Saturday, April 28, 2012

Why Some Guys Laugh Their Heads Off.....

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Why Some Guys Laugh Their Heads Off  While Others Cringe in Horror

Read this is a bricklayer’s accident report that was printed in the newsletter of the English equivalent of SOCSO, the Social Security Organization of Malaysia (aka  PERKESO or Pertubuhan Keselamatan Sosial). So here, thanks to John Sedgwick, is his report*

Dear Sir;

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put “Poor Planning” as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which when weighed later were found to weigh 240 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 240 lbs of bricks. You will note on the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3, accident reporting form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs. I refer you again to my weight. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin its journey back onto me.



Click HERE to verify its authenticity. Remember, it's John's, not Jibby's report!   

Harvard Medical School: 10 simple steps to help de-stress

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There is no shortage of angst-inducing news these days: natural disasters, economic woes, political unrest. Add to this backdrop stresses in our personal lives, layoffs, illness, money woes, temper tantrums, and traffic jams, and it is clear that stressful situations are constant and inevitable.

Just as serious as the stressors themselves are the adverse effects stress can have on your emotional and physical health. Many well-respected studies link stress to heart disease and stroke — the No. 1 and No. 3 causes of death, respectively, in the United States. Stress is also implicated in a host of other ailments such as depression and anxiety, chronic lower respiratory diseases, asthma flare-ups, rheumatoid arthritis, and gastrointestinal problems.

Stress is not all bad. Your perception of a real or imagined threat can spark the stress response, which prepares the body to fight or flee. That swift reflex was encoded in you for survival. Thanks to the stress response, you might suddenly jump out of the path of a speeding car or flee from a burning house. But when your stress response is evoked repeatedly, your body experiences unnecessary wear and tear — such as high blood pressure — that can lead to poor health.

Even if you only have a few minutes to spare, the stress-busting suggestions described below can make your days calmer, if not easier.

Take the sting out of 10 common stressors

Sometimes just thinking about embarking on a program of stress control can be stressful. Rather than freeze in your tracks, start small and bask in the glow of your successes. Give yourself a week to focus on practical solutions that could help you cope with just one stumbling block or source of stress in your life. Pick a problem, and see if these suggestions work for you.

  1. Frequently late? Apply time management principles. Consider your priorities (be sure to include time for yourself) and delegate or discard unnecessary tasks. Map out your day, segment by segment, setting aside time for different tasks, such as writing or phone calls. If you are overly optimistic about travel time, consistently give yourself an extra 15 minutes or more to get to your destinations. If lateness stems from dragging your heels, consider the underlying issue. Are you anxious about what will happen after you get to work or to a social event, for example? Or maybe you’re trying to jam too many tasks into too little time.
  2. Often angry or irritated? Consider the weight of cognitive distortions. Are you magnifying a problem, leaping to conclusions, or applying emotional reasoning? Take the time to stop, breathe, reflect, and choose.
  3. Unsure of your ability to do something? Don’t try to go it alone. If the problem is work, talk to a co-worker or supportive boss. Ask a knowledgeable friend or call the local library or an organization that can supply the information you need. Write down other ways that you might get the answers or skills you need. Turn to CDs, books, or classes, for example, if you need a little tutoring. This works equally well when you’re learning relaxation response techniques, too.
  4. Overextended? Clear the deck of at least one time-consuming household task by hiring help. If you can, hire a housecleaning service, shop for groceries through the Internet, convene a family meeting to consider who can take on certain jobs, or barter with or pay teens for work around the house and yard. Consider what is truly essential and important to you and what might take a backseat right now.
  5. Not enough time for stress relief? Try mini-relaxations. Or make a commitment to yourself to pare down your schedule for just one week so you can practice evoking the relaxation response every day. Slowing down to pay attention to just one task or pleasure at hand is an excellent method of stress relief.
  6. Feeling unbearably tense? Try massage, a hot bath, mini-relaxations, a body scan, or a mindful walk. Practically any exercise — a brisk walk, a quick run, a sprint up and down the stairs — will help, too. Done regularly, exercise wards off tension, as do relaxation response techniques.
  7. Frequently feel pessimistic? Remind yourself of the value of learned optimism: a more joyful life and, quite possibly, better health. Practice deflating cognitive distortions. Rent funny movies and read amusing books. Create a mental list of reasons you have to feel grateful. If the list seems too short, consider beefing up your social network and adding creative, productive, and leisure pursuits to your life.
  8. Upset by conflicts with others? State your needs or distress directly, avoiding “you always” or “you never” zingers. Say, “I feel _____ when you _____.” “I would really appreciate it if you could _____.” “I need some help setting priorities. What needs to be done first and what should I tackle later?” If conflicts are a significant source of distress for you, consider taking a class on assertiveness training.
  9. Worn out or burned out? Focus on self-nurturing. Carve out time to practice relaxation response techniques or at least indulge in mini-relaxations. Care for your body by eating good, healthy food and for your heart by seeking out others. Give thought to creative, productive, and leisure activities. Consider your priorities in life: is it worth feeling this way, or is another path open to you? If you want help, consider what kind would be best. Do you want a particular task at work to be taken off your hands? Do you want to do it at a later date? Do you need someone with particular expertise to assist you?
  10. Feeling lonely? Connect with others. Even little connections — a brief conversation in line at the grocery store, an exchange about local goings-on with a neighbor, a question for a colleague — can help melt the ice within you. It may embolden you, too, to seek more opportunities to connect. Be a volunteer. Attend religious or community functions. Suggest coffee with an acquaintance. Call a friend or relative you miss. Take an interesting class. If a social phobia, low self-esteem, or depression is dampening your desire to reach out, seek help. The world is a kinder, more wondrous place when you share its pleasures and burdens.

