Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The disease we want our children to catch

Chickenpox: the disease we want our children to catch
By Dr Ellie Cannon
Chickenpox virus

Highly contagious: The varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles

With the milder spring weather come seasonal illnesses such as chickenpox and there are now outbreaks occurring across the country. Here our expert reveals the essential facts about the disease, including how porridge oats can stop the itch and why adults cannot develop shingles unless they've already had chickenpox.

Q: Is chickenpox dangerous?

A: Yes, for a child who has a weakened immune system or with other serious diseases. But in otherwise healthy youngsters, chickenpox is not normally dangerous. There are some possible complications, such as scarring of the skin and secondary infections of the skin or ears, for which antibiotics are needed. More problematic, although quite rare, complications include pneumonia, encephalitis and kidney problems.

Q: What is the incubation period?

A: It normally develops within two to three weeks of contact. People are contagious from a day or two before the rash starts until the rash has crusted over completely - usually a week after the first spot develops. It is highly infectious and is spread in the air, so you can catch it just by being in the same room as someone who has it.

Q: Can my child be vaccinated against it?

A: Yes, but it is not routinely available on the NHS. It is part of the immunisation schedule in other countries such as America and Canada. It is available in the UK in many private clinics.

Q: What is the treatment for otherwise healthy children?

A: Minimise the itch with calamine lotion or anti-itch medication (antihistamines). Taking a bath run through porridge oats - put them in a sock or a muslin bag so the water goes milky - also provides effective relief. Control temperature with paracetamol or ibuprofen, give plenty of fluids and allow the child to rest.

Q: How can I tell when a rash is chickenpox?

A: The rash is characteristic: the spots appear in clusters - called crops - and you get new crops over several days. The spots start red, then blister with fluid before going crusty and scabbing over. They are very itchy.

Q: Is it dangerous to be in contact with chickenpox while pregnant?

A: If you have had chickenpox then you are immune. If you haven't, you must consult your midwife straight away as it may be harmful to you and your pregnancy.

Q: Why do people say I should encourage my child to catch it?

A: It seems strange to willingly let your child develop an illness, but chickenpox is usually milder in children than adults, when the risk of serious complications is higher. Most of us will have chickenpox at some stage, so it makes sense to get it over with. For girls, it is better to have it as a child as then there is no chance of getting it while pregnant.

Q: If you get chickenpox as an adult, is that shingles?

A: No. If you get chickenpox for the first time as an adult it is the same illness with the same spots, although normally worse. In theory, you cannot get chickenpox twice. Your GP may offer you anti-viral medication. Shingles is a reactivation of your old chickenpox many years later, often after the age of 50. The virus lies dormant in a nerve, then starts to multiply again along the nerve causing a band of pain and a rash.

Health commandments

The health commandments all women should know based on research examining more than a MILLION of us

Even a small glass of wine a day increases the risk of breast cancer. That was the shocking news for women earlier this month from the Million Women Study, a survey of female health involving 1.3 million British women aged 50 and over.

Run by Oxford University scientists, it was set up in 1996 to examine the effects of HRT and possible links to cancer and other diseases. Already the study has produced key findings about health issues - from the Pill to alcohol consumption and childbearing.

Combined with other women's health research, all this information works as a blueprint for women's future wellbeing. Here VICTORIA LAMBERT reveals some of the important things all women should know...


Around 30 per cent of British women don't wash their hands enough for good hygiene, according to studies by the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

However, soap and water are sufficient - and using too many high-tech anti-bacterial products can be counter-productive.

Not only will they not stop colds and flu (which are transmitted by viruses, not bacteria), but they could affect the delicate balance of bacteria in our bodies, allowing stronger bugs to become dominant, says leading American microbiologist Dr Mary Ruebush, author of Why Dirt Is Good.

Most micro-organisms cause no problem, and many, like the ones that normally live in the digestive tract and produce life-sustaining nutrients, are essential to good health - these are the ones, she says, that are usually wiped out by anti-bacterial agents.


It will dramatically cut your risk of ovarian cancer, the silent killer, as the Million Women Study found. Furthermore, you will continue to be protected for at least 30 years after you stop. The study has shown that for every five years a woman has been on the Pill, her relative risk of ovarian cancer is cut by 20 per cent.

Those who take it for 15 years cut their risk by half.


Gum disease is emerging as a major factor in heart disease. The germs in the mouth create thousands of tiny blood clots, which can cause a narrowing of the arteries, a common cause of heart attacks.

