Tuesday, August 29, 2006

On Hypermobility

Can you do any of the movements on the picture to the right? If you do, chances are you have this condition called joint hypermobility.

It means you can move (some of) your joints more flexible than most people. It is also known as 'double jointed' or 'hyperlaxity' as your range of movements are larger than normal. In its very mild form there are few symptoms and need no treatment. But in its more severe form the joint can get dislocated easily. There is also a very rare form that is part of serious illness such as Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

How do you know you have hypermobility?
First you can check yourself using 'Beighton score' as shown on the picture above. Only about 3-5% adult can score more than 4 on that test. If you score more than 4 and experience joint pain in 4 or more of your joints for more than 3 months it is likely you have hypermobility. It is advisable that you consult your doctor to determine if the hypermobility is the caused of your pain or something else. For you doctor to confirmed the hypermobility diagnose, they are going to use the '1998 Brighton Criteria'.

There are four factors that cause hypermobility. First, the shape of the end of the bones. A shallow socket of your hip bone, for example, would give you a larger movement but it could also mean that your hip bone can dislocated more easily. Secondly, the weak or stretched ligaments due to altered collagen fibers. Then, the stiffness or tone of your muscles affect whether the joints is rigid or loosely held. The last but not least, your impaired sense of joint movements can lead you to overstretched your joints before realizing that you are doing it.

Hypermobility and you
Having hypermobility may affect your day to day life. For some, pain is part of life as their muscles have to work much harder when the joints are suppler than when they are rigid. If the hypermobility is caused by altered collagen, this may also lead to varicose veins or hernias.

Gentle exercises to strengthen the muscles are advisable but don't over do it. However, high impact exercises and contact sports are more likely to caused injuries or caused more pain. So, stay away from squash.

When you have pain, try to rest and physiotherapy first. If it fails, then try paracetamol. If the joint swells, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug such as ibuprofen may help. But be careful if you have stomach ulcers as it can caused bleeding. You can also use topical painkiller directly onto the aching joint. As chronic (long term) pain can lead to depression and in turn depression increases the pain, therefore you may need professional help to cope with it. Ask your doctor about pain management programmes.

According to Dr. Grahame, the leading researcher in this field, people with this syndrome need larger dosage of local anaesthetic than normal. Remember this fact when you need to do root canal on your next appointment with your dentist.

As their soft tissue is supple, sufferer of hypermobility should avoid surgery if possible because their soft tissue doesn’t always heal well and quickly. Some also prone to bruising easily and may require more blood transfusions if major surgery is carried out. Talk to your surgeon about this condition prior to surgery so they can modify the surgical technique accordingly.

Hypermobility is known for at least the last 30 years, but there are lots of doctors who tend to trivialize this condition. While those doctors having trouble diagnosing their patient’s illness even though the symptoms are clear, they sometimes label the sufferers as hypocondriacs which, of course, doesn’t help the patient at all. Try to talk to rheumatologist about your condition. If you live in the UK, there three hypermobility clinics, one of them is at University College Hospital in London.

All being said, there are some advantages in having hypermobility. Certain sports like gymnastics, diving, hurdlers need a wide movement/flexibility in certain joints. Flexible fingers can help musicians playing keyboard or string, for example. Dancers need the widest range of movement in most joints. How about a stint at Cirque du Soleil?

The thing about this syndrome, you can’t cure it but you can learn to live with it once you know you are having it.

For more information:
Living with hypermobility syndrome

Monday, August 21, 2006

And Then there were twelve

Apparently after redefining what planet is, our solar system has 12.. yes, not 9 but 12 planets inclusing a double-planet system Pluto-Charon..
Let's meet all of them:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptunes, Pluto, Charon, and last but not least: 2003 UB313 aka Xena.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

61 tahun Indonesia

Enam Puluh Satu tahun yang lalu
Kemerdekaan diproklamasikan
dengan semangat pluralisme

Enam Puluh Satu tahun berlalu
Merdeka! diteriakkan
tapi pluralisme itu semakin padam

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And now, for something completely different

The guys at eepybird created this movie of their experiment.
Why do Diet Coke and Mentos make an interesting combination?
It's physical, not chemical!
It's boiled down to nucleation sites.

For scientific explanation just click in here.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Gaarder on Israel

I had this urge to brush up my Norwegian last night and started reading Norwegian newspaper again when I came across Jostein Gaarder's op ed on Israel-Lebanon crisis. His harsh critics toward Israel policies titled "God's Chosen People" gain both support and criticism from in and out of Norway. As my Norwegian is not sufficient enough to do a decent translation, I put here excerpt from Sirocco's.

There is no turning back. It is time to learn a new lesson: We do no longer recognize the state of Israel. We could not recognize the South African apartheid regime, nor did we recognize the Afghan Taliban regime. Then there were many who did not recognize Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or the Serbs’ ethnic cleansing. We must now get used to the idea: The state of Israel in its current form is history.

...To act as God’s chosen people is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity. We call it racism...

There are limits to our patience, and there are limits to our tolerance. We do not believe in divine promises as justification for occupation and apartheid...

