Zika virus could be bigger global health menace than Ebola, say health experts

Stark claim comes ahead of WHOs emergency meeting, with notional vaccine-testing on pregnant women a practical and ethical nightmare

The Zika virus outbreak in Latin America could be a bigger threat to global health than the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in Africa.

That is the stark claim of several senior health experts ahead of situations of emergency meeting of the World Health Organisation on Monday which will decide whether the Zika threat which is linked to an alarming rise in cases of foetal deformation called microcephaly should be rated a global health crisis.

In many styles the Zika outbreak is worse than the Ebola epidemic of 2014-15, said Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust. Most virus carriers are symptomless. It is a silent infection in a group of highly vulnerable people pregnant women that is associated with a horrible outcome for their babies.

There is no prospect of a inoculation for Zika at present, in contrast to Ebola, for which several are now under trial. The real problem is that trying to develop a inoculation that would have to be tested on pregnant women is a practical and ethical nightmare, added Mike Turner, head of infection and immuno-biology at the Wellcome Trust.


Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust Photograph: the Guardian
With at least 80% of those infected indicating no symptoms, tracking the disease is extremely difficult. The mosquito species that spreads Zika, Aedes aegypti , has been expanding its scope over the past few decades. It loves urban life and has spread across the entire tropical belt of the planet, and of course that belt is expanding as global warming takes effect, added Farrar.

Only extreme measures are likely to contain the Zika threat, said Turner. These could include the use of DDT to eradicate Aedes aegypti as quickly as possible. We have to balance health risks posed to the environment by DDT with the terrible impact this virus is having on the unborn.

Britain is unlikely to be affected because Aedes aegypti cannot survive the cold of UK wintertimes. However, couples returning from south or central America have been warned not to try for a newborn for at least a month in case they have become infected.

Public Health England said that health risks of sex transmitting of Zika was low, but it had been recorded in a limited number of cases.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Madonna’s art collection and more on sale at starry benefit

As well as artworks and intimate photographs, auction items include a week in Leonardo DiCaprios Palm Springs villa and a poker game with Edward Norton and Jonah Hill

Intimate photographs of Madonnas wedding to her first husband Sean Penn are among the lots up for auction at the pop singers star-studded benefit show in Miami on Friday night.

The three photo taken by Herb Ritts in Malibu in 1985 will be sold, along with publishes from Madonnas infamous 1992 book Sexuality and artwork by Tracey Emin from the hotshots private collect, to create funds for her Raising Malawi organisation.

Comedian James Corden will be master of ceremonies at the event, billed as an evening of music, arts and mischief, in which Madonna will resurrect her bawdy cabaret indicate, Tears of a Clown, first performed in Australia earlier this year. The vocalist shared a photo of herself dressed in a pink clown suit on Instagram earlier this week to pester her performance at the Faena Forum in Miami Beach.

Other lots up for auction include a private game of poker with performers Edward Norton and Jonah Hill, a week in Leonardo DiCaprios Palm Springs home, a private dinner performance by the magician David Blaine, and artworks by Ai Weiwei, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Julian Schnabel, Marilyn Minter and Damien Hirst.

But the chance to mingle with celebrity guests, including Sean Penn, comedian Chris Rock and singer Ariana Grande, comes at a high price, with tickets starting at $5,000 for seating at the event and rising to $150,000 for a philanthropist package that includes a premium table for 10, access for four people to a VIP cocktail reception and a photograph with Madonna.

Lapo Elkann, the 39 -year-old grandson of Giovanni Agnelli, the late billionaire industrial magnate who was chief executive and controlling owner of Fiat, has donated a customised Fiat 500 described in the auction catalogue as a auto inspired by Madonna that invokes the Miami of over-the-top style, baroque publishes, glitz and glamor.

Elkann, has recently been charged with falsifying his own kidnap as part of an alleged gambit for ransom money, according to police in New York City.

Madonna on her Rebel Heart tour the costume is one of the items up for grabs at her charity benefit. Photo: Kevin Mazur/ Getty Images for Live Nation

The event comes amid Art Basel Miami Beach, the biggest art fair in Northern america, which attracts super-rich art collectors and celebrities from across the world.

Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on a trip to Malawi with Madonna, a portrait conference with photography duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, and the stars Swarovski crystal encrusted flapper dress, as worn on her Rebel Heart tour.

The vocalists first Tears of a Clown concert, in Melbourne, saw her enter the stage riding a tiny tricycle and singing a covering of Stephen Sondheims Send in the Clowns. Over the two-hour depict, she recollected visiting her moms grave, tearfully discussed losing custody of her 16 -year-old son, Rocco, to her second ex-husband Guy Ritchie, and visiting her then-husband Penn in jail.

