Category Archives: health

The Tale of the Scale

scale

Since January I’ve been dieting, trying to trim back to a more modest size. To date I’ve lost twenty pounds. No, I don’t want to know where they have gone. No, don’t try to send your extra pounds to me either.

When asked how I did it, I repeat Jack Lalane’s advice. “If you put something in your mouth and it tastes good, spit it out.” Actually, it’s not that bad.

Recently, I’ve plateaued and became a bit paranoid. I began to think that my scales were part of an industrial complex conspiracy, led by Weight Watchers. How could I be certain that I really knew my weight?

Simple solution. I belong to a gym. They had one of those old fashioned scales with the weights and the arm, where you zip the weight back and forth. You know the type I mean. Doctors’ offices have them. I decided to weigh myself at the gym and then at home with the same outfit to see how close they were.

At the gym I stepped on the scales and it told me I was ten pounds heavier that I weighed at home. Now I was dressed and it was afternoon, so I did expect a bit of a difference, about five pounds to be honest.

As I left the gym, I remarked to the person at the desk how much I hated the scale. She suggested I try the one in the intake room.

This scale was a miracle of modern technology. I had to tell it my height and my age. In return it told me my weight, my percent of body fat, my BMI, and some other things I am not prepared to share. Then I came home, and weighed myself once more, in the same clothes.

The difference in my weight between the two scales was half a pound. The scale at the gym determined that I was heavier than the scale at home.

Now I am sitting and wondering. Which scale is correct?

 

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net

 

 

Murder by Medication/food Interaction

grapefruit

One of the fun things about writing is figuring new and interesting crimes. I sure hope no one is checking my Web searches. I could be in trouble.

I had an idea for a crime story. The perfect murder would be one caused by something no one expected to cause a problem. However, Mythbusters have destroyed a lot of great ideas, especially the ones with disappearing bullets made of frozen meat or ice. Darn party poopers.

I decided on death by medication. Right, killing someone with their own meds. How? Having the medicine interact with some food or drink. Everyone knows about drugs and alcohol, so I decided to search for something new. And I found a bunch, not fatal ones, but still interesting.

Bronchodilators treat and prevent breathing problems from bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The combination of the Bronchodilators and caffeine can create side effects, such as excitability, nervousness, and rapid heartbeat.

ACE inhibitors alone or with other medicines lower blood pressure. It also increases the amount of potassium in your body. Too much potassium can be harmful and can cause an irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations. It would interact with foods high in potassium, such as bananas, oranges, green leafy vegetables, and salt substitutes that contain potassium.

Glycosides, such as digoxin, treat heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. They help control the heart rate and help the heart work better. Foods high in fiber may decrease the digoxin in your body. Digoxin with black licorice (which contains the glycyrrhizin) can cause irregular heart beat and heart attack.

Thyroid medicines control hypothyroidism but they don’t cure it. They reverse the symptoms. Coffee and Black tea reduce the medicine’s effectiveness by up to 35%.

Antipsychotics treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and acute manic or mixed episodes from bipolar disorder. Caffeine can increase the amount of medicine in your blood and cause side effects.

MAO inhibitors treat depression. Someone who eats an excessive amount of chocolate after taking an MAO inhibitor may experience a sharp rise in blood pressure.

Grapefruit and its juice are especially nasty. It increases the absorption of the drug into the bloodstream, creating a higher concentration of a drug. With Statins this can lead to liver damage. It can also interact with some blood pressure drugs, organ transplant rejection drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, anti-arrhythmia drugs and antihistamines.

Pomegranate juice has its own list of drugs it can interact with. In its case it increases the impact by slowing the body’s ability to break down the drugs.

I decided to stop before I got into herbal medications. I’m certain there are murderous combinations of herbs and medications. Would you like a cup of Foxglove tea?

So, death by coffee, banana, chocolate, bran, or licorice. Choices. Choices. Now I have the murder, all I have to discover is how the murderer trips up. That’s the trouble with writing. It’s one problem after another.