With cardiovascular disease killing more women a year than breast cancer, it's essential to keep gum disease at bay. One of the best ways to fight cavities and reduce plaque - a precursor to gum disease - is drinking black tea. American researchers have found compounds in it not only kill cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque, but affect an enzyme - glucosyltranferase - which helps convert sugars into the sticky material plaque uses to stick to teeth.

On exposure to black tea, bacteria also lose their ability to form clumps with other bacteria in plaque, thereby reducing the total mass of the dental plaque.


It's a supplement most women associate with preventing birth defects - you should take 400 mcgs for at least the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. But it also reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in women. AMD is a progressive eye disorder which is often untreatable, and leads to blindness.

Now the world-renowned Harvard Medical School has shown folic acid taken with vitamins B6 and B12 reduced the risk of this debilitating condition by a staggering 41 per cent. 'The beneficial effect of treatment began to emerge at approximately two years of follow-up and persisted throughout the sevenyear trial,' said the researchers.

In the trial, participants (who were aged over 40) took a daily 2.5 milligrams of folic acid, 50 mgs of vitamin B6 and 1 mg of vitamin B12.

Woman drinks tea

Relax with a cup of tea: It helps protect against gum disease, which is a major factor governing our risk of a heart attack


Diet colas often contain phosphate in the form of phosphoric acid, used to improve the flavour (it's labelled as E338 on the ingredients list). But phosphoric acid has been shown to interfere with calcium absorption.

According to the highly regarded Framingham Osteoporosis Study, there is a particular link between colas and low bone mineral density in older women. The research found bone density in women who consumed just five carbonated drinks (including four colas) a week was 4 per cent lower.

'This is quite significant when you are talking about the skeleton,' said Katherine Tucker, at the Human Nutrition Research Centre on Ageing at Tufts University. The National Osteoporosis Society recommends women cut their intake of fizzy drinks.


According to the Million Women Study, the ideal body mass index (BMI) is about 24. For a woman of 5ft 4in (the average national height) this would mean weighing ten stone. While the adverse effects of obesity have been well documented (it is a risk factor for breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes), less well known is the effect of being underweight.

However, it is known to affect fertility, for instance: women with a BMI below 18.5 are less likely to conceive. Underweight women (BMI under 19) are more likely to develop osteoporosis.


Over the past few years there have been various scare stories about hormone replacement therapy. The bottom line seems to be that it protects against some conditions - heart disease, osteoporosis, leg ulcers and bowel cancer.

However, the Million Women study found the combined form of oestrogen and progestogen heightens your risk of breast cancer (although this extra risk goes once you stop taking it). The oestrogen-only form of HRT is not as risky.

The oestrogen-only form increases the risk of endometrial cancer, while both forms raise the risk of ovarian cancer.


Not only will this protect you against lung cancer, but perhaps surprisingly, against cervical cancer, too.Women who smoke are twice as likely to get the disease.

Cervical cancer is linked to infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). The theory is that nicotine accumulates in cervical mucus and subsequently impairs the local defences against HPV, and cancer. It may also be that smoking also depresses the immune system.

So while the death of Jade Goody has led to a rise in the number of women asking for cervical smears, stopping smoking is also important.


A major cause of infertility in women is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which can cause erratic ovulation. Many women who are suffering from it or who are not ovulating for unexplained reasons are deficient in vitamin D, says fertility consultant Zita West. She has just conducted a one-year clinic audit, and found 50 per cent of women tested were deficient - only 12 per cent were in the ideal range.

Researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine found when women with irregular periods were given extra vitamin D, the risk of developing PCOS and abnormal ovulation fell dramatically (by 99 and 93 per cent respectively).

While anxiety about skin damage, or even skin cancer, might put many women off spending time in the sun, UV rays are our main source of vitamin D; 20 minutes a day can be enough to help our bodies make this vitamin.

Woman and baby

Start young: Have two babies in your twenties to help stop breast cancer


Some common prescription drugs, as well as over-the-counter medications, can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, leading it to burn.

These include antibiotics, types of cholesterol, high blood pressureand diabetes medication, birth control pills, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) including ibuprofen, and even acne medication such as Accutane (isotretinoin). Take extra care if in the sun.


A quarter of middle-aged women suffer from depression or anxiety, according to the Mental Health foundation.

Depression is linked to low levels of serotonin, the 'happy hormone'.

A serotonin deficiency is often caused by a lack of the amino acid tryptophan - which the body cannot make itself.

Dr Caroline Longmore, author of The Serotonin Secret, believes the best way to stock up on serotonin is by eating lots of tryptophan-rich foods such as turkey, cottage cheese and bananas - and even plums. She suggests eating between four to 11 bananas a week.


