Friday, August 15, 2014

Down with colds and flu

A British poster from World War II describing ...
A British poster from World War II describing the cost of the common cold "The Cost of the Common Cold and Influenza". Imperial War Museum: Posters of Conflict . vads . . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wasn't able to do some posting of articles this whole week... I was down with colds and flu, and my coughing was very bad. I even had several bouts of high fever. I mean, it was Singapore's National Day, so the Friday before that, which is the 8th, I paid the company doctor a visit and asked for some medicine that I can take during the long weekend. Then I went out with my family and many others to the beach and even participated in some light games/competitions.

And that was in the morning hours.

When the sun was coming up higher and hotter, I felt that I wasn't getting any better.

True enough, that was when my fever first occurred. I had my medicines brought along, so I took some, then had to lie down to rest. I managed to get some winks.

But I didn't get any better after all.

Monday was holiday in lieu, so I had the whole day to rest.

Tuesday I went to work.

Wednesday, I still wasn't any better, even with all the pills and syrups I was taking. So at quitting time, I decided to go back to the company-appointed clinic, and the doctor gave me some stronger medicines.

I got better, and here's to say that I will be back, most probably by next week.

Hope that everybody else getting the bout of colds or flu would also be better. Drink a lot of water, and don't forget your medicines.

Till then!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Surprising Path to Better Sex: A New Hip

Total Knee replacement : AP view (Xray).
Total Knee replacement : AP view (Xray). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Hip replacement using cementless impl...
English: Hip replacement using cementless implants. 16 days post-surgery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hip-Joint, total Replacement, insertion withou...
Hip-Joint, total Replacement, insertion without bone-cement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Tara Parker-Pope

Want better sex? Consider getting a new hip or knee.

Before Mary Ann Oklesson, a New York magazine publisher, had both hips replaced a few years ago, the pain of arthritis made it difficult to walk, exercise or even climb into a taxi. Her failing hips had also taken a toll on her sex life.

"Sex was somewhat painful," said Ms. Oklesson, now in her early 60s. "If I had to pick my leg up to put it in a cab, you can imagine what sex was like."

But all that changed after hip replacement surgery. "It definitely improved my quality of life, and my love life," she says.

While researchers have long known that hip and knee replacement leads to less pain and improved mobility, new research shows that the surgery offers an unexpected bonus in the bedroom. Among 147 patients who had joint replacement surgery in New York, most said arthritis had interfered with their sex lives, according to research presented in March at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. After surgery, 81 percent of those patients who had said their sex lives had suffered as a result of a bad joint reported that the frequency of sexual activity had increased.

Many reported an increase in libido and stamina and an improvement in their ability to climax. The benefits were specially pronounced among patients whose complaint had been failing hips, as well as women, who reported the most discomfort during sex because of painful joints.

"If achieving a position in sexual function is very uncomfortable, it's unlikely to be fruitful in terms of achieving climax," said Dr. Jose A. Rodriguez, director of the Center for Joint Preservation and Reconstruction at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and lead author of the study.

Hip replacement surgery has risen 85 percent in the past decade, with doctors in the United States performing more than 300,000 procedures in 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available. Much of the increase has been fueled by active middle-age adults, 45 to 65. In that age group, hip replacements have nearly tripled to 128,000 during the same period.

Dr. Claudette Lajam, an orthopedic surgeon at the Center for Musculoskeletal Care at New York University Langone Medical Center, said that so many patients have questions about intimacy after joint replacement that she had added a page to her website devoted to sex.

"That page gets the most hits of any page on my website," Dr. Lajam said. "There are a lot of people who get back out there, or get closer to their spouse, because they've been unable to participate in that intimacy for a while. Just the relief of pain itself improves the relationship."

That was the case for D'Arcy Achziger, an apparel sales director in New York who opted for knee replacement two years ago after suffering from excruciating pain.

After surgery, "my husband was thrilled," said Ms. Achziger. "I had been cranky, just so crabby because it hurt. I was much more pleasant after surgery, and it made his life so much nicer."

Dr. Charles Cornell of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said some patients are hesitant to talk about the toll joint pain can take on their sex life.

"It's especially important to our younger patients," he said, "but believe it or not, I've had patients in their 80s who this has been a topic for."

Taken from TODAY Saturday Edition, 27-April-2013

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Perils Of Wandering Minds

English: Adderall
English: Adderall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Peter Catapano

When we humans are asked to perform under pressure -- say Neymar is coming at you to score a tiebreaker (The ball is dancing on his shoe. How does he do that? The samba is blaring.); or maybe you have 24 hours to save the global financial system (The president's calling again, or is it your mother?) -- our internal directives, if we can stay calm enough to summon them, are usually variations on a single theme: Concentrate!

The ability to focus is important not only in crises, but in all areas of life. Daily distractions come not by the handful but by the hundreds, and the person who can tune them out at will and concentrate on the task at hand is at a clear advantage. But it is not easy.

"Of course, we would like to believe that our attention is infinite, but it isn't," Maria Konnikova, the author of "Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes," wrote in The Times. "Multitasking is a persistent myth. What we really do is shift our attention rapidly from task to task. Two bad things happen as a result. We don't devote as much attention to any one thing, and we sacrifice the quality of our attention."

To this problem, Ms. Konnikova offers a solution: she cites research that shows that the relatively simple practice of mindfulness meditation can improve our ability to concentrate. "These effects make sense: the core of mindfulness is the ability to pay attention. That's exactly what Holmes does when he taps together the  tips of his fingers, or exhales a fine cloud of smoke. He is centering his attention on a single element. And somehow, despite the seeming pause in activity, he emerges, time and time again, far ahead of his energetic colleagues."

Vanquishing competitors with laser-like focus may be desirable in a competitive adult world, but the pursuit of the Holmesian ideal can be taken too far, too soon. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control reported that in the United States one in 5 high-school-age boys and about one in 10 school-age children overall have received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.), an increase of more than 40 percent in the last decade. These numbers lead some to believe that both parents and doctors have become too quick to force naturally energetic children (kids being kids) to adapt to adult standards of behavior. And this being the United States in the 21st century, there is a pill for it.

"About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis," The Times reported. Misuse of these drugs is one the rise, taken not just as medication but as a focus-inducing "study aid" for students of nearly all ages. Sometimes those cases come to unhappy ends.

The author Ted Gup wrote in The Times about his son, David, who received a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. at about 5 years old. When David died from a mix of alcohol and drugs at age 21, in 2011, Mr. Gup held himself partly responsible.

"I had unknowingly colluded with a system that devalues talking therapy and rushes to medicate, inadvertently sending a message that self-medication, too, is perfectly acceptable," he wrote.

That message, Mr. Gup said, has become part of "an age in which the airwaves and media are one large drug emporium that claims to fix everything from sleep to sex."

"I fear that being human is itself fast becoming a condition."

Taken from TODAY Saturday Edition, April 27, 2013