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Polycystic ovary syndrome patients regain menstruation by following the ketogenic diet

After Patricia Wong Oi-wai went a year without menstruating, she went on a ketogenic diet, a popular high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet commonly called “keto”. She weighed her meals, checked for fat content and only seasoned them with salt and pepper. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at the age of 36, Wong refused to take medications. Instead, she read that a ketogenic diet could relieve her symptoms. She tried it to see whether it was real. PCOS is a common endocrine hormone condition among women of reproductive age that causes irregular menstruation, acne and excessive masculine features such as an overabundance of body hair. PCOS affects between 6% and 12% of women of reproductive age around the globe, according to a study from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences. However, there is no precise clinical procedure to cure PCOS.  "If there is a way that would heal my sickness without taking any medication, why not give it a try?" Wong said. "After trying it out, it works." Wong used to cook for herself and cut back on social gatherings to meet the strict requirements of the ketogenic diet – a daily food consumption of 70% fat, 20% protein, 5% vegetables and 5% carbohydrates.  Wong lost nine kilograms after strictly following the ketogenic diet for a month and regained her menstruation four years ago.  A ketogenic diet is often used to lose weight and improve insulin resistance. PCOS patients said their emotions and hair condition improved on the diet and that it helped with weight loss and regulated menstruation cycles. It even increases the chance to get pregnant, according to a pilot study from Nutrition & Metabolism.  Wong, who said her PCOS symptoms have mostly been relieved by adopting a ketogenic diet, said it was tough for her to avoid carbohydrates and sugar …

Society

Desperate for drugs during the lockdown in China

Liu Tian, 27, in Changchun, Jilin province, suffers from a major depressive disorder. She has been off her medication for ten days since the city went into lockdown due to COVID-19 in March. Her medicine is only available at three pharmacies in the city far away from her home, and she cannot get it delivered. She tried to contact epidemic prevention staff in the community and the hospital for help. The community staff issued her an emergency medication certificate, but she could not go to the hospital because of local traffic control.  As a result, she had headaches, was irritated and emotionally unstable. She tried calling the hospital’s emergency number but was told that they were only responsible for emergency care and not prescriptions. “I don't want to keep looking for medicine anymore because I'm afraid of being rejected again,” Liu said. “When I was at my worst, I even thought about committing suicide.” Beijing has been sticking to the "dynamic zero tolerance" strategy for Covid. That means even a few positive cases would trigger a lockdown followed by large-scale testing.  During the lockdown, no one can travel and delivery services are limited. Chronically ill patients like Liu Tian face difficulties purchasing medications. They turn to local community staff, volunteers, and netizens for help. Cheng Yulong, 51, has diabetes. “My blood sugar level kept rising, and I was really desperate. I cannot solely rely on the blood sugar-lowering medications because they are not as effective as insulin,” he said. When the lockdown started in Changchun in early March, he had to stay at the construction site where he had been working for almost 30 days, but he only carried a limited amount of insulin.  The insulin Cheng needed was sold out in the nearby pharmacies. He sought help from community …

