Archive for the ‘cancer’ Category

Health, Fitness of Top Candidates: Too Many Unknowns

October 20, 2008

Senator Barack Obama, 47, the Democratic presidential nominee, released a one-page, undated letter from his personal physician in May stating that he was in “excellent” health. Senator John McCain, 72, is a cancer survivor, and Senator Joe Biden has had emergency surgery on a brain aneurysm.

By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D.
The New York Times

Fifteen days before the election, serious gaps remain in the public’s knowledge about the health of the presidential and vice-presidential nominees. The limited information provided by the candidates is a striking departure from recent campaigns, in which many candidates and their doctors were more forthcoming.

The scars on John McCain’s puffy left cheek are reminders of the extensive surgery he underwent in 2000 to remove a malignant melanoma.

Barack Obama, who started smoking at least two decades ago, has had trouble quitting. Mr. Obama says he quit last year but has “bummed” cigarettes.

In past elections….

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/20/us/
politics/20health.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

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Healthy Chief Executive? What Do We Know?

By Robert Dallek
The Washington Post
Sunday, October 19, 2008; Page B03

The American public seems pretty sure that it knows everything it needs to know about whether John McCain and Barack Obama are healthy enough to be president. I’m not. And whenever I think about whether both men are fit to serve, physically speaking, I think about the sinking feeling I had one lovely spring afternoon in 2002 when an archivist at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library wheeled out the cartload of files showing how badly we had all been deceived about JFK’s health.

The secret details of Kennedy’s medical history were buried in 10 beat-up old cartons of records the library had held for 40 years. Past requests for access to these materials had all been refused by a committee of loyalists that included one of JFK’s closest advisers, speechwriter Ted Sorensen. To my surprise, the committee had given me the chance to read the files; I had to agree not to photocopy them but was free to take notes or read passages into a tape recorder. Now I — along with a physician friend, Jeffrey Kelman — felt as if I were breaching a wall of secrecy. Here were not the usual neat boxes of presidential records, preserved in red-blue-and-silver-trimmed containers, but musty cardboard cartons that seemed to have sat untouched in some corner of the library since Janet Travell, one of Kennedy’s physicians, had given them to the library after JFK’s assassination in November 1963.

Back pain forced President Kennedy to use an Air Force lift to board his plane.  Voters never knew the extent of his ailments.

The picture of health: Back pain forced President Kennedy to use an Air Force lift to board his plane. Voters never knew the extent of his ailments. (AP Photo/Harold Valentine)

Between May 1955 and October 1957, Kennedy had been hospitalized nine times for a total of 44 days, including one 19-day period and two week-long stretches. Despite his public image of “vigah,” as his accent rendered it, he suffered from bouts of colitis, accompanied by abdominal pain, diarrhea and dehydration; agony in his back triggered by osteoporosis of the lumbar spine; prostatitis, marked by severe pain and urinary infections; and Addison’s disease, a form of adrenal insufficiency. Some of his difficulties, such as his back pain and Addison’s, were open secrets among the press corps during his 1960 run for the White House, but the extent and severity of his problems — to say nothing of the promiscuous variety of medications and doctors he relied upon to maintain his health — had remained undisclosed. That’s largely because the Kennedy campaign made every effort to hide his health problems — obviously convinced that these disclosures, combined with his youth and Catholicism, would sink him.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/1
7/AR2008101702058.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Study finds 1 in 4 US teens has a STD

March 11, 2008
By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer

CHICAGO – At least one in four teenage American girls has a sexually transmitted disease, suggests a first-of-its-kind federal study that startled some adolescent-health experts.

Some doctors said the numbers might be a reflection of both abstinence-only sex education and teens’ own sense of invulnerabilty. Because some sexually transmitted infections can cause infertility and cancer, U.S. health officials called for better screening, vaccination and prevention.

Only about half of the girls in the study acknowledged having sex. Some teens define sex as only intercourse, yet other types of intimate behavior including oral sex can spread some diseases.
Among those who admitted having sex, the rate was even more disturbing — 40 percent had an STD.

“This is pretty shocking,” said Dr. Elizabeth Alderman, an adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital in New York.

“To talk about abstinence is not a bad thing,” but teen girls — and boys too — need to be informed about how to protect themselves if they do have sex, Alderman said.

