If you’re the type that needs to wash your hands every few minutes because of an irrational fear of dirt and germs, then you are not alone – about 1 in 50 adults have some form of a disease called OCD – obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is a condition where
- you get recurrent awful thoughts coming into your mind, even when you try to keep them out.
- you have to touch or count things or repeat the same action again and again - like washing hands and checking that the electrical plugs are off,over and over again.
We can all worry excessively about real-life problems or be obsessive about certain things at times, but if this becomes too repetitive and causes distress, then it may be time to seek treatment.
OCD is sometimes inherited, so can occasionally run in the family. Other times, it can be brought on by stress. Men and women are equally affected, usually first appearing in the teens and twenties. Diagnosis is established by a mental health professional, such as a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, and can be often confirmed, in long-standing cases by a PET scan, a special form of CT scan.
The question remains that there is a fine line between excessive worry about real-life problems and repetitive worries in OCD. Many do not seek help, but when it becomes debilitating or even deadly, it might be that bit too late; as in the case of the lady with OCD who slept for 3 years in a car and was found dead..see here.
- OCD: David Beckham has it – as do over a million other Britons (telegraph.co.uk)
- Insight into Obsessive Compulsive Behavior in Adults (brighthub.com)
- List of OCD Obsessions and Compulsions (brighthub.com)
- How To Diagnose OCD (slideshare.net)
Have you wondered what the iPad is made out of? Beneath the sleek streamlined device, apart from the aluminium and glass, there are several reasons why the iPad has to be made in China. These include:
- cheap labor – minimum wage in China is about a tenth that of the US
- lax environmental regulations – when you consider that producing a 1.44-pound iPad results in over 285 times its own weight in greenhouse gas emissions, its no wonder China lies 116th of 132 countries in Yale’s Environmental Performance Index rankings.
- the need for significant amounts of rare earth elements.
So what are rare earths? The term is a misnomer as they are not rare and they are not a kind of dirt. Rare because they are found widely dispersed on this planet but not in sufficient amounts at any one place. They comprise of 17 minerals found in the periodic table of elements that are important in the manufacture of a wide range of high-technology products, including flat-screens, smartphones and the iPad.
The crunch is that China virtually produces commercially almost all the rare earth supply on this planet. Although Apple have not officially confirmed what kind of rare earths are used, many believe, for instance, that here may be lanthanum in the iPad’s lithium-ion polymer battery, as well as “a range of rare earths to produce the different colours” in the display. The magnets along the side of the iPad and in its cover are possibly a neodymium alloy.
The reason many countries, including the US and Australia, have not embarked on rare earth refining is largely environmental and anti-green, where toxic by-products are released into the environment, including hazardous radioactive substances which can pose a danger to health for surrounding residents, if inadequate safety measures are not in place.
A case in point is the Lynas refinery plant, the world’s largest, in Kuantan, Malaysia. Here, rare earth is imported by ship from Fremantle, Australia for refining and then re-exported to Australia. Permanent disposal of the roughly 20,000 tons a year of low-level radioactive waste that will be produced has been a big issue although the International Atomic Energy Commission has reportedly approved the safety of the plant. The progress toward opening the plant has been hampered by street demonstrations over radiation concerns, regulatory challenges and the withdrawal of a major equipment supplier worried about the safety of the refinery.
Meanwhile, the price of rare earths has multiplied 30x in 2011, although it has since softened, largely because of the impending Lynas plant, which can meet 20% of the world’s needs.
Rare Earths – the New York Times
Rare Earth Plant in Malaysia Ready To Go – Yahoo.
- This Is Why The iPad Can’t Be Made Anywhere But China (businessinsider.com)
There’s a joke making the rounds that the number of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers will soon outstrip older male patients with erectile dysfunction ..so much so, elderly people will be taking Viagra and not remembering what to do with the erection afterwards!
But jokes aside, WHO, in its recent news release (11 April 2012) revealed that dementia cases are set to triple by 2050 worldwide and that the problem is still largely ignored. There are 35 million people in the world with dementia and this number is set to double by 2030 and triple by 2050.
Dementia is a syndrome, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, caused by a variety of brain illnesses that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday activities. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicts people of any socio-economic status. Celebrities afflicted with this condition include Ronald Reagan, Rita Hayworth and Perry Como.
Treating and caring for people with dementia currently costs the world more than US$ 604 billion per year. This includes the cost of providing health and social care as well the reduction or loss of income of people with dementia and their caregivers. The important role of caregivers cannot be over-estimated because AD cannot be cured and is degenerative, so the sufferer increasingly relies on others for assistance. The role of the main caregiver is often taken by the spouse or a close relative, and is well-known to place a great burden on the care-givers.
Some facts about dementia:
- Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of ageing.
- 60% of people with dementia live in middle or low income countries.
- Early diagnosis improves the quality of life of people with dementia and their caregivers.
- Dementia is a public health priority which has long been ignored.
The WHO report points to a general lack of information and understanding about dementia. This fuels stigma, which in turn contributes to the social isolation of both the person with dementia and their caregivers, and can lead to delays in seeking diagnosis, health assistance and social support. It also recommends involving existing caregivers in designing programmes to provide better support for people with dementia and those looking after them.
Public health authorities worldwide would do well to place more emphasis on undertaking programmes to raise the level of awareness of this disease as well as implementing programmes to strengthen care and support.