Baby in California born with 12 functioning fingers and toes, in a rare case of polydactylism

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A six-pound infant born in San Francisco, California has six perfectly formed and functional fingers and toes on his hands and feet, so that it isn’t considered a disability or deformity, say doctors at Saint Luke’s Hospital who were amazed by the oddity.

In a medical rarity, super baby Kamani Hubbard was born two weeks ago with 24 working digits. He is healthy and home with his parents in Daly City, California. Polydactyly, a congenital disorder is not uncommon in humans and animals, including cats, but to happen on both hands and feet is a rare hereditary condition.

“Nurses and doctors, looked so normal they couldn’t tell, they told me he was six pounds in good health, that was all they said,” said Miryoki Gross, Hubbard’s mother. Her baby’s specialness didn’t even show up on prenatal ultrasounds. “I heard nothing before I gave birth so I’m still in shock, kinda,” Gross added. Despite the mother’s shock, Kamani’s father, Kris, was the first to notice the condition.

Polydactyly (from Ancient Greek means ‘?????’ (polus) or “many” + ‘????????’ (daktulos) “finger[s]”), also known as polydactylism, sexdactyly, hexadactyly, or hexadactylism, is a congenital physical disorder consisting of supernumerary fingers or toes.

In Kamani’s case, however, all of the digits are perfectly formed and function or work normally. “I was in amazement, it took a little time for me to take it all in,” said Kris, a postal worker, who has a family history of polydactylism, but none of his relatives can remember it happening on both hands and feet.

Mostly, cases of polydactyly are surgically corrected. Kris himself had nubs of sixth digits, which were removed during his early childhood, for having been non-functional. “My son has six fingers then I saw toes, and I thought, this is quite unique. Some family members have had six fingers, not completely developed. But not the toes,” Kris noted.

“I would be tempted to leave those fingers in place. I realize children would tease each other over the slightest things, and having extra digits on each hand is more than slight. But imagine what sort of a pianist a 12-fingered person would be imagine what sort of a flamenco guitarist, if nothing else think of their typing skills,” Dr. Treece remarked.

“I just want him to see what greatness will be in store for him,” said Kris.

Fully developed and functional extra digits on both hands and feet are considered very rare as a genetic trait in medical history, amid some partial development of an extra digit occurs about twice in every 1,000 white male births. Ordinarily, polydactylism appears as an extra piece of non-functional tissue, typically occurring as an extra finger, sometimes with a bone, but no joint.

“It’s merely an interesting and beautiful variation rather than a worrisome thing,” said Dr. Michael Treece, a St. Luke’s Hospital pediatrician, and the OBGYN who delivered Kamani. He has postaxial polydactyly, which is 10 times more likely to occur in black children, and also more likely to appear in boys.

Goliath, a figure in Old Testament, was depicted as having had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.

Blues guitarist Hound Dog Taylor, Get Carter, Little Tich, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and several other figures in history have had polydactyly. Sid Wilson, a turntablist of Slipknot, had been born with an extra finger and toe on his hands and feet which were removed shortly after his birth as doctors considered them to be dead.

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What Does Ohio Mineral Rights Mean?

byAlma Abell

Not many people know what Ohio mineral rights are. Not many people know that they might be sitting on an area of land that can provide them with exactly what it is that they want – money! With the right company that is willing to buy Ohio mineral rights from the land or homeowners, they can make cash each and every month each time the land is harvested. Through the use of their drills, and workers, you can have cash in hand all by giving them the permission to harvest this off your land. However, understanding what you own is always a good idea.

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Things to Figure Out If You Have Ohio Mineral Rights

Many people wonder how they know or if they can have Ohio mineral rights. This is a good question, and one that requires testing of the land. In order to find out what exactly is under the land you have, they have to drill down into it and then check to find out if there is oil or gas that can be used by the company. If there is, then you own this and they will need permission to harvest it from your land. If this is the case, then they will want to buy some of the Ohio mineral rights from you, and harvest it. This will require a contract, as well as a payment plan that works for you.

Working with the Company

It is also your choice on whether or not you want to work with one company or another. While some companies will try to convince you to work with them, knowing more about their experience and past, as well as the rates they are providing you for the Ohio mineral rights is essential. You need to make the right decision and this can be done with a little research, time and speaking with the company regarding your Ohio mineral rights.

Knowing whether you have Ohio mineral rights is a serious thing. You have to speak with the company to find out more regarding whether or not this is something that you want to move forward with. They will speak with you regarding the payment plans that they offer, as well as any bad things that might happen. You want something that is going to truly stand out, but you want something that is not going to hurt you or your family. This is a decision you have to make since you own the Ohio mineral rights.

BP says Gulf oil spill slowed as estimates of oil spilled increase

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A US Coast Guard official said today that BP’s latest effort to plug the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been successful in slowing the amount of oil leaking from the well.

The official, Admiral Thad Allen, said that the procedure, known as a “top kill” operation, has been able to block some of the leaking oil at the source, the top of the damaged well. The operation involves pumping material into the well to plug the leak before cement is used to permanently seal the leak. Allen said the operation has “been able to force mud down and not allow any hydrocarbons to come up.”

BP hasn’t confirmed the success of the top kill operation, saying only that the “operation is proceeding as we planned it,” and that there had been no major incidents thus far. Although the possibility of failure is still present, experts say that the longer the procedure continues, the less likely it will be that anything goes wrong.