 

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net

Finding a Dojo

Well I thought about Tai Chi. I researched and found classes in the 108 step form, the traditional one of the Taoist Tai Chi Society. I attended a class and remembered why I keep leaving Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is demanding, while appearing very easy. That’s why those little old Chinese women in the park on a sunny afternoon are so full of energy. They have been practicing it for years. The advocates will tell you that Tai Chi will regulate body weight, improve cognitive, lung, digestive and heart functioning as well as skin tone and bone structure. It helps people with back pain, and acts as a moving meditation to reduce anxiety. When I’m another fifteen years older I’ll probably go back to it again.

I remember the last time I studied it. That summer I tried playing badminton in a Tai Chi manner. It didn’t work. At this point in my life I need something younger.

As a child my father taught me boxing, and sent me to learn Judo. I learned that Judo is blind to a punch in the nose. As a teenager I tried Shotokan Karate. I didn’t stick at it. Years later I tried Gōjū-ryū karate. Then I moved. After I while I found a new school and tried it once more. I have my yellow belt twice, which is not as good as an orange belt.

It took me a while to realize that my problem with Karate was with Karate. I didn’t mind the fifty pushups and sit ups. I didn’t mind training with people half my age. That sharpened me up. Studying katas, and practicing kicks, block and blows that I never saw used in sparring, felt confusing.

This time around I vowed, no Karate. Besides, I’m older, slower and stiffer. I want something my stiff old body could use if I needed to get myself out of trouble. The ads for Krav Maga, and at first it looked perfect. A system designed for self-defense.

I researched. Hmmm. I had a feeling it would include fifty pushups and sit ups. I looked at clips on YouTube presenting various tactics. I agreed with their philosophy which was to get free and get gone when trouble approached. Then I watched a clip of how to defend against a robber with a gun. The robber stood holding the gun at arm’s length with one hand. Who does that? When the instructor got control of the gun he used a two hand grip. I did some research on the Web. Critics of Krav Maga didn’t say nice things.

A few years ago, I was stuck in Jacksonville Beach for a couple of months. I found a little dojo in something called Wing Chun. Now that’s a Southern (Chinese) form of Kung Fu that was originally developed to allow the weak to protect themselves from the strong. I took a couple months of classes while my engine was repaired. I liked it. Well I liked much of it.

Wing Chun is Chinese boxing. It puts the emphasis on relaxation, centerline, and balance. The instructor described it as old man boxing. Best of all, I was not expected to kick anyone in the head. I didn’t have to do all that stretching.

I’ve found a couple of schools that teach Wing Chun around me. Next week I’ll take a look at them and see which one fits better. Evidently there are eleven different types or branches of Wing Chun. I have no idea what I’ll find.

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net

Walk or Die

Target_Heart_Rate

“Psst buddy,” the voice said, “Start walking or die.” That voice might not come from a street punk but from your family doctor.

In the United States, Veterans Affairs studied more than fifteen thousand men to see if there was a link between cardio capacity and death. In a nutshell there was. The better the cardio capacity, the lower the chance of death.

The leader of the study, Professor Kokkinos and his associates tested more than six thousand African-American men and almost nine thousand Caucasian men for a period between May 1983 and December 2006. The subjects were put on a treadmill and encouraged to walk until tired or showing symptoms of distress. The subjects were followed for the next 7.5 years and death rates were tracked.

The study grouped subjects into four categories from “low fit” to “very highly fit” depending on their cardiac capacity. Men in the “very highly fit” category were seventy percent less likely to die.

Why does walking/jogging/cycling help? Regular cardio exercise will lower your weight, improve your blood pressure, reduce your stress, and more. The heart is like any other muscle. Training it will improve its capacity do to work, to pump blood around your body. One of the places that the blood goes is back to the heart.

As you train the heart, it adapts. Within your heart are coronary collaterals, tiny blood vessels that are no thicker than a fine hair. Normally they carry little or no blood. However, if the coronary arteries start to narrow the collaterals respond by gradually increasing in size and number. This process is called collateralization. In effect the heart grows new coronary artery branches to move blood around a narrowed segment. It’s a natural bypass, one without the zipper scar down the front of your chest.

Animal studies have shown that regular exercise is a great stimulus to collateralization. Furthermore, this collateralization has been shown to improve survival after an experimentally induced heart attack (in animals). (If they start human induce heart attacks, I have a long list of people I would like to volunteer.)

What Exercises help?