One of the key findings of the Million Women Study was that even one glass of wine a day can raise the risk of breast cancer from 9.5 per cent to

10.6 per cent (researchers estimate 5,000 cases of breast cancer annually are attributable to alcohol).

The study also revealed the risk of any type of cancer increased with increasing alcohol consumption, with the scientists concluding there was effectively no safe lower limit.


the Million Women Study found that having children in your 20s reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by 7 per cent compared with other women. It concluded that if women had 2.5 children on average and breastfed each child for 12 months longer than they currently do, approximately 11 per cent (50,000) of breast cancers would be prevented annually.

The reduced exposure to oestrogen is probably a key factor (as pregnancy and breastfeeding reduce the amount of oestrogen, a hormone that can 'feed' cancer). The longer you breastfeed, the lower your risk.

For every 12 months of breastfeeding, your relative risk of breast cancer is reduced by 4.3 per cent, according to work by Cancer Research UK. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of gallbladder disease by 7 per cent for each year.

A recent Swedish study also found long-term breastfeeding of one baby (more than 13 months) halved a woman's chance of rheumatoid arthritis. Even breastfeeding for a month lessened the chance by 25 per cent, although researchers were yet unable to say why.


As many as 70 per cent of women suffer from back pain some time in their lives, according to the British Chiropractic Association.

If you suffer lower back pain, your best hope of treating it comes through weight-bearing exercise such as dumb-bells and bar bells.

A recent American study found a 60 per cent improvement in pain and function levels for people with chronic backache who took part in a 16-week exercise programme of resistance training (compared with just 12 per cent for those doing aerobic exercise such as jogging or walking on a treadmill).

Weight training helps strengthen the entire body, including the abdominal muscles, so providing better support for the lower back.


It's not just unsightly and uncomfortable - a bloated stomach could indicate a real health concern such as irritable bowel syndrome, suffered by about 10 per cent of the population, according to the Gut Trust, or Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory disease which may require surgery and life-long management.

Crucially, it can also be a symptom of ovarian cancer - known as the silent killer - for in 70-75 per cent of cases, it has spread to other parts of the abdomen before it is detected.

But a recent study by Dr Clare Bankhead, a research lecturer in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, found that as many as 86 per cent of women diagnosed by a specialist with ovarian cancer turned out to have had persistent distension of the abdomen - bloating - in advance of referral. Presence of persistent abdominal distension raised the risk.


American cardiologist Professor Mehmet Oz, of Columbia University, says: 'If you have more than 200 orgasms a year, you can reduce your physiologic age by six years.'

This extraordinary statistic is based on a survey looking at frequency of sex and overall health. Adds Professor Oz: 'Sexual activity... seems to offer some survival benefit.'

Rescue rodents used to sniff out land mines

Smell a rat? Rescue rodents used to sniff out land mines
By Daily Mail Reporter

His highly sensitive nose can sniff out explosives at 50 paces.

And because he weighs a mere 3lb, there is no chance of him setting them off when he finds them.

Kofi the Gambian pouched rat is the latest weapon in the battle against landmines - the relics of war that litter large parts of Africa and kill thousands every year.


Whiff of danger: Kofi the rat can sniff out explosives and is the latest weapon in the battle against landmines

Although rats have been trained to detect landmines there for some time, Kofi is the first to be schooled in Britain. He has 20 minutes of training a day from staff at the wildlife sanctuary where he lives in Cornwall.

His handler Wendy Winstanley hopes to offer his services to the Army and the police anti-terrorist unit once he has earned his stripes.

'Kofi is amazing, his sniff ability is really incredible,' she said.

'People think of rats as vermin but they are highly intelligent creatures-They have a more heightened sense of smell than dogs and because they are so much lighter they have less chance of setting off an explosive.

Vermin working: A sniffer rat at work in Mozambique

Vermin working: A sniffer rat at work in Mozambique

'In this country these rats would be excellent at sniffing out bombs. At the moment we use dogs, but I think the rats would be much more effective.'

Training starts when the rats are weaned at five weeks. They are taught to recognise the smell of metal landmine casings in return for a food reward. In Kofi's case, it's a piece of avocado.

When fully trained, the rats sniff out a mine, then sit and scratch at the spot until they are rewarded with food. An explosives expert then destroys the mine.

Thirty sniffer rats are already being used in Mozambique to help clear landmines in the aftermath of the civil war.

A rat can clear 100 metres square in 30 minutes, equivalent to two days of human work.

Barry the giant sea worm

Barry the giant sea worm discovered by aquarium staff after mysterious attacks on coral reef
By Daily Mail Reporter

Aquarium staff have unearthed a 'giant sea' worm that was attacking coral reef and prize fish.

