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Charity Cycling Race for HIV/AIDS: Bike Riding – Land’s End to John O’Groats, in aid of South Africa

This isn’t a gentle pedal but a race against time. This six-day challenge is a race against time for the cyclists and a race against the spread of HIV/AIDS for many more people in South Africa.

The endurance road cycle race will take place from 22 – 27 June. Starting from Land’s End the cyclists will travel appromately 145 miles a day for the six-day endurance test.

The Race Against Time is not just the name of the cycle race but reflects the urgency of the situation in South Africa of HIV/AIDS. The need is enormous not only for those who are already affected by the virus but those who may be protected from it.

This year’s Race Against Time team is now complete with 16 cyclists signed up and training hard. The riders are from all over the UK with 6 of the team members coming from Edinburgh. This year two of the team are women; team details may be seen here.

Although the team is full for this year, they will be open for applications for the 2017 race in October. Anyone over 18 is eligible to apply, although the youngest team member so far was 34 and the oldest 70. The registration fee for the race was £250.

The endurance race raises funds for the Bishop Simeon Trust (BST) which funds HIV/AIDS, development and education projects in South Africa. The Trust works in partnership with South African communities and is making a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people.

Due to the sponsorship by Sporting Bet, online bookmakers, every single penny of the money raised through The Race Against Time goes to community HIV/AIDS projects, which are improving the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS – especially children.

The race organisers intend to raise at least £20,000 all for the worst affected HIV/AIDS victims in South Africa, particularly orphans and vulnerable children. It is thought that around a million children are now orphans due to the AIDS pandemic.

So far, almost 450,000 people have died from AIDS-related illnesses in South Africa, and 5.5 million people are thought to be infected, with this figure constantly increasing. In some areas up to 50% of the population are said to be infected and it’s estimated that 20% -25% of the entire adult population are infected.

The Stigma of Mental Illness: Combating Harmful Misperceptions

Shunning someone because of an illness seems ludicrous in our day of promising treatments and pink ribbon campaigns. But what if your friend, neighbor, or co-worker had a mental illness? If you or someone you love has experienced mental illness, you know firsthand that society continues to stigmatize diseases of the brain.

What is stigma? The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research describes stigma as a “mark of shame or disgrace” with four components, each component building upon the previous: labeling; stereotyping; creating a division between a superior “us” and an inferior “them”; and discriminating against the person who has been labeled.

How is stigma harmful? Stigma compromises the lives of individuals with mental illnesses. Because of stigma, these individuals may face lack of acceptance, job and housing discrimination, and even verbal and physical abuse. While language and behavior can reflect negative perceptions about mental illness, stigma is not simply about using the wrong word or action. According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), at its core stigma is an issue of disrespect.

In a speech to introduce the National Mental Health Anti Stigma Campaign, SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services director Kathryn Power said, “Stigma deters individuals from seeking the care they need, and it deters the public from wanting to pay for that care.”

Nobody is immune from stigma’s effects. NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw told USA Today it took all his courage to seek help for depression in the late 1990s. “Stigma is incredibly powerful,” said Bradshaw, who is now an advocate for mental health awareness and treatment.

How can I combat stigma? Attitudes are changed one person at a time. Combating the stigma of mental illness begins with you and extends to your circle of friends and beyond.

  1. Start with yourself. Check your perceptions about mental illness. Do you attach labels and stereotypes to persons with mental illness? Are you among the two-thirds of American adults who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mistakenly believe persons with mental illness can’t recover? Resources such as the National Mental Health Association’s Mental Health America Web site will help you become informed.
  2. Don’t equate individuals with their illnesses. For example, a person with schizophrenia is not “a schizophrenic” and is not defined by the symptoms of that condition. If you have a mental illness, remember that your diagnosis is not who you are. Inform yourself about your condition and your treatment options as you would any other diagnosis.
  3. Reach out to others. Tactfully correct others’ misconceptions about mental illness, and comment on news stories and entertainment media that perpetuate stigma. Offer support to family members or friends with mental illness. If you have a mental illness, you have the right to choose who you’ll tell. You may be encouraged to receive a compassionate and caring response. Help others understand what you want and need from them. If you decide not to confide in people you know, find others who will support you. Confiding in a mental health professional is a significant step, and he or she may refer you to a support group where you’ll meet others who understand your experience.
  4. Work for change. Anyone can be an advocate. Support legislation advancing mental health care, and write letters when you encounter negative portrayals of mental illness in the media. Join or donate to an organization that supports mental health awareness and treatment. The National Mental Health Association’s Advocacy Network is a good place to start.