Vitamin C Mungkin Boleh Menurunkan Tekanan Darah

500 miligram vitamin C setiap hari mengurangkan tekanan darah sebanyak 3,84 milimeter

- Tetapi simpan dulu suplemen itu, buat masa ini, penyelidik mengatakan:

Newswise - Mengambil dos vitamin C yang terlalu banyak boleh secara sederhana mengurangkan tekanan darah, mengikut analisis penyelidikan selama beberapa tahun oleh saintis Johns Hopkins. Namun para penyelidik berhenti mencadangkan orang ramai mengambil makanan tambahan.

"Kajian kami menunjukkan tekanan darah yang sederhana berkurang kesan daripada suplemen vitamin C, tetapi sebelum kita boleh mengesyorkan suplemen sebagai rawatan untuk tekanan darah tinggi, kita benar-benar memerlukan lebih banyak penyelidikan untuk memahami implikasi pengambilan mereka," kata Edgar "Pete" R. Miller III, MD, Ph.D., Profesor Madya bahagian perubatan dalaman am di Sekolah Perubatan Universiti Johns Hopkins dan ketua kajian yang diterbitkan dalam American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Kira-kira 30 peratus orang dewasa di Amerika Syarikat mempunyai tekanan darah tinggi atau hipertensi, satu faktor risiko penting bagi penyakit jantung dan strok. Rawatan yang berjaya mungkin termasuk ubat-ubatan, senaman, penurunan berat badan, dan perubahan diet seperti mengurangkan pengambilan garam. Sesetengah pakar percaya bahawa sejumlah besar vitamin C, mikronutrien penting yang dijumpai terutamanya dalam buah-buahan dan sayur-sayuran, boleh juga merendahkan tekanan darah, tetapi secara rawak, kajian pemakanan secara terkawal- piawaian emas dalam penyelidikan pemakanan - telah menghasilkan keputusan yang bercampur-aduk.

Miller dan rakan-rakannya telah mengkaji dan membuat analisis data daripada 29 individu secara rawak, terkawal, yang sebelumnya menerbitkan percubaan klinikal yang melaporkan nilai tekanan darah sistolik dan/atau diastolik dan juga perbandingan pengambilan vitamin C dengan plasebo. Apa yang mereka dapati ialah pengambilan secara purata sebanyak 500 miligram vitamin C setiap hari - kira-kira lima kali ganda keperluan harian yang disyorkan - mengurangkan tekanan darah sebanyak 3,84 milimeter merkuri dalam jangka pendek. Antara mereka yang didiagnos dengan tekanan darah tinggi, kejatuhan adalah hampir 5 milimeter merkuri.

Secara perbandingan, Miller berkata, pesakit yang mengambil ubat tekanan darah seperti inhibitor ACE atau diuretik (yang dipanggil "pil air") boleh menjangkakan lebih kurang 10 milimeter pengurangan merkuri dalam tekanan darah.

Lima ratus miligram vitamin C adalah bersamaan dengan jumlah kira-kira enam cawan jus oren. Pengambilan harian yang disyorkan untuk vitamin C bagi orang dewasa ialah 90 miligram.

