CREDIT: Joe Skipper, Reuters
Fourteen-year-old D'Zhana Simmons of South Carolina, who survived without a heart for nearly four months, cries after thanking her doctors, including Dr. Si Pham, right, at a news conference.
An American teenager survived for nearly four months without a heart, kept alive by a custom-built artificial blood-pumping device until she was able to have a heart transplant, doctors in Miami said Wednesday.
The doctors said they knew of another case in which an adult was kept alive in Germany for nine months without a heart but said they believed this was the first time a child survived in this manner for so long.
The patient, D'Zhana Simmons of South Carolina, said the experience of living for so long with a machine pumping her blood was "scary."
"You never knew when it would malfunction," she said, her voice barely above a whisper, at a news conference at the University of Miami's Jackson Memorial Medical Center.
"It was like I was a fake person, like I didn't really exist. I was just here," she said of living without a heart.
Simmons, 14, suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the patient's heart becomes weakened and enlarged and does not pump blood efficiently.
She had a heart transplant on July 2 at Miami's Holtz Children's Hospital but the new heart failed to function properly and was quickly removed.
Two heart pumps made by Thoratec Corp. of Pleasanton, Calif., were implanted to keep her blood flowing while she fought a host of ailments and recovered her strength. Doctors implanted another heart on Oct. 29.
"She essentially lived for 118 days without a heart, with her circulation supported only by the two blood pumps," said Dr. Marco Ricci, the hospital's director of pediatric cardiac surgery. During that time, Simmons was mobile but remained hospitalized.
RAJKOT: In perhaps the first-of-its-kind nikah solemnised before Lord Ram in the communally sensitive Gujarat, two Muslim couples tied the knot in a
Junagadh temple with a maulvi reciting Koranic verses in the backdrop of Ram dhun. Members of both communities joined the ceremony and dined together.
Abdul Sheikh (4, who works at Junagadh Civil Hospital approached Satyam Seva Mandal, a local NGO, seeking financial help for the weddings of his son Asif and daughter, Najma. "We were ready to help. But we told the family that the wedding ceremony has to take place in our building which houses a Ram mandir. They happily agreed," said Mansukh Vaja, a local activist.
"We saw this as an opportunity to set an example. I discussed the issue with my relatives and our maulavi saheb readily approved the idea," said Sheikh.
'God cradled' woman who survived 72 hours under snow
By Becky RynorDecember 24, 2008 3:02 AM
D onna Molnar's husband said Tuesday "God reached down and cradled" his wife -- helping her survive 72 hours underneath several metres of snow in sub-zero southern Ontario weather.
"Emotionally it's tough, I've got to tell you," David Molnar said Tuesday, struggling to speak through tears of relief.
"The pain and the despair that you can feel . . . it's brutal when you sit at home and think about what she could be experiencing or what thoughts were going through her mind when she laid on the cold ground like that. It's rough."
Donna Molnar, 55,was reported missing Friday night, when her husband called police to say she hadn't returned from Christmas shopping. Her abandoned vehicle was found Saturday on the crest of a hill in rural Hamilton.
Search crews braved howling, 80-kilometre-an-hour winds, snowflurries and frigid temperatures throughout the weekend, but didn't find her until Monday at 12:30 p. m. when a rescue dog made a beeline for a mound of snow about 200 metres from her vehicle.
Staff Sgt.Mark Cox said all that was visible was an eye, looking up from a small hole.
He believes Molnar probably survived because she fell and quickly became buried in snow, which would have had"an insulating effect," Cox said.
"It's a miracle. I don't think there's any doubt about that,"said Molnar, while speaking about his wife of 33 years.
"If anyone has a better explanation for how someone in street clothes can survive 72 hours in minus 10 and minus 15 temperatures with an incredible amount of blowing snow . . . and without all the high-tech gear, well I'm all ears. My theory is that I really believe that God reached down and cradled her and protected her until they could find her."
Upon arriving at the hospital, Molnar said his wife was heavily sedated and put on painkillers while doctors assessed her injuries.
"She was very cold. Her body temperature had dropped to about 30 degrees. She was hypothermic and obviously had some frostbite," he said, noting she was severely dehydrated.
UNICEF child ambassador and motivational speaker Bilaal Rajan has written a book for aspiring activists who want to follow his lead. 'Just a regular kid,' Bilaal Rajan, 12, has written a book, raised millions for global relief
December 30, 2008
URBAN AFFAIRS REPORTER
Bilaal Rajan hasn't yet opened his mouth to speak and already the crowd of 250 is on its feet in a standing ovation. That's the first clue this is no ordinary 12-year-old.
