Archive for February, 2013

Early diagnosis, better treatment

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

A study conducted by a Malaysian researcher could lead to improved treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

A MALAYSIAN researcher working for Newcastle University, in the United Kingdom, has discovered that people with Parkinson’s disease can experience symptoms even in the early stages of the disease.

This study, conducted by Dr Tien K. Khoo (pic), could lead to earlier diagnosis of Parkinson’s and therefore, earlier treatment allowing patients to have a better quality of life.

While movement (motor) problems are the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, non-motor problems such as drooling, anxiety and bowel problems, affect a large number of patients and begin sooner than previously thought.

In the study that was published in Neurology, the official scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology, researchers from Newcastle University compared 159 people with newly-diagnosed Parkinson’s disease to 99 people of similar ages who did not have the disease (control group).

Participants were asked whether they experienced any of the 30 non-motor symptoms screened for, including sexual problems, sleep problems and gastrointestinal problems.

Dr Khoo said, “Often people don’t even mention these symptoms to their doctors and doctors don’t ask about them, yet many times they can be treated effectively.”

The people with Parkinson’s disease experienced non-motor problems compared to the people who did not have the disease.

“The most common symptoms for those with Parkinson’s disease are drooling, urinary urgency, constipation, anxiety and a reduced sense of smell.

“These are all significantly more common in people with Parkinson’s disease than in those without the disease,” he added.

For example, 56% of the people with Parkinson’s had problems with excess saliva or drooling, compared to six percent of those without the disease.

A total of 42% of those with Parkinson’s had constipation, compared to seven percent of the control group. For anxiety, it was 43% compared to 10%.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2013/2/24/education/12708844&sec=education

‘Racket made RM11m from Ics’

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Kota Kinabalu: A syndicate raked in an estimated RM11 million through issuing Malaysian identity cards to foreigners in the 1990s, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) hearing was told when it resumed Friday.

Senior Special Branch Officer Supt Ahmad Fawzan bin Mohamad, from Bukit Aman, testifying as the 56th witness, said monetary gain was the main reason for the syndicate’s operation in issuing the Malaysian ICs to foreigners for payment of between RM50 and RM1,400 depending on their nationalities.

However, they were never charged in court but placed under the Internal Security Act (ISA) which has since been repealed.

Ahmad Fawzan was serving in Bukit Aman with the rank of Inspector when he was involved in a police operation on the issuance of ICs suspected via irregular means in Sabah from 1995 to February 2001.

Now, he is the officer-in-charge of a division for Security Protection, Syndicate Coordinating Operation, forgery of documents, trafficking in persons and handling official matters under the Special Branch in Kuala Lumpur.

“I was responsible for research and assessment based reports and intelligence in regards to activities that posed security risks and their bearing on national security. However, I did not conduct any interviews.

“As a result, 94 arrests were made in July 1995 and the last arrest was in Feb. 2001 involving 24 government officers from the National Registration Department (NRD), four civil servants from other government agencies and the rest were private individuals.

“The highest top officers who were apprehended were two directors of NRD Sabah, Datuk Abdul Rauf Sani and Ramli Kamaruddin, and no persons above them were involved in the operation,” he said.

Ahmad Fauzan said that Ramli was detained for two years under the ISA from 1996 to 1998, while another then-Sabah NRD director, Datuk Abdul Rauf Sani, was put under Restricted Residence for about six months in 1996.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=84393

Work-life balance, parenting skills vital

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

When it concerns the issue of maintaining a balance between quality of life and work, preoccupation with financial issues tops the list of stresses affecting parents, said mental health professionals.

Coming in second was the threat of abuse from superiors at work.

In third spot was divorce and impending separation. The findings were based on historical statistics and observation on Malaysian patients over the years by mental healthcare professionals.

People with careers would certainly be given a lot of responsibilities and tasks which they needed to be ready to grapple with, both mentally and physically, said Dr Khairi Rahman, a consultant psychologist with Pantai Hospital, Kuala Lumpur.

“Certainly the preoccupation of many Malaysians today is how to survive better by earning more, being more competitive at work and for some, how to keep up with the Joneses in order to maintain a certain lifestyle.

“These are some of the probable distractions Malaysian parents are preoccupied with in providing things quality-wise at home.

“However, many of them put a lot of priorities on these but less on their families at home, which they take for granted.”

To better manage a healthy work-life balance, he said parents needed to communicate with each other, prioritise tasks, delegate responsibilities and learn the art of compromise in coping with family obligations.

