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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Strike means delayed operations

  Operations are set to be delayed across the UK Hospital managers are planning to postpone thousands of non-emergency operations next Wednesday, because of the public sector strike over pension changes.

Patients across the UK have been sent letters warning them of the disruption.

Diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments will also be delayed, but hospitals insist emergency and critical care will not be affected.

Managers say they are preparing as they would for Christmas or bank holidays.

An estimated 400,000 nurses and healthcare assistants, as well as paramedics, physiotherapists, and support staff like cleaners and administrators have said they will join the action on 30 November over changes to public sector pensions.

However, the main medical unions - the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and the British Medical Association are not taking part.

The Department of Health in England said it was expecting at least 5,500 non-emergency procedures like hip and knee operations to be rearranged.

More than 12,000 patients are likely to have diagnostic tests postponed, and 40,000 outpatient appointments are expected to be rescheduled.

On an average day, 28,000 patients have planned treatments or operations in England and there are 60,000 diagnostic tests.

However, managers say they are putting plans in place to make sure people can still get emergency or urgent care, in the way they do on bank holidays or at Christmas.

999 calls

Patients needing urgent treatment like chemotherapy and kidney dialysis will still be able to get it, and maternity units will remain open.

Calls to 999 will still be answered, but patients are being urged to think hard and only call if it is a genuine emergency.

The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said health service workers should not take action that harms the interests of patients.

"I would ask staff to consider carefully whether going on strike is the right thing to do," he said.

Unison's head of health Christina Nacanea said members did not take strike action lightly.

"Most of them will first and foremost ensure that there is adequate cover is in place and that patients' safety is not compromised," she said,

"But by the same token they will be wanting to demonstrate their opposition to what the government is trying do to their pensions."

Switch in cervical cancer vaccine

The human papilloma virus can cause cervical cancer and genital warts The Department of Health has decided to change the vaccine it uses to protect girls against cervical cancer throughout the UK.

From September next year it will use the Gardasil jab, which also offers protection against genital warts - one of the most common sexually transmitted infections.

Some sexual health experts criticised the decision in 2008 when the Department of Health opted for the cheaper of the two vaccines on offer - Cervarix.

Both vaccines protect against human papilloma virus (HPV) types 16 and 18, which cause more than 70% of cervical cancer.

But Gardasil, which the Department of Health has now opted for, also protects against HPV types six and 11 which cause nearly all genital warts.

Figures from the Health Protection Agency show that 75,000 people were diagnosed with genital warts in 2010.

Professor David Salisbury, the Government's Director of Immunisation, said: "It's not unusual for the NHS to change vaccines or other medicines - it can happen following competitive tendering exercises or when new research findings come to light."

He denied that the wrong choice of vaccine had been made three years ago, adding that the decisions then and now were both "scientifically and economically justifiable".

Dr Steve Taylor, consultant in sexual health medicine at Birmingham Heartlands hospital said the news was "fantastic".

He added: "In Australia the burden of genital warts has fallen dramatically since the introduction of the quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil).

"We felt last time round the decision was based on the vaccine cost, and yet the reduction in the burden on sexual health clinics was not taken into account."

Gardasil, made by Sanofi Pasteur MSD, is the most widely used of the two vaccines. Eighty million doses have been distributed worldwide compared to 25m of Cervarix, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

Girls are offered the HPV vaccine at secondary school when aged 12-13.

The Department of Health says 400 deaths a year from cervical cancer will be prevented by the vaccination programme.

The expanding trend for ear stretching

  Stretched ear lobes are becoming an increasingly common sight in the street. But why has creating a large hole in the ear lobe started to appeal to more and more people?

Ear stretching goes back a long way.

But you don't have to visit a museum or travel to a remote-ish part of the world to see it because the practice has been adopted in many Western countries.

However, it is not so common that it goes unnoticed. Stretched piercings do tend to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb, particularly if the hole is substantial enough to hold a small object.

For many people, there is an "ouch" or an "eugh" factor when they see someone with a substantial ear lobe stretch but for those that have it done, it is a thing of beauty.

Continue reading the main story 

Amie Conradine, 19, started stretching her lobes herself from the age of 11.

She now has a 26mm gauge in one ear and 24mm in the other. She also has a 3mm hole in the cartilage of her upper ear.

The alternative model from Essex says: "It's pushing my body to its limit and I love the way it looks. I think they look amazing on people.

"I don't push myself because other people are doing it now. I won't do it to be more extreme.

"Body modification is not a new thing but it is becoming more popular.

"People are only doing it these days because they are following like sheep.

"My tattoos and my body modifications all have meanings. I would feel like a completely different person without them."

One of the recently ousted contestants on the BBC One show Masterchef: The Professionals had both ears stretched and adorned with black "flesh tunnels", which allow people to see through the lobe.

