Loving Someone With Depression

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By Andrea Lim

There is a common misconception about a depression: that you have to have a traumatic home life, a horrible experience or witness the death of a loved one to become depressed. But in fact, depression has no rhyme or reason – it just happens.

In an article written by Hope Racine originally posted on Literally, Darling, Hope clarifies that she has never been depressed, but says that she knows a lot about depression.

“A lot of us are lucky enough to have the ability to say ‘I’m feeling depressed,’ as opposed to ‘I have depression.’ There’s a big difference between those statements, and the key word is feeling.”

She draws her knowledge from personal experiences with people close to her falling into depression.

“I had no idea what I was getting into,” she says.

Depression hurts more than just you
Loving someone with depression is hard, Hope confirms.

“We’re not inside their heads. We can’t understand why they are doing things they are doing. We can’t understand why they won’t listen to reason, and they often don’t have the ability to articulate why.”

Acceptance and help through their dark times will mean more to them than it is ever comprehendible.

Your loved one isn’t sad.
Depression is an affliction, not a state of being.

Depression has the ability to cut off people from a person’s life, to cripple their social life and to constantly put them through hell, making everything more stressful, making them doubt themselves, and making everything difficult.

Depression can bring a person to a point where they will endure actual physical pain, taking over someone’s life to the point where it’s easier to just feel nothing.

They’re not depressed because of you
So don’t take it personally.

It’s hard not to take things personally, and even more difficult to not wonder if you did something to make your loved one feel depressed.

Being with strangers can make it easier for depressed people: they get to put on a show – pretend they aren’t depressed for a short period of time. It hurts to see this, and sometimes one can’t help but wonder if it’s just you causing the depression. But it’s not.

If your loved one is acting strange around you, it’s a good sign in a strange way. It means they love and trust you enough to share this with you.

Sometimes they try to hide it, and sometimes they’ll push you away. The only thing to do is just be there.

You can’t ‘fix’ them.
Endless supplies of positivity aren’t helpful for depressed people, and actually do more harm than good. It frustrates them to be reminded that they aren’t full of cheer.

Most importantly, they aren’t sad. It looks as though they are, and most times they feel incredibly down, but cheering up won’t help. Depressed people experience a complete lack of emotion, and you can’t fix something that doesn’t exist.

All the funny animal gifs in the world aren’t going to cure them.

Just be there, remind them that this is temporary, and don’t tell them to keep trying but just remind them that there is a light out there. Listen and validate their feelings, but don’t try to explain them or cheer the person up. Just be normal, but be supportive.

Any emotion is good.
Sometimes, people start the long, long climb up out of depression, and emotions come back to them in weird ways. Some people get the crying, the breaking down and sobbing. Comfort them.

Some people get the manic happiness that seems incredibly fake. Encourage this, but be careful. It can switch quickly. Most people though, feel anger. For some unknown reason, it seems to be the easiest way for depressed people to vent after months of non-feeling.

They will get angry at you. They will scream at the cat and swear at their shoe. The strangest and even the smallest things will set them off. It seems backwards, but by getting angry, they’ve found a way to vent their frustration.
Encourage it, or at the very least, let them rage in peace.

Take care of yourself.
Your first thought will be to take care of your loved one, but loving someone with depression can mess you up as well. You’ll feel like you need to be in it with them, but you don’t.

You need to take care of yourself.

Sometimes you’ll feel like a horrible person for bragging about a new promotion or going out with friends, and feel as though you should hide it from your loved one or downplay your accomplishments because it seems like a smack in the face to them.

Don’t. They will still be happy for you. Your success and happiness might remind them of what they’re lacking, but you cannot sacrifice yourself.

Be patient.
Depression can suck the life out of everything, but you need to be careful to not let it suck the life out of you.
Read about it, find out about it – it’s amazing how ignorant and misinformed the general population is about depression.