"Walaupun tinjauan kami mendapati hanya memberi kesan yang sederhana terhadap tekanan darah, jika seluruh penduduk AS menurunkan tekanan darah sebanyak 3 mililiter merkuri, ia akan menyebabkan pengurangan stok yang banyak," kata Miller. Miller memberi amaran, bagaimanapun, bahawa tiada kajian yang dikaji semula oleh pasukannya menunjukkan bahawa vitamin C secara langsung menghalang atau mengurangkan kadar penyakit kardiovaskular, termasuk strok.
Vitamin C boleh bertindak sebagai diuretik

Saintis telah memberi tumpuan kepada peranan potensi vitamin C dalam pengurangan tekanan darah kerana kesan biologi dan fisiologi nutriennya. Sebagai contoh, vitamin C boleh bertindak sebagai diuretik, menyebabkan buah pinggang mengeluarkan lebih natrium dan air dari badan, yang membantu untuk merehatkan dinding saluran darah, dengan itu menyebabkan penurunan tekanan darah.

Industri makanan tambahan adalah sebanyak $ 28 bilion setahun, dan tuntutan pemasaran, cerita di akhbar dan testimoni sering membuat mereka sukar untuk menolak, Miller berkata. Orang sering melihat suplemen sebagai "alternatif semulajadi" berbanding ubat untuk tekanan darah tinggi atau penyakit lain, beliau menambah, walaupun bukti menunjukkan banyak makanan tambahan tidak berkesan dan dalam sesetengah kes boleh menyebabkan kemudaratan.

"Orang suka untuk mengambil vitamin tanpa atau kurang bukti yang jelas," kata Miller. "Kami sedang cuba untuk meningkatkan tanda aras dan memberi panduan yang berasaskan bukti mengenai sama ada makanan tambahan membantu atau sebenarnya mendatangkan kemudaratan." Dengan merujuk kepada vitamin C, beliau berkata, juri masih keliru.

Penghargaan oleh Team Zestzfulness

Kisah di atas dicetak semula dari 18 April, 2012 siaran berita oleh Perubatan Johns Hopkins. Hasil kajian telah diterbitkan dalam talian pada hari yang sama dalam
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: S. P. Juraschek, E. Guallar, L. J. Appel, E. R. Miller. Effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr, 2012; DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.111.027995

750mg Vitamin C

SURBEX-Zinc contains 750mg of Vitamin C
with 15mg of Zinc, which is the equivalent of zinc found in eight oysters, plus 6 B Vitamins, 400mcg Folic Acid and just the right amount of Vitamin E. So you have the energy and stamina you need to keep you going all day. And night.

Imagine. All that from just one little tablet a day.

