Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine flu kills scores in Mexico


MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials, scrambling to control a swine flu outbreak that has killed as many as 61 people and infected possibly hundreds more in recent weeks, closed museums and shuttered schools for millions of students in and around the capital on Friday and urged people with flu symptoms to stay home from work.

"We're dealing with a new flu virus that constitutes a respiratory epidemic that so far is controllable," Mexico's health minister, Jose Angel Cordova, told reporters after huddling with President Felipe Calderon and other top officials to come up with an action plan. He said the virus had mutated from pigs and had at some point been transmitted to humans.

The new strain contains gene sequences from North American and Eurasian swine flus, North American bird flu and North American human flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A similar virus has been found in the Southwestern United States, where officials have reported eight nonfatal cases.

Most of Mexico's dead were young, healthy adults, and none was over 60 or under 3 years old, the World Health Organization said. That alarms health officials because seasonal flus cause most of their deaths among infants and bedridden older people, but pandemic flus — like the 1918 Spanish flu, and the 1957 and 1968 pandemics — often strike young, healthy people the hardest.

Mexican officials promised a huge immunization campaign in the capital in the coming days, while urging people to avoid large gatherings and to refrain from shaking hands or greeting women with a kiss on the right cheek, as is common in Mexico.

Mexico City shut museums and other cultural venues and advised people not to attend movies or public events. Seven million students, from kindergarten to college, were kept from classes in Mexico City and the neighboring state of Mexico on Friday, in what local news organizations called the first citywide closing of schools since a powerful earthquake in 1985.

Because of the situation, the World Health Organization planned to consider raising the world pandemic flu alert from 3 to 4. Such a high level of alert — meaning that sustained human-to-human transmission of a new virus has been detected — has not been reached in recent years, even with the H5N1 avian flu circulating in Asia and Egypt, and would "really raise the hackles of everyone around the world," said Dr. Robert G. Webster, a flu virus expert at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

Mexico's flu season is usually over by now, but health officials have noticed a significant spike in flu cases since mid-March. The WHO said there had been 800 cases in Mexico in recent weeks, 60 of them fatal, of a flulike illness that appeared to be more serious than the regular seasonal flu. Mexican officials said there were 943 possible cases.

Still, only a small number have been confirmed as cases of the new H1N1 swine flu, said Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman. Mexican authorities confirmed 16 deaths from swine flu and said 45 others were under investigation, most of them in the Mexico City area. The CDC said that eight nonfatal cases had been confirmed in the United States, and that it had sent teams to California and Texas to investigate.

"We are worried," said Dr. Richard Besser, the acting head of the CDC. "We don't know if this will lead to the next pandemic, but we will be monitoring it and taking it seriously."

There is no point in trying to use containment measures in the United States, he said, because the swine flu virus has already appeared from San Antonio to San Diego, without any obvious connections among cases. Containment measures usually work only when a disease is confined to a small area, he said.

Health officials urged anyone with a fever, a cough, a sore throat, shortness of breath or muscle and joint pain to seek medical attention.

When a new virus emerges, it can sweep through the population, said Dr. Anne Moscona, a flu specialist at Cornell University's medical school. The Spanish flu is believed to have infected at least 25 percent of the U.S. population, but killed less than 3 percent of those infected.

Among the swine flu cases in the United States, none had any contact with pigs; cases involving a father and daughter and two 16-year-old schoolmates convinced the authorities that the virus was being transmitted from person to person.

The CDC refrained from warning people not to visit Mexico, but the outbreak was causing alarm among Mexicans, many rushing to buy masks or get checkups.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Do we really follow this Oath?

Islam is a way of life. As a Muslim doctor, our job is part of Ibadah. Whatever we do should be in accordance to Islamic teachings. When it comes to medical ethics, ours should be Islamic medical ethics. This isn’t difficult as Islam is the religion for all times and circumstances. Islamic teachings have always paved way to human prosperity.

Why is this Muslim physician's Oath so important to Muslim doctors? Because, this oath binds us and our commitments to Allah- our God. This oath helps us to perfect our duty as a doctor. And most importantly, it helps us to use this medical knowledge to gain love of Allah by obeying his commands.