Society

Cornering caregivers at home puts them under intense pandemic stress

Debby Kwan Ho-kwan, 27, has been suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus for 10 years and stiff person syndrome for three years. Lupus is a form of immune system disorder that requires life-long medication and treatment, and stiff person syndrome leads to progressive muscle stiffness. Although Kwan can manage her own medical treatments like anticoagulant injection, her mother worries about a relapse of SLE. She frets over whether to seek hospitalisation if that happens, which may expose her daughter to COVID-19. The pressure builds when Kwan’s mother tries to understand new policies and chart new solutions almost every day.  “Sometimes, my mum suffers from insomnia. She has to take medication under such mental pressure,” said Kwan.  Since the start of the pandemic, caregivers like Kwan’s mother often prioritise the elderly, children and chronically ill patients over themselves. The restriction of face-to-face contacts during COVID-19 poses challenges to patient rehabilitation. Their caregivers often have to extend their working hours and more preparation work is required. “Many caregivers cannot withstand the pressure-cooker-like environment anymore,” said Zoe Chong Shuk-yi, a dementia care planner working at Renascence Integrated Rehabilitation Centre. Chong and Alvin Shum Chun-kit have devoted their support to dementia patients and their caregivers throughout the pandemic.  Since the fifth wave of Covid outbreak, they have suspended on-site visits. Instead, they prepare extra cognitive training tools for home-training and help carers overcome technical issues when they engage with dementia sufferers during online training sessions because the patients often have a short attention span.  Dementia patients need a regular rehabilitation schedule in order to maintain their brain functions. They need constant cognitive therapy and practice, otherwise their conditions will deteriorate quickly, Chong explained.  “A number of them seemed to be more sluggish than before,” she said.  Before the fifth wave of pandemic struck Hong Kong, …

Society

Blind saxophonist in China’s national disabled performing troupe speaks on success and overcoming challenges

“One more time. Don’t make the audience feel your actions are too stiff, ” the director of the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games 2022 in Beijing said to Wang Qi as he practiced walking and turning on the stage.  “Try to reduce the sense of performance,” the director said. Wang was practicing raising his hands to display the emblem of the winter Paralympic Games to the world at the opening ceremony on March 4.  “I had to practice once and once again to form muscle memory,” he said. “We have been rehearsing intensively since January.” Wang, 40, a leading saxophonist in China, has been performing in the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe for more than a decade. His performance has been seen at many historic moments of China including APEC Summit and Shanghai Expo 2011.  Wang, who wears his hair long and is always in sunglasses, has been blind for almost 30 years. “For visually-abled people, it's natural to go to the center of the stage and then turn around and face the audience. But because we blind people can't see, we don't know which position to go on the stage, and we don't know how much to turn around is appropriate, ” he said. “But if we practice too much without correct guidance, our movements will be too deliberate.” In 1995, when Wang was 15 and had been blind for two years, one teacher at the special education school in his hometown Dalian led a group of students to a room full of musical instruments, where Wang befriended the saxophone. “I was standing in the big room, trying to recall those instruments I saw before losing my sight,” he said. “Suddenly, the saxophone jumped into my mind. I walked ahead and held it in my arms.”  …

Society

Singapore: Easing policy on COVID-19 prevention takes effect from today

Relaxed COVID-19 restrictions in Singapore kicked in today. Main changes include the easing of mandatory mask-wearing outdoors that had been in place for almost two years. Wearing masks outdoors is now optional for residents in Singapore, but people still need to follow the one-metre safe-distance rule and wear a mask indoors. “I will still wear a mask outdoors because of the fear of infection,” said Shi Xiaoli, 47, a manager in a decoration company who runs in the East Coast Park every day. “But it's still good that I can take off my mask when I run.” “Our fight against COVID-19 has reached a major turning point,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his speech delivered last Thursday. “We will be making a decisive move towards living with COVID-19.” Singapore has seen a steady decline in daily new cases. There were 4,848 new cases on March 27, the lowest since Feb. 3, according to the statistics from MOH (Ministry of Health Singapore). The week-on-week infection ratio, which refers to the ratio of community cases in the past week, compared with the week before, has been lower than 1.0 for nearly a month in Singapore, according to MOH. “I think it’s the right time,” said Associate Professor Alex Cook, Vice Dean of research at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. “Going for ‘freedom day’ this week would have been a huge surprise, but a substantial relaxation, with room for more steps once the wave ends, is sensible and ought to be safe.” The relaxed policy also includes larger group sizes for social gatherings from five to 10 people and a returning of 75% of employees who are working from home to the workplace. “I felt so excited, can't wait to gather with my friends,” …

Society

Hong Kong running out of coffins, funeral industry says

Funeral Hung Hom Company has only enough coffins left for two or