The High Prevalence of Mental Illness in Prisoners

Many studies have assessed the prevalence and types of prisoner mental disorder. Two of the most comprehensive and recent are Singleton, et al (1998) in their research on ‘Psychiatric morbidity among prisoners in England and Wales’ and Stewart in his paper on ‘The Problems And Needs Of Newly Sentenced Prisoners: Results From A National Survey’. Their results are summarised below, supporting again that essentially rates are extremely high!

Recent Facts and Figures on Mental Disorders in Prison Populations

The following is an overview of mental health conditions affecting the prison population:


  • Personality Disorder: 60.5% (Singleton) and 60.0% (Stewart).
  • Psychosis: 11.25% (Singleton) and 10.0% (Stewart).
  • Neurotic Symptoms: 58.50% (Singleton) and 36% severe, 82% one or more symptom (Stewart).
  • Drinking: 49.00% (Singleton) and 36.00% (Stewart).
  • Drug Dependence: 47.25% (Singleton) and 69.00% (Stewart).

Is Appropriate Mental Health Care Available in Prisons?

The most shocking statistics however are the small number of those offenders, who actually request or receive care for their mental disorder within the criminal justice system.

Bonta, Law & Hanson, suggest in the target of the correction service, as its name suggests is to rehabilitate deviant individuals to the point where they are deemed corrected and able to re-enter society without re-offending. As part of this rehabilitation, the underlying mental health disorders must be addressed. Mentally disordered offenders should be entitled to and receive the same quality of mental health care as the general population, however Brooker and Ullman found the reality is that serious deficits remain.

Diamond et al looked at ‘Who Requests Psychological Services Upon Admission to Prison?’ and reported only a mere 11% of individuals requested help with mental health problems upon admission. Singleton et al, found equally low numbers who actually received treatment during prison with 15.5% for men and 26.5% for women. This highlights a large gap between those identified to need help and those requesting and receiving it.

Why do Mentally Disordered Individuals end up and Remain in Prison?

Shift looked at ‘Improving Media Reporting of Mental Health’ and found that deeply ingrained prejudiced attitudes within society support the view that mentally disordered individuals are unpredictable and violent. The stigma attached to mental disorder results in individuals often being overlooked, turned away or intimidated when approaching mental health services before incarceration. Subsequently many mentally disordered offenders committing only minor non-violent offences, end up in the criminal justice system due to lack of access to alternatives.

In addition the lay view that mentally disordered individuals generally will be criminal, is the even stronger view that those who have already committed a crime once, are likely to violently reoffend. This acts to keep these individuals in prisons, further increasing numbers.

However this claim seems unsubstantiated. Firstly a reminder that many mentally disordered offenders are incarcerated for non-violent crimes to begin with. In addition Bonta, Law & Hanson, suggested that mentally disordered offenders have no higher likelihood of violent recidivism when compared to rational criminals. Also Rice and Harris (1992) studied the recidivism of schizophrenic and non-schizophrenic offenders, a mental health disorder with a particularly high level of stigma and misunderstanding against it. They found those with the mental disorder were actually less likely to reoffend.

Does Mental Disorder Predict Crime?

Stigma and irrational fears act to prevent individuals seeking treatment before incarceration, and to lower the chance of release once they enter the criminal justice system. Once inside these individuals have poor access to appropriate mental health care maintaining the figures.

So are people with mental disorders really more likely to commit crimes? Or do prevalent stigma and irrational fears explain why so many individuals with mental disorders end up in the criminal justice system, and keep them there?

Babies R Us Offering Trade-In Deal on Baby Gear: Parents Can Bring in Used Baby Items in Exchange for Coupon


Babies R Us and Toys R Us stores nationwide are offering a great program for parents called the “Great Trade-in”. Parents can bring in old baby gear and trade it in for a coupon for 20% off a new baby item.

Out With the Old Baby Gear

Parents can bring in used or worn out car seats, strollers, travel systems, high chairs, play yards, bassinets or even cribs to get the coupon for a new item in any of these categories. There are some restrictions related to manufacturers as not all brands are participating in the event. Participating manufacturers include Eddie Baurer, Evenflo, Graco, Britax, Jeep, Baby Cache, Baby Trend, Bertini, Chicco, Contours by Kolcraft, Nature’s Purest by Summer Infant, Delta, Sorelle and Baby Italia.

