Tag Archives: Men’s Health

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Sunday 22nd February 2015

Micheál Martin calls for face-to-face debate with Taoiseach

  

Gerry Adams accuses Government Ministers of ‘unbridled arrogance’

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny during his address at the Fine Gael National Conference 2015 in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin has called for a face-to-face debate with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Speaking following Mr Kenny’s national conference speech, Mr Martin said it is time for the Taoiseach to emerge from the “protection of set piece events and anonymous briefings” to face him in debate.

He accused the Fine Gael leader of launching a series of “tired, inaccurate and clichéd attacks” on Fianna Fáil.

“The fact is that Mr Kenny resorts to these attacks because his mandate is based on a series of falsehoods,” said Mr Martin. “He went into the last election having voted against the key economic stabilisation measures that he now claims credit for.”

“He directed his party to support the bank guarantee that he now rails against. He made promises to voters across the country in the full and certain knowledge that he would not be keeping them once elected.”

Mr Martin said the Taoiseach’s time in power had been marked by his refusal to engage in honest debate on this issues.

“He now appears to hope that he can secure another term in that office by launching unsubstantiated attacks on his opponents,” he said.

“He does not seem to realise that the Irish people want more from their leaders. I stand ready to meet the Taoiseach in open debate at any time, but I am not optimistic.”

“Mr Kenny will continue to run from debate because he has calculated that him to have any chance staying in the Taoiseach’s office, he must avoid honest debate and limit his exposure to genuine challenge to the absolute bare minimum.”

Mr Kenny said on Saturday he did not want Ireland to be dragged back to the failures of the past or to be ruined “by those who are intent on blowing a huge hole in our recovering national finances”.

“Populist promises to reverse every tough decision are nothing but empty rhetoric, irresponsible leadership and bad politics,” said Mr Kenny. “They are not the solution to Ireland’s problems.”

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams has called Mr Kenny’s speech a “back-slapping exercise” and accused Government ministers of “unbridled arrogance”.

“The Taoiseach’s speech was merely a back-slapping exercise which failed to address the growing polarisation in our society under Fine Gael and Labour and no new vision for the future,” said the Sinn Féin leader.

“This Fine Gael Ard Fheis saw unbridled arrogance from Government Ministers entirely insulated from the effects of their policies.”

“Fine Gael no longer has any mandate for the socially destructive agenda it is imposing in Government.”

Mr Adams said the next election would be a choice between a Fine Gael or a Sinn Féin-led Government with “diametrically opposed” visions for Irish society.

He also criticised the Taoiseach’s failure to elaborate on the North in his keynote address in Castlebar.

“It was notable that the Taoiseach barely mentioned the North in the course of his address,” said Mr Adams. “This is because he views the North as a foreign country.”

“At the recent Stormont talks, the Taoiseach shamefully allied himself with the British Tories and tried to nationalise Fine Gael’s austerity agenda. He failed.”

The Stormont House Agreement was achieved despite, not because of this Fine Gael-led Government.”

The Eurozone private sector expands at fastest pace in seven months

 

Eurozone private sector expands at fastest pace in seven months

The Eurozone private sector expanded at the fastest pace in seven months this month led by rising new orders, surveys showed yesterday, but firms are still cutting prices, suggesting the ECB will have a tough time spurring inflation.

The jump in activity will provide a glimmer of hope for policymakers who have struggled to steer the monetary union toward growth with modest inflation, but may also support the European Central Bank’s decision to buy sovereign bonds.

“For the first time since mid-2011 we’re seeing a broad-based improvement in growth,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at survey compiler Markit.

“This in part reflects increased confidence after the ECB announced quantitative easing, and we’ll see more improvements once asset purchases start in March.”

Markit’s Composite Flash Purchasing Managers’ Index, based on surveys of thousands of companies and seen as a good growth indicator, rose to 53.5, its best since July, from a final reading of 52.6 last month.

That beat even the highest forecast in a Reuters poll and marked the 20th month above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

Mr Williamson said the PMI pointed to 0.3pc GDP growth in the current quarter, adding that a follow-through in March could push it up to 0.4pc.

In a positive sign for future activity, the gauge of new orders growth at services firms rose to 53.3 from 51.7. Growth in order backlogs rose to the highest level in nearly four years.