Anything that gets you up and moving will help the heart. This includes walking, jogging, bike riding. Given the human form, exercise that uses the legs or the entire body will tend to improve cardiac health faster than those that put a premium on the upper body, such as swimming, or rowing.

Bored with walking? Try dancing, golf (without the cart) or tennis. If you have never tried square dancing, you’ll find it works for both the mind and the body as you try to remember all those calls while moving at a brisk pace.

How much?

They used to suggest five days at 50 minutes per day. However, the latest research suggests that the sweet spot is less effort than that.

Longer, less frequent sessions of aerobic exercise have no clear advantage over shorter, more frequent sessions of activity. Any type of aerobic activity contributes to cardiovascular fitness. In fact, even divided “doses” of activity — such as three 10-minute walks spread throughout the day — offer aerobic benefits. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.

In the Copenhagen City Heart study, researchers identified and tracked 1,098 healthy joggers and 413 healthy (but sedentary) non-joggers over a span of 12 years. Logged hours of jogging, frequency, and the participant’s perception of pace were all record.

The findings were surprising, if not a little worrisome. Fast-paced runners and people who jog strenuously and frequently were just as likely to die as those who didn’t jog at all. The optimal frequency of jogging was no more than three times (about 150 minutes) per week.

So aim for about 150 minutes a week. Ten minutes after ever meal will get you there with ease, and let you take the weekend off.

Optimum Training range

For best results you want to walk fast enough to get your heart’s attention and slowly enough that you don’t run out of breath. Walk fast enough to break out a sweat, but not so fast that you can’t talk.

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net

 

Biking in Fort Lauderdale

Riverwalk

I’m not crazy about Fort Lauderdale, but I find it fine for riding around on a bicycle. To begin with it is as flat as a pancake, no, flatter. The closest things to a hill are the bridges that cross the New River. The Interstate highways don’t cut the city into pieces. US. 1 is tame within the city.

Many local businesses and facilities have bike racks. This includes the Main Library, Publix, MacDonald’s Hardware, the Bally Matrix Health Club, and even the local Sunrise Cinema. Strangely the U.S. Post office didn’t. When I mentioned this absence to the employees, they gave me that look normally reserved for the pitifully stupid.

With a bike, I could explore the RiverWalk that runs through the center of Fort Lauderdale. The RiverWalk is an area along the New River that has been set aside for parks and historical buildings. It begins at the historic Stranahan House and winds along the river to the Broward Center for the Performing arts. In between you can find restaurants, museums, and cultural events. This can include Jazz on a Sunday afternoon, movies in the park after dark.

When on my bike, I could stop to admire a building or investigate and event without blocking traffic. I never had to search for parking even on the trendiest parts of East Las Olas Blvd. Even the beach was in reach by bike.

There are a number of bike lanes in Fort Lauderdale’s center core where I was riding. At other times I found the sidewalks more convenient. Fortunately in most places the sidewalk is modified for bikes and wheelchairs at most intersections. Since almost no one walks in this city, you can ride the sidewalk without a care.

That doesn’t mean the sidewalks are ideal for riding. The city officials have decided that the sidewalks are the ideal place for posts, fire hydrants, and other obstacles. Along U.S. 1, you will find posts to support the traffic lights. These posts are about eighteen inches in diameter and smack in the middle of the sidewalk giving you about a foot on either side. It must be a fearful city for the blind to walk.

On the whole, despite the warnings from the natives, I have found the drivers patient and forgiving. None have intentionally tried to run me off the road, or else they were extremely inept at it. The traffic in the downtown core isn’t bad, except for the peak of rush hour, which lasts less than an hour.

Public transit in Fort Lauderdale is also bike friendly. All the city buses are fitted with a bike carrier in the front. With the cost of a bus ride only one dollar, you can use them to stretch your travel distance.

If you consider a thirty-minute bike ride acceptable, most of the city is within your reach. You can ride from downtown Fort Lauderdale to the beach in about that time.

For a bicyclist, Fort Lauderdale is surprisingly accessible for an American city.

 

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net

What Star Trek TNG got right and wrong – 2

We have created some of the Star Trek technology in the last twenty-five-years. In other places we still have to a ways to go. Now TNG showed us the dream. What has been done to make the vision real?

