Whatever happened to spiritual health?

I begin by worshipping the gods, and try to conduct myself in such a way that in answer to my prayers I may have health and physical strength, esteem in the city, the affection of my friends, safety with honour in war, and wealth increased by honest means – Ischomachus, in the Oikonomikos, 11.8

In the modern western world, when we are faced with health problems that we can’t explain, we simply say it is undiagnosed. If it relates to emotions, or we cannot observe any physical symptoms, we call it mental illness.

However, in the ancient and medieval world, there was a spiritual dimension to health. In many parts of the world, there still is. Yoga, for instance, is not just about stretching, but for many has a spiritual goal.  And the word hygiene comes from Hygieia, who, according to the Open University, was health personified, worshipped in the 4th century BC. Continue reading “Whatever happened to spiritual health?”

Repel mosquitoes by burning oranges

South Korea’s “Chosun Ilbo” reports that you can create a cheap mosquito repellent by drying orange or lemon peel and burning it.

Years ago the same paper reported that leaving orange peel out to dry can help absorb foul odors. We’re guessing that the peels of other citrus fruits should work too.

It appears that the ancient Romans were also fans of citrus fruits (like lemons, oranges and citrons), but instead of eating citrus, used them as medicine and ornaments.

We now know that citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that prevents scurvy.  It’s good to know that the peels of citrus fruits, which we normally don’t eat, have other uses too.

If you are allergic to citrus, you can drive away mosquitoes by leaving a fan on at a high speed.  And for added security, you can sleep in a mosquito net.

In case these fail, you can relieve the pain of a mosquito bite by dipping a spoon in boiling water, and then pressing the hot spoon against the bite for one second.  (Please, use common sense: don’t burn yourself or others.)

The financial implications of getting ill

In some countries, the subject of who should pay for healthcare has become a political topic. But even in the UK, where healthcare is paid for by the state, those who become ill suffer financially.

Th BBC reported on debts related to one illness, cancer.  That’s not a typo, the article is about debts, not deaths.  According to the charity MacMillan Cancer support, cancer patients often ask about debt rather than dying.  The debt is not incurred by paying for treatment, but through joblessness.

Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas once commented how difficult it was to find work when you have cancer.   Continue reading “The financial implications of getting ill”

New hope in fight against a deadly brain cancer

Former Presidential candidate John McCain was recently diagnosed with a glioblastoma.

Glioblastoma is a brain cancer with a very low survival rate.  According to the American brain tumor association, of ten people who have glioblastomas, only one is likely to survive five years.

Through manipulation of enzymes, Glioblastoma cancer cells stop the immune system from responding. But this manipulation helps them stand out from normal cells, and may provide the key to targeting cancer cells.

Researchers from Alabama and China teamed up to research this phenomena after the failure of a previous study.  This time, tests on mice and cultures suggest that a drug called CMP3a could target cancer cells without affecting normal brain cells.  They hope to perform clinical trials in “a year or two.”

While Glioblastoma is relatively rare, the same technique could be used to fight more common cancers that carry similar enzymes.

First aid: To be a primary responder with DR ABC

We all hear about primary responders in the news.   When help is needed, the first responders are those who help first.  They may be police officers, firefighters, in some cases soldiers, medical specialists, or even ordinary civilians who have some know how.

When you see someone who might be in need of first aid, one form of primary response is DR ABC. (There’s also the ABCDE response, intended for those with more knowledge.) Continue reading “First aid: To be a primary responder with DR ABC”

How healthy are you?

Here’s a quick test.

Time yourself doing 100 chin-ups.  Now, run three miles, preferably up a steep hill like Baintha Brakk.  After that, see how far you can swim against the current in half an hour (but don’t dive down straight from the hill, that would be dangerous.  Hopefully there’s a pool on top of the hill.)

Okay, when you’re breathing deeply from all that exercise, take your pulse. Continue reading “How healthy are you?”