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A group of Tokyo businessmen and businesswomen toast with mugs of beer at a beer garden at the rooftop of Nihonbashi-Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo

A study shows though that about a third of Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans respond to alcohol by turning beet red. Those fortunate enough not to turn the color of tomatoes after a drink or two laugh at the expense of those who do, and those who do shrug it off as a harmless genetic malfunction and continue with their drinking habits.

It is such a common sight to see a sea of red faces all over bars and clubs in Asia that people don’t even stop and think to question of it.

Some people believe this is due to Asians being unable to metabolize alcohol, and while it may sound scientifically accurate, it is not at all the case.

Alcohol is metabolized in the liver where it is first oxidized to acetaldehude and then converted to acetate by an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2).

People who turn red after a few sips of alcohol have a genetic change in their ALDH2 – the gene variant causes the body to metabolize alcohol faster, but becomes less efficient in breaking down acetaldehyde. The build-up of acetaldehyde is what causes the blood vessels to dilate, and the skin to turn red.

The condition is known as alcohol flush reaction, but is more common in Asians and has thus been nicknamed the ‘Asian flush’ or the ‘Asian glow’.

Higher risk of hypertension, cancer
Recent studies have revealed evidence that ALDH2-deficient individuals are put at much higher risk of developing esophageal cancer from consuming alcohol than those with a fully active ALDH2. Esophageal cancer happens to be one of the deadliest cancers in the world, with very low survival rates.

Acetaldehyde is a metabolite of alcohol, and also an animal carcinogen and mutagen with distinguished cancer-promoting properties.

When the tissues of the upper aerodigestive tract is repeatedly exposed to acetaldehyde, the probability of DNA damage and mutation also increases.

A study done in 2013 showed that flushers who drank the same amount of alcohol as non-flushers were at higher odds of getting hypertension. (That is equivalent to more than four drinks, less than eight.)

The risk of alcohol-related hypertension was also far higher among flushers who consume more than four drinks in a week.

Treatment options
Alcohol flush is a genetic problem, hence there is currently no cure except to avoid alcohol.

While the use of antihistamines can prevent redness, there is still the fact that the body cannot break down acetaldehyde. To continue drinking means putting one’s self at risk for developing esophageal cancer and hypertension.

PNoy Numb To Workers’ Health, Safety Rights

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Rescuers hold the body of one of the wor

By Andrea Lim

The Aquino administration continues to show its apathetic stance towards the plight of workers with its failure to uphold strict health and safety standards in workplaces around the country.

The immediate approval of a proposed bill to protect Filipino workers’ health and safety is also being pushed down the bottom of Malacañang’s priority list.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), a worker dies every 15 seconds because of work-related injuries and accidents, with the most recent untoward incident resulting in the death of eight female workers in early June of this year.

National labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) slammed the Aquino administration for its evident neglect in the issue of workers’ health and safety.

KMU vice-chair for women’s affairs Nenita Gonzaga says that the Aquino government’s “widespread violations of workers’ rights and rabid defense of capitalist profiteering have emboldened capitalists to take workers’ lives for granted.”

“Worse, this government has failed to attain justice for workers who were killed at the workplace,” Gonzaga added.

Last June 11, KMU picketed the House of Representatives to show support for a bill seeking to criminalize violations of occupational health and safety standards.

The Workers’ SHIELD (Safety and Health Inspection and Employers’ Liability Decree), which was filed by Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Emmi de Jesus and Luz Ilagan, seeks to impose heavy sentences on employers who violate workplace health and safety standards.

It also aims to do away with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)’s policy of allowing companies with more than 200 employees to carry out ‘self-inspection’ when it comes to health and safety standards in the workplace, compelling the agency to carry out the inspection by itself.

KMU secretary-general Roger Soluta supports the proposed bill, stating that existing laws and policies “cheapen workers’ lives and deny dignity to workers.”

The law seeks to amend Title I, Book IV of the Labor Code of the Philippines as amended by Presidential Decree 442 and introduce “industrial homicide” to Philippine laws.

Workers’ SHIELD states that should a violation of occupational health and safety standards result in the death of a worker, the employer shall pay a fine of more than P75,000 for each day that the violation was committed and will be sent to prison for not less than six years and not more than 12 years.