The procedure began yesterday afternoon, after diagnostics on the damaged equipment on the ocean’s surface indicated that it could withstand the added pressure of the mud being pumped into the well. Although engineers involved with the operation wore concerned that the pressure of the mud might not be able to overcome that of the oil, that has thus far not been the case.

Separately, a group of US scientists announced new estimates of how much oil was flowing from the well, ranging from 12,000 to 25,000 barrels a day, far higher than BP’s original estimate of 5,000 barrels a day, a figure which BP warned was possibly inaccurate.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, US president Barack Obama also announced new measures in response to the spill, which include:

  • Suspending off-shore test drilling for six months
  • Extending the moratorium on issuing drilling permits for an additional six months
  • Cancelling the sale of leases for off-shore drilling.

In statements, Obama criticized the “scandalously close relationship” between government officials and oil companies in the past, saying that the Mineral Management Service, which is the agency responsible for monitoring off-shore drilling, had been corrupt for years.

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Canada to legalise marijuana to ‘make it more difficult for kids to access’

Sunday, April 16, 2017

In order to put the cannabis drug (marijuana) out of reach of minors, the Canadian federal government announced a bill to legalise cannabis for the age group of eighteen and above, on Thursday. The bill would allow adults to possess cannabis publicly, previously a criminal offence.

Canada’s health minister Jane Philpott tweeted, “Today we tabled new legislation to legalise, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis. Our goal: keep it out of the hands of youth, and profits out of the hands of criminals.” ((fr))French language: ?Ajd nous avons déposé un nouveau projet de loi pour légaliser le cannabis, le réglementer de manière stricte et en restreindre l’accès. Notre objectif: garder le cannabis hors de la portée des jeunes, & les profits hors des mains des criminels. The Canadian government, via their official website, explained cannabis is available illegally, and their measures to stop it did not work. Criminal organisations are making money selling cannabis. Under-aged people can obtain the drug easily; they said, “it is easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes.”

The bill allows provinces and territories to set the age limit above eighteen. In order to prevent criminal gangs from making a profit, selling the drug needs a license permitting its sale. Adults can purchase the drug online from a licensed producer if a retail shop is not available in the province.

Adults can carry up to 30 g (slightly over an ounce) of cannabis and grow at most four cannabis plants at home, for personal use. The plants should be no taller than a metre, the bill proposed. Selling cannabis to minors would be a specific criminal offence.

The legislation requires parliamentary approval and royal assent. If passed, the bill would be under effect by July 2018, the government said. Health and safety experts and law enforcement were consulted before proposing the legislation. Except for medical purposes, possession of the drug remains illegal until the bill is passed. Regardless of the status of the bill, import and export of the drug would be illegal.

Previously when the government increased the taxes on cigarettes to discourage citizens from smoking, a black market for cigarettes developed.

Along with legalising cannabis, the bill would also permit the police officials to use tools like oral fluid drug screeners to detect if drivers are under the influence of the drug. Zero tolerance against drivers under influence of drugs is proposed. The government would also implement a public awareness campaign on the perils of driving under the influence of drugs.

The government still working on the restrictions. Lawmaker and former police chief Bill Blair said, “We do accept that more important work remains to be done.” If the bill is passed, Canada would be the second country to legalise cannabis completely. Uruguay is the first. Some countries, such as Germany, allow medical use of cannabis, but recreational use is prohibited.

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Copiapó, Chile mining accident: in depth

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The rescue of the Chilean miners trapped in the San José Mine in Copiapó, codenamed Operación San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo Operation), began on Tuesday night, at around 20:00 local time (23:00 UTC).

Florencio Ávalos was the first miner to be rescued, at 00:12 local time (03:12 UTC) on Wednesday. He was wearing a shirt signed by all his fellow miners. “The first miner is already with us. We saw it all, him hugging his wife Monica and his son Byron,” said President Piñera shortly after the first rescue. “We still have a long journey.”

“This will be recorded on every single Chilean heart forever,” Piñera added. “I hope the miners’ hope stay with us, just like the [February] earthquake victims’ [hope] and what the earthquake took off. We know that the disasters unite us all.”

All the 33 miners were rescued. The last miner, Luis Urzúa, was rescued at 21:55 Chile time (00:55 UTC). “It is a pleasure to be Chilean, [I’m] proud,” said Luis Urzúa to President Piñera. “In honour of the miners, their families, the rescuers […] let’s sing our national anthem. Viva Chile Mierda!,” said Piñera. Urzúa thanked Mining Minister Golborne and the First Lady Cecilia Morel for “fighting for their lives.” “I’m proud of my fellow miners,” Urzúa added.

Six rescuers, including a miner and a paramedic, descended to the miners’ shelter using the Fénix 3 capsule which was specially constructed for the rescue. They performed check-ups and talk with the miners before taking them back to the surface. The rescuers still don’t leave the mine.

The Fénix 3 capsules are 3.95 metres in height and weigh about 460 kilograms. They have an armour, an oxygen tube and a microphone. The occupants helmets contain an intercom to keep them in contact with the rescue team on the surface.

President of Chile Piñera assisted to the rescue. Bolivian President Evo Morales could not attend Carlos Mamani’s rescue. Mamani is the only Bolivian miner in the group.

A mass for the miners was conducted at 18:00 local time (21:00 UTC). The rescue takes between 15 and 20 minutes for each miner.

