Egypt Independent: Science-Main news en Demining committee celebrates removal of 95 thousand feddans of landmines <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>A committee responsible for the removal of WWII-time landmines from Egypt&rsquo;s western deserts and coasts is celebrating development achievements at the area.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Executive Secretariat for the Demining and Development of the North West Coast, a of Planning and International Cooperation Ministry committee, said Thursday it has cleared the region of 94,446 acres of landmines in the region of Al-Alamein since it has started its works in November 2006.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The committee, carrying out a joint project by the Egyptian government, the EU and the UNDP, said the achievement comes at the end of the first stage of its development scheme.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It has also managed to complete three watershed management projects.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The demining and water projects had been financed by the Egyptian government, the UNDP and USAID with LE13.8, as well as 4.7 million euros from the European Union, according to the secretariat.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;A comprehensive database consisting of 761 mine incident survivors has been developed, 259 of which were fitted with artificial limbs, including 29 amputees that were fitted with artificial limbs for a second time,&rdquo; a statement by the secretariat said. &ldquo;Furthermore, 17 survivors were provided with wheelchairs and 72 women were supported with skills and micro-credits to start-up income generating projects to enhance their livelihood.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>WWII landmine leftovers contaminated 2,680 square kilometers of land in the northwest coast, which is equivalent to 16 percent of Egypt&rsquo;s geographic area, according to the secretariat. In 2006, estimated number of casualties was 8,313 (697 killed and 7,616 injured), of which 5,015 were civilians, it says.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 21 May 2015 15:07:00 +0000 Egypt Independent 2450540 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/03/15/54605/sri-lanka-landmine-cleari-006.jpg Doctors may not fully explain risks of common heart procedure <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Patients mulling whether to get a common procedure to unclog blocked arteries may not get enough information from their doctors to make the best choice, a small study suggests.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1432211350805_1140">Researchers analyzed recordings of 59 conversations between cardiologists and patients about a common procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), which is done to reopen arteries and restore blood flow to the heart - and found just two discussions covered all the points needed for patients to make an informed decision.&nbsp;</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1432211350805_1142">&ldquo;When you are facing a decision that has a number of consequences one way or the other, there are a number of issues that you are supposed to address and we found, overall, that very few conversations had all the elements,&rdquo; said Dr. Michael Rothberg, of the Center for Value Based Care Research at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1432211350805_1144">The procedure, also referred to as a balloon angioplasty, involves attaching a tiny deflated balloon to special tubing that&rsquo;s threaded through arteries to the site of the blockage. Then, surgeons inflate the balloon to clear away the debris, often leaving a tiny wire mesh cage called a stent inside the vessel to prevent future clogging.</p><p>While the procedure can relieve pain and prevent heart attacks in some patients, it doesn&rsquo;t benefit everybody and it also carries risks such as infections, damage to blood vessels or a ruptured artery that requires open-heart surgery to repair.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Having a PCI if you don&rsquo;t really need one is not something an informed patient would do,&rdquo; said Floyd Fowler, Jr., a senior scientific advisor at the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation who wasn&rsquo;t involved in the study. Without enough information about the advantages and harms of a procedure as well as any alternative treatments, patients may overestimate the benefits of surgery, he said by email.&nbsp;</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1432211350805_1146">The study focused on patients considering the procedure to relieve symptoms of chronic stable angina, a type of chest pain that can flare up as a result of exercise or stress and can sometimes be managed with rest or medication.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1432211350805_1148">Doctors discussed alternative treatments just 25 percent of the time, and were even less likely to take time to confirm whether patients understood information or to explain the pros and cons of different stents that might be used during surgery.&nbsp;</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1432211350805_1150">In most conversations, physicians recommended the procedure and when they did, most patients followed their advice. In the rare instances when doctors didn&rsquo;t express an opinion or recommended against the procedure, patients always listened.&nbsp;</p><p>Most patients with chronic stable angina falsely believe that this operation can prevent heart attacks or death, even though its main benefit is easing chest pain, the researchers note in JAMA Internal Medicine.&nbsp;</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1432211350805_1152">&ldquo;Patients should be asking if the treatment will affect how long they live or prevent an event like a heart attack,&rdquo; Dr. Grace Lin, an internist at the University of San Francisco Medical Center and co-author of an editorial published with the study, said by email. &ldquo;Patients should consider asking for a second opinion if they feel like they haven&rsquo;t been given all the information they need in order to feel comfortable making a decision.