The bill seeks to junk DOLE Order No. 57-04 Series of 2004 which legalizes “self assessment” of “establishments with at least 200 workers” and “shall also apply to unionized establishments with Certified Collective Bargaining Agreement regardless of the number of workers.”

The bill entails that the government should have a pro-active role in upholding occupational health and safety standards, and should continuously and closely monitor observance of the said standards and heavily punish employers who deviate from them.

Among workers who are victims of neglect under the Aquino administration are workers from Eton Towers (2010, 10 dead), Keppel (2011, 5 dead), Ali Mall (2012, 4 dead), Novo (2012, 17 dead) and SPC Malaya Power Corporation (2013, 5 dead).

Roadmap To Dental Wellness

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Dental health refers to all aspects of the health and functioning of our mouth, particularly the teeth and gums, and is linked to our overall health in and well-being a number of ways.

The capacity to chew and swallow food is vital for obtaining nutrients needed in good health. Having poor dental health can have an effect on our speech and self-esteem, and dental diseases impose both financial and social burdens as treatment is costly.

Start children early
One in four young children develop signs of tooth decay before they start school, while half of all children between the ages of 12 and 15 have cavities. President of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association Caryn Solie says that dental care should begin just as soon as the child’s first tooth appears, which is usually around six months. She says that teeth can be wiped with a clean, damp cloth or a very soft brush.

Seal off trouble
A child’s molars come in at around the age of 6. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thin protective coverings can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth which can prevent decay. Sealants can significantly reduce caries.

Use enough – but not too much – fluoride
Fluoride strengthens enamel, making it less likely to decay. Talk to your dental professional who may suggest putting a fluoride application on your teeth. Fluoride should not be used excessively on children. Too much can cause white spots on teeth.

Brush twice a day and floss daily
Gum disease and tooth decay are among the biggest problems for both adults and children. It is important to remember to change toothbrushes three to four times a year. Teenagers with braces may need to use special toothbrushes and other oral hygiene tools to brush their teeth.

Rinse or chew gum after meals
Rinsing with anti-bacterial rinse can help prevent decay and gum problems, while chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can also protect by increasing saliva flow, which naturally washes away bacteria and neutralizes acid.

Block blows to teeth
Unsupervised recreational activities or sports can result in injuries. You can ask your dentist to make a custom-fitted mouth guard, or buy one at a sporting goods’ store that can be softened using hot water to form fit your mouth.

Don’t smoke. But if you have to, use smokeless tobacco
Tobacco stains teeth and significantly increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer.

Eat smart
A healthy diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums. Some researchers believe that omega-3 fats may reduce inflammation, lowering the risk of gum disease, said Anthony M. Lacopino, DMD, PhD, Dean of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Dentistry.

Avoid sugary food
Steven E. Schonfeld, DDS, PhD, American Dental Association spokesperson, says that sugary drinks pose a threat because people tend to sip them, raising acidic levels over a long period of time. Carbonated drinks also increase acidity. Sticky candies, on the other hand, linger on teeth surfaces.

Make an appointment
Experts recommend a dental check-up every six months, more often if you have problems like gum disease. During routine exams, dentists or dental hygienists remove plaque build-up that you can’t brush or floss away and look for signs of decay. Regular dental exams also spot early signs of oral cancer, wear and tear from tooth grinding and interaction with medication.

(Peter Jaret/WebMD)


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A new study called Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) by the University of Florida and the University of Maryland shows the importance of physical activity for adults in relation to their good health. It was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers evaluated 1,635 individuals with inactive lifestyles US with ages ranging from 70 to 89 from eight varying study centers across the US. The subjects were able to walk 400 meters in 15 minutes but were put at high risk of losing their mobility.

Marco Pahor, PhD, of the Institute of Aging at the University of Florida states that populations in this range are “typically understudied,” even supposing that health professionals see such patients every day.

Low physical activity in older adults can increase the risk of institutionalization, hospitalization, and death.