The 4ft long monster, named Barry, had launched a sustained attack on the reef in a display tank at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium over recent months.

Workers at the Cornwall-based attraction had been left scratching their heads as to why the coral had been left devastated and - in some cases - cut in half.

Killer worm

Discovered: 'Barry' the sea worm had been nestling under coral reef, attacking it and fish, at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium in Cornwall

After staking out the display for several weeks, the last resort was to completely dismantle it, rock by rock.

Halfway through the process the predator was revealed as a four-foot polychaete worm.

Staff eventually lured it out with fish scraps, but not before it bit through 20lb fishing line.

Killer worm

Don't mess: The tropical worm is covered in thousands of bristles which are capable of inflicting a sting resulting in permanent numbness

The tropical worm is capable of inflicting permanent numbness on humans with its sting.

Matt Slater, the aquarium's curator, said: 'Something was guzzling our reef but we had no idea what, we also found an injured Tang Fish so we laid traps but they got ripped apart in the night.

'That worm must have obliterated the traps. The bait was full of hooks which he must have just digested.'

coral reef

Home from home: The display tank where Barry was attacking coral reef and fish

He added: 'It really does look like something out of a horror movie. It's over four feet long with these bizarre-looking jaws.

'We also discovered that he is covered with thousands of bristles which are capable of inflicting a sting resulting in permanent numbness.'

Mr Slater said Barry, who has now been relocated to his own tank, probably arrived as a juvenile in a delivery of living rock from another aquarium.

Fire service's new uniform for Muslim women

Now fire service introduces hijab headscarves for Muslim workers
By Jaya Narain
fire service

Covered: The fire service's new uniform for Muslim women

Pop into the firestation and the chances are there'd be a group of reassuringly burly men in there waiting for the call out, with uniforms and firefighting suits tailored for their use alone.

The one or two women among them would have to make do with ill-fitting adaptations of the men's outfits while the handful of Muslim women in the service would be wearing their own head scarfs.

But, with the fire service anxious to attract recruits of all sexes and backgrounds, it was decided that something had to be done.

So yesterday the results were uneveiled, including full-length skirts, hijab headscarfs and long- sleeved shirts for Muslim women recruits.

The hope is that the uniforms, designed for wearing round the station and for outings such as school trips, will be smarter and better fitting for every firefighter - even the men.

For the first time also, women will get their own mustard yellow fire-fighting suit designed to protect their breasts and upper body.

This outfit was tried on yesterday by Lincolnshire firefighter Julie Smith.

'It is right that male firefighters and female firefighters to need protection in different areas,' she said. 'It is very comfortable, very new and very yellow.'

Her boss Mike Thomas, Chief Fire Officer for Lincolnshire, declared the uniforms would help 'bust' the ' traditional image of the hunky, British, white, male, firefighter' - even though a great many of his staff probably fit this description.

'There are no better positive role models than women and ethnic recruits in these uniforms, and hopefully they will encourage people to join,' he added.

Firemen in Lincolnshire will be the first to try out the new national uniform which also includes sports and maternity wear.

Fire minister Sadiq Khan added: 'We want the widest range of applicants to apply to join the fire and rescue service.

Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan: Need for recruits

'To achieve this, it is important that all applicants - men and women - know that the uniform and clothing they will be issued with will not only protect them but will also fit properly and be comfortable.

'The introduction of more appropriately fitted clothing is just one initiative to help to both retain female firefighters and encourage others to consider a fire service career.'

'The uniform now available shows that cultural beliefs are being recognised, as we seek to increase the representation of ethnic minorities within service.'

However, in England's Fire and Rescue Service only 5.5 per cent of all staff are from a minority ethnic background and 3.3 per cent are women.

Jagtar Singh, spokesman for the Asian Fire Service Association, said: 'We are pleased to note that the fire service is now taking seriously the issues of culture and religious belief when purchasing corporate and protective clothing for firefighters.'

Pelan Pendidikan?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pictured from space

Pictured from space: The World taking shape off the coast of Dubai
By Tamara Abraham

It is the latest stomping ground of the super-rich, a refuge from the world at The World - a luxurious development built off the coast of Dubai.

From the ground it must be hard to distinguish one 'country' or 'continent' from the next but from space it comes sharply into focus.

This image from a Nasa satellite looking down on the sandy beaches in the Persian Gulf shows the full-scale and ambition of the development.

Dubai globe

Global ambitions: The latest image of The World development, in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Dubai, taken by Nasa's Terra satellite. This close-up, below, shows the various countries and continents

the world, dubai

Flanked by two palm-shaped peninsulas, the world map-shaped archipelago - made up of 300 islands - is now the most dramatic feature of Dubai's coastline.