The PMI covering the dominant service industry also beat all forecasts by rising to 53.9.

Noonan says Ireland could make a profit from the bank bailout

FG says opposition would ‘car crash’ the economy if in power

  

Ireland will make a profit from bailing out some of its banks, as long as there is no change of government.

That is according to the Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who says Ireland will make a profit on its shares in AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB.

He says the money put into Anglo Irish Bank is dead and can never be recovered.

But he says the €30bn invested in the other banks could turn a profit in the next few years.

And Mr Noonan says that Fine Gael needs one more term to make sure the recovery is complete.

Mental health sickness and men are affected most

 

Gender and personality matter in how people cope with physical and mental illness, according to a paper by a Washington State University scientist and colleagues at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

Men are less affected by a single-symptom illness than women, but are more affected when more than one symptom is present. The number of symptoms doesn’t change how women are affected, according to Robert Rosenman, WSU professor in the Department of Economic Sciences. Rosenman worked with Dusanee Kesavayuth and Vasileios Zikos, both at UTCC in Bangkok, Thailand, on the study.

“Women are more impacted by illness than men, unless more than one symptom is present,” said Rosenman. “Then men are more impacted than women. And perhaps more importantly, personality affects how women handle becoming sick, while men of all types react the same.”

The research is based on data collected in the British Household Panel Survey, a national longitudinal data set from the United Kingdom. Longitudinal data tracks the same people at several points in time asking the same questions. The panel included 2,859 people: 1,471 men and 1,388 women.

Two types of women resist mental illness

The survey asked people about their happiness and satisfaction with aspects of their life. It also asked about their physical and mental health and about their personalities, among other things. Rosenman and his colleagues analyzed the data to see how personality and gender affected the way people coped with becoming ill.

The researchers found that women with one of two distinct personality types are less affected by mental illness than all other personality types.

The first personality type, high levels of agreeableness, experience high quality relationships in their lives. The second type, women with low levels of conscientiousness, have little need for achievement, order or persistence.

Rosenman said women with high agreeableness likely have better social networks and therefore more support for coping with mental illness. Women with low levels of conscientiousness are more apt to feel out of control on a daily basis, so they likely don’t see any impact from a mental illness, he said.

“They didn’t feel in control to begin with,” he said. “So they aren’t affected the way other women are.”

The study finds no correlation between personality type and the impact of a mental illness in men.

Economics of happiness

Rosenman and his colleagues primarily focused on one question in the British survey: How satisfied are you with your health? Then they broke that down based on other questions about gender and personality type. The study is part of the growing field on the economics of happiness.

“Many people think economics only has to do with money,” Rosenman said. “But it’s much more than that. We’re starting to look at what makes people happy and how that affects different aspects of their lives.”

How will life on earth compare to life for the Mars One pioneers?

   

On a different planet – Nick Curtis imagines a message from ‘Martianaut’ Maggie Lieu to her parents back at home

Hello Mission Control…. Just kidding! Hi mum, hi dad, or should I say earthlings!

Well, me and Bruce the Australian Martianaut finally touched down beside the Herschel II Strait on the red planet today, the last of 12 pairs to arrive – though as you know it was touch and go. Ten years of training and research almost went down the drain when Google got hit by a massive retrospective tax bill and had to withdraw all its branded sponsorship from the starship at the last minute: fortunately Amazon stepped in, on the agreement we install its first matter transference delivery portal (“It’s there before you know it”) here. And rename the ship Bezos 1, of course

The trip was textbook, with both of us uploading videos on how to apply makeup and bake cupcakes in space direct to the Weibo-spex of our crowdsource funders in China – great practice for The Great Martian Bakeoff on BBC 12 next year (subscribers only). The one hairy moment was a near miss with that Virgin Galactic rocket, Beardie IV, that went AWOL five years ago. We were so close we could see Leonardo diCaprio’s little screaming face pressed against his porthole. And Kim Kardashian’s bum pressed against hers – though it’s looking kinda old now and I hoped we’d seen the last of it.