The overall STD rate among the 838 girls in the study was 26 percent, which translates to more than 3 million girls nationwide, researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. They released the results Tuesday at an STD prevention conference in Chicago.

“Those numbers are certainly alarming,” said sex education expert Nora Gelperin, who works with a teen-written Web site called sexetc.org. She said they reflect “the sad state of sex education in our country.”

“Sexuality is still a very taboo subject in our society,” she said. “Teens tell us that they can’t make decisions in the dark and that adults aren’t properly preparing them to make responsible decisions.”

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the study shows that “the national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure, and teenage girls are paying the real price.”

Similar claims were made last year when the government announced the teen birth rate rose between 2005 and 2006, the first increase in 15 years.

The new study by CDC researcher Dr. Sara Forhan relied on slightly older data. It is an analysis of nationally representative records on girls ages 14 to 19 who participated in a 2003-04 government health survey.

The teens were tested for four infections: human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer and affected 18 percent of girls studied; chlamydia, which affected 4 percent; trichomoniasis, 2.5 percent; and genital herpes, 2 percent.

Dr. John Douglas, director of the CDC’s division of STD prevention, said the results are the first to examine the combined national prevalence of common sexually transmitted diseases among adolescent girls. He said the data, now a few years old, likely reflect current prevalence rates.

Disease rates were significantly higher among black girls — nearly half had at least one STD, versus 20 percent among both whites and Mexican-Americans.

HPV, the cancer-causing virus, can also cause genital warts but often has no symptoms. A vaccine targeting several HPV strains recently became available, but Douglas said it probably hasn’t yet had much impact on HPV prevalence rates in teen girls.

The CDC recommends the three-dose HPV vaccine for girls ages 11-12 and catch-up shots for ages 13-26.

Chlamydia, which often has no symptoms but can lead to infertility, can be treated with antibiotics. The CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women under age 25. Trichomoniasis, also treatable with antibiotics, can cause abnormal discharge and painful urination. Genital herpes can cause blisters but often has no symptoms. It’s not curable but medicine can help.

The CDC’s Dr. Kevin Fenton said given the dangers of some STDs, “screening, vaccination and other prevention strategies for sexually active women are among our highest public health priorities.”

Douglas said screening tests are underused in part because many teens don’t think they’re at risk, but also, some doctors mistakenly think: “Sexually transmitted diseases don’t happen to the kinds of patients I see.”

Teens need to hear the dual message that STDs can be prevented by abstinence and condoms, said Dr. Ellen Kruger, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.

“You’ve got to hammer at them,” with appropriate information at each stage of teen development to make sure it sinks in, she said.

She said there are a lot of myths out there, too — many sexually active teens think the withdrawal method will protect them, or that douching with Coca-Cola will kill STD germs.

Dr. Margaret Blythe, an adolescent medicine specialist at Indiana University School of Medicine, said some doctors hesitate to discuss STDs with teen patients or offer screening because of confidentiality concerns, knowing parents would have to be told of the results.

Blythe, who heads an American Academy of Pediatrics committee on adolescence, noted that the academy supports confidential teen screening.

China: Tainted Drugs Remain Threat to Life

January 31, 2008
January 31, 2008
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BEIJING — A huge state-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company that exports to dozens of countries, including the United States, is at the center of a nationwide drug scandal after nearly 200 Chinese cancer patients were paralyzed or otherwise harmed last summer by contaminated leukemia drugs.
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Chinese drug regulators have accused the manufacturer of the tainted drugs of a cover-up and have closed the factory that produced them. In December, China’s Food and Drug Administration said that the Shanghai police had begun a criminal investigation and that two officials, including the head of the plant, had been detained.Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/world/asia/31pharma.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin 

China is the World’s E-Waste Dumping Ground

January 5, 2008

By Terry J. Allen
In These Times
January 5, 2008

The highway of poisoned products that runs from China to the United States is not a one-way street. America ships China up to 80 percent of U.S. electronic waste — discarded computers, cell phones, TVs, etc. Last year alone, the United States exported enough e-waste to cover a football field and rise a mile into the sky.

