every 3 children born today will face a future with diabetes if current trends continue.

The campaign

In the US, lots of events have been scheduled to observe the National Diabetes Month. Some are as follows:

The video series

The said series is a collection of online educational video clips to give practical tips and advice for living with the disease. The videos were developed in collaboration with Liberty Medical and can be viewed online at under the “learn” section. Topics covered include

  • symptoms
  • risks
  • weight management tips
  • exercise tips
  • an overview of
  • insulin delivery methods
  • tips on caring for a parent
  • understanding the ABCs of diabetes – A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol measurements

Community events

Some of the local events include

Other resources on diabetes:

Coming up: World Diabetes Day on November 14.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Do celebrity patients increase cancer awareness?

November 4, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

Kylie_Minogue_2_(2009)Millions suffer from cancer but only the plight of celebrity cancer patients are splashed on the headlines. Below I describe two famous cancer victims and how they influenced actively or inadvertently the public’s view of cancer.

Kylie Minogue
The Australian pop star Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne showed a surge in the demand for breast cancer imaging even for low-risk women 6 months after Minogue’s diagnosis. Here are some of the effects of Minogue’s well-publicized condition:

Good or bad? Further data analyses indicate that among those who tested positive, there were a lot of “false negatives.”

According to study author Dr Margaret Kelaher

“Raising women’s awareness of the need to get screened is a generally good thing. But these findings suggest that thousands of additional imaging procedures and biopsies did not improve breast cancer detection among young women…It appears there has been a situation where publicity has led to many low risk women using – and probably overusing – screening services.”

Jade Goody
Jade Goody died of cervical cancer earlier this year. Her battle with cancer, turned into a reality show, captured the world’s attention and got women scrambling for cervical cancer screening and the HPV vaccine. The heightened interest and awareness in cervical cancer was dubbed the “Jade Goody effect”. Here are some of the changes that the Jade Goody effect brought about:

  • Reexamination of UK’s National Health Services (NHS) cervical screening program which is offered starting at age 25 in England but as early as age 20 in some parts of Britain.
  • Increased interest in and demand for the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, also known as “cervical cancer jab.”

According to The Guardian UK

Sad though the cause, the new interest in cervical cancer has been welcomed by cancer charities and those involved in the screening programme. The proportion of women taking up the invitation to go for a screening test has been steadily dropping for about a decade. The latest figures, from March last year, show 78.6% of eligible women had been tested, which meant that the take-up had dropped below 80% for the third year in a row.

So what do you think? Is cancer publicity through celebrity victims making people panic over nothing? Or does it increase awareness and save lives?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Flickr

Celebrities speak up for health

October 9, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

It takes a famous voice, face or name to catch people’s attention. It takes a celebrity to increase awareness. Which is why these three ladies are using their celebrity status to educate the people on health issues in these public service announcements.

Jennifer Lopez for Sounds of Pertussis

Jennifer Lopez, actress, singer, and mother is the spokesperson for Sounds of Pertussis, a campaign supported by the vaccine maker sanofi pasteur. In this spot, Lopez is appealing to the public, especially parents to get vaccinated against pertussis or whooping cough. Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that can be fatal for infants. It creates a sticky, thick mucus in the airways that makes it hard to breathe, eat, and drink. Pertussis is also known as whooping cough because people with the disease often make a loud “whoop” sound as they struggle to breathe through their narrowed airways between coughing spasms.

Symptoms of pertussis in adults can be mild and would be mistaken for a cold or bronchitis. However, adults can transmit the bacteria to little babies where pertussis symptoms can be serious, even fatal. In the US, more than 10,000 cases of pertussis were reported in 2007.

Take Charge with Fran Drescher

Actress Fran Drescher is the face of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) campaign Be in Charge of your Health. Drescher is a survivor of uterine cancer and is best known for her role as Nanny Fran in the TV series “The Nanny.” Here’s what Drescher has to say in one the AHRQ video spots:

“Hi, I’m Fran Drescher and I’ve got a question for you. Who’s in charge of your health care? It took two whole years to correctly diagnose my cancer. I learned that asking lots of questions may help prevent disease or catch cancer early when it’s easier to treat. Talk to your doctor and bring someone with you to help. For all the questions you need to ask, go to because it’s your life, and you’re in charge of your health.”

