Monday, December 10, 2018

HSA issues advisory on mahogany seeds, or 'sky fruit', after 7 cases of liver injury reported, Health News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

HSA issues advisory on mahogany seeds, or 'sky fruit', after 7 cases of liver injury reported, Health News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

HSA issues advisory on mahogany seeds, or 'sky fruit', after 7 cases of liver injury reported

SINGAPORE - There have been seven cases of liver injury reported in recent years that are suspected to be linked to eating mahogany seeds, which are more commonly known as sky fruit.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said it received these reports over the past three years, where patients had liver injuries ranging from mild liver function impairment to liver failure.

These seven patients, who are in their 40s to 70s, had eaten the mahogany seeds in both raw form and in capsules. Five of them were hospitalised, HSA said in a public advisory on Tuesday (Dec 11).

Apart from liver injuries, a patient had kidney injuries and another had polyarthralgia, which is multiple joint aches and pain.

HSA said that all patients were reported to have recovered or are recovering from their ailments, after they stopped taking the suspected products.

The fruit of the mahogany seeds is commonly known as sky fruit, or buah tunjuk langit in Malay and xiang tian guo in Mandarin.

It is traditionally used in South-east Asian countries to help control blood sugar and high blood pressure.

However, HSA has said that there are no clinical studies in humans supporting its effectiveness or safety.

The patients had eaten the mahogany seeds to control their blood sugar, blood pressure or for general well-being, the authority added.

Five of the patients ate the seeds in its raw form of between 10 seeds in a month and 18 seeds in a day, after buying them from different sources in Singapore and Malaysia.

One had eaten the capsules intermittently, and the other ate two capsules twice a day.

One product, which was bought from a blogshop in Singapore, was labelled "Natural Miracle Healer", while the other was an unknown brand from Malaysia.

HSA said that most of the patients had underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia (high blood cholesterol) and fatty liver. They were taking other medications concurrently.

Six patients experienced liver injury 30 to 45 days after eating the mahogany seeds. The remaining patient had liver injury after six months.

While there is no scientific data on the risk of liver injury from taking mahogany seeds, HSA advised consumers who are thinking of taking the products to exercise caution.

"HSA will continue to closely monitor the situation and update the public of any significant findings," it said.

It added that consumers should take note of the following:

- Be aware that local cases of liver injury have been reported in some individuals following the consumption of mahogany seeds (both in the raw form and capsule form).

- Consult a doctor as soon as possible if you feel unwell or develop any of the following signs and symptoms of liver injury when taking mahogany seeds: Nausea, loss of appetite, lethargy, dark urine, the whites of the eyes turning yellow or jaundice.

-Consult your doctor if you would like to try new or complementary remedy which claims to alleviate certain medical conditions, especially for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.



Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Lion Air crash: How could a brand new plane have crashed in Indonesia?, Transport News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Lion Air crash: How could a brand new plane have crashed in Indonesia?, Transport News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Lion Air crash: How could a brand new plane have crashed in Indonesia?

SINGAPORE - How could a plane that started flying just two months ago crash?

That's the big question being discussed after Lion Air flight JT610 went down on Monday (Oct 29) morning. The Boeing 737 Max 8 - a new aircraft type fitted with a new engine type - had entered into commercial service in 2017 and the one that plunged into the sea was delivered to Lion Air only in August this year.

Data from Flightradar24 showed that the same plane had encountered a technical fault the night before the crash. The plane had suddenly dived from around 5500ft to 4500ft while the speed spiked from below 200 knots to 300 knots.

Lion Air acknowledged the incident but said it was dealt with, and the plane released to fly by a certified engineer.

The morning after, the same plane, carrying 189 passengers and crew crashed into the sea off Indonesia's island of Java, shortly after taking off from Jakarta.

It is believed to have also encountered some technical issues, with Reuters reporting - also from Flightradar24 data - that two minutes into the flight, it descended more than 500ft, veered left, before climbing again to 5,000ft. In its final moments, it began gaining speed and reached 345 knots (around 640 kmh) before data was lost.

The pilot had reportedly asked to return to base. This was just before air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft.

It is not uncommon for airlines operating new aircraft types to encounter teething problems, aviation experts said. It happened with the Airbus 380 superjumbo a decade ago, and again when the Boeing 787 entered into commercial service.

Monday's crash, though, is believed to be the first time that an almost brand new plane crashed, they added.

This being the case, questions will invariably be asked about pilot expertise and training, as well as maintenance procedures.

In short, Indonesia's air safety standards will once again be thrown into the spotlight.

Entry pains

Mr Michael Daniel, a retired United States Federal Aviation Administration official who has been involved in several air crash investigations, said: "I'm not aware of any accidents with new aircraft per se but they do have a higher rate of dispatch abnormalities... Component(s) failures are the most common for newer aircraft."