Parents should remember that the coupon is only good for items in the allowable categories listed above. Parents should also note that the 20% off coupon is valid only on the day of the trade-in.

Day-Care Centers May Also Benefit From Trade-In Event

Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores may also be willing to allow bulk trade-ins from day-care centers or other child-care organizations. The flyer indicates that daycare centers that are interested in trading in old items for the coupon should contact their local Babies R Us or Toys R Us store for details.


Ensuring Safety for Children

By offering a percentage off of new baby gear, Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores are attempting to get the unsafe or worn out baby gear out of circulation to ensure safety. Many parents may regularly shop at thrift stores or garage sales for baby gear because of the cost. Most thrift stores and garage sales make no safety guarantees on baby products that are sold. This program can be a great alternative for parents.

In addition to thrift stores and garage sales, many parents obtain car seats or cribs as hand-me-downs, especially in rough economic times. These hand-me-downs may not be in compliance with updated safety features or the parent may have missed a safety recall. Older models may also have some unseen wear and tear on them that may also cause some safety issues.

This is an especially good program for parents who have more than one child and were planning on using older baby items for additional babies or children. Although older baby items may not have been recalled, newer baby gear may have additional safety features. With all of the new baby items out there and the advances in technology, parents have no reason to skip this offer.

If parents have questions related to this program, they should contact their local Babies R Us or Toys R Us store for details.




Baby Diaper Coupons: Huggies, Pampers, Luvs, Seventh Generation—Free Baby Deals

Never buy another package of disposable baby diapers without a coupon. Use the Sunday coupon circulars, coupons through the mail, or online coupons to keep up with your baby’s diapering needs. Like baby formula coupons, these discounts can save new parents plenty.

Log on to diaper company Web sites

All of the major diaper suppliers—Huggies, Pampers, Luvs, Seventh Generation—offer club memberships or online deals that may include coupons or the option of printing coupons from their Web sites.

Join and get coupons mailed to your home in addition to email newsletters, free samples and other promotional offers. Members can also participate in the “Gifts to Grow” program, which rewards customers with points for purchases of Pampers diapers, training pants and wipes. Cash in accumulated points for prizes that range from books to scooters. Check out the Wal-Mart samples Web site to get a free Pampers diaper sample and a free Goodnites Sleep Boxers sample.

The Huggies Baby Network also emails members a newsletter with pregnancy and baby tips and advice. Special offers, samples and coupons come in the mail.

The makers of Luvs brand of diapers are a bit more stingy than their competitors when it comes to offering coupons. According to the Luvs Web site, the company doesn’t want “moms to have to clip coupons in order to save, so we make sure Luvs moms are getting a low price on our diapers every day.” (Don’t dads buy diapers, too?) Luvs does not offer coupons on its Web site, but periodically provides them in Sunday circulars, in Luvs packages, by mail, and in retail stores. Register at to receive special offers and baby-related newsletters.

Eco-friendly Seventh Generation makes chlorine-free diapers and offers free coupon downloads from its Web site. To print coupons, customers first must download a Microsoft Windows Plug-in program, available at the site.

Tap your coworkers, friends and family

Ask your colleagues and family members to clip and save the diaper coupons from their Sunday newspaper circulars. Babies use about 2,000 to 3,000 diapers a year, so you can never have too many coupons. Most people are happy to spend a few seconds cutting out a coupon that would have otherwise ended up in the recycling bin.

Buy coupons on eBay

Enterprising clippers sell their coupons on the auction site, often combining deals to make the offer attractive for buyers. An eBay bidder can get five $2-off Huggies coupons (a $10 value) for about $2.50. If you bid on coupons on eBay, however, watch for the coupon expiration date. You may have only a couple of weeks to use these offers.

Tip: Combine your coupon with a store sale

Increase your savings by using your coupons when your local store advertises a sale on your favorite brand. Stock up, if you have the chance. Diapers have a long shelf life.

Don’t forget to watch expiration dates and organize your diaper and grocery coupons in an organizer. Shop for diapers with your infant hands free with a stylish baby

Hell’s Kitchen Season 6 Episode 2: The Red Team Puts Their Hopes In Robert

After a disappointing first dinner service in Hell’s Kitchen, the chefs return to their dorms following elimination. The Red Team takes advantage of having Robert on their team, since he is the only chef to have already competed in Hell’s Kitchen.