Chandra Wilson for Treat with Care

Actress and mother Chandra Wilson is the celebrity that is spreading the word for the public service announcements for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). The campaign called Treat with Care aims to educate parents on the safe use of children’s cough and cold medicines. According to Wilson, who plays a surgeon in the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy”

As parents, we’re in charge of our children’s health, and as a mother of three, I take this responsibility very seriously. Many of us rely on OTC cough and cold medicines to help our children feel better when they’re sick. It is our job as parents to understand how to safely do so, and I am excited to be working on such an important effort promoting the safe and appropriate use of these medicines.”

For more information about this campaign, check out

Heart(y) news and events, September 18

September 18, 2009 by  

Here are some heart-healthy events coming up.

September is Cholesterol Awareness Month

Now is the time to sit down and think about cholesterol – your cholesterol. Furthermore, you should do something about it. More than 65 million Americans have high blood cholesterol levels. Are you one of them? Cholesterol Awareness Month is a good time to

Go healthy Month

Go healthy month is a youth-powered initiative where more 1 million strong children and young share tips and ideas on how to stay fit and healthy.
Here are some tips:

  • Ride my bike to school
  • Be quick to pass up junk food
  • Play duck duck goose
  • Play ultimate Frisbee
  • Play outside
  • Eat breakfast everyday
  • Play active games
  • Get enough sleep
  • Why not add your own?

Go Red Watch Party

The Go Red TV special premiered last week and was featured on NBC’s Today Show. Why not organize a Go Red Watch party this weekend? Include family members and friends. Wear red and be sure to serve only healthy food! You download free discussion guides, talking point ideas and tip from the American Heart Association (AHA) site.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month

September is also the Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month. PAD is the most common type of peripheral artery disease and can affect  the veins and arteries. It is also one of the most undiagnosed vascular disorder. People with PAD have a higher risk for stroke and heart attack. Risk factors for PAD are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking.
According to AHA:

The most common symptoms of PAD are cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs. Typically, this pain goes away with rest and returns when you walk again.

Alos check out the online health chat on PAD with Cleveland Clinic expert Dr. Heather Gornik:

Peripheral Arterial Disease, Tuesday, September 22 – 12 noon.

September 21 to 27 America on the Move Week

This is an event to inspire Americans to incorporate healthy activities into their daily routines. America On the Move Week with the YMCA is part of Activate America® — the YMCA’s response to the nation’s growing health crisis. Through Activate America, the YMCA is redefining itself and engaging communities across the country to provide better opportunities for people of all ages in their pursuit of health and well-being in spirit, mind and body.worldnews  During this weeklong-long event, YMCA’s all over the US will engage local communities in health-promoting activities for families, groups, or individuals. Check out your local YMCA for schedule of activities now.

Hear the World!

August 10, 2009 by  
Filed under HEARING

earRod Stewart, Franka Potente, Diane Kruger and most recently Laura Pausini, these are just some of the many celebrities who are ambassadors of the “Hear the World“, featured in an exhibition of photography at the Saatchi Gallery in London last month. No less known is the photographer himself, no other than the Canadian musician Bryan Adams. Yes, Bryan, aside from being a hitmaker, is a talented photographer as well and is the official photo man of the Hear the World Initiative. His subject? His colleagues, from Placido Domingo to Amy Winehouse, from Annie Lennox to Mick Jagger, all posing with a hand cupping the ear, highlighting the importance of the hearing organ.

The exhibition is part of the Hear the World initiative, a project of the not-for-profit organization Hear the World Foundation, supported by the Swiss-based hearing aid manufacturer Phonak. It covers a wide range of activities – “from the education about the topic of hearing and hearing loss to the respective prevention measures such as offering hearing protection at events with high noise levels.”

The ambassadors contribute in anyway they can, through their art, be it in the form of music, acting or pictures to promote the importance of our sense of hearing and prevention of hearing loss.