So while the media ride their new lead-painted hobbyhorse — the danger of Chinese wares — spare a thought for Chinese workers dying to dispose of millions of tons of our toxic crap.

Most of the junk ends up in the small port city of Guiyu, a one-industry town four hours from Hong Kong that reeks of acid fumes and burning plastic. Its narrow streets are lined with 5,500 small-scale scavenger enterprises euphemistically called “recyclers.” They employ 80 percent of the town’s families — more than 30,000 people — who recover copper, gold and other valuable materials from 15 million tons of e-waste.

Unmasked and ungloved, Guiyu’s workers dip motherboards into acid baths, shred and grind plastic casings from monitors, and grill components over open coal fires. They expose themselves to brain-damaging, lung-burning, carcinogenic, birth-defect- inducing toxins such as lead, mercury, cadmium and bromated flame retardants (the subject of last month’s column), as well as to dioxin at levels up to 56 times World Health Organization standards. Some 82 percent of children under 6 around Guiyu have lead poisoning.

While workers reap $1 to $3 a day and an early death, the “recycling” industry — in both the United States and China — harvests substantial profits. U.S. exporters not only avoid the cost of environmentally sound disposal at home, but they also turn a buck from selling the waste abroad. After disassembly, one ton of computer scrap yields more gold than 17 tons of gold ore, and circuit boards can be 40 times richer in copper than copper ore. In Guiyu alone, workers extract 5 tons of gold, 1 ton of silver and an estimated $150 million a year.

Many U.S. exporters pose as recyclers rather than dumpers. But a 2005 Government Accountability Office report found that “it is difficult to verify that exported used electronics are actually destined for reuse, or that they are ultimately managed responsibly once they leave U.S. shores.”

This dumping of toxic waste by developed countries onto developing ones is illegal under the Basel Convention, a 1992 international treaty that was ratified by every industrialized nation — except the United States.

Unhindered by international law and unmonitored by Washington, U.S. brokers simply label e-waste “recyclable” and ship it somewhere with lax environmental laws, corrupt officials and desperately poor workers. China has all three. And a packing case with a 100-dollar bill taped to it slips as easily as an eel through Guiyu’s ports.

E-waste fills a neat niche in the U.S.-China trade. America’s insatiable appetite for cheap Chinese goods has created a trade deficit that topped $233 billion last year. While e-waste does little to redress the financial disparity, it helps ensure that the container vessels carrying merchandise to Wal-Mart’s shelves do not return empty to China.

In the 19th century, England faced a similarly massive deficit with China until a different kind of junk — opium — allowed it to complete the lucrative England-India-China trade triangle.

Britain, after destroying India’s indigenous textile industry and impoverishing local weavers, flooded its colony with English textiles carried on English ships. The British East India Company fleet then traveled to China to buy tea, silk and other commodities to sate Europe’s appetites for “exotic” luxuries. But since there was little the Chinese wanted from either India or Europe, the ships traveled light and profitless on the India-China side of the triangle. That is, until England forced Indian peasants to grow opium and, in the process, precipitate mass starvation by diverting cultivable land.

The trade fleet then filled up with opium and pushed it to China through the port of Canton. Since opium was illegal in China, Britain started a war in 1839 to force Peking to accept the drug. By 1905, more than a quarter of China’s male population was addicted.

Now it is Americans who are addicted to Chinese junk. And our own government policies and corporations are the ones stoking the jones. Slick marketing and consumer fetishism push Americans to buy the latest, lightest, biggest, smallest, fastest, trendiest items. And even if you are not hooked on the latest gadgets, repairs or upgrades are impractical. The half billion computers we trashed in the last decade have to go somewhere, and shipping them to China and other poor nations is a win-win solution for Chinese and U.S. industry.

As for the populations of both countries, we can feast on the irony that the same ships that carry toxic toys and food ingredients to Americans return bearing deadly e-waste for the Chinese.

Terry J. Allen is a senior editor of In These Times. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The Nation, New Scientist and other publications.

To Oprah and All Her Fans: Everything is Relative

November 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 5, 2007

Oprah Winfrey, “Who hasn’t had a bad day in her life,” according to celebrity disaster control and public relations consultant Peter Shankman of Manhattan, issued a teary-eyed apology to her South African school’s students and their parents after allegations of child sexual abuse by a matron were uncovered.

