Your Health & Happiness:
Journal of the American
Medical Association reflects the devastation of HIV/AIDS
Dr. Rebecca Lomax
For almost forty years, the cover of the Journal of the
American Medical Association (JAMA) has featured exquisite reproductions of
paintings from great artists. The works of Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Monet,
Rembrandt and Vermeer have graced the page along with many of their peers in
the art world. These beautiful journals, packed with the research of
countless physicians and other health care professionals, are seen in the
offices of medical practitioners and researchers around the world.
month is different. According to Dr. M. Therese Southgate, who writes an
essay each month describing the fine art reproductions on the cover of JAMA,
“It has become a tradition for JAMA to omit a cover image on the theme
issue devoted to HIV/AIDS. Because neither images nor words can express the
worldwide devastation caused by HIV/AIDS over the past quarter of a century,
this year the cover story is omitted as well.”
The opening day of the Fifteenth International AIDS Conference in Bangkok
was Sunday, July 11, 2004. At its press conference held in the Oriental
Hotel that day, JAMA Editor in Chief, Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD, MPH,
introduced four panels of researchers who presented synopses of their work.
Published in this month’s edition of JAMA, the research, as well as the
journal, reflects the struggles of the medical community all over the world
to develop effective treatments and preventive interventions in the fight
against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The Doctor's Consultation: Acne! Not the zits again!
by Dr. Iain Corness
The other morning I managed to hack the top off a zit (good
medical terminology for an acneiform pustule) while shaving. This actually
brought a smile to my lips, as it always makes me feel young when I get a
pimple, since pimples are generally the badge of youth. I sometimes refer to
those years as the ages of oozing pimples and puberty.
The official figures are that it affects 90 percent of boys
and 80 percent of girls in the 15-17 year age bracket.
There is a tendency to trivialize acne just because
everyone goes through it, but when you take into consideration that acne
scarring can be permanent, and that for the adolescent sufferer this can
produce depression, social isolation and even suicide, then the condition
takes a much higher medical profile.
The actual cause of acne, like many medical conditions, is
still not fully understood, though we do understand the process. What happens
is that there is an increase in sebum production by the oil producing glands
in the skin. This results in blockage of the oil producing gland itself (the
follicle) which then becomes invaded and infected by a bug called
Proprionibacterium. This results in the pustular Mt. Vesuvius on the face
which is the scourge of the teenage years. The all pervading zit.
Unfortunately, there is much myth surrounding the causation
of the zits. The first is that it is caused by eating too much chocolate and
fatty foods. While I believe there is a connection, the sugary and fatty foods
are not the cause. I do believe it accelerates the condition, though, so you
can put the chocolate biscuits back, Miss Noi!
There is also an underlying thought that acne is the result
of poor hygiene. Let me assure you that this is not the case. “Blackheads”
are actually not dirt and the dark colour is a combination of melanin and the
skin cells and the plug of sebum.
Another problem comes from the fact that teenagers get told
that acne is just a “normal” part of growing up and don’t worry about
it. While most kids will get the condition, it is not “normal” and should
never be thought of that way.
Another of the great myths is that prescription treatments
do not work. This is not correct, the earlier treatment is instituted, the
less likelihood there is of permanent scarring.
I am also very sorry, but I have never been a fan of the
proprietary preparations which are heavily advertised on TV. If they can spend
that much money on advertising, the expensive tube of wonder goop must have a
huge profit margin in it.
So what treatments are available? Basically there are two
types - rub it on (which we call topical) or swallow it (which we call oral
therapies). The problem that occurs is the fact that there is no “instant”
cure and treatment may have to be maintained for up to six months, or even
longer. There is now an oral form of a group of drugs called retinoids too,
and while these have really produced a small “break through” in the
treatment of acne, they are also a very hazardous form of treatment which has
to be done under the close supervision of a skin specialist.
So that’s the acne story. Don’t just accept it as
inevitable - get treatment early!