 

What’s happened with the hypospray? That was a medical device to inject liquids into the body. It used compressed air to deposit the injectant into the subdermal layer below the skin of the body, or artery, without the use of a needle. It turns out that this wasn’t 24th century technology, even when TNG was in production. High pressure air injectors have been used by the military as a common initial entry vaccination method since at least the mid 1980’s. There are several models on the market today, principally used by the U.S. military. These devices used compressed air or co2 gas.

 

The latest entrant into the field is a device from MIT. This device uses a Lorentz-force actuator – a small, powerful magnet surrounded by a coil of wire that’s attached to a piston inside the drug ampule. No compressed air required.

 

However these devices do not inject into an artery and are not as safe as first thought. The jet injector breaks the barrier of the skin, so potential biological material can be transferred from one user to the next. One study tested the fluid remaining in the injector for blood after an injection, and found enough to pass on a virus. Blowback from the injection is still a problem. The World Health Organization no longer recommends jet injectors for vaccination due to risks of disease transmission. That’s why you haven’t seen a hypospray in your doctor’s office.

 

What happened to the medical tricorder? There’s actually an X-prize for creating one. The ten finalists have been chosen, and they must demonstrate their devices on humans in 2015 with three winners to be announced in 2016. Top prize is seven million dollars (U.S.). Part of the problem is definition. The medical tricorder of TNG acted could X-ray bones, scan organs like an MRI, test blood and analyze pathogens. That’s a lot in a hand-held device.

 

Specialized devices such as blood sugar monitors have made great strides in the last twenty years. Ask any diabetic. Another specialized testing device uses an app, a smart phone and the smartphone’s camera to deliver screening without the need for laboratories and highly trained staff.

 

For much of the world even this technology is out of reach. Cost is a consideration. Recently, in an attempt to do a mass test for cervical cancer, India resorted to less expensive solution. The test involves swabbing the cervix with vinegar, which turns the precancerous tumors white. The results can be seen in minutes. Using this test and some liquid nitrogen reduced cancer deaths by 31 percent in the testing area. This could save over 72,000 lives if used worldwide. It’s not sexy technology but it gets the job done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net

Aclaimed poets you never heard of

Poetry is a funny topic. Although it was probably the first human literature and probably predated even writing, we see almost none today. Most famous poets including Lord Byron had to pay to publish their writing. While the words may stir the heart, and live forever, the writers are often forgotten.

No, I don’t write poetry. I have a great respect for those that do and read more than a little of it. However, I lack the patience a poet needs.

The other day I went looking for poetry on the Internet and found more than I could read in the rest of my lifetime. It appears that poets continue to self-publish. Today they use websites. So I tried a different tactic. Instead I went looking for poets. I turned to the term Poet Laureate. This is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, who is often expected to compose poems for special events and occasions.

There are Poet Laureates for a number of countries, a number of American States, and sometimes cities, or universities. Lots of alternatives. You might search for this term for your own country. So I started with Canada.

What a disappointment. Canada only began the practice in 2001. All the Canadian poets I am familiar with from school and other reading would never have had this opportunity.

The list of Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureates is a follows:

  •     George Bowering (2002–2004)
  •    Pauline Michel (2004–2006)
  •    John Steffler (2006–2008)
  •    Pierre DesRuisseaux (2009–2011)
  •    Fred Wah (2011–2013)
  •    Michel Pleau (2014–present)

I won’t be publishing any of their poems but you might want to search the internet for them.

More on this later.

 

 

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net

 

Days to Christmas

It’s just days to Christmas (Seasonal Holiday if you insist).  A couple of years ago, I came down with a terrible cold on Christmas morning. I mean terrible. A faucet instead of a nose type cold.  Nothing helped. I should have worn a sign saying ‘unclean’ and rung a bell as I moved from room to room.

Well I limped through the day since we had guests over and then tumbled into bed and stayed there for the next two days.

There’s a cold circulating again this Christmas.

Studies on the common cold in England have determined that colds are not spread by wet feet, uncovered heads, or even cold weather. Furthermore, they showed that French kissing didn’t transmit a cold either.  However, handshaking did. (I’m not suggesting that you French kiss instead of shaking hands.)

