Tag Archives: Beat

Feel the beat: deaf fans fight for access to live music

Growing up among the reggae soundsystems and pirate radio stations of 1980s Hackney, Troi Lee was surrounded by music, “speakers on the street corners blaring”. After getting a Walkman for his 14th birthday, he would wander through his neighbourhood playing songs by Public Enemy on repeat: “It was pure joy,” he says. This passion led Lee to follow in the footsteps of his cousin John and become a DJ. It’s a common enough path – except that Lee was born severely deaf.

Deaf Rave founder Troi Lee.
Deaf Rave founder Troi Lee. Photograph: Vaya Media

With his hearing aids on the telecoil setting, he could hear certain frequencies of his Walkman – the bass vibrations from the percussion and glimpses of lyrics – through a magnetic wireless signal. When DJing, Lee, now 44, uses digital software to visualise the instrumental elements that he mixes together. “We need to reverse the myth that deaf people can’t enjoy music,” Lee says. “I don’t let my deafness affect me. I want to show the world that deaf people can play music just as well as our hearing peers.”

The idea that deafness impedes the appreciation of music is gradually being debunked. In 2013, sign language interpreter Amber Galloway Gallego went viral in the US for her animated performance for rapper Kendrick Lamar at the Lollapalooza festival. Rather than merely signing the words, she embodies musical textures with her face and movements, showcasing a unique technique that she describes as “showing the density of sounds visually”. To represent bass, she places her arms in front of the lower part of her body and inflates her face, replicating the sign for “fat”, while higher frequencies are placed at head height and above. After her performance, US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel took notice, inviting her and fellow interpreters Holly Maniatty and JoAnn Benfield on his show for a “sign language rap battle” in 2014.

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Amber Galloway Gallego signing for Kendrick Lamar at Lollapalooza festival, 2013 – video

Despite some progress, a report by accessibility charity Attitude Is Everything recently stated that in the UK over 80% of deaf and disabled music fans have experienced problems when booking tickets to live music events. The UK’s live music census in February also found that only 30% of surveyed venues have dedicated disabled-access areas and only 7% of surveyed promoters have a policy to provide PA (personal assistant for deaf and disabled customers) tickets as standard. Yet it’s estimated that more than 3.3m deaf and disabled fans attend live music events every year, with a 70% rise in disabled-access ticket sales reported in 2016.

With one in six people suffering from hearing loss in the UK and around one in 1,000 children born profoundly deaf, the lack of accessibility to live music for deaf people is a significant challenge, and deaf fans believe too little is being done to serve their needs. “I don’t go to live shows very often as they’re not that accessible,” says writer Rebecca Withey, who is profoundly deaf. “There is absolutely not enough provision for us, and ironically when some venues do host accessible shows, they don’t promote them well enough for us to find out about them.”

For some fans, difficulties around access can put an end to nights out altogether. “Being ignored by the music industry has made me disengage from live music,” says deaf journalist and film-maker Charlie Swinbourne. Fans say specialist provisions are crucial: interpreting should be as readily available in the UK as it appears to be in the US, says student Liam O’Dell, while Lee believes that “all promoters should allocate a certain number of tickets for deaf and disabled people”.

Clubbers at Troi Lee’s Deaf Rave night.


Clubbers at Troi Lee’s Deaf Rave night. Photograph: Vaya Media

Small steps are being made towards inclusivity: festivals such as Glastonbury and Festival Republic events Reading, Leeds and Latitude all provide BSL interpreting on request. Still, the provision can face obstacles. “When access is permitted it is often done so reluctantly – it is not widely advertised, left unregulated and is often of an inadequate standard,” says Marie Pascall, director of Performance Interpreting, which provides the service for Festival Republic. She describes one instance where “an act refused to have the interpreter on stage, and then refused for the interpreter to sign any of their performance”.

Troi Lee has taken matters into his own hands. In 2003 he founded Deaf Rave, a quarterly event in London designed specifically for deaf clubbers. The inspiration came from his experiences at illegal warehouse parties in the early 1990s, where the speakers amplified the vibrations he had once enjoyed through his Walkman. “It’s something I can’t quite describe,” he says, “the lasers blazing up the place and the biggest soundsystems I have ever seen or felt, shaking the entire warehouse.” From that moment in 1991, he set out to convince the deaf community that clubbing was as much a part of their culture as the hearing world’s. Through heightened bass levels and the use of new technology such as SubPac – a wearable speaker that intensifies vibrations – Lee can make his events immersive.

The organisation celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, but Lee says there is still much to be done. Deaf people are twice as likely to suffer from depression as hearing people. Withey says: “There’s still a huge stigma attached to being a deaf music fan.” Says Lee: “We are one of the most marginalised groups in society, owing to our isolation, unemployment, lack of BSL in mainstream schools and the daily frustrations of communication barriers. We organised Deaf Rave because we have empathy for our community.”