On Tuesday, Mayor of Copiapó Maglio Cicardini announced that the municipal schools in the city will have no classes this Wednesday “to transform the rescue of the Atacama’s 33 in a familiar meeting,” Radio Cooperativa reported.

“The miners will be taken to the Copiapó Regional Hospital for medical checkup, where they will have to stay for 48 hours,” Health Minister Mañalich said to Televisión Nacional de Chile.

Celebrations are taking place in several Chilean cities. In Santiago de Chile, people gathered in one of the most important points of the city, Plaza Italia. In Pichilemu, tens of cars are passing over its most important streets. In Copiapó, people gathered in its main square to assist a massive concert.

On August 5, 33 miners were trapped more than 700 meters (2,300 ft) underground, in the San José copper–gold mine, located about 40 kilometers north of Copiapó, Chile.

The youngest trapped miner is 19 years old, and the oldest is 63. There were several rescue attempts before reaching the miners’ shelter on August 22. The National Emergencies Office of Chile (ONEMI) released a list of the trapped miners on August 6, which included Franklin Lobos Ramírez, a retired footballer.

Chile is the worlds top producer of copper, according to The Economist. The San José Mine is owned by the San Esteban Mining Company (Empresa Minera San Esteban). The mine was closed down in 2007, after relatives of a miner who had died sued the company executives, but the mine was re–opened in 2008.

It was originally estimated that “it would take three to four months to complete the rescue of the trapped miners”. There were three plans to reach the miners: “Plan A” using a Strata 950 drill, “Plan B” using a Schramm T130XD drill, and “Plan C” using a RIG-422 drill. The first to reach the miners was “Plan B”, early on Saturday 9.

The last step of their rescue, announced by Health Minister Jaime Mañalich, was originally due to begin on Tuesday. Laurence Golborne, Minery Minister said “If it is possible, and the cement sets before and we don’t have any impediments to doing it, it would be wonderful,” in a press conference on Monday. The men will be extracted in a steel rescue capsule 54 cm (21 inches) in diameter.

On September 4, Chilean filmmaker Rodrigo Ortúzar announced plans to film a movie about the accident, called “Los 33” (“The 33”). The film will be released in 2011.

One miner is Bolivian, and the other 32 are Chilean.

Raúl Bustos, 40 years old, is an hydraulics engineer. He left his job in Talcahuano after the February 27 earthquake to work in the mine.

Daniel Herrera, 27 years old, is a lorry driver. He has acted as paramedic assistant in the mine. He said to La Tercera “the miners were unhappy with the psychologist in the rescue team.”

Claudio Acuña, miner, is fan of the Colo-Colo football club. The BBC reports he is aged 56, but El Comercio says he is 44.

Pedro Cortez is aged 24. He joined the mine with his friend Carlos Bugueño. Cortez is an electrician, and lost a finger in the mine a year ago.

File:Juan Aguilar with President Piñera.jpg

A native of Los Lagos, Juan Aguilar is 49 years old. Aguilar is married to Cristy Coronado, according to El Comercio. Aguilar works as a supervisor.

Mario Sepúlveda is a 39 years old electrician native of Parral; he is married. He has been the spokesman of the most of the miners’ videos. Mario Sepúlveda was the second miner to be rescued, on Wednesday at 01:10 local time (04:10 UTC).

Víctor Zamora is a 33 years old auto mechanic. Zamora is married to Jéssica Cortez, who confirmed she was pregnant while he was in the mine.

Osman Araya is 30 years old, and married. He began working as miner four months before the accident.

Florencio Ávalos is 31 years old. He is the brother of Renán Ávalos, who is also trapped in the mine. He worked as driver in San José. Ávalos filmed videos, sent later to his relatives.

Ávalos was the first miner to be rescued, on Wednesday at 00:10 local time (03:10 UTC).

Jorge Galleguillos, 56 years old, has worked all his life in the mine. He said in one video he was feeling unwell; he takes medication for hypertension.

Carlos Barrios is a 27 years old miner. His father, Antenor Barrios, told Agence France-Presse: “I find he’s very strong and has enthusiasm. He spoke loud and clear. I was excited.”

Franklin Lobos Ramírez is a 53 years old retired footballer. He played for Cobresal, Deportes Antofagasta, Club de Deportes Santiago Wanderers and Unión La Calera, and briefly for the Chile national football team. Lobos had worked as a truck driver in the mine.

Yonni Barrios, called “The Doctor”, is a 50 years old electrician. He has knowledge of first aid, and was given responsibility for monitoring the health of his colleagues. “I felt I was in hell,” Barrios said in a letter to his wife.

Carlos Bugueño, 27 years old, joined the mine with Pedro Cortez. Previously, he worked as a watchman.

Alex Vega Salazar is a 31 years old heavy machinery mechanic. He is married to Jessica Salgado, and celebrated his birthday in the mine on September 22.

Ariel Ticona is a 29 years old miner. His wife, Margarita gave birth to his daughter on September 14. She was named Esperanza (Hope), at Ticona’s request.

Richard Villarroel is a 27 years old mechanic from Coyhaique.

Edison Peña is a 34 years old miner. “I want to go out soon,” he said on his first contact with his relatives. “I want to be free, I want to see the sun,” he added. He is a fan of Elvis Presley.

Claudio Yáñez is 34 years old, and works as drill operator.

José Ojeda, 46 years old, is the master driller. Ojeda is widowed and diabetic.

Luis Urzúa is a 54 year old topographer. He is the shift-leader, and was the first miner to talk with authorities. He is known as Don Lucho among the miners. He draw plans of the area of the mine where they are trapped.