After a good night’s sleep, both teams report to Chef Ramsay to receive instructions for their next challenge.

The Shrimp Challenge

For the challenge, each chef on both teams must clean shrimp by properly de-shelling, de-heading, and de-veining as many as possible in 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes, Chef Ramsay will inspect each shrimp and the team with the most shrimp cleaned properly will win the challenge. Because the Red Team has one more chef than the Blue Team, Chef Ramsay picks Lovely to sit out the challenge.

Ramsay examines the shrimp, and one by one, either declares it perfect, or throws it in the bin. The women are first, and have 44 shrimp that meet Ramsay’s satisfaction. The men, however, manage to clean 45 shrimp to perfection, and they win the challenge.

The men are treated to a seafood feast and yacht ride, while the Red Team has to prepare enough shrimp and lemons to make shrimp cocktail for the entire dining room.

The Second Dinner Service in Hell’s Kitchen

Chef Ramsay declares that there will be tableside shrimp scampi service, and selects Van and Tennille to do the duty for their respective teams. Both chefs have trouble with this task, as Tennille tries to serve raw shrimp to a pregnant woman and Van starts to serve tables marked for the Red Team. Jean-Philippe and Van exchange words in front of the diners, and Chef Ramsay tries to diffuse the situation.

In the kitchens, things are not much better. Both teams have difficulty getting chicken properly cooked, Lovely continually burns the fish, and neither kitchen can get orders out to the dining room. Ramsay finally orders the chefs to quit cooking and prepare shrimp cocktails for everyone so that the customers can at least get something to eat.

Preparing for Elimination

Because of the dismal performance of both teams, Ramsay instructs each team to nominate two people for elimination. The Red Team puts up Tennille and Lovely as their nominees, both due to their poor performance at dinner service.

Ramsay then asks Joseph who the Blue Team has nominated and why. Joseph has an attitude and doesn’t respond to Ramsay’s question, saying that the nominated chefs know who they are and why they were nominated. After repeated tries, Chef Ramsay and the other chefs cannot get Joseph to lose his attitude and answer the question. Finally, Joseph pulls off his jacket storms down to the front, coming face-to-face with Ramsay, asking him to step outside.

The episode ends in a showdown between Ramsay and Joseph, To Be Continued…..

New Rotavirus Vaccine

Rotavirus is an important cause of diarrhea worldwide.

In May 2013, researchers reported that this virus causes 111 million cases of diarrhea each year in our world. Rotavirus can cause children under the age of 5 to become severely dehydrated. If not treated this dehydration can lead to death. Rotavirus infection results in 25 million visits to a clinics, places 2 million patients in the hospital and kills between 352,000 and 592,000 people each year worldwide. By age 5 every child will have had one episode of rotavirus diarrhea. One in 5 of these children will visit a clinic, 1 in 65 will be hospitalized and 1 in 293 will die. They were also able to demonstrate that 82 percent of the children that die are from the poorest countries in the world. This virus kills and is especially deadly to young children. At one time it was thought that rotavirus infections would be a thing of the past. That was because a vaccine, called RotaShield, had been developed that protected nearly every child when taken properly. In fact my youngest child took this vaccine when just a baby with no problems at all. Unfortunately, the vaccine was removed from the market in 1999 because it was associated with a severe but rare complication called intussussception. Intussussception is a condition in which the bowel telescopes into itself and can cause life-threatening bowel blockage.

Researchers have come up with a new rotavirus vaccine that is taken orally and does not appear to cause intussusseption. This vaccine is a live attenuated viral vaccine. A live attenuated rotavirus vaccine is a modified rotavirus that can infect the cells of the intestine however it does not cause disease when it infects. The body will mount an immune response to the infected cells so that when a person immunized with this vaccine is exposed to a disease-causing rotavirus they eliminate the virus before it can cause disease. The is being tested in 11 countries in Latin America and in Finland. So far 30,000 children have gotten the vaccine with no severe complications. The vaccine appears to protect up to 90 percent of patients from severe rotavirus infection. The vaccine is given orally in two different doses.

There are a few more studies that need to be conducted but in the not to distant future we may again have a vaccine that could potentially, if used worldwide, save around 290,000 lives per year.