Such issues may crop up until the plane hits about 2,000 flying hours, he said. In the case of the Lion Air jet, it had done about 800 hours before its tragic end.

When the Airbus 380 entered into commercial service in 2007, some of the early operators of the superjumbo had to cancel flights or use replacement aircraft following incidents that included faulty fuel-quantity readings, avionics problems, fuel leaks and a steering defect.

Four years later, when Boeing delivered its first B-787 to All Nippon Airways in 2011, the plane also hit some serious turbulence.

In 2013, a fire broke out on a B-787 which was parked at a gate at Boston's Logan International Airport.

Before that, in December 2012, a United Airlines B-787 had to make an emergency landing because of concerns about an electrical panel issue.

At one point, Qatar Airways had to ground one of its B-787s because of electrical issues.

Aviation analyst Shukor Yusof of Endau Analytics, said: "It's hard to imagine that technical problems linked to the new aircraft - as reportedly claimed - could down it. We shouldn't speculate until we know for certain - and that will take time."

Indonesia's air safety standards back in the spotlight

In 2007, the European Commission imposed a blanket ban on Indonesia due to "unaddressed safety concerns", effectively prohibiting all 51 Indonesian airlines from operating to the European Union.

Two years later, Garuda Indonesia was taken off the list and in June 2016, the ban on Lion Air was also lifted.

In June 2018, the European Commission said it had removed all Indonesian carriers from the EU airline blacklist because Indonesia had made sufficient improvements to raise its aviation safety.

Before Monday's crash, other high-profile air mishaps include an accident in August 2018 that left a 12-year-old boy the sole survivor of a plane crash which killed eight people in Indonesia.

In August 2015, a commercial passenger aircraft operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana crashed in Papua due to bad weather, killing all 54 people on board.

In 2014, an AirAsia plane crashed with the loss of 162 lives.

Indonesia may be off Europe's blacklist but concerns remain.

Mr Shukor said: "Indonesia needs help... Many factors have to be looked into, including the air traffic management system, maintenance, training and so on, to cope with a rapid increase in the number of planes and passengers each year."



Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Famed Chinese martial arts novelist Jin Yong dies, aged 94: Hong Kong media, East Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Famed Chinese martial arts novelist Jin Yong dies, aged 94: Hong Kong media, East Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Famed Chinese martial arts novelist Jin Yong dies, aged 94: Hong Kong media

HONG KONG - Famed Chinese martial arts novelist Jin Yong has died at the age of 94, Hong Kong media reported on Tuesday (Oct 30).

The novelist, whose real name is Louis Cha, died at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, said Apple Daily News.

His son-in-law, Dr Ng Wai-cheong, confirmed the news on Tuesday, said the South China Morning Post. The report said he died after a long illness.

The former journalist and newspaper editor was considered the grandfather of Chinese martial arts, or wuxia, fiction. He was known for writing the Legends Of The Condor Heroes series of books.

His works were largely set in the world of the jianghu, a pugilistic society where martial arts exponents travel China trading blows, teaching skills and upholding a strict code of honour.

He was one of the best-selling Chinese authors, with more than 300 million copies of his works sold worldwide.



Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Woman robbed and beaten up outside her Punggol flat; 20-year-old man arrested, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Woman robbed and beaten up outside her Punggol flat; 20-year-old man arrested, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Woman robbed and beaten up outside her Punggol flat; 20-year-old man arrested

SINGAPORE - A woman was robbed and beaten up on Thursday afternoon (Oct 18) outside her Punggol Housing Board flat.

The suspect, a 20-year-old man, has been arrested for robbery with hurt, the police said in a statement.

Only a set of keys were stolen in the incident which happened around 2pm at Waterway Cascadia, Block 315A Punggol Way.

The Straits Times understands that a neighbour had heard her shouting and arrived to find the victim injured.

From photos provided to ST by a reader, the middle-aged victim can be seen seated in a wheelchair, with bruises on her face.

The photos show that her right eye is swollen and there is a bandage on the left side of her head.

What appears to be blood can be seen splattered on her jeans and the floor, and police officers are photographed at the scene as well.

Officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division established the identity of the man and arrested him at Yishun Avenue 11 at 5.45pm the same day, the police said.

The man is expected to be charged in court on Saturday. If convicted, he can be jailed between five and 20 years with at least 12 strokes of the cane.

In its statement, the police advised members of the public to be alert and attentive to one's surroundings, and to avoid wearing too much jewellery or carrying large sums of cash.

"Carry a shrill alarm with you and use it to scare off the culprit or to attract the attention of other members of the public," the police added.



Sent from my iPhone