Please take note that I'll no longer actively update this blog. Do visit Cindy's Lovely Life in future. This blog will update only when necessary (paid post). LOL! Kindly update my link in your blogs accordingly, do let me know if I've yet to put your link in my new blog.


Sunday, August 22, 2010


Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonotic disease caused by spirochaetes of the genus Leptospira that affects humans and a wide range of animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.

Though being recognised among the world's most common zoonoses, leptospirosis is a relatively rare bacterial infection in humans. The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or with the mucous membranes.

Leptospirosis is transmitted by the urine of an infected animal and is contagious as long as it is still moist. Humans become infected through contact with water, food, or soil containing urine from these infected animals. This may happen by swallowing contaminated food or water, or through skin contact. The disease is not known to be spread from person to person and cases of bacterial dissemination in convalescence are extremely rare in humans. Although rats, mice and moles are important primary hosts, a wide range of other mammals including dogs, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, cows, sheep, raccoons, possums, skunks, and certain marine mammals are able to carry and transmit the disease as secondary hosts.

Leptospiral infection in humans causes a range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all. Leptospirosis is a biphasic disease that begins with flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, myalgias, intense headache). The first phase resolves, and the patient is briefly asymptomatic until the second phase begins. This is characterized by meningitis, liver damage (causing jaundice), and renal failure. The infection is often wrongly diagnosed due to the wide range of symptoms. This leads to a lower registered number of cases than actually exist. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash. The symptoms in humans appear after a 4–14 day incubation period.

Rats, rats, rats!

LEPTOSPIROSIS is not the only disease you can get from rats. Here are some other diseases we can also get from our rodent friends.

1. Bubonic plague

You can get bubonic plague – a disease characterised by swollen, painful lymph glands – if bitten by a rodent flea that carries a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. While modern antibiotics are effective against it, if you do not get it treated promptly, it can still cause illness and death.

2. Murine typhus

You can also get murine typhus, an illness caused by a bacterium called Rickettsia typhi, if you are bitten by an infected rodent flea or mite. According to the second home edition of the Merck Manual of Medical Information, common symptoms include fever, severe headache, a characteristic skin rash and a general feeling of illness (malaise). Modern antibiotics are also effective against this disease. However, if left untreated or treated too late, death can occur.

3. Rat-bite fever

As it name suggests, rat-bite fever is an acute illness which usually develops after having been bitten or scratched by an infected rat or other rodents (such as mice and gerbils). In Asia, it is usually caused by the bacterium Spirillum minus. According to the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, common symptoms include fever, ulceration at the rate-bite wound, swollen lymph nodes near the wound, and a distinct rash. This occurs following partial healing of the wound.

4. Salmonellosis

Rodents can also carry Salmonella, a group of bacteria that can cause diarrhoeal illness in humans, in their faeces. We can be infected if we eat foods that are contaminated with the bacteria.

Although many recover without treatment, this infection can be life-threatening, especially for infants and young children, pregnant women and their unborn babies, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. There is still no vaccine for this disease, but antibiotics can be prescribed to treat it. It can be prevented by washing your hands properly before preparing food or eating.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Avoid drinking fresh sugar cane juice

This email was sent by a friend whose father is working with the Ministry of the Environment in S'pore.

Health News - About Sugar Cane Drinks

A friend whose father works for the government health inspection passed on his info. Their job is to inspect all hawkers, their cooked food, their store hygiene, etc. They found sugar cane juice has the highest content of bacteria among all food. In fact, it has exceeded the set limit.

Hence, these guys had to find out why. They went round all sugar cane stores and watched the way the hawkers handled their sugar cane, wash their glasses, their entire procedure. But they couldn't find the problem.

One day, they stayed till closing time and discovered some shocking facts! Whenever, the hawkers closed their stores, they would wash the floor with detergent. As we know, the
remaining sugar canes will be placed at the back of the store, vertically standing and as sugar canes are very porous, they tend to absorb whatever liquid around them. Besides the soapy water, the dirt on hawkers' boots, cats' urine, etc, will all be absorbed?? Now, whenever I
eat at a hawker centre, I would warn all my friends about this and of course I stopped drinking my favorite sugar cane juice.

A friend, who loved sugar cane juice, was pregnant. She was always drinking sugar cane juice. Anyway, one day she miscarried and the fetus was already like 6 or 7 months old,
I think. When the doctors did an autopsy to find out why all of a sudden the fetus had died inside her, they found traces of some chemical substance, which was found in cat urine... Large traces of it.