One young lady of my acquaintance tells me that her lease on her apartment
is running out at the end of next month, and she has asked if she could
stay in mine for a couple of weeks until she finds a new place for
herself. I have told her before that I do not want a steady girlfriend
relationship, and she has always seemed OK with that. We go out about once
a week, usually to the movies. Should I let her do this? My friends are
warning me that she might want more than just a night at the flicks. What
is your advice?
Don’t be chump, Charlie. If she does not have to move out till next
month, why can’t she find a place in the interim? Four weeks is more
than enough time to find a place to stay that doesn’t have a Charlie in
it. You are being set up. She will arrive with more than a change of
clothes and a toothbrush, mark my words. If you want to try a night (in)
at the flicks seven nights a week, then go ahead, but be prepared to use a
crowbar to get her out! You have been warned by your friends, and now by
Wee Ying (sister same Nit) has resurfaced and this gives me an opportunity
to increase the speed and efficiency of the samlor. By having both Nit and
Ying pedalling together (in English!) I shall increase the wheelbase to
accomodate (sic) them securely but have yet to decide on the most visual
layout. Ladies line abreast or ladies fore and aft? I must get to the
bottom of this before the next visa run. Would you like a dickey in the
You remain confused and engineeringly challenged, Petal. (As well as being
unable to spell - it’s ‘accommodate’ my little purple passion
flower. That’s two ‘c’ letters and two ‘m’ letters.) According
to my dictionary, the wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear
axles (Concise Oxford), so obviously if you need to increase this you have
the ladies fore and aft, as you put it. Thank you for the offer of a run
to beautiful downtown Poipet, but Hillary does not need to do those
things. However, why is it when thinking about you, the word ‘renege’
keeps on bobbing up? Again according to my trusty Concise Oxford, the word
renege means to go back on a promise, undertaking or contract. I am sure
you do remember all the promises of champagne and chocolates, even if you
did not know the meaning of the word renege. Now that you do, and I have
reminded you, I shall wait for the delivery boy bringing a nice package to
My Thai girlfriend tells me that she has to go back to her village for a
few days because her sister is getting married, and the entire family has
to be there. Now I happen to know she hasn’t got a sister, because she
told me that she only has a brother and that is why she sends money home
to her mother each month. I asked her directly about this sister and she
said that yes this is her sister, but different papa. She also seems to
have many more cousins than she should have, because her mother only has
one sister. Do you think this is an excuse to go back home, or is there
something I am missing here, Hillary? We have been together only three
months, but I like her a lot.
Confused of Chonburi
Dear Confused of Chonburi,
You have not had much to do with Thai families, have you, Petal? The Thai
‘extended’ family is such that almost everyone in your girlfriend’s
village will be considered a ‘cousin’ and a ‘sister’ is someone
who probably was raised in the family household, but not necessarily
directly related. For the western mind, used to exact definitions of
‘sister’ and ‘cousin’ this can be confusing, but for the Thai,
this is how village life always was, and always will be. Relax and let
your girlfriend go back and fulfil her duties to her family. You will get
along better in the relationship if you give her a little leeway. After
all, she is trying to adapt to your strange ways. Time for you to do the
same for her.
I have noticed that some people have been critical of your advice from
time to time. Don’t these people understand that nobody writes into an
“agony” column in the papers hoping to get “real” advice. If you
want psychiatric help, as one of the writers has claimed, then you see a
psychiatrist, not Hillary. Or have I got it wrong?
Sam the Psycho
Dear Sam the Psycho,
Just lie back on the couch and relax, my troubled Sam. Of course you
haven’t got it wrong. They have. But what worries me, is why are you
worrying about this? Have you had this problem long? Would you like to
share the burden with somebody? I’ll get nurse to make an appointment
for you for next week.
Camera Class: Fill-In Flash adds sparkle
by Harry Flashman
One way to pick most amateur shots from professional ones is
by the sparkle in the eyes. The catch-lights just lift and add life. The
additional lighting to the face also gets rid of harsh shadows and again helps
give dynamism to any portrait.
Fill-in Flash is one of the least understood concepts in photography. In fact,
many people are just so afraid of it they never try and condemn themselves to
dark, featureless portraits or dreadful pictures full of bright highlights and
disastrously dark shadows.
