1 person injured in house fire in northeast Las Vegas – Las Vegas Review

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 24, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

One person with serious injuries was taken to University Medical Center following a house fire Wednesday morning in northeast Las Vegas.

Clark County Fire Department battalion chief Chris Blackburn said the fire about 6 a.m. at 3551 Purdue Way, near North Pecos and East Gowan roads, burned a hole through the roof. Damage was contained to one room. Excess furniture and objects in the house could have been a factor in the fire.

Four other people living in the home and one person living in a separate unit in the backyard were not injured, Blackburn said.

A resident of the house, Korby, who didn’t want to give her last name, said she awoke to the sound of a loud popping noise. When she traced the origin of the sound, she found her roommate on fire.

Korby said that one pet snake and 11 pet rats died in the fire. Three dogs and another snake survived.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. No cost of the damage has been determined.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Review-Journal writer Rachel Hershkovitz contributed to this report. Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

Article source: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/1-person-injured-house-fire-northeast-las-vegas

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Cat-scratch disease: Cuddling a kitten could kill you, study finds

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 23, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

Cuddling a kitten could give pet owners a life-threatening infection, a study has found.

Known as ‘cat-scratch disease’, the illness can cause an intense fever, pustules and – if complications develop – can even result in death.

Caused by bacteria transmitted from cat to cat by fleas, humans risk contracting the disease by kissing or nuzzling cats, or by being scratched or bitten.

The large-scale survey of the disease was conducted by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in the US, and revealed kittens and strays were especially susceptible to carrying the bacteria. 

Dr Christina Nelson, of the CDC, said: “The scope and impact of the disease is a little bit larger than we thought.

“Cat-scratch is preventable. If we can identify the populations at risk and the patterns of disease, we can focus the prevention efforts.”

Doctors have recommended that cat owners always wash their hands after stroking their pet, and avoid any contact between their own animals and stray cats.

The study, which took place over eight years and surveyed over 13,000 cases of cat-scratch disease, found the annual incidence of the disease was 4.5 outpatient diagnoses per 100,000 population, which is higher than expected, but still quite rare.

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    Rat-bite fever

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    PA

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Only a small minority of the cases documented resulted in death, though this was a more likely outcome if patients had hesitated to seek medical help.

Contracting the disease is much more likely in warmer regions, where fleas can more easily reproduce and spread.

The most at-risk group is children aged between five and nine years old, among whom there were 9.4 outpatient diagnoses per 100,000 population.

Parents have been advised to discourage their children from kissing and rough play with kittens, in households with both cats and young children.

Fleas typically thrive during the hot and humid summer months, but autumn brings equal danger as central heating systems provide a perfect environment for dormant eggs to hatch.

The easiest way to prevent the disease being spread is to protect pets from fleas. This is possible with many over-the-counter remedies, though some suggest a more natural method: giving cats a bath of vinegar, lemon juice or apple cider.

  • More about:
  • Cats
  • Kittens

Reuse content

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/cat-scratch-disease-cuddling-a-kitten-could-kill-you-study-finds-a7318416.html

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Jeremy Hunt ‘breaking pledge to increase mental health funding’, figures indicate

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 22, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

Jeremy Hunt has broken his pledge to increase mental health funding, new figures have suggested.

Data suggests 57 per cent of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) plan to reduce the proportion of their budget they spend on mental health. The figures, which were obtained by Labour MP Luciana Berger under freedom of information rules, suggest growing pressure on NHS budgets means access to important mental health services could be restricted.

This is despite the Health Secretary’s assurances in December that “CCGs are committed to increasing the proportion of their funding that goes into mental health”. NHS England’s Planning Guidance states that all CCGs must increase their spend on mental health services by at least as much as their overall budget increase. In July of last year, Minister for Care and Support Alistair Burt told parliament the Conservatives were committed to the pledge, saying “that is as transparent as it has ever been, and we will ensure that the standard is maintained”.

Ms Berger, President of the Labour Campaign for Mental Health, said: “The Government must urgently step in and prevent a dangerous situation developing. Time and time again Ministers have promised that mental health spending would increase. Yet for the third year in a row this has not happened, with a majority of local areas planning to spend less of their budget on mental health.

“The result is services stretched to breaking point, patients at risk, and proper standards of care being undermined. There are bed shortages, massive waiting lists and cuts to early intervention and community services.”

Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at mental health charity Mind, told The Independent: “It’s shameful that so many Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are reducing their mental health spending year after year. We know that budgets are stretched, but it’s vital mental health services get their fair share of funding, particularly if the Government is serious about ensuring mental health problems are treated as equally important as physical health ones. 

“CCGs have been clearly told to invest in mental health. By ignoring these instructions, they are letting down their local communities. With a renewed focus on transparency and accountability, we want to see mental health data routinely made available to give us a better understanding of what’s happening on the ground. In every local area, one in four people will experience a mental health problem this year. CCGs have a huge role to play in helping ensure everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets the help and support they need, when they need it.”

Critics have raised concerns NHS funding shortages are resulting in decreased services and access to care. Research released today also suggests breast cancer patients are being denied a “life-saving” treatment costing 43p per day due to an on-going dispute over who is responsible for funding it.