&rdquo;</p> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:29:00 +0000 Reuters 2450532 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/05/43/surgery.jpg Study: Fewer kids have severe mental problems; more get help <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Contrary to public perception and horrific cases that make headlines, serious mental problems are declining among the nation&#39;s youth, and there has been a big rise in how many are getting help, a new study finds.</p><p>The study is mostly good news: More children and teens are taking mental health medicines than ever before, but more also are getting therapy, not just pills. The biggest rise in treatment rates has been among the most troubled kids.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s a concern out there that a lot of children and adolescents are receiving mental health treatments, particularly medications, that they don&#39;t need,&quot; especially for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said the study&#39;s leader, Dr. Mark Olfson, a psychiatrist at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.</p><p>Instead, the results suggest &quot;that at least in some ways, we&#39;re moving in the right direction,&quot; by getting help to kids who need it most, he said.</p><p>The dark cloud: More than half of severely troubled kids get no help at all.</p><p>The study used nationwide surveys done by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality over three periods from 1996 to 2012, covering more than 53,000 youths ages 6 to 17. Results are in Thursday&#39;s New England Journal of Medicine.</p><p>Some highlights, which compare the first survey to the most recent one:</p><p><strong>SEVERE MENTAL PROBLEMS DECLINING</strong></p><p>The percentage of youths with serious impairments dropped from 13 percent to 11 percent.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s a public perception that there are more and more kids who have these disorders, and the new report challenges that,&quot; Olfson said. Other research has found drops in rates of binge drinking and dropping out of school, so the new study &quot;does fit with other trends,&quot; he said.</p><p><strong>MORE ARE GETTING CARE</strong></p><p>Use of any outpatient mental health service rose from 9 percent to 13 percent. The rise was greatest for severely troubled kids, and went from 26 percent to 44 percent - from 1.56 million annually to 2.28 million.</p><p>Among kids with less or no impairment, the portion getting treatment went from about 7 percent to nearly 10 percent, or from about 2.74 million kids a year to 4.19 million.</p><p><strong>MEDICATION USE IS UP</strong></p><p>The use of any mental health drug rose from about 6 percent to 9 percent. Among youths with severe problems, medication use went from 18 percent to 32 percent. Among the rest - mild or no problems - it went from 4 percent to 6 percent.</p><p>Some people complain, &quot;Oh my goodness, these poor little children are on these powerful drugs,&quot; said Dr. Gabrielle Carlson, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Stony Brook University School of Medicine on New York&#39;s Long Island. &quot;But most of the kids offered these drugs have big, powerful problems,&quot; and the real issue is finding more effective drugs and getting more kids the help they need, she said.</p><p><strong>NOT JUST PILLS</strong></p><p>The percentage of youths getting therapy rose from 4 percent to 6 percent. That may reflect more access to care in general: Other research shows that medical visits of all kinds rose for these age groups over that time.</p><p><strong>THE ADHD SITUATION</strong></p><p>Use of stimulants such as methylphenidate, sold as Ritalin and other brands, rose from 4 percent of youths to 6.6 percent. These drugs are often given for ADHD, which affects more than 1 in 10 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p><strong>MANY KIDS GET NO HELP</strong></p><p>About 56 percent of youths with serious troubles were not in care.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s a tremendous amount of unmet need,&quot; said Dr. Brady Case, a child psychiatrist at Bradley Hospital in East Providence, Rhode Island. It&#39;s possible that one reason serious impairment rates are falling &quot;is that treatment is working&quot; for those who get it, he said.</p><div>&nbsp;</div> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:10:00 +0000 AP 2450527 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/05/21/501184/c39fac26-de15-424b-84ff-45fcb86b4b2c-big.jpg Vienna's Life Ball extravaganza draws stars in fight against AIDS <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>From actress Charlize Theron to French fashion icon Jean-Paul Gaultier, the Life Ball, one of the world&#39;s biggest AIDS charity events, drew scores of celebrities to Vienna on Saturday.</p><p>This year&#39;s theme was inspired by the ancient Roman festival &quot;Ver Sanctum&quot; or &quot;Holy Spring&quot;, turning the neo-Gothic City Hall into a gold-drenched fantasy world teeming with paradise birds, angels and Amazonian beauties.&nbsp;</p><p>Among the night&#39;s shining stars was 2014 Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, who was welcomed with loud cheers by an adoring crowd on the red carpet.</p><p>Shortly after her arrival appeared Life Ball debutante Theron with her partner, US actor Sean Penn.</p><p>&quot;I have no idea what to expect. There is nothing comparable in the US,&quot; she said.&nbsp;</p><p>Other American celebrities included entertainer Paula Abdul and transgender model Carmen Carrera, who wore a heavy gown made entirely of gold chains.</p><p>Meanwhile British star Kelly Osbourne turned up in a simple black dress, admitting that she had failed to read the invitation properly and did not know &quot;there was a gold theme&quot;.</p><p>The exuberant opening ceremony was crowned with a fashion show by Gaultier.</p><p>But amid all the glitz and glamour, there was also a stark reminder of the event&#39;s actual purpose.&nbsp;</p><p>Life Ball organiser Gery Keszler revealed in a tearful speech that he himself was a carrier of the HIV virus.</p><p>&quot;I was one of the first to be infected in Austria,&quot; he said at the opening of the ball.</p><p>&quot;I want to give hope to those affected.&quot;</p><p>The Life Ball, which attracts some 40,000 revellers every year, donates its proceeds to both national and international projects fighting HIV/AIDS.</p> Thu, 21 May 2015 11:41:00 +0000 AFP 2450515 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/05/09/501184/actress.jpg