Category Archives: Lifestyle

Man plays guitar during brain surgery

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Mr Prasad said he felt normal and awake on the operating table

An Indian musician played the guitar on the operating table to help doctors treat involuntary muscle spasms in his fingers.

Abhishek Prasad was asked to play every time doctors “burnt” a circuit in his brain to treat what is commonly known as “musician’s dystonia”.

The condition causes painful spasms, twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures.

Mr Prasad told the BBC that he was able to play with ease after the surgery.

“By the sixth burn, my fingers opened up. I was normal on the operating table itself,” Mr Prasad said after doctors removed the stitches on his head on Thursday, a week after his operation in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

Dystonia had prevented Mr Prasad from moving his middle, ring and little finger of his left hand when he played the guitar.

“I thought the stiffness was because of over practice. I took a break and tried again and realised that there was no respite from the stiffness. Some doctors told me it was muscle fatigue and I was given painkillers, multi-vitamins, antibiotics, physiotherapy etc,” he said.

He added that spasms in his fingers occurred only when he played the guitar.

But a neurologist correctly diagnosed nine months ago that he was suffering from dystonia.

“I was advised to undergo brain surgery, but I got scared. But my doctor, Sharan Srinivasan, gave me the confidence to do it,” he said.

‘Like a generator’

The musician said he vividly remembered every detail of the procedure.

He said the doctors fixed a frame with four screws on his head to cut open his skull before conducting an MRI scan.

“The scan helped in assessing how deep the electrodes could be inserted to correct the circuits inside the brain.”

Mr Prasad added that he felt “like a generator was on during the operation”, but felt “no pain”.

Dr Srinivasan explained that “the patient does not feel pain because the operation was done under local anaesthesia”.

He added that he made a 14mm hole and inserted a specialised electrode into the skull and the “target areas were 8 to 9cms deep inside the brain”.

“He was fully awake all through, and the result was available on the operating table because his fingers had started moving normally on the guitar,” he explained.

Mr Prasad said his “left hand and left leg felt a little weak now”.

“But I will recover in a month’s time and then begin full-fledged practice.”

Dr Srinivasan said “live brain circuit surgery” in India was an important milestone.

“People with this neurological disorder usually feel depressed and confine themselves to a corner. These are the kind of patients we need to reach out to.”

Source: BBC

AIDS deaths halve as more get drugs

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Deaths linked to Aids have halved in a decade, official figures shows.

The condition, which is caused by HIV, used to be one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

A report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) showed deaths had fallen from a peak of 1.9 million in 2005 to 1 million last year.

It said the “scales have tipped”, with more than half of people getting drug treatment for the first time.

An HIV infection cannot be cured – it can only be contained with daily doses of antiretroviral therapy.

Unchecked, it destroys the immune system, causing Aids. At this point people tend to die from other “opportunistic infections” such as tuberculosis.

Worldwide, 36.7 million are living with HIV and 53% of them are getting the therapy that gives a near-normal life expectancy.

Michel Sidibe, the executive director of UNAids, said: “We met the 2015 target of 15 million people on treatment and we are on track to double that number to 30 million and meet the 2020 target.

“We will continue to scale up to reach everyone in need and honour our commitment of leaving no-one behind.”

UNAids said eastern and southern Africa were “leading the way” and had cut new HIV infections by nearly a third since 2010.

Life expectancy has increased by 10 years over the past decade too.

The agency has set a series of goals known as the 90-90-90 targets.

The aim is for 90% of people with HIV to be diagnosed, 90% of those to get therapy and 90% of those to have their infection suppressed, by 2020.

In 2016 the figures were 70%, 77% and 82% respectively.

Mr Sidibe added: “Communities and families are thriving as Aids is being pushed back.”

However, the agency warned that inadequate treatment in north Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe had seen death rates increase sharply.

Source: BBC

Heap of plastic

Earth is becoming ‘Planet Plastic’

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Heap of plastic

US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made and put the number at 8.3 billion tonnes.

It is an astonishing mass of material that has essentially been created only in the last 65 years or so.

The 8.3 billion tonnes is as heavy as 25,000 Empire State Buildings in New York, or a billion elephants.

The great issue is that plastic items, like packaging, tend to be used for very short periods before being discarded.

More than 70% of the total production is now in waste streams, sent largely to landfill – although too much of it just litters the wider environment, including the oceans.