So what can I tell you? When we landed the others threw us a party with full fat milk, rare beef and waffles (the only official space superfoods since it was discovered that kale and quinoa cause impotence). The landscape is pretty barren, just acres of rolling sand and no one in sight, sort of like Greece after it left the Eurozone and the entire population moved to Germany. Or like the so-called Caliphate after Islamic State finally perfected its time machine and managed to transport itself and all its followers back to the 12th century.

The temperature outside is about 20c, so a lot cooler than it is at home since the ice caps melted. There’s water here, but not as much as is now covering Indonesia, Holland and Somerset. The atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide so Juan, the Spanish Martianaut, had to keep his suit on when he went out to smoke. He tried to get us all to buy duty free for him in Mexico City spaceport before we left, now that a pack of cigarettes costs 450 Euros in the shops, and they’ve been camouflaged so you can’t find them.

The construction-droids did a pretty good job building Mars Camp out of the recycled parts of all those closed Tesco Metros. They say we have enough air up here to last 20 years, Earth’s stocks of storable oxygen having increased tenfold when the European Parliament collapsed following the expenses scandal. I still can’t believe that Dasha Putin-Mugabe was claiming for SIX driverless cars while she was EU President, and employing her wife as her accountant. And her being the first transgender Russian lesbian to hold the office, too.

Speaking of politics, how is life in coalition Britain? Who has the upper hand at the moment? UKIP? Scots Nats? The Greens? or those nutters from Cornwall, Mebion Kernow? Or are they underwater now. And how is young Straw doing now Labour is the smallest party in Parliament, after the New New New Conservatives? Hard to believe it’s three years since the last Lib Dem lost her seat.

I gather that some things have improved internationally now that Brian Cox has developed his own time machine at the Wowcher-Hawking Institute in Cambridge, and worked out that the entire world can now transport all its waste products back to the Caliphate in the 12th century.

We can see the Earth from here through the Clinton2020 Telescope that the US president endowed us with after her brief period in office. The joke up here is that she did it to keep a proper eye either on her husband (though he doesn’t get around so much any more, obviously) or on what President Palin is up to. I still can’t believe that she sold Alaska to Russia to pay the compensation bill for the Grand Canyon Fracking Collapse.

Even through the Clinton2020 the Earth looks pretty small, though at times, when the stars are really bright, we can see the Great Wall 2 ring of laser satellites that China has pointed at Russia to discourage any more “accidental” incursions.

Our team up here is like a microcosm of human life on earth. Well, up to a point. As you know the French and Italian Martianauts were expelled from the team before lift-off, because of some scandal or other. We weren’t told if it was financial or sexual but a space bra and a data stick with three million Bitcoins on it were found in the airlock.

The African and Brazilian Martianauts swan around the place as if they PERSONALLY solved the world’s food and energy problems.

And the North Korean guy just sits in the corner, muttering into some device up his sleeve and scowling. All the freeze-dried cheese has gone and he’s looking quite fat, if you get my meaning.

I don’t get much time to myself, what with work, the non-denominational Sorry Meetings where we apologise in case we’ve accidently offended someone’s beliefs, and the communal space-pilates sessions (the North Korean guy skips those so he may be in line for a compulsory gastric band, as mandated by the Intergalactic Health Organisation).

I always try and upload the latest Birmingham City Games onto my cortex chip when I feel homesick: I know it’s not fashionable, but I think football got better when they replaced the players with robots and the wage bill – and the number of court cases – dropped to zero. I know the electricity bill is massive, but the new Brazilian solar technology should fix that.

Anyway, got to run now. We’re putting together a bid to have the 2036 Olympics up here.

Bye, or as we say on Mars – see you on the dark side.

Advertisements

News Ireland daily BLOG

Wednesday 10th December 2014

Ray MacSharry seeks Ansbacher dossier from PAC

  

Ray MacSharry is one of five former politicians named in the Dáil by Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald as having been in a dossier of alleged offshore account holders. All five have rejected the claims.

Former Fianna Fáil finance minister Ray MacSharry’s lawyers have written to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) seeking the so-called Ansbacher dossier in which he is named.

Mr MacSharry is one of five former politicians named in the Dáil by Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald as having been in a dossier of alleged offshore account holders. All five have rejected the claims.

Contacted by The Irish Times this morning, Mr MacSharry said: “My lawyers are dealing with matters”.