Fifteen minutes later, the real estate investors who are his audience on this Thursday evening are cheering again, wowed by an inspiring and insightful pep talk – delivered without notes.
"You can do anything you want to make a positive difference in the world," the dynamic young crusader tells them. "You just have to believe in yourself. If we work together as one, change is inevitable, it's unavoidable."
Afterwards, Tahani Aburaneh rushes over to shake his hand.
"I am speechless – the way he touched me," she marvels. "This kid is going to make a difference on this Earth."
And that's how it is everywhere they go, says Bilaal's father Aman, who's brought him from their home in Richmond Hill to the speaking engagement at a hotel near Pearson airport. "It's so great to watch as a parent. He gets up there and he just explodes."
With two websites (makingchangenow.com and bilaalrajan.com), his own charity foundation and a personal assistant to manage his appearances, the otherwise "regular boy," as his mother Shamim describes him, is a philanthropic phenomenon.
He's helped raise $5 million for children's causes around the world. He's an author, motivational speaker, children's rights activist, world traveller and official child ambassador for UNICEF Canada. Last summer he was named one of the country's Top 20 under 20.
Squeezing in classes at St. Andrew's College in Aurora – he missed 10 weeks of school last year – he manages a 91 per cent average in his Grade 8 subjects. In 30 years of teaching, says middle school director Mike Hanson, "I have never taught a student who was so driven and determined to improve the world he lives in."
Not surprisingly, the term "overachiever" figures in the title of his new book, Making Change: Tips from an Underage Overachiever (Orca Book Publishers). Its objective is to inspire children to take action and create a more peaceful, caring world, says Bilaal.
"Some people say I've done extraordinary things. But there's nothing that makes me any different than other kids. They too can make a difference."
His 150-page guide tells how with fundraising ideas, pointers on public speaking and advice for getting large corporations on board.
Bilaal was bitten by the fundraising bug at age 4. As his father was reading a newspaper article to him about a devastating earthquake in Gujarat, India, Bilaal "took in the meaning of the story," Aman recalls. "He was thinking about the people."
Eating a clementine, he said he wanted to raise money by selling the fruit. Going door-to-door with his parents, he raised $350.
He went on to help African youngsters affected by HIV/AIDS by selling decorative plates he made himself, and kids of hurricane-ravaged Haiti by selling cookies. As an 8-year-old, he also persuaded major corporations to make generous donations of medicine, food and other aid to the Haitian cause.
Four years ago, Bilaal raised thousands for tsunami relief efforts in Southeast Asia, then issued a challenge through UNICEF Canada for every child to raise $100. His goal of $1 million ballooned to almost $4 million when Ottawa matched the kids' contributions.
Bilaal's desire to help others "has always been there," says Aman. "He not only takes it to the next level, he climbs mountains." People ask if he and Shamim push Bilaal, he says.
"Never. Never do we push."
Bilaal credits his kindergarten teacher for inspiring him.
"I used to be in one corner, reading my own little book and not talking much. She taught me how to express myself with confidence."
Counting Mahatma Gandhi and the Aga Khan among his heroes, Bilaal has his sights set on a dual career as a neurosurgeon and astronaut – the first to land on Mars.
When he's not changing the world, he's playing sports, reading or playing with his Scottish terrier, Bobby. He doesn't play video games. To his friends, he's both a regular kid and an inspiration.
Nicholas Whitelaw, 12, says Bilaal's example motivated him to put in 550 volunteer hours at his church.
"He really does make a difference and it makes me want to do what he's doing."
With files from Robyn Doolittle.
Read more about Bilaal in the current issue of Desi Life magazine at desilife.ca.
An Egyptian man said Wednesday he was offering his 20-year-old daughter in marriage to Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at U. S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad on Sunday.
The daughter, Amal Saad Gumaa, said she agreed with the idea. "This is something that would honour me. I would like to live in Iraq, especially if I were attached to this hero," she told Reuters by telephone.
Her father, Saad Gumaa, said he had called Dergham, Zaidi's brother, to tell him of the ofer. "I find nothing more valuable than my daughter to offer to him, and I am prepared to provide her with everything needed for marriage," he added.
Zaidi's gesture has struck a chord across the Arab world, where President Bush is widely despised for invading Iraq in 2003 and for his support for Israel.