Ms. Winfrey, the highly regarded mega-millionaire, has invested some $40 million into an South African education center for about 150 young women, which is highly commendable. 

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah said whenever a child has the courage to come forward, adults should listen.

Oprah also said the revelation of the allegations had sparked “one of the most, if not the most devastating experience of my life.”

Now, child abuse and any sexual abuse is insidious, life-changing and often devastating.  It is not to be belittled.  But it is not death, cancer or the life that refugees face either.

Oprah Winfrey said, “This has shaken me to the core.”

This is as bad as Oprah’s life has ever gotten?  Or will ever get?
Talk Show host Oprah Winfrey smiles as she arrives for the Chicago premier of 'The Color Purple' in a  Thursday, May 3, 2007 photo. Winfrey has pulled a discredited children's book, Forrest Carter's 'The Education of Little Tree,' from a list of recommended titles on her Web site, blaming an archival 'error' for including a work considered the literary hoax of a white supremacist.  'The archived listing was posted in error and has been removed,' Winfrey spokeswoman Angela DePaul told The Associated Press on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, adding that she did not know long 'Little Tree' had been on the site. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file)

Oprah Winfrey

We think what really brought Oprah to tears was the revelation that Jay Leno wouldn’t be able to talk about her dilemma because his writers are on strike. We heard one PR queen say, “She cried like a baby when she heard the story broke on a night with only late night re-runs. Now THAT’S a TRAGEDY.”

And by emphasizing her own emotional distress, Oprah seemed to cover over the people really hurt and wronged.  The students.  Her students.  A PEOPLE Magazine editor we spoke to said, “Oprah is partly to blame.  She put her name on that school then didn’t ensure a safe environment.  She needs to step up.”

Even Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post wrote, “I did wince yesterday when she called allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the girls’ school she founded in South Africa ‘one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating experience of my life’ — seeming to make it all about her, not the alleged victims.”

On the November 6, 2007 TODAY show on NBC, feelings were expressed, but in very muted tones.

Oprah promised to love, cherish, comfort and care for her “little ones” and she handed out her cell phone number.

She told the media she was their “Mamma Bear.”

But when you are 5 or 6 time zones away and in a different culture and on a different continent, the amount of hugging and helping has to be done through accountants.

We believe, if a crime committed in Africa is the worst thing ever to happen to a Chicago-based multi-millionaire and TV personality; then life is just about as terrific as it can be. Oprah apparently has no clue about what is going on in cancer treatment centers, refugee camps and millions of other places filled with tragedy, crime, unlawful death, pain and agony.

Heck, in Thailand and Cambodia they just don’t abuse little girls, they sell them to predators first.  Try human trafficking as a real cause for celebrity interest.

Oh, Oprah has HEARD all the stories, and even visited some slums in her limo: but she is always free to travel home to her Ivory Tower.

Fifteen minutes in the slums of Bombay or Manila, we bet, would make Oprah lose her lunch.  She’d have no fluids left for tears.

We are tired of teary-eyed divas with few worries worth noting. 

Paris Hilton cried after she was sentenced to a Hollywood slammer for, what, 23 days? Ellen cried because she had to send a puppy (that she had already given away to someone else) back to the adoption agency.  

And Heather Mills cried, I guess, because she might only screw Paul McCartney out of $60 million: not the full $300 million she thinks she deserves.  And besides, says Heather, the newspapers have been “simply wicked.”
Photo

Well my heart is broken.

Lord Have Mercy! These are DISASTERS? Whoever is listening to this drivel and thinks these are real tragedies should run, not walk, to the nearest neighborhood AA meeting and hear an hours worth of real life problems. Heck, in Vegas there are guys that have lost more money gambling than Oprah has ever MADE. Now that’s a tragedy. And a fifteen minute visit to a communist prison in Vietnam or China, we’ll bet, would more than quadruple the trauma Oprah is experience because of sexual abouse 5,000 or more miles away.

And ladies of America, if you have sympathy for these hugely rich people with bad nail and manicure tragedies: go find someone with real heartache and lend a hand. Don’t stew for one second over these charlatans.

Remember “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”?  The song about the tragedy of Evita Peron? Well, she slept herself into South American stardom and didn’t deserve one tear drop.