This led to remarks on Twitter such as "I like Seb. And he can hang his utensils from his ear lobes so double bonus" and "I would've served my prawns in my ear holes if I were Seb".

Flesh tunnels and flesh plugs, which are solid, have become more visible on our screens. Dougie Poynter from British band McFly is currently sporting some flesh tunnels in the Australian jungle, where he is taking part in ITV1's I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

American rapper Travie McCoy and American singer Adam Lambert are also stretching devotees. British fashion expert Gok Wan is also partial to large wooden ear plug adornments but it is not known if these are being used to stretch his lobe.

Statistics are not easy to come by but, as with tattoos, there is extensive anecdotal evidence that ear stretching is on the rise. More people are wearing them, DIY kits are more widely available and there is a much greater choice of jewellery.

Marcus Mellor, from the Holier than Thou piercing parlour in Manchester, says ear stretching has become more popular in the last five or six years.

Practising what he pierces, Mellor has stretched both his ears. He says it used to be associated with hippies, punks or the rock crowd but now it is "all walks of life and not just students".

Continue reading the main story The point of no return beyond which the hole will not return to normal variesOne danger is a blow-out, where ear flesh extrudesProponents say stretching should never hurt and that pain is usually a sign something has gone wrongReconstructive surgery to restore a stretched ear is possible but can be expensive"We get girlie girls, metal kids and middle-aged men," says Julie Howick, the owner of Cold Steel in London's Camden.

"It used to go hand-in-hand with other piercings but now people just come in for ear stretching. It can be discreet and people can hide it behind their hair in work."

Ear stretching is in vogue, says Alix Fox, who writes the body modification section in the British alternative magazine Bizarre.

"It's fashionable and it's easier to find a reputable, clean, knowledgeable place to have this kind of thing done."

Prof Victoria Pitts-Taylor, from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, says ear stretching has become popularised in the same way as other sub-cultural practices, such as tattooing and piercing.

McFly's Dougie Poynter is a stretching fan. Gok Wan's may not be the real McCoy

The sociologist, who wrote In the Flesh: the Cultural Politics of Body Modification, says it started in the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of the body art movement and the "modern primitives", who appropriated practices from the "global supermarket" for various reasons such as showing solidarity with other cultures or to set themselves apart.

Ear stretching has became more mainstream in the last decade and different people have become attracted to it because they see it on the catwalks and celebrities.

Hard-core modifiers have to up the ante to defy the commercialisation of the practice, Prof Pitts-Taylor suggests.

"It is a slightly more committed body art than temporary practices or ear piercing. The more you stretch the skin, the more commitment you are expressing to a counter cultural look."

People who are obsessed with getting the largest stretch possible are known in the business as a "gauge queen" or "gauge king", according to Fox.

Jay Cee, a music video director and photographer from Surrey, says she is quite a creative person and so she likes a creative image.

"It's something a bit different and the people I was hanging around with wore them."

She bought her own kit and went up a taper size every month.

"I did the research and went to friends for advice. I also went on YouTube and different forums.

"It was painful but no pain, no gain.

"My parents were not happy and my mum was like 'What's that?' but they just got used to it."

Her lobe is now stretched to 18mm, so it will never shrink back to the size of the original piercing.

"It won't go back. It's for life. I still like it."

There are many ways to stretch ear lobes. You can gradually stretch the skin using different sized tapers (cone-shaped pieces of jewellery). This requires patience.

For those who want an immediate result, there's dermal punching. This works like a hole punch and will create an instant gap.

Mellor advises customers to take the gradual approach. "Just take it slow and steady - normally a 1mm increase every four weeks - and if the skin does not stretch easily, don't force it."

"The important thing is not to stretch your ear too fast because not only will it be painful but you're not stretching the skin uniformly," explains Fox.

Applying excess pressure can squeeze flesh from the inside of the lobe to the outside, causing what's known as a "blow out", she says. This can leave people with scarring.

There is a point of no return but it varies. A stretched piercing can shrink back to its original size but this depends on several factors including the length of time taken to stretch and the elasticity of the skin.

In some cases, if you stretch too fast or by too much, the lobe can split.

"Most people don't go above 10mm. They are thinking about the future. Once you start going to 20mm/30mm, you would need reconstruction if you changed your mind," says Howick.

As tattoo parlours now offer removals or reworking, there is also demand from people who regret their ear stretching.

Continue reading the main story  Ear stretching has been around for millenniaOtzi the Iceman, one of the oldest mummies in the world, had stretched earsThe ear lobes of Buddha statues are nearly always shown elongated. While a layman, the Buddha wore heavy ear adornments which he stopped wearing when he became a monkIt is still part of some traditional cultures, such as the Mursi in Ethiopia and some hill tribes in northern ThailandIt can be a rite of passage, a spiritual symbol or a sign of statusDr Ken Stewart, a member of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, says ear lobes are made of skin and fat but they are sensitive organs - they turn red when people get embarrassed and have an erogenous function. He says the main danger of ear stretching is deformity.