Click HERE for more information 

CANCER : Successes, Challenges in Prevention Efforts

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American Cancer Society researchers say coordinated efforts needed to close gaps in preventive behavior
An annual report from the American Cancer Society says much of the suffering and death from cancer could be prevented by more systematic efforts to reduce tobacco use, improve diet and physical activity, reduce obesity, and expand the use of established screening tests. The report, Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Facts and Figures (CPED), outlines gaps and opportunities that contribute to cancer mortality, and says social, economic, and legislative factors profoundly influence individual health behaviors.  Since 1992, the American Cancer Society has published CPED as a resource to strengthen cancer prevention and early detection efforts at the local, state, and national levels.
Below are highlights of this year’s report.
Tobacco Use
        Cigarette smoking prevalence in US adults declined modestly between 2005 and 2010. An estimated 19.3% of adults (men: 21.5%, women: 17.3%) smoked cigarettes in 2010. But the declines have not extended to all subgroups.
        Light or intermittent smoking (less than 10 cigarettes/day) in daily smokers increased significantly between 2005 (16%) and 2010 (22%), whereas heavy smoking declined from 13% to 8%, reflecting long-term historical trends toward lower smoking intensity.
        In 2009, data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) showed that 19.5% of high school students reported current cigarette smoking (smoking on at least one day in the past 30 days) and 7.3% reported frequent smoking (smoking on 20 or more days in the past 30 days).
        While the YRBS found no change in current smoking prevalence among high school students between 2003 and 2009, other more recent surveys found that smoking declined significantly among teen student smokers between 2010 and 2011 and among adolescent smokers 12 to 17 years of age between 2008 and 2010.
        Tobacco industry marketing expenditures for smokeless tobacco products increased by 120% between 2005 and 2008, while they declined by 24% for cigarettes. The majority of these expenditures went toward price discounts that are intended to offset tobacco price increases.
        A recent study by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network(ACS CAN), the Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, found that the passage of comprehensive smoke-free legislation by states currently without such laws could result in more than 624,000 fewer deaths over the long term and save $1.32 billion in treatment costs over five years.
Overweight and Obesity, Physical Activity, and Nutrition
        Currently, an estimated 18% of adolescents and 35.7% of adults are obese. Increasing rates of obesity observed since the early 1980s appear to have slowed or leveled off since 2003. Obesity rates in men and women have now converged.
        In 2010, the prevalence of obesity among adults exceeded 20% in all states; the state with the highest obesity prevalence was Mississippi (34.6%), according to self-reported surveys.
HPV Vaccination for Cervical Cancer Prevention
        To prevent cervical cancer, vaccination against two types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause 70% of cervical deaths is recommended for adolescent girls. The initiation of the HPV vaccination series among US females 13 to 17 years of age increased from 25% in 2007 to 48.7% in 2010, and one in three completed the entire three-dose series.
Cancer Screening
        Mammography usage has not increased since 2000. In 2010, 66.5% of women 40 years of age and older reported getting a mammogram in the past year. Women who lack health insurance reported the lowest use of mammograms (31.5%).
        In 2010, 76.4% of adult women reported having a Pap test in the past three years. However, there is persistent underuse of the Pap test among women who are uninsured, recent immigrants, and those with low education.
        In 2010, 59.1% of adults 50 years of age and older reported being screened for colon cancer using either a recommended stool test or an endoscopy test within recommended time intervals. However, rates remain substantially lower in uninsured individuals and those with lower socioeconomic status. To date, 28 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation ensuring coverage
“With increased efforts toward more fostering of and support for cancer prevention and early detection activities, we can reduce incidence, death, and suffering from cancer,” said Vilma Cokkinides, PhD, co-author of the report.  “The price and availability of healthy foods, incentives and opportunities for regular physical activity in schools and communities, advertising content, as well as the availability of insurance coverage for screening tests  and treatment for tobacco addiction all influence individual choices. Improved collaboration among government agencies, private companies, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, policy makers, and the American public can lead to continued improvements, and more favorable trends that reduce the risk of death from cancer and other chronic diseases.”

Acknowledgement by the Zestzfulness Team
The above story is reprinted from the April 18, 2012 news release by the American Cancer Society.

The full report can be viewed HERE

Friday, April 27, 2012

Control Diabetes, Control Your Life

Omron will be conducting FREE health screening (blood pressure and blood glucose) at our pharmacies for your convenience:

Friday, 4th May 2012 at Vera Pharmacal, Pandamaran, 9.30am-6.30pm

Monday, 7th May 2012 at Hoewell Pharmacal, Klang, 10.30am-6.30p.m

Monday, 4th June, 2012 at KH Hoe Pharmacal, Port Klang, 10a.m to 6.00p.m.

With over 100 million blood pressure monitors sold worldwide since 1973, OMRON Healthcare is the world leader in blood pressure monitoring.

OMRON Healthcare aims to simplify home blood pressure monitoring with their latest Intellisense technology which offers various features for comfortable and accurate measurements. Common problems of self-measurements with automatic upper arm blood pressure monitors, for example, are inaccurate readings when the cuff is not wrapped tightly around the arm. By means of a cuff wrapping guide a symbol on the display provides confirmation that the cuff has been wrapped tightly. An integrated pressure control system allows for optimal speed and pressure thereby ensuring a comfortable measurement while the dual check system eliminates any doubt of incorrect readings and assures the user of accurate results by way of two sensors: the first sensor takes the measurement, while the second checks its accuracy

Omron Premium Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor HEM-7211 is a fully featured automatic blood pressure monitor with cutting edge technology offering the very best in the fight against hypertension. It features intellisense technology, which always assures you individually adapted, accurate and comfortable blood pressure measurement.

OMRON Healthcare now offers a clinically validated blood glucose monitor both for home and professional use.

Omron Premium Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor HEM-7211 and
Omron Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit HEA 221

Click HERE for details

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eat Right

For National Nutrition Month 2012, "Get Your Plate in Shape" by balancing the calories you eat while still enjoying all of the foods you love.

Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your bowl. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins contain the nutrients you need without too many calories. Over the day, include foods from all food groups. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends these tips to "Get Your Plate in Shape."