The law firm Arthur Cox, acting for Mr MacSharry, has written to the PAC requesting access to papers given to individual members of the committee.

However, it is understood that the Ansbacher dossier is not considered to be a committee document and therefore the committee is expected to respond that it is not in a position to hand over the dossier.

Mr MacSharry previously described the allegations as “absolutely outrageous” and last week said: “I have never had an Ansbacher account, I never was the beneficiary of one.”

He said he would be consulting his legal representatives to see what recourse he has, both against Gerry Ryan, the whistleblower who submitted the dossier about tax evasion to the Dáil Committee on Public Accounts, and Ms McDonald.

Ms McDonald last Wednesday also named under privilege on the Dáil record former PD leader Des O’Malley, former Fianna Fáil politicians Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Gerard Collins, an ‘S Barrett’, assumed to be former Fianna Fáil TD Sylvie Barrett, and former Fine Gael minister Richie Ryan.

Mr MacSharry’s tough persona while overseeing public spending cuts while Charles Haughey’s minister for finance in the late 1980s earned Ray MacSharry the title “Mack the Knife”.

He became an MEP in 1984, before returning as a TD and minister for finance in 1987 in another Haughey-led government and he was appointed Ireland’s European commissioner in 1988.

Donegal people are most likely to die at home says IHF

   

A new report commissioned by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has found that the chances of dying at home or in hospital are dictated by where you live in Ireland, with those in Donegal nearly twice as likely to die at home than those living in Dublin.

Launched last week (December 4) by Senator Prof John Crown, the report — ‘Enabling More People to Die at Home; Making the Case for Quality Indicators as Drivers for Change on Place of Care and Place of Death in Ireland’ — sets out the case for key quality indicators on place of care and death, and calls for health policy to focus on providing more care in the home and in communities.

Supported by a paper written by social and economic research consultant Dr Kieran McKeown, the report draws on data published by the CSO that shows people living in Donegal are more likely to die at home (34 per cent), followed by Kilkenny and Kerry (33 per cent), Mayo (32 per cent), and Leitrim and Wexford (31 per cent).

Despite findings of a recent national survey showing that 74 per cent of Irish people want to die at home, only 18 per cent of people in Dublin do so, followed next by Sligo (26 per cent), and Roscommon and Galway (26 per cent — the national average).

The report finds that areas with no hospice that deliver specialist palliative care services through home care teams — including the South East, the Midlands and the North East — have a higher proportion of deaths in the usual place of residence (home or long-stay places of care) compared to areas with a hospice.

Irish Hospice Foundation CEO Sharon Foley said that quality indicators on place of care and death would show how well the health services were meeting the deepest wishes of people approaching the end of life. “It may be that those areas without hospices have better developed homecare teams. Other reasons may be at play, such as urban/rural differences in allocation of community supports. But we need to find out.”

She added: “The IHF believes that enabling people to fulfil their wish to die at home is not just a matter of effective health services and flexible, responsive, people-centred systems.

“It is fundamental to the very basis of humanity in an evolved society. Allowing choice and dignity in end-of-life care, and in the experience of dying, is a strong indication of how we care for Irish society as a whole.”

Regional airports get €2M funding boost for core services 

   

The approved funding brings the total financial support by the Exchequer under the Regional Airports Programme to just under €13 million in 2014

More than €2 million in funding is to be given to regional airports to compensate them for costs incurred in providing core services that cannot be fully recovered.

The approved funding brings the total financial support by the Exchequer under the Regional Airports Programme to just under €13 million in 2014.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said the funding is to cover so-called “subventible losses,” that is costs for services that can’t be recovered from non-core income coming from activities such as restaurants, bars and parking.

Under the Regional Airports Programme, which is due to end this year, financial support has been provided to Kerry, Knock,Waterford and Donegal airports under three main schemes, including the Public Service Obligation Scheme, which provides funding to airlines to operate essential services.

Earlier this month, Mr Donohoe confirmed that regional air services from Donegal and Kerry to Dublin would continue to be subsided under the PSO scheme. Stobart Air, the former Aer Arran, was awarded the contracts to operate the two routes until 2017. It currently runs the Kerry to Dublin-subsidised service while Loganair operates the Donegal route.

