Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sequels in February 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017
Samsung's leader arrested on bribe

Samsung's stock price seems not affected by the arrest of the leader.

On the other hand, the South Korean special prosecutor is willing to indict Samsung leaders. The detention term will be expired soon. The investigative authority suspects Mr. Lee and his colleagues had made bribes to the president or her close friend, Choi Soon-sil, for expecting special support of the government in 2015. Samsung denied the suspicion.

Bloomberg: Samsung's Lee Faces Indictment Tuesday in Corruption Scandal

By the way, Samsung published a couple of new models of its devices: Galaxy Tab S3 and Galaxy Book.

Engadget: Samsung's Galaxy Book crams desktop power in portable body

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
North Korea's challenging missile launch

In addition to the missile launch, an assassination case is paid attention by many people in the world. Kim Jong-nam, a half-brother of Kim Jong-un, was murdered in Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. It is suspected that several agents of North Korea are involved in his death. Malaysian police have arrested some suspects, guessing that Nim Jong-nam was killed by VX toxic substance.

The New York Times: Kim Jong-nam’s Death: A Geopolitical Whodunit

Kim Jong-nam had been targeted for elimination by North Korea because he was criticizing the dictatorship of Kim Jong-un. It seems agents were aiming at Kim Jong-nam for several years. Anyway, this incidence is an example suggesting North Korean tyranny.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Brian Cox denies the existence of ghosts

It is said that modern scientists are seriously arguing whether the God exists or not. The origin of the universe is near to be discovered. Many people believe science can explain any phenomena in the entire world.

However, it is difficult to prove the absence of supernatural powers. It is called "devil's proof." If you want to prove the existence of the devil, you need simply to show one. In contrast, regardless of your knowledge and experience, it is hardly proven that there are no devils in the world.

Brian Cox, a famous researcher of physics in the UK, told that he could clarify the absence of ghosts. He introduced Large Hardon Collider, the biggest particle accelerator in the world, to explain if ghosts existed it could have found them.

Independent: Ghosts definitely don't exist because otherwise the Large Hadron Collider would have found them, claims Brian Cox

Obviously, if ghosts exist, they must extract the power from some sources we have not discovered yet. And even if there are unnatural sources of power, they need to interact our organs of sense when we recognize ghosts. In this process, ghosts have to adhere the rule of physics.

This is the reason I do not believe the existence of ghosts. It is possible the grand principle of physics will be rewritten by an innovative discovery in the future. Nevertheless, the new principle will completely be consistent with the findings discussed ever.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Harmful mercury in fish

Maybe do you like to eat tuna? Fatty tuna is the most popular food in Japanese sushi restaurants. But it has a health issue: mercury.

Mercury is a kind of heavy metal which is potentially harmful to human. In Japan, thousands of people were killed by Minamata disease which was due to mercury intoxication.

And due to the food-chain, some kind of fish like tuna, shark, and swordfish contain a significant amount of mercury compared to others. Eating such fish leads to taking mercury excessively. Especially pregnant women are encouraged to refrain from eating tuna more than a couple of piece in a day.

In addition, a recent study suggests that taking mercury is relevant to cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is one of the neurodegenerative diseases hard to treat.

International Business Times: High-mercury seafood like swordfish linked to incurable ALS

In real, ALS is not a common disease. Its prevalence rate is one per ten-thousand. Most people may not be willing to abandon tuna for avoiding ALS.

We should be aware of the risks in daily meal. But you need not avoid any particular foods. A balanced diet is essential.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sitting is not unhealthy itself, but still unhealthy

Sitting for a long time is considered as a risk of developing chronic disease. In a recent trend, it is criticized as well as smoking. Some people express happiness to introduce a standing desk in their office.

From an accurate evaluation, however, it is doubtful that sitting is as risky as smoking for human, according to latest studies.

The Conversation: Why sitting is not the ‘new smoking’

One recent cohort study suggested that the time spent for sitting watching TV is relevant to the onset of diabetes. In contrast, sitting time without watching TV was not associated with undesired outcome. The author guesses that people tending to watch TV are likely to be poor, unemployed, and have unhealthy habits. Thus, poverty is a confounding factor between sitting and health risk.

I think it is a rational hypothesis. There are two types of people who spend sitting for a long time: white collar executives and people who cannot stand. The latter has a greater risk of obesity and getting physically ill.

On the other hand, we should not forget that people aware of health risks are struggling to reduce their sitting time regardless of their job. Even if sitting is not associated with obesity or diabetes, it has a risk of back pain, hemorrhoid、and some other chronic diseases.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Doctor Strange: Wonderful scenes but mimicking plot

I saw "Doctor Strange," a film made from Marvel Comics on cinema. I enjoyed the 3D version, dubbed into the Japanese language.