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    Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome

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    Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’

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    Rex Features

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    Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed

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    Rex Features

  • 7/25

    Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day

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    Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes

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    Rat-bite fever

    A teenager was hospitalised and left unable to move after she developed the rare rat-bite fever disease from her pet rodents which lived in her bedroom. The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after she complained of a pain in her right hip and lower back which later made her immobile, according to the online medical journal BMJ Case Reports. She suffered for two weeks with an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and had a pink rash on her hands and feet. The teenager, who had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats, has since made a full recovery after undergoing a course of antibiotics. Blood tests showed that she was infected with for streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever. One of her three pet rats lay dead in her room for three weeks before her symptoms showed

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    Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’

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  • 12/25

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    PA

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    Experts have warned that some apps do not adequately protect personal information

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    A watchdog has said that care visits must last longer

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said home help visits of less than 30 minutes were not acceptable unless part of a wider package of support

  • 20/25

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    Ketamine is a synthetic compound used as an off anaesthetic and analgesic drug, but is commonly used illegally as a hallucinogenic party drug.
    Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, a senior researcher at the university and a member of the institution’s Centre for Brain Research, used the latest technology in brain imaging to investigate what mechanisms ketamine uses to be active in the human brain

  • 22/25

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    The biggest cause of early death in the world is what you eat

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  • 24/25

    Scientists develop blood test that estimates how quickly people age

    Scientists believe it could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the “youthfulness” of donated organs for transplant operations. The test measures the vitality of certain genes which the researchers believe is an accurate indication of a person’s “biological age”, which may be younger or older than their actual chronological age

  • 25/25

    Aspirin could help boost therapies that fight cancer

    The latest therapies that fight cancer could work better when combined with aspirin, research has suggested. Scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London say the anti-inflammatory pain killer suppresses a cancer molecule that allows tumours to evade the body’s immune defences.
    Laboratory tests have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often generate large amounts of this molecule, called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
    But Aspirin is one of a family of drugs that sends messages to the brain to block production of PGE2 and this means cancer cells can be attacked by the body’s natural defences

Amid growing concerns, the Government released a statement yesterday giving assurances that it remains committed to keeping the NHS free for patients to use via general taxation and dismissing speculation charges for access to care could be introduced.

Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director, NHS England told The Independent: “The NHS has laid out very clear plans to help more than a million extra people and invest more than an additional £1bn pounds by 2020/21. In the implementation plan published recently we set out how we would expand staff and services for a range of mental health issues to improve care for everyone.

”Our plans are fully costed and soon, as part of NHS England’s commitment to transparency, we will break new ground publishing data on spending locally and patient outcomes using a new dashboard. This will support local discussion about spending, need and  priority and we will work closely to support those CCGs struggling to invest appropriately or deliver on significant targets in mental health care.”

The Independent has approached the Department of Health for comment.

  • More about:
  • Health
  • Mental Health
  • NHS
  • politics
  • Jeremy Hunt
  • Luciana Berger

Reuse content

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/jeremy-hunt-nhs-mental-health-funding-broken-promises-a7322506.html

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Meet the bizarre Reddit community obsessed with digging out tonsil …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 21, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

Just when you think you’ve heard of every bizarre obsession that humankind can muster, another curve ball is thrown up. Or a tonsil stone, in this case. 

The tonsils are a pair of glands found at the back of the throat designed to prevent illness by trapping viruses and bacteria. The ridges and craters in these glands therefore become filmed with debris – including food, mucus, and cells – that groups together to form white-ish, calcified blobs called tonsilloliths or tonsil stones.

It is common to have these tiny harmless but foul-smelling stones hiding in your tonsils, particularly if you have suffered from tonsillitis or take medication which dries the mouth. However, large tonsilloliths can cause bad breath and sore throats. 

People who have discovered that tonsil stones can be easily prodded out at home with a cotton bud are proudly sharing photos of their excavations on the Reddit tonsil stones page, and posting videos on YouTube. 

Some upload images alongside coins or on their fingers to demonstrate the apparently impressive scale of their calcified debris. One YouTube user named Tonsil Stone Man has racked up thousands of views for his series of removal videos.   

Happy Labor Day! from tonsilstones

Second stone this week. from tonsilstones

“This is the largest tonsil stone I’ve ever removed from my mouth; it squeezed out two ends of my tonsil! I posted this video months ago, but I’m reposting a better edit,” he wrote alongside his latest video.

“My very first tonsil stone – I named him Dave,” Reddit user ZomberAmbie wrote alongside a post which was viewed over 500 times. Another wrote “Finally figured out how to get stones out. Most satisfying feeling ever.” 

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    Getty

  • 2/25

    ‘Universal cancer vaccine’ breakthrough claimed by experts

    Scientists have taken a “very positive step” towards creating a universal vaccine against cancer that makes the body’s immune system attack tumours as if they were a virus, experts have said. Writing in Nature, an international team of researchers described how they had taken pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA code, put them into tiny nanoparticles of fat and then injected the mixture into the bloodstreams of three patients in the advanced stages of the disease. The patients’ immune systems responded by producing “killer” T-cells designed to attack cancer. The vaccine was also found to be effective in fighting “aggressively growing” tumours in mice, according to researchers, who were led by Professor Ugur Sahin from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany

    Rex

  • 3/25

    Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome

    A compound found in green tea could improve the cognitive abilities of those with Down’s syndrome, a team of scientists has discovered. Researchers found epigallocatechin gallate – which is especially present in green tea but can also be found in white and black teas – combined with cognitive stimulation, improved visual memory and led to more adaptive behaviour. Dr Rafael de la Torre, who led the year-long clinical trial along with Dr Mara Dierrssen, said: “The results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better scores in their cognitive capacities”

  • 4/25

    New online test predicts skin cancer risk

    Health experts have created a new online tool which can predict a person’s risk of developing a common form of skin cancer. The tool uses the results of a 10-question-quiz to estimate the chance of a person aged 40 or over of having non-melanoma skin cancers within three years. Factors including the age, gender, smoking status, skin colour, tanning ability, freckling tendency, and other aspects of medical history are covered by the quiz

  • 5/25

    Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’