Participants were assigned to one of two groups at random. The first group consisting of 818 participants monitored twice a week was tasked to carry out daily moderate exercises, which involved walking 150 minutes a week and executing strength, flexibility and balance training.

The second group which included 817 individuals was subject to attending health education classes and performing stretching exercises. Each individual was assessed every six months for an average of 2.6 years.

Staff members from each study center looked at the subjects’ walking ability, pulse rate and blood pressure, and other measurements of health at each assessment, and were uninformed of what group the participants were assigned to.

Researchers arrived at the conclusion that individuals in the moderate exercise group had an 18% higher walking ability than those in the education classes group. Moderate exercise was correlated with a 28% reduction in mobility loss as determined by the ability to walk 400 meters.

Jack Guralnik, PhD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine remarked that the purpose of conducting this study was to provide evidence affirming that physical activity can improve the physical independence of older adults.

The study shows the rate of hospitalizations in each group was higher among individuals who carried out moderate exercise although the figure was not ‘statistically significant.’

Wendy Kohrt, PhD, a professor at the University of Colorado, reviewed the study’s scientific merit before it was initiated. She stated that such research is vital in concluding lifestyle recommendations to be made for senior citizens.

She says that the LIFE trial showed that an increase in physical activity has the prospective to help older adults “maintain functional dependence.”

Among information to be deducted from the study include how physical activity impacts participants’ emotional well-being and social, physiological and biological factors.

In addition to this, the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA found that physical activity for people over the age of 65 may reduce the risk of heart attack. Other findings establish that exercise for women aged 50 and over may help reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Bridging In Venice

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VENICE, ITALY- I had no plans of visiting this city. The only images that I had seen so far of the place, aside from sticky lovers on gondolas, were secret agents and fiends blasting at each other on the city canals and rooftops, blowing up old buildings in the process. Venice seems to be both beautiful and sinister. The creepy “Don’t Look Now” with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie is still etched in my mind. This was also the locale where Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale” led James Bond into an era of being real and human, thereby obliterating the need for arsenal gimmickries.

Famous Venetians

In addition, I have read about a famous Venetian named Marco Polo, explorer and writer, and from him I could adopt a stronger spirit of adventure. There is also the painter Tintoretto, with his portrayal of disrobed voluptuous women. And Antonio Vivaldi, composer of “Four Seasons” that has been overused for commercials and graduation walks. Then there are the famous Venetian glass and the theatrical masks, some inspired by the Bubonic plague that almost annihilated its populace centuries before. Those are just about what I know about Venice.

Tourist brochures indicate that Venice is a city in northeastern Italy with a total  of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges, mostly pedestrian bridges. As movie productions suggest, Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its art. The entire city is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.

It took the wife and me some 24 grueling hours to reach Venice from Manila, with nine hours flight to Qatar, eight hours lay over at the Doha International Airport, and a seven hour flight to Italy. Thank God for lovely in-flight movies like “The Book Thief”, “The Invisible Woman” and “Iloilo”, flying time became easy to bear.

Getting Lost in Fun

For the first day, we were booked at the Carlton Hotel, an old but charming place but with front desk people having the brusko attitude of New Yorkers before 9/11.  The hotel is along the busy Grand Canal and faces the hideous looking train station on the other side. The Olimpia, our second hotel, is more elegant, with beauteous, gracious and helpful front desk employees giving that expected Italian warmth. Our room was much more spacious, and it let some sunshine in.

Venice could be brutal for senior citizens with heavy luggage to move from their bus to the hotels. You have to cross up and down several bridges that are hostile to PWDs and geriatric folks. It becomes obvious why the city government has deployed porters along the routes. For a fee, of course.

On the first night, the wife and I went out of the hotel to look for a trattoria or a snack bar. I am not exactly a fan of Italian food, pasta, pizza, ‘paghetti, or whatever, but this trip is wife’s time so she gets to have first crack at everything. In stead, we got lured by the sights of rushing people, the dark winding streets, the shops, and the edifices, until we got lost in the maze of narrow passageways, archs, alleys, and piers.