Wikipedia: Doctor Strange (film)

Doctor Strange is a neurosurgeon with excellent skills and arrogant character. One day, he gets a traffic accident, making his both hands crippled. He despairs to know he would not recover forever. As he heard one person with a serious neuro injury had been completely treated by a mystic magician, he visits Kamar-Taj, a sanctum of magicians, for seeking help. He meets Ancient One there. He decides to learn about the magical power to conpensate his impaired hands. It brings him to the battle against rebel magicians and Dormammu, the ruler of the Dark Dimension.

This plot is a little similar to "Iron Man." In the both stories, the heroes are brilliant but a little narcissistic. And they get injured seriously, to abandon an ordinary life. And a miraculous power saves them, turn them into a superhero.

However, the taste of Doctor Strange is different from ordinary Marvel comics. The enemy of the superhero is not a criminal, but a god from another dimension. It is similar to "Thor," rather than "Ironman."

In this film, Doctor Strange is involved in several magical battles. In the combat scene, some weird effects are used to express the horror of magic. For example, a magician creates a Mirror Dimension to capture the opponent. In the Mirror Dimension, buildings are bent, and gravity is twisted. This scene reminded me a show using the project mapping.

In the middle of the film, Ancient One, the leader of magicians is described as a suspicious person. Doctor Strange distrusts her and wonders what should do. Kaecilius, the traitor, invites Strange to join him. He believes that Dormammu will give them an eternal life using the power of darkness. This figure of conflict is similar to Star Wars and some other stories.

It was disappointing for me that Strange defeats Dormammu with a certain trick. In my sense, Dormammu is an entity beyond the time and space. Then, I believe he would not surrender to such a silly trick by Strange.

Also, some descriptions regarding medical treatment are far from real. I was glad if the staffs had learned about medical science a little exactly.

Personal Rating: 3 (fair)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Obesity is not due to food but gut

Discussion about diet will never be over. In my sense, however, how losing weight is successful depends on considerably biological characteristics in each. Some people never gains weight regardless of their meal, whereas others easily get obese, to become diabetic.

The content of this article below is consistent with my experience.

Independent: No such thing as a good or bad diet, researchers say

According to the author, what do you eat in a daily meal has limited impact on your body weight. Rather, the environment in your gut influences more on your health status. Some bacteria can stop your appetite, while others contribute to gaining your weight. In the latter case, you have a greater risk of experience a "rebound."

This hypothesis is followed by a development of changing microbiome in your gut as a treatment option for obesity. Actually, transplantation of bacteria living in the intestine is recently seriously considered as an expectable solution for several diseases.

My past entry: Stool is a remedy for colitis?

This study introduced above has not been published in an academic journal. Therefore, it is too early to jump to the conclusion. Anyway, a tailored support for each client considering various factors from the genes to bacteria is required in the next era.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

NASA's challenge to find lives outer earth

NASA made a bold prediction, saying it will clarify whether there are creatures living on planets other than the earth within 20 years.

Independent: Nasa could discover whether life exists outside of planet Earth within 20 years, scientist says

NASA is preparing for a scouting mission to probe Europe, a moon of Jupiter. The project will be launched in 2024 or 2025. If drones find micro bacteria there, they will catch them to be returned to the earth. It is feasible to fetch them alive against the environment in the space, according to NASA researchers.

If there are any living objects detected, it will be a great discovery for the human being. In my opinion, however, there is scarce chance to find them. I believe the earth is an extraordinary planet so that human have evolved to the only intellectual being in the universe.

This NASA's announcement may be a feint for Trump administration, I guess. Donald Trump is not willing to recognize the importance of space exploration and wants to reduce the budget for NASA. Recently, researchers of astronomy are struggling for explaining their value for the nation. In the era of cold war, NASA had to make a milestone to show the superiority of its technology level to Russian one. Therefore, it even sent a space shuttle to the moon. Nowadays, however, space development is riskier and less fruitful. If this project attracts public attention, NASA's budget will be maintained despite Trump's indifference to science.

I dream the outer planets though not believing any intelligent being than human. I expect NASA to continue challenging projects to discover the secrets of the universe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lloyd's bans daytime drinking

Lloyd's, one of the oldest insurance companies in the world, decided to ban daytime drinking from employees in London.

This policy change was motivated by the fact that approximately a half of incidents deserving discipline caused by employees was relevant to alcohol drinking.
Under the new regulation, Loyd's London employees should refrain from drinking alcohol during 9-17 from Monday to Friday.