Ricky Gervais Animates Flanimals: Universal, Illumination Entertainment Adapt The Office Star’s Book

Ilumination Entertainment, Universal Pictures’ animation subsidiary, has announced that they are adapting Ricky Gervais’ bestselling children’s novel Flanimals for the big screen. The studio wants to render the story in 3-D computer-generated animation.

According to Variety, writer/producer Matt Selman (The Simpsons
Movie) is co-writing the script for the flick, and Gervais himself will voice the role of the lead character, a chubby, balloon-like purple creature named Puddy the Puddloflaj.

“It will be great to play a short, fat, sweaty loser for a change,” Gervais said about his character. “A real stretch.”

So far, Gervais is the only voice actor associated with the project, but The Office star says he’d like to approach Danny DeVito and Samuel L. Jackson to voice roles in the film.

Ricky Gervais Wrote Flanimals With Illustrator Rob Steen

Gervais wrote his first novel, Flanimals, for Faber and Faber in 2004, with Rob Steen providing the illustrations. It takes the reader into an imaginary world populated by hideously ugly creatures that include Coddleflops (essentially a mushy puddle with eyes), Plamglotises (an ape-like creature that swallows its hands to walk), Frappled Humpdumblers (an octopus-like creature) and Honks (small Flanimals that sleep most of the time, only waking to emit an extremely loud “Honk!”).

Gervais and Steen have since collaborated on several sequels: More Flanimals, Flanimals of the Deep and Flanimals: The Day of the Bletchling. The latter book was widely seen as the last of the series, since all the Flanimals were eventually eaten by the swarm-like Bletchling.

A fifth book, Flanimals: Pop Up, has been scheduled for release later this year. British broadcaster ITV was looking to develop a television series based on the books – scheduled to air in 2009 – but later dropped the project.

Universal is a latecomer to the animation game: its first real splash was with 2008’s The Tale of Despereaux. The film earned a 55% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes – with 57 out of 104 reviewers liking the film – and made $86 million in worldwide box office.

Before Flanimals goes to theatres, Illumination/Universal will release Despicable Me, a CGI film starring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Danny McBride, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig and Julie Andrews. Carell will voice a character named Groo who plots – along with his wicked mother (Andrews) – to steal the moon. The Horton Hears a Who writing team of Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio will pen the script.

Flanimals is tentatively scheduled for a 2011 release.

What is Rotavirus? The Most Common Cause of Severe Early Childhood Diarrhea

Rotavirus is a member of the Reovirus family of viruses. Infections caused by rotavirus are the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children worldwide (see data at the US Centers for Disease Control). Besides a severe watery diarrhea, the Illness can also include fever, abdominal pain and vomiting. Rotavirus infection is very contagious and can spread quickly from an infected child to other children and adults.

How is Rotavirus Contracted?

Rotavirus is relatively stable in the environment (once outside the body). Its stability means that contact with contaminated surfaces can lead to infection as can the consumption of food or water contaminated by fecal material. Almost every child in the United States will have been infected with rotavirus by the time he is 5 years of age.

How is Rotavirus Detected?

Samples of diarrheal specimens can be assayed for the presence of the virus by directly testing for the presence of viral antigens using an antibody based rapid diagnostic test.

How is Rotavirus Infection Treated?

For children with normal immune system function, rotavirus associated diarrheal illness is usually self controlled. The illness typically lasts from 3 to 7 days without complication. However, in some cases the diarrhea can be severe enough that dehydration becomes a problem, leading to hospitalization. In these cases, rehydration therapy with intravenous fluids is the typical treatment.

Can Rotavirus Infections Be Prevented?

As is the case for many virally caused illnesses, practicing good sanitation and personal hygiene can only help to prevent the spread of rotavirus. Regular hand washing and appropriate handling of food and food containers can assist in preventing rotavirus infection. And don’t forget children’s hands should also be washed. Unfortunately, virus can be shed from an infected child before symptoms develop so practicing good sanitary precautions routinely is important. However, improved levels of sanitation have not appreciably decreased the incidence of rotavirus infection. New oral vaccines against rotavirus have been developed in the past several years and have shown very good protection without the side effects associated with the vaccine that was used 10 or more years ago.

In the developing world, infection and illness caused by rotavirus leads to the death of more than 600,000 children per year. For most of these cases, a lack of access to supportive medical care and difficulties with sanitation are likely the major causes for these numbers.

Remember, for any questions relating to medical care or treatment for illness always speak with your family physician or with your child’s pediatrician.