Urzúa will be the last miner to leave the mine.

José Henríquez is a 54 years old drill master. He is also an evangelical preacher, and has worked in mines for 33 years.

Víctor Segovia is a 48 years old electrician. He is in charge of writing down everything that happens in the mine.

Pablo Rojas is a 45 years old explosives loader. Married, he had been working less than six months in the mine.

Juan Illanes is a 51 year old miner. He was a sergeant in the Beagle border conflict between Chile and Argentina in 1978, the incident which almost provoked a war between the countries.

Illanes was rescued on Wednesday, at 02:07 local time (05:07 UTC).

Jimmy Sánchez, 19, is the youngest miner. He had been working in the mine for five months before the accident. His role is to check the temperature and humidity in the mine.

Samuel Ávalos is a 43 years miner. His wife Ruth said “he was addicted to the cocaine.” His role in the rescue is to check air quality in the area the miners are living. According to the BBC, “Ávalos has worked in the mine for five months.”

Mario Gómez, aged 63, is the oldest of the miners. He has worked 51 years as miner. His father was also a miner, and is nicknamed “El Navegao” (“The Sailed One”). He was thinking of retiring in November.

Gómez also wrote the message “Estamos bien en el refugio los 33” (“We are fine in the shelter the 33 [of us]”).

Segovia is 48 years old. He is married to Jessica Chille, who said “To hear his voice was a confort to my heart,” after talking with him for the first time in 24 days. His sister María, was nicknamed “La Alcaldesa” (“The Mayoress”) for her leading role at Campamento Esperanza. His father, Darío Senior, was trapped in a mine for a week, and suffered serious injuries after two other mining accidents, according to the BBC.

Carlos Mamani is a 23 years old heavy equipment operator. He is also the only non-Chilean miner; Mamani is Bolivian. He began working in the mine just five days before the accident.

He was rescued at 03:11 local time (06:11 UTC) on Wednesday.

Renán Ávalos is a 29 years old miner, single, who had been working for five months in the mine before the accident. Florencio Ávalos is his brother.

Omar Reygadas is a 56 year old electrician. He began working in the mine shortly before the accident.

Esteban Rojas is a 44 years old miner. Rojas is married to Jessica Yáñez.

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Queues form outside struggling UK bank; calm urged

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nervous savers have re-formed queues this morning outside many branches of Northern Rock, after the £2.68 billion bank took an emergency loan from the Bank of England, the UK central bank.

Shares in the bank had dropped 25% by lunchtime yesterday in London – and stood nearly 60% lower from their high of February – after the Bank of England acted in its capacity as “lender of last resort” to provide Northern Rock with short-term financing to enable it to continue operations.

The Bank of England hasn’t acted as lender of last resort since 1973, when the collapse of Cedar Holdings – a pioneer of second mortgages to UK home-owners – threatened a crisis in the country’s banking industry.

Northern Rock has been hit hard since June this year by the turmoil in world credit markets. Although only 0.24% of its assets are exposed to subprime US housing debt, the bank’s business model saw it grow its loan book by 43% in the first six months of this year. Rather than lending money deposited with it by savers, Northern has borrowed aggressively in the short-term capital markets.

“Northern Rock is not a reckless lender,” said Angela Knight, head of the British Bankers Association on national radio this morning. Urging the bank’s savers not to withdraw their money in panic, “the mortgage lending it does well and it does in a high quality, high calibre way,” she added.

But savers queuing to withdraw their money from Northern Rock today said they were “horrified” by the Bank of England needing to step in.

“I am going to take out the lot, every penny,” said one Northern Rock saver to Bloomberg as he queued outside the bank’s West End branch in London.

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Labour grabs poll lead in UK General Election campaign

Friday, April 10, 2015

The approval ratings of UK Labour leader Ed Miliband rose above those of his Conservative opponent, David Cameron, for the first time in this year’s bitterly fought general election campaign. The poll results showed support for the Labour Party was also rising.

A poll by Panelbase yesterday showed Labour six points ahead; a similar survey by Survation for the Daily Mirror showed Labour four points ahead of the Conservatives. This latter poll was mixed for the Labour leader as it showed only 25% of voters were convinced Miliband was suited to the job of Prime Minister while 37% preferred David Cameron, but it also shows that people preferred Miliband’s recent conduct as party leader to Cameron’s. A poll by TNS found a three point lead for Labour.

ComRes polling indicated the eventual outcome of the election is too close to call, projecting the Conservatives with 34% of the vote and Labour 33%.

Following the poll results, the Conservative Party fired a volley of negative remarks towards Labour. Defense secretary Michael Fallon said Ed Miliband would end up signing up for “a grubby backstairs deal” with the Scottish National Party (SNP) which would lead to the cancellation or non-renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine programme. The Labour Party have stated they support the continuation of Trident and will not negotiate on Trident with the SNP.

Fallon’s comments on Trident were backed up by David Cameron.

The Labour Party counter-claimed a deal between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had put the cost of Trident renewal up by £1.4bn.

Miliband responded to Fallon’s comments: “Michael Fallon is a decent man, but today I think he has demeaned himself and he has demeaned his office. National security is too important to play politics with and I will never compromise national security.”

