Gong Xi Fa Cai

Wishing all the people  out there

a Very Happy andProsperous

Chinese New Year of the Rabbit


6 simple ways to prevent Alzheimers

Come across a interesting article in yahoo on 6 simple ways to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. In fact, this 6 ways are good for general health as well as cardiovascular health too. The link to the original article is here, but i will also post part of that article in this blog:

1. Physical activity

Research from the University of Illinois has suggested that regular aerobic activity—like running, walking, or bicycling, which require oxygen to produce energy—may do a better job of protecting brain function than nonaerobic activity, which does not recruit oxygen and uses short bursts of motion (golf, tennis, and lifting weights). Reaping the cognitive benefits of pumping oxygen- and sugar-rich blood to the brain won’t require high intensity exercise, says William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association advises picking activities you like and doing them regularly for at least 30 minutes a day.

2. Weight control

The heavier a person is, the more likely he or she may be to develop Alzheimer’s. Thompson published research that found that the brains of older individuals who were obese (with a body mass index over 30) had approximately 8 percent less brain volume than subjects of normal weight (BMI between 18.5 and 25). When brain-volume loss reaches about 10 percent, Thompson says, symptoms like memory trouble or confusion appear. Earlier studies have suggested that people who are obese in midlife have a threefold increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and those who are overweight (considered a BMI between 25 and 30) have a twofold increased risk. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that with added pounds, fat gets deposited in the brain and narrows blood vessels that deliver fuel, Thompson theorizes. Over the long term, brain cells die and vital connections and volume are lost.

3. Mental challenges

No, it’s not just about doing sudoku—though puzzles do fall into the category. The brain’s ability to reorganize neural pathways with new information or experiences means it’s regularly changing; we can even generate new brain cells. But you need to work it. The general guideline, says Neil Buckholtz, chief of the dementias of aging branch at the National Institute on Aging, is regularly engaging in “some kind of new learning that challenges you.” No one knows exactly what works, though population research has shown that having more years of formal education seems to be protective. Folks with lots of schooling can still get Alzheimer’s, but the disease may appear later. From that, some extrapolate that lifelong curiosity and learning may have benefits.

4. Social connections

Research has found that people with larger social networks, while they had similar amounts of the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer’s as did more isolated people, were less affected cognitively. And separate research suggests that psychological distress over the long term significantly raises a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Thies predicts that science will eventually reveal that “this kind of interaction stimulates the brain to make new connections” that perhaps help compensate for decline. To get a threefer, try learning the intricate steps of the tango in a dance class with your friends.

5. Healthy diet

“What we have pretty good evidence for is that a diet higher in vegetables and lower in fat is [protective,]” explains Thies. While the evidence doesn’t offer up any recipes for success, the general recommendation is to get plenty of veggies and fruits with dark skins, like spinach, beets, red bell peppers, onions, eggplants, prunes, blackberries, strawberries, red grapes, oranges, and cherries, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Some evidence suggests green, leafy cruciferous vegetables, in particular, are helpful. Eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial. So may some nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans, that have high levels of vitamin E, an antioxidant. Research published in the Archives of Neurology suggested that the Mediterranean diet appears to be protective against Alzheimer’s. Some animal research has shown that curcumin, which is in the curry spice turmeric, suppresses the buildup of beta-amyloid, a main component in the harmful plaques in the Alzheimer’s-afflicted brain.

6. Chronic disease control

Buckholtz notes that “high blood pressure in old age is a very strong risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s later on, but if you can keep the blood pressure down, that decreases your risk.” And a study published in the journal Dementia & Geriatric Cognitive Disorders found that people in their 40s who had mildly elevated cholesterol were at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life. A sizable body of evidence suggests that type 2 diabetes and heart disease affect the brain and perhaps the development or severity of Alzheimer’

A Good about-turn

I welcome the widening of the scope of the RCI,  set up to probe procedural aspects of MACC’s mode of operation, to include the finding of the cause of death of the late TBH.

The authority has finally bowed to public pressure to do so, but it could have avoided much heartache and anger if it has included the finding of the cause of death as one of the reference points in the RCI , following the open verdict by the coroner’s court. This exposes that the authority has not really been able to gauge  pubic sentiments, and this failure of reading the pulse often leads to flip flop decision, even though the flip-flopping is not as bad as under the previous administration.

The RCI should be given a free hand to run its investigation, like in the case of the black eye incident of Anwar. As I have said so many times on this issue, no stones should be left unturned in the quest to find out who is responsible.

However, any findings and recommendations by the RCI must be followed up, in order for the public to regain their trust in future commissions of inquiry. Many people have already expressed their skepticism whether such commission would be effective, given that the Royal Commission on Police force’s recommendation of setting up of IPCMC has not been implemented.



Harmony brings prosperity!

A house divided against itself cannot stand..Abraham Lincoln

Many people  often wonder why there is such a discrepancy in growth rates between  ourselves and the little red dot (and for that matter, with those nations which were once called little dragons), since basically we started on the same footing, and Malaysia actually has more resources at its disposal for development and growth.

Basically, it all boils down to one reason. While others are busy expanding their cakes, we are still in the midst of deciding who gets what and how to divide our cake, which is actually not expanding much as a result of not letting the best people  bake it, and at the same time, letting too many rats eat it.

The little red dot’s founding father, MM Lee, attributed the success of the little red dot as this:   ” Singapore has been able to move forward ahead of its peers in the region despite being a tiny nation because it focused on building interracial and interreligious harmony early on, which  is crucial to create internal stability to attract investors.”

Whether you are his friends, admirers or foes, no one can doubt about his vision and his contribution to nation building of his country. Like all human, he may have his  mistakes, but no one can doubt his foresight and his analytical mind.