Nigeria battles to beat polio and Boko Haram

The man sporting a giant purple bottom adorned with a swinging horse tail is chanting to the beat of the drummers, his blue-painted face sweating copiously. Children delightedly race around the colourful clown. All except Ismail, 13, who watches from the ground, twisting his head to follow the dance. A man with a megaphone is yelling something, but it can’t be heard in the melee. Then a group of blue-caped women emerge from the crowd, clutching cheap market stall lunchboxes, to begin the real business of the day.

This is the “flag-off” in Ungogo, Kano state. The party marks the first of four days of intense work by an army of volunteers, mostly young mothers, who will go door to door across Nigeria. Some will pass through thousands of twisting warrens of slums fanning out into the red-orange, mud-built hamlets and reed-thatched huts. Others will visit the crumbling concrete city blocks, slipping drops of polio vaccine into as many of the 30 million Nigerian children under five as they can find.

Their capes bear the slogan: “Lafiyar al’ummarmu hakkin kowa da kowa ne” – “The health of the child is the responsibilty of all.” The lunchboxes are filled with ice and polio vaccine. They have marker pens to dab on the finger of each treated child and chalk to mark every house wall they visit, marking which child was vaccinated and when. No one is to be missed out.

Ismail has mixed feelings as he watches, his useless legs tucked under him in the dust. He contracted polio aged two. “I blame my parents,” he says, “for not having me vaccinated, it makes me angry with them. I don’t feel so glad to see this today, I feel sad.”

Polio is a plague on the poor, a paralysing, disabling brute of a virus, it deforms the limbs and wastes the muscles. Children under five are most at risk and places with poor sanitation are favoured feeding grounds for the virus, which spreads through infected faeces. For every one person paralysed by polio, another 200 will be contagious.

Even in countries like the UK, where it has long been wiped out, sewers are regularly tested to ensure that polio does not sneak back into the population. Only three host countries remain: Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nigeria was on track to be declared polio-free in 2017. But just as it was ready to celebrate, the disease returned.

Binta Siddique, left, and Hanza Absulane await anti-polio vaccinations for their babies.


Binta Siddique, left, and Hanza Absulane await anti-polio vaccinations for their babies. Photograph: Tracy McVeigh for the Observer

The stumbling block here is not a lack of effort. The drive to vaccinate by Nigeria, with help from Unicef, which has been behind this mass mobilisation, has been heroic. The problem is Boko Haram.

This fearsome insurgency group holds a great swath of territory in north-east Nigeria, where it attempts to impose an extreme form of Islamic law and a hatred of the west. Violent and insular, Boko Haram also tries to seal people in its territory and keep vaccination teams, seen as a western influence, out. It is to this area that polio has returned, and the fear is that those fleeing their violence could bring the virus back into the wider country. The two polio cases discovered in August were children displaced from Maiduguri, capital of Boko Haram’s stronghold, Borno state.

Boko Haram is now weaker, but the poverty, propaganda and fear that brought them into being remain strong. The memory of the murder of two Kano vaccination teams four years ago is still fresh. “I was soaked in blood,” said Abbas Ibrahim Musa, in the village of Kauyen Alu. “It was a Friday, at 8.30am. I was preparing the vaccines. I heard a gunshot and raised my head and saw a man in the door holding a gun. I fell to the floor and heard ‘bang, bang’. Then ‘shoot them, shoot them’. There was the smell of petrol and they started to burn the place. I had bodies on top of me. Providence decreed I didn’t die that day. Three people died and three were injured. One had just finished her studies, one a bus conductor with one child and a pregnant wife. One sold vegetables.”

Meanwhile, in a nearby village, other gunmen were slaughtering eight women, another team of volunteers. Three days before, a radio show had run an item in which an imam repeated allegations that the polio vaccine was a western plot to sterilise Muslims.

“I can say this,” said Musa. “Without Boko Haram polio would be a thing of the past. Some say health is not the problem; security is. They are linked. If we hear one child in Maiduguri has polio, then that means there are 200. So what if there are 10 children there? And very many children are coming out of the conflict zone. We don’t know, so we have to work harder. We persuade people by educating them. You make them understand. We have reduced the non-compliance rate here now to almost zero. I tell our workers ‘your names are written in gold’.”

But with some religious leaders sharing the distrust, what should have been a celebration of a disease eradicated is now a renewed struggle to finish a job that should have been over. Since the outbreak in Boko Haram-controlled territory, northern Nigeria has been in emergency mode. Teams of vaccinators are out almost constantly. “I almost cried,” said Rhoda Samson, “but not to finish the job is not acceptable.”

‘Disabled in the body, not the mind or heart’: surviving polio in Nigeria

A supervisor in the mobilisation teams, Samson is thorough, checking every move her teams make. They visit a woman whose five-day-old baby still has no name. The chalk on the wall outside shows a list of visits here. “Seven times they have said no,” said Samson as her team coo over the baby. “Bamaso,” said the mother, Amina Ali. “We don’t want. My husband says vaccine is not food, why do the government not give us food? He refused and has not offended God.”