“We are rapidly heading towards ‘Planet Plastic’, and if we don’t want to live on that kind of world then we may have to rethink how we use some materials, in particular plastic,” Dr Roland Geyer told BBC News.

A paper authored by the industrial ecologist from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and colleagues appears in the journal Science Advances. It is described as the first truly global assessment of how much plastic has been manufactured, how the material in all its forms is used, and where it ends up. Here are some of its key numbers.

  • 8,300 million tonnes of virgin plastics have been produced
  • Half of this material was made in just the past 13 years
  • About 30% of the historic production remains in use today
  • Of the discarded plastic, roughly 9% has been recycled
  • Some 12% has been incinerated, but 79% has gone to landfill
  • Shortest-use items are packaging, typically less than a year
  • Longest-use products are found in construction and machinery
  • Current trends point to 12 billion tonnes of waste by 2050
  • Recycling rates in 2014: Europe (30%), China (25%), US (9%)

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BBC's Chris Evans tops list of highest paid BBC stars

Chris Evans tops best-paid BBC stars list with about £2.25m

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BBC's Chris Evans tops list of highest paid BBC stars

BBC’s Chris Evans tops list of highest paid BBC stars

Radio 2 host, Chris Evans, has topped the list of the BBC’s best-paid stars. He topped the table, in a salary bracket of £2,200,000 – £2,249,999.

Claudia Winkleman who was the highest-paid female celebrity, earned between £450,000 and £500,000.

About two-thirds of stars earning more than £150,000 are male, compared to one-third female, according to the BBC annual report.

Director general Tony Hall said there was “more to do” on gender and diversity.

It is the first time the pay of stars earning more than £150,000 has been made public.

The BBC has been compelled to reveal the information, including the pay of 96 of its top stars, under the terms of its new Royal Charter.

The total bill for the 96 personalities was £28.7m; but the figures in the report reveal large disparities between what men and women are paid.

Overall, 25 men on the talent list receive more than £250,000, compared to just nine women.

Speaking on LBC Radio, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We’ve seen the way the BBC is paying women less for doing the same job… I want women to be paid equally.”

When asked if Chris Evans was worth 12 of her, Mrs May – who earns about £150,000 – said: “What’s important is that the BBC looks at the question of paying men and women the same for doing the same job.”

“On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the civil service,” Lord Hall said.

“We’ve made progress, but we recognise there is more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any other broadcaster.”

When asked if female talent working at the BBC would now be asking for pay rises, Lord Hall said: “We will be working carefully on our relationship with our talent.”

Woman’s Hour’s Jane Garvey tweeted: “I’m looking forward to presenting @BBCWomansHour today. We’ll be discussing #GenderPayGap . As we’ve done since 1946. Going well, isn’t it?”

Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, who did not appear on the list, retweeted Garvey’s message.

There is also a gap between the pay for white stars and those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.

George Alagiah, Jason Mohammad and Trevor Nelson are the highest paid BAME presenters, each receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

The highest-paid female star with a BAME background is BBC news presenter Mishal Husain, who earned between £200,000 and £250,000.

Strictly stars’ pay

The annual report contains pay information in bands and does not reveal exact amounts. Nor does it include stars who receive their pay through BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm.

The figures quoted only refer to the amount of licence fee money each person receives and do not include their earnings from other broadcasters or commercial activities.

They also exclude stars paid through independent production companies.

That means some big name stars – such as David Attenborough, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt LeBlanc – do not appear on the list.

The list also does not distinguish between people who are paid for doing multiple jobs within the BBC and those who are just paid for one.

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman – who has now left the show – and fellow judge Bruno Tonioli were both in the £200,000-£250,000 band.

The show’s other judges, Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell, got between £150,000 and £200,000.

Tess Daly, Winkleman’s Strictly Come Dancing co-host, was paid between £350,000 and £400,000.

Graham Norton earned more than £850,000 but this does not include payments to his production company, which makes The Graham Norton Show and pays him a separate salary.

The BBC is alone amongst the UK’s major broadcasters in releasing pay details for its on-air and on-screen talent.

Talent pay is considerably higher in the commercial sector.

As he left the BBC after his Radio 2 breakfast show on Wednesday, Chris Evans said it was right “on balance” that star salaries were being disclosed.

“We are the ultimate public company I think, and therefore it’s probably right and proper people know what we get paid,” he told reporters.

