Khamis, 24 April 2014

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Bullying can scar victims for 40 years: UK psychiatrists

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 01:15 AM PDT

For victims of bullying, sometimes it does better. But when it doesn't, it can get bad. Really bad. And for a very, very long time.

The negative social, physical and mental health effects of childhood bullying are still evident nearly 40 years later, according to research by British psychiatrists.

In the first study of its kind to look at the effects of childhood bullying beyond early adulthood, researchers say its impact is "persistent and pervasive", with people who were bullied when young more likely to have poorer physical and psychological health, and poorer cognitive functioning at age 50.

"The effects of bullying are still visible nearly four decades later... with health, social and economic consequences lasting well into adulthood," says Ryu Takizawa, who led the study at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, comes from the British National Child Development Study, which includes data on all babies born in England, Scotland and Wales during one week in 1958. It included 7,771 children whose parents gave information on their child's exposure to bullying when they were aged seven and 11. The kids were then followed up until they reached 50.

Bullying is characterised by repeated hurtful actions by kids of a similar age, where the victim finds it difficult to defend themselves. In the study, 28% of the children had been bullied occasionally, and 15% were bullied frequently. These rates were similar to the situation in Britain today, say researchers.

The study, which adjusted for other factors such as childhood IQ, emotional and behavioural problems, and low parental involvement, found people who were frequently bullied in childhood were at an increased risk of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Victims of bullying were more likely to have lower educational levels, less likely to be in a relationship, and more likely to report lower quality of life. Men who had been bullied were also more likely to be unemployed and earn less.

Louise Arseneault, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's and who also worked on the study, says its findings showed how important it is "to move away from any perception that bullying is just an inevitable part of growing-up".

"Teachers, parents and policy makers should be aware that what happens in the school playground can have long-term repercussions," says Arseneault. – Reuters

Look, ma, no stitches: 'Nanoglue' shuts wounds in seconds

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 12:30 AM PDT

Nanoparticles, nanomedicine, nanoglue techniques – sounds like science-fiction? Actually, it's science reality as regenerative medicine research makes another breakthrough.

French researchers have innovated a liquid solution of silica nanoparticles that 'glues' wounds shut in a matter of seconds and leaves no scars when it heals.

Thanks to the progress of nanomedicine, stitches could soon become a thing of the past, giving way to nanoglue. Effective and easy to use, the revolutionary solution of silica nanoparticles is capable of closing deep wounds in a matter of seconds.

The efficacy of the innovative technique has now been demonstrated on live human subjects, as can be seen in the YouTube video at the bottom of the article. Another video contains extra footage comparing the traditional suture with the nanoglue technique. Be warned: If you're squeamish, there's a scalpel involved. 

A YouTube screen capture demonstrating the efficacy of the nanoglue in closing a wound, in what's been hailed as a breakthrough in the field of nanotechnology.

Tinier than tiny: A transmission electron microscopic image of silica nanoparticles, also called mesoporous silica. – Wikipedia

Developed last December by a team of researchers from the Soft Materials and Chemistry Laboratory (ESPCI/CNRS) and the Laboratory for Vascular Translational Science (Paris Diderot University) in France, the solution was the subject of a publication in the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie.

The researchers were able to test the nanoglue procedure alongside current conventional methods for sealing deep wounds or repairing cuts to an organ, and the results lived up to expectations. The nanoglue method resulted in minimal scarring, an absence of necrosis or inflammation, and rapid healing of the wound. Hemorrhaging is quickly stopped and organ function is preserved.

The solution withstands immersion in water and is self-repairing, according to CNRS, making it ideal for joining two pieces of skin or organ tissue during surgery. Silica is a widely available material, as it is used extensively in manufacturing and as a food additive.

The new nanoglue is expected to have applications in surgery and regenerative medicine for humans and animals alike. – AFP/RelaxNews

Why do I have flat feet?

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

A person with flat feet or fallen arches has low arches or no arches at all.

I have always had flat feet. When my feet are wet and I leave footprints on the ground, you can see that I have no arches at all. But I don't experience pain when walking. What are flat feet?

When the arch on the inside of your feet is flattened, you're said to have flat feet. This means that the entire sole of your foot touches the floor when you're standing or walking. Flat feet is actually a very common condition and it's usually painless. It's so common that in an estimated 20-30% of the world's population, the arch doesn't develop at all in one foot or both feet.

Why do some people have flat feet?

Infants and toddlers have flat feet because their arches haven't yet developed. It can partly be due to the presence of "baby fat". In fact, children who go barefoot a lot over ground (not the hard flat surface of your house floor) tend to develop arches a lot quicker.

Arches are developed through childhood. Some people never develop arches as a normal genetic foot variation in the population, and they may or may not have problems in later life. Arches may fall over the years due to wear and tear.

Arches are developed for a reason. The arch provides an elastic connection between your forefoot (front of your foot) and your hindfoot (back of your foot). Much of the forces during weight-bearing when you stand up, walk, run or carry weights are dissipated by the arch before the force reaches the long bones of your leg.

When you have flat feet, the head of your talus bone – one of the bones in your foot – is displaced from the navicular, another bone. It is displaced inward and forward. As a result, the ligament and tendon of your leg muscle is stretched, and you lose the function of that arch completely.

Why do flat feet develop with wear and tear?

This is called "adult acquired flat feet". This can be due to injury or illnesses, prolonged stress to the foot or faulty biomechanics due to normal ageing. Adult acquired flat feet are most common in women over the age of 40, especially if they're obese, have high blood pressure and/or diabetes. Flat feet can occur in women during pregnancy, but this is usually temporary because of hormonal changes in the body.

Research has shown that people who develop flat feet in adulthood have increased activity of some proteolytic enzymes (enzymes that break down protein). These enzymes break down the tendons and ligaments of the arches and cause the foot to fall. Maybe, one day, flat feet would be treated by drugs targeting these proteolytic enzymes.

Are flat feet always painless?

Not always. Some people experience feet which tire easily, and painful feet – especially around the arches and heels. They may experience swelling of the bottom of their feet. Some people have difficulty initiating certain foot movements, such as standing on their toes. Some people experience back and leg pain. I personally have flat feet. I find it difficult to balance on one foot during yoga class.

How would I diagnose flat feet?

This is very easy. First, get your feet wet. Then stand on a flat surface where your footprint will show. Now step away and look at your footprints. If you see complete imprints of your foot without any curvatures where the arch is supposed to be, you're likely to have flat feet.

But it's best to go to a podiatrist for a true diagnosis. Note that I said podiatrist, not general practitioner. This is because the podiatrist has equipment where they actually record you walking, and they're able to diagnose flat feet properly.

How do I treat my flat feet?

If you don't have any pain, you probably don't need treatment. However, these days, plenty of people who don't have pain wear orthotics anyway. Orthotics are special aids which can be put into shoes or are part of your special shoes to help you walk. Orthotics or arch supports are definitely needed if you have pain.

Note that orthotics will not cure your flat feet, but they can help you walk more easily and less painfully. Some people with flat feet have a shortened Achilles tendon, and they will need physiotherapy and stretching exercises.

> Dr YLM graduated as a medical doctor, and has been writing for many years on various subjects such as medicine, health, computers and entertainment. For further information, e-mail The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.


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