At this her husband, Ali Zaki, returns home, angry at the invasion of his house: “I believe God will provide; this is what we are taught.” But he is no match for Samson: “You think God doesn’t make the medicines? You want your children to have polio? To never play? Does Allah want that? What kind of man are you?”

When Zaki grudgingly agrees, the vaccine is quickly slipped into the baby’s mouth and the women clatter off, congratulating the couple. “They’ve a lot of reasons for refusing. We have some who don’t want drugs at all, some who say they won’t because they want something in return, some hear the stories,” said Samson. “The security situation is a problem. People are suspicious, they hear vaccinations make infertility. But we are bringing the numbers of non-compliants down; we will not stop.”

And they are not just fighting polio – they are creating a network and collecting data in a way never before done in Nigeria. A network of trained, community-based health workers, it’s a structure already being used to deliver other healthcare.

Senior state and government officials have recognised the value of this, gracing the polio flag-offs. In their elegant robes and themed hats, and long, often less elegant political speeches, their presence stresses to everyone in the fidgeting crowds of locals that something important is happening here. It is the kind of message that could reverse the damage done by Boko Haram, says Dr Kabiru Ibrahim Getso, Kano’s health commissioner. “Kano used to be a hub of polio cases, now it’s best practice. The last case was 2014 and this did not happen by accident. The teams are headed by the governor himself, it’s high profile This is how we do it. We go into the field every day, every day the volunteers are out there. Then we can use these structures to develop an entire primary healthcare system.”

Displaced people are especially targeted in this campaign. Abule Abdullah has hosted seven families – seven mothers and 33 children – in her home in Katsina state. One of her current guests is Aisha Idris, 40, recently arrived from Maiduguri.

“Boko Haram forced us to come here. The insurgency has stopped everything, the hospitals, the schools, everything is shut down,” she said. “My husband was killed at his Islamic reading group by a stray bullet from the fighting. My child was sick and so I came here with my children. I have to live with no roof over our heads but they have all been vaccinated now.” At the bus stations, and the state and national border crossings, the lunchbox-toting teams are there. Peering into cars, lifting the cloaks of women perched on motorbikes to find the babies strapped to their fronts and backs. Squeezing in the little vials of vaccine.

“If they say no, then we tell them they can go back,” said superintendent of immigration, Charles Tashllani, imposing order on Nigeria’s border with Niger in Katsina. Here, late in the evening, the Polio Emergency Operations committee reviews the campaign’s first day, which has seen 3,661 teams immunise 28,882 underfives. The detail is such that eight missing marker pens are on the agenda, as is the sacking of two town announcers who did not inform people about the programme.

“We look at every single child, everyone counts to us. I’m dealing with human beings. But we do have the iceberg phenomenon: many inaccessible, remote areas where we do not always know what is going on.

“People not feeling that polio is a threat to them, that is a big worry for a resurgence. But the biggest threat to health is Boko Haram. When we learned we had Borno refugees here in Katsina we were worried; they melt into the communities. It is potentially dangerous.”

The legacy of polio can be seen everywhere in Nigeria. Aminu Ahmen el-Wada lives with Hadza, his wife of 28 years, and those of their nine children who still live at home. One of life’s cheerful souls, he is enormously proud of the length of their marriage. “The trick is when I am the problem, I say sorry, when she is the problem, she says sorry,” says Wada.

The couple both skim along the floor using wooden handles Wada designed and carved to protect their hands – when your legs are withered from polio and are folded tiny and useless below your torso, your arms are the limbs that propel you. “I went to school until I became too heavy for my parents to carry me there,” said Wada. “So I taught myself to make hand-operated cycles, first for myself, then for others.” He now employs 20 people, 15 polio survivors. “Otherwise we would be beggars. This is because in Africa nobody can help you if you are disabled. But my father told me: ‘Disabled is in the body, not in the mind or in the heart,’ and this is what I believe.”

His smile falters only when he introduces Ummar, 14. His son contracted polio during a hiatus in the immunisation programme. “It was horrible. But the place behind our house is where people defecate. This is what happens.”

Wada began the Polio Survivors Group, which supports the vaccination drives. “I tell people: ‘Look at me. Do you want your child to end up like this? To never play football?’” Although he acknowledges the irony in that he also coaches a polio survivors’ para-football team. “But they would rather play for Arsenal,” he grins.

In his open-air workshop by the side of a main road in Fagge, the air smells poisonous as the men who would otherwise be beggars weld, cut and paint, making the three-wheeled, arm-operated cycles that give a certain freedom of movement. “This is the small size, for age five, then they can move up, age teenage, age adult,” he says. “One day I would like it that we make no more because polio is eradicated. Then we will make playground equipment instead, slides for happier children.”