During a briefing on the annual report on Wednesday morning, Lord Hall said: “Chris Evans is presenting the most popular show on the most popular radio network in Europe.

“The BBC does not exist in a market on its own where it can set the market rates.

“If we are to give the public what they want, then we have to pay for those great presenters and stars.”

Aside from Strictly, Winkleman’s other BBC roles include presenting The Great British Sewing Bee and her Radio 2 Sunday night show.

Her agent said she would be making no comment.

Casualty star Derek Thompson was the BBC’s highest paid actor, receiving between £350,000 and £400,000 over the last financial year.

Amanda Mealing, who also stars in Casualty as well as Holby City, was the highest paid actress, receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

Peter Capaldi, the outgoing star of Doctor Who, was paid between £200,000 and £250,000.

Clare Balding earned between £150,000 and £200,000 for her work on sports shows including Wimbledon Today and the Rio Olympics.

The overall spend on talent was £193.5m – down on the £200m spent in 2015/2016.

The figures also showed a decrease – from 109 to 96 – in the number of stars paid more than £150,000.

The total spend on stars with salaries of more than £150,000 was also down £5 million on the £31.9 million paid in the previous financial year.

Speaking on the Today programme, Lord Grade – a former BBC One controller – called the government’s insistence that talent pay be disclosed “distasteful and disturbing”.

“The net result of this is inflation,” he said. “Talent salaries and wages will round upwards, they won’t go down.”

Former culture secretary John Whittingdale MP said: “If somebody is earning the equivalent of 1,000 households’ licence fees put together… the licence fee payer deserves to know.”

The annual report showed that the BBC continues to reach 95 percent of UK adults every week.

It also said the iPlayer had its most successful year to date, with an average of 246 million requests each month.

Source BBC

[Video] Meet the blind cook extraordinaire

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Nana Boafo was not born blind

One would have expected to see Nana Boafo by the roadside, assuming a posture that elicits sympathy from passersby, with cup in hand begging for alms like most blind people do in the big cities.

But no, Nana is a different ‘breed’ of his kind; a visually impaired man who has refused to live by alms. He has chosen to live by the work of his own hands; the kind of blind men who are rare to find these days.

Nana is exemplifies the saying “disability is not inability”. He’s a motivation to others in similar challenged situations to forge through the struggles of life.

He has surmounted all the odds associated with visual impairment to make a decent living for himself and his children.

Nana has got exceptional culinary skills. He prepares tasty meals of all sorts, the reason TV3’s Portia Gabor chooses to call him ‘Chef Extraordinaire’.

Nana Boafo was not born blind.

Prior to his blindness, he was the Ankobeahene of the Anum-Asamankese Traditional Area in the West Akyem municipality of the Eastern region. The unfortunate happened when he travelled to South Africa in June 2014.

For someone who has enjoyed the pleasure of full sight and even had a whole traditional area under his control in his capacity as a traditional ruler who commanded a lot of respect, it must have been very disheartening being plunged into perpetual darkness.

Nana recounts how it all happened.

“In a dream I saw I was walking with a friend and on the process the friend told me that Nana look somebody is trying to take your eyes away and in the dream I say who is taking it and who said look at him, he is going.

“And I said how somebody can take my eyes while I can see. Seven months later I got a shock that fateful day. I was walking on the street one day, all of a sudden I’m off” he narrated.

Medical reports revealed that Nana was diagnosed with end stage of glaucoma.

Nana revealed his condition brought a sharp twist to his life leading to rejection, ostracism and stigma. He narrates the rejection he faced

“There is day, one chief died and they [his village people] wanted to go and I decided to go with them. In fact that day I wept, I said I would go with them but they came and said I won’t go with them, they can’t go with me.

“You’re going to disorganize our waitings like that. I said aaah what is happening,I can do everything. They said no. That day was the day I saw myself that nothing for me to do on my own” he said.

Portia wanted to know if his situation ever pushed him to contemplate suicide. He responded in the affirmative, saying “definitely, about 3 times”.

Nana said he eventually gave up the thoughts of suicide and fled his town to seek refuge in a prayer camp where he met a woman who helped him.

The woman was moved by the story of Nana so she decided to help Nana acquire skills in preparing pastries and other dishes. Testimonies from neighbours and customers give credence to prowess in cooking.

Nana has not lost hope on regaining his sight but until then he needs support to expand his business.