I marveled at the textures and more textures, of centuries old layers of brick walls, some proud and some disintegrating with their plasters falling off with them; at the multi-faced buildings that seem to grow organically with tiny-leafed shrubs and vines, at the variety of window grill works; at the character of doors and the worn-out knobs oftentimes positioned at the center of the panels. The whole city it seems – with walls, the gates, and the roofs having distressed look -has been described as one elegant decay.

Glimpses of Day In A Life

My friend Chito Irigo says that the knobs carry the identity of families living within, and are supposed to distinguish them from the others. Even the mailboxes and the knockers could speak volumes. We saw lone men and families with prams going in and out of dimly lit doors and we wondered how life could be in this rich tourist town with a long history of heritage.

I learned that Venice was, one time or another, a major maritime power, the fulcrum of commerce and trade in the world, the fashion capital rivaling Paris, and the center of arts and literature. New York Times has called it “the most beautiful city built by man”. Give me a few days more, and I might agree.

The wife and I stopped by an unmarked small pizza and ice-cream shop where we halved a focaccia stuffed generously with prosciutto ham, mushrooms, and Mozzarella cheese. We finished this off with green tea while standing and so, for an equivalent of 350 pesos, we had our first fine dinner in Venice. We would have wanted some of the tempting gelato, but we were full.

We walked and walked, observing the surroundings, the steeples, the various faces of homes, and the people. I am wont to lug my camera whenever I go but, this time, I purposely left it to be able to take all the images in with my naked eyes. Then it suddenly rained; we had no umbrella. The temperature was probably 16 degrees Celsius, meaning cold, and we got wet. After probably six kilometers and three hours of being lost, without panicking, giggling like children even, we got back to our hotel like drenched cats.

The wife and her dozen or so high school buddies, most of whom have retired from their successful careers, have promised to themselves that, as a gang, they will see parts of the world in the next few years. And whenever they do, they promised that they will bring no husbands, no boyfriends, and no significant others. But this time, I am the designated photographer.

These dragon women have conceived of a calendar spread of golden ladies – them in white beach ensemble at Santorini and in little black dresses in another exotic location. They needed someone with Sports Illustrated or Vogue ambitions to do the camera works. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse. May the Santo Papa help me.

Teach Your Children

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There is actually an international association of dental professionals who use eco-friendly methods.

It is called the Eco-Dentistry Association.And it offers six tips for improving dental health – and the environment.For a start, it recommends that children should start early.

It says dentistry is a healing experience and should not be traumatic. Trauma – and the fear of dental chairs and drills – is best prevented when one takes children to dental appointments at a young age.

Teach children to turn off the water while brushing the teeth.

Teenagers should try using night guards. These devices prevent damage caused by clenching and grinding related to stress.

Choose the night guard created by your dentist specific to the teenager’s bite. Be sure that it is not made of plastics potentially detrimental to the environment.

Select the appropriate mouthwash for children – the one that doesn’t contain alcohol. This is important because a tooth tonic or mouthwash should be introduced as a dental routine during the teenage years – and alcohol is certainly an ingredient that is not part of this.

Then try digital imaging. Although the technology is not so widespread in the Philippines, it is available and used in some clinics like Dr. Smile at The Podium in the Ortigas business center in Pasig and at SM North Edsa, The Annex, Lower Ground Level, Q.C.

These diagnostic images use less radiation than radiographs (also called X-rays). The digital images don’t degrade over time and are easily sent by e-mail to you, your dentists and other appropriate specialists.

And while we are dwelling on the topic of what’s the right dental care for our children, I will take this opportunity to offer a few advice for adults as well. Mind you, these recommendations come from no less than the American Dental Association.

Eating – and crunching ice cubes – is a favorite pastime, as if the cubes are part of the snacks as well. For that matter, include candy and popcorn that hasn’t popped, or any other hard chewables that should not be chewed or crunched.

This is a no-no habit as it can fracture teeth.

