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Sun, 10 Dec 2023
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Health & Wellness


Is cabin air making us sick?

More and more pilots are reporting that air polluted by engine fumes is making them ill and even incapable of handling their aircraft. So why are passengers not being told? Charles Starmer-Smith reports.

"It was during the descent that my first officer told me he was feeling really bad and very close to vomiting. He went on to oxygen. I felt confused and five seconds later I, too, was close to vomiting. I just managed to put on my mask, after which I could hardly move. We were sitting there flying at 600 miles an hour, late at night, both of us more or less incapacitated. I could not even raise my hand; I could not talk; it was like I was paralysed."

This is not a script for a Hollywood action film but the account of Neils Gomer, a captain on a Swedish aircraft, who was almost completely incapacitated by toxic fumes. He also stated that many of the 73 passengers on the flight were so deeply asleep that it was difficult to wake them up - a fact confirmed by the accident investigator, who noted that passengers were in a "zombie-like condition". He managed to land, but said later that if he had delayed by seconds going on to oxygen the plane would have crashed.


Losing your temper can delay healing

Some say it is harmful to bottle up anger.

Now evidence has been found that suppressing rage delays healing, suggesting that anger management courses could help wounded people to leave hospital sooner.

Earlier work showed how stresses hold up healing, from the chronic stress caused by caring for a parent with dementia to the burst of hostility caused by everyday events, such as a marital spat.


Bipolar Disorder Is A Serious Illness, Not a Celebrity Fad

It's become an occupational hazard for celebrities. But what's it really like to live with bipolar disorder?

Gail Porter has it. Stephen Fry made a documentary about it. Sophie Anderton, Adam Ant, Russell Brand, Richard Dreyfuss, Kerry Katona and Tony Slattery are all sufferers. And now Britney, too, has bipolar disorder, at least according to the media, in whose unforgiving glare she has undergone her very public meltdown.

At times, it seems as though bipolar illness is the latest celebrity fad - like wheat intolerance, perhaps. But the apparent spike in celebrity sufferers points to something else: that awareness amongst both clinicians and the public is growing and some of the stigma attached to admitting to mental health problems has begun to diminish.


New Popular Self-Help Books Share One Message: You're an Idiot

Once known for gentle cheerleading and encouragement, the genre now berates readers with 'you're an idiot' messages.

Of all the aisles in the typical American bookstore, none has expanded faster than the one devoted to self-help. But customers looking for some sage words of relationship advice or a little "you can do it!" encouragement to lose weight may be in for a shock. The motivational gurus of the Simon Cowell (of "American Idol" fame) generation are here with blunt appraisals of our personal shortcomings.

Evil Rays

Brain control headset for gamers

Gamers will soon be able to interact with the virtual world using their thoughts and emotions alone.

A neuro-headset which interprets the interaction of neurons in the brain will go on sale later this year.

Brain-controlled head set


China "regrets" U.S. decision on food supplies

Beijing - China expressed regret on Thursday at reports the U.S. Olympic team would bring its own meat for the Beijing Games over concerns of drugs tainted food, and said it could guarantee safe supplies.


Michael Pollan Debunks Food Myths

Pollan's new book, In Defense of Food, is a scathing indictment of the food industry and a call for a return to unprocessed food.

The human digestive tract has about the same number of neurons as the spinal column. What are they there for? The final word isn't in yet, but Michael Pollan thinks their existence suggests that digestion may be more than the rather mundane process of breaking down food into chemicals. And, keeping those numerous digestive neurons in mind, Pollan's new book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto entreaties us to follow our knowledgeable guts when it comes to figuring out what to eat.

Arrow Up

Strokes Among Middle-Aged Women Triple

New Orleans - Strokes have tripled in recent years among middle-aged women in the U.S., an alarming trend doctors blame on the obesity epidemic. Nearly 2 percent of women ages 35 to 54 reported suffering a stroke in the most recent federal health survey, from 1999 to 2004. Only about half a percent did in the previous survey, from 1988 to 1994.


Physical abuse of children a major problem for Russia

Domestic violence has become a major disaster for Russia, where over two million children are beaten by their parents every year, a leader of a Russian human rights movement said on Wednesday.

"According to experts, a total of 50,000 children flee home and 70,000 are abused annually," Olga Kostina, the leader of a non-governmental movement, Soprotivlenye, added.


US: Midlife Suicide Rises, Puzzling Researchers

Shannon Neal can instantly tell you the best night of her life: Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2003, the Hinsdale Academy debutante ball. Her father, Steven Neal, a 54-year-old political columnist for The Chicago Sun-Times, was in his tux, white gloves and tie. "My dad walked me down and took a little bow," she said, and then the two of them goofed it up on the dance floor as they laughed and laughed.

Shannon Neal says her debutante ball on Dec. 23, 2003, which she attended with her father, Steven, was the best night of her life. A few weeks later, her father, who was 54 at the time, killed himself.