The auction of Madonna and Penns wedding private photos collectively donated by the pair reflects their renewed relationship in recent years. Their four-year matrimony was been hit by rows and his clashes with the paparazzi. At their wedding ceremony in 1985, Penn scrawled Fuck off in the sand at the media helicopters flying overhead.

All proceeds from the evening will benefit Raising Malawi, the non-profit organisation founded by Madonna in 2006, which is building a new paediatric surgery and intensive care unit in the country, named after the singers adopted daughter, Mercy James, set to open next year.

Founding Raising Malawi is one of the most meaningful things I have done in my life, said Madonna. Creating Malawis evening of art, music and mischief at Art Basel will support our latest project to establish Malawis first paediatric surgery and intensive care unit. Im excited to give others the opportunity to be part of this undertaking that will ultimately save lives and help the children of Malawi.

This fundraiser is critical to supporting Creating Malawis goal of improving access to high quality pediatric healthcare in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, said Sarah Ezzy, executive director of Global Philanthropy Group, which manages Raising Malawi.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Thousands assemble to advocate breast-feeding at ASEAN forum

( CNN) Thousands of Filipino moms assembled Saturday to breast-feed their newborns together on the sidelines of the 50 th Association of Southeast Asian NationsForeign Ministers’ Meeting in Manila.

More than 2,000 moms took part in the event, which marked the culmination of the ASEAN regional breast-feeding forum, CNN Philippines reported.

The event was dubbed Hakab Na! — a including references to a newborn latching onto a mother’s breast — and was touted as thelargest assemble of breast-feeding families in the Philippines, according to organizer and advocacy group Breastfeeding Pinay.

Sherman chiropractor helping first responders, hurricane victims in Texas& Florida – KXII-TV


The Heart Is A Delicate Mechanism That Cannot Be Completely Broken

I open my wardrobe and I pick a pair of wings, I dust them off and I put them on. I dont know how it happened, but I feel I am ready to fly again. I feel light-hearted and the heart is a delicate mechanism, as long as it ticking, it cannot be completely broken. There is a limit to human suffering, the mystics know this and after that, there is only the possibility of a new sunup. Nowadays, many people have lost their spirituality, but the need to believe in something and search for meaning in what we experience is so deeply rooted inside human nature. On a wider scale, consolation and solace can be found for example in art, but on a personal level, inner peace and the feeling of well-being can be found in love. There are aches that some people create and merely a new love can heal. This is how it goes, this is the roller coaster we call life: we go up and down, we sink and we fly. Again and again.

We never know when a new love comes, what color are the eyes of this new love, how this new love smiles or how this new love looks while asleep. We never know until it comes and changes everything. I met a human who induces me happy. I was always less inclined to action and I expend the majority of members of my period daydreaming and seeming outside the window, but since a certain late autumn day when we gratified, I cannot do anything else, I cannot paint, I cannot write, I just feel like behaving like a cat with my lover.

Here I am today, appearing myself in the mirror and smiling, supposing how stupid I was sometimes when I supposed I would die of loneliness. There are billions of people on this planet, there should be a match for me or you , no matter what our personal weirdness is. My personal madness is my ability to fall in love again , no matter how big the dose of disappointment I get from life was. I recollect when I was in high school, I wrote a poem about the Phoenix bird. I was not able to catch its full meaning back then, but as years pass, I realised that is my personal myth. I fall and rise. Again and again.

I dont know how it happened, my arms just opened and greeted him.

I kissed him on the cheek, a very erotic touch, indeed. And then we looked at one another, it was a very intense gaze, I could sense his leg moving, but our eyes kept touching. A very erotic touch, indeed. That night we said we for the first time and we kept looking at one another, having wine and laughing. We maintained saying we: we like a good talk and sunny places, we like the touch of silk and seeming outside the window in winter. We might like one another. And my limbs opened and welcomed us for the first time.

There are many types of love we encounter in life. But even the one that brings us sorrow at some point is worth living.

The painful, obsessive type of love is more ego oriented and less focused on the relationship itself. Its one of the possibilities life gives us to learn something about ourselves, about who we are and what we really want. It is a style to assert respect, but many times we do it in a wrong way: claiming affection and wishing for attention from a person that is not willing to give it, when we should just devote a little self respect to ourselves. Another type of love, the most pleasant one is that various kinds of love that brings you pleasure and builds you trustful and light-hearted. I will always opt pleasure to suffering and now I will write some bold words, but which also hide inside them a great dose of truth: I will always favor elation to suffering because I deserve it.

I fulfilled someone I feel at ease with, person I can talk to about all the things I consider important, someone who stimulates me laugh and I feel comfortable presenting my innermost nature. My innermost nature is very playful, I always though that taking yourself too seriously is bad for your health. If I feel at ease with someone I start talking about all kinds of outrageous things, for instance me riding a turquoise horse on one of the main boulevards of Bucharest. Artists are still children at heart, who keep alive their potential to marvel at anything, including the vivid imaginary world they carry inside. When we start talking about this band named the blonde bears, I am a bit surprised. And I marvel because I always wanted my imagination to meet someone elses imagination. If there is something I wish for so strongly, that is going for a visit in someone elses mind. We fabricate a narrative and walk that narrative around in all the bars we go for wine and cuddles.

