Stem Cell Research Updates

scientists from the Genome Institute Singapore (GIS) created a method that will turn stem cells into a specific type of cell that can develop organs like pancreas and liver. The stem cell that can develop a specific type of cell is called endoderm. Endoderm is desired because of its biotech and therapeutic purposes. But endoderm is difficult to extract from human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSCs).

The Challenge of Extracting Endoderm

Scientists are trying to generate more stem cells but the challenge lies in there. You should know that there are two hundred different cell types in the body which respond to diverse protein instruction. Generally speaking, stem cells have the ability to develop into different types of tissues. If scientists become successful coaxing stem cells, the brain, bone, heart, pancreas, liver and other organs can be repaired or replaced. This will surely benefit mankind.


Addressing the Challenge

Scientists published their stem cell and endoderm discoveries in the Cell Stem Cell journal. In the journal, scientists revealed how they address the challenge of generating a specific cell type that can give rise to pancreas and liver. Scientists screen chemicals and proteins that can promote the formation of a desired type of cell. Scientists discovered the grouping of triggers that could motivate endoderm populations. The access to endoderm populations draws the attention of pharmaceutical and biotech companies. They are thinking about testing drug toxicities in liver cells.

According to AS (Agency for Science) which is the parent agency of GIS, the study is in partnership with Stanford University (Medical School and Institute for Stem Cell) and other organizations. The study looks promising and this is good news for people who are suffering from a damaged liver or pancreas.


25 Jul 2014

Keeping Yourself Safe from the Haze

If the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) value is 201 to 300, the descriptor is very unhealthy range; the people should wear N95 masks. When the PSI value reaches 301 to 400, the descriptor is hazardous range; the general population should stay indoors as much as possible and wear N95 masks. When you face haze, what can you do aside from wearing N95 and monitoring the forecast? Here are some thing that you can do to reduce if not eliminate the effects of haze:


1.       Keep doors and windows close. If the PSI value goes up, you should always keep your doors and windows close. This is to prevent the haze from totally engulfing your house.

2.       Change air filters. If you are using air conditioners, it is advisable that you change your filters. Change filter as much as you can because it can help in the purification of air inside.


3.       Do not smoke. Do yourself and the people around you a favour, take a break from smoking when haze is present. It will add to the severity especially if there are people with medical conditions around.

4.     If all things get worse, seek medical attention. If you noticed that things are not better for you, it is imperative that you seek medical treatment. There are many hospitals and polyclinics here in Singapore that you can go to.

Haze is from the actions of mankind. No matter what precautions we take inside the house as long as there are industries, haze is not very far. The Singapore government is urging us to reduce air pollution. The government has set standards for industries. As an individual, we can also help. We can join motor pools or simply consider public transport instead of bringing our own car. In that little way, we can make a difference.



26 Jun 2014

What You Need to Know About Haze

Even Singapore with the best if not perfect medical healthcare infrastructure is prone to the health effects of haze. We saw the worsening of haze in the past months. This is indeed alarming so the HPB (Health Promotion Board) wants to educate the public about the health effects of haze and what you can do to avoid its effects.


We should know that haze has this fine dust particles that if inhaled or came in contact with the eyes and skin, can cause dry cough, dry throat, sneezing, eye irritation and runny rose. Though the effects are mild, we should still practice precautions. The good news is that the symptoms or the effects will subside as soon as the air quality get better. However, the Singapore HPB always reminds the public that there are people who are prone to haze’s adverse effects.

People with medical problems (like asthma, heart disease and lung disease) will likely experience pain and discomfort. Elderly and children are also susceptible to haze’s adverse effects. If the individual experiences pain and discomfort, it is advisable that they seek medical attention right away. Apart from the health effects, you need to know about PSI (Pollutant Standards Index). It is an index that gives information especially when it comes to air pollution’s daily levels here in Singapore.


Before going out, the public is urged to read the PSI forecast first. The forecast will include the PSI value, PSI descriptor and Health Advisory. If the PSI value here in Singapore is below 100, the descriptor is good/moderate range; the health advisory is to stay alert and be updated. If the PSI reached 101 to 200, the descriptor is unhealthy range; the health advisory for the general population is to limit outdoor activities.



23 Jun 2014

Laughing Your Way to a Better Life

Do you know that there is such thing as World Laughter Day? World Laughter Day here in Singapore was celebrated at Taman Merdeka on May 4, 2014. World Laughter Day was first celebrated on January 11, 1998 in India. It was organized by Dr. Madan Kataria which founded the Laughter Yoga. Today, a lot of Singaporeans join the Laughter Yoga movement because of its benefits.


What is laughter yoga? It is called Hasyayoga. It is a practice that involves prolonged and voluntary laughter. Laughter yoga is working under the premise that laughter delivers psychological and physiological benefits. If you are curious of the mechanics, you should read further.