We call child murderers ‘child murderers’ and will never accept that such have a divine or historic mandate excusing their outrages. We say but this: Shame on all apartheid, shame on ethnic cleansing, shame on every terrorist strike against civilians, be it carried out by Hamas, Hizballah, or the state of Israel!

...For we are human first of all — then Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. Or as the Jewish rabbi said: “And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?” We do not accept the abduction of soldiers. But nor do we accept the deportation of whole populations or the abduction of legally elected parliamentarians and government ministers.

We recognize the state of Israel of 1948, but not the one of 1967. It is the state of Israel that fails to recognize, respect, or defer to the internationally lawful Israeli state of 1948. Israel wants more; more water and more villages. To obtain this, there are those who want, with God’s assistance, a final solution to the Palestinian problem...
To my understanding of this prophetic piece, Gaarder is not anti-semite, he is anti zionist policy of Israel which is a completely different thing. I think in this heartfelt appeal the author of Sophie's World uses some of his wording unwisely that can be interpreted as anti-semite. He is in fact stating an uplifting prospect of ending the apartheid in the region by saying 'But fear not! The time of trouble shall soon be over. The state of Israel has seen its Soweto.' This is refering to Soweto massacre in 1976 which was the turning point of apartheid movement in South Africa.

Today he published another op ed to clear up the misunderstanding and the translation of it can also be found at Sirocco's site. The op ed along with this article might give more insight about the intention behind his critic toward Israel's policy against Lebanon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You can get a child out of war...

A message from Ceasefire Campaign

Dear friends,

For more than four weeks now we've watched the bloodshed in the Middle East with horror. For a month, global and regional leaders have stood by and failed to take the necessary action to stop the violence.

Finally, last weekend, the US and France reached agreement on a plan. But it's now clear that this flawed compromise plan, which did not call for both sides to stop all attacks, has failed to curb the violence.

This is unacceptable. Over a thousand innocent civilians have already been killed, thousands more wounded, and almost a million people have been made homeless.

The UN Security Council is currently meeting to resolve the crisis. They need to know that the world is watching them, and that anything less than an immediate ceasefire is not good enough. Click below to sign this petition demanding that the members of the UN Security Council take immediate action to end this bloodshed.


Please sign the petition today, and then spread the word by forwarding this email on to all your friends and family. Our goal is to deliver a petition to the Security Council with 1 million signatures, and to publicize the petition in major newspapers in the capitals of the US, UK, France and other Security Council members.

Thanks so much for your help,

Ricken Patel

PS: Groups and leaders from across the world and from diverse perspectives agree that an urgent ceasefire is an important part of resolving this crisis. Most countries of the world, from Lebanon to Tanzania to India, have called for a ceasefire, and have been joined by major international NGOs such as Oxfam and Amnesty International. Christian leaders such as Pope Benedict XVI, and the World Council of Churches have also called for a ceasefire. Arab and Muslim organizations such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League have also been joined by Israeli and Jewish groups such as Meretz Israel, Degel HaTorah, and Brit Tzedek v'Shalom in calling for a ceasefire.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

War: What is it good for?

Politics is war without bloodshed,
war is politics with bloodshed
- Mao Tse Tung

I am opening a can of worm here. Normally, I avoid discussion about the situation in the Middle East. The Dutch have this saying 'onbegonnen werk', a task that is doom to fail. Think about it, they say G_D put his prophets one after another in the region and yet there is still no peace over there. So, how on earth can you expect UN can bring peace in the Middle East?

However, there some points I've been wondering about.

1. The Lebanon situation started when Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. According to BBC, Nasrallah wants to give Israeli pressure to release the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in its jails. The way I see it, Hezbollah is in fact put a higher price on Israeli than on Palestinian. Two Israelis against thousands Palestinian, what an insult! With a friend like Hezbollah, who needs enemy?

2. Israel wants to wiped out Hezbollah by bombing all over Lebanon. Bad, bad, bad move. Ok, I know nothing about politics or war strategy for that matter. But if my brother hits you and you come to our house and whacking my grandma, you'd better believe that the whole family will be united supporting my brother, even though some of us doesn't agree or even hating with him. The same will happened in Lebanon. There are Christian, Muslim and Druze in Lebanon. I hate to think that most of them are supporting Hezbollah now. When will Israel and the USA learn?

3. Israel maintain that they already warned the Lebanese to evacuate from the south before they shelled and air struck the area. Hello? In order to evacuate one needs some kind of transport. Not everyone got one. If they do, there is a chance that their cars are targeted by Israeli missiles. I don't see they have much choice but to stay put. Because one way or another they are bound to get hit by a missile or a bomb, or whatever that is that can blow you up into millions of pieces anyway.

4. I was astonished when I read that in the beginning of the war USA was more concern about expediting the shipment of their bombs to Israel than humanitarian relief for the Lebanese. I was even more bewildered knowing that USA, UK (and The Netherlands) did practically nothing to push for ceasefire. It seems like they just give Israel a blank check to do whatever Israeli wants disregard of the outcome.

5. According to Webster dictionary, terrorist is the systematic use of terror especially as a mean of coercion. Now, I'm as clueless as this kid in this article of who the terrorist is.