While it would not be able to harm adults, it was extremely toxic to babies, what more a fetus? So they tried to determine how this cat urine thing could have ended up in the fetus. This meant that it had to be digested by the mother, right? And the only logical conclusion they could come up with was that since these sugar cane juice stall holders just leave the canes lying around on the wet and dirty floor, it would not be impossible to think that stray cats could have peed on those sugar canes or near those sugar canes. So think carefully the next time you order that
favorite sugar cane juice!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Incredibly weird facts about the human body

The Brain

Complex and poorly understood, the brain is what makes everything work properly. The body may be kept alive, but without the brain, a person can’t truly live. Here are some interesting and weird facts about the brain.
  • The brain doesn’t feel pain: Even though the brain processes pain signals, the brain itself does not actually feel pain.
  • Your brain has huge oxygen needs: Your brain requires 20 percent of the oxygen and calories your body needs — even though your brain only makes up two percent of your total body weight.
  • 80% of the brain is water: Instead of being relatively solid, your brain 80% water. This means that it is important that you remain properly hydrated for the sake of your mind.
  • Your brain comes out to play at night: You’d think that your brain is more active during the day, when the rest of your body is. But it’s not. Your brain is more active when you sleep.
  • Your brain operates on 10 watts of power: It’s true: The amazing computational power of your brain only requires about 10 watts of power to operate.
  • A higher I.Q. equals more dreams: The smarter you are, the more you dream. A high I.Q. can also fight mental illness. Some people even believe they are smarter in their dreams than when they are awake.
  • The brain changes shapes during puberty: Your teenage years do more than just change how you feel; the very structure of your brain changes during the teen years, and it even affects impulsive, risky behavior.
  • Your brain can store everything: Technically, your brain has the capacity to store everything you experience, see, read or hear. However, the real issue is recall — whether you can access that information.
  • Information in your brain travels at different speeds: The neurons in your brain are built differently, and information travels along them at different speeds. This is why sometimes you can recall information instantly, and sometimes it takes a little longer.
Your Senses

You might be surprised at the amazing things your various senses can accomplish.
  • Your smell is unique: Your body odor is unique to you — unless you have an identical twin. Even babies recognize the individual scents of their mothers.
  • Humans use echolocation: Humans can use sound to sense objects in their area using echolocation. It is thought that those who are blind develop this ability to heightened effectiveness.
  • Adrenaline gives you super strength: Yes, with the proper response in certain situations, you really can lift a car.
  • Women smell better than men: Women are better than men at identifying smells.
  • Your nose remembers 50,000 scents: It is possible for your nose to identify and remember more than 50,000 smells.
  • Your hearing decreases when you overeat: When you eat too much food, it actually reduces your ability to hear. So consider eating healthy — and only until you are full.
  • Your sense of time is in your head: How you experience time is all about your perception. Some speculate that stress can help you experience time dilation. Apparently, time manipulation isn’t just for superheroes.

How we as a species reproduce offers all sorts of interesting weird facts. Here are some of the weirder things you might not know.
  • Your teeth are growing before birth: Even though it takes months after you are born to see teeth, they start growing about six months before you are born.
  • Babies are stronger than oxen: On a pound for pound basis, that is. For their size, babies are quite powerful and strong.
  • Babies always have blue eyes when they are born: Melanin and exposure to ultraviolet light are needed to bring out the true color of babies’ eyes. Until then they all have blue eyes.
  • Women might be intrinsically bi: There are sex studies that indicate that women might bisexual intrinsically, no matter how they class themselves, while men are usually either gay or straight.
  • Most men have regular erections while asleep: Every hour to hour and a half, sleeping men have erections — though they may not be aware of it.
  • Sex can be a pain reliever: Even though the “headache” excuse is often used to avoid sex, the truth is that intercourse can provide pain relief. Sex can also help you reduce stress.
  • Chocolate is better than sex: In some studies, women claim they would rather have chocolate than sex. But does it really cause orgasm? Probably not on its own.
Body Functions