Why? Saliva doesn’t carry the virus. It’s the mucus from the respiratory track that does. This is an example of what happens.

George who doesn’t know he has a cold yet, rubs his nose, probably in the washroom. He comes out, and wishes you a ‘Happy Holiday’ with a handshake. You go on your way and rub your eye. Bingo you will have the cold in two to four days.

How to avoid a cold? Skip the handshake and give George a hug instead. (Note: If George is running a high fever and sweating, just give him a fist bump instead. He might have Ebola. <That was a joke, son.>)

Wash your hands often. Carry a hand sanitizing spritzer. Train yourself to stop touching your face, at least with your right hand. Those will all help.

If you do get a cold, remember there’s no cure. It will last seven to ten days. All you can do is get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Zinc lozenges can help shorten the cold if you chew them all the time in the first couple of days.

Best to avoid the cold in the first place, so you can enjoy the season.

 

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net

 

Get the Flu Shot

November first fell on a Saturday this year. On that Saturday I went to the local Flu Shot clinic and received my shot for this year. Since I live in Canada, the flu shot cost me nothing, not a penny.

Why? Several years ago, the government of the province on Ontario weighed the cost of a free flu shot for everyone, versus the cost of hospitalizing victims of the flu. Providing vaccinations proved to be much less expensive. The key is everyone. With 60% or more of the population vaccinated, the flu won’t spread.

Every year between three thousand and fifty thousand Americans die from the flu. That’s the dead ones, not the ones that end up in hospital for days or weeks. During the 2012-13 flu season the CDC estimated that more than thirty-two million had the flu and more than 381,000 Americans were hospitalized for it. (In that period Boston declared a public health emergency over the flu.)

I know. You don’t get the flu shot and never had the flu. You have a special immunity to all disease as a result of Divine intervention. The flu is no big deal anyway.

Just think about this. The initial symptoms of the Flu and Ebola are similar; temperature, sweating, coughing, and so forth. If you feel sick, is it Ebola, or the Flu? Imagine you go to the hospital and they put you in isolation until they are certain. Or that you have to wait in a room filled with sick people.

Take the easy way out. Get the shot.

 

 

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net

Ebola Spreads

Ebola. If you have never heard of this disease, you are truly out of touch with the world.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a disease caused by a virus that begins very much like the flu. Symptoms first appear between two and twenty days after the person is infected. This is a hemorrhagic fever, meaning that the infected person will bleed from various parts of the body. Between 50 and 90% of the people infected will die as a result.

There is no vaccine. There is no treatment, but some experimental ones are being developed.

Dead bodies can transmit the disease. The semen of a recovering man can spread the disease up to 50 days later.

Scared yet?

Good news about Ebola.

Only contact with blood or other bodily fluids from the sick spreads Ebola. It does not become contagious until after the symptoms appear. The disease was first detected in 1976. It has never spread from to the rest of the world

This current outbreak began in March of this year. It began in Guinea. It spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Most recent it has spread to Nigeria. Normally Ebola kills so quickly and completely that it wipes people out before they can spread the disease very far, especially in a rural setting.

Why does Ebola appear in rural settings? Scientists believe that the disease has a natural reservoir in the population of fruit bats. The fruit bats are also a form of bush meat in rural communities.

Why is this outbreak different?

The disease has not burned itself out. It has spread instead. Furthermore, it’s spread from rural to urban settings. Lagos, Nigeria has a population of 21 million. That’s much larger than Monrovia, which only had four hundred thousand citizens.

From these cities, cases or potential cases have appeared in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Benin and Uganda. The miracle of modern air travel brings people across the globe in hours.

How are conditions in Monrovia, Liberia?

Initially the people of the city denied that the disease actually existed insisting it was only a plot by the government to take greater control, and spend more money. (Sound like Republicans?) Then the rumors began. Doctors are harvesting organs from those that die for rich Europeans. Someone poisoned the water in the wells.

The reality is worse than the rumors. Medical staff have left their jobs to avoid the disease. For this reason, people with other diseases cannot find treatment. People are afraid to go to the hospital in case they are forced into quarantine with those infected with Ebola. Food prices are rising faster than the death toll.

Desperate to avoid the quarantine, people drag the dying from their houses to leave them in the streets.