    A new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) has enabled some patients to walk again by “rebooting” their immune systems. As part of a clinical trial at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital involving around 20 patients, scientists used stem cells to carry out a bone marrow transplant. The method known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) works by using chemotherapy to destroy the area of the immune system which causes MS

    Rex Features

  • 6/25

    Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed

    Dementia patients experience a ‘shocking’ variation in the quality of hospital care they receive across England, a charity has warned. Staff using excessive force and not giving dementia patients the correct pain medication were among the findings outlined in a new report by The Alzheimer’s Society, to coincide with the launch of Fix Dementia Care campaign

    Rex Features

  • 7/25

    Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day

    Drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer a day increases the risk of developing cancer, according to medical experts. New guidelines for alcohol consumption by the UK published by chief medical officers warn that drinking any level of alcohol has been linked to a range of different cancers. The evidence from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) overturns the oft-held view that a glass of red wine can have significant medical benefits for both men and women

  • 8/25

    Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes

    Vaping could be “no better” than smoking regular cigarettes and may be linked to cancer, scientists have found. The study which showed that vapour from e-cigarettes can damage or kill human cells was publsihed as the devices are to be rolled out by UK public health officials as an aid to quit smoking from 2016. An estimated 2.6 million people in the UK currently use e-cigarettes

  • 9/25

    Rat-bite fever

    A teenager was hospitalised and left unable to move after she developed the rare rat-bite fever disease from her pet rodents which lived in her bedroom. The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after she complained of a pain in her right hip and lower back which later made her immobile, according to the online medical journal BMJ Case Reports. She suffered for two weeks with an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and had a pink rash on her hands and feet. The teenager, who had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats, has since made a full recovery after undergoing a course of antibiotics. Blood tests showed that she was infected with for streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever. One of her three pet rats lay dead in her room for three weeks before her symptoms showed

  • 10/25

    Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’

    Taking antidepressants during pregnancy could almost double the risk of a child being diagnosed with autism in the first years of life, a major study of nearly 150,000 pregnancies has suggested. Researchers have found a link between women in the later stages of pregnancy who were prescribed one of the most common types of antidepressant drugs, and autism diagnosed in children under seven years of age

  • 11/25

    Warning over Calpol

    Parents have been warned that giving children paracetamol-based medicines such as Calpol and Disprol too often could lead to serious health issues later in life. Leading paediatrician and professor of general paediatrics at University College London, Alastair Sutcliffe, said parents were overusing paracetamol to treat mild fevers. As a result, the risk of developing asthma, as well as kidney, heart and liver damage is heightened

  • 12/25

    Fat loss from pancreas ‘can reverse’ effects of type-2 diabetes

    Less than half a teaspoon of fat is all that it takes to turn someone into a type-2 diabetic according to a study that could overturn conventional wisdom on a disease affecting nearly 3 million people in Britain. Researchers have found it is not so much the overall body fat that is important in determining the onset of type-2 diabetes but the small amount of fat deposited in the pancreas, the endocrine organ responsible for insulin production

  • 13/25

    Potatoes reduce risk of stomach cancer

    Scientists have found people who eat large amounts of white vegetables were a third less likely to contract stomach cancer. The study, undertaken by Chinese scientists at Zhejiang University, found eating cauliflower, potatoes and onions reduces the chance of contracting stomach cancer but that beer, spirits, salt and preserved foods increased a person’s risk of the cancer

  • 14/25

    Connections between brain cells destroyed in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

    Scientists have pinpointed how connections in the brain are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, in a study which it is hoped will help in the development of treatments for the debilitating condition. At the early stages of the development of Alzheimer’s disease the synapses – which connect the neurons in the brain – are destroyed, according to researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia. The synapses are vital for brain function, particularly learning and forming memories

  • 15/25

    Sugar tax

    The Government should introduce a sugar tax to prevent an “obesity crisis” from crippling the NHS, a senior Conservative MP and former health minister has said. Dr Dan Poulter believes that the case for increased taxes on unhealthy sugary products was “increasingly compelling”

    PA

  • 16/25

    Cancer breakthrough offers new hope for survivors rendered infertile by chemotherapy

    A potentially “phenomenal” scientific breakthrough has offered fresh hope to cancer patients rendered infertile by chemotherapy. For the first time, researchers managed to restore ovaries in mice affected by chemotherapy so that they were able to have offspring. The scientists now plan to begin clinical trials to see if the technique, which involves the use of stem cells, will also work in humans by using umbilical cord material and possibly stem cells taken from human embryos, if regulators agree

  • 17/25

    Take this NHS test to find out if you have a cancerous mole

    An interactive test could help flag up whether you should seek advice from a health professional for one of the most common types of cancer. The test is available on the NHS Choices website and reveals whether you are at risk from the disease and recommends if you should seek help. The mole self-assessment factors in elements such as complexion, the number of times you have been severely sunburnt and whether skin cancer runs in your family. It also quizzes you on the number of moles you have and whether there have been any changes in appearance regarding size, shape and colour

  • 18/25

    Health apps approved by NHS ‘may put users at risk of identity theft’

    Experts have warned that some apps do not adequately protect personal information

  • 19/25

    A watchdog has said that care visits must last longer

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said home help visits of less than 30 minutes were not acceptable unless part of a wider package of support

  • 20/25

    Pendle in Lancashire tops list of five most anxious places to live in the UK

    Pendle in Lancashire has been named the most anxious place to live in the UK, while people living in Fermanagh and Omagh in Northern Ireland have been found to be the happiest