The things our bodies do are often strange and sometimes gross. Here are some weird facts about the way your body functions.
  • Earwax is necessary: If you want healthy ears, you need some earwax in there.
  • Your feet can produce a pint of sweat a day: There are 500,000 (250,000 for each) sweat glands in your feet, and that can mean a great deal of stinky sweat.
  • Throughout your life, the amount of saliva you have could fill two swimming pools: Since saliva is a vital part of digestion, it is little surprise that your mouth makes so much of it.
  • A full bladder is about the size of a soft ball: When your bladder is full, holding up to 800 cc of fluid, it is large enough to be noticeable.
  • You probably pass gas 14 times a day: On average, you will expel flatulence several times as part of digestion.
  • A sneeze can exceed 100 mph: When a sneeze leaves your body, it does so at high speeds — so you should avoid suppressing it and causing damage to your body.
  • Coughs leave at 60 mph: A cough is much less dangerous, leaving the body at 60 mph. That’s still highway speed, though.
Musculoskeletal System

Find out what you didn’t know about your muscles and bones.
  • Bones can self-destruct: It is possible for your bones to destruct without enough calcium intake.
  • You are taller in the morning: Throughout the day, the cartilage between your bones is compressed, making you about 1 cm shorter by day’s end.
  • 1/4 of your bones are in your feet: There are 26 bones in each foot, meaning that the 52 bones in account for 25 percent of your body’s 206 bones.
  • It takes more muscles to frown than to smile: Scientists can’t agree on the exact number, but more muscles are required to frown than to smile.
  • When you take a step, you are using up to 200 muscles: Walking uses a great deal of muscle power — especially if you take your 10,000 steps.
  • Your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body: Compared to its size, the tongue is the strongest muscle. But I doubt you’ll be lifting weights with it.
  • Bone can be stronger than steel: Once again, this is a pound for pound comparison, since steel is denser and has a higher tensile strength.
Unnecessary Body Parts

We have a number of body parts that are, well, useless. Here are some facts about the body parts we don’t actually need.
  • Coccyx: This collection of fused vertebrae have no purpose these days, although scientists believe it’s what’s left of the mammal tail humans used to have. It may be useless, but when you break your coccyx, it’s still painful.
  • Pinkie toe: There is speculation that since we no longer have to run for our dinner, and we wear sneakers, the pinkie toe’s evolutionary purpose is disappearing — and maybe the pinkie itself will go the way of the dodo.
  • Wisdom teeth: This third set of molars is largely useless, doing little beyond crowding the mouth and sometimes causing pain.
  • Vomeronasal organ: There are tiny (and useless) chemoreceptors lining the inside of the nose.
  • Most body hair: While facial hair serves some purposes, the hair found on the rest of body is practically useless and can be removed with few ill effects.
  • Female vas deferens: A cluster of dead end tubules near the ovaries are the remains of what could have turned into sperm ducts.
  • Male Uterus: Yeah, men have one too — sort of. The remains of this undeveloped female reproductive organ hangs on one side of the male prostate gland
  • Appendix: Yep, your appendix is basically useless. While it does produce some white blood cells, most people are fine with an appendectomy.
Random Weird Body Facts

Here are a few final weird facts about the human body.
  • Your head creates inner noises: It’s rare, but exploding head syndrome exists.
  • Memory is affected by body position: Where you are and how you are placed in your environment triggers memory.
  • You can’t tickle yourself: Go ahead. Try to tickle yourself.
  • Being right-handed can prolong your life: If you’re right-handed, you could live up to nine years longer than a lefty.
  • Only humans shed emotional tears: Every other animal that produces tears has a physiological reason for doing so.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Healthy cooking tips

Healthy cooking is easy. In many cases, your favorite recipes can be modified so they offer a healthier alternative. Non-stick cookware can be used to reduce the need for cooking oil. To keep valuable nutrients, microwave or steam your vegetables instead of boiling them. Cut out salt and cut down fats.

Eating healthy food doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods and switching only to salads. Healthy cooking is easy. In many cases, your favorite recipes can be modified so they offer a healthier alternative. Non-stick cookware can be used to reduce the need for cooking oil. To keep valuable nutrients, microwave or steam your vegetables instead of boiling them.

Keep fats to a minimum
It’s a good idea to minimize ‘hidden fats’ by choosing lean meats and reduced fat dairy products. Processed foods can also have lots of hidden fats. Dietary fats are best when they come from the unrefined natural fats found in nuts, seeds, fish, soy, olives and avocado. Fat from these foods includes the essential long-chain fatty acids and this fat is accompanied by other good nutrients.

If you add fats when cooking, keep them to a minimum and use monounsaturated oils such as olive and canola oil. A little added oil can be a good thing.