The Regional Airports Programme is due to end this year and the Government has submitted a new proposal for a replacement scheme to the EU commission for consideration.

‘The Government’s aim is to give regional airports the opportunity beyond 2014 to grow to a viable, self-sustaining position, particularly considering the contribution that they make to their regional and local economy. As a result, Exchequer support for the four regional airports will be continued beyond 2014,” said Mr Donohoe.

“The decision to continue providing these necessary supports will facilitate the airports in developing and implementing new business plans leading to self-sufficiency within a ten year period. Central to these will be the need for regional and local business investment,” he added.

Irish Men at Risk of Ill Health Because of Diet, Claims Study

   

Men often have a preference for larger portions, according to the study

A new report launched by safefood has found that Irish men’s food behaviour puts them at a disadvantage health-wise compared with women.

The safefood report, Men’s Food Behaviour, gives an overview of research on men and food behaviour across the island of Ireland and illustrates the need to help change how men interact with food.

The report highlights that men are generally less engaged with food both in terms of food hygiene and healthy eating. It also finds men have less healthy diets, eat more fat and salt, less fruit and vegetables, and tend to see food as fuel.

Men also show greater preference for larger portions of food, are less likely to be aware of healthy eating guidelines and are less likely to regard healthy eating as an important factor influencing their long-term health. And although more men than women are overweight or obese in Ireland, they are less likely to attempt to lose weight or to monitor their diet.

At present, 70% of Irish men are overweight or obese, compared with 50% of women.

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health and Nutrition, safefood said: “When it comes to food skills such as planning, purchasing, shopping, cooking and cleaning, women are more likely to be skilled in this area and still do most of this work. This report identifies how men view themselves and their relationship with food and is of importance for men’s health given their levels of overweight and obesity.”

Report places Ireland 25th in Europe for drink-driving related deaths

  

Ireland has come in 25th place in Europe for drink-driving related deaths.

One in ten fatal car crashes globally are caused by alcohol, with men more likely than women to drink drive, according to a new report by Allianz.

When it comes to Europe, alcohol-related fatalities are highest in eastern countries, while Italy has the lowest number.

In most countries men are twice as likely to be killed in drink-driving crashes as women and Ireland is no exception.

Almost 20% of fatal accidents involving men are down to alcohol consumption while the figure for women is just 8%.

Fathering offspring is more than just a race to the egg

  

The chance of a male fathering offspring may not be a simple race to the egg, but is influenced by the length of the male’s sperm, say scientists from the University of Sheffield.

Using a captive population of zebra finches, the researchers carried out sperm competition experiments between pairs of males, where one male consistently produced long sperm and the other male always produced short sperm. These experiments showed that more long sperm reached and fertilised the eggs compared to short sperm. The long sperm advantage was evident even when the short sperm males mated with the females first, and were effectively given a ‘head start’.

The findings demonstrate that in birds, in a competitive scenario, the fertilisation success of a male can be influenced by the length of his sperm. The results also suggest that the final outcome of sperm competition may be partly dependent on the female bird.

Dr Clair Bennison from the University’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said: “We know that in the zebra finch, long sperm swim faster than short sperm, so we might expect longer, faster swimming sperm to simply reach the egg first. However, this reasoning does not explain why long sperm outcompete short sperm in our study. Long sperm win at sperm competition, by fertilising more eggs, even when short sperm are given a head-start.”

Scientists at the University allowed each pair of male zebra finches to mate with a female bird so that the long and short sperm from the males could compete to fertilise the female’s eggs. Female birds store sperm inside their bodies for many days, and this is one way that the females themselves could influence the fertilisation success of the males. It is possible that long sperm are better at reaching and and staying inside these storage areas than short sperm. Long sperm may even be ‘preferred’ by the female, by some unknown process.

Dr Bennison, added: “Our findings are important because they demonstrate for the first time in birds, using a controlled competitive scenario, that sperm length can influence the fertilisation success of a particular male. The results also add to the body of evidence suggesting that the final outcome of sperm competition may be partly dependent on the female, and that the chance of a male siring offspring may not be an outcome of a simple ‘race to the egg’.”