“So I need oven and I need kitchen utensils to run some small restaurant so that I can lay[sic] on my own” he appealed.

With little assistance, Nana uses his senses of touch, smell, taste and hearing to perfectly execute tasks in the food making process.

Portia Gabor simply could not resist the taste of Nana’s pastries.

Watch video below

By P.D Wedam||Ghana

Baboon causes mass power cut in Zambia

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A similar thing occurred in Kenya some months ago

A baboon in Zambia has tampered with the cables at a power station in the south of the country leaving 50,000 people without electricity.

It caused the blackout on Sunday morning by climbing into the power station and pulling at the lines.

The baboon survived the “massive electric shock” that would have killed a human being, a power company spokesman said.

A person would also have been prosecuted, Henry Kapata added.

The baboon was rescued by a wildlife organisation and is now recovering but has “serious wounds”, he told the BBC.

The power station is in the Zambian tourist city of Livingstone, where it is common for wild animals to be roaming around as it near a national park, the BBC’s Kennedy Gondwe says.

Electricity has now been restored to the affected customers in Livingstone and the nearby Western Province.

In a similar incident last year, a monkey caused a nationwide power outage in Kenya.

Source: BBC

No one should call me Matthew again! – Obasanjo warns

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned that no body should call him Matthew again.

Obasanjo made this known at an event to mark his 80th birthday celebration by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Abuja on Saturday, said he removed the name because the Biblical character, Mathew, whom he was named after, was a tax collector.

“When I was born, my mother and father decided to name me Matthew. I grew up being called and addressed Matthew. What is the meaning of Matthew in the Bible? He was a tax collector,” he said.

“So, when I grew up, I dropped Matthew from my name. If anyone does not want to see my eyes red, no one should call me Matthew again. People ask, what is in a name? For me, there is so much in a name.”

“A doctor’s mistake often leads to the death of one patient,” he said.

“A lawyer’s mistake leads to the client going to jail. But if an engineer makes a mistake that leads to the collapse of a bridge or house, many people would lose their lives.

“That is why engineers must be very careful and must be efficient not to allow mistakes to be made.”

Source Vanguard Nigeria

Naming my baby girl SPERM

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file photo

Picking a name for your child can sometimes feel overwhelming. In addition to the possibilities of you thinking whether to go for a Christian/English name or a local/traditional name. It’s likely that friends and relatives will offer suggestions of their own – whether you want them to or not. You and your spouse might have difficulty in agreeing on a name as each person would prefer a particular name. There’s no right or wrong way to pick a name for your baby. The most important consideration is to choose one you love but when the name you love is bizarre then you need to pause and rethink or speak to people near you. Do not forget that ultimately, your child will grow into whatever name you pick. This is the dilemma a woman finds herself in, therefore sending in her plight to CASE STUDY ON 3FM 92.7  with MICHELLE MCKINNEY HAMMOND and DAVID PAPA BONZIE MBIR…below is her story;

“It’s been Six (6) miscarriages and One (1) Stillbirth – that eventually also died -, in 11 years, before being able to carry my eighth pregnancy to its full term.

Dave, I am believing you can imagine the joy in my heart after having this baby girl? She’s one month, two weeks old now.

We planned​ on naming her this July. Because of the unfortunate history before her birth, I was planning on either one of these names, (Grace, Mercy, Comfort) but my husband says he doesn’t like any of such names.

I asked which name he had in mind, since she’s his daughter, and he said “SPERM”. Initially, I thought he was joking but I realized he had stated calling her by that terrible name – anytime he held her. He wouldn’t give me any reason why he chooses to name my child by that name.

And because of that, we’ve been arguing every single day in the past weeks. My mother came over to help us with the baby, and she’s also not in favor of my husband’s choice of name for our child, so she suggested we named the child without his consent, which we did, Four (4) days ago, when my husband had travelled​ outside Accra, to work.

The birth certificate has already been done. We named her “Grace’. My husband, after finding out about the naming ceremony and the birth-certificate, is now asking me to leave his house. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with us.

He has already left the house, and has given my mother and I, up to the end of this month, to pack out of his house. His only condition to keep me and the baby is to allow him to name his child, SPERM.

Dave, who names their only child, Sperm? After all that we’ve been through – he is choosing to walk out on me because of a stupid name I refuse to call my child?

My mother is suggesting we leave to her home and raise the child without him, but that’s not what I want for my child.