He fires up his beaming smile: “Years ago in Nigeria we had leprosy, smallpox. We chased them all away. Now the last one is polio.”

The only way to beat the Tories is for opposition parties to work together | Shirley Williams

Theresa May’s Conservative government is less united and less powerful than it may seem. It has a small and vulnerable majority, remains divided on what kind of relationship it wants with the European Union, and disagrees on some key political issues like the role, if any, that grammar schools should play in secondary education.

Even the current urgent crisis on care for elderly and disabled adults is a source of argument. Should local councils, starved of resources after years of heavy cuts, be held to their statutory responsibilities, or is the crisis so extensive that only government responses will suffice – higher national taxes or an increase in national insurance contributions to meet the evident suffering of the old, the sick and the poor?

Proposing a precept of a few percent more on council taxes will lead to greater burdens on local businesses: some will be bankrupted, shops and offices will close, and more areas of our towns and cities will become derelict.

Yet the government has faced little effective opposition, not because of its majority but because the opposition parties fail to work together, even though on many issues there is no difference of principle or conviction between them, and there is a clear opposition to the Conservatives. On the survival of the NHS, the need to tackle care for the sick and elderly at a national level, the commitment to comprehensive education, greater fairness in taxation and on tackling poverty, there is little if any reason why cross-party opposition campaigns could not be forged.

The Brexit negotiations will involve a review of all the laws and rules the UK accepted as part of agreed European legislation. Once the negotiations begin in earnest, the best part of the European Union’s welfare and employment rights heritage will be at great risk. For parties of the centre and centre left, it is vital to fight to retain employment rights, such as provision for parental leave, rest time and holiday entitlement. If these are abolished, thousands of people will be worse off. But the opposition work required will demand time and effort from all the progressive parties, working together.

Sadly, despite the urgency, the opposition parties are not working together. Tribalism, not least in the Labour party, dominates, and provides the government with a green light for its more extreme policies. What we have to do is sit down, take each one of the issues on which we are broadly in agreement, and work out how best, in parliament and elsewhere, we can support a common policy. For instance, in the case of the NHS we could strongly argue for a continued immigration policy that allows men and women from other countries who are prepared to work in the health service to come to the UK. In the case of the council precept, we need to put together the outline of a national policy for care. And on civil liberties issues such as detention without trial, we could agree on the position that there should be a limit on how long anyone can be detained.

The parties of the centre and left are highly unlikely to merge or become one party. But they could surely forge progressive alliances on issues and surely agree to protect and defend the common ground based on values we already share, above all to protect the poor and those in need. The price of tribalism is conceding to the government so much that we value in our society.

Adrenal Fatigue and How to Beat It

Your adrenal glands are two tiny pyramid-shaped pieces of tissue situated right above each kidney. Their job is to produce and release, when appropriate, certain regulatory hormones, and chemical messengers (1).

Adrenaline is manufactured in the interior of the adrenal gland, called the adrenal medulla. Cortisol, the other chemical from the adrenal gland, is made in the exterior portion of the gland, called the adrenal cortex. The cortex also secretes androgens, estrogens, and progestins. Cortisol, commonly called hydrocortisone, is the most abundant — and one of the most important — of many adrenal cortex hormones. Cortisol helps you handle longer-term stress situations.

In addition to helping you handle stress, these two primary adrenal hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol, along with others similarly produced, help control body fluid balance, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other central metabolic functions.

In the heightened nervous state of adrenal burnout, the body overproduces adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones. Constant stress and poor nutrition can weaken the adrenal glands. Eventually, this causes the adrenal glands, the front line in the stress reaction, to show wear and tear and become depleted. This frequently leads to impairment in the thyroid gland, which can cause a further decline in energy level and mood and is one of the reasons why many people have thyroid glands that don’t work well.

When stress continues over prolonged periods of time, the adrenal glands can deplete the body’s hormonal and energy reserves, and the glands may either shrink in size or hypertrophy (enlarge). The overproduction of adrenal hormones caused by prolonged stress can weaken the immune system and inhibit the production of white blood cells that protect the body against foreign invaders (in particular lymphocytes and lymph node function).

Adrenal dysfunction can disrupt the body’s blood sugar metabolism, causing weakness, fatigue, and a feeling of being run down. It can also interfere with normal sleep rhythms and produce a wakeful, unrelaxing sleep state, making a person feel worn out even after a full night’s sleep.