Amal is a student in the media faculty at Minya University in central Egypt.
Zaidi's response to the proposal was not immediately clear.
Newfoundland mom mistakes labour pain for kidney stones
By Denise Pike, Carbonear CompassJanuary 8, 2009
Juanita Stead was rushed to hospital on New Year's Eve for what she thought was a kidney stone, but left with a bouncing baby boy.
Stead, now a mother of two, says she had no idea she was pregnant until an X-ray technician delivered the news.
"This is some kidney stone, isn't it,"the Newfoundland woman said while cuddling her newborn, Nicholas. "We're all still in shock. We just can't believe it."
Stead, of Port de Grave, in Newfound-land's Conception Bay, says her period continued during the pregnancy, she has no morning sickness and she didn't put on extra weight.
But while at a New Year's Eve party with her husband, Terry, she started having back pain. With the pain escalating, she went to the hospital, where an X-ray showed something besides a kidney stone.
"The technician looked at me and said, 'My dear, you're pregnant with a fullterm baby.' And I said, 'No sir, you got the wrong woman and you're looking at the wrong screen. There is no way I'm pregnant.' "
The disbelieving mom-to-be was taken to the case room, and soon after Nicholas made his entrance into the world.
When her shocked husband called the baby's grandparents with the good news, they didn't believe him at first.
"When I told Juanita's mom she didn't have a kidney stone, but a baby instead, she told me to go to bed," he laughed. "My mother told me to give up telling lies."
It's not the first time the couple have been caught off-guard by a baby.
Stead's other child, Cameron, was born July 30, 2006 at home. While she knew she was expecting a baby, Cameron arrived two months early.
"I felt like I had to go to the bathroom and out he popped, right into the toilet," she said.
"Terry actually scooped him out of the toilet and put him in my lap until the ambulance came."
Frenchman Lluis Colet broke the world record for the longest speech after rambling non-stop for 124 hours about Spanish painter Salvador Dali, Catalan culture and other topics.
The 62-year-old Catalan and local government worker spoke for five straight days and four nights to set the record in the southern French town of Perpignan.
Three notaries were on hand to recognize the feat which allows Colet to enter it in the Guinness Book of Records.
The previous record was held by an Indian man who delivered a 120-hour speech.
Colet began speaking at Perpignan's railway station Monday by reciting the works of famous authors or using some of his own writing. He also spoke profusely about Dali, a painter he admires, and Catalan culture.
Large crowds turned out in support of Colet, who received a rapturous applause at the end of his speech.
"This is a big day for me and I dedicate this record to all those who defend Catalan language and culture," he said, his voice faint after five days of nonstop talking.
Colet had set the record once before in 2004 when he spoke for 48 straight hours.
Octuplets pass 'first test': breathing on their own
Herald News ServicesJanuary 28, 2009
One day after a California woman gave birth to octuplets, doctors said Tuesday that all eight babies were doing well and breathing on their own.
The woman, who astonished a 46-member medical team at a suburban Los Angeles hospital by delivering eight babies when ultrasound images had shown seven, was also said to be doing well.
The six boys and two girls, born nine weeks prematurely, are only the second set of octuplets known to have survived birth in the United States.
"The first test is the breathing test and . . . they are breathing on their own," said Dr. Mandhir Gupta. "They still need some support with oxygen, but only through the nose so most of the work of breathing is done by themselves."
A second test for the newborns is feeding. The staff at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower planned to begin that process with four of the babies later Tuesday.
The mother, whose name has been withheld by the hospital at her request, intended to breast feed all of her babies. But she has not yet been able to hold them because they were still in incubators in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
"We had an unprecedented, very exciting day in our operating room and labour delivery where our team of 46 physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists as well as surgical techs delivered eight babies, all live born," Dr. Karen Maples said. "It was a truly, truly amazing delivery."
California woman makes history with healthy octuplets
AFPJanuary 27, 2009
LOS ANGELES - In only the second time in U.S. medical history, a woman in California has given birth to eight babies, who remain in intensive care but are in a stable condition.
Dozens of medical workers in four delivery rooms helped welcome the healthy octuplets — six boys and two girls — in only five minutes at a medical center Monday in Bellflower, 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Los Angeles.
"Today we had an unprecedented, very exciting day when we, our team of 46 physicians, nurses as well as respiratory therapists delivered eight babies, all alive born and very vigorous," said Karen Maples, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the hospital managed by the Kaiser Permanente group.