  • It is done in groups: Laughing will be easy if you are with the group. Laughing yoga should be done in groups.
  • Eye contact should be established: Participants will first establish eye contact. The eye contact should be maintained all throughout the event.
  • Playfulness should be present:  Apart from eye contact, participants should promote childlike playfulness. The light heartedness and liveliness will eventually lead to laughter.
  • Warm up: Like any other exercises, laughter yoga usually begins with warm up. You should engage in stretching, clapping, chanting and other body movements. Warm up helps with the inhibition you are feeling.
  • It does not involve humour: Everyone can laugh without relying on humour. You should learn to laugh without humour or comedy.
  • It is contagious: Participants will then laugh and it will be contagious. Laughing is so infectious that everyone will laugh in no time.

Indeed laughter is the best medicine. If you are really serious about joining the movement, you have to join laughter clubs near you.



13 May 2014

The Ill Effects of Drinking Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is a practice that is done in different places, by different people and in different purposes. For some culture, drinking is a part of their everyday lives; like for Mexicans, most of them drink wine every day. For Americans, they match their meat meals with beer. Some uses alcohol as offerings for the gods. While some drink alcohol for their culture and traditions, some just drink for fun. Sometimes, because of too much fun and enjoyment, people forget to control their drinking, and they drink too much.


At some point, alcohol is good, but there are a lot of times that it is not. Here are alcohol’s ill effects.


  1. Alcohol poisoning occurs when a person has taken in alcohol beyond his threshold. The effect of alcohol in slowing down the brain, increasing the heart rate and all its effects to the body are intensified. This can cause brain blackout and cardiac arrest.
  2. Drinking alcohol can also cause different types of cancer such as cancer of the liver, breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus.
  3. Alcohol can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke and all diseases related to it.
  4. Alcohol can cause permanent brain damage to a person.
  5. Damage to different organs especially the liver and the stomach is also irreparable.

These are the ill effects of drinking alcohol. The feeling it gives during the drunken stage may be liberating and euphoric, but the long term ill effect of it is destructive.

HEALTH Alcohol 074058

01 May 2014

The Ill Effects of Smoking

Cigarette smoking kills, yet people still cannot stop smoking. Studies suggest that peer pressure is one reason why people smoke. The belief that smoking would not do any harm on them because it did not do any harm on people they know is another. Moreover, personal addiction to smoking is another reason. Despite these, the truth still prevails that cigarette smoking is not good for one’s health. Here are more ill effects of smoking which may help in convincing people to stop smoking.


  1. First among the ill effects of smoking is lung cancer. All the chemicals in the cigarette as well as the smoke all contributes in bringing the lungs in such a condition.
  2. Aside from lung cancer, smoking also increases the risk of cancer in different areas of the body such as the nose, mouth, larynx, trachea, oesophagus, throat, kidneys, bladder, cervix, bone marrow and blood.190327
  3. Smoking increases the risk of heart diseases for about 3 to 4 times than normal. Chemicals in cigarettes narrow the veins and arteries in the body causing obstructed flow of blood and blockage of pathways of blood in worse cases.
  4. Premature birth can also be experienced by pregnant women who are smoking. The health of the baby can also be affected.
  5. Smoking can also cause illnesses in the bones. It increases the risk for osteoporosis and arthritis.

These ill effects of smoking can bring about more negative effects like when it comes to bones, more inflammation of joints and muscles may follow. Premature birth can cause the child to suffer different birth defects. Cigarette smoking kills—it does.


28 Apr 2014

Coping With Bullying

Bullying is not new. There are many reported cases of bullying here in Singapore and around the world. In fact, there were unfortunate events when a child or a person bullied committed suicide because they can no longer contain their feelings. With this, it is very important that you know what your kids are going through before it is too late.

Bullying can influence your child’s overall growth and development. Bullying is not only for the young because teenagers and even professionals feel bullied at certain point in time. It is crucial that bullying should be tackled at an early stage so it will not go on. Here are some advices that you can give your kids when they are bullied:


  • Do not fight back. Bullied kids tend to fight back but fighting back will only increase the tension. Tell your kids not to fight back because it is the right thing to do.
  • Do not use verbal or written insults. There are bullied kids that use verbal or written insults since they cannot get back on the bullies physically. That is not a good thing. It will only lead to further aggression.
  • Avoid cyber bullying. If your child is experiencing cyber bullying, that is receiving text messages and posting comments, you should tell him/her that it is best to block the messages or not read them at all.
  • Tell your children you are there for them. You may not have a concrete solution for the problem but if you tell your kids that you are always there, that is more than enough.


Bullying should be stopped but of course, you should accept that completely wiping it is not possible. There will always be bullies no matter how hard you pray but you can teach your children to be strong when they face it. It will be hard on the part of your kids. It is important that they know you are always there for them.

27 Nov 2013