Scientists believe that a better understanding of how sperm length influences fertilisation success in non-human animals such as the zebra finch may point us in new directions for investigation in human fertility research.

Researchers now plan to investigate if sperm storage duration in female birds varies according to the length of the male’s sperm, and the possible mechanisms responsible for this.

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Saturday/Sunday 7 & 8th June 2014

Top US politician launches assault on Irish tax laws 

   

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Silicon Valley’s best young whizz kids were left embarrassed as California Governor Jerry Brown took a sledgehammer to the Irish tax laws that lure US corporations here.

The Enterprise Ireland event in San Francisco was held to celebrate Irish-American links and the new wave of Irish entrepreneurs heading to the west coast in search of a fortune in new technologies.

Instead there was barely concealed hostility as California’s most senior politician gave a withering attack on our tax system and the US corporations who benefit.

He said his state of California would become an “independent country” if it had the same tax regime as Ireland.

It was one of several jibes about Irish taxation made after Taoiseach Mr Kenny had heralded the relationship between Ireland and the US.

And Mr Brown said that Apple was now an “Irish company” that benefited from what he described as “creative accounting”.

“I don’t know how you got to have Apple to have so much of their business in Ireland, we thought they were a Californian company, when you look at their tax returns they’re really an Irish company… it’s called creative accounting,” Governor Brown said.

The no-holds barred assault on fiscal policy caused deep unease among the Irish contingent in the boardroom.

His speech was met with gasps after he remarked about the relationship between Ireland and Britain.

After stating that both the Irish and Californians swim “against the stream”, he added: “The Irish have had to live next door to the English for all these centuries.”

Governor Brown then alluded to the number of Irish barmen working on the very street where he was making his controversial remarks.

“We have a lot of your countrymen that come to San Francisco, they run a lot of establishments here, on Geary Street you see a number of them,” he said, to polite laughter. But it was his continued focus on Irish tax laws that raised most eyebrows, even among the officials from the Government, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.

The event – designed to assist Irish start-up firms seeking to break into the US market – was also attended by Irish ambassador to the US, Anne Anderson, several IDA officials including chief executive Barry O’Leary and dozens of Irish business people.

Governor Brown’s outspoken remarks come as the European Commission is poised to launch a formal probe into allegations that the Revenue Commissioners have offered special deals to multi-national companies.

The probe, which may begin as early as Wednesday, could result in businesses being asked to repay money.

When asked about the matter during his visit to Silicon Valley, Mr Kenny said: “Clearly when the Commission decide to make a statement on the matter, Ireland will react to it.

“We believe our legislation is robust, that the application of that legislation is ethical and obviously we will be prepared to defend that very strongly in the event of any further statement or requirement from the European Commission.”

In his own speech at the Enterprise Ireland event on Saturday, Mr Kenny spoke about his aims for Ireland to become “the greatest small nation on Earth”. He added that Dublin was “becoming a magnetic attraction for young people from all over the world”.

The Taoiseach said these young people were “changing the frontiers up ahead”.

Galway cancer survivor’s medical card withdrawn without any notice

  

A Galway carpenter who had a bone marrow transplant and aggressive chemotherapy treatment for a rare cancer nearly 22 years ago that left a legacy of side effects, was among those whose medical card was withdrawn out of the blue.

Now James Mullen, 59, is among tens of thousands hoping they will get their medical card back after the Government’s U-turn forced by their humiliation at the ballot box in last month’s local and European elections.

In 1993, James, from Clifden, Co Galway, underwent a bone marrow transplant that saved his life.

Back then, the chemotherapy regime that accompanied his successful cancer treatment was extremely aggressive – unlike the carefully targeted therapy available today.

It left James with a legacy of medical issues. At one stage he was on 22 tablets a day to treat blood pressure, stomach problems and other side-effects of his cancer treatment.

He told the Sunday Independent: “It’s a small price to pay. I’m glad to be rid of the cancer. Without the bone marrow transplant and the treatments I was told in 1993 that I would be dead within five years.”

Since then James has had a discretionary medical card – until about eight weeks ago.

He received no official notification. He found out that his medical card had been withdrawn by the HSE when he went to his pharmacist to pick up his prescription.

“I had to pay €140 for my medicines,” James added.