Maples said the babies were born premature by nine and a half weeks, between 10:33 am and 10:38 am. They weighed between 1.5 pounds (680 grams) and 3.4 pounds (1.54 kg).
The doctors and mother, who requested anonymity for her children, had expected seven babies.
"After we got to baby G, which is what we expected, we were surprised by the arrival of baby H!" said Maples at a press conference.
"It’s quite easy to miss a baby when you have seven. Performing an Ultrasound is very difficult," admitted another doctor Harold Henry.
The babies were resuscitated at birth and are "all doing good," according to Mandhir Gupta, head of neonatology at the center.
"All of them are in stable condition. Two of them have breathing tubes and are on a ventilator. A third one also needs some oxygen. The others are breathing (on their own) and doing well," he said.
"They face many obstacles, weight is a concern, (the smaller one) has a long way to go."
Although not commenting on the identity of the mother, Gupta said she is "doing very, very well, she’s really excited that she got all of these babies, and that they’re doing good so far."
"She’s going to breastfeed them," he added. "She’s a strong woman."
In a press release, Kaiser Permanente recalled that weeks of preparation had been devoted to a safe delivery — of septuplets.
"The rehearsals all paid off as the babies were delivered flawlessly, just as they had practiced. But, after the seventh baby was delivered — there was a surprise," said the company.
"Doctor Alejandro Vasquez said, ’Wait a minute, I think I feel a hand’."
"What a shocker this was," recalled Maples.
Each of the babies "cried spontaneously after birth," said the health care provider.
Said to be only the second time octuplets have been born in the United States and lived through the day, the babies are now in the first 72-hour period that is critical for their health.
Local California television station KCAL9 said the first occurrence of octuplets in U.S. history was in Texas a decade ago, but one of the infants died a week after being born.
This artist's rendition of the world's biggest snake, from the British science magazine Nature, would have been "terrifying" and "amazing," says paleontologist Jason Head. Titanoboa could have swallowed giant turtles and crocodiles, he says.
Photograph by: Jason Bourque, Agence France-Presse, Getty Images,
Canwest News Service Reality has proven more incredible than Hollywood fantasy with the discovery of a supersized snake that slithered around the tropics 60 million years ago.
Measuring 13 metres from its tongue to the tip of its very long tail, "Titanoboa" is the largest snake ever uncovered.
It swam around warm, steamy swamps swallowing giant turtles and crocodiles, says paleontologist Jason Head, at the University of Toronto in Mississauga, lead author of a report on the boa constrictor-like reptile in the journal Nature to be published today.
"It was longer than a city bus, and weighed more than a car," Head said.
It's body, weighing about 1,135 kilograms, was so thick he said the snake would have had trouble getting from the hallway into his office.
"It would have to squeeze a little bit to get into the door," Head said.
Head and his co-authors in the U. S. and Panama say the snake was more fantastic than Hollywood creations -- and much bigger than the snake that tried to eat actor Jennifer Lopez in the movie Anaconda.
"Terrifying,"Head said of the snake he describes as the "most amazing" he has ever studied.
The bones from several of the creatures were unearthed in the open-pit Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia, and provide a rare glimpse of the past tropical climate.
"We were able to actually take the giant snakes and turn them into thermometers," said Head, explaining how they have reconstructed the climate Titanoboa lived in based on the size of its bones.
The growth of cold-blooded animals like snakes is determined by temperature -- cold limits their size, which is why snakes are small in Canada, while warmth allows them to grow bigger in places like Brazil.
The scientists said the snake's enormous size points to a mean annual temperature at the equatorial South America 60 million years of nearly 30 C to 34 C, up to six degrees warmer than it is today.
Climatologist Matthew Huber, at Purdue University, said the work has "major implications" as it indicates that the tropics are not buffered from global warming as some scientists have believed.
It suggests the tropics, now home to millions of people, may warm more than some have expected because of the greenhouse gases now being released into the atmosphere.
"It is a big step to go from our analysis to today's man-made global warming, but it certainly makes you scratch your chin," said Head, who is to travel toColombia to look for more snake bones in the coal mine.
"I'd like to find the head of one of those guys," he said.
So far the researchers have unearthed ribs and vertebrae, some bigger than Head's hand.
The "slippery slope"argument is often used by opponents to non-traditional marriages. Their point being that any legal admission of a union outside"adult male/adult female"opens up the possibility that wedded bliss might soon be granted to a man and his dog.
