Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Body is a Wonderland? Yes.

When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? Or, like me, you take off your glasses and smile mistily at the fuzzy figure before you? A great deal of our self esteem is tied up with our body; say what you will about building personality and a fine crafted mind, we would all trade our Einstein-like genius for satiny smooth skin and trimmer waistline.

But should our hang ups of our body get in the way of our enjoyment of it? I say, NO. We are fed with airbrushed images daily of what we should look like. We are made to be unnecessarily critical of our physical self, that we are not good enough if we don't look like a fifteen year-old nymph/youth. We forget to enjoy our health and grace because we are too busy whining over what we think is wrong with ourselves.

The hell with all of that. Celebrate your senses. Stroke your skin and feel how delicious it is. Your limbs so well-shaped to support you and for you to enjoy your world. Taste. Listen. Observe. Reclaim your sexuality. What ever shape or colour you are, you have every right to enjoy the feast that is your senses.

So go forth, reach out and touch somebody.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Nail that Sticks Out, Gets Hammered

I remembered that quote from Tokyo Drift, the 3rd of the Fast & Furious franchise that launched Vin Diesel into the stratosphere of stardom. The father of the protagonist quoted the Japanese saying in hopes of getting his son to keep his head down, nose clean and no getting into trouble.

But what if keeping to ourselves means smothering our conscience to the expense of our health; physical, mental and emotional? I posted earlier on how nurses have one of the most stressful and dangerous job; it seems here that it does appear as though there is no way for a nurse to win.

A job should be one that not only helps pay your bills, but also fulfills something inside so that it becomes an ibadah (i.e. a way to serve God). But when you have to decide between your professional health and voicing out your concerns, it is really tough indeed. How often do you find yourself swallowing your view points that is for the benefit of your clients/patients/students/etc because you are afraid that the upper echelons will fall on you like the proverbial tonne of bricks?

Perhaps it is better to balik kampung dan tanam jagung*.

*return to the hometown/village and plant maize

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Your Body is a Wonderland

I love that song. About the only John Myer song that I could listen to with any kind of regularity; sweet without being cloying, cajoling and worshipful with a dash of wonderment thrown in.

Your body is a temple; worship it. We all know that. Eat properly, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise etc. How many of us actually do all that? Well, certainly I don't join that rank of the population. Those who can afford it take short cuts via plastic surgery. A little nip here, a tuck there and voila! You're a new person.

It's easy to snicker about people who chose this route. But take a look at the clip from Nip/Tuck below. I guess the grey areas are larger than I thought.

What think you now?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Marcus Welby vs House MD

When my dad had colon cancer, he said that he wanted to have a doctor like Dr Gregory House; someone who will solve the puzzle of the disease no matter what it takes. My dad was pretty all right with House's brand of caustic acerbicism, and felt that his manic competency will outweigh any and every personality drawbacks that he have. What he got was a surgeon who was brutally honest about the treatment options and is kick ass to boot. So that was cool.

For all that Dr House saves the day (for the most part), when we are sick we don't want someone who mocks us about the poor choices we made that hurts our health or someone who runs rough-shod over our feelings. We want someone who listens and give us the advice we need with no judgment whatsoever. I am sure that all of us have had experiences with medical professionals who treat us with disrespect, annoyingly condescending and out-and-out uncaring about our pain. However, this article gave me hope that there are still doctors out there who still give their all to their calling and made their patients' life a little better all around. However, questions have been raised on whether this personal touch is impairing their judgment and affects their professional conduct adversely. Even the American Medical Association's Principle of Medical Ethics demur on treating family and friends.

Well, it should be up to the physician to decide on the lines to be drawn and crossed when it comes to arranging his/her personal and professional life, isn't it? And let's hope the ones whom we have to deal with does this in a way that makes our doctor's visit nothing like having a toe nail removed.

The Dadiator

Man, you gotta take your hat off to this guy. Having seven kids in the space of five years is one thing, but making them work into not giving into the middle age spread? Whew.