The Bryan Adams photographs were exhibited in a Zurich exhibition last year. They are available for purchase ( and proceeds from the sale of the pictures will benefit the Hear the World Foundation. The goals of the Hear the World initiative are:

According to Dr. Valentin Chapero, CEO of Phonak and President of the Foundation Board of Hear the World.

“Hearing is quality of life, and people should be more aware of this. If we succeed in raising this awareness through Hear the World, my goal is achieved.”

Blind, yet with a vision: Cathy Birchall’s world tour on a motorbike

July 23, 2009 by  
Filed under VISION

UPDATE: November 2012

I have been informed by Bernand Smith regarding error of this post …. as well to point out the comment from 2009 below

Date: November 5, 2012
Subject: errors of information // Message
Hi there – a correction if I may. On the following address from your site, At no time did sponsors contribute to the running costs of the trip in any shape or form. The trip was funded by myself in its entirety – I actually sold my house to fund it. Best wishes. Bernard Smith

– Thanks for the update Bernard and Cathy / HART

Motorcycling seems like a fun sport. I never tried it myself  
except by sitting behind my husband and holding on for my dear life. But even I, as the “passenger” could feel the freedom of movement that comes with these vehicles.

I can imagine how good it felt for Cathy Birchall of Warrington, Cheshire, UK to go around the world on her motorbike. So what’s the big deal, you’d ask? It’s been done before.

Well, what if I tell that Cathy is blind, and is the first blind person to circumnavigate the world on a motorbike?

That certainly breaks down your misconceptions of motorbiking and of visually impaired people, doesn’t it? And that’s exactly what Cathy aimed to do. Because hers was a journey with a real vision – to help raise awareness of sight loss and eye conditions around the globe.

And her travels took to places where she met people who inspired her and whom she inspired. Among the organizations she visited are

  • Swiss Guide Dogs
  • The Score Foundation
  • Eyeway in India
  • Vision Australia
  • Fred Hollow’s Foundation
  • The Centre for the Blind Women in Delhi

Cathy says

The past year has been an amazing experience; I have had the pleasure of moving freely in the world as a blind person – something that seemed unimaginable when I first lost my sight and I actually became a real inspiration to those I met throughout my journey“.

Cathy was born with a degenerative eye condition which gradually robbed her of her sight, so that she was completely blind when she reached her mid twenties.

Cathy travels with Bernard Smith who does the steering and a 20-year BMW motorbike Bertha. They started the incredible journey in Ireland on August 8, 2009 and arrived back in the UK earlier this month. , covering a distance of about 25,000 miles in 30 countries. During the journey, Bertha used up three sets of tires and had replacements for a starter motor, an exhaust and an alternator.

In their stop in Peru, Cathy even managed to climb the Wynapicchu at Machu Picchu, making her the first blind woman ever to scale the famous Inca mountain.

During her travels, Cathy managed to gain sponsors that contributed to the expenses of her trip as well as raise funds which will be split equally between Action for Blind People, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Where to next, Cathy?


Ready to perform effective bystander CPR?

June 3, 2009 by  

defibrillatorIt’s CPR and AED Awareness Week (June 1 to 7) in the United States.

Why is CPR important?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) saves lives. Here are the reasons why we need to know CPR (source: American Heart Association):

  • About 80% of cases of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) happen at home.
  • Less than a third of SCA victims receive CPR from a bystander. Only 6.4% of the victims survive because there is nobody in their vicinity who can perform life-saving CPR.
  • 12 to 20% of Americans feel confident in performing CPR should the need arises.
  • 37 to 39% (about 4 in 10) are most likely to perform a CPR on somebody they know personally.

Are you ready to save those of your loved ones? Are you one of those bystanders who feel confident enough to save the life of others?

What can you do?

Here is what you can do/ how you can help:

  • Get CPR training. The American Heart Association recommends everybody to get trained in CPR. Furthermore, training shouldn’t just be a one time thing. It should be constantly practiced and updated. Furthermore, you can even do training online!
  • Keep a record of your training. When was your last training? Are you ready to act in case of emergency? Be a part of the 1 million CPR-trained people in the US!
  • Share your time. As a CPR instructor or other types of volunteer work.
  • Donate. Your donation goes into training programs that save lives all over the country! The goal is to train one million Americans. So far, 150,000 have been trained. A little help will go a long, long way.
  • Spread the word. Help spread CPR Awareness through emails, word of mouth, your blogs (that’s what I’m doing now!), your social networks (it’s in Facebook, Twitter, Linked in!).
  • Check out Mini Anne, an inflatable, portable mannequin that you can practice on. It only takes 22 minutes!