International Business Times: Lloyd's of London bans staff from daytime drinking

Some people are opposing this policy. According to the article above, there are two points of the argument. First, some criticize the banning would get rid of employees' joyous time. Second, some claim that forbidding alcohol is too strict for most employees who can be temperate to excessive drinking.

I think that the second opinion lacks evidence. The data submitted by Lloyd's suggests that alcohol is to some extent responsible for misconduct of the employees. If this hypothesis is correct, the incident rate in Lloyd's will be reduced after banning daytime drinking. I think the possibility for Lloyd's to prove the increased business risk with drinking is high.

The other point of discussion is more complicated. Drinking alcohol at lunch is a cultural behavior in Europe. In Japan, few people drink alcohol at daytime. Thus, most Japanese people would deem the new regulation in Lloyd's appropriate. However, it is not easy for most people to alter their daily habits. Many European people love drinking as natural. And in my sense, considerable persentage of such people are alcohol abusers.

It is unclear if other companies will follow the Lloyd's attempt. Perhaps some companies share the same issue. Each company has to make decision for better performance and employees' satisfaction.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A man with 15 academic degrees

Do you like to learn something? If so, is it a college for you to be most suitable?

Most students get an academic degree; bachelor, master, or Ph.D. at a college. And only a few people gain twice. But, there is a man who has a total of 15 degrees in Italy.

His name is Mr. Luciano Baietti. His specialty is various from sociology to military strategy. In the interview, he seems to be happy to learn many things he does not know. Now, being 70-year-old, he is going to learn food science.

Straitstimes.com: 70-year-old Italian man is world record holder with 15 degrees

Learning is fun. Although not the only choice, academia is a good place to learn something structurally. At this point, I am jealous of him.

On the other hand, I wonder how he is utilizing the knowledge and skills he got at the college. In my opinion, an opportunity to learn something valuable is not a privilege, but a gift. If I had been born in a developing country, I would not have been an associate professor. He was so lucky that he had enough time to learn for fun.

Of course, I believe he has given many valuable things to people around him through jobs and voluntary activities.

Another point of discussion is the value of an academic degree. Maybe it is strange for me to say this but, I think the authority of a college will be rapidly shrinking. A learning opportunity is provided to many people thanks to the spread of the internet. You need not enter a college when you find something you have to learn. In Japan, many students are aware of this fact. But young people are willing to go to college only because having a bachelor degree is advantageous for getting high salary. In the near future, there will be nobody willing to collect academic degrees for any reasons.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Genetic factors in the obesity: a perspective

Obesity is one of core issues not only in women but also almost all people in developed countries. Also, some Asian countries are suffering from rocketing proportion of people with obesity.

Some people complain that they cannot be slim regardless of their continuous efforts, while others keep their body shape with ease. Many imagine there is something different among persons to control their body weight.

Indeed, recent studies have identified some genetic factors associated with the obesity. Among them, the FTO gene is considered to be responsible for the obesity with high degree.

However, the FTO gene is not relevant to the weight loss. Thus, any attempts to control the body weight in the person with the FTO gene is as effective as other individuals, according to newly studies.

The conversation: People with ‘obesity gene’ can still lose weight

Ironically, it means that you cannot use your genes as an excuse for failing to lose the body weight.

On the other hand, there is another gene which regulates appetite to stop overeating, as researchers found recently.

It was firstly detected in roundworms. Most animals have to roam for seeking food. And when they are satisfied, they have to rest and sleep not to waste the energy.

Independent: Scientists discover gene which triggers fullness and could help stop people overeating

So far, reducing appetite with an external substance has been deemed risky. Since craving for food is the human instinct, suppressing it can be poisonous. In Japan, not a few girls use methamphetamine for losing weight, apparently, causing a disastrous outcome. But regulating the genetic level is rather safer because it is not against the instinct but alters itself. In the future, modifying the gene which is responsible for the appetite with a drug will be a solution against the overweight.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Samsung's leader arrested on bribe

Jay Y. Lee, a Samsung Group leader, was arrested just before on the suspect of bribe.

The special prosecutor's office accused Lee of sending a total of 30 million USD to Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of President Park Geun-hey. Choi is suspected to have committed leaking important information of the government. President Park is also harshly blamed on the unethical relationship with Choi.

Reuters: Samsung chief Lee arrested as South Korean corruption probe deepens

Thus, Lee was involved in a scandal of the Korean government. Samsung and Lee deny any misconducts about this issue.

Korean prosecuting office had targeted on Samsung for several months. A previous calling for arrest submitted by the prosecutor was declined by the court in January. The court did not permit arresting the president of Samsung.