Tip #1: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables make great, crunchy snacks, are low in calories and provide the nutrients you need.

Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas.

Tip #2: Switch to low-fat or fat-free milk.

Switching to fat-free or low-fat milk provides you with the same amount of calcium and essential nutrients as whole milk, but with less fat and calories.

If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.

Tip #3: Make at least half your grains whole.

Choose 100-percent whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice.

Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.

Tip #4: Vary your protein choices.

Eat a variety of foods from the protein group each week, such as seafood, nuts and beans, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.

Eat lean portions of meat and poultry.

For recipes, tips and more information on how to "Get Your Plate in Shape," visit 
or the Malaysian Dietitians' Association.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

'Previsível' - predictable in Portuguese

Click HERE for details

It Doesn't Matter To Me

At a lounge overlooking a 600 plus hectare man-made lake in an administrative centre, not unlike Naypyidaw …..

Having already downed a few power drinks, she turns around, faces him, looks him straight in the eye and says,

"Listen here good looking, I screw anybody, anytime, anywhere, your place, my place, in the car, front door, back door, on the ground, standing up, sitting down, naked or with clothes on; it doesn't matter to me. I just love it ! "

Eyes now wide with interest, he responds, 

                           "Really? No kidding-meh, I also from the ruling coalition-one ! "

We thank the many people who forwarded us this joke by an unknown author, originally titled “At a bar in Bangsar” . It is so funny we want to share it with you too. However, because its direct reference to a  bunch of 'lanun and perompak' (pirates and plunderers) is too close to home, we have edited it to draw attention away from these glib characters.

Positive Feelings May Help Protect Cardiovascular Health

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Over the last few decades numerous studies have shown negative states, such as depression, anger, anxiety, and hostility, to be detrimental to cardiovascular health. Less is known about how positive psychological characteristics are related to heart health.

In the first and largest systematic review on this topic to date, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found that positive psychological well-being appears to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events.

The American Heart Association reports more than 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) each day, an average of one death every 39 seconds. Stroke accounts for about one of every 18 U.S. deaths.

The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive.

We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness are associated with reduced risk of CVD regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status, or body weight,” said lead author Julia Boehm, research fellow in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at HSPH.

“For example, the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50% reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers,” she said.

Satisfaction, Optimism, and Happiness

In a review of more than 200 studies published in two major scientific databases, Boehm and senior author Laura Kubzansky, associate professor of society, human development, and health at HSPH, found there are psychological assets, like optimism and positive emotion, that afford protection against cardiovascular disease. It also appears that these factors slow the progression of disease.

To further understand how psychological well-being and CVD might be related, Boehm and Kubzansky also investigated well-being’s association with cardiovascular-related health behaviors and biological markers. They found that individuals with a sense of well-being engaged in healthier behaviors such as exercising, eating a balanced diet, and getting sufficient sleep. In addition, greater well-being was related to better biological function, such as lower blood pressure, healthier lipid (blood fat) profiles, and normal body weight.

If future research continues to indicate that higher levels of satisfaction, optimism, and happiness come before cardiovascular health, this has strong implications for the design of prevention and intervention strategies.

“These findings suggest that an emphasis on bolstering psychological strengths rather than simply mitigating psychological deficits may improve cardiovascular health,” Kuzbansky said.

Acknowledgement by the Zestzfulness Team
The above story is reprinted from the April 17, 2012 news release by the Harvard School of Public Health. The research finding was published online on the same day the journal of the American Psychological Association: Boehm JK, Kubzansky LD. The Heart’s Content: The Association between Positive Psychological Well-Being and Cardiovascular Health. Psychological Bulletin, online April 17, 2012.

Key Findings:

Evidence indicates that Positive psychological well-being (PPWB) and CVD are associated, independent of typical factors (e.g., socioeconomic status, smoking, body mass index, cholesterol) and negative psychological states, and based on studies of both patients and healthy populations.

PPWB appears to protect against both the incidence of CVD and, to a lesser extent, the progression of the disease.

Optimism seems to be the “most robust” measure of PPWB associated with reducing risks of CVD.

The mechanisms that link PPWB and CVD seem to include direct, biological pathways; indirect, behavioral pathways; restorative processes, such as sleep and antioxidants; and deteriorative processes, such as inflammation and smoking.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What is Oat Beta Glucan?