Common Causes of Adrenal Stress

  • Anger
  • Fear / Worry /Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Overwork/ physical or mental strain
  • Excessive exercise
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Light-cycle disruption
  • Going to sleep late
  • Surgery
  • Trauma/injury
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Chronic infection
  • Chronic pain
  • Temperature extremes
  • Toxic exposure
  • Malabsorption
  • Maldigestion
  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic-severe allergies
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Associated Symptoms and Consequences of Impaired Adrenal Functioning

  • Low body temperature
  • Weakness
  • Unexplained hair loss
  • Nervousness/Panic Attacks
  • Difficulty building muscle
  • Irritability
  • Mental depression
  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Apprehension
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Excessive hunger
  • Tendency towards inflammation
  • Moments of confusion
  • Indigestion
  • Poor memory
  • Feelings of frustration
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Auto-immune diseases/hepatitis
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations [heart fluttering]
  • Dizziness that occurs upon standing
  • Poor resistance to infections
  • Low blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Food and/or inhalant allergies
  • PMS
  • Craving for sweets
  • Dry and thin skin
  • Headaches
  • Scanty perspiration
  • Alcohol intolerance

Eating steadily, all day long. Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do for your body. When you’re hungry, your blood sugar drops, stressing your adrenal glands and triggering your sympathetic nervous system. That causes light-headedness, cravings, anxiety, and fatigue. Another drawback to skipping meals: The resulting low blood sugar can affect your ability to think clearly and shorten your attention span (2).

Skipping breakfast is particularly bad, as it is a sure fire way to gain, not lose, weight. If you start each morning with a good breakfast and “graze” healthfully every two to four hours, your blood sugar will remain steady throughout the day. You’ll feel more rested and energetic. Eat protein with every meal. Eat Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice. Avoid sugar, junk food, white pasta, white rice, white bread (3).

Absolutely NO Caffeine. Coffee/Sodas over stimulates your adrenals and they deplete important B vitamins. Coffee does not give you energy; coffee gives you the illusion of energy. Coffee actually drains the body of energy and makes you more tired, because of vitamin and adrenal depletion.

Exercise to relax. Walking, Yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or stretching. No vigorous or aerobic exercise, which depletes the adrenals.

Avoid alcohol, processed foods, and tobacco.  Nicotine in tobacco initially raises cortisol levels, but chronic use results in low DHEA, testosterone, and progesterone levels.

Reduce stress; learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation.

1.The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution: A Proven 4-Week Program to Rescue Your Metabolism, Hormones, Mind & Mood, 2017, Romm, Aviva, M.D.
2. The Adrenal Reset Diet: Strategically Cycle Carbs and Proteins to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, and Move from Stressed to Thriving, 2016, by Alan Christianson NMD and Sara Gottfried MD
3. Adrenal Fatigue: Ultimate Complete Essential Guide, Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome Naturally, Adrenal Reset Diet, Balance… 2016, Gregory Garcia

Hollywood film studios beat lawsuit over smoking in PG-rated films

Hollywood film producers have beaten a lawsuit which alleged that the depiction of tobacco use in films rated as appropriate for children led directly to deaths from smoking.

A class action launched by Timothy Forsyth claimed that the rating system used by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) amounted to misrepresentation, since it was established that viewing tobacco imagery caused children to smoke.

“In 2012 the surgeon general concluded that the scientific evidence established that exposure of children to tobacco imagery in films causes children to smoke,” the lawsuit said.

“In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded based upon the scientific evidence that if defendants continued to assign the PG and PG-13 ratings to films with tobacco imagery the youth ratings would cause 3.2 million children to become addicted to nicotine and one million of those children would die prematurely from tobacco related diseases.”

In its defence, the MPAA, a trade body that represents the six major Hollywood studios, argued that film ratings amount to opinions, and cited the first amendment protecting freedom of speech. It said the ratings system is not intended to “prescribe socially-appropriate values”, but to offer guidance based on what most American parents would think about a film’s suitability for children.

Forsyth contended that all films depicting smoking should receive the restrictive R rating, meaning that anyone under 17 should be accompanied to cinemas by a parent or guardian.

“Saying that some material ‘may’ not be suitable when defendants know that some material is not suitable – that it will kill kids by the hundreds of thousands – is false and misleading,” the lawsuit claimed.

But the judge rejected that argument. The Hollywood Reporter quoted him as saying: “Forsyth insists that a rating less stringent than R is a representation that ‘the film is suitable for children under 17 unaccompanied by a parent or guardian’. The ratings plainly make no such representations. Rather, the PG and PG-13 ratings caution parents that material in such movies may be inappropriate for children … as such, neither intentional nor negligent misrepresentation claims are tenable as pleaded.”

The World Health Organisation has called in the past for films featuring smoking to be restricted to adult audiences, noting that 44% of all Hollywood films, and 36% of films rated for young people in 2014 contained smoking.

There have been laws in place restricting paid product placement of tobacco since 1998, and the MPAA’s rating system has taken instances of smoking into account since 2007.

The ratings board, which is made up of parents, now considers three questions where smoking is depicted: whether it is pervasive in the film, whether it glamorises the act, and whether there is a historic or other mitigating context.