Samsung is the biggest Korean company, and have great influence on the world economics. However, the recent incident that of Galaxy Note, a flagship phablet series was forced to be recalled because of firing battery inflicted severe damage on the reputation of the company. This scandal will also adversely affect its stock price.

My past entry: Galaxy Note 7 recalled by explosive failure

Korea is suffering from the unhealthy relationship among domestic powers such as financial groups. Some years ago, a daughter of Korean Air Lines founder ignited criticism for her rude behavior in the aircraft.

My past entry: Nut rage case in Korean Air

Korean prosecutor seems eager to ban corruption in the society. On the other hand, the government relies heavily on giant companies. I wonder how political and economic power are regulated there.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Excrement in the space, an issue

Space exploring is still extremely challenging in the modern era. In space, a human cannot survive even a minute without the help of life protecting suit. And if it is feasible for people to swim in the sky, there may be another problem emerged.

NASA is willing to develop a space suit which can deal with human waste. It recruited the idea of suit designs for managing excrement without stress or hygiene risk.

The Guardian: Pooping in space: suit could help Nasa astronauts boldly go when duty calls

Excretion is one of the essential acts in human life. We will get ill so easily with refraining from going to the bathroom. It is the most intolerable needs in human activities, even comparing to eating, sleeping, or having sex.

In the space, it is not simple to keep a toilet secure and clean. There are no bacteria to decompose waste. I heard that since an initial model of space shuttle could not equip the functional toilet, only seven astronauts were allowed to ride in it.

In addition, we cannot wear off the suit in space as if in the sea. Astronauts may have to work in the space for several hours, or even a couple of days.

Therefore, there is a need to manage their excrement in the suit. Thatcher Cardon, a surgeon, got the prize for submitting an idea to make a hole in the suit to be attached to a diaper. This concept can be suitable for other situations such as hospital patients.

In real, portable toilets and diapers for travelers and elders are popularly sold in the market. Excrement is so close to us as a major issue.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Absurd challenge of Malaysia to cure LGBT

Malaysian government endorsed gay conversation therapy according to the media report.

It is said that an official video movie was produced by the Family, Social and Development Department to introduce a way for Muslims to change their sexual orientation. According to the article below, it seems to be a primitive behavioral therapy using negative feedback.

It is not surprising that this presentation ignited a widespread criticism among LGBT communities. Most of them hate their sexual orientation being deemed as a curable disease.

Independent: Malaysian government openly endorses gay conversion therapy

It is a mirroring of "X-Men: The Last Stand" in which a permanent cure for mutation genes is developed. This film is very suggestive. But the real situation is ridiculous, because the argument whether gay is a disease or not was terminated several years ago.

My past entry: X-Men and psychiatry (3)

For the publication of DSM-IV, an American authoritative guideline of mental disorders, the editors made an extensive discussion. But they had never reach a consensus. Finally, they made a vote to decide if homosexuality should be listed as a mental disorder. And this idea was declined.

After that, no evidence to prove that homosexuality is a disease has been found. Therefore, it is apparently wrong to treat homosexuality in medical context. I believe Malaysian government officials did not this fact.

On the other hand, all human behaviors can be modified with behavioral therapeutic approach, at least believed by behavioral therapists. Indeed, I read 15 years ago a textbook of behavioral therapy in which modification of sexual orientation was referred.

Thus, this Malaysian ambitious challenge is completely outdated. It will never provide proper solutions for LGBT people, not because of its unethical concept, but simply for its scientific nonsense.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pensioners get more money than workers in the UK

Inequality among generations is a serious issue in many developed countries. Not only in Japan, but also in the UK, competition among generation seems to be real.

In the UK, the average income of pensioners became higher than their working families, according to a new survey. The Resolution Foundation think tank found that pensioners households were better by 20 GBP than working age households.

International Business Times: Pensioners are now better off than working families due to weak wage growth

This contradictional structure was formulated by some backbones. The wage growth in young workers is sluggish. And some elders receive extra incomes including private pensions. The rule for distributing state pensions is so solid that it hardly reflects poverty in young workers. The government is willing to change the scheme. However, this will face the resistance of elder voters.

The low economic growth is beneath this issue. And it is shared in many developed countries. I have no treatment against this structural problem.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

North Korea's challenging missile launch

The last weekend, Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, visited Florida to meet Donald Trump. The two leaders made a close conversation and published a shared declaration about the relationship between two nations in the future.

In the statement, Trump admired Japan as letting American military stay in Okinawa prefecture. His attitude was different from that in the past claiming Japan should protect itself with its own force.

In the shared statement, North Korea was also mentioned. Trump said he would never permit North Korea developing nuclear weapons.