At the shop
Low fat cooking begins when you are shopping:
  • Choose the low fat version of a food if it exists – for example milk, cheese, yoghurt, salad dressings and gravies.
  • Choose leaner meat cuts. If unsure, look for the Heart Foundation tick of approval.
  • Choose skinless chicken breasts.
General suggestions
General suggestions on healthy cooking methods include:
  • Steam, bake, grill, braise, boil or microwave your foods.
  • Modify or eliminate recipes that include butter or ask you to deep fry or saute in animal fat.
  • Avoid using oils and butter as lubricants. Use non-stick cookware instead.
  • Don’t add salt to food as it is cooking.
  • Remove chicken skin, which is high in fat.
  • Eat more fresh vegetables and legumes.
  • Eat more fish, which is high in protein, low in fats and loaded with essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Low fat cooking
Suggestions include:
  • If you need to use oil, try cooking sprays or apply oil with a pastry brush.
  • Cook in liquids (such as stock, wine, lemon juice, fruit juice, vinegar or water) instead of oil.
  • When a recipe calls for cream as a thickener, use low fat yoghurt, low fat soymilk, evaporated skim milk or cornstarch.
  • When browning vegetables, put them in a hot pan then spray with oil, rather than adding the oil first to the pan. This reduces the amount of oil that vegetables (such as mushrooms) can absorb during cooking.
  • An alternative to browning vegetables by pan-frying is to cook them first in the microwave, then crisp them under the griller for a minute or two.
  • When serving meat and fish, use pesto, salsas, chutneys and vinegars in place of sour creams, butter and creamy sauces.
Retaining the nutrients
Water soluble vitamins are delicate and easily destroyed during preparation and cooking. Suggestions include:
  • Scrub vegetables rather than peel them, as many nutrients are found close to the skin.
  • Microwave or steam vegetables instead of boiling them.
  • If you like to boil vegetables, use a small amount of water and do not over-boil them.
  • Include more stir-fry recipes in your diet. Stir-fried vegetables are cooked quickly to retain their crunch (and associated nutrients).
Cutting out salt
Salt is a traditional flavor enhancer, but research suggests that a high salt diet could contribute to a range of health problems including high blood pressure. Suggestions include:
  • Don’t automatically add salt to your food – taste it first.
  • Add a splash of olive oil or lemon juice close to the end of cooking time or to cooked vegetables – it can enhance flavors in the same way as salt.
  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables, since canned and pickled vegetables tend to be packaged with salt.
  • Limit your consumption of salty processed meats such as salami, ham, corned beef, bacon, smoked salmon, frankfurters and chicken loaf.
  • Choose reduced salt bread and breakfast cereals. Breads and cereals are a major source of salt in the diet.
  • Iodised salt is best. A major dietary source of iodine is plant foods. Yet there is emerging evidence that Australian soil may be low in iodine and so plants grown in it are also low in iodine. If you eat fish regularly (at least once a week), the need for iodized salt is reduced.
  • Avoid salt-laden processed foods, such as flavored instant pasta or noodles, canned or dehydrated soup mixes, chips and salted nuts.
  • Margarine and butter contain a lot of salt but ‘no added salt’ varieties are available.
  • Most cheeses are very high in salt so limit your intake or choose lower salt varieties.
  • Reduce your use of soy sauce, tomato sauce and processed sauces and condiments (for example mayonnaise and salad dressings) because they contain high levels of salt.
  • Use herbs, spices, vinegar or lemon juice to add extra zing to your recipe and reduce the need for salt.
Culinary herbs are leafy plants that add flavor and color to all types of meals. They are also rich in health-protective phyto-oestrogens (plant compounds that have some similar effects to the female hormone, oestrogen). In many cases, herbs can replace the flavor of salt and oil.

  • Herbs are delicately flavored, so add them to your cooking in the last few minutes.
  • Dried herbs are more strongly flavored than fresh. As a general rule, one teaspoon of dried herbs equals four teaspoons of fresh.
  • Apart from boosting meat dishes, herbs can be added to soups, breads, mustards, salad dressings, vinegars, desserts and drinks.
  • Herbs such as coriander, ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass are especially complimentary in vegetable-based stir-fry recipes.
Sandwich suggestions
To make a sandwich even healthier:
  • Switch to reduced salt wholemeal or wholegrain bread – for example, some brands of soy linseed bread.
  • Don’t butter the bread. You won’t miss butter if your sandwich has a few tasty ingredients already.
  • Limit your use of spreads high in saturated fat like butter and cream cheese. Replace them with a thin spread of peanut butter or other nut spreads, hummus, low fat cheese spreads or avocado.
  • Choose reduced fat ingredients when you can, such as low fat cheese or mayonnaise.
  • Try to reduce your use of processed meats. Instead use fish such as salmon, tuna or sardines.
Other tips
Suggestions include:
  • Spend a little time on presentation. You are more likely to enjoy a meal if it’s visually appealing as well as tasty.
  • Make every meal an occasion. Set the table. Eat with your family. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy your food without distractions like television.
  • Long-term deprivation, such as crash dieting, doesn’t work. Allow yourself the occasional guilt-free treat.
  • You are less likely to overeat if you eat slowly and savour every mouthful.
Things to remember
  • In many cases, favorite recipes can be modified so they offer a lower fat content.
  • Choose to steam, bake, grill, braise, boil or microwave your foods, rather than deep fry them.
  • Use non-stick cookware.
  • Microwave or steam your vegetables instead of boiling them to retain the nutrients.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Close the kitchen after 7pm