Our pastors have all talked him into reconsidering his decision, but he’s still insisting, until the change of name on the child’s birth certificate, he’d not want to have anything to do with us.”

Your guess is as good as mine !! SPERM? Think about how the name will sound when you call this child: Is it nice to hear, or does it sound harsh? Does it go well with her last name? What is the meaning of the name? What will the name do to the child’s self-esteem when she mentions her name and gets an awkward reaction? She may have to bear the name till 18 when she is old enough to take decisions before she can change her name if she has any intention?

I know in the olden days weird names were given to children who were believed to have reincarnated but this is the 21st century. This got me taking if people really knew the meaning of their names! That reminds me of when I came across a baby called “miscellaneous” one time I travelled to Nzema, interesting huh?

It’s easy to research name meanings online to help you choose the perfect one for your baby, especially if you’re having trouble finding one that feels right.

By Roberta Acquah- Imbeah | 3FM|

Australian man’s thumb surgically replaced by toe

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Surgeons attached Zac Mitchell’s big toe to his hand

An Australian cattle worker whose thumb was severed by a bull has had his toe surgically transplanted in its position.

Zac Mitchell, 20, was injured in April while working on a remote farming property in Western Australia.

“A bull kicked my hand into the fence,” Mr Mitchell said of the incident.

He underwent two unsuccessful operations to reattach his thumb before doctors opted to relocate his big toe in surgery lasting eight hours.

Mr Mitchell said fellow workers had attempted to preserve his thumb immediately after the accident.

“They put it in the esky [cooler] with some ice,” he told the BBC.

Mr Mitchell was flown to hospital in the state capital of Perth, but efforts to save his thumb ultimately failed.

Difficult choice

Despite initial reluctance, the cattle worker agreed to the transplant operation at the Sydney Eye Hospital two weeks ago.

Lead plastic surgeon Dr Sean Nicklin said he was not surprised it took time to accept.

“It is a bit of a crazy idea – they [patients] do not want to be injured in another part of their body,” he said.

“[However] even if you have got four good fingers, if you do not have something to pinch against them, your hand has lost a huge amount of its function.”

An X-ray showing Mr Mitchell’s thumb injury

Mr Mitchell will need more than 12 months of rehabilitation, but he plans to return to farm work.

The Sydney Eye Hospital said it was rare to transplant a complete toe, like in Mr Mitchell’s case, although partial toe relocations were more common.

“A lot of people think their balance and walking is going to be significantly affected which it generally isn’t,” Dr Nicklin said.

Mr Mitchell’s mum, Karen, said he was making a good recovery.

“Two weeks since the operation his walking is almost back to normal.”

Doctors say Mr Mitchell should eventually be able to return to his hobby of bull riding.

Source: BBC

Meet the man who takes a plane to work every day

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Badinski commutes about 400 miles daily from Burbank to San Francisco

One plane, two cars, 770 miles and six hours – all to get to work and back daily.

Curt von Badinski, a mechanical engineer and co-founder of a San Francisco-based tech company, has a six-hour daily commute from Los Angeles – most of it by plane.

Five days a week, he rises at 05:00 for the 15-minute drive to Bob Hope Burbank airport, for a 90-minute flight to Oakland, located 353 miles (568km) north west. For a monthly fee of $2,300, he can access unlimited flights on a single-engine turboprop airplane.

Having undergone a background check, von Badinski can bypass the main terminal, skip any usual security procedures and board the plane within minutes of parking.

Once he’s in the air, he uses his time to work free of interruptions network with other like-minded air commuters, including start-up founders and venture capitalists.And, while von Badinski is aware that his flight comes with a significant carbon footprint, the Bay Area leg of his journey is more environmentally friendly. He keeps a plug-in hybrid vehicle at Oakland airport for the drive into San Francisco.

Such a long commute in a region where there are big discrepancies in the climate, poses additional challenges. It might be sunny in LA, but San Francisco is likely to be cooler and foggy. “The first several months that I was doing this commute, I was always caught off guard,” he says.

Von Badinski gets to the office by 08:30 and leaves by 17:00, allowing time for busy traffic on his drive back to Oakland airport to catch his return flight at 19:15. He is home in Burbank shortly after 21:00.

“The way I justify a six-hour commute is having the ability to have all the things that I want,” he explains.

“I am always excited to start the day.”

Source BBC Capital