Why do we need fill-in flash in the first place? Let’s
start with taking shots in the bright Thailand sun at mid-day. It is all very
well saying that you should take shots in the early morning or late afternoon,
but many family gatherings are lunchtime affairs. End result, big black shadows
where the eyes are supposed to be and an appearance of bags under the eyes you
could put a change of clothes in.
The other time you are going to need a flash fill is when the
light (generally the sun) is behind the person you are going to photograph. The
camera sets the exposure for the bright background and the foreground then comes
out so dark you will hardly recognize anyone’s face.
With both of these shots, what you need is a burst of flash
to fill in the shadows or the underexposed areas of the shot. Hence the name -
With today’s automatic exposure cameras you must understand
that it doesn’t know what it is that you are photographing. It doesn’t know
that the person’s face in the picture is the most important item. All the
camera’s brain can see is a mixture of bright lights and dark areas and it
will give you an exposure to try and equalize these out. Unfortunately, in
conditions of high contrast in the tropical sun, or back lit, the camera reaches
its limitations and the end result will be underexposure of the part of the
photograph you want. It’s not the camera’s fault - it just means you have to
Fortunately, these days many compacts and SLR’s do have the
Fill-in Flash mode built in, but many of you do not use it - or even realise
that you have this facility! Did you read the book that came with the camera? If
you have it - then use it! Please do look, the shots you will get back will be
much better than you were getting before.
Now, for those of you who have the whole kit and caboodle -
an SLR with an off-camera flash, this last section is for you. The whole secret
of fill-in flash revolves around flash synchronization speed. Some of the very
latest, and expensive cameras will synchronize flash and shutter speed all the
way through to 1/2000th of a second or better, but the average SLR will probably
say that the synch speed is 1/125th or even only 1/60th and it is this figure
which drives the exposure setting.
In practice, what you have to do is put the camera on shutter
priority, let’s say the 1/125th synch speed and then read off what the
resultant aperture setting is when metering the subject’s face. Let’s
imagine the camera meter tells you that it will be f11. Now put the camera in
manual mode and fix the shutter at 1/125th and the aperture at f11.
Next step is to set the power of the flash gun, measured in f
stops. You do not want the flash to overpower the natural light, so you set the
power to be one or two stops less than the aperture you have set in the camera.
In the example, the camera is set on f11, so you set the flash on f8 for one
stop or f5.6 for two stops.
Take the two shots at the different flash powers and decide which effect is
best and practice with this technique for better photographs. You will not be
Beer and More: Bottoms up for Ninkasi the Sumerian goddess of beer
by Karl Eichhorn,
Chiangmai Malting product manager
Beer has a long and interesting history. It is assumed that
beer was invented by the Sumerians, who lived between the Euphrates and Tigris
rivers. They, or possibly their ancestors, may have discovered fermentation
the Goddess of Beer
How exactly this has happened is not known, but it is assumed
that bread was soaked in water to ease its swallowing by a sick person. The
container with the bread and water was kept unattended for some time and the
elixir started to ferment. One can only imagine how the patient, not accustomed
to alcohol, reacted to this kind of intoxicating gruel. His curiosity,
certainly, must have arisen after a rapid recovery.
He started experimenting with the brew, for strictly medical
reasons of course but without any doubt, the discovery spread in no time within
the community. Thus the Sumerians were the first to produce beer in an organized
manner and it became the exclusive drink of the rich. They, it is said, consumed
it by sucking it through golden tubes.
Whatever the truth about this event, anything was possible
with people as brilliant as the Sumerians. In the epic of Gilgamesh, written
about 3000 years B.C. and considered the origin of literature, bread and beer
In Egypt, archaeologists from the University of Yale
excavated a bakery and brewery thousands of years old, outside Cairo. Besides
vessels made out of stone and storage facilities for grain, they found clay
tablets with hieroglyphics. One of these tablets refers to the process of
brewing and praises Ninkasi the Sumerian goddess of beer.