Then, immediately after the meeting, North Korea committed an experiment of missile launch successfully.

It is obviously a defiance against the US. Abe made a press conference in the US to condemn North Korea. Trump joined the conference, to make a comment that he supported Abe with 100% confidence.

Independent: North Korea missile test: Donald Trump and Japanese PM respond to "intolerable launch"

Other developed countries also blamed North Korea. United Nation Security Council will also be held to consider a strengthened sanction.

Why North Korea made such a reckless conduct? It is sure that it succeeded to attract attention from many countries with utilizing the meeting of Trump and Abe. I wonder how it does matter for North Korea.

And also, I am doubtful Trump seriously concerned about North Korea. His policy is America First, and being involved in North Korean issue would not profit the US.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Is technology going to take over the human job?

There is an idea of concern for many workers; in the future, technology will take me over!

Today's development of information technology and artificial intelligence is amazing. Google's self-driving car will be available in many areas. A chatting bot program like Siri will replace telephone operator's position. Other intellectual jobs are also threatened, as many world rankers of Go were defeated by a computer program.

My past entry: AI completely overwhelms human Go players

However, workers are not entirely pessimistic about the future, according to a new study.

ITProPortal: UK workers not really worried about robots taking their jobs

Epson conducted a close observation to the workers in the UK. As a result of the survey, approximately three-fourth are optimistic to the coming age with development of technology. Also, three-fourth of the respondents replied that technology would take over certain jobs. On the other hand, the majority of respondents were willing to learn new skills to adapt the future.

It is an interesting finding. Indeed, many people believe that robots will get rid of our job opportunity. It is decisive whether to pay attention to the positive impact of technology, and whether to be ready to change ourselves to survive the new era.

As the detail of this study is not clarified, I cannot judge the validity of this survey. It seems sure that the respondents are people being interested in the new technology. In real, many people not only in the UK but also other nations are not aware of the historic wave of technological evolution approaching fast. Anyway, we cannot avoid this cataclysm.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A study with executed prisoner's liver to be banned

An academic paper will be retracted for a reason than fabrication.

It is an article written by Chinese researchers whose theme is liver transplantation. I have not read the paper yet, and am indifferent to the content. The reason for banning this paper is shocking. It is suspected that executed prisoners of conscience were utilized as a donor of organs.

The Guardian: Medical journal to retract paper after concerns organs came from executed prisoners

There are some layers in this issue. First, the authors declared that no prisoner's liver had been involved in the study he conducted. But, after the publication, Wendy Rogers, a professor of clinical ethics at Macquarie University in Sydney, suggested the probability of utilizing executed prisoners' organs in this study. She directed the separation between the number of donors after cardiac death in China and the cases mentioned in the paper. It means that it was impossible to perform the study as the author wrote without gaining prisoners' organs.

Fabricating the process of a study is a serious breach of research ethics. It independently deserves a banning of the paper.

In addition, organ harvesting in China is broadly criticized. Official reports suggest the existence of a considerable amount of unethical organ transplantation. The author may be aware of this issue, resulting in the false declaration in the study process.

Furthermore, execution of prisoners of conscience is beneath this problem. In China, several people are arrested for speaking or publishing ideology against the government. Western people claim that liberty of expression is not assured in China.

There are several differences among culture, indeed. For example, eating dogs is acceptable in some areas in China. I respect it as a local culture.

However, I believe some basic principles should be definitely shared beyond culture and nationality. Human equality and freedom of thought must be guaranteed regardless of nations or regions. I never admire outcomes by unethical research.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Google and Facebook attempt to exile fake news

The internet giants will be collaborative to perish hoax.

Facebook and Google joined forces with several news organizations in France. Its aim is to identify false news, to be banned from users' timeline.

Reuters: Facebook, Google join drive against fake news in France

French media seems nervous to the influence of the internet and social media on the next Presidential election. Some people are worrying that politicians with nationalistic ideology such as Marine Le Pen will attract citizens' concern using agitating comments.

Indeed, some people suspected that Donald Trump had gained the Presidential seat because of fake news spread on the internet. Furthermore, Obama administration identified that the Russian government had made a cyber attack to manipulate the result of the vote. However, there is no evidence that fake internet news had a decisive effect on the election in the US.

My past entry: The influence of fake news on the Presidential vote is limited: A study suggests

In my opinion, eliminating fake news is impossible at all. And it is no use to try to regulate human emotion through controlling information. Nonetheless, the attempt of Google and Facebook to examine the quality of sites to let better ones survive. Today is the age of information. And ranking each information is not only human's act, but also by the AI.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Russian law underrepresents domestic violence

In Russia, a potentially terrible bill was approved by President Putin.