Patients over politics: Sudanese breast cancer clinic that beat sanctions

For many women living in Sudan, breast cancer means certain death. Treatment is too expensive or they simply feel too embarrassed to seek help.

But until recently, yet another obstacle was seriously hampering efforts to cut breast cancer deaths in Sudan. Since the early 1990s, the country has been on the US blacklist for state sponsors of terrorism – imposed for human rights violations and for harbouring Osama Bin Laden.

Even the Khartoum Breast Care Centre (KBCC), the Horn of Africa’s first and only dedicated breast cancer clinic, has been hit by the sanctions, with a ban on international money transfers and the restriction on imports of medical equipment and spare parts.

Founded by British-trained Sudanese radiologist Dr Hania Fadl, the KBCC offers hi-tech digital mammography screening for a fraction of the usual price elsewhere. Since it opened in 2010, it has treated more the 18,000 patients from across the region and has received widespread acclaim and international support.

Using private funds and a $ 14m donation from the charitable foundation run by her ex-husband, Sudanese-British businessman Mo Ibrahim, Fadl has managed its 11-year development from start to finish.

However, the US sanctions meant the centre was unable to buy and maintain crucial diagnostic machinery. In February 2014, it decided to begin a year-long application process for a US Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) exemption, which would make it easier to maintain its General Electric digital mammography machine.

Dr David Lawis, medical director of KBCC.


Dr David Lawis, medical director of KBCC. Photograph: Yassir Bukhari/Elephant Media

During the application process the machine broke down. It ended up being out of action for 10 weeks. The clinic was paralysed, with doctors forced to use alternative screening methods. “The problem is the poor women. You do ultrasounds and biopsies but an ultrasound is not an internationally approved screening modality,” Fadl says. “There are patients and I have to do something, even if they’ll put me in jail. I can’t let them wait and risk that their cancers spread.”

After heavy campaigning and several trips to Washington by Fadl to meet members of Congress, Ofac eventually issued a blanket licence exempting all medical equipment in Sudan from sanctions.


Ignorance is rife and I really hope and pray that women will come to the centre at least for a simple check up

Fatma Abdelmajid, KBCC patient

The result was a welcome surprise to doctors at the KBCC, who say the move is a milestone for Sudanese healthcare in that it has put the needs of patients above international politics.

“All of our equipment in the clinic is from a US company, General Electric, as are the majority of advanced medical machines in Sudan. For there to be an exemption from sanctions, our lives as doctors will be much easier and the lives our patients will drastically change,” says Dr David Lawis, medical director of the KBCC.

Lawis says access to radiotherapy remains a huge issue, with just two machines in the country. One, in Khartoum a hospital, has been broken for about seven months. The second is in Madani hospital, two hours’ drive from Khartoum.

Anyone who can afford to pay for treatment abroad usually leaves Sudan to get radiotherapy, but the blanket Ofac licence has the potential to change this. “People won’t have to leave their country to get the treatment they deserve,” says Lawis.

Word of mouth

Other challenges remain, however, and Fadl says the battle to educate and inform women about self-examination and the local availability of affordable treatment is the next healthcare frontier.

“We did a little survey to ask the women how they heard about us. We found that the most effective, at 49%, was word of mouth. We are still a tribal community: we trust relatives, friends and neighbours who tell us ‘I went to that place and it is good’. We don’t have that culture of research on the internet,” says Fadl.

This was the case for 60-year-old Sudanese patient Fatma Abdelmajid, who regularly takes a six-hour bus from Atbara in north-east Sudan to Khartoum for treatment after a local doctor told her that “one of Atbara’s boys” worked at the KBCC clinic.

Women wait to be seen at the KBCC.


Women wait to be seen at the KBCC. Photograph: Yassir Bukhari/Elephant Media

“The mentality around breast cancer here is absolutely wrong. When you tell women in the village that you’ve been diagnosed, they are so disturbed as if you’re about to drop dead in front of them. It’s really sad,” says Abdelmajid.

“They tell you, go to a fakeeh [spiritual healer], who will give you herbs and spiritual remedies to treat you. Ignorance is rife and I really hope and pray that women will come to the centre at least for a simple checkup.”

While the Sudanese health ministry keeps no full records, Lawis says that breast cancer accounts for approximately 35% of all cancer cases among Sudanese women. An estimated 60% of the 2,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer who die each year could have survived if given proper care.

Fadl strongly believes that stories like Abdelmajid’s will help end the taboo that often stops women from seeking a diagnosis. “A woman who has the experience of being treated should tell her stories, to new patients here at the centre and women in their villages. The best thing is to have these examples and success stories,” she says.

Fadl, who lives above the centre in Khartoum, patrols the corridors every day, greeting patients. “If I just walk downstairs and see the patients, see their kindness and deep gratitude, I just can’t help but want to help them. Sudanese women deserve everything I do – really and truly. I can’t tell you enough.”