  • 21/25

    Ketamine could be used as anti-depressant

    Researchers at the University of Auckland said monitoring the effects of the drug on the brain has revealed neural pathways that could aid the development of fast-acting medications.
    Ketamine is a synthetic compound used as an off anaesthetic and analgesic drug, but is commonly used illegally as a hallucinogenic party drug.
    Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, a senior researcher at the university and a member of the institution’s Centre for Brain Research, used the latest technology in brain imaging to investigate what mechanisms ketamine uses to be active in the human brain

  • 22/25

    A prosthetic hand that lets people actually feel through

    The technology lets paralysed people feel actual sensations when touching objects — including light taps on the mechanical finger — and could be a huge breakthrough for prosthetics, according to its makers. The tool was used to let a 28-year-old man who has been paralysed for more than a decade. While prosthetics have previously been able to be controlled directly from the brain, it is the first time that signals have been successfully sent the other way

  • 23/25

    The biggest cause of early death in the world is what you eat

    Unhealthy eating has been named as the most common cause of premature death around the globe, new data has revealed. A poor diet – which involves eating too few vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains and too much red meat, salt and sugar – was shown to be a bigger killer than smoking and alcohol

  • 24/25

    Scientists develop blood test that estimates how quickly people age

    Scientists believe it could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the “youthfulness” of donated organs for transplant operations. The test measures the vitality of certain genes which the researchers believe is an accurate indication of a person’s “biological age”, which may be younger or older than their actual chronological age

  • 25/25

    Aspirin could help boost therapies that fight cancer

    The latest therapies that fight cancer could work better when combined with aspirin, research has suggested. Scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London say the anti-inflammatory pain killer suppresses a cancer molecule that allows tumours to evade the body’s immune defences.
    Laboratory tests have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often generate large amounts of this molecule, called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
    But Aspirin is one of a family of drugs that sends messages to the brain to block production of PGE2 and this means cancer cells can be attacked by the body’s natural defences

“Happy Labor Day!” said Redditor UpsetUnicorn, who posted a photo of their tonsil stone alongside a coin. 

Commenters who seek out or stumble upon the videos describe how they are oddly satisfying to watch. 

“I have a really weird guilty pleasure,” admitted YouTube user Kristina Salonga. “Welcome to the weird part of youtube enjoy your stay,” said NGrass222.

The tonsil stone enthusiasts can find allies in spot popping obssessives, who watch videos of people squeezing spots online and challenge one another to sit through more and more disgusting footage. 

While many YouTubers and Redditors are happy prodding out their tonstil stones, you should visit a doctor if you are concerned that your tonsil stones are causing you pain or are larger than normal.

  • More about:
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Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/meet-the-obsessive-reddit-users-dedicated-to-digging-out-tonsil-gunk-a7320576.html

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Motel’s legal rep calls process ‘tainted’ – The Kingston Whig

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 20, 2016 in Rat News
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The Landlord and Tenant Board hearings for nine men living in the Knights Inn resumed on Monday with news that one of them was withdrawing his application for full tenancy status.

“This whole process is tainted,” said James Moak, the paralegal representing the Knights Inn.

Moak presented a letter to the tribunal adjudicator, Gerald Naud, supposedly from inn resident Andrew Marsland claiming, according to Moak, that Marsland had been “threatened, harassed and forced to be part of the process.”

John Done, lead lawyer from the Kingston Community Legal Clinic, questioned the origin of the letter, which had been signed by Marsland around the time the clinic began representing the men.

“Who drafted this letter?” Done asked. “What are the circumstances?”

When Marsland appeared before the hearing a few minutes later, Done’s suspicions were confirmed.

The man said he had, indeed, signed the letter but “had no idea” who had drafted it.

“I do not have any issues or complaints,” Marsland told the hearing.

Marsland said he signed only because “there was a rumour going around that he [motel owner Lachman Tipu] was going to kick people out.”

Tipu later acknowledged that he had asked a friend to draft the letter for Marsland to sign because he felt Marsland was being “used” by others in their effort to win tenancy status.

Naud made no ruling about the admissibility of the letter.

Marsland and the eight other men living at the Knights Inn, most of them recipients of provincial welfare, want the Landlord and Tenant Board to rule they have tenancy status in order to challenge what they believe are substandard living conditions at the Knights Inn.

They are also seeking reimbursement for 99 per cent of the rent they paid for a year because they had to deal with bed bug infestations, unsafe stairs and black mold on their walls and ceilings.

The inn is arguing, however, that the men should be covered by the Innkeepers Act, which would allow management to evict them without serving lengthy notice.

One of the Knights Inn residents, Tom Gumersell, has already been determined to be covered by the Residential Tenancy Act, but the status of the remaining eight will be decided in separate hearings at later dates.

Gumersell returned to the tribunal on Monday to have his claim for an $8,910 reimbursement heard.

He also want compensation for about $3,000 worth of damages to personal property.

The nine men are seeking a total rent abatement of nearly $100,000.

Gumersell has lived in his single room at the inn for three years. He said he moved there because it is affordable; the $750 he pays each month is automatically deducted from his Ontario disability payment of $1,050.

“When I first moved in, I was desperate for a place,” said Gumersell, who quickly found out there was a bed bug infestation and that his door was broken and wouldn’t lock properly.

“Prior to moving into this unit, I never experienced bed bugs,” Gumersell recalled, adding that he now has “open sores and lesions on my body” from the bites.

He said he doesn’t want to have his daughter and granddaughter visit, for fear they will be bitten and take the bugs back to their home.

Gumersell also complained that water service to the rooms is regularly shut off for maintenance, for hours at a time, without notice.

He said that in October 2015, he fell through some stairs at the motel, creating a deep gash in his leg and resulting in long-term health complications.

In his final summation of Gumersell’s case, Done described the Knights Inn as a “decrepit building full of units with bed bugs.”