Following the amendment of the current law, a single act of domestic violence will be punished only with 15 days imprisonment or a fine, instead of maximum two years incarceration previously adopted.

The Guardian: Putin approves legal change that decriminalises some domestic violence

This amendment is based on an idea that it is not proper for legal authority to intervene familial relationship. Compared to Western culture, Eastern nations, and some Asian countries including Japan have a shared ideology that discipline with minimal hurt is acceptable. Beneath of this amendment, there seems resistant attitude in Russian against the Western de-fact standard.

In my opinion, too harsh punishment is no use to prevent further crime. Thus, I do not criticize attenuated penalty at all. Also, I do not admire Western culture entirely. For example, in England, letting a child alone in daytime is deemed as abuse. I think it is an unnecessary treatment.

However, gender equality is no more Western culture but a global standard. And, family bond is shrinking as civilization is developing. The present amendment is out of date, I believe.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Women's cancer rate

Recent studies show an interesting phenomenon. The rate of death by cancer is increasing in women compared to men. More exactly, the fatality rate of women due to cancer is failing to decrease in some decades, while that of men is successfully decreasing.

(This graph is sited from an NIH page.)

There are some reasons for this difference. In short, some factors toward causing cancer have been addressed in recent years. They are smoking, drinking, and obesity. And these factors was dominant in men.

Nowadays, however, women are likely to drink alcohol and smoke as much as men. It means campaigns against such harmful behaviors are not effective in women. The cancer rate in both genders seems to reflect the situation.

The Conversation: Why cancer rates are increasing disproportionately in women – and what we can do about it

Smoking is closely relevant to the onset of lung and throat cancer. Drinking is a risk for esophageal cancer. And obesity is likely to be related to prostate and bowel cancers.

On the other hand, cervical cancer is strictly relevant to the infection by human papilloma virus (HPV). In recent years, vaccination to HPV is strongly recommended in developed countries. Cervical cancer is considered to be prevented with early vaccination. It is good news.

In Japan, however, some people are against this policy. They claim that vaccination has a serious side effect. As they opposed to mandated vaccination, the government decided to cancel the policy of necessary vaccination to HPV for young women. I think it is a stupid decision. Indeed, some people are so vulnerable that they experience adverse effects with vaccination. Nonetheless, the risk-benefit ratio suggests we should accept the vaccination. I am afraid that cervical cancer will increase in Japan in spite of reduced risk in other developed countries.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Overlearning is beneficial

You can often feel bored when taking a practice repeatedly. You may have a strong memory of spelling tests. Catch is one of the primary menus in baseball practice. Beginner Karate fighters have to mimic senior trainee's gesture again and again. Is it necessary to do such a simple task many times for the mastery?

The answer is yes, according to scientists. An experimental study suggests that "overlearning" has a preventive effect from forgetting the skill once you have acquired.

The Guardian: From ‘overlearning’ to going barefoot: how to learn better

Perhaps, there are some stages in your brain from the beginning to the mastery. The first stage is initial learning, or simply knowing the matter. You make a glance at the manual and recognize the manner of the skill. But this memory will vanish immediately because it is stored in the working memory. Through repeated practice, the instant memory is enhanced, to be changed into long-term memory. It means that you hardly forget the process of the skill. However, you may have difficulty to do the same thing in a different situation. The third stage is the generalization. You can utilize the manner you have acquired in another object, surrounding, and perspective.

And the final stage is overlearning. At this stage, the process of the skill is done at the unconsciousness level. Professional sports players often say, "My arms automatically catch the ball," or "I jumped up before I wanted to do so."

Once reached this stage, your skill never betrays you. Even if you are staying far from the field of the skill for a long time, you can remember the skill immediately when you need it.

Physician's skill is one of the examples. Elder physicians have many experiences of treating patients. Their observation and technique are overlearned to their body and mind. Therefore, they can behave as if a skillful doctor, even with dementia. Indeed, it is difficult to detect mild dementia among doctors.

Driving technique is also overlearned in many people. In Japan, traffic accidents caused by elder people is sometimes reported recently. But the percentage of the cases is far fewer than expected, considering the high prevalence rate of dementia in aged people.

In conclusion, overlearning is beneficial, at least in some kind of fundamental skills for you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Is pride an element of virtue?

Do you know "Ultima IV: The Quest of the Avatar?" It is a legendary computer game published in 1985. In this game, the player is to exploring the world, to slay monsters, to hear to citizens' voice, and to find several ancient treasures. But they are not the goal of this game. The ultimate end of this game is to become the Avatar, an incarnation of the virtues.

In the Ultima world, there are eight virtues defined. And each of them is connected to three principles, as shown below.