“This can cushion them and their immediate family from the effects of unfavourable stress. Another coping mechanism is to learn how to be more assertive and not to take on too much work on their plates. A lot of people just do not know how to say no. By saying so, they are limiting themselves to what they can actually handle and not take on more than they can manage.”

He said innately, Malaysian parents are protective of their children. “In normal circumstances, they would never forget their children. However, when individuals are in a stressed mode or totally preoccupied with one or more of the distractions discussed earlier, they can forget important responsibilities, as in the William Yau case where one random act resulted in tragedy.”

Learning how to have boundaries was an important coping skill that Malaysian parents needed to acquire, said Dr Nor Hamidah Mohd Salleh, consultant psychiatrist with Prince Court Medical Centre.

Government To Study Possibility Of Making English Must Pass Subject In SPM

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

KOTA KINABALU:  – The government will study the possibility of making English Language a must pass subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin however said the proposal would only be implemented when the students and the learning system were ready.

“Although many people told me English learning in schools is good, some say it is not enough and there should be efforts to upgrade English proficiency among students.

Maybe not long from now, we will make English a must pass subject in SPM,” he said at ‘Himpunan Guru Muda Malaysia’ also attended by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at Likas Sports Complex, near here Saturday.

Muhyiddin said the ministry would ensure that English option teachers can make children master the language like those in developed countries.

“The same goes for Science, Mathematics and Bahasa Melayu. Attention will also be given to these subjects,” said the Education Minister.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had allocated RM500 million under the National Education Development Plan to train teachers in Bahasa Melayu, English, Science and Mathematics.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=929953

The Qualities of a Truly Professional Teacher

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Have you ever wondered what the qualities of a really professional teacher are? I know that all teachers want their students to like them, but being liked isn’t the be-all and end-all really, is it? I mean teachers have to make some unpopular decisions sometimes.

Teachers can be popular just because they are friendly and helpful, but to be truly professional and effective they need other qualities. Students may not be able to put their finger on just why one teacher is more effective than another but we need to be able to identify the skills and behavior we require in a true professional.

A professional teacher needs to be confident without being arrogant. Nobody can expect to have all the answers, so if a student asks a real stinker, the professional teacher should be able to admit defeat but offer to find out more for the student. And they must carry that promise out.

Proper preparation is another crucial requirement of professionalism. When the teacher enters the classroom s/he should have all the required materials and the lesson plan ready. Nothing is more sloppy than poor preparation.

Interaction with the group needs professional standards of behavior: polite, firm and fair just about sum it up. And in orchestrating the class the teacher must give everyone their chance to contribute and should be flexible enough to modify lessons if they are obviously not going to plan. Indeed a fall-back position is part of good planning.

It stands to reason also that teacher must observe punctuality and appropriate tidiness and dress: it is not possible to demand such behavior from students if the teacher doesn’t set the standards. Indeed I can remember occasions on which students have complained to me about “scruffy” teachers.

The last thing I would mention is that teachers should be able to feel that their professionalism entitles them to back-up from the school directors.

by Brenda Townsend Hall.

Read more @ http://www.eslemployment.com/articles/the-qualities-of-a-truly-professional-teacher-413.html

Peer-led Reading Groups Boost Engagement and Retention

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

A legal historian by training, I have taught many general education courses that draw students from across majors and disciplines. It is not uncommon for the 21st century college student to become somewhat disengaged with the works of Plato or Kant, and this is especially the case when these readings are complex and/or students are outside their topical comfort zones. As a result, in-class discussion suffers, momentum and dialogue are hindered, and students may feel alienated from the course. This is exacerbated by varying levels of engagement with out-of-class readings, producing uneven student learning outcomes.

Peer-led reading group sessions address these issues by formalizing students’ reading time out-of-class and improving analysis of core materials. The bonds built in these groups add to the student’s sense of belonging to the class and the institution, increasing the likelihood of student retention. In short, peer learning benefits faculty, student mentors, and class participants and should be encouraged as a new model for undergraduate learning in the classroom and throughout the campus community.

Just what is peer learning? Peer learning approaches vary greatly, yet perhaps the most interesting of these is the interteaching model (Boyce & Hineline 2002). The interteaching model takes a behaviorist, procedural approach and is highly collaborative, drawing upon faculty facilitation and student insight to enhance understanding and analysis of class material. The model augments the lecture experience, resting on the presumption that passive “reception learning” during lecture should be supplemented with operational application in discussion with peers and faculty. This is achieved through social interaction and the articulation of complex ideas in the language and idioms students are most comfortable using. Interteaching transfers classroom power to the student learner, allowing students to express their opinions, engendering responsible group dynamics, and creating a sense of the independence, autonomy and self-possession of learning.

by

Read more @ http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/peer-led-reading-groups-boost-engagement-and-retention/

200 million jobless worldwide

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

GLOBAL unemployment rose by four million last year to a total of 197 million, and another five million people are expected to raise the total to 202 million this year, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said recently.