We laugh thinking about the day when all these imaginary stories we tell to each other, among touches and kiss, will become real. I am glad I have found a friend play games with because love is also a playground. Maybe all those people who suffer because of love, they carry a love that is too old and lost its playful trait. But I am not scared, I know that I will always be incredibly young at heart. We start talking passionately about all those outrageous things, but most importantly we start talking about us. Us, a word that brings me comfort, just like his hands wrapped around my waist.

Want more writing like this? Explore Laura’s book available here.

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Study Is shown how The Brain Rebuilds Itself In An Attempt To Cure Schizophrenia

Though there is currently no medication available that they are able remedy or reverse the onset of schizophrenia, new research shows that the human brain are competent to remodel itself as part of its own attempt to overcome the condition. This discovery provides new hope that it may one day allowed to harness the brains natural elasticity in order to develop new therapies for a range of cognitive disorders.

It has long been known that schizophrenia is accompanied by structural changes in the brain, as certain key brain regions decrease in volume. Recent research has shown that this is at least partially caused by a process known as synaptic pruning, whereby the immune cells of the central nervous system attack the connections between neurons.

However, the new study which appears in the journal Psychological Medicine indicates that when this passes, the brain attempts to compensate for this shrinkage by increasing the volume of gray matter in other regions.

After conducting a number of imaging exams on schizophrenic and healthy volunteers, use techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging( fMRI) and covariance analysis, such studies authors made a number of key observations. Most significantly, they found that the brains of people who had been suffering from schizophrenia for less than two years were easy to tell apart from those of non-sufferers, as there were obvious decreases in grey matter. However, beyond this two-year threshold, the schizophrenic brain apparently begins to rebuild itself, inducing it much harder to distinguish from healthy brains as the volume of grey matter increases.

Schizophrenia has a range of symptoms, including hallucinations and paranoia. Stokkete/ Shutterstock

In response to this pretty incredible discovery, the researchers say they hope to one day be allowed to make use of the brains inherent they are able to stimulate compensatory changes to its own structure in order to overcome schizophrenia.

Such an outcome is still some way off, however, as the brains capacity for self-reinvention is not currently efficient enough to reversal the condition, and will therefore need some channeling in order to become effective.

Indeed, the increase in gray matter complied with in long-term schizophrenics does not actually bring about a reduction in symptoms, as these increases are typically concentrated in the wrong regions. For instance, schizophrenia is often accompanied by a reduction in the volume of the parahippocampal region, leading to an enhanced danger of psychosis. Yet the researchers found that 11 different brain areasnone of which are located in this area increased in volume.

As such, the brain is not able to cure itself of schizophrenia, though the important receiving here is that it is able to remodel and regroup itself, thereby providing researchers with a potential new mode of action for the development of new treatments.

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North Korea devises ‘ hangover-free alcohol’

Last year there were cures for Ebola and Aids. Now, state media has claimed that a special ginseng alcohol can be drunk without fear. NK News reports

A North Koreanginseng liquor can be drunk without anxiety of hangover, according to an article in the DPRKs Pyongyang Times.

The article claims the Taedonggang Foodstuff Factory has been improving the drink for years, replacing sugar with scorched, glutinous rice which apparently helps remove both bitterness and hangovers.

Koryo Liquor, which is made of six-year-old Kaesong Koryo insam [ ginseng ], known as being highest in medicinal effect, and the scorched rice, is highly appreciated by experts and fans as it is suave and causes no hangover, the piece reads.

In August, the Korean Central News Agency published an article claiming North Koreas Koryo Songgyungwan University was working on improving the quality of Kaesong Koryo Insam Liquor.

An article from 1999 also claimed the insam liquor is the elixir of life.

Andray Abrahamian, director of research from Choson Exchange who regularly visits the DPRK, said he hadnt tried the brand in question, but wasnt keen on drinking the alcohol as a tasty treat.

There are some high quality liquors made in North Korea, though in my experience there is no such thing as hangover-free liquor anywhere in the world, he said.

Should the claims about hangovers demonstrate accurate, the drink would no doubt also prove popular in the South. According to a 2012 World Health Organisation report, South Koreans drink 12.1 litres of alcohol a year, more than any other country in Asia.

But curing hangovers is one of the milder curative properties North Korean media has attributed to ginseng.

Last year DPRK media claimed medical products containing extracts from the plant could cure Mers, Sars and even Aids.

A version of this article first is available on NK News Northern korean news

Read more: www.theguardian.com