At least Marie Osmond figured out that tears had been shed over, and over, and over again.  So she fainted!

Evita and Marie deserve no tears.

And neither do any of the above mentioned show people of dubious intentions and questionable tragedies.

Related:
Rich, Good Looking Doesn’t Make You Happy: So Crying on TV Gets Attention?
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Oprah the Avenger

By Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post
November 6, 2007

I  can’t summon any schadenfreude for Oprah Winfrey, just sympathy — both for her good intentions and her determination to live up to them. And I pity anyone foolish enough to stand in her way.

I did wince yesterday when she called allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the girls’ school she founded in South Africa “one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating experience of my life” — seeming to make it all about her, not the alleged victims. Still, my heart refused to harden.

I recalled that when Winfrey opened the $40 million school in January, I criticized her dismissal of inner-city kids here in the United States as only interested in “an iPod or some sneakers.”

I thought that insult was gratuitous and wrong. But I couldn’t argue with her basic point that South Africa has desperate poverty and a rudimentary educational infrastructure, and I applauded her attempt to give a few special girls an opportunity beyond their wildest dreams.

Now that the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is back in the news, but for all the wrong reasons, I’ve got to applaud the way Winfrey is handling the situation. I have the sense that she wouldn’t hesitate to do a little “enhanced interrogation” of some staff members if that was what it took to get to the bottom of what really happened.

A now-fired dormitory matron at the school, Virginia Mokgobo, 27, was arrested last week. She pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of assault, indecent assault and soliciting underage girls to perform indecent acts and was released on bail.

Police said that at least seven students had submitted statements in support of the allegations, but it was not known how many were alleged victims of abuse and how many were witnesses.

“When I first heard about it, I spent about a half-hour going around my house crying,” Winfrey told South African journalists yesterday, speaking from Chicago in a video news conference.

All about Oprah? Not a fair question, when you recall that Winfrey has disclosed that she was the victim of sexual abuse as a young girl. There’s every reason to believe that the allegations of abuse at the school have, as Winfrey said, “shaken me to my core” — not her celebrity core, but her real core.

Since first hearing of the allegations in early October, she has flown to South Africa twice. She put the school’s headmistress on administrative leave and has since said that she will not renew the woman’s contract — the first step in what she described at her news conference yesterday as “cleaning house from top to bottom.”

She apologized personally to angry parents, telling them, “I’ve disappointed you. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” She has hired her own investigative team to assist South African authorities, and if someone is found guilty of the charges, I wouldn’t be surprised if Winfrey offered to build a new prison.

Of course, we don’t yet know if any abuse actually took place. The magistrate who released Mokgobo on bail told her, “These kind of offenses are very prevalent in this court” — an acknowledgment that sexual abuse of girls, usually by male teachers, is far too common in South African schools. But in the case of Winfrey’s school, we don’t yet know the specific allegations, much less whether there is evidence to support them.

We know that students complained months ago about not being allowed to eat junk food — hardly a red flag. But we also know that some parents began complaining in March, just two months after the Leadership Academy opened, that the school was too strict in limiting visits, telephone calls and e-mail contact with their children. In retrospect, that might have been an important warning.

Winfrey’s school — lavishly appointed, with state-of-the-art science labs and a yoga studio — is meant to be an island of unlimited possibility. But isolating the school’s 450 students so thoroughly from negative influences may also have kept out needed sunlight — and may have allowed problems to fester in the dark. As Winfrey cleans house, I think she might want to restructure the model and allow more of an organic relationship between the school and its community.

She gave the students her private phone number and e-mail address so they can contact her immediately with problems and concerns. Winfrey may not be an expert on running a school — yet — but I’m confident she understands the most important thing: There is no more sacred trust than caring for other people’s children.

The writer will answer questions at 1 p.m. today here. His e-mail address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

The Healing Impact of Music

October 24, 2007

Appropriately her name is “Joy.”  Joy Allen is an Angel from Heaven that brings music and healing to those who are ill and in need.

By Doug Dickerson
The Independent •
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Harvey Pinckney sits on the edge of his bed, the sound of, ‘Just A Closer Walk with Thee’ resonates through the room, his foot taps to the beat on the floor, Pinckney sings along.

