Health

Dear Evolution, thank you for oestrogen

Women, thank your lucky stars for oestrogen. There has historically been a perception that women handle stress and general panic better than men, but new research from the University of Buffalo now proves it and points to a reason. According to the animal study published in Molecular Psychiatry on July 9, it’s all thanks to…

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The trouble with Dr Google

Things have been a bit tough of late, the bad economy is starting to bite, and you’re feeling the pressure. To top it all, your body has been acting strangely in ways it never has before. Your muscles twitch in funny areas for hours at a time, you tire easily, and you have fleeting pins…

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Deadly circumcision and initiation practices should be outlawed

Nelson Mandela in his autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom recounts his childhood experience during this rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. He writes: “When I was sixteen, the regent decided that it was time that I became a man. In Xhosa tradition, this is achieved through one means only: circumcision. In my tradition,…

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Life support

The doctor turns to me and says you need to think about what you are going to do if he needs to go on a respirator. I do not understand. I ask. He says if he turns for the worse and needs to go on a respirator what will you do? I say why are…

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The disaster that is our medical depots

Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), along with Section27, the Treatment Action Campaign and Rural Health Advocacy Project recently released a damning report about HIV drug stock-outs in the Eastern Cape. According to the report, “Forty percent of 70 Eastern Cape health facilities ran out of HIV or TB drugs in May, and in almost…

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Why we choose materialism – part 2

Because, it is far easier to want a nicer, more expensive outfit than it is to ask ourselves why we can never conceive that we are enough as we are. It is easier to want a better, higher paying job than to ask ourselves what happened to the idealism that had once dominated our youth…

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Spare a thought for Madiba’s doctors and nurses

If I had to choose the way I could die, I would probably like to go peacefully in my sleep. It seems that Nelson Mandela no longer has that option. He may have had, and perhaps even been on that trajectory when he was rushed to hospital in the middle of the night more than…

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Night, night, sleep tight

(For several years I was an expatriate medical officer on a big company diamond mine in Botswana. All names have been changed.) Ring ring … ring ring … RING RING!! The telephone ring cut through the night like a scalpel, tearing apart the layers of my hard-earned sleep. I had been in bed for four…

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Bizarre things we could do with medical technology but probably shouldn’t

I saw recently a statement by a scientist that the first human to live for a thousand years has already been born. He was that confident that the elixir of eternal life is within reach. It made me think that there are many things already here or around the corner that medical technology could do,…

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It’s a sheep-eat-plant world…except sometimes

It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Or, in this case, it is usually a sheep-eat-plant world. But in Chile, sometimes the plants eat the sheep. When I first read that, I thought I was being had, that I would excitedly tell people about this carnivorous plant with a taste for sheep and be told I was wrong….

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