He said a 99 per cent refund of a year’s rent reflected the true value of where Gumersell was living.

The question, Done said, is “how much would a reasonable person pay for this kind of room? That’s the real issue here — bed bugs.”

Done said Tipu only agreed to fix problems in the rooms and common areas of the motel after the issues came to light in stories written by the Whig-Standard and after the legal clinic took action.

“This is an opportunistic landlord,” Done said.

In his summation, however, Moak argued that the bed bug infestation was being perpetuated by the fact that Gumersell kept two pet rats.

“He has pet rats,” Moak said. “They were the ones contributing to the bed bug problem.”

He suggested that Gumersell was making his complaints to the legal clinic “solely to bolster a civil claim” against the Knights Inn related to the fall through the stairs.

“He thinks there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

Done said there was no civil case pending on Gumersell’s behalf.

After listening to the evidence, arguments and summations, Naud said he would reserve his decision until later.

The hearing then moved on to hear the status cases for the remaining eight men.

By the end of the day, however, they only heard that of former Knights Inn resident Donald Fowler.

Fowler described similar conditions in his $750-a-month room: a leaky window, water damage to walls and baseboards and a leaky bathtub faucet.

His door was so “flimsy” that he feared a break-in and slept with a pool cue at night for protection.

Eventually, the room was broken into and he had a number of items stolen, including a computer.

Fowler, too, had experienced bed bugs so bad that he had to throw out three mattresses, the last two he had bought himself.

“I wouldn’t dare invite anyone to my place. I brought it [the infestation] to my parents’, which was horrible,” he said. “It’s stressful.”

Fowler testified that much of the spraying was done by the Knights Inn property manager and that when he finished, there would be puddles of liquid chemical left on his floor.

In his final summation, Moak argued that Fowler and the other residents understood they did not have to pay first and last month’s rent when they came to the Knights Inn and that they could be asked to leave at any time.

He said places like the Knights Inn provide shelter to “a vulnerable sector of society” who are “typically transient” and may suddenly have to go into rehab for addictions or to deal with mental health issues.

“The intent is they can move tomorrow,” Moak said.

“If this complex was so bad for such a long period of time, why are they still there?” he asked. “Everyone is saying this is the most terrible place to live, but they still live there.”

Moak presented previous legal cases that he said indicate “the intentions of the parties” are most important.

“The intention is to give a section of society a place to live,” he said. “Mr. Fowler wants a place that meets his budget.”

Again, Naud reserved judgment, saying he would hear all of the applicants’ cases first.

No date was set for the next hearing.

pschliesmann@postmedia.com

Article source: http://www.thewhig.com/2016/09/19/motels-legal-rep-calls-process-tainted

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STEINBERG: How much (abused) is that doggie in the window … – Chicago Sun

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 19, 2016 in Rat News
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Last week, the Humane Society of the United States settled a lawsuit against Furry Babies pet stores intended to curb their habit of selling dogs from puppy mills.

While the five Furry Babies locations are on the fringes of the Chicago area — Aurora, Bloomingdale, Janesville, Joliet and Rockford — the news had an unexpected effect closer to home: my heart.

See, our dog Kitty….

Better start at the beginning.

Cue the maudlin music.

See, growing up, I never had a dog. My father was born in the Bronx, where his having a dog would have been as unimaginable as my raising a bear cub. We had pet rats — seriously, black and white rats.

So when my boys first started lobbying for a dog, I was adamant. “You’re not asking for a dog,” I’d tell them, “you’re asking me to pick up dog crap twice a day and I’m not going to do it!” The older one, ever resourceful, started a dog-walking business the summer he was 8, to show he could handle the responsibility. But he quickly abandoned both the business and lobbying for dogs. I felt vindicated.

The younger was more resourceful, however, tying the dog to his bar mitzvah. Gulling a child to perform this arcane religious rite softened me — I would have gotten him an ox had he asked.

OPINION

Of course we started at a shelter. All our cats came from shelters, though the Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society did everything but shine a bright light in our faces and shout, “Tell the truth! You’re going to eat these cats as soon as you get them home!!!”

But the humane society dog my kid found online, well, no sooner did I sit, cross-legged before it, then this black Pomeranian pup raced over and planted its needle-like teeth into my thigh. I walked out, the boys trailing after. Deathly silence in the car driving home, the empty carrier in the back.

“I was afraid of that dog,” one finally whispered.

“He bit me too,” the other piped up. “I didn’t want to say.”

So when we went to see a second dog, at a home in Evanston. Kitty — the boys named her after a character in “Anna Karinina” — 3 pounds of concentrated cute, came bounding across the sun-washed hardwood floor.

“Give the lady a check,” I said to my wife.

I did not, as we should have, ask where the dog came from. Never crossed my mind.

So I welcomed the chance to expiate my sin by talking to the Humane Society.

“There are plenty of ways you can get purebred dogs, and it can be a completely excellent way to get a dog,” said John Goodwin, senior director of the Stop Puppy Mills Campaign.  “You can have a purebred doghuma from a humane society or a responsible breeder.”

Avoid pet stores.

“If you go to a pet store, there’s a very good chance that puppy who looks so good in the window has a mother living in a cage in a puppy mill,” he said.

Which means?

Filthy conditions, lack of medical care, no chance to run or play, wire flooring, stacked cages.

“The puppy’s going to look good,” said Goodwin. “But it left the puppy mill after seven or eight weeks. No one ever sees the breeding dogs, ever sees their rotting mouths and matted fur.”

A red flag: when you buy the dog in a parking lot. Or a house in Evanston.

“It’s a way of keeping people from seeing the facilities they come from,” said Goodwin.

That’s why this settlement is important.