7 Ways to Beat Cat Allergies

Attention all cat allergy sufferers—there are ways to lessen mild allergy symptoms caused by cat dander. Whether you are a cat owner yourself or the house guest of a cat owner, here are some simple strategies that can help prevent the runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing common to people allergic to felines. Watch the video to learn a few simple tricks to avoid symptoms, but consult a doctor if you have severe allergies or asthma.

Don’t have time to watch? Read the full transcript: 

Be prepared: When going to a house with pet, take medication 20 minutes before. Also, keep an antihistamine in your bag.

Sit on wooden furniture: Steer clear of upholstered furniture, which is a hotbed of dander in households with cats.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Keep Your Cat Healthy

Wash your hands: Frequently cleanse your hands and avoid touching your face if you come in contact with cat allergens.

Get an air filter: Having a portable HEPA air purifier makes it easier to travel and stay in homes with cats.

Wash when you get home: Wash your clothes in hot water to avoid bringing allergens into your home. The water should be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

RELATED: 12 Ways Pets Improve Your Health

Make some rooms off limits: Ban your cat from your bedroom or family rooms you spend a lot of time.

Take care of your cat: Speak to your vet about your cat’s diet. Animals that eat a balanced diet will have healthier skin, making them less likely to shed dander and hair.

A good reason to beat your meat habit

I remember when there was E.coli outbreak in beef treated with ammonia (it is treated with ammonia in an attempt to kill bacteria). And yes, it’s the same ammonia commonly found in floor cleaners, which can comprise up to 15% of many fast-food burgers. It is also used in the ground beef that goes into the U.S. school lunch program.

Years ago, the New York Times published a report on the lack of efficacy of ammonia treatment in killing salmonella and E.coli in beef from South Dakota’s, Beef Products, Inc. (BPI).

According to BPI’s website they are the largest processor (a euphemism for murderer) of beef in the country with their ammoniated product is used in frozen hamburger, taco meats, low-fat hot dogs, beef-stick snacks, and is sold to fast-food chains.

BPI uses low-grade beef trimmings (notoriously high in microbial pathogens like E.coli, Salmonella, Lysteria, and Staph), spins off the fat, then pumps the, if you’ll pardon the expression, beef full of ammonia in an attempt to kill the pathogens that multiplied during the fat removal process.

Unfortunately, not all the pathogens are reduced and some might even be increased. At present, the product ends up in 70% of hamburgers served in the U.S. The projection is 100% in five years.

The ammonia used in BPI’s meat (?) substance does not have to be listed as an ingredient as it is classified as a “processing agent”.

Another slaughterhouse practice is to gas beef with carbon monoxide as it keeps the flesh red for weeks. This deludes customers into thinking they are getting freshly killed cow bodies despite the fact that it has already spoiled.

In this same NYT report, it was found that the USDA whole heartedly endorses BPI’s ammonia treatment. They believed in it so much that they exempted BPI’s hamburger sold to the general public from any testing.

Even though the school lunch program finds tainted meat from time to time, it continues to buy it. Apparently, the low price they pay saves them about $ 1 million a year. In addition, school lunch officials increased the amount of BPI meat allowed in its hamburgers from 10% to 15% to increase savings.

Despite massive recalls, disease outbreaks, and scares over mad cow disease, way back when, the U.S. demand for beef has remained relatively constant. Why? Because there is complete faith in “our government’s food inspections”! Are these people drunk??

Meat that is spoiled is sold as fresh due to chemicals to keep it red. Ground beef is made from the scrapings off the slaughter-house floors with ammonia added to kill the bacteria. The school lunch program continues to buy this garbage because it saves them money.

And, in Hawaii, a bill gets killed that would allow vegetarian and vegan meals to be offered in the public schools. And who was influential in killing the bill? The Hawaii Department of Health and the Department of Education.

All of this coming from a government of the people, by the people, and FOR the people. God help us!

Aloha!

To learn more about Hesh, listen to and read hundreds of health related radio shows and articles, and learn about how to stay healthy and reverse degenerative diseases through the use of organic sulfur crystals and the most incredible bee pollen ever, please visit www.healthtalkhawaii.com, or email me at heshgoldstein@gmail.com or call me at (808) 258-1177. Since going on the radio in 1981 these are the only products I began to sell because they work.
Oh yeah, going to www.asanediet.com will allow you to read various parts of my book – “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”, containing a wonderful comment by Mike Adams.
In Hawaii, the TV stations interview local authors about the books they write and the newspapers all do book reviews. Not one would touch “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”. Why? Because it goes against their advertising dollars.

Can a hot bath beat a bike ride for good health?

Name: Hot baths.

Age: Ancient.

Appearance: Bubbly.

That’s nice. I love a long, hot bath with a book and a cup of tea. Who doesn’t?

Cats. But otherwise, sure. It’s like being back in the womb, but with a book and a cup of tea. And it’s good for you. Better than exercise!