For many dieters, that post-dinner period is the witching hour. They follow the program all day long, and watch what they eat. In fact, they've almost made it through the day when those P.M. cravings rear their ugly heads.

An hour after you've finished supper and cleaned up the kitchen, it's far too easy to sneak back into the refrigerator or pantry and fall victim to a binge. Many experts believe that those midnight snacks wreak the most havoc on our bodies.

A study conducted by Northwestern University discovered that the timing of your eating is every bit as important as what you eat. According to reports, researchers determined that mice who eat at weird hours gained twice as much weight.

One suggested theory is that the body's internal clock plays a role as to how the body uses energy. In the study two groups of mice were given high-fat diets that they consumed at different times of the waking cycle. The mice that ate at the times when they would normally be asleep actually gained twice as much weight, even though they ate the same amount of food and performed the same amount of activity as the other test group.

Although there is still more research to be done, there are steps you can take to ensure your nighttime binging is kept to a minimum. Following dinner, limit yourself to a healthy snack such as a piece of fruit or a serving of yogurt. But make it a personal rule to keep the kitchen off limits after 7 p.m. This will prevent you from engaging in senseless snacking.

Even if you have to hang a sign on the refrigerator door to serve as a reminder, do what you need to do.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wash your hands

In conjunction of the recurrent of H1N1, Malaysians are encouraged to maintain personal hygiene to prevent the spread of influenza A(H1N1).

We are advised:
  • Practise good hand hygiene – frequent hand-washing with soap and water, ensuring all surfaces of the hands are cleaned. Once washed, dry hands thoroughly with a clean dry towel.
  • Practise good cough and sneeze etiquette – cough into the crook of your elbow rather than your hands. Sneeze into a tissue to minimize hand contact, discard tissue, and wash your hands immediately.
  • Avoid touching mouth, nose and eyes with hands.
  • Use hand sanitiser if soap and water is unavailable.
  • Regularly disinfect all commonly touched areas, such as door knobs, taps, light switches, TV remote controls, and computer keyboards.
  • Seek advice from your doctor via telephone first if you are feeling unwell and displaying flu-like symptoms. Do not go to work.
Proper hygiene practices play an important role in minimizing the spread of germs and infections.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Avoid diets low in calories

Common sense says that if you want to lose weight, you should lower your calorie intake.

But how low can you go? It's important to find a happy medium that will be good for your body.

Many people believe that dropping down to 800 calories or less will help shed those extra pounds. However, this type of calorie cutting is neither healthy nor sustainable. People who need to follow a low calorie diet for medical reasons should do so only under the supervision of a doctor.

Side effects of calorie-restricted diets include fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and constipation.

Add, don't subtract

Instead of concentrating on cutting foods out of your diet, bring new foods to the table.

There are probably a whole slew of fruits and vegetables you've never sampled. In order to prevent yourself from feeling deprived, train yourself to look at all the foods you can eat instead of those you should stay away from. Do some research and give healthy recipes a try.

Thanks to the internet, there are thousands of diet-friendly dishes just waiting to be experienced.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oat what a feeling

There is oatmeal that is loaded with additives and preservatives and then there is the real deal.

The experts encourage you to start your morning off with a bowl of plain oat flakes.

Oats are rich in fiber and soluble fiber, making them a much-needed staple in your diet. According to the American Cancer Society, oats have plenty to offer. Reduce your risk of cancer. Lower cholesterol. Slow down the digestion of starches. Prevent heart disease. Boost your intake of Vitamin E, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and more.

To add some flavor to your oatmeal, add milk and cinnamon or a handful of fresh fruit.