What about AED?

Another way of resuscitating cardiac arrest victims is by using an Automated External Defibrillator or AED. AEDs are now available in many public places which have been identified as high risk locations. The new devices have been designed to be simple and easy to use, even by those who do not have any medical training. Once activated, the person manning the AED gets visual and audio instructions how to operate the machine as well as perform a CPR.

Remember, for cardiac arrest patients, every second counts. Together, CPR and AED can save precious seconds and save lives.

Resource post for May: Stroke awareness revisited

May 5, 2009 by  

brainMay is American Stroke Month

It is the month when we should examine what we know about stroke, its symptoms, the risk factors, how it can be managed, and how it can be prevented. At the forefront of this month-long awareness campaign are the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA).

Stroke: facts and figures

According to the AHA:

Stroke is the third highest cause of mortality after heart disease and cancer.

Stroke: symptoms

Many people do not recognize the signs when they are having a stroke, according to research studies. This causes delay in treatment of a condition that is time-sensitive. The warning signs of stroke according to the AHA and ASA are (check also the video clip):

Stroke: reducing your risks

The best strategy of preventing stroke is reducing the risks that can be reduced. But first we need to know the risk factors.

The risks that you cannot change are

  • Age. The likelihood of having a stroke increases with age. Previous studies suggest that stroke risk doubles starting age at the age of 55. Finnish researchers report that stroke risk increases dramatically in men starting at age 44.
  • Genetics. Family history and ethnicity predisposes a person to stroke. African American have higher predisposition to stroke than any other ethnic group in the US. The genetic disease sickle cell anemia which is very common among African-American and Hispanic children is a major risk factor for stroke.
  • Gender. Men seem to be more susceptible to stroke than women but women suffer higher mortality rates from stroke.

But here are the risks that you can do something about:

  • High blood pressure. Hypertension is the most important controllable risk factor for stroke. Many people believe the effective treatment of blood-pressurehigh blood pressure is a key reason for the accelerated decline in the death rates for stroke.
  • Cigarette smoking. Although cigarette smoking is usually associated with lung cancer, it is actually an important risk factor for stroke. And the damage is not only restricted to the smoker. Second hand or passive smoking has also been linked to cardiovascular damage that can lead to stroke.
  • Obesity/excess weight. Obesity is another major controllable factor for stroke.
  • High cholesterol levels. People with high blood cholesterol have an increased risk for stroke. High levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol and low levels of HDL “good” cholesterol are risk factors.
  • Birth control pills. The use of oral contraceptives by women has been linked to cardiovascular damage. When this factor is combined with smoking, the risk for having a stroke increases drastically.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes is an independent risk factor for stroke. However, it is also associated with other risk factors such high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels and obesity.
  • Poor nutrition. Diet is a major but easily controllable risk factor for stroke and other related cardiovascular disease. “Diets rich in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol levels. Diets high in sodium (salt) can contribute to increased blood pressure. Diets with excess calories can contribute to obesity.” On the other hand, a daily diet containing five or more servings of fruits and vegetables – the so-called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet may reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Physical inactivity. A sedentary lifestyle is not only a risk factor for stroke, it is a risk factor for other related problems, e.g. hypertension, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. The AHA and ASA recommend a minimum of least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. The more, the better.dry-fruits
  • Other underlying conditions such as arterial diseases (e.g. carotid artery disease, peripheral artery disease) and heart disorders (e.g. coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart defects) also increase the risks of having a stroke.
  • Geographic location. States in the southeastern United States have higher incidences of stroke than the rest of the country, earning the title the “stroke belt.” However, this is a risk factor that is neither well-understood nor well-documented.
  • Socioeconomic factors. Studies suggest that stroke incidence is higher among low-income people than among more affluent people.
  • Alcohol consumption. Although alcohol is said to have some cardiovascular benefits, excessive alcohol consumption has been associated to health problems including stroke and hypertension. Women also especially more susceptible to the adverse effects of alcohol than men.
  • Illegal drugs. Illegal drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines and heroin, have been associated with an increased risk of stroke.