Really? Well, in one narrow way, based on a single study with a small sample, perhaps.

I see. How do we know this? Some scientist called Dr Steve Faulkner did this experiment at Loughborough University where he fitted 10 unfit males with rectal thermometers and other devices, then got them to have long, hot, relaxing baths.

I think I’d be more relaxed without the thermometer. You get used to it. After the bath, the men got a meal, and on another day they did some vigorous cycling instead of the bath.

And? Much to everyone’s surprise, the bathers had peak blood sugar levels after eating that were 10% lower than the cyclists’. In short, the study suggests that hot baths might do a better job than exercise at lowering your blood sugar, which is the challenge in diabetes. The theory is that it is something to do with “heat shock proteins”.

Fantastic! When I develop diabetes, I’ll remember that. Controlling peak blood sugar may also prevent diabetes. Plus, having a long, hot bath was found to increase calorie burning by 80%. Nowhere near as much as cycling, but still useful. In an hour in a hot bath, the men each burned 126 calories, which is about the same as a half-hour walk.

So, quick recap: science says I can stop doing exercise and eat whatever I like as long as I have plenty of baths? No. Science says: “We would always encourage increased physical activity and exercise as the best way to maintain good health.” Faulkner does, anyway.

How about the risks, such as slipping over on the tiles or getting wrinkly toes? Don’t baths also poach your testicles and stop you having children? Some research suggests they may.

What if you’ve already got, arguably, too many children? Then I suppose the bath is the perfect place to hide.

Do say: “I like to arrange scented candles around the room to create my own peaceful sanctum. Bliss.”

Don’t say: “Until someone needs the toilet.”

WHO’s recommended level of exercise too low to beat disease – study

Higher levels of physical activity can achieve bigger reductions in the risk of five common chronic diseases, but only if people engage in levels far above the recommended minimum exertion, a study has suggested.

An analysis of 174 studies found that gardening, household chores and more strenuous activities, when done in sufficient quantities, were strongly associated with a lower risk of stroke and of contracting breast and bowel cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

But the researchers, from the US and Australia, concluded that for the biggest risk reductions, the level of total physical activity per week should be five to seven times the minimum level recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

At present, the WHO recommends that people conduct at least 600 metabolic equivalent minutes (MET minutes) of physical activity – the equivalent of 150 minutes each week of brisk walking or 75 minutes of running. But the new study suggested most health gains were achieved at 3,000 to 4,000 MET minutes per week.

The lead author, Hmwe Kyu from the University of Washington, said: “Major gains occurred at lower levels of activity. The decrease in risk was minimal at levels higher than 3,000 to 4,000 MET minutes per week.

“A person can achieve 3,000 MET minutes per week by incorporating different types of physical activity into the daily routine – for example, climbing stairs 10 minutes, vacuuming 15 minutes, gardening 20 minutes, running 20 minutes, and walking or cycling for transportation 25 minutes on a daily basis would together achieve about 3,000 MET minutes a week.

Analysing studies published between 1980 and 2016, the researchers found the pattern highlighted was most prominent for ischemic heart disease and diabetes and least prominent for breast cancer. For example, individuals with a total activity level of 600 MET minutes per week had a 2% lower risk of diabetes compared with those reporting no physical activity.

An increase from 600 to 3,600 MET minutes reduced the risk by an additional 19%. The same amount of increase yielded much smaller returns at higher levels of activity.

As the meta-analysis, published in the BMJ on Tuesday, is based on observational research it cannot draw conclusions about cause and effect but the authors say their findings have important public policy implications.

“With population ageing, and an increasing number of cardiovascular and diabetes deaths since 1990, greater attention and investments in interventions to promote physical activity in the general public is required,” they write.

“More studies using the detailed quantification of total physical activity will help to find a more precise estimate for different levels of physical activity.”

Related: Can exercise really reduce the risk of getting cancer?

In a linked editorial, researchers at the University of Strathclyde and the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, write that the study has importance for the prevention of chronic diseases but point out: “It cannot tell us whether risk reductions would be different with short duration intense physical activity or longer duration light physical activity.”

Dr Oliver Monfredi, clinical lecturer in cardiovascular medicine at Manchester University, praised the research.

“What is clear, in summary, is that in terms of protecting oneself from the development of these five common and potentially life-limiting illnesses, undertaking any level of exercise is protective, more is better, and should be encouraged by healthcare professionals, politicians and charities alike, to decrease the burden of these debilitating illnesses in society today,” he said.

Simon O’Neill, the director of health Intelligence at charity Diabetes UK, said: “It’s important to remember that all activity counts and a good way to increase your physical activity is to simply incorporate it into your daily life – for instance getting off the bus a stop or two earlier or walking to the shops. Also try to discover a physical activity you enjoy doing such as dancing, cycling or gardening. This will make it far easier for you to stick with it as it will become part of your routine.”