Since the start of the project in 2003, satellites images have documented the development's creation.

jolie and pitt

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, left, as well as Michael Schumacher are believed to have bought parts of The World archipelago

An image taken just a year into the project shows evidence of early dredging and building work, now forming the The World's northern hemisphere.

The two most recent images, taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on Nasa’s Terra satellite show how far the project has come in just six years.

Each continent is clearly visible, every country represented as an individual island.

Dubai globe

This image was taken just a year into the project's development in 2004. The beginning of early dredging and building work can be seen top right. What appear to be the outlines of Russia and North America can be seen in this close-up, below

The project, which required 34million tons of rock, and involved dredging 124 square miles of sand from the sea, was completed last January. It is protected from erosion by a 17-mile breakwater.

The massive engineering project was the brainchild of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and constructed by Nakheel, one of the world's largest property developers.

Most of the individual islands, each around 150,000 to 450,000 sq ft in size, have now been sold to wealthy private owners, believed to include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and Michael Schumacher.

Bus turn into a boat!

Fasten your life jackets: The coach that turns into a boat
By Eddie Wrenn

Waiting for a ferry when you've a coachload of passengers can be a bit off a bore.

Now a firm has come up with a novel solution, the AmphiCoach which can drive from road into the sea with barely a gear change.

The brainchild of Scotsman George Smith, the aluminum 50-seater vehicle can glide on fresh or seawater.

Built in Malta, the metal has a corrosion barrier and the company claims the bus can withstand 3,500 hours of constant use without any adverse effects.

Next stop: Dry land - the Amphicoach takes a trip to the ocean and then heads back to the coast

Next stop - dry land: The Amphicoach takes a trip over water and then heads back to the coast

After a six-year development period, the AmphiCoaches are now on their way across the world, with the first boats already shipping out to Belfast and Budapest.

Managing director Steve Smith said: 'Since the first pictures of the AmphiCoach showed up on the Internet, interest has gone through the roof - out website visitors have gone up from 700 a month to more than two million, and we're getting inquiries for orders from companies wanting to 20 or more across the globe.

'We just need to be able to match the demand.'

Heading out: The passengers hope the driver knows where he's going

Heading out: The passengers hope the driver knows where he's going

As a coach, the vehicle can travel at normal road-speeds up to 70mph. The excitement comes when it gets to water - the coach can simply drive into the sea where, with a flick of a switch and without stopping, the wheels retract into the hull and an air-piston begins powering the boat across the waves.

With the wheels out of the way, the coach is now the equivalent of a fully-fledged catamaran, with a stable base, with a cruising speed of six knots and a maximum of eight knots.

Mr Smith said: 'It's a seamless transition from road to water.

'Once at sea the steering wheel makes way for a joystick and there's no need for the vehicle to stop while the wheels lift and the jet propulsion takes over.

'The boat is well-weighted in the water and the passage is smoother than being in a boat of the equivalent size.'

Each of the vehicles costs £280,000 and Amphicoach say they can build 12 ship-shape roadsters every year.

Making a splash: Passengers enjoy the spectacle, although they probably miss not being able to sing 'the wheels on the bus go round...'

Making a splash: Passengers enjoy the spectacle, although they probably miss not being able to sing 'the wheels on the bus go round...'

Mr Smith added: 'We have reworked and reinvented the amphibious tourist vehicle as everyone knows it. By creating a unique and exciting vehicle that is going to transform the world of city and harbour tours.

'Soon people will no longer be satisfied with just a city coach tour, they will want the complete package, a city coach tour with a water cruise built in.'

Just don't forget to pay your fare, as this is one bus you don't want to get chucked off.

The AmphiCoach moves across the water

The AmphiCoach moves across the water

Sailing off to the horizon: The boat-bus is fully compliant with EU regulations and ready to sail the high-seas

Sailing off to the horizon: Orders from ten countries have already come in for the coach

35,000 protesters, police arrest just one !

35,000 protesters turn out for G20 march in London ... but police arrest just one
By Daily Mail Reporter

A demonstration by more than 35,000 protesters marching for 'jobs, justice and climate' ahead of the G20 summit passed off peacefully in London today.

But there are fears that trouble could flare when further protests take place as world leaders gather in the capital next week.

Thousands of police from six forces were drafted in to London today to assist the Metropolitan Police.

g20 protests London

The Met police line a pavement in Whitehall, as they observe secure a protest march

G20 protests London

Protesters were calling for action on poverty, climate change and jobs ahead of next week's G20 summit in the Docklands.

But they kept a relatively low profile as campaigners from across the UK and around the world braved rain showers to take part in the first of a week of demonstrations around the G20 summit.