Stroke: treatment and management

Some of the treatment options for ischemic stroke are:

  • Thrombolytic (clot-busting) drugs. The most commonly used drug in the emergency treatment of stroke is an intravenous injection of blood-cellstissue plasminogen activator (tPA). tPA, however, is a time-sensitive medication that needs to be administered within 3 hours of symptom onset.
  • Anti-coagulants or blood thinners. These drugs are prescribed after a stroke to reduce the chances of new blood clots forming.
  • Anti-platelet drugs. These drugs are also used to prevent blood clots and can be used in stroke prevention strategy.
  • Surgery and stents. Several surgical interventions can be done to prevent and manage stroke. A blocked or narrowed carotid artery can be opened by surgery to remove plaques. Stents can be inserted into the blood vessels to keep them open.
  • Experimental treatments. New stroke treatments are currently being tested, including stem cell therapy and experimental neuroprotective medications.

Stroke resources:

 Photo credit: stock xchng


Jade Goody’s legacy

April 13, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

jade-goodyThe reality TV star Jade Goody may be gone but she left a very important legacy – increased awareness and changed attitudes toward cervical cancer. Health experts called it the “Jade Goody effect“.

There are some people who were a bit critical of Jade, complaining about publicity stunts and media exploitation. However, it is undeniable that Jade’s story also placed cancer, particularly cervical cancer in the limelight. In the process, many women opted for cervical cancer screening that may just have saved their lives.

According to The Guardian UK

Sad though the cause, the new interest in cervical cancer has been welcomed by cancer charities and those involved in the screening programme. The proportion of women taking up the invitation to go for a screening test has been steadily dropping for about a decade. The latest figures, from March last year, show 78.6% of eligible women had been tested, which meant that the take-up had dropped below 80% for the third year in a row.

Jade Goody’s case reportedly had a major impact on the UK’s National Health Services (NHS) cervical screening program. It led the re-examination of England’s policy of screening starting at the age of 25 while it is offered starting at 20 in other parts of the UK. More women requested for cervical cancer screening all over the country. In addition, interest for the anti-human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine has also increased. The vaccine, also known as “cervical cancer jab” and is recommended to girls as young as 11 years old, was initially met with scepticism. Recently, however, it seems that more and more mothers are asking that their daughters be given the vaccine which has been available in UK schools since last year.

Jade’s story made many people, especially young women think about their own mortality. The fact that she was only 27 years old, had a promising Reality TV career and left behind two young children made us realize that cancer and death are not only for the old and the feeble. Cancer can hit anybody.

According to Cervical Cancer UK,

Cervical cancer is a major health problem in the world today. In some developing countries it is the commonest female cancer. It is estimated that around 370,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in the world each year. Cervical cancer, however, is one of the most preventable form of cancer and regular screening and early detection are the keys to prevention.

Jade died on March 22, 2009 and was buried on April 4, 2009. She may be gone but the Jade Goody effect lives on.

Photo credit: wikicommons

Playing safe: April is Sports Eye Safety Month

April 7, 2009 by  
Filed under VISION


Resource post for April

boy_in_safety_glassesSports are the leading cause of eye injuries in children, especially team sports such as football, basketball, tennis, hockey to name a few. I have two 6-year old boys who are just into almost all sports. And their latest passion, now that spring time is here, is street hockey on roller blades. When we bought the blades for them last year, the set included protective gear such as knee, elbow and hand pads. Their bicycle helmets served for the blades as well. But what about eye protection? I never really thought they need it until I read about this sports-related eye safety campaign.