Joy Allen is not there to just sing or entertain; she is an integral part of patient care.

As the music plays, and the hymn is sung, a therapy session is under way.

Allen routinely calls on patients each day at Trident Hospital. Her patient care rounds may take her from oncology seeing cancer patients, or to the neo-natal unit to see premature babies, but Allen is there to minister healing wherever she goes.

As a valuable part of the team of caregivers for patients, she does not wear a stethoscope around her neck, nor write prescriptions. Her medicine of choice can be gospel music, R & B, 60’s, 70’s, jazz or any of the standard songs. She has hundreds to choose from.

Allen’s instrument of healing is administered through her voice as she sings and her hands as she plays the guitar. Allen, a board certified music therapist, is the music therapy coordinator at Trident Hospital. The program began a little over two years ago at Trident and is the only program of its kind at any area hospital.

Each day, Allen and her two interns, Cara Batema and Amber Crawford, see patients who may be at end-of-life stages with their illnesses or tiny infants in the neo-natal unit. Since the inception of the program, the response from patients and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We have more referrals than we can meet,” says Allen.

The individual attention given to a patient during a music therapy session is an integral part of a patients care. Michelle Horton, a registered nurse and Oncology Director says that the therapy sessions make a huge difference in their cases with oncology patients.

“I can see a huge difference with the patients with their therapy. My staff loves to walk the hall and hear them singing in the rooms,” she said. Music therapy sessions may involve creating, improvising, listening to, and/or performing music, depending on the patients needs.

Allen and her staff take an individualized approach to patient care and will incorporate music in the session based upon the patient’s strength’s, preferences, cultural background, and spiritual beliefs. A music therapy session may last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the patient.

Allen says that since the demand for music therapy services is so high within the hospital, patients are seen on a priority basis according to need.

The medicinal value of the care that is provided is immeasurable.

Elizabeth Friendly, an oncology nurse says that as a nurse, she can only jab a patient so many times, but when the music therapists come it’s a tremendous input.

“They look forward to them coming and coming back, music is a universal healer. When everything else has been taken away from them with regards to their health, no matter how sick they may be, music is the one thing that they can enjoy,” she said.

Allen says the spiritual element of music therapy is a strong component to the patient care she provides. “There are times in the sessions we will write songs, especially in a end-of-life situation and that is given as a gift to the family or as a celebration of the persons life,” she said.

Tom Glisson, Director of Pastoral Care at Trident Hospital says that the program has been very warmly received throughout the hospital. “The program h as taken off like gangbusters. It’s very beneficial; the patients not only enjoy it but they also therapeutically benefit from it. Music is a powerful medium and invokes a lot of memories and is relational between the patient, the therapist and the music. It’s not the same as playing a CD or radio.

A music therapist is trained from a spiritual approach,” he said. Music therapy allows a person to focus on the parts of themselves that are healthy, creative, and expressive, no matter how ill one may be.

Through the patient/therapist relationship that develops with and through the music, a healthy space is created allowing for needed physical, emotional, and/or spiritual change to take place. This in turn, allows for the patient to live his or her life rather than focusing completely on the illness. Allen says that in addition to sessions with patients, she may also have sessions with the extended family to help them cope with the illness of their loved one.

“The fighting spirit is so important to their care, we are the ones they can come to for support and cry with,” said Allen.

After ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’, Crawford sits next to Pinckney as Batema joins them in singing the old classic, ‘I’ll Fly Away’ and close with ‘How Great Thou Art’.

“I really enjoy it, it lifts me up. When she (Allen) brings it, I feel it. Some can sing it but not feel it, she makes me feel good,” he said.

New Zealand investigates formaldehyde content in Chinese clothing imports

August 20, 2007

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand’s government is investigating clothing imports from China after some were found to contain dangerously high levels of the chemical formaldehyde, officials said Monday.

The probe was ordered after scientists testing clothes for TV3’s “Target” consumer watchdog program discovered formaldehyde concentrations up to 900 times above the safe level in woolen and cotton clothes from China.

Formaldehyde _ a preservative that is used to give a permanent press effect to clothes and also as an embalming fluid _ can cause problems ranging from skin rashes to cancer.

Read the rest at:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20351571/