This line of argument has been easy enough to ignore.
Until now, that is.
In late January, in India's eastern Jharkhand, villagers "married" off a young girl to a stray dog.
We can hear the anti-gay-marriage lobby now: "See, we told you . . . let the gays wed and next thing you know your sister's walking down the aisle with Rover."
The truth of the matter is this: The locals at Munda Dhanda village performed the ceremony to overcome any spiritual curse that might fall on the family.
To the best of our knowledge, gay marriage is still not permitted in Munda Dhanda.
Therefore, the "slippery slope" to "man marries dog" appears not to be gay unions, but rather, religion.
Cha Sa-soon, 68, wants to buy truck, go into business
ReutersFebruary 22, 2009 8:01 AMBe the first to post a comment
A South Korean woman who has failed the driver's exam 775 times is not about give up on her hope of buying a truck one day to go into her own business, whether other drivers want her on the road or not.
Cha Sa-soon, 68, has been trying since 2005 to pass the written portion of the test to get a licence, but she has so far failed to get the 60 per cent required to clear it.
"I've looked up some guidebooks to get a driver's licence, and they were saying it takes at most five years to get this," Cha said in North Jeolla province, where farmers on tractors or cows can be just as common on country roads as motor vehicles.
"It's already been four years, so I might pass the test next time. That's what I hope for."
Driving schools in South Korea offer courses to enable applicants to walk away with a licence in a week. Cha has not been fortunate enough to set foot in such a class, which tends to congregate more in busy metropolitan areas, but she remains unfazed, even after having spent more than 10 million won($6,800) on test applications.
"I believe you can achieve your goal if you persistently pursue it," she says. "So don't give up your dream, like me. Be strong and do your best."
Welcome to your new vending machine...
Jeremy Page, Delhi
Does your Pepsi lack pep? Is your Coke not the real thing? India's Hindu nationalist movement apparently has the answer: a new soft drink made from cow urine.
The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India's biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group, according to the man who makes it.
Om Prakash, the head of the department, said the drink – called "gau jal", or "cow water" – in Sanskrit was undergoing laboratory tests and would be launched "very soon, maybe by the end of this year".
"Don't worry, it won't smell like urine and will be tasty too," he told The Times from his headquarters in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges. "Its USP will be that it's going to be very healthy. It won't be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins."
The drink is the latest attempt by the RSS – which was founded in 1925 and now claims eight million members – to cleanse India of foreign influence and promote its ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu-ness.
Hindus revere cows and slaughtering them is illegal in most of India. Cow dung is traditionally used as a fuel and disinfectant in villages, while cow urine and dung are often consumed in rituals to "purify" those on the bottom rungs of the Hindu caste system.
In 2001, the RSS and its offshoots – which include the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party – began promoting cow urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.
The movement has often been accused of using more violent methods, such as killing 67 Christians in the eastern state of Orissa last year, and assaulting women in a pub in Mangalore last month. It also has a history of targeting foreign business in India, as in 1994, when it organised a nationwide boycott of multinational consumer goods, including Pepsi and Coca Cola.
The cola brands are popular in India, now one of their biggest markets, but have struggled in recent years to shake off allegations, which they deny, that they contain dangerous levels of pesticide.
Mr Prakash said his drink, by contrast, was made mainly of cow urine, mixed with a few medicinal and ayurvedic herbs. He said it would be "cheap", but declined to give further details about its price or ingredients until it was officially launched.
He insisted, however, that it would be able to compete with the American cola brands, even with their enormous advertising budgets. "We're going to give them good competition as our drink is good for mankind," he said. "We may also think of exporting it."
Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:44 am Post subject: Cow Water
It would be a fun product to have around - if it weren't for the fact that it's being made by Hindutva nutjobs and I don't want them to get a penny of my money.
Too bad, you could really have some fun with your unknowing friends.
Gomez, also called nirang, is also holy to the Zoroastrians. In point of fact urine is sterile unless you have an infection, so it has been a safe way to get something to drink in places where the water is not fit for human consumption. Arabs use(d) camel and horse urine for the same reasons: stagnant water didn't bother their beasts, but it would kill them, so you use your steed as a filter.
In point of fact, this is how the effects of estrogen were discovered in ancient times. Men who drank the urine of pregnant mares became feminised in appearance... this is the origin of one of the most common modern estrogens, which is called Premarin - PREgnant MARe's uRINe.[/b]
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