April has been designated as the Sports Eye Safety Month .The current statistics from Unite for Sight says that:

  1. Over 100,000 cases of sports-related eye injuries occur every year in the North America alone, incurring more than $175 million in health care costs.
  2. From 1988 to 2000, 31% of serious eye injuries were due to blunt trauma, the kind that is commonly observed in relation to sports. This is more than the 18% eye injuries caused by vehicular accidents.
  3. Baseball and basketball cause the most common sports-related injuries. These are followed by racket sports (e.g. tennis, badminton) and water sports.
  4. 90% of all eye injuries are preventable.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and eye doctors urge that athletes, professional or amateur, should wear protective eyewear when in engaging in sports. Sometimes it takes a single blow to damage an eye. But it is a damage that has long-lasting and devastating repercussions. It could mean disability and impairment. It would mean the end of a successful sports career, or nipping in the bud strong potential. It would mean a major life change and a lower quality of life. Unfortunately, most sporting leagues do not make the use of protective eye gear mandatory. This is sad because most cases of eye injuries could have been prevented with the appropriate eye protection.

What are the most common sports-related eye injuries?

smileys-eye-glassesThe majority of injuries incurred during sports are caused by blunt trauma, e.g. impact with a blunt object, according to Dr. Carolyn Wu, ophthalmologist. The severity of the injury would depend on the object hitting the eye – its size, speed and hardness. Blunt trauma result to a simple black eye to more serious damage such as:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Orbital floor fractures
  • Inflammation
  • Eyeball rupture
  • Retinal detachment
  • Damage to the optic nerve

According this AAO press release

Children can end up with injuries ranging from abrasions of the cornea and bruises of the lids to internal eye injuries such as retinal detachments and internal bleeding. Unfortunately, some of these athletes end up with permanent vision loss and blindness.

Penetrating trauma, e.g. injuries through contact with sharp or penetrating objects are rare in sports but just as dangerous. The unfortunate thing is that these types of injuries are usually caused when inappropriate eye wear breaks. Most people wearing glasses think that normal, every day glasses are ample protection against sports-related injuries. In fact, these eyewear present hazards when they break.

How do we protect our children sports-related eye injuries?eye-protection

According to Dr. Yu,

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed standards for protective eyewear to be worn in various sports. Each sport has a specific type of recommended protective eyewear, but all sports goggles should be made with polycarbonate lenses. Polycarbonate is a high-impact resistant plastic that offers ultraviolet protection and can be made in prescription or non-prescription lenses. These lenses are 10 times more impact resistant than other plastics. In comparison, regular eyeglasses have only 5 percent of the impact resistance of polycarbonate lenses. Your eye doctor can recommend the eyewear that is appropriate for your sport.

According to Unite for Sight, there are 4 basic types of eyewear but only 2 of these are appropriate for sports.

Not appropriate as sports protective eyewear are eyeglasses, sunglasses, as well as occupational safety protective glasses.

Mind you, the Sports Safety Awareness campaign is not meant to scare off people from doing sports. Children need movement and exercise to keep them healthy. Doing sports in young years have long-term benefits. Yes, doing sports can also hurt – but that’s what protection gear is for. It is important that the campaign is supported from all sectors – school officials, sports teachers and coaches, as well as parents so that we can convince children and teenagers to wear the recommended protective eyewear.

The AAO goes on to prits-in-your-courtaise professional athletes who serve as role models in promoting the use of eye protection in sports. Examples are NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson.

In conclusion, the AAO wants to spread this take home message: “Play hard…play safe… Sports eye protection doesn’t hinder performance, it protects eyes and careers.”

 Photo credit: stock.xchng; Unite for Sight CD cover

April is National Cancer Control Awareness Month

April 6, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

linked_handsApril is the month to step up on cancer control awareness. So how can we help?

Several cancer research institutes in the US are actively campaigning during this month. And they give us some tips on how we can help.

Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ)

As one of the nation’s 40 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centres and the only one in New Jersey, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) delivers advanced comprehensive care to adults and children, and conducts cutting-edge cancer research. Their researchers and physicians transform discoveries into clinical practice and provide education and outreach regarding cancer prevention, detection and treatment.