Spirituality is combined with all of three principles, and humility is not relevant to any principles. The player has to raise the virtues in his or her mind, to reach the ultimate axiom; infinity. So, Ultima IV is amazingly a game of philosophy.

In Ultima IV, Pride is not a virtue. Rather, a town in which citizens had believed pride was a form of virtue was ruined. Humility is an acronym of pride.

But, is it true that pride is not a way of human?

Actually, persons with a high degree of pride are often arrogant and forget the sense of thankfulness. Pride often interferes us from begging a solution to other people. Many people are suffering from their excessive pride.

However, a prideless man is also troublesome as same as a man of pride.

People who have lost his or her pride tend to behave rudely. Self-injury frequently occurs in persons with low self-esteem. To maintain your self-esteem at an adequate level, you should be proud of your own entity.

Therefore, I believe pride is also an important element for better life. The matrix of Ultima IV has to evolve a little more.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Concussion and Chronic Trauma Encephalopathy

Sports injury is paid attention just recently because of increased social concern. Especially, Chronic Trauma Encephalopathy (CTE) has been a core of the discussion in the last decade. Some American football players and their family said they had been suffering from continuous impairment of cognitive function and even behavioral change in their later life. At first, NFL did not admit the existence of the risk for brain damage by repeating concussion. But as evidence suggested the abnormal accumulation of Tau protein in the brain of athletes, and even Obama commented that he would not let his children play football, NFL had no choice than addressing this issue.

Nowadays, in spite of the lack of complete understanding of this syndrome, it is widely admitted that repetitive concussion can be harmful to the human brain. Athletes playing contact sports such as football, ice hockey, and boxing, have to protect their head from external force.

I attended an academic conference regarding medical law last year. I remember this issue was broadly discussed also there. In contrast, the danger of concussion is underestimated in Japan, as far as I know.

However, there is another issue. Athletes, especially in children, seldom report concussion honestly when they are hit in their head. Studies suggest only a half of sufferers report it and two-thirds do not meet a physician after the incident.

The Conversation: Many kids still don’t report concussion symptoms. How can we change that?

It is a serious problem, according to specialists in this region. Some researchers consider that there is a culture of resistance against accurate reporting beneath of the current situation. Players tend to feel embarrassed when they encounter a head injury.

This tendency is more apparent in Japan, I think. Being patient has been a virtue in Traditional Japanese culture. Many athletes believe serious training and suffering from pain make them strong, even now. I think it is an absurd idea or no other than a collective delusion of the athletes.

The group of the author of the article above attempts to encourage young athletes and their parents and trainers to become aware of the danger of concussion. They adopted an intervention method similar to protection from substance abuse and violence. It means they are quite serious to reduce the incidents due to unrecognized concussions.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Misophonia, an odd but annoying disease

There are some people who are suffering from a kind of sounds. They feel irritated, anxious, or even angry when hearing some specific sounds such as breathing or eating.

This strange syndrome is called "misophonia." I guess many doctors do not know this disease. Indeed, it had been doubted if misophonia exists.

But recent brain studies suggested a hypothesis that a certain region in the frontal lobe is responsible for misophonia. Sufferers reacted to the specific sound with raised heart rate and brain activity.

International Business Times: What is misophonia? Why certain sounds trigger hate feelings deep inside

I myself have not encountered patients with misophonia. But some patients with developmental disorders dislike some particular sounds which are neutral to others. I guess misophonia has some relevance to developmental disorders.

Treatment for misophonia has not been established, as far as my understanding. Psychological therapy with desensitization method is expectable. Also, brain research will find some key ideas in the future. In PTSD treatment, some researchers are planning functional MRI and electrical shock to be utilized. These modern therapeutic technologies will be spread to other mental disorders, I believe.

My past entry: Possibility of PTSD treatment without exposure

My past entry: Trauma deleting therapy with electric shock

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Grexit again and collapsion of the EU

Behind the Brexit vote and President Trump in the last year, the risk of Grexit is gradually emerging again. The Greek government bond is still fluctuating.

The bailout program is ongoing, and Greece is demanded to proceed austerity. But the opinion of the government led by Alexis Tsipras, a left winged politician, has not been integrated.

Greece itself is not wanting to leave the EU or Euro. However, Germany and other nations in the EU will encounter general election in which there is fear of rising far-right nationalists parties. It means nobody can be occupied with the rescue of Greece.

The Guardian: Grexit? Greece again on the brink as debt crisis threatens break with EU

So far, the EU was maintained mainly by the strong leadership of Germany. As well, the governance of Brussels was functioning to some extent. But it is quite doubtful such a fragile system will be sustainable. I can see a possible figure in the future without the EU.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Reversing diet method

Diet is a constant theme for not only women but everyone living in a developed country. Every year, many new methods are born, to be forgotten.