“To extend my hand of service to one and all, to the rich and to the poor, to friend and foe alike, regardless of race, religion and culture”

This oath specifically mentions our commitment to humankind irrespective of their race, religion and social class. This is how it has to be. But how many of us really do so? From my experience, it’s not uncommon for a doctor to discriminate among his patients depending on social class, religion or race. But this Oath, as we undertake it in the name of Our God, forces us to adhere to this very important aspect of human rights.

“To do my utmost to alleviate pain and misery, and to comfort and counsel human beings in sickness and in anxiety”

How many times have you really sit and talk to an anxious patient to relieve his/her anxiety regarding your diagnosis? Often patient’s worries are merely a fear for nothing, yet we are bound to explain things and talk to them to relieve their anxiety. Medicine is not always a tablet.

“To maintain the dignity of the health care and to honor the teachers, students and members of my profession”

This is another issue, especially when it comes to this part of the world. Where there is such a huge dignity gap between junior doctors and senior ones. Wonder if they even remember this oath. Not only Muslim physician’s oath. Even the original the hippocratic oath has all this emphasis. Yet, often we see seniors treating juniors like as if they are slaves. Full of arrogance. Utter nonsense!

It’s high time we change our attitude. At least we must try to fully abide to the oath we had undertaken in the name of Allah if we can’t do all this for the sake of anything else. Dust do it for the sake of life hear after.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oath of Muslim physicians


In the name of Allah, the most gracious and most merciful.

Praise be to Allah, the sustainer of his creations, the All- knowing.

Glory be to him, the Eternal, the All-pervading.

O Allah, thou art the only healer. I serve none but thee, and, as the instrument of…

Thy will, I will commit myself to thee.

I render this oath in thy holy name, and I undertake:

To be instrument of thy will and mercy, and, in all humbleness, to exercise justice, love and compassion for all thy creations:

To extend my hand of service to one and all, to the rich and to the poor, to friend and foe alike, regardless of race, religion and culture:

To hold human life as precious and scared, and, to protect and honor it at all times and under all circumstances in accordance to thy law:

To do my utmost to alleviate pain and misery, and to comfort and counsel human beings in sickness and in anxiety:

To respect the confidence and to guard the secrets of all my patients:

To maintain the dignity of the health care and to honor the teachers, students and members of my profession:

To strike in pursuit of knowledge in thy name for the benefit of mankind and, to uphold human honor and dignity:

To acquire the courage to admit my mistakes, mend my ways and forgive the wrongs of others:

To be ever conscious of my duty to Allah and his messenger (SAW) and to follow the percepts of Islam in private and in public:

O Allah, grant me the strength, patience and dedication to adhere to this oath at all times.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Optics today- just amazing!

Egyptians simply rocks! They used "simple glass meniscal lenses" to magnify minute objects
back in 8th century BC. It’s been ages since Abbas Ibn Firnas, in the 9th century, used glasses to correct refractive error. Spectacles used to be bulky, heavy and a damn nuisance. True, true… Specs had been revolutionized in past few years. It’s become slimmer, thinner and more expensive too. But, gone are the days we think of thick glasses when you come with refractive error. We’ve got alternatives for you- and it’s pretty cool.

Tired of wearing thick specks or irritating contact lens? You may opt for refractive correction procedures like Laser Assissted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK), Photo Refractive Keratotomy (PRK), Intrasomal Corneal Ring (ICR) or Intra Ocular Lens (IOL), which may require more freedom and far better vision- indeed with cost of some money.

LASIK & PRK: Both uses laser techniques to smoothen and/or change the thickness of your cornea so that your vision is improved. Be it short-sightedness, long sightedness or even astigmatism, all can be corrected.

IOL: Heard of that Japanese guy who inserted USB into his finger? We can actually insert your specks into your eye and guess what? They won’t even know that you have it in your eye! Cool han?

ICR:These are 2 small, half rings plastic devices implanted in the peripheral part of cornea to correct vision. it's also called Intacs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nothing to lose-MLTR

There are times when you make me laugh
there are moments when you drive me mad
there are seconds when I see the light
though many times you made me cry

There's something you don't understand
I want to be your man

Nothing to lose
your love to win
hoping so bad that you'll let me in

I'm at your feet
waiting for you
I've got time and nothing to lose

There are times when I believe in you
these moments when I feel close to you
there are times I think that I am yours
though many times I feel unsure

There's something you don't understand
I want to be your man

I'll always be around you
keep an eye on you
cos my patience is strong
and I won't let you run
cos you are the only one

I'm at your feet
waiting for you
I've got time and nothing to lose