CINJ is a Centre of Excellence of UMNDJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. This April, the institute is highlighting its clinical trial programs and the importance of patients having access to quality information about these cancer studies right at their fingertips. It is with this objective in mind that the CINJ-operated, web-based New Jersey Cancer Trial Connect (NJCTC) website was set up. With NJCTC, patients can conduct research and match diseases and drugs with cancer clinical trials

Michigan Cancer Consortium (MCC)

Do you know that there are over 100 types of cancer? That 1 out of every 4 deaths in the US is caused by cancer? These are just a few facts and figures from the Michigan Cancer Consortium (MCC) in observance of the National Cancer Control Awareness Month. MCC “is a dedicated group of public, private, and voluntary organizations committed to reducing the human and economic impact of cancer in Michigan. MCC members are collaborating to address cancer control priorities in Michigan.” To highlight cancer control awareness and help spread the word, here are a few ideas from MCC:

  • You can get involved as an individual or as an organization.
  • Have a prerecorded phone message about cancer screening. You can use this on your private phone or in your business phone. The message, can for example run in lieu of music while the client is put oh hold.
  • Get involved in disseminating the MCC Cancer Early Detection Recommendations.
  • Include MCC Early Detection Guidelines in your newsletters, journals, or blogs.
  • Share or distribute cancer resource materials to family, friends and colleagues.

All guidelines, resources and recommendations are available from the MCC website.


Photo credit: stock.xchng

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 16, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

March is the month to step up on awareness of colorectal cancer, the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the US, according to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). Approximately 149,000 new cases of colorectal cancer have been predicted for 2008. Abointestineut 50,000 Americans die this disease every year

The good news is that colorectal cancer is preventable and treatable when detected at an early stage. And early detection is possible through screening.

The bad news is that, “even in the best economic environment, only half of the people who need colorectal cancer screening receive the life-saving test.” The low screening rate maybe due to a lot of causes. Screening is mainly done by colonoscopy, which involves gently inserting an intrument called colonoscope into the rectum and large intestine. The instrument enables the doctor examine the walls of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately, many people find this screening method embarrassing and invasive. With the economic recession, it is expected that even more people will forego screening for colorectal cancer due to loss of health insurance and financial difficulties. In addition, there seem to be cultural and ethnic barriers that are also related to health insurance coverage. According to AGA, African Americans and Hispanics are less likely to be screened and are therefore more likely to die from colorectal cancer than other ethnic groups.

A study by the Lewin Group made public early this year predicts that there will be a shortage of actively practicing gastroenterologists in the US in the next ten years. This shortage will further lead to low screening rates.

Hopefully, legislation will help solve the issue. Texas Rep. Kay Granger reintroduced the Colorectal Cancer Early Detection, Prevention and Treatment Act in the US Congress in February, a bill whose aim is

to amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a national screening program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide States the option to provide medical assistance for men and women screened and found to have colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.”

The bill can hopefully establish a life-saving program similar to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for people between 50 and 64 years old but also those younger than 50 but have high risks profiles. The bill will also facilitate screening, follow-up, and treatment of those who do not have insurance coverage.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer (source: American Cancer Society) are:

  • Age older than 50 years old
  • Previous history of polyps and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Other hereditary diseases (Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, and Lynch syndrome).
  • Racial and ethnic background
  • Lifestyle-related factors including smoking, diet, lack of exercise, obesity, heavy alcohol consumption, and type 2 diabetes.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

March is Save Your Vision Month

March 3, 2009 by  
Filed under VISION

save-your-vision-monthThis March, we are observing the Save Your Vision Month. This event serves to increase awareness about the importance of regular comprehensive eye examination and is sponsored by the American Optometric Association (AOA).

March has also been designated as the Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month and is sponsored by Prevent Blindness America (PBA). The more vision problems employees have, the more medical care they would need, and the more health care costs they would incur. Not to mention the loss of productivity of the employees which translates to loss of money of the employers. Healthy employees make good business. In fact, “promoting eye health in the workplace can save businesses money in the long run. Employers are encouraged to contact Prevent Blindness America for information on the Healthy Eyes Vision Wellness Program, promoting vision in the workplace.

PBA is organizing a call-in event on March 2-4, 2009 to support PBA’s “Eyes on Capitol Hill” referring to PBA’s delegates and representatives who will meet with members of the US Congress and Senate to discuss vision care issues, especially “to increase funding on vision research, prevention/public health programs, and access to treatment and rehabilitation.”

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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.