In rural areas, aid workers and nurses in hazmat-like suits have been threatened and attacked.

The government has declared a state of emergency. It has closed schools and forbidden large gatherings.

British Airways has suspended its flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Troops have been deployed to quarantine the border.

Yet life continues.

The city is open, but different. Before entering a building, you must wash your hands in chlorinated water. The locals quip, “Our hands will really get white.” Some people are wearing masks and gloves. No touching. Many institutions have asked non-essential staff to stay home.

Finally, true to their nature, some politicians have attacked the government’s approach to fighting the disease.

What lies in the Future?

Despite the media campaign, there remains a strong distrust for the government’s efforts. With medical staff getting sick or deserting their posts, and the closure of one hospital in Monrovia, medical treatment for any illness is more difficult.

There have been riots because the government is too slow to pick up the bodies of the dead along the road. To speed this up the government is turning to cremation instead of burial.

Imagine Lagos, a city that is forty times as large. There are nine confirmed cases there.

To confirm Ebola, a blood sample must be taken, deactivated, and then tested for a specific genetic material. This can take more than forty-eight hours.

We can only hope that governments and people take the middle way. Life must continue. Trucks must carry food to the stores, and the fuel to the gas stations. On the other hand, vigilance, and care are required.

As for me. I think I’ll watch Contagion again, pick up some hand sanitizer, gloves and a mask, just in case.

Latest news:

Zambia has banned entry to all people coming from the West African nations where the Ebola virus has broken out. It becomes the second African nation after Ghana to impose a travel ban.

Test have shown that the suspected cases in Saudi Arabia, New York,  Ontario and Hong Kong  were not Ebola.

Nigeria has banned movement of dead bodies from within and outside the country as part of its measures to avoid the spread of the Ebola virus.

The Christian Council of Ghana has dismissed suggestions that the Ebola disease that has hit some West African countries is a punishment from God.

Contractors at ArcelorMittal SA’s iron ore mine in Liberia are evacuating the country and other miners are sending staff home to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Romanian health authorities said on Sunday that a 51-year-old Romanian man suspected of having contracted a severe infectious disease during a visit to Nigeria last month did not have Ebola.

Even later

In Nigeria, health officials say they have ten confirmed cases and two deaths.

In Sierra Leone all bars, cinemas, video parlors and nightclubs were told to stop their activities. All “mushroom” and private health clinics must stop their operations. The Sierra Leone Police will organize regular patrols to prevent illegal activities including unauthorized movement of Ebola-infected persons. Non-essential travel will be restricted between the Ebola epicentres of Kenema and Kailahun and the rest of the country.

Monday snippets

The Nigerian Government has set up an isolated area at Mainland Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

In the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos,  a middle -aged man slumped and died, while queuing up to get the yellow card. The new Minister of Aviation, Mr Osita Chidoka, was on tour of the Lagos Airport for the first time when he and his entourage stumbled on the corpse.

An airplane traveling over Norway was forced to land in Trondheim after a coughing fit in an African passenger triggered an Ebola panic.

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan  has stated that worshippers would henceforth receive the Holy Communion bread in their palms instead of the usual practice of sticking out their tongues to receive the bread. He also suspended the shaking of hands, a practice usually observed regularly during church service.

Tuesday

In Liberia people are turning to traditional healers to combat Ebola.  Some try exorcism performed in the church with touching and chanting. Other healers rub the body with limes and onions.

Con men sell ‘Ebola vaccinations’ in the markets.

In Nigera, rumor has it that Ebola can be prevented with ordinary hot water with salt. Two leading Nigerian newspapers, citing unnamed sources, reported that excessive salt consumption led to two deaths and 20 hospitalizations.

Wednesday and Thursday Snippets

Guinea, where the outbreak has killed at least 377, declared a “health emergency” on Wednesday and ordered strict controls at border points and a ban on moving bodies.

The United States ordered the evacuation of diplomats’ families from Sierra Leone.

The National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) on Thursday said that people who have contract Ebola would not be allowed to  perform this year’s pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Over 60,000 Nigerians are expected to participate in the 2014 hajj.

In Sierra Leone, the country’s chief medical officer, Dr Brima Kargbo, told of the difficulties facing health workers. “We still have to break the chain of transmission to separate the infected from the uninfected. There is a rejection among people of the existence of Ebola and hostility towards health workers.”