“The provisions of the agreement require Furry  Babies to disclose the origins of the puppies they’re selling,” said Kimberly Ockene, senior attorney at HSUS. “It enables consumers to make a more informed choice. We believe when people learn more about breeding conditions in facilities where puppies come from, they’ll think a little bit harder about the purchases they’re making.”

I know I will.

Article source: http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/steinberg-how-much-abused-is-that-doggie-in-the-window/

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The VFX Mastermind Explains How Heroes Evolved From ‘Heroes …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 18, 2016 in Rat News
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In 2006, the superhero drama Heroes premiered on NBC. Not based on an extant property, Heroes was a pastiche — and a good one at that. Showrunner Tim Kring turned Heroes’s seasons into thematic serials. The show was as comic book-y as it could get without Adam West line readings or “Bam!” bubbles. It looked like a lower-budget version of 2002’s Spider-Man or 2000’s X-Men, but a bit darker. VFX producer Mark Spatny, in part, pioneered that aesthetic, a product of both decisions and constraints. VFX Lead Supervisor Mark Kolpack worked on Heroes in season 1, and Eric Grenaudier filled that role in seasons 2-4.

“A lot of people talk about the advances in technology and computing when they talk about visual effects, but ultimately, that’s irrelevant,” says Spatny, who spoke with Inverse to mark Heroes’s tenth anniversary. “There’s no such thing as truly computer generated effects — good effects are generated by world class artists.”

Spatny says the way we make humans look superhuman on television has changed drastically over the decade that’s passed since Heroes premiered. “A modern day superhero show,” he tells Inverse, “will have a visual effects budget that’s nearly ten times the size of what we had during the first season of Heroes.” Superhero TV effects of today are much more advanced than they once were, but still fundamentally a product of similar thinking and similar answers to this question: How can we get closest to movie quality effects without movie budgets?

Claire, played byHayden Panettiere, in a pre-FX shot from 'Heroes'.Claire, played byHayden Panettiere, in a pre-FX shot from 'Heroes'.Hayden Panettiere in a post-FX shot from 'Heroes'.Hayden Panettiere in a post-FX shot from 'Heroes'.

The launch of feature films from DC and Marvel inspired superhero TV shows to inflate their budgets in response, after Heroes ended. It seems every professional working in visual effects has their eye on the sup

Overall, there’s a funny disconnect between superhero TV and superhero films: While TV effects crews are perpetually chasing the superior look of Marvel of DC’s films, their expanding budgets and access to technology will never quite reach the billions of dollars thrust into making feature length movies. Heroes set that bar pretty high, but the bar hasn’t stopped rising ever since.

He’s impressed with how far superhero TV effects have come, and says FOX’s Gotham’s production design stands out to him as unique.

“I watch all [the superhero shows] to see what my competition is doing, but I particularly love Gotham,” he says. “I love how closely the production designer, cinematographer, and VFX team work together to achieve a really unique stylized look for that world. You could run episodes of that show on a flat screen in a museum as a piece of artwork.” The unique aesthetic Spatny admires about Gotham didn’t exist when Heroes was on the air; Gotham has to work to stand out from a crowded line-up of similar shows, all featuring powered up people amid large-scale set pieces.

David Mazouz as a young Bruce Wayne in 'Gotham' on Fox.David Mazouz as a young Bruce Wayne in 'Gotham' on Fox.

When Heroes arrived, in comparison, it only needed to define the visual rules of its world. The show had no superhero competitors, so the writers and production team could make Sylar’s (Zachary Quinto) vicious abilities appear any way they wanted. “We had a staff of about a dozen artists working mostly in one location, and they handled the effects for the entire show,” Spatny says. That team, by today’s standards, looks surprisingly small.

Spatny also mentions The Flash and Jessica Jones when asked about current superhero programming.” [*Jessica Jones*] is a great superhero show with very few VFX,” Spatny says. “It’s all character driven, and David Tennant was amazing. […] But, to be honest, I came to my current employer specifically to see how they manage to do The Flash on a weekly basis. Armen Kervorkian’s team amazes me with what they accomplish for television.” Though Spatny doesn’t currently work on The Flash, it’s clear he has a personal and professional interest in the work Kervorkian’s team does.

A digitally rendered Gorilla Grodd inspects Barry Allen on 'The Flash'.A digitally rendered Gorilla Grodd inspects Barry Allen on 'The Flash'.

Article source: https://www.inverse.com/article/20987-heroes-10-year-anniversary-superhero-sfx-mark-spatny-tim-kring-marvel-dc

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Anna Swabey: Brain tumour blogger dies a day before her dream wedding

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 17, 2016 in Rat News
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A blogger who wrote about living with a terminal brain tumour has died a day before her dream wedding. 

Anna Swabey, 25, was initially given three months to live after being diagnosed with a grade three rare malignant tumour. It was shortly after her diagnosis she met her “wonderful” fiance Andy Bell, 26, on an online dating site. They moved in together and began planning a wedding and a family as Ms Swabey started gruelling courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

Ms Swabey, from Newton Aycliffe, in County Durham and Mr Bell were due to marry today in the Yorkshire Dales. But after learning her tumour had progressed to grade four in July, her condition began to deteriorate two weeks ago and she died surrounded by her family in the early hours of Friday morning. 

Her sister wrote her final blog post for her on 10 September. 