Former Labour leader Tony Blair said Fallon’s remarks hinted at desperation: “The Tories were up to their old tricks in their personal attack on Ed this morning. I remember the ‘demon eyes’ poster of 1997. It is always a sign of desperation and it will backfire. It shows how nervous they are of a Labour campaign full of confidence, which is showing that it understands the challenges facing working people and how to overcome them. The more they indulge in these tactics the better we should feel.”

Liberal Democrat Vince Cable expressed his displeasure at Fallon’s remarks, saying it was “an appalling way to conduct the argument”.

The two main parties have also proposed a number of new ideas for policy. Labour’s Yvette Cooper is to formally announce a new policy today to protect 10,000 police officers’ jobs by eliminating elected Police and Crime Commissioners and gun licensing subsidy, and sharing of police back-office services and procurement. The Labour crime and justice manifesto also includes creating a new commission on sexual and domestic violence, banning “legal highs”, and reforming prisons to introduce more education and work for prisoners.

Conservative Cameron pre-announced a proposal to change the rules so workers in the public sector and for companies with 250 employees or more — which between the two is estimated to be around half the work force — would be entitled to three days of paid volunteering leave per year. In prepared remarks, Cameron is to call the move represents the “clearest demonstration of the Big Society in action”. This marks a return of the language of the ‘Big Society’ which had slowly disappeared from use since the last election.

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Treatments For Rosacea Are Looking Rosy

Treatments for Rosacea are Looking Rosy

by

Dr. Marcus Crawford

Rosacea is a skin condition in which small blood vessels on the face break, resulting in redness, or a rosy appearance, to the cheeks and nose. Sun exposure can worsen this condition. Furthermore, those with light-colored hair, blue eyes, and fair skin are more prone to rosacea after sun exposure. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, this condition affects as many as 14 million Americans, mostly between the ages of 30 and 50. However, children may also suffer from rosacea. To prevent or reduce rosacea, sufferers should stay out of the sun as much as possible and use a heavy-duty sunblock on the face when they are outside (remember to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours!). In addition, plastic surgeons and dermatologists offer some medical options to reduce redness and improve the complexion.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment

This type of laser can treat a variety of symptoms associated with rosacea, including dilated blood vessels, persistent redness, flushing, and acne-like breakouts. In one study, a small group of patients were given a minimum of one and up to seven IPL treatments. After treatment:

83 percent of patients reported reduced redness

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75 percent reported reduced flushing and better skin texture

64 percent reported a lower incidence of acne breakouts.

Side effects of IPL treatment may include discomfort, redness, bruising, and swelling at the treatment site.

Not all patients with rosacea are suitable candidates for IPL treatment. If you have a blood-clotting disorder, are prone to thick scars (keloids), or have insulin-dependent diabetes, this treatment is not recommended. If you have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor, as certain conditions may prolong healing time after IPL treatment, and IPL treatment may increase your risk of infection. Additionally, if you have a deep tan or are pregnant, IPL may not be an optimal treatment option.

Chemical Peels

In some cases, mild glycolic-acid chemical peels at low acid concentrations (20 percent to 40 percent) may help reduce the appearance of rosacea. The chemical peel is applied for two to five minutes every two to four weeks. Side effects may include itching, stinging, or mild burning.

However, chemical peels must be performed only by a physician and with extreme care in cases of rosacea, because the skin is likely to be very sensitive to begin with. Additionally, chemical peels for treating rosacea are not recommended if you suffer from lupus or any similar autoimmune disorder, or have an active skin infection. As always, consult with your doctor before choosing this method to treat your rosacea.

It is very important to know that this condition can take on the appearance of severe acne, so be certain to get a proper diagnosis of rosacea from your dermatologist before embarking on any treatment. You may need several treatments to see an improvement. Check to see if your health insurance plan covers the cost of rosacea diagnosis and/or treatment. Once you have met with a qualified dermatologist and received a rosacea diagnosis, you can proceed with the appropriate course of treatment.

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Treatments for Rosacea are Looking Rosy

A portrait of Scotland: Gallery reopens after £17.6 million renovation

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today saw Edinburgh’s Scottish National Portrait Gallery reopen following a two-and-a-half-year, £17.6m (US$27.4m) refurbishment. Conversion of office and storage areas sees 60% more space available for displays, and the world’s first purpose-built portrait space is redefining what a portrait gallery should contain; amongst the displays are photographs of the Scottish landscape—portraits of the country itself.

First opened in 1889, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson’s red sandstone building was gifted to the nation by John Ritchie Findlay, then-owner of The Scotsman newspaper and, a well-known philanthropist. The original cost of construction between 1885 and 1890 is estimated at over 70,000 pounds sterling. Up until 1954, the building also housed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland who moved to the National Museum of Scotland buildings on Chambers Street. The society’s original meeting table now sits in the public part of the portrait gallery’s library, stared down on by an array of busts and phrenological artefacts.

Wikinewsie Brian McNeil, with other members of the press, received a guided tour of the gallery last Monday from Deputy Director Nicola Kalinsky. What Kalinsky described as an introduction to the gallery that previously took around 40 minutes, now takes in excess of an hour-and-a-half; with little in the way of questions asked, a more inquisitive tour group could readily take well over two hours to be guided round the seventeen exhibitions currently housed in the gallery.

A substantial amount of the 60% additional exhibition space is readily apparent on the ground floor. On your left as you enter the gallery is the newly-fitted giant glass elevator, and the “Hot Scots” photographic portrait gallery. This exhibit is intended to show well-known Scottish faces, and will change over time as people fall out of favour, and others take their place. A substantial number of the people now being highlighted are current, and recent, cast members from the BBC’s Doctor Who series.