The figures indicate that in these two years alone nine million people would have joined the ranks of people officially registered as “unemployed” and that the cost so far of the financial crisis which began five years ago is an extra 28 million people officially without jobs.

“This figure means that today there are 28 millions more unemployed people around the world than they were in 2007,” before the crisis, ILO chief Guy Ryder said at the ILO headquarters in Geneva.

Last year’s unemployment number inched up towards the all-time record of 199 million reached at the epicentre of the crisis in 2009, but “we will beat that record in 2013“, an expert for the ILO, which is the labour arm of the United Nations said.

Another 5 million people are expected to join the jobless ranks this year, bringing the total number to more than 202 million.

That number is expected to rise by another three million in 2014 and should hit 210 million by 2017, the organisation said, adding that the global unemployment rate was expected to stay steady at 6% until then.

However, analysts often point out that official unemployment data reflects those people who satisfy the conditions for being registered as unemployed, and that official data does not necessarily capture large numbers of people who would like to have officially registered work, but do not feature in any statistics.

“The trends are very much (going) in the wrong direction,” Ryder said, lamenting a “noticeable worsening of the unemployment situation around the world”.

The impact of the economic crises on the global labour market had in many cases been worsened by incoherence between monetary and fiscal policies and “a piecemeal approach” to the problems, especially in the eurozone, he added.

“Weakened by faltering aggregate demand, the labour market has been further hit by fiscal austerity programmes in a number of countries, which often involved direct cutbacks in employment and wages,” it said.

At the same time, “labour force participation has fallen dramatically … masking the true extent of the jobs crisis,” the ILO said, pointing out that 39 million people dropped out of the labour market altogether last year as job prospects became increasingly gloomy.

Young people have been especially hard-hit by the expanding jobless trend, the UN agency said, pointing out that there are currently some 73.8 million youths, aged between 15 and 24, without work worldwide.

“And the slowdown in economic activity is likely to push another half million into unemployment by 2014,” the report cautioned.

by Nina Larson.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2013/2/10/education/12612894&sec=education

So, who’s the real Sulu Sultan?

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

There are so many claimants to the throne that every other Datu (of Sulu royalty) you meet is a sultan-wannabe.

THE joke in Sabah is there are so many claimants to the Sultan of Sulu throne that every other Datu (of Sulu royalty) you meet is a sultan-wannabe.

In the 2000s, there was a Datu who made the lobby of Hyatt Regency Kinabalu in Kota Kinabalu his office. “Sultan R” wore all white and a songkok with the crest of the Sulu sultanate.

He told anybody who would listen that he was the real claimant. And like other “genuine” claimants, he would have in his James Bond bag a chart to show his royal genealogy.

Those who believed his claims would be sorry they ever met him as they would be conned into some scam connected to the romance of the lost sultanate.

At the height of its power in the 16th century, the Sultanate of Sulu covered Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Sibugay, Palawan and North Borneo (Sabah).

Since the death of Sultan Mahakutta Kiram in 1986, the Philippine government has not formally recognised a new Sultan of Sulu. This gave birth to uncountable pretenders to the throne of the once mighty sultanate.

In 2011, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the state government did not recognise the Sulu sultanate.

“Let the relevant authorities take appropriate action,” he said in reference to a case where a businessman caused an uproar in Sabah when he was allegedly proclaimed as the Sultan of Sulu.

Photographs of the purported installation of Datu Mohd Akjan Datu Ali Muhammad in his house in Kampung Likas in Kota Kinabalu were published in the newspapers and posted on the Internet.

Akjan later denied he was crowned Sultan of Sulu.

There was also a claimant who made the lobby of Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu his office. He claimed to be a nephew of a so-and-so Kiram.

It seems these pretenders will either be Kiram I, Kiram II, Kiram III, Kiram IV or Kiram X.

by Ohilip Golingai.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=onemansmeat&file=/2013/2/18/columnists/onemansmeat/12724974&sec=One%20Man%27s%20Meat

Improving Teaching One Class at a Time

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Can we reform teaching and learning throughout higher education one class at a time? I used to think so, but the pace of change has made me less optimistic. I just finished preparing an article for The Teaching Professor newsletter that reports the results of a survey of 744 full- and part-time faculty teaching at eight two-year technical colleges across Georgia. The researchers presented the respondents with a list of 18 instructional strategies and asked them to identify how often they used each one in their last 10 class sessions. Over 90% of the respondents said they lectured for four or more class sessions with more than 50% of those saying they lectured during all 10 class sessions.