  • 1/25

    Most child antidepressants are ineffective and can lead to suicidal thoughts

    The majority of antidepressants are ineffective and may be unsafe, for children and teenager with major depression, experts have warned. In what is the most comprehensive comparison of 14 commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs to date, researchers found that only one brand was more effective at relieving symptoms of depression than a placebo. Another popular drug, venlafaxine, was shown increase the risk users engaging in suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide

    Getty

  • 2/25

    ‘Universal cancer vaccine’ breakthrough claimed by experts

    Scientists have taken a “very positive step” towards creating a universal vaccine against cancer that makes the body’s immune system attack tumours as if they were a virus, experts have said. Writing in Nature, an international team of researchers described how they had taken pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA code, put them into tiny nanoparticles of fat and then injected the mixture into the bloodstreams of three patients in the advanced stages of the disease. The patients’ immune systems responded by producing “killer” T-cells designed to attack cancer. The vaccine was also found to be effective in fighting “aggressively growing” tumours in mice, according to researchers, who were led by Professor Ugur Sahin from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany

    Rex

  • 3/25

    Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome

    A compound found in green tea could improve the cognitive abilities of those with Down’s syndrome, a team of scientists has discovered. Researchers found epigallocatechin gallate – which is especially present in green tea but can also be found in white and black teas – combined with cognitive stimulation, improved visual memory and led to more adaptive behaviour. Dr Rafael de la Torre, who led the year-long clinical trial along with Dr Mara Dierrssen, said: “The results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better scores in their cognitive capacities”

  • 4/25

    New online test predicts skin cancer risk

    Health experts have created a new online tool which can predict a person’s risk of developing a common form of skin cancer. The tool uses the results of a 10-question-quiz to estimate the chance of a person aged 40 or over of having non-melanoma skin cancers within three years. Factors including the age, gender, smoking status, skin colour, tanning ability, freckling tendency, and other aspects of medical history are covered by the quiz

  • 5/25

    Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’

    A new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) has enabled some patients to walk again by “rebooting” their immune systems. As part of a clinical trial at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital involving around 20 patients, scientists used stem cells to carry out a bone marrow transplant. The method known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) works by using chemotherapy to destroy the area of the immune system which causes MS

    Rex Features

  • 6/25

    Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed

    Dementia patients experience a ‘shocking’ variation in the quality of hospital care they receive across England, a charity has warned. Staff using excessive force and not giving dementia patients the correct pain medication were among the findings outlined in a new report by The Alzheimer’s Society, to coincide with the launch of Fix Dementia Care campaign

    Rex Features

  • 7/25

    Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day

    Drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer a day increases the risk of developing cancer, according to medical experts. New guidelines for alcohol consumption by the UK published by chief medical officers warn that drinking any level of alcohol has been linked to a range of different cancers. The evidence from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) overturns the oft-held view that a glass of red wine can have significant medical benefits for both men and women

  • 8/25

    Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes

    Vaping could be “no better” than smoking regular cigarettes and may be linked to cancer, scientists have found. The study which showed that vapour from e-cigarettes can damage or kill human cells was publsihed as the devices are to be rolled out by UK public health officials as an aid to quit smoking from 2016. An estimated 2.6 million people in the UK currently use e-cigarettes

  • 9/25

    Rat-bite fever

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    PA

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Victoria wrote: “Anna is peaceful in her bed, mostly sleeping. We have a few lucid moments with her every now and then and we are so thankful that she is comfortable and relatively pain-free. We can all take comfort in the fact that Anna is exactly where she wants to be, surrounded by her close family and friends.” 

After learning of her diagnosis, Ms Swabey launched a blog, Inside my Head. Her first post, ‘Life with a Brain Tumour’, set out her reasons for blogging about fighting “Trev”, the name she gave to the growth on her brain. 

“I was always very ambitious, I always wanted to be successful and I was determined I was going to have an amazing career,” she wrote. “Throughout my life, I have been a perfectionist, never settled for being just average. 

“I’m still Anna Louise Swabey, I’m still 23 years old, and I still have exactly the same passions and ambition as detailed above. I am still exactly the same person, however, unfortunately, after receiving my biopsy results on 3 February 2015, I have been diagnosed with a Grade 3 Glioma, Anaplastic Astrocytoma brain tumour.”

Under the heading, ‘Who I want to be’, she continued: “I want to defy my prognosis, I WILL live till I am old, I WILL get married and I WILL have children and I WILL have the life I have always dreamt of!”

Ms Swabey became an advocate for more funds being allocated to brain tumour research, travelling to Westminster to debate with MPs. 

She also wrote candidly about her experiences of dating after learning her tumour was terminal for magazines including Marie Claire. Her story attracted national attention and her blog posts were shared thousands of times. 

Before her death, she raised almost £65,000 for the charity Brain Tumour Research. Ms Swabey had hoped to reach £100,000 and donations are still building. 

On her Just Giving page, Ms Swabey set out what she hoped her legacy would be after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. “I am determined to leave a mark on the world, and I am desperate to make a difference.” 

Wendy Fulcher, a spokesperson for Brain Tumour Research, said Ms Swabey “never shied from reality” and “gave her time selflessly” to raise awareness of brain tumours. 

“Anna was just 23 when she was told she had a brain tumour. Understandably devastated and angry, she nevertheless held her head up high and decided she would live her life, however long it might be, to the full.

“Bright, vivacious, kind, and beautiful, Anna was one of those to whom others are naturally drawn. She had a great sense of fun and a marvelous joie de vivre. After graduating with a first class degree in languages and European studies, she had plans to learn Mandarin and there is no doubt she had the brightest of futures ahead.

“Another bright light has gone out. Another young person has been taken by a brain tumour, this most cruel and crippling of cancers which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other.”

  • More about:
  • Anna Swebey

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Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/anna-swabey-brain-tumour-blogger-dies-a-day-before-her-dream-wedding-a7312971.html

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Then there’s the rat pack

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 16, 2016 in Rat News
Closed




Leo the rat, about a half-pound of sweetness and light, sat in Bill Sager’s palm, as patient as an old dog, while the veterinarian listened to his heart and lungs, examined his eyes, ears, and nose, and felt for lumps.