Clean teeth the right way. This is done by ridding of food debris the space between the gumline and the point where gum attaches to the tooth. Turn the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle in order for the bristles to reach out-of-the-way places.

Use dental floss in order to reach particularly deep pockets. Tie a single or double knot in the floss to reach food particles.

When flossing the back teeth, curve the thread around the tooth and push it underneath the gumline.

Change toothbrush regularly. A change is due when the outer bristles of the brush start to flare or look like overgrown bush instead of the straight lines they were on during first use.

Last but not least, stop smoking. Smoking is so destructive to teeth and gums that many gum specialists in the United States won’t even treat smokers with dental problems because they don’t respond well to treatment.

For more information, visit the American Dental Association’s Web site:

Dr. Joseph D. Lim is the Dean of the College of Dentistry, National University, President/CEO of Dr. Smile Dental Care & Laser Center and honorary fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy and the Japan College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail or text 0917-8591515.

Coral Protein Can Fight HIV

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National Cancer Institute researchers have discovered a new class of protein found in sea coral that appears able to prevent HIV from entering T cells. If the proteins can be adapted for use in sexual lubricants and gels, they could offer a new form of barrier against HIV infection.

The study findings featured at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego on 29 April.

Senior investigator Dr. Barry O’Keefe, deputy chief of the Molecular Targets Laboratory at the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), says:

“It’s always thrilling when you find a brand-new protein that nobody else has ever seen before. And the fact that this protein appears to block HIV infection – and to do it in a completely new way – makes this truly exciting.”

The team discovered the proteins while screening thousands of natural product extracts in an NCI biological repository. Belonging to a class called cnidarins, the proteins were found in feathery corals collected from the sea off the north coast of Australia.

Co-investigator Dr. Koreen Ramessar, an NCI research fellow, says the cnidarins can block HIV without making the virus resistant to other HIV drugs, making them ideal for inclusion in anti-HIV microbicides, for which there is a pressing need. Women can use anti-HIV gels and lubricants without having to rely on a man being willing to use a condom.

Dr. O’Keefe says, “even if the virus became resistant to these proteins, it would likely still be sensitive to all of the therapeutic options that are currently available.”

After purifying the proteins, the team tested them on lab strains of HIV. They found them to be remarkably potent. Even at concentrations as low as a billionth of a gram, the proteins could block HIV and prevent the first step in the virus’ transmission where it penetrates T cells in the immune system.

The cnidarins appear to bind to the virus and stop it fusing with the membrane of the T cell. Dr. Ramessar says this is “completely different from what we’ve seen with other proteins, so we think the cnidarin proteins have a unique mechanism of action.”

Belonging to a class called cnidarins, the proteins were found in corals collected off the north coast of Australia.

The team now plans to improve ways to produce the proteins in larger quantities so they can be tested more extensively, for instance to find any side effects or if they might work against other viruses.

Dr. O’Keefe says this will be an important step, commenting that “you can’t strip the Earth of this coral trying to harvest this protein.”

The team found the proteins in the NCI’s large repository of natural product extracts, which collects natural specimens from around the world with the consent of their countries of origin. The repository is available to scientists across the US.

Dr. O’Keefe describes the NCI repository as a “national treasure,” where “you never know what you might find.”

He says he hopes news of discoveries like this one will encourage more scientists to use the repository.

In November 2013, Medical News Today learned how another study led by Swansea University in the UK and reported in the journal Nature Materials suggested bone grafts may be better with new sea coral material. The small trial in 16 patients found refining sea coral into coralline hydroxyapatite/calcium carbonate made it more compatible and degradable for use in bone grafts than a currently used derivative.

(Catharine Paddock, PhD/Medical News Today)

Middle East Virus Is Potential Global Threat

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By Nicole Ann M. Aguila

A virus threat is something to be alarmed about, because it may not only occur in the Middle East, but also spread around the globe. Filipinos might think that we would not become susceptible to this kind of illness. But that is not true, because we are not superhuman.  Infection by the said virus is always possible, especially because migration from country to country happens on a regular basis.