It is a large monthly bill the married father of four can ill afford.

“I rang the HSE and was talking to someone in there. I told them I was a cancer patient on twice yearly check-ups in Galway and Dublin. The chap said to me that back in the Nineties it was easy to give out medical cards because cancer patients didn’t live that long, but that has changed now,” James said. He has still not got his medical card back and has written to the HSE stating his case.

“They did send me a GP visit card to replace the medical card but that is not worth anything to me, I never go near a GP,” he said. “If I have a problem I have to see the specialist in hospital. What I need is help meeting the bill for medicines and drugs.”

The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) and other groups representing patients who had medical cards withdrawn in the latest health fiasco have been promised by Minister James Reilly that the mess will be sorted out before the Dail rises for Summer.

An emotional Dr Reilly was joined by Junior Minister Alex White for meetings with a number of groups on Friday, including Down Syndrome Ireland, the Jack & Jill Foundation, ICS and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The Our Children’s Health group, which has been campaigning for the return of cards and also met the Minister said: “We would like to acknowledge Minister Reilly’s sincerity and commitment to expedite the introduction of the new framework while also moving quickly to deal with those that have lost their medical cards.”

The group said the minister had “committed to identify and reinstate medical cards for all those affected” and added that this would be undertaken by the time the Dail breaks for the summer recess on July 17.

A spokesman for the group said Dr Reilly became “quite emotional” as he spoke to them.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “On the issue of those persons who lost a discretionary medical card through the review process, the groups were advised that the goal of the Government is to resolve that issue before the summer.”

It has now emerged that both Dr Reilly and the HSE furiously opposed the “medical cards probity” savings of €113m in 2014 advocated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Eventually, after that battle, the savings sought under the heading “Medical Card Probity” were reduced to €23m and approved by cabinet.

On Wednesday, Dr Reilly apologised to his Fine Gael colleagues for the way the medical card issue had been handled, but appeared to cast some blame on cabinet colleagues for forcing unrealistic savings on his department.

A range of options to treat prostate problems

Half of men over 60 have symptoms of enlarged gland

  

As they age, an undeniable aspect of men’s health involves beginning to think the prostate.

According to Men’s Health Network, more than 50 percent of men in their 60s and as many as 90 percent of men age 70 or older have symptoms of an enlarged prostate. More than 230,000 men each year are diagnosed with prostate problems and 30,000 men a year will die.

The prostate is part of a man’s sex organs. It is a small gland that produces semen. The walnut-sized organ surrounds the urethra, a tube that takes urine from the bladder to the penis, and also carries semen during ejaculation. In men, the prostate gland grows in puberty and then stops until about age 40 when it starts to grow again. In some men, the prostate gland does not stop growing after that.

There are three conditions associated with prostate growth. It can result in an enlarged prostate, a non-cancerous condition that can lead to frequent urination, difficulty going and an incomplete emptying of the bladder. This condition can lead to pain, sleep disorders, incontinence, bladder stones, kidney infections or damage to the bladder, kidneys or urethra.

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate and can have complications related to infections, including fever, and illness.

Physicians advise a prostate exam at about age 50, earlier if there is a family history of prostate cancer.

“When we do the exam, we are looking to gauge the size of the prostate,” said Dr. Cullen Jumper of Core Physicians’ Atlantic Urology Associates in Exeter. “We check for hard spots (nodules) which might be concerning. If we need to, we biopsy and discuss the results. Once they reach this age group, all men should at least be discussing this test with their primary care physician. If they have concerns, they need to ask the questions. Many men do not, and they should.”

Dr. Steven Kahan of Atlantic Urology Associates said benign prostate hyperplasia, BPH, is the common term for the condition where the prostate grows to the point that it begins to interfere with urinary function.

“Traditionally, in the past this was treated with surgery, called TURP (transurethral resection of prostate), and that may still be done if needed, but there are also a variety of medications now to treat this,” Kahan said. “Some of the medications used were designed to treat high blood pressure, but we discovered they work well for this condition, too. Now we treat with medication and only consider surgery if that does not work.”

Besides the TURP surgery, Kahan said options include green light laser and ablation of prostate surgical methods.

Cancer of the prostate is treatable if caught early. A physical exam by the physician and possible biopsy tests are required to diagnose prostate cancer.