The new elevator (left) is the most visible change to improve disabled access to the gallery. Prior to the renovation work, access was only ‘on request’ through staff using a wooden ramp to allow wheelchair access. The entire Queen Street front of the building is reworked with sloping access in addition to the original steps. Whilst a lift was previously available within the gallery, it was only large enough for two people; when used for a wheelchair, it was so cramped that any disabled person’s helper had to go up or down separately from them.

The gallery expects that the renovation work will see visitor numbers double from before the 2009 closure to around 300,000 each year. As with many of Edinburgh’s museums and galleries, access is free to the public.

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Would you visit the Portrait Gallery if in Edinburgh? What do you think of efforts to improve accessibility?
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The expected significant increase in numbers has seen them working closely with the National Museum of Scotland, which was itself reopened earlier this year after extensive refurbishment work; improved access for wheelchair users also makes it far easier for mothers with baby buggies to access the gallery – prompting more thought on issues as seemingly small as nappy-changing – as Patricia Convery, the gallery’s Head of Press, told Wikinews, a great deal of thought went into the practicalities of increased visitor numbers, and what is needed to ensure as many visitors as possible have a good experience at the gallery.

Press access to the gallery on Monday was from around 11:30am, with refreshments and an opportunity to catch some of the staff in the Grand Hall before a brief welcoming introduction to the refurbished gallery given by John Leighton, director of the National Galleries of Scotland. Centre-stage in the Grand Hall is a statue of Robert Burns built with funds raised from around the British Empire and intended for his memorial situated on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

The ambulatories surrounding the Grand Hall give the space a cathedral-like feel, with numerous busts – predominantly of Scottish figures – looking in on the tiled floor. The east corner holds a plaque commemorating the gallery’s reopening, next to a far more ornate memorial to John Ritchie Findlay, who not only funded and commissioned the building’s construction, but masterminded all aspects of the then-new home for the national collection.

Split into two groups, members of the press toured with gallery Director James Holloway, and Nicola Kalinsky, Deputy Director. Wikinews’ McNeil joined Kalinsky’s group, first visiting The Contemporary Scotland Gallery. This ground-floor gallery currently houses two exhibits, first being the Hot Scots display of photographic portraits of well-known Scottish figures from film, television, and music. Centre-stage in this exhibit is the newly-acquired Albert Watson portrait of Sir Sean Connery. James McAvoy, Armando Iannucci, playwright John Byrne, and Dr Who actress Karen Gillan also feature in the 18-photograph display.

The second exhibit in the Contemporary gallery, flanked by the new educational facilities, is the Missing exhibit. This is a video installation by Graham Fagen, and deals with the issue of missing persons. The installation was first shown during the National Theatre of Scotland’s staging of Andrew O’Hagan’s play, The Missing. Amongst the images displayed in Fagen’s video exhibit are clips from the deprived Sighthill and Wester-Hailes areas of Edinburgh, including footage of empty play-areas and footbridges across larger roads that sub-divide the areas.

With the only other facilities on the ground floor being the education suite, reception/information desk, cafe and the gallery’s shop, Wikinews’ McNeil proceeded with the rest of Kalinsky’s tour group to the top floor of the gallery, all easily fitting into the large glass hydraulic elevator.

The top (2nd) floor of the building is now divided into ten galleries, with the larger spaces having had lowered, false ceilings removed, and adjustable ceiling blinds installed to allow a degree of control over the amount of natural light let in. The architects and building contractors responsible for the renovation work were required, for one side of the building, to recreate previously-removed skylights by duplicating those they refurbished on the other. Kalinsky, at one point, highlighted a constructed-from-scratch new sandstone door frame; indistinguishable from the building’s original fittings, she remarked that the building workers had taken “a real interest” in the vision for the gallery.

The tour group were first shown the Citizens of the World gallery, currently hosting an 18th century Enlightenment-themed display which focuses on the works of David Hume and Allan Ramsay. Alongside the most significant 18th century items from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, are some of the 133 new loans for the opening displays. For previous visitors to the gallery, one other notable change is underfoot; previously carpeted, the original parquet floors of the museum have been polished and varnished, and there is little to indicate it is over 120 years since the flooring was originally laid.

Throughout many of the upper-floor displays, the gallery has placed more light-sensitive works in wall-mounted cabinets and pull-out drawers. Akin to rummaging through the drawers and cupboards of a strange house, a wealth of items – many previously never displayed – are now accessible by the public. Commenting on the larger, featured oils, Deputy Director Kalinsky stressed that centuries-old portraits displayed in the naturally-lit upper exhibitions had not been restored for the opening; focus groups touring the gallery during the renovation had queried this, and the visibly bright colours are actually the consequence of displaying the works in natural light, not costly and risky restoration of the paintings.

There are four other large galleries on the top floor. Reformation to Revolution is an exhibition covering the transition from an absolute Catholic monarchy through to the 1688 revolution. Items on-display include some of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s most famous items – including Mary Queen of Scots and The Execution of Charles I. The portrait-based depiction of this historical age is complemented with prints, medals, and miniatures from the period.

Imagining Power is a Jacobite-themed exhibition, one which looks at the sometime-romanticised Stuart dynasty. The Gallery owns the most extensive collection of such material in the world; the portraiture that includes Flora MacDonald and Prince Charles Edward Stuart is complemented by glassware from the period which is on-loan from the Drambuie Liqueur Company which Kalinsky remarked upon as the only way Scots from the period could celebrate the deposed monarchy – toasting The King over the Water in appropriately engraved glasses.