Wonder if my niece would mine being part of my exercise equipment.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things That You Never Really Think About

Sex is something that titillates people the world over. Rarely is a subject that is widely alluded to but rarely spoken frankly of as sex. It is also something that people take for granted; which is why discussion of disability and sex is rarely forthcoming. Disability and sex can be pretty wide ranging, in my humble opinion; and should include issues such as erectile dysfunction.

This article discusses an aspect of a form of disability and sex in a very candid and humourous, yet sensible manner. Take a look. You know you want to.

Malaria Destructo: Anti Retroviral Drug Goes Mediaeval on Plasmodium's @ss

Snagged from Medscape. Hoo wee! Good news in the face of rising resistance to artermisinin-based chemotherapy.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jan 22 - Protease inhibitors, already valued in treating HIV infection and under investigation as anti-protozoals and anti-cancer agents, now demonstrate new potential as anti-malaria drugs.

A laboratory study by U.S. researchers has shown for the first time that HIV protease inhibitors inhibited the development of preerythrocytic-stage plasmodium parasites. Lopinavir and saquinavir separately had this effect in vitro, and the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir had this effect in mice. The study was published in the January 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

These data are important, "as there is currently no clinically available drug that has an effect on the liver stages in the way that we have demonstrated HIV protease inhibitors have an effect," Dr. Charlotte V. Hobbs of New York University School of Medicine told Reuters Health. "HIV proteases inhibitors are unique in their demonstrated ability to inhibit parasite development in the liver stages, at which point the parasite is initially present in much lower numbers."

Since 2004, published research has shown that HIV protease inhibitors can be effective against plasmodium in the erythrocytic stages of the protozoan's life cycle.

The current researchers found that saquinavir and lopinavir inhibited the development of Plasmodium berghei exo-erythrocytic forms in vitro, but that atazanavir, amprenavir and nelfinavir did not.

In the in vivo part of the study, which used P. yoelii, lopinavir/ritonavir exerted a dose-dependent effect in reducing the burden of liver-stage parasites in mice, while saquinavir alone had no effect, even at high doses.

Dr. Hobbs told Reuters Health that although theories have been proposed, no one knows the exact mechanism by which HIV protease inhibitors affect malaria parasites. "If one could elucidate this mechanism," she said, "one could perhaps develop a further class of antimalarial drugs based on the chemical structure of an HIV protease inhibitor.

J Infect Dis 2009;199:134-141.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Reading is Good for You. Really.

Huh. That you would impart subliminal messages of healthy self esteem and good life habits in a young adult fiction novel.

How ... novel.


But hey, so long as the kids get the idea that life isn't merely a popularity contest, why should it be a problem? Interesting ...

Year of Science 2009

In celebration Charles Darwin's 2nd centennial bash, more than 150 scientific organisations (predominantly in the United States) had declared 2009 as the Year of Science. So here is the website, hosted by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Go look. Explore. Enjoy.

Living with a Lab Rat

As I dip my toes into looking at human subjects, it became clearer to me how hard it is to recruit subjects who not only fits the criteria you wish, but also those who would agree to be poked/prodded/electrocuted etc.

I got the link to this article in NYTimes from The Scientist' Community and when I started reading, I thought, "Hey, why not?" My cousin who was working on juvenile immune response recruited her nieces and nephews for her study. She bribed them to agreeing to come with her to the hospital to have their blood drawn. To date, there don't seem to be any kind of negative effect from their participation in her Master's project.

In general, children have an innate desire to please the adults in their life; be it a parental figure or any other caretaker. Is their consent for the study something taken for granted or is easily waived away because their parent(s) signed the parental consent form? What happens when they grew up and decided that they were not happy with having participated in the study and wishes for the data to be withdrawn? That is something that have been seen in adult participants who withdrew from studies.

I wonder if any of the children who participated in their parent(s)' studies have ever said something along the lines of, "Hey, my data helped you get that professorship. How about springing a car/Playstation/new dress etc for me?"