He is used to seeing people with lobes damaged because of bites or big earrings but only in the last few years has he been asked to repair lobes affected by ear stretching - he carried out five operations in the past year.

"They tend to get it done as teenagers and then they have to correct it as they get older for career reasons."

If there is still tissue, he can put it back together again using what he describes as a "Swiss roll technique". This will take about 45 minutes and cost £2,500.

More extensive damage will require taking cartilage from the rib and this surgery will take up to four hours and cost £8,000.

It seems size is all-important when it comes to ear stretching. While some body modifiers like to keep theirs discreet, others want to make a statement.

These days it is nigh on impossible to find a girl who does not have a tiny hole in her ear but it is perhaps a stretch too far to imagine that the long-eared trend will have the same mass appeal.

Train-hit girl's arm reattached

  The girl was injured at a level crossing in Killingworth A girl whose arm was severed when a train hit her at a level crossing on Tyneside has had the limb reattached.

Rebecca Huitson, 12, underwent surgery at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary after she was dealt a "glancing blow" by an Edinburgh-to-London train.

Rebecca's arm was retrieved from the track after she was hit at Killingworth at 18:30 GMT on Monday, police said.

Michael Schenker, a consultant plastic surgeon, said there was a "small risk" the "replant" of her arm could fail.

He said Rebecca's arm had sustained considerable damage.

Further operation

"I don't know how they found it but was told it was found quite far away from the patient," Mr Schenker said.

"It has a number of fractures so we have to deal with that at a later stage.

"The main thing was to get the blood supply into the arm as quickly as possible, and so far that is working."

Rebecca is expected to have a further operation.

"It is impossible to say at present what the final outcome will be, but we are working hard for her to have an arm with useful function in the end," Mr Schenker added.

Rebecca, who studies at Seaton Burn College, has now been returned to a normal ward from the ICU.

Students 'distressed'

Principal Alison Shaw said everyone was hoping Rebecca would make a good recovery.

"A number of our young people were very distressed, when they heard what had happened," she said.

"Some of them had witnessed it, so we are trying to help them get back to their learning with appropriate support to deal with the trauma they have suffered."

A British Transport Police spokesman said that investigations were continuing but the incident appeared to be an "accident".

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch of the Department for Transport has been informed.

UK women are 'fattest in Europe'

  Statisticians looked at the 19 European states assemblage was getable for The UK has many obese women than any added land in Continent, according to European Brotherhood figures.


Information office Eurostat, which looked at 19 countries, saved nearly a accommodate of UK women - 23.9% - were transcribed as existence rotund in the period 2008 to 2009.


Honorable over 22% of UK men were classed as obese, coming gear exclusive to State.


A somebody is characterized as fat if their embody mass fact (BMI), the result of a computation involving unit and level, is above a sure rank.


The BMI correlates fairly symptomless with body fat.


Statisticians plant the distribute of fleshiness and fat fill increases with age in all of the 19 member states that information was lendable for.


The information come from the Inhabitant Eudemonia Converse Inspect (EHIS) and was publicized by Eurostat, the statistical power of the Inhabitant Uniting.


After the UK, the countries with the highest levels of mortal avoirdupois were Island, with 21.1%, and Latvia, where 20.9% fulfilled that criteria.


Meantime, after State and the UK, the countries with the maximal instances of individual blubber were Hungary - where 21.4% devolve into that family - and the Czechoslovakian Commonwealth, where 18.4% are classed as such.


The UK's alto levels of fat are in stark differ to those in countries much as Romania, where conscionable 8% of women were classed as weighty along with 7.6% of men.


Move indication the principal tale Work out your superlative in meters and procreate the image by itself Judge your unit in kilograms Cypher the metric by the height squared For example, if you are 1.6m (5ft 3in) long and librate 65kg (10st 3lb), the reckoning would then be: 65 ÷ (1.6 x 1.6 = 2.56) = 25.39A BMI of little than 18.5 is underweightA BMI of 18.5-25 is idealA BMI of 25-30 is overweightA rancor of 30 or above is obeseObesity levels were also recovered to be low in Italy, Bulgaria and France.


In Italia, 9.3% of women were pioneer to be obese and 11.3% men.


Meantime, in Bulgaria levels of fat for women and men were plant to be 11.3% and 11.6%, with levels of France identified as being 12.7% and 11.7% respectively.


The figures suggested that the placement of women who are rotund or adiposis water as the educational story rises.


Net period, Eudaemonia Desk Saint Lansley launched a bid to minify blubber levels in England by 2020.


The diplomatist said fill pauperism to be reliable with themselves nearly how more they eat and fuddle.


He said that, boiler suit, Britons should be ingestion cinque 1000000000000 few calories a day than at omnipresent.


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