The massive police operation was launched as officers warned of an "unprecedented" threat posed by the protests.

But by early evening as a rally in Hyde park ended there were no signs of problems, backing up the organisers' earlier pledge that events would not turn violent.

'Natural' breast enlargement

'Natural' breast enlargement using stem cells from spare fat to be made available in Britain

By Daniel Martin


'Natural' breast enlargement through stem cell therapy is said to be an improvement on implants

A new stem cell technique to enlarge the size of a woman's breasts while reducing the size of her waistline is to made available in Britain for the first time.

The revolutionary new treatment involves taking stem cells from spare fat on the stomach or the thigh, and then growing them in a woman's breasts.

Surgeons say the result gives a more natural look than many of the synthetic implants used by showbusiness stars like Pamela Anderson.

But the stem cell process can only create an increase of one cup size, although supporters expect bigger breasts later as the technique improves.

Around a dozen British women have already had their breasts repaired with stem cells after having cancerous cells removed. But this is the first time the process will be used on healthy women.

Professor Kefah Mokbel, a consultant breast surgeon at the London Breast Institute at the Princess Grace hospital, will treat 10 patients from May.

By the end of the year, he says private patients will be able to pay for the procedure, which he expects to cost around £6,500.

He said stem cell treatment would produce more natural looking breasts than silicone implants.

'This is a very exciting advance in breast surgery,' he said. 'Breasts treated with stem cells feel more natural because this tissue has the same softness as the rest of the breast..

'Implants are a foreign body. They are associated with long-term complications and require replacement. They can also leak and cause scarring.'

Stem cells are primitive cells which have the power to turn into any tissue of the body - organs, skin and blood.

However, although the new technique will increase volume, it will not provide firmness and uplift. For this reason, only modest augmentations are possible at present, although Professor Mokbel plans to carry out research to see if bigger enlargements are possible.

'We are optimistic we can easily achieve an increase of one cup size,' he said. 'We cannot say yet if we can achieve more. That may depend on the stem cells we can harvest.'

Under the special new technique developed in Japan, surgeons will extract spare fat from a woman's thighs or stomach, from which they will extract some stem cells.

These cells will be mixed with another batch of fat before being injected into the breast. It will then take a few months before the breast achieves its desired shape.

Surgeons have tried injecting plain fat into breasts before in a bid to increase size, but have found it difficult to maintain a blood supply to the new tissue. Stem cells however encourage the growth of blood vessels to ensure a sufficient supply is maintained.

The technique has been available in Japan for six years. Professor Mokbel says that after carrying out about 30 procedures, he should be able to offer the procedure to private patients.

Some experts warn that stem cells should not be used in healthy women until large-scale trials in cancer patients have shown that the new policy is safe.

Eva Weiler-Mithoff, a consultant plastic surgeon at Canniesburn hospital in Glasgow, has treated at more than 10 British cancer patients with the technique and says it should not be extended to healthy women.

She said that while breast cancer patients regularly attend follow-up appointments, young women who have had cosmetic surgery are less likely to do so - meaning complications could be missed.


The landmark St. Stephens tower of the Houses of Parliament in central London

March 29, 2009

Earth Hour

As 8.30pm struck in each timezone, 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries switched off the lights to symbolise the threat of climate change. The St Stephens tower at the Houses of Parliament, home to Big Ben, joined the big switch-off

(Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

The Sydney Opera House

The global event began in Australia in 2007, when 2.2 million people switched off their lights and the Sydney Opera House was plunged into darkness

(Krystle Wright/AFP/Getty Images)

A night view of the site of the ancient Giza Pyramids

Last year the movement grew to 400 cities and this year it has spread to 3,929 cities and villages and historic sites such as the Giza Pyramids

(Nasser Nouri/AP)

The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India

Earth Hour

The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India

(Arko Datta/Reuters)

Malaysias Petronas Towers and Kuala Lumpur Tower during Earth Hour


Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur Tower (L) and Petronas Towers (R)

The Eiffel Tower at Earth Hour


The Eiffel Tower at 8.30

The goal is to get an ambitions deal to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are dangerously warming the planet.