As Ernest Hemmingway said many years ago, “An intelligent man is sometimes
forced to be drunk to spend time with fools.” So thus I will end my beer
history lesson for today.
Money Matters: Storm Watch Update Part
Gold and Silver Fundamentals - Based on a an article by Jim Puplava March 2004
MBMG International Ltd.
For those who want to know why gold prices are heading
higher (besides the mindless spin coming from anchors and analysts), below
are the last two in the series of fundamental reasons why gold and silver
are heading higher.
7) Resource Scarcity
The final bullish factor is that there is a limited
supply of actual physical bullion and gold and silver equities. The actual
physical market in gold and silver bullion is no more than $30-35 billion a
year. If investment demand keeps picking up, there won’t be enough gold
and silver bullion around to satisfy investment demand unless prices head
much higher. In the case of silver, there simply won’t be enough silver
bullion to satisfy investment demand if delivery is demanded. (See Silver:
the undervalued asset looking for a catalyst) Gold is also running a supply
deficit. A $30 -35 billion actual physical market stands in front of an $80
-100 trillion paper financial market. There is simply not enough gold and
silver around in aboveground stockpiles at today’s present prices to
handle the impact of a 5-10% shift in asset preference by investors.
The three largest companies Newmont, Barrick Gold, and
AngloGold represent almost 35% of the market cap of gold and silver
equities. The Amex Gold Bugs Index (HUI) has a market cap of $51.46 billion.
The Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index (XAU) has a market cap of $72.10
billion. The market cap of Newmont, Barrick Gold, Placer Dome and AngloGold
is $47.89 billion. The rest of the industry is small by comparison. The four
companies listed above dominate the industry in terms of market cap. The
sector is relatively small by comparison to other industries. The floats of
many issues are small and incapable of absorbing large inflows of currency.
It is one reason why gold and silver charts all look parabolic by
comparison. There are too few large cap gold stocks for the fund industry,
institutional investors, or the Average Joe for the precious metal sector to
absorb without prices going higher. I can only imagine what would happen if
the dollar plummets, if the derivative market implodes, the stock market
deflates, or if terrorism escalates globally. The gold and silver markets
are simply too small, so prices will go higher.
8) Riding the Bull
The seven factors listed above are just a brief sketch of
this new super bull market in precious metals that has only begun. The best
part about it is that it has many sceptics, many worrywarts, and many
non-believers. Those who have bought early have made small and large
fortunes depending how they invested. But greater fortunes lie ahead. This
bull market will be much bigger and different than the last bull market of
the 1970s. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago in Open the Chequebook & Buy
the Ounces, we can add a growing trade deficit, dwindling supply, and
derivatives to the bull market equation. They are all drivers that will
propel this super bull market much, much higher. Therefore it will have to
be played much differently.
If you want to own bullion, buy it now while it is still
available and affordable. In the not too distant future the price of silver
will be going for what gold once sold for. Gold will only be affordable for
the wealthy as it has always been in history. Throughout history silver was
the money of the common man, while gold was the money of kings, princes or
emperors. It may well be that way again. If you are investing in gold or
silver equities, you’ll have to play this market differently.
Most senior and intermediate North American gold
producers are selling at premiums of 30-33% above NAV (net asset value).
Globally, the premium is under 20%. The best values lie with juniors and
emerging producers. In many cases these stocks are selling at deep
comparative discounts. The juniors and the emerging gold and silver
producers will become the growth story during this super bull market. This
is where the opportunity for multiple expansion remains the greatest. Higher
production levels, higher prices, and spectacular exploration discoveries
will drive this multiple expansion that will accompany higher prices.
Currently many of the emerging and junior producers are
still selling at valuation discounts to the general industry. Many juniors
are also selling at takeover discounts making them attractive to an
intermediate or emerging producer to acquire. The best part about this is
that few people believe it. Newsletter writers are cautious if not bearish.
Industry executives are hoping to cash out or sell; not believing the price
is sustainable. They’ve spent too much of their career in an industry
depression that has lasted for two decades. Even the investment banking
industry has its doubters. I know of a few firms that don’t believe their
own balderdash. I constantly see them selling, shorting, churning or
engineering moves that suppress the price of many juniors. They either
don’t believe that we are in a super bull market or they have other
motives. For an investor, their lack of belief or actions can mean
opportunity if you want to buy at a low price.