Dr. Gary Proulx is medical director of radiation oncology at Exeter Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care. He said that even if cancer is detected, treatment may be postponed in favor of “active surveillance” because prostate cancer is usually a very slow-growing disease.

“It is a typical misconception that men die from prostate cancer and that is usually not the case,” Proulx said. “Active surveillance means we simply monitor the cases where there such a low volume of the disease, where it is early grade cancer. We will generally biopsy it one year after discovery, to gauge the growth. Of course, if it is progressing we will treat it.”

Treatment of prostate cancer can involve surgery to remove the cancer followed by radiation treatments. Proulx said there used to be a push to treat immediately, but thinking has changed.

“It was thought that the prostate was generally being overtreated, and I would tend to agree,” Proulx said. “We are leaning the other way because sometimes it is just not necessary. Obviously, if the cancer is in the intermediate to high grade, we will act. Autopsies of men in late age, in their 80s, will often show the presence of prostate cancer, where the men never had any prostate issue in their lives.”

While there are no specific lifestyle changes recommended for prostate health, Proulx believes diet is a factor.

“Japanese men living in Japan never get prostate cancer,” Proulx said. “They eat a lot of fish and a generally lean diet. When they come here and take on a fatty diet, they get prostate cancer.”

A new ‘solitary’ dolphin’s moved to Irish waters

swimmers are being urged to keep their distance

 

Clet, who originated in French waters, is described as a “non-social solitary dolphin who does not seek out and engage with swimmers”.

Some people may remember a series of warning being issued last summer after a number of swimmers were injured while interacting with a dolphin off Co Clare.

As many as five people were injured by the mammal known locally as ‘Dusty’. Warning signs were placed around Doolin harbour, a favourite spot for the animal.

Well — as we head into the summer swimming season once again, a new warning’s being issued concerning another dolphin who’s recently relocated to Irish waters.

The dolphin in question, known has Clet, has been spotted recently in scenic West Cork — in particular, Glandore, Schull and Baltimore harbours.

According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the mammal — who originated in French waters — recently moved the southwest coast from the Isles of Scilly.

According to the IWDG’s Paul Kiernan he is a “non-social solitary dolphin who does not seek out and engage with swimmers”.

In an article on the group’s website this week, Kiernan set out the dangers posed by swimming with any wild dolphin, pointing out that the practice poses “significant potential to increase the risk to the health and safety of swimmers”.

He writes that while many dolphins “spend long periods of time in shallow waters facilitating encounters with small groups of people” their behaviour often changes as more and more people seek to share the experience — especially if they grab at the mammal or attempt to be towed along…

Natural, normal behaviours such as diving, feeding and resting behaviours decline in frequency in the presence of humans.

The animal seeks out interactions, becomes increasingly forceful in these interactions and begins to exhibit behaviour hazardous to swimmers in the water.

Documented behaviours include preventing swimmers from leaving the water by repeatedly swimming in front of them to intercept their exit, increased activity levels and force of activity, tail slapping and breaching in close proximity or on top of swimmers.

Dolphins have also been shown to bite or butt swimmers.

As humans, we do not possess the power to communicate with these animals and therefore we cannot understand how our actions will be interpreted by a wild dolphin, regardless of whether that dolphin is seeking contact with humans or not.

Clet was spotted swimming around sail boats in Glandore harbour on Thursday. The IWDG is encouraging people to get in contact if the spot the mammal, as hope to monitor his movements around Irish waters.

Great white shark EATEN by even larger mystery animal 

 

The 8-foot-long shark was eaten, possibly by an even bigger shark, think researchers.

Scientists are baffled after they discovered that 8-foot long great white shark has been eaten by even bigger “mystery sea monster.”

Researchers have no idea what animal could be responsible for killing and eating the shark.

The only theory they have so far come up with is that was attacked by a “colossal cannibal white shark.”

Researchers had tagged the healthy shark to track its movements.

But the tracking device washed up on an Australian beach four months later.

Data shows there was a rapid temperature rise along with a sudden 2,000-foot plunge, That, scientists believe, proves it eaten by something much bigger, saying the records indicate the shark went inside another animals’s digestive system.