Friday, March 27, 2009

News In Picture

Musudan Ri, North Korea, formally know as Taepo-dong missile launch facility, the area where North Korea rocket launch facility is located is seen in this satellite image by DigitalGlobe taken on March 23, 2009. North Korea has positioned what is believed to be a long-range ballistic missile on a launch pad in what could be a preparation for launch, a U.S. counterproliferation official said March 25, 2009. MANDATORY CREDIT REUTERS/DigitalGlobe/Handout

A rescuer searches for flood victims on the outskirts of Jakarta March 27, 2009. A dam on the outskirts of the Indonesian capital burst on Friday, killing 28 people and flooding hundreds of houses nearby, officials said. REUTERS/Dadang Tri

At least 52 killed after Indonesia dam bursts

China aviation giant spins off branch: report

VINCE McMAHON... trying to halt death toll

Vince makes rehab offer to 535 wrestlers
VINCE McMAHON ... trying to halt death toll

VINCE McMAHON ... trying to halt death toll

WWE boss Vince McMahon has revealed just how far the company are going in a bid to stop any more wrestling deaths.

Vince has made public a letter he has sent to 535 former WWE grapplers offering to pay for rehab, regardless of how long they worked for him or why they left.

He says he is doing this to prevent any future tragedies, in the wake of the passing of superstars including British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith, Eddie Guerrero and most recently Andrew ‘Test’ Martin.

Vince writes: “Over the last 10 years, an inordinate number of wrestlers have passed away.

“Some of those deaths may, in part, have been caused by drugs and alcohol.

“In an effort to help prevent such tragedies in the future, the WWE is offering to pay for drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation at a certified treatment center chosen by the WWE for any performer with a prior WWE booking contract who may need this service.

"WWE will pay for this service in full – there is no cost to you or your family.

“Help will be provided regardless of the circumstances of your departure from the WWE or the amount of time you performed for WWE.”

The offer was first made to former stars in September 2007. In that time 3.1 per cent have accepted it, including Test who underwent rehab last year.

Vince concludes the letter by saying: “Please reach out if you think you might have a drug and/or alcohol problem, or if you know someone who does.

“We all need to do everything we can to help prevent another tragedy.”

John Cena

Meanwhile, John Cena has once again confirmed his belief that anyone taking steroids should be sent to jail.

Cena – who first aired this view in a Sun WrestleCast – was asked by a New York paper about his views on baseball legend Alex Rodriguez using them.

He replied: “The government should take the initiative, and if you get caught using drugs, then you should go to jail.

“A criminal record will hurt your endorsements and long-term contracts.”

Cena added: “Steroids are the personal choice of the athlete.

“If there was a set of legal stipulations set in place, he may never have even considered it.”

April 1... Virus Alert!

Will your PC be hijacked on April 1?

Threat ... is virus hoax?

Threat ... is virus hoax?


MILLIONS of computers around the world could go into meltdown on April 1 because of a deadly virus.

The Windows worm called Conficker could give a hacker unrestricted access to every infected machine on the planet.

And the aggressive bug could be hiding on your PC at home right now, waiting to kick in.

For the hackers, it’s like having a virtual army at their fingertips.

The criminals behind it have the power to launch a tidal wave of junk emails, bringing computers grinding to a halt.

They could also plunder information, including your bank details.

But the truth is that the best techie brains in the business just don’t know exactly what the hackers have in mind.


Virus expert Mikko Hypponen, from the firm F-Secure, said: “It is scary thinking about how much control a hacker could have over all these computers. They would have access to millions of machines.”

Microsoft, who developed the Windows computer operating system, have slapped a £175,000 bounty on whoever is responsible, so far without success.

The sophisticated Conficker bug — also known as Downadup or Kido — targets systems via the web and can be spread on memory sticks.

More than nine million computers were infected at the bug’s peak last month.

And if Conficker is still on your system come Wednesday, you could be in trouble.

Once inside your PC, it sets up files and starts downloading information from a controlling “boss” server.

Finding that website and the mastermind behind it all is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

That is because the bug creates hundreds of bogus addresses every day to put investigators off the scent.

The infected PCs then form a network and “talk” to each other, updating and evolving.

The bug even attacks anti-virus software and other files on your computer to strengthen its position.

And it resets “restore” points, making recovery of your old system even harder.

The first of three Conficker strains was discovered in November last year.

A second, more aggressive strain followed in December and a third this month. This contains the all- important April 1 trigger.


To avoid infection, Windows users must download a special free update “patch” from the Microsoft website. But that isn’t enough — you also need good anti-virus software too.

Many businesses around the world are thought also to be at risk after failing to update systems.

Graham Cluley, from computer security firm Sophos, warned: “Microsoft did a good job of updating people’s home computers.

“But the virus continues to infect businesses that have ignored the update.”

He also stressed the need for strong passwords on your computer, adding: “If users are using weak passwords — 12345, QWERTY etc — then the virus can crack them.”

F-Secure’s Mikko warned potential problems with Conficker would be highlighted wildly before April 1.

But he said he didn’t foresee an attack, despite the fears and mystery surrounding the problem.