Oats contain a form of soluble fibre called oat beta-glucan which is particularly concentrated in the outer layers of the grain. Much of the research into the cholesterol lowering effects of soluble fibre has centered around oat beta glucan.

How does it work?

Because oat beta glucan is a soluble form of fibre it dissolves inside the digestive tract where it forms a thick gel – a bit like wallpaper paste. This gel is able to bind to excess cholesterol and cholesterol like substances within the gut and help to prevent these from being absorbed into the body. The gel and the cholesterol is then excretedas part of the body’s waste.

Oat beta glucan lowers cholesterol in 3 ways

1. Preventing cholesterol in food from being absorbed

Foods provide about 20% of our cholesterol. Many of the foods that are rich in cholesterol are similar to those high in saturated fat.

2. Preventing cholesterol like substances in bile from being reabsorbed.

Bile is produced from the breakdown of cholesterol. Both bile and cholesterol are released into the gut by the body to help in the digestive process. They help the body to absorb fats from the diet. By binding to bile and cholesterol, oat beta glucan prevents them from being reabsorbed lower down the digestive tract.

3. Causing more cholesterol to be removed from the circulation

Because less cholesterol is being absorbed by the gut, the body has to take more cholesterol out of the blood stream and process it into bile to help with the digestive process. This serves to help reduce the levels of cholesterol in our body

Bioactive oat β-glucan reduces LDL cholesterol in Caucasians and non-Caucasians

 There is increasing global acceptance that viscous soluble fibers lower serum LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), but most evidence for this comes from studies in Caucasians.

Thomas Wolever et al randomly assigned 367 healthy men and women aged 35 to 70 years to consume wheat bran cereal (Control), or oat β-glucan twice daily for 4 weeks. Fasting blood was obtained weekly for analysis of total and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and calculated LDL-C.

They conclude that oat β-glucan reduces LDL-C in Caucasians and non-Caucasians!


Wolever TM, Gibbs AL, Brand-Miller J, Duncan AM, Hart V, Lamarche B, Tosh SM, Duss R. Bioactive oat β-glucan reduces LDL cholesterol in Caucasians and non-Caucasians. Nutr J. 2011 Nov 25;10:130. You can read the full report HERE


In Malaysia, products containing oat β-glucan, for eg Oat BG22, are allowed as supplements to help lower cholesterol and blood sugar


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Omega-3Fatty Acids May Help Reduce Physical Harm Caused By Smoking

 According to a new study presented at the recent World Congress of Cardiology organized by the World Heart Federation, omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce the physical harm caused by smoking.

The study, carried out in Greece, assessed the effect of four-week oral treatment with 2 g/day of omega-3 fatty acids on the arterial wall properties of cigarette smokers. The results showed that short-term treatment with omega-3 fatty acids improves arterial stiffness and moderates the acute smoking-induced impairment of vascular elastic properties in smokers.  

“These findings suggest that omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the detrimental effects of smoking on arterial function, which is an independent prognostic marker of cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Gerasimos Siasos, University of Athens Medical School, 1st Department of Cardiology, “Hippokration” Hospital.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Atherosclerotic

“The cardioprotective effects of omega-3 fatty acids appear to be due to a synergism between multiple, intricate mechanisms involving anti-inflammatory and anti-atherosclerotic effects.  Furthermore, AHA recommends that people without documented history of coronary heart disease should consume a variety of fish (preferably oily – rich in omega-3 fatty acids) at least twice per week.”

“The World Heart Federation strongly encourages all smokers to quit,” said Dr Kathryn Taubert, Chief Science Officer at the World Heart Federation.

Only Way to Protect Yourself

“The only way to protect your body from the harmful effects of tobacco is to stop smoking.  We encourage all people, both smokers and non-smokers, to eat healthy diets, which includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.” 

Acknowledgement by the Zestzfulness Team

The above story is based on the April 20, 2012 news release by the World Heart Federation.

The World Heart Federation is dedicated to leading the global fight against heart disease and stroke with a focus on low- and middle-income countries via a united community of more than 200 member organizations. With its members, the World Heart Federation works to build global commitment to addressing cardiovascular health at the policy level, generates and exchanges ideas, shares best practice, advances scientific knowledge and promotes knowledge transfer to tackle cardiovascular disease – the world’s number one killer.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Southeast Asian Minister*

While walking down Jalan Belangkas one day a Southeast Asian Minister is tragically hit by a lorry, and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter, “before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We have never had a high official from your part of Asia, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the man.