What he  said above hits the nail right on its head. While all the little dragons can concentrate solely on building their own industries and human resource, we are fighting to see who came first and who was last to board our own ship.

It is like a family which has half a dozen children. These children do not unite to run the family business but rather try to sabotage each other. In the end, the family business, despite started by their parents on a sound footing, can no longer compete with some of the other companies concentrating on innovation and growth. With all the back stabbing and quarrelling, everyone from the eldest to the youngest suffer.

The simple truth is ” harmony does bring prosperity”, like what the Chinese wisdom teaches us.

According to Lee, the red dot’s success is because of its interethnic and interreligious harmony.

Ask ourselves, are we now better than 53 years ago, in term of racial harmony and religious tolerance? The answer is obvious, we are now even more divided. And the more divided we are, the slower we are going to grow.

DO we still want to continue on the same path which has not allowed us to achieve our true potential?

A picture says a thousand words

A picture says a thousand words.

I am posting 2 pictures today:

First, a photo courtesy of Straits Times Singapore of MM Lee’s home since 1940s: (also a home that the present Singapore PM grew up)

Second photo is the palatial home of a former MB ( not PM but MB):

I have come across a picture of Mao’s living quarters in one of the books that I have read. It is as simple as the first picture.

What a ridiculous idea

There is a proposal to allow proxy voting in the next GE.

I am flabbergasted how this could have been proposed in a country that calls itself a democracy.

We might as well not hold any elections.

In a case of proxy voting, some sort of forms will have to be used. This is where lots of hanky panky can happen.

Who is to prevent someone to ask for a high sum of money to give his proxy form away? Maybe to the highest bidder?

Who is to prevent voters to sell their votes for 50 or even 100 ringgits per vote ?

Who is to prevent forged signatures , forged proxy forms etc etc??

Might as well assign a password to each citizen and ask them vote online..

If the above (proxy voting) does happen, then the person or party with the deepest pockets will win; policies are no more important!

And if this person or party wins, be assured that he or the elected representatives from this party would try to recoup whatever was spent and more!

The country would be stripped bare in no time!

Only a fool could have thought up such ‘brilliant’ idea!

Maybe they should be driving buses instead!

I have written about the excessive number of doctors we are producing so much so that there are 60 housemen in some wards, almost as much as the number of patients.  we need only about a 1000plus doctors a year, while we are producing 4000plus. And once the ratio of 1:400 is reached, we will be saturated with doctors and that is to be the case in 4 to 5 years time.

Apart from doctors, we are now overproducing radiographers. There are many radiography graduates who are now finding it difficult to find jobs, as the job market is small for these radiographers. By the way, radiographers are not radiologists who are specialists doctors; radiographers are  specialised technicians taking X-rays and processing the x-rays , whereas radiologists read them and give their expert opinion. Because we have so many new universities and colleges producing health-care personnel, radiographers are now in surplus supply and many of them will have to find jobs outside their fields of expertise, like camera salesmen.

Today, we have a report that we are mass producing too many airplane pilots. Read the Star here. Many hundreds of pilots from our local pilot training schools are finding it hard to get a job as airplane pilots. What do you expect these people do? They will try to get jobs outside the country but even so, many of them would not be able to land a pilot’s jobs because of their not- so-good-command of languages. Many of them will have to find jobs in other fields, like driving tourists around,  meaning a waste of talents and expertise. (Someone told me that this may not be a bad idea, for pilots are highly trained  and they are more responsible, and so there will be less tourist-bus accidents like the one that happened recently).

These examples, and there are actually more,  are just symptoms of a serious underlying disease; that our system is not tailoring our human resources to what we actually need, in many of the specialised fields.

We have, in a short span of time, set up too many colleges and universities of all kinds. Well, I am not against setting up ‘good quality’ universities, but the rate these universities are being set up, I really doubt where and how they are going to source for good teachers.

It is  actually OK to produce too many generalist university graduates of science or maths, business,  even liberal arts students–provided that the basic internationally acknowledged standards are met– because these people are not that specialised and by virtue of their more generalised  and broad-baased training, they are more versatile, and that they can adapt to all kind of job conditions.

It is good to have a lot of these graduates as these graduates can slowly and collectively help to raise the standard of our people in terms of innovation, knowledge and  civility. There will be more liberal thinkers , as generally,  the more educated a person is, the more learned he may become and the more liberal and civilised he should be. This is of course a generalisation, and there are exceptions and there are some non-graduates who are very good and innovative.  The fact remains that the better educated the populace becomes, the populace as a whole will advance much faster and be more civilised.

But for those who are being trained to deal with very specific specialties, there must be a sort of meeting-the-demand surveys and projections, before determining how many of these specialised people should be trained, how many colleges be allowed to set up to produce these targeted number and so on.

This is because if the person is very specialised, and he cannot find a job in his field of expertise, there will be a waste of talents and funds. It is  usually  more costly to train such people, and it would be a waste if you ask a pilot to be a bus driver.  Likewise, It will be a waste to ask a radiographer to be a camera salesman, or a doctor to become a barber ( early days surgeons were barbars, by the way).

Moreover, these specialised people, by virtue of their less generalised training, will not be as versatile as the generalist graduates and they might not easily fit in for jobs in fields other than what they are trained for.  For example, I am sure on the average,  a science graduate would be able to handle a teaching job better than a airplane pilot;  a business graduate would be able to handle jobs involving accounting better than a doctor or a radiographer.

What I am saying is that while it is good to produce more graduates, we must be more precise in the production of the very specialised people.

Furthermore, the graduates that we produce must be of good qualities, otherwise it will be like the case of a English speaking neighbouring country, where some of their people working  as maids  overseas have college degrees and so on.

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