I explained before why you fail to achieve an adequate diet. It is because you pursue perpetual success with a temporary effort. You have to change your diet habit itself forever to keep the satisfactory style.

My past entry: The only way to maintain your body weight properly

Therefore, I deny any makeshift challenges. There is no royal road of diet. However, I admit some tricky ways in a continuous diet. For example, it is easier to rely on your regulatory habits than your will power. Drinking water just before the dinner is protective from binge eating. The article below suggests several tips for keeping your habits healthy with minimized effort.

The Conversation: 9 ways ‘won’t-power’ is better than ‘willpower’ for resisting temptation and helping you eat better

This reversing method is rational to some extent. However, considering your character is essential before adopting each method. Some people are relieved from appetite with eating something with low calories before dinner. But it inflicts craving in others. Again, there is no royal road.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Curcumin, superfood or placebo?

There are many functional foods introduced as having amazing benefits on the body. Not surprisingly, most of these ideas do not survive a decade. It is hardly trustworthy a single food has a role of panacea.

Curcumin is one of the components which has been expected to be beneficial to human health. Many people express its effects from anti-aging to cure against neoplasm.

Dr. Axe: 10 Turmeric Benefits: Superior to Medications?

The author of the article above claims that curcumin has incredibly ten kinds of the effect each of which matches a particular medical drug. If it is true, we need not take medicines when suffering from pain, metabolic syndrome, depression, or even cancer. But is it true?

I read a paper referred as evidence in the article to prove the effect of curcumin on depression.

Phytotherapy Research: Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Unfortunately, this study written in this article is poorly qualified. The author claims that this is a randomized controlled trial, and concluded that curcumin had the effect on depressive symptoms as the same as a SSRI fluoxetine. But, the participants were not blinded. Also, statistical analysis did not show curcumin was not inferior to fluoxetine, but it was merely suggested that there was no statistical significance in effect between curcumin and fluoxetine. Indeed, some mild depression can be attenuated after some week observation even without any therapeutic intervention.

I found some other studies examining the effect of curcumin on depression. The article below is rather better. In this study, curcumin was compared to placebo in depressive patients using the double-blind method. As a result, the difference in reduction of depressive symptom was not statistically significant, while curcumin reduced anxiety in patients with more magnitude.

Journal of Affective Disorder: Efficacy of curcumin, and a saffron/curcumin combination for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Recently, Gunda Georg, co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, said that curcumin research conducted so far were no other than a waste of time following the fact curcumin is an unstable, reactive, non-bioavailable compound. It is a shocking comment.

Quartz: Forget what you’ve heard: Turmeric seems to have zero medicinal properties

I do not believe curcumin has no effect on the body at all. But, it is likely that many of studies suggesting effects of curcumin are questionable. It is a tough task to find a valuable functional food.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Does ethical egg exist?

In my stay in London, I often bought free-range eggs. It was shameful that I did not know what does "free-range" means, to be honest.

Free-range eggs are defined as eggs produced by hens which were bred in an open farm. Most hens in Japan are locked in a cage to be administered for maximized productivity. In contrast, free-range egg brings us an organic and healthy image.

However, it seems an illusion, at least in the UK, according to the media report. Actually, eggs by hens grown in a barn can be named as free-range. Also, they are exhausted with continuous light and excessive food for more production. As a result, their mortality is one-tenth of a real free-range hen.

The Guardian: Free range is a con. There’s no such thing as an ethical egg

It looks a horrible story. But it is not limited to hens. Foie Gras is the liver of an artificially obese duck. Thus, we like to eat fatty liver. As well, most Wagyu, luxury Japanese beef, are meat from a cow which was not allowed to do any exercise for a whole lifespan. Since this beef contains the large density of fat, many Japanese people love Wagyu than American or Australian beef.

After all, there is no ethical food in the world. We cannot survive without killing other lives. Vegans are also guilty, as they take many plants' life. It is our destiny as an animal.

Also, I think that we cannot understand other species' sense of value. Thus, it is meaningless to consider the way of killing other animals. I hate to kill animals for our fun. And I do not like to see animals' agony. But they are merely my emotion. In the state of animals, there is no matter how they are killed. Or, we have no ability to identify their dignity. It is impossible to adopt our own sense to other species.

Of course, abusing animals should be avoided. It is not cool. But, I do not think that avoiding eating animals slaughtered cruelly is admirable. I eat meats and fish, to survive my own life. I want delicious and fruitful meal. That's it.