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Smokers’ Graveyard

Full marks to the artist that drew this ceiling mural in a smokers’ lounge located in a hospital. I am reproducing this from an earlier post “Identifying Kids Who Will Smoke” as I cannot help but feel impressed with the message it imparts, as you can see by the expression of the guy on the left. Thanks to DAB.

Beijing Olympics Face Major Health Issues, including Doping (part 3) – “Technology Doping”

USA's Katie Hoff in action - a combination of athletism, advanced pool technology and state-of-the-art swimsuit

Ever wondered why the swimming world records are tumbling like 10-pins at the Water-Cube?

True, advanced training methods and legal food supplements have produced more physically fit swimmers. But today’s swimmers are not as formidable-looking as the East Germans in the 1970s who were being pumped with anabolic steriods.

Various columnists have pointed out to several other reasons. Firstly, the swimming-pool itself. Fitted with 2 additional lanes on top of the standard 8 lanes, the outer two lanes are left empty to absorb the waves created by turbulence so that the water is as still as possible. On top of that, the waves are dispersed into gutters which are at the level of the water surface. Why, even the plastic buoys that separate the lanes are designed to push the force of waves downwards. Not forgetting of course, that the pool is 3 metres deep(instead of 2), to lessen resistance. And the non-skid starting blocks..which are designed for enhanced take-off.

"It literally feels like a rocket coming off the wall," said Phelps, "The water just runs off the suit."

Undoubtedly, the talking point is on the latest full-body suit, the Speedo LZR Racer. The corsetlike suit requires a half-hour to put on  and is made by ultrasonic welding instead of stitching. It is designed to mould the body into a streamlined configuration. It is said to assist the act of breathing as well as enhancing one’s buoyancy in water.

So much so, the Italian swimming coach (that uses a rival brand – Arena) has alleged that these suits have violated performance-enhancing rules set by the international swimming federation(FINA) and equates the usage of these suits as “technological doping”.

Doping or not, you cannot prevent the application of such legalised technology in sport.

Tis the season for earthquakes..what to do if you’re caught in one?

After the recent tremors in Sichuan,China there is the possibility of a few more coming (aftershocks or otherwise).

If you happen to be caught in one (God forbid), you have two choices:

1. Adopt the traditional drop, cover and hold on tactic. As the name implies, run under cover beneath the nearest bed or table.

2.Practise the triangle of life, widely promoted by self-proclaimed earthquake expert Doug Copp. Basically, he states that when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling on cars or furniture crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to these objects, forming a triangle. He advocates that people should get into these spaces rather than go underneath car-roofs or furniture. In other words, roll off the bed and stay next to it rather than under it.

The triangle of life method is not without controversy. It has been denounced by the American Red Cross as ‘not appropriate’ for US buildings, which are supposedly sturdier. The American Red Cross and most American earthquake safety bodies recommend the time-honored drop,cover and hold on technique.

It is interesting to note that the OECD Report on Earthquake Safety in schools in China published in 2005 did not specifically mention which of the two methods were more effective. Can anyone shed some light on what is being practised in China?


Malaysia – one of the top 5 health tourism spots in the world

Online US investment news service NuWire Investor (www.nuwireinvestor.com) recently listed the top five medical tourism destinations which they believe present the most attractive opportunities for investors alike.

And Malaysia scored third in this ranking. Here’s what NuWire had to say about this country:

Malaysia attracts investors for its favorable exchange rate, political and economic stability and high rate of literacy. The real-estate market offers the potential for significant returns.

As a firm believer of the health tourism potential of Malaysia, I have consistently stated in the monthly Kuala Lumpur international airport newletter KLIA News ( http://www.kliatimes.com.my/pdf/06_oct.pdf) the great potential this country has.

Some of the main reasons why health tourism is on the increase include:

  1. the medical staff are highly-trained, mainly along British standards, as Malaysia was once a British colony.
  2. almost every medical staff speaks English.
  3. Staff are from diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds which reflects the multicultural nature of the country.
  4. healthcare standards are closely monitored by the Ministry of Health which licences these facilities.
  5. affordability and price competitiveness
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