He said: “There’s always hype — just think of previous cases.

“There is not going to be a ‘global virus attack’. We don’t know what they are planning to do, if anything.

“I think the machines that are already infected might do something new on April 1.”

Let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, that it turns out to be an April Fools’ Day hoax.

TEST your system’s safety for free by attempting to go to f-secure.com. If you can’t, you can download the patch at microsoft.com to disinfect your PC.

Mexico's drug war

In December of 2006, Mexico's new President Felipe Calderón declared war on the drug cartels, reversing earlier government passiveness. Since then, the government has made some gains, but at a heavy price - gun battles, assasinations, kidnappings, fights between rival cartels, and reprisals have resulted in over 9,500 deaths since December 2006 - over 5,300 killed last year alone. President Barack Obama recently announced extra agents were being deployed to the border and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Mexico today to pursue a broad diplomatic agenda - overshadowed now by spiraling drug violence and fears of greater cross-border spillover. Officials on both sides of the border are committed to stopping the violence, and stemming the flow of drugs heading north and guns and cash heading south.

Seized ammunition is shown during a presentation of suspected members of the Pacifico drug cartel in Mexico city's airport on March 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez)

Baja California state police stand guard at a captured marijuana greenhouse in the basement of a ranch in Tecate, Mexico on March 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Duenes)

A police officer walks on packages of cocaine in Buenaventura, Colombia's main seaport on the Pacific coast, Monday, March 23, 2009. Colombian police had seized 3.5 tons of cocaine in a container of vegetable grease bound for Mexico. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Yaneth Deyinara Garcia (center) and Sigifrido Najera (2nd from left), members of the drug Organization "Cardenas Guillen", are presented to the press at the headquarters of the Defense Secretary in Mexico City on March 20, 2009. (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

Army soldiers guard a police station in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, March 16, 2009. As retired and active-duty soldiers largely took over security in the violence-wracked city of 1.3 million, a retired Army officer took over as head of police Monday, whose previous law enforcement chief resigned earlier, after receiving threats. (AP Photo)

Federal police officers sit aboard an aircraft while flying to the border city Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, Monday, March 2, 2009. The deployment is part of a troop increase of 5,000 men planned for this city which has been hit hard by organized crime related violence. (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar)

A member of the Army watches the incineration of fourteen tons of drugs in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on December 2, 2008. (J. Guadalupe PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Police officers drive past a burning police vehicle in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009. Earlier, gunmen opened fire and hurled grenades at the patrol car in the Pacific resort town of Zihuatanejo, killing four officers. (AP Photo/Felipe Salinas)

Federal police patrol the border city of Ciudad Juarez March 2, 2009. Hundreds of heavily armed soldiers and convoys of federal police patrolled Ciudad Juarez on Monday amid a massive troop build up to try to restore order in Mexico's most violent city. (REUTERS/Tomas Bravo)

A federal policeman stands guard during an operation at a nightclub in downtown Ciudad Juarez March 7, 2009. Across the border from El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez recently received hundreds of heavily armed federal forces to take over anti-drug efforts from police tainted by corruption and links to drug traffickers. Picture taken March 7. (REUTERS/Tomas Bravo)

Soldiers patrol near the town of Miguel Aleman, on Mexico's northeastern border with U.S., Thursday, March 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

Shoes used for smuggling marijuana are displayed in the Drug Museum at the headquarters of the Mexican Ministry of Defense in Mexico City March 9, 2009. High precision rifles, a diamond and gold encrusted mobile phone, clandestine laboratories for drug processing and many more items that once belonged to drug traffickers are displayed in this private museum used by the military to show the soldiers the lifestyle of the Mexican drug lords. (REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez)

Texas Armoring Corp. President and CEO Trent Kimball examines a bullet proof windshield after it was shot at their facility in San Antonio, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009. Due to increased drug-cartel violence in northern Mexico, American companies say they're seeing increases in the number of cars they're asked to outfit with armor plating, bulletproof glass and defensive gadgets like push-button smoke screens and electrified door handles. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

With a .50-caliber rifle in the foreground, the U.S. House National Security and Foreign Affairs subcommittee holds a hearing on U.S.-Mexico border violence, Thursday, March 12, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Soldiers escort drug kingpin Hector Huerta Rios at the air force base in Salinas Victoria, on the outskirts of Monterrey, northern Mexico March 24, 2009. Soldiers on Tuesday captured Huerta Rios of the Beltran Leyva cartel who is accused of the killing of a police chief in this industrial city. Huerta Rios was seized along with five persons, weapons and money at his car dealership. (REUTERS/Tomas Bravo)