Ahad, 1 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Can baking make you happy?


The simple act of baking could help lift you out of a depression, claims a British movement.

FROM chocolate brownies to cakes and cookies, baking is often associated with comfort foods – and now a new British movement claims that the simple act of baking could help lift you out of a depression.

The Independent in the UK reports that baking could emerge "as a form of pill-less Prozac", at least according to John Whaite, last year's winner of the hit British television series The Great British Bake Off.

In a report issued recently for Real Bread Campaign, a non-profit organisation promoting artisan baking, Whaite calls for more people "suffering from mental health issues, or who are simply going through a tough time, to get the chance to try their hand at baking real bread to see how it could help them".

Whaite, who was diagnosed with manic depression eight years ago, told the BBC: "Baking helps lift my depression. It can't cure it, but it helps.

Author Marian Keyes

British novelist Marian Keyes has also relied on baking to help her cope with major depression. – Filepic

"When I'm in the kitchen, measuring the amount of sugar, flour, or butter I need for a recipe or cracking the exact number of eggs – I am in control. That's really important as a key element of my condition is a feeling of no control."

Bakeries are being set up all over the UK to help people cope with hard times. The Better Health Bakery in east London provides training placements for adults living with mental health issues, The Independent reports.

Plus The Real Bread Campaign, which received a four-year grant in 2009 from the Big Lottery's Local Food programmes to bring real bread back to local communities, said the potential number of people who could benefit from baking "runs into the hundreds of thousands or even millions".

In London, The Depressed Cake Shop, a mental health charity initiative, ran a series of pop-up cake stalls around the UK earlier this summer, selling only grey cakes and baked goods.

According to the BBC, the publicity stunt raised thousands of British pounds for mental health charities, and got people talking more about mental health issues and how baking can help.

Whaite has also recently introduced a cookbook called John Whaite Bakes: Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood, with a chapter devoted to lifting your spirits.

British novelist Marian Keyes has also relied on baking to help her cope with major depression. In her book Saved by Cake, she writes about how she uses baking to help her cope with depression: "Baking hasn't cured me. But it gets me through." – AFPRelaxnews

The hazards of HPV


HPV infects one in two sexually-active men and women, putting them at risk of a variety of cancers.

IT'S shocking, but there are over 100 types of HPV (or human papillomavirus), out of which about 402 affect the genital area through sexual contact.

HPV types 6 and 11 are known to cause genital warts in both men and women.

Then, there are those that are way more dangerous. HPV types 16 and 18 are responsible for 70% of all cervical cancers in women.

They can also cause cancers of the anus, vulva and vagina. In addition, HPV type 16 has been shown to cause oral cancers.

So, what are the chances that you might catch HPV? Rather high, unfortunately. According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, one in two sexually-active men and women will be infected with HPV at least once in their lives.

Many HPV carriers don't show any symptoms, so they may unknowingly spread the virus to their partners – a scary thought considering how it only takes a single sexual encounter to catch the infection.

Let's KISS

Some women may not be very aware of what's happening in their "private parts down there", and may even be too embarrassed to discuss any related concerns with their doctors.

Yet, early detection and treatment are absolutely critical when it comes to medical problems of the female genitalia.

Ignorance and denial could have devastating consequences.

Cervical cancer (which is often caused by HPV) is the third most common cancer among women in Malaysia, and one of the leading causes of death in women worldwide. Unfortunately, many only discover that they have this deadly condition when it is already at an advanced stage.

But it doesn't always have to be this way. Make a difference by taking a Pap smear test regularly. Additionally, follow the KISS principle, which stands for "Know the Important Signs and Symptoms".

For instance, do you experience vaginal bleeding outside your menstrual cycle, when putting on a diaphragm, or during sex?

Other red flags include abnormal vaginal discharges, and unusual pain during sexual intercourse.

In any case, you would do well to get them checked out by a doctor as soon as possible because they could be the warning signs of cervical cancer.

Calling the shots together

Contrary to what some people think, HPV is everyone's concern – men's, as well as women's. Either partner can infect the other and put each other at risk of HPV-related cancers. So, show that you care for each other by getting yourselves vaccinated against HPV. Yes, you read right – HPV vaccination is not just for women, but men as well! It is the most effective way to protect both partners.

Administered in three shots over six months, the HPV vaccine prevents you from catching the virus, thereby protecting you from the types of HPV that can cause cancers and genital warts.

There are many ways to show your love and care for your partner. But unlike lavish gifts and dinner dates, the protection that HPV vaccination brings to a relationship is far more long-lasting and meaningful.


1. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: The Pink Book. 12th ed. CDC; 2012. p. 139-150. Available online from [http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/hpv.html].

2. Gearhart P.A. (MD & Chief Editor), et al. Medscape Reference: Human Papillomavirus. Available online from [http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/219110-overview]

3. National Cancer Registry, Malaysia. National Cancer Registry Report 2007.

This article is supported by Merck Sharp Dohme (M) Sdn Bhd as part of the 'Immunise4Life' programme by the Health Ministry, Malaysian Paediatric Association and Malaysian Society of Infectious Diseases & Chemotherapy. Watch our 'Keep Calm, Vaccinate Against HPV' video on www.ifl.my.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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