Gently, the vet pressed the rat’s tiny body, feeling its vital organs — liver, kidneys, intestines — assessing its joints, and concluding that Leo, the pride and joy of Isabella DeScenza, was fit to compete in the Pocket Pet show at the Middlesex County 4-H Fair in Westford.

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“I love the way people look at me when I say I have a rat,” said DeScenza, 17, of Westford.

Sager, who owns and operates Sager Animal Hospital in Acton and has been practicing veterinary medicine for 29 years, said small pets are more common than they used to be. But his is the rare practice that sees lots of them.

“A lot of people have a negative image of rats,” he said. “More so with the older generation.”


Meetups, online discussion groups, and other social media have boosted visibility and appreciation for rats and other rodents as pets, including gerbils, hamsters, degus, and guinea pigs.

“There’s a very high reward for the investment of time,” said Libby Hanna,
president of the American Gerbil Society and founder of
Shawsheen River Gerbil Rescue. “They’re great if you’re busy, live in a small space, and can’t have traditional pets.”

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Hanna, a Boston resident who served as a judge at the 4-H competition, said gerbils and other small pets are underrated.

“I’ve gained a great respect for them,” she said. “They’re far more intelligent and sensitive than people give them credit for.

“I’m not saying they’re
Rhodes scholars. But they have complex social needs, require companionship. They’re not happy on their own.”

Not all rodent owners are as sociable.

Four years ago, Shauna Norton, who runs Little Critters Holistic Training Care
in Framingham, started a monthly meetup for rat owners, held at the Panera Bread on Cochituate Road.

“Once in a blue moon, someone shows up,” said Norton, whose affinity with rodents goes back to her childhood.

“I grew up very poor, in an old house with big holes, drafty, with spiders and mice,” she said. “I didn’t have friends. I heard the mice in the walls and I wanted to catch one for a pet.”

The professional pet-sitter said she learned about pet rats through a friend, then adopted two that died within two years.

She tried again with the same result and was so heartbroken she swore them off forever (rats have an average life expectancy of two to three years).

But she couldn’t say no when a client asked her to adopt two that were languishing. One died and she re- placed it. The other has thrived. “They’re wonderful pets,” she said.

Ellen Harasimowicz for The Boston Globe

Dr. William Sagar, who operates a vet clinic in Acton, gives Totoro an exam before Pocket Pet judging at the Middlesex County 4-H Fair.

Hattie Bernstein can be reached at hbernstein04@icloud.com.

Article source: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/2016/09/15/then-there-rat-pack/0B7pShfXJZuwzGfZdEy1AJ/story.html

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Precocious puberty: The condition that causes children to start puberty as young as two years old

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 15, 2016 in Rat News
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Puberty is considered a milestone in any person’s physical development, marking the transition from childhood to adulthood.

But while children generally start going through puberty in their early teens – with young girls normally starting between ages 11 and 14 and boys between ages 12 and 16 – this is not always the case.

In a small minority of cases a child will suffer from a rare condition called precocious puberty, which causes their bodies start to start developing when they are as young as two years old.

What is it?

Precocious puberty is a medical condition that causes an early release of hormones from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus areas in the brain, which in turn stimulates estrogen production, causing puberty to begin prematurely.

It can occur in children as young as two years old. The upper age for diagnosing the condition is undefined, but medical experts generally say it is before the age of eight in boys and nine in girls.

What causes it?

In approximately 90 per cent of girls and 50 per cent of boys who experience precocious puberty, no underlying cause can be identified – in which case it is referred to by medical experts as idiopathic precocious puberty.

When the cause can be identified it is generally either an abnormality involving the brain or a problem such as a tumor or genetic abnormality in the ovaries, testes, or adrenal glands, causing overproduction of sex hormones.

Obesity may also contribute to earlier puberty. The rise in child obesity levels has been linked to data suggesting the average age of starting puberty in the USA and Europe has gradually become slightly earlier, because the more fat cells in the body the more estrogen storage there is. This has been noted particularly in young girls.

How common is it?

The rare condition affects around one in 5,000 to one in 10,000 children in the UK, and is five to 10 times more common in girls than in boys.

What are the signs?

Signs of precocious puberty include breast development, rapid height growth, menstruation, acne, enlarged testicles or penis, or pubic or underarm hair.

But the condition is more difficult to diagnose than often thought. Paul Kaplowitz, a doctor at the Children’s National Medical Centre in Washington DC, once said only one in 10 of the children referred to him with signs of early puberty had true precocious puberty.

He explained that children can have isolated breast development and pubic hair without other symptoms. This determines that they are not signs of puberty, but just normal variations.

Charlene Denton, a British woman whose daughter started puberty at the age of two, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain how she discovered the signs of her daughter’s condition.

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    Getty

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    PA

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Ms Denton told the show: “Just after her second birthday she started developing little breast buds. At first the doctor reassured us that she was absolutely fine and there was nothing wrong with her.

“But then she started developing a second breast bud, so we took her back and had all sorts of tests done to diagnose her with precocious puberty.

“We were completely shocked. We’d never heard about it.”

Does it require treatment?

Treatment for precocious puberty depends on the cause. The primary goal of treatment is to enable the child to grow to a normal adult height, because the condition can stunt their growth.

In cases where there is no underlying medical condition, the condition can be effectively treated with medication, which usually involves a monthly injection that delays further development.

  • More about:
  • puberty
  • Children
  • Children’s health

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Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/precocious-puberty-what-is-two-naveah-denton-itv-a7309591.html

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