“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one day in heaven. After that you can choose where to spend eternity.”

“Really, I have made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the The Right Honourable [abbreviated as The Rt Hon; also known as Yang Berhormat in Malaysia, but with your understanding ;-) , we’ll stick to Rt Hon]

“I’m sorry, but we have our rules,” says St. Peter.

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator, and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and dressed in their finest. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then indulge themselves in lobsters, caviar and the most expensive food there is.

Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the doors re-open on heaven, where St. Peter is waiting for him.

“Now it’s time to visit heaven.”

So, another 24 hours pass, with the Rt Hon joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp, and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the day is gone, and St. Peter returns.

“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

The Rt Hon reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said this before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I’m better off in hell.”

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open, and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The Devil comes over to him, and puts his arm around his shoulder.

“I don’t understand,” stammers the Rt Hon, “Yesterday I was here, and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage, and my friends look miserable. What happened?”

The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning, just like they do during a Malaysian election…… Today you have voted.”


Picture credit:
Part of a simulation exercise on crowd control prior to Bersih2  

Still confused with the 1Malaysia slogan that is being splurged all over the country?

Well, there’s 1Malaysia for you in the banner that says “Disperse or We’ll Shoot” in the major languages of the Rakyat, the citizens of Malaysia

It is not written in the language of the millions of Indonesian, Filipino, Bangla, Nepali, Vietnamese, Myamarese, Thai or Kampuchean brought into the country by both licensed and unlicensed human traffickers.

Our soldiers, whose duty is to defend our shores from invasion, are being coached that it is alright to turn their weapons on their own countrymen.

* This non-partisan joke is based on a download from There is a street named Jalan Belangkas in Singapore, as well as in Kg Baru, Kuala Lumpur.  Take your pick. 

Tai chi and Heart Health

Older subjects who regularly practise Tai Chi found to have better arterial compliance and greater muscle strength than non-practitioners

Exercise which can achieve both cardiovascular function and muscle strength "would be a preferred mode of training for older persons", say investigators

Experienced practitioners of Tai Chi, the traditional Chinese mind-body exercise now enjoyed worldwide, have been shown in a study of older subjects to have improved expansion and contraction of arteries according to cardiac pulsation (arterial compliance) and improved knee muscle strength.(1)

The findings, say the investigators, of better muscle strength without jeopardising arterial compliance suggest that Tai Chi may well be a suitable exercise for older people to improve both cardiovascular function and body strength. A number of studies, they explain, have shown that strength training to improve muscle function and offset the effects of ageing have also been accompanied by a decline in arterial compliance. "Evidence that strength training could change arterial compliance in middle-aged and older subjects is still elusive," they note.

As background to their report, the investigators explain that arterial stiffness - when an artery fails to distend or rebound in response to pressure changes - is closely associated with cardiovascular diseases, possibly through elevated blood and pulse pressure and atherosclerosis. Arterial compliance, therefore, has been identified as an important predictor of cardiovascular health in the elderly and a therapeutic target for physical exercise in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The study, published online today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, involved 65 elderly subjects from Hong Kong, 29 recruited from local Tai Chi clubs who had each practised Tai Chi for at least 1.5 hours a week for three years, and 36 controls with no Tai Chi experience. All subjects' physical activity levels were defined according to metabolic index units as light, moderate and heavy - but there were no differences between the two groups.

Initial results showed that the Tai Chi subjects were better in almost all haemodynamic observations - including blood pressure, vascular resistance, and pulse pressure. Measurements also showed that both large and small artery compliance was significantly higher in the Tai Chi group (by 40-44%). Additional analysis showed that the Tai Chi subjects had greater average muscle strength in both their knee extensors and flexors.

Tai Chi is well known for its aerobic affects. Significant improvement in cardiopulmonary function has been found in Tai Chi practitioners when compared with sedentary controls, and Tai Chi training has been shown to improve cardiopulmonary function in patients with chronic heart failure and myocardial infarction. The effect of Tai Chi training in lowering blood pressure has also been extensively reviewed.

"However," said principal investigator Dr William Tsang from the The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, "this is the first study to investigate the possible effects of Tai Chi on arterial compliance by comparing older Tai Chi practitioners with non-practitioners similar in age and activity level. The improvement in arterial compliance could have resulted from a combination of aerobic training, stretching, mental concentration and calm meditation during Tai Chi movement."