On the other side of the upper floor, the two main naturally-lit exhibitions are The Age of Improvement, and Playing for Scotland. The first of these looks at societal changes through the 18th and 19th centuries, including Nasmyth’s 1787 portrait of the young Robert Burns and – well-known to past visitors to the portrait gallery – Raeburn’s 1822 depiction of Sir Walter Scott. These are complemented with some of the National Gallery’s collection of landscapes and earliest scenes from Scottish industry.

Playing for Scotland takes a look at the development of modern sports in the 19th century; migration from countryside to cities dramatically increased participation in sporting activities, and standardised rules were laid down for many modern sports. This exhibition covers Scotland’s four national sports – curling, shinty, golf, and bowls – and includes some interesting photographic images, such as those of early strong-men, which show how more leisure time increased people’s involvement in sporting activities.

Next to the Reformation to Revolution gallery is A Survey of Scotland. Largely composed of works on-loan from the National Library of Scotland, this showcase of John Slezer’s work which led to the 1693 publication of Theatrum Scotiae also includes some of the important early landscape paintings in the national collection.

The work of Scotland’s first portrait painter, the Aberdeen-born George Jamesone, takes up the other of the smaller exhibits on the east side of the refurbished building. As the first-ever dedicated display of Jamesone’s work, his imaginary heroic portraits of Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace are included.

On the west side of the building, the two smaller galleries currently house the Close Encounters and Out of the Shadow exhibits. Close Encounters is an extensive collection of the Glasgow slums photographic work of Thomas Annan. Few people are visible in the black and white images of the slums, making what were squalid conditions appear more romantic than the actual conditions of living in them.

The Out of the Shadow exhibit takes a look at the role of women in 19th century Scotland, showing them moving forward and becoming more recognisable individuals. The exceptions to the rules of the time, known for their work as writers and artists, as-opposed to the perceived role of primary duties as wives and mothers, are showcased. Previously constrained to the domestic sphere and only featuring in portraits alongside men, those on-display are some of the people who laid the groundwork for the Suffrage movement.

The first floor of the newly-reopened building has four exhibits on one side, with the library and photographic gallery on the other. The wood-lined library was moved, in its entirety, from elsewhere in the building and is divided into two parts. In the main public part, the original table from the Society of Antiquaries sits centred and surrounded by glass-fronted cabinets of reference books. Visible, but closed to public access, is the research area. Apart from a slight smell of wood glue, there was little to indicate to the tour group that the entire room had been moved from elsewhere in the building.

The War at Sea exhibit, a collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, showcases the work of official war artist John Lavery. His paintings are on-display, complemented by photographs of the women who worked in British factories throughout the First World War. Just visible from the windows of this gallery is the Firth of Forth where much of the naval action in the war took place. Situated in the corner of the room is a remote-controlled ‘periscope’ which allows visitors a clearer view of the Forth as-seen from the roof of the building.

Sir Patrick Geddes, best-known for his work on urban planning, is cited as one of the key influencers of the Scottish Renaissance Movement which serves as a starting point for The Modern Scot exhibit. A new look at the visual aspects of the movement, and a renewal of Scottish Nationalist culture that began between the two World Wars, continuing into the late 20th century, sees works by William McCance, William Johnstone, and notable modernists on display.

Migration Stories is a mainly photographic exhibit, prominently featuring family portraits from the country’s 30,000-strong Pakistani community, and exploring migration into and out of Scotland. The gallery’s intent is to change the exhibit over time, taking a look at a range of aspects of Scottish identity and the influence on that from migration. In addition to the striking portraits of notable Scots-Pakistani family groups, Fragments of Love – by Pakistani-born filmmaker Sana Bilgrami – and Isabella T. McNair’s visual narration of a Scottish teacher in Lahore are currently on-display.

The adjacent Pioneers of Science exhibit has Ken Currie’s 2002 Three Oncologists as its most dramatic item. Focussing on Scotland’s reputation as a centre of scientific innovation, the model for James Clerk Maxwell’s statue in the city’s George Street sits alongside photographs from the Roslin Institute and a death mask of Dolly the sheep. Deputy Director Kalinsky, commented that Dolly had been an incredibly spoilt animal, often given sweets, and this was evident from her teeth when the death mask was taken.

Now open daily from 10am to 5pm, and with more of their collection visible than ever before, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will change some of the smaller current exhibits after 12 to 18 months on display. The ground-floor information desk has available five mini-guides, or ‘trails’, which are thematic guides to specific display items. These are: The Secret Nature trail, The Catwalk Collection trail, The Situations Vacant trail, The Best Wee Nation & The World trail, and The Fur Coat an’ Nae Knickers Trail.

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Lance Armstrong disputes French doping results

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Accused of EPO doping by the French cycling daily L’Équipe in a four page story on Aug. 23, cyclist Lance Armstrong appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live TV show Aug. 25, saying he did not trust the French testers or the French testing system, and that his urine was manipulated to falsely accuse him of doping.

Dr. Christiane Ayotte, director of a Montreal doping detection laboratory said that ethically critical and important scientific questions were raised by the EPO doping allegation against seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong.

USA Cycling official Gerard Bisceglia said these L’Équipe charges were unfair and lacked credibility. Bisceglia is chief executive of USA Cycling, principal authority over Armstrong for cycling sports in the United States.