That’s not a big surprise. It confirms findings consistently reported. The surprise in the survey was that respondents also were asked to rate the effectiveness of each of these 18 instructional methods in terms of how they helped students acquire information, develop a skill, or apply knowledge. The faculty consistently rated hands-on activities and practical exercises as the two most effective strategies in accomplishing these objectives. Interesting.

Readers of this blog likely use a full range of teaching strategies and activities to engage students. I’m guessing most of us are instructional innovators. It’s faculty like us who are reforming teaching and learning and we’re doing it one class at a time. A large international study of reform in engineering education concluded, “The dominant approach [to curricular change] places the onus for change on individual faculty champions—to date, it has been these innovators who have driven educational reform.” (p. 596).

by

Read more @ http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/improving-teaching-one-class-at-a-time/

Removing Gallstones Naturally…

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
It has worked for many. If it works for you please pass on the good news. Dr. Lai is not charging for it, so we should make it free for everyone. Your reward is when someone, through your word of mouth, benefits from the regime. Gallstones may not be everyone’s concern. But they should be because we all have them. Moreover, gallstones may lead to cancer. “Cancer is never the first illness,” Dr. Lai points out. “Usually, there are a lot of other problems leading to cancer.

In my research in China , I came across some materials which say that people with cancer usually have stones. We all have gallstones. It’s a matter of big or small, many or few.

One of the symptoms of gallstones is a feeling of bloatedness after a heavy meal. You feel like you can’t digest the food. If it gets more serious, you feel pain in the liver area.” So if you think you have gallstones, Dr. Lai offers the following method to remove them naturally.

The treatment is also good for those with a weak liver, because the liver and gallbladder are closely linked.

Regimen:
1. For the first five days, take four glasses of apple juice every day. Or eat four or five apples, whichever you prefer. Apple juice softens the gallstones. During the five days, eat normally.

2. On the sixth day, take no dinner.

3. At 6 PM, take a teaspoon of Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) with a glass of warm water.

4. At 8 PM, repeat the same. Magnesium sulphate opens the gallbladder ducts.

5. At 10 PM, take half cup olive oil (or sesame oil) with half cup fresh lemon juice. Mix it well and drink it. The oil lubricates the stones to ease their passage.

The next morning, you will find green stones in your stools. “Usually they float,” Chiu Nan notes. “You might want to count them. I have had people who passes 40, 50 or up to 100 stones. Very many.”

“Even if you don’t have any symptoms of gallstones, you still might have some. It’s always good to give your gall bladder a clean-up now and then.

Photo: REMOVING GALLSTONES NATURALLY...  By: Dr. Lai Chiu Nan   It has worked for many. If it works for you please pass on the good news. Dr. Lai is not charging for it, so we should make it free for everyone. Your reward is when someone, through your word of mouth, benefits from the regime. Gallstones may not be everyone's concern. But they should be because we all have them. Moreover, gallstones may lead to cancer. "Cancer is never the first illness," Dr. Lai points out. "Usually, there are a lot of other problems leading to cancer.   In my research in China , I came across some materials which say that people with cancer usually have stones. We all have gallstones. It's a matter of big or small, many or few.   One of the symptoms of gallstones is a feeling of bloatedness after a heavy meal. You feel like you can't digest the food. If it gets more serious, you feel pain in the liver area." So if you think you have gallstones, Dr. Lai offers the following method to remove them naturally.   The treatment is also good for those with a weak liver, because the liver and gallbladder are closely linked.   Regimen:  1. For the first five days, take four glasses of apple juice every day. Or eat four or five apples, whichever you prefer. Apple juice softens the gallstones. During the five days, eat normally.   2. On the sixth day, take no dinner.   3. At 6 PM, take a teaspoon of Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) with a glass of warm water.  4. At 8 PM, repeat the same. Magnesium sulphate opens the gallbladder ducts.   5. At 10 PM, take half cup olive oil (or sesame oil) with half cup fresh lemon juice. Mix it well and drink it. The oil lubricates the stones to ease their passage.   The next morning, you will find green stones in your stools. "Usually they float," Chiu Nan notes. "You might want to count them. I have had people who passes 40, 50 or up to 100 stones. Very many."   "Even if you don't have any symptoms of gallstones, you still might have some. It's always good to give your gall bladder a clean-up now and then.

by Dr. Lai Chiu Nan.