The study findings showed that older Tai Chi practitioners have better arterial compliance and knee muscle strength than their healthy counterparts. And, because Tai Chi can be practised at any time, anywhere, and without the constraints of equipment or a gymnasium, Dr Tsang added that this traditional Chinese exercise could be a good exercise strategy for older adults, both for vascular health and for muscle strengthening.

Acknowledgement by the Zestzfulness Team
The above story is reprinted from the April 4, 2012 news release by the  European Society of Cardiology. The research finding was published online on the same day in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology: Lu X, Hui-Chan CWY, Tsang WWN. Tai Chi, arterial compliance, and muscle strength in older adults. Eur J Prevent Cardiol, 2012 DOI: 10.1177/2047487312443483

Old classmate and engineer Hua Keong drew our attention to this report.

Tai Chi For Beginners
The Tai Chi group that meets Tuesdays and Fridays at Hin Hua High School, Persiaran Raja Muda Musa, Klang welcomes beginners. Bilingual classes start at 8.30pm under the direction of Messrs Aw and Ng. No 'pyjamas' required; come in your most comfortable apparel .You can call our pharmacy on 03 31688469 for further details.


日期: 每星期二和星期五
地點: 興華高中
時間: 晚上8
指導老師: MR AW MR NG
服裝: 隨意,但須本身感到舒適

Vitamin C May Lower Blood Pressure

Picture credit:

500 milligrams of vitamin C daily reduced blood pressure by 3.84 millimeter

--But hold the supplements, for now, researchers say

Newswise — Taking large doses of vitamin C may moderately reduce blood pressure, according to an analysis of years of research by Johns Hopkins scientists. But the researchers stopped short of suggesting people load up on supplements.

“Our research suggests a modest blood pressure lowering effect with vitamin C supplementation, but before we can recommend supplements as a treatment for high blood pressure, we really need more research to understand the implications of taking them,” says Edgar “Pete” R. Miller III, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the division of general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Roughly 30 percent of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, or hypertension, an important risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Successful treatment may include drugs, exercise, weight loss, and dietary changes such as reducing salt intake. Some experts believe that large amounts of vitamin C, an essential micronutrient found primarily in fruits and vegetables, could lower pressure as well, but randomized, controlled dietary intervention studies — the gold standard of nutrition research — have produced mixed results.

Miller and his colleagues reviewed and analyzed data from 29 randomized, controlled, previously published clinical trials that reported systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure values and also compared vitamin C intake to a placebo. What they found is that taking an average of 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily — about five times the recommended daily requirement — reduced blood pressure by 3.84 millimeters of mercury in the short term. Among those diagnosed with hypertension, the drop was nearly 5 millimeters of mercury.

By comparison, Miller says, patients who take blood pressure medication such as ACE inhibitors or diuretics (so-called “water pills”) can expect a roughly 10 millimeter of mercury reduction in blood pressure.

Five hundred milligrams of vitamin C is the amount in about six cups of orange juice. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adults is 90 milligrams.

“Although our review found only a moderate impact on blood pressure, if the entire U.S. population lowered blood pressure by 3 milliliters of mercury, there would be a lot fewer strokes,” Miller says. Miller cautions, however, that none of the studies his team reviewed show that vitamin C directly prevents or reduces rates of cardiovascular disease, including stroke.

Vitamin C may act as a diuretic

Scientists have focused on vitamin C’s potential role in blood pressure reduction because of the nutrient’s biological and physiological effects. For example, vitamin C may act as a diuretic, causing the kidneys to remove more sodium and water from the body, which helps to relax the blood vessel walls, thereby lowering blood pressure.

Nutritional supplements are a $28 billion-a-year industry, and marketing claims, newspaper stories and testimonials often make them hard to resist, Miller says. People often view supplements as a “natural alternative” and preferable to drugs for high blood pressure or other ailments, he adds, despite mounting evidence that many supplements don’t work and in some cases may cause harm.

“People love to take vitamins regardless of the evidence or lack of it,” Miller says. “We’re trying to raise the bar and provide evidence-based guidance about whether supplements help or actually do harm.” With respect to vitamin C, he says, the jury is still out.

Acknowledgement by the Zestzfulness Team
The above story is reprinted from the April 18, 2012 news release by Johns Hopkins Medicine.  The research finding was published online on the same day in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: S. P. Juraschek, E. Guallar, L. J. Appel, E. R. Miller. Effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr, 2012; DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.111.027995