Mark Twain once wrote that history never repeats, but it
often times rhymes. The Spanish philosopher Santayana was slightly more to
the point when he said that, “those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to repeat it”. It is the same for investment markets. Bull
markets come and go in familiar waves and patterns. Each bull market is a
little different than the one that preceded it. A discerning investor should
learn what makes the market different and then devise a plan as to how to
The above data and research was compiled from sources
believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its
officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the above
article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of
any actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading the above
article. For more information please contact Graham Macdonald on [email protected]
Mrs. DoLittle’s Corner: Elmo Thumb and Ben Boeing -
going bananas on love
It’s not who you are, or what you know, it’s WHO you know!
Elmo Thumb and Ben Boeing were gibbons. Gibbons belong to
the ape family. Other apes include chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas.
Monkeys do not belong to the ape family. Monkeys walk on all
four legs and have tails. Gibbons have no tails and walk upright. Monkeys,
gibbons and humans are however all primates. Apes are so close to humans in DNA
that they should be considered as people.
Mrs. DoLittle has discovered that baby gibbons are very
similar to human babies. They cry when they are hungry and laugh when they are
happy. They also giggle when you tickle them and smile. They frown when they
poo their pants and coo when you clean them. They also don’t start walking
until they are about one year old, just like human babies.
Mrs. DoLittle really couldn’t find any difference between
them and humans, except of course that they are hairy and after age one they
don’t start speaking English or Thai. However if they are contented they
start singing gibbon songs. Gibbons in the wild sing about their environment,
their family relations, their neighbors, and even where the food is.
A most depressing thing to see is a gibbon in captivity that
does not sing. Living in a cage leaves nothing to sing about. At one point Mrs.
Dolittle had seven little gibbons with ‘pampers’ on, hooting and singing
from dawn till dusk. They seemed to have a lot to sing about living in a house,
being carried around all day and sleeping in Mrs. DoLittle’s bed.
Why were they with Mrs. DoLittle when they should have been
with their real mothers? Well that’s a sad story. Most gibbons and monkeys in
captivity have the same traumatic beginning. The mother is shot by hunters who
profit by selling the baby.
Gibbons are called the acrobats of the forest because they
swing across the treetops and it is impossible to take aim at one with a rifle
and shoot it. So therefore the hunters shoot aimlessly into the treetops with
machine guns and just pick up whatever falls to the ground. The mothers get
eaten. Baby gibbons cling tightly to their mothers for the first year and never
let go. The hunters sometimes cut the babies fingers off to get it off the dead
Little Elmo only had his thumb left on one hand when the
Forestry Department brought him to Mrs.DoLittle to care for. He was handicapped
for life and would never be able to swing in the treetops. He was however
lucky. Ben Boeing had been planned to be the hunter’s dinner. To keep him
‘fresh’ he was not immediately killed. Instead, one of his arms and one of
his legs were broken so he wouldn’t escape. He was found tied to the
Ben Boeing lived for a year with Mrs.DoLittle. During this
time he had nightmares almost every night and woke up screaming. Sometimes he
had seizures during which he bit his tongue until it was purple. One day he had
a heart attack and died in my arms. I buried him under his favorite tree where
I used to hang him in a basket so he could look at the butterflies and feel the
breeze. I called him Ben Boeing because he flew in an airplane from Bangkok to
Chiangmai to come stay with me. He also had a basket, which he loved to hang in
and watch television. When he got excited over something he saw, the basket
would bounce up and down and go ‘boing’, ‘boing’. In between his
nightmares he had loads of love. When he woke in the morning to see another
day, he would go bananas for love. He couldn’t get enough of it. When he got
smothered with kisses he would laugh. It was the only time he forgot his
problems. So we would do it all the time.
The moral of this story is: It’s not always who you are in life, or what
you know that gets you places, it’s WHO you know!