These past few weeks, the MERS-CoV-related news doesn’t fail to pop up on the news headlines. This deadly virus, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, has already taken 27 lives out of 49 infected individuals.

Last August 29, 2013, a Pinay nurse who suffered from pneumonia, which is one of the severe indications of MERS-CoV, has been confirmed positive for the said virus. A male overseas Filipino worker who only just got back in Manila was also tested positive for the MERS-CoV.

DOH Secretary Enrique Ona believed that the OFW, who is also a nurse, had interaction with the infected person in the UAE. The male health worker was put on confinement.

“He has no symptoms.  He has the virus but he is not sick with it.  But he still can infect others so we put him in isolation.  We can say that he’s a carrier.  It means he was exposed to the virus,” Ona said.

The OFW was observed for five days to see if he still has the virus. Secretary Ona also added that there is a probability that he might get sick or can infect others in two weeks.

After repeating the examination by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the OFW was declared cleared from MERS-CoV virus, according to Ona.

They will also be tracing the seatmates on the plane and other people that the person interacted with so that they would be assessed, observed and quarantined if needed. This is to make sure that these people are not infected and had no symptoms. These are all preventive procedures. Government will also take up the expenditures of those who will get ill with MERS-CoV or get quarantined.

Undersecretary Eric Tayag said on Twitter that the Philippines became the 12th country and the first in Asia with confirmed cases of MERS-CoV. But there were reports that a Malaysian was the first person in Asia to capitulate to the said virus.

“To contain MERS-CoV spread, quarantine those who had contact with known infection and isolate those who became sick after contact with a known case,” Secretary Ona also tweeted.

This deadly virus can easily spread throughout the country and even become the next ‘SARS’ if it is not given sufficient attention. To be protected from it, Filipinos need to be educated about this virus threat. After all, prevention is better than cure.

(Ms. Aguila is currently an intern for OpinYon. She is an incoming fourth year student in AB Communication Arts in Malayan College in Cabuyao, Laguna.)


Dentists Can Identify Deadly Disease

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The dental chair could be the seat of detecting the early signs of diabetes.

And a dental visit, according to researchers at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, is an excellent chance to identify unrecognized and pre-diabetes conditions.

It is an excellent opportunity to intervene in the epidemic by identifying individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes who are unaware of their condition, the researchers say in a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

The statistics add up. Gum disease is an early complication of diabetes, and about 70 percent of American adults see a dentist at least once a year, says Dr. Ira Lamster, the senior author of the paper and Dean of the College of Dental Medicine.

That could be a window of opportunity for dental care to play a significant role in the detection and prevention of diabetes, the incidence of which is increasing here and abroad.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in four Americans affected with type 2 diabetes remains undiagnosed. And those with pre-diabetes are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and also for heart disease, stroke and other vascular conditions typical of individuals with diabetes.

The window of opportunity is not wishful thinking because researchers found that only two dental parameters – the number of missing teeth and percentage of deep pockets caused by gum disease – were effective in identifying patients with unrecognized pre-diabetes or diabetes.

The researchers found this out among some 600 individuals who visited a dental clinic in New York’s Northern Manhattan. These individuals had never been told they have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

About 530 patients with at least one additional self-reported diabetes risk factor (family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension or the risk of obesity) received a gum examination and a finger-stick and a hemoglobin A1c test which indicates whether an individual has diabetes or pre-diabetes.

“Early recognition of diabetes has been the focus of efforts from medical and public health colleagues for years, as early treatment of affected individuals can limit the development of many serious complications,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Evanthia Lalla, an Associate Professor at the College of Dental Medicine.

“Relatively simple lifestyle changes in pre-diabetic individuals can prevent progression to diabetes, so identifying this group of individuals is also important,” she adds. “Our findings provide a simple approach that can be easily used in all dental-care settings.”

The study sought to develop and evaluate an identification protocol for high blood sugar levels in dental patients and was supported by a research grant from Colgate-Palmolive, the College of Dental Medicine says in a press statement, adding the authors report no potential financial or other conflicts.