Fit and Fab: the making of an ironman

Olaf Kasten says the greatest achievements come only with difficulty. Photo: Warton Li

He lost his job. He dehydrated himself to the point of needing hospital treatment, and his delirious state caused him to cut the course short, which got him disqualified from a triathlon in Taiwan in the summer of 2011. Yet, Olaf Kasten didn't give up the sport.

Tuesday, 5 March, 2013, 5:22pm

China must declare war on tobacco

Smoking kills an estimated 1.2 million mainlanders each year. Photo: Reuters

Christopher Columbus would have never imagined that, shortly after he introduced tobacco into Europe, it would become one of the main threats to health in several Latin American and Asian countries, as opium did in the 19th century, particularly in China.

26 Feb 2013 - 3:19am

Putin signs law banning smoking in public places

Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning smoking in public places in Russia from June. Photo: AFP

President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning smoking in public places in Russia from June, a cornerstone of the government’s bid to improve public health in the nicotine-addicted country, the Kremlin said on Monday.

The law makes smoking illegal in restaurants, cafes, hotels, trains and a host of other places and will take effect in two stages.

25 Feb 2013 - 5:17pm

China reports second fatal case of bird flu this year, in Guizhou

China is considered one of the nations most at risk from bird flu epidemics because it has the world's biggest poultry population. Photo: Reuters

The 31-year-old died in hospital in the city of Guiyang on Friday, the Guizhou province health department statement said, adding that no other human cases of bird flu had been reported in the province. Another city resident, a 21-year-old woman, died from the virus earlier this month.

24 Feb 2013 - 5:21am

Anti-HIV drug effort boosts life expectancy in South Africa

Anti-HIV drug effort boosts life expectancy in South Africia. Photo: Reuters

An intensive campaign to combat HIV/Aids with costly antiretroviral drugs in rural South Africa has increased life expectancy by more than 11 years and significantly reduced the risk of infection for healthy individuals, according to new research.

24 Feb 2013 - 1:54am

Research paper finds obesity myths are still accepted at face value

Sorting obesity myths from fact. Photo: Reuters

In a study titled "Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity" published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors scoured popular media and scientific literature for obesity-related myths and presumptions and weighed them against scientifically proven facts.

24 Feb 2013 - 6:31am

Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew released from hospital after heart problem

Lee Kuan Yew

Lee, 89, was sent to the Singapore General Hospital after the suspected transient ischemic attack, a condition with stroke-like symptoms that clear within a day, according to the Prime Minister's Office. "The doctors are following up with him to optimise his anti-coagulation therapy, in order to minimise the risk of further … attacks," the office said yesterday.

19 Feb 2013 - 4:21am

Wellbeing trumps decorum when inflight flatulence strikes, say experts

Medics tell flatulent fliers: don't hold it back. Photo: AP

The study concluded that anecdotal evidence that flying increases flatulence is not hot air, finding that changes in air pressure at altitude result in the gut producing more gas.

17 Feb 2013 - 3:28am

All too easy to damage vocal chords, speech therapist warns

Speech therapists' patients range from the obvious - those who talk for a living such as teachers and salespeople - to the unexpected: mothers who scold their children too much. Raymond Fong, a speech therapist at Queen Mary Hospital, has seen a widening range of patients recently as people become aware that treatments exist for common problems like a hoarse voice. 

15 Feb 2013 - 3:50am

Foster breastfeeding while promoting formula advertising code

WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively until the age of six months. Photo: May Tse

New consumer protection rules for marketing and advertising tend to run the gauntlet of free-market principles. In the latest example major manufacturers of baby milk formula have cited economic freedom in their resistance to some aspects of a voluntary advertising code. These include prominent health warnings, such as the need to use very hot water to mix the formula, and the possibility of digestive upsets. Manufacturers are concerned about the effects of hot water on live organisms they claim are beneficial, and say the second warning doesn't apply to all formula milk.

12 Feb 2013 - 2:45am

Bird flu cases on mainland fail to deter Hong Kong demand for chicken

Chicken sells well over the Lunar New Year holidays, despite reported bird flu cases in the mainland. Photo: Felix Wong

The two people - a 21-year-old woman and 31-year-old man - tested positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus in Guiyang, Guizhou province, Xinhua said on Sunday. The woman developed symptoms on February 2 and the man the next day.

12 Feb 2013 - 6:09am

The greater the air pollution, the smaller the baby, study finds

The research was the most extensive of its kind on the link between air pollution and fetal development. Photo: AFP

Pregnant women increase the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby when they breathe in air pollution from vehicles, heating and coal power plants, an international study has concluded.

7 Feb 2013 - 4:17am

A measurement of success in helping the world's poor

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contribute much to the United Nations Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Photo: EPA

The lives of the world's poorest people have improved more rapidly in the past 15 years than ever before, and I am optimistic that we will do even better in the next 15 years. After all, human knowledge is increasing. We can see this in the development and declining costs of new medicines like HIV drugs, and in the creation of new seeds that allow poor farmers to be more productive.

7 Feb 2013 - 2:41am

Carbon monoxide poisoning kills 10 in Beijing

A worker moves coal briquettes onto a pedicab at a coal distribution business in Huaibei, Anhui province on January 30, 2013. Photo: AFP

At least 10 people died in Beijing this week from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, state media reported on Wednesday.

7 Feb 2013 - 1:40am

No new cases of superbug VRE, says Caritas Medical Centre

Caritas Medical Centre

The Caritas Medical Centre had been battling to rid its wards of VRE, or vancomycin-resistant enterococci. It had found more than 100 carriers of the superbug.

4 Feb 2013 - 4:41am