L’Équipe released Paris lab data allegedly finding banned EPO in five year old samples of Armstrong’s urine, originally taken after he won the 1999 Tour de France. No official source would confirm medical identification of Armstrong as provider of the anonymously tested urine, and to do so would be a violation of World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) regulations.

Armstrong suggested motivation for such manipulation is a French national hatred of all non-French sport winners, and specifically because a French rider has not won the Tour de France for a quarter century. As evidence of malice toward him, Armstrong cited a French newspaper poll in which he was named the third most hated sportsman in France.

Dr. Ayotte is Doping Control director at Canada’s Institut National de la Recherché Scientifique in Montreal, which is a WADA certified lab nearest to WADA’s Montreal headquarters. Ayotte is also a world class scientific authority and instructor on sports doping detection. Dr. Ayotte’s expert opinion has significant influence on the outcome of WADA regulatory decisions.

L’Équipe reported that the EPO detection method used was experimental, which raises a scientific question. All experimentally based forensic evidence is subject to the close scrutiny of scientific opinions before it can be used in a disciplinary or legal proceeding.

Ayotte expressed surprise that chemical testing of 1999 urine could have been done in 2004 at the French national anti-doping laboratory at Châtenay-Malabry. She said that she routinely instructs all doping laboratory organizations, that previously detectable EPO protein deteriorates and disappears after two or three months, even if the urine is frozen.

Ayotte thinks that a new statistical mathematics model was used to reanalyze numerical data resulting from earlier chemical testing. “My interpretation is that retesting itself must have been conducted in 2000 or in 2001, but the results were reviewed using the new mathematical model that is now being developed in Paris.”

Ayotte does not question whether the new type of analysis is correct; rather she questions the ethics of long-delayed test results.

The first ethical problem is that this adverse finding cannot be confirmed with second samples. There are normally available two urine samples, “A” and “B”. The Châtenay-Malabry EPO findings were based on Armstrong’s “B” samples. Armstrong’s “A” samples were depleted in 1999 for tests that did not include EPO, because no EPO test was available that year.

Without addressing the ethics problem, Dick Pound, the head of WADA, said. “You can count on the fingers of one hand the times a “B” sample has not confirmed the result of the “A” sample”.

Both France and USA officials observed that L’Équipe’s unofficial adverse finding was not consistent with WADA regulations. French Sports Minister Jean-François Lamour said that without the “A” samples, no disciplinary action could be taken against Armstrong. USA official Bisceglia confirmed that WADA regulations require a confirming “A” test to prove guilt.

The second ethical problem, according to Ayotte, is that an athlete charged with doping long after the athletic event, has no way to submit to additional testing to disprove an adverse finding. This same ethical problem was also stated by USA official Bisceglia.

The third ethical problem for Ayotte is that L’Équipe disclosed Armstrong’s medical identity. “It seems to me,” Ayotte continued, “that this whole thing is breach of the WADA code. We are supposed to work confidentially until such time that we can confirm a result. By no means does this mean that we sweep a result under the carpet, but it has to meet a certain set of requirements.”

In a further ethical complication, the medical identification of Armstrong is completely unofficial and is made only by L’Équipe. Ayotte characterized the disclosure as “leaked”.

Châtenay-Malabry’s lab refused to confirm L’Équipe’s claim that the urine samples belonged to Armstrong. Nor is it likely that Châtenay-Malabry will ever identify Armstrong, because WADA regulations require that all single “B” samples used for experimental testing must remain permanently anonymous. Ayotte said, “I’m worried, because I have a great deal of respect for my colleagues in Paris. I am concerned that they did not cover their backs before being dragged into a very public issue of this kind.”

Lance Armstrong has responded on his LanceArmstrong.com website, branding L’Équipe’s reporting as being “nothing short of tabloid journalism.” Armstrong says: “I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance enhancing drugs.”

Further confusing public understanding of the EPO doping claim is Armstrong’s statement in his autobiography, It’s Not About the Bike: he said he received EPO during his cancer chemotherapy treatment. “It was the only thing that kept me alive,” he wrote.

Armstrong last received chemotherapy EPO in late 1996. Apparently speaking from his knowledge of conventional EPO testing, Armstrong agrees that traces of 1996 synthetic EPO should not have been present in his 1999 urine. There are now tests to distinguish natural from synthetic EPO. But it remains an unresearched scientific question whether the sensitivity of the experimental new method could detect use of synthetic EPO from three years previously. By scientific analogy, the polymerase chain reaction process can detect as little as a single molecule of DNA.

Jean-Marie Leblanc, the director of the Tour de France, said that Armstrong owes cycling fans an explanation. Armstrong subsequently provided an explanation claiming urine test manipulation.

Leblanc also said; “For the first time—and these are no longer rumors, or insinuations, these are proven scientific facts—someone has shown me that in 1999, Armstrong had a banned substance called EPO in his body.”

“When people start using comments like, ‘irrefutable scientific evidence,’ that’s a pretty strong statement to make,” said Bisceglia, “when the person you’re making it about has never been given the opportunity to refute the statement. You’re making claims about something that took place in 1999. Based on what I’ve read, it’s pretty clear that any opportunity to have a black-and-white resolution to this case has been destroyed.”

Bisceglia said that USA Cycling, the governing body in the United States, lacks the officially required evidence, and therefore will not investigate the L’Équipe report.

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