The Ebola virus has killed 56 people in just two days, bringing the global death toll to 1069, the World Health Organization says. The number of confirmed infections jumped by 128. New cases and deaths had been registered in all four west African countries.

Friday and Saturday

Makers of dietary supplements aggressively targeting Africans, claiming to have a cure for the lethal virus. Natural Solutions Foundation said that it’s product contains microscopic silver particles. Rima E. Laibow, posted an “open to heads of Ebola-impacted states,” dated July 29, claiming that NanoSilver cured Ebola.

Several widely available drugs that were initially developed to treat patients with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes may be effective. They don’t treat the Ebola, but they reduce the chances of organ failure from Ebola, which decrease mortality rates. This suggestion came from David S. Fedson,  a retired professor of medicine at the University of Virginia, and  Steven M. Opal,  a professor of medicine at Brown University.

Finally the World Health Organization (WHO) is reconsidering a potential Ebola treatment tried as far back as 1976. The treatment uses the blood of people who have recovered from an infection to treat those still fighting the virus. Convalescent serum has been used in other outbreaks (eg in China during SARS).

Kenya Airways has suspended commercial flight operations to Liberia and Sierra Leone temporarily effective Tuesday 19th August 2014.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month issued the first extensive guidelines for hospitals on how recognize and treat Ebola patients. The C.D.C. says that health care workers treating Ebola patients need only wear gloves, a fluid-resistant gown, eye protection and a face mask to prevent becoming infected.

No “moon suits”. Not everyone agrees.

Sunday

A crowd of several hundred local residents, chanting, ‘No Ebola in West Point,’ drove away the burial team and their police escort. The mob then forced open an Ebola isolation ward and took the patients out, many saying that the Ebola epidemic is a hoax. The isolation center, a closed primary school originally built by USAID, was being used by the Liberian health ministry to temporarily isolate people suspected of carrying the virus. Some 10 patients had ‘escaped’ the building the night before, according to a nurse, as the center had no medicine to treat them.

Monday

the number of Ebola virus cases surpasses 1,600 in four African countries.

The authorities in countries affected by Ebola should check people departing at international airports, seaports and major border crossings and stop any with signs of the virus from traveling, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday.

Beware of Ebola virus e-mails! Cashing in on the Ebola virus syndrome, cyber criminals are using the fear of the virus as bait leading to malware infections. Anti-virus experts have already found three malware operations and one phishing campaign using the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa as a social engineering theme.

Tuesday

  • Cases in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak this year have risen to 2,240, including 1,229 deaths, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

In parts of Liberia they cannot bury the dead because they have no body bags.

The Liberian government has imposed a night time curfew.

Wednesday

Riot police and soldiers acting on their president’s orders used scrap wood and barbed wire to seal off 50,000 people inside their Liberian slum Wednesday, trying to contain the Ebola outbreak.

Liberian soldiers on Wednesday fired into a crowd of young men who were trying to escape a quarantine that cordoned off an Ebola-stricken neighborhood in the capital.

More than 700 Air France crewmembers, including pilots, have signed the petition. “They say we are trained to spot Ebola,” he told Le Figaro. “That’s false. We’re not trained to do anything other than put on rubber gloves and surgical masks and lock suspected patients in the lavatories. That’s not enough.”

Air France is the last remaining major European airline still flying directly to the Ebola-affected West African cities of Conakry, Guinea, and Freetown, Sierra Leone, causing ample concern.

The authorities in countries affected by Ebola should check people departing at international airports, seaports and major border crossings and stop any with signs of the virus from traveling, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/world/more-world-stories/story/ebola-hit-countries-must-screen-all-departing-travellers-says-wh#sthash.fgyfqbUb.dpuf
The authorities in countries affected by Ebola should check people departing at international airports, seaports and major border crossings and stop any with signs of the virus from traveling, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/world/more-world-stories/story/ebola-hit-countries-must-screen-all-departing-travellers-says-wh#sthash.fgyfqbUb.dpuf

On a Different Topic

I’ve been tracking down my stories that are available on the Internet and setting up pointers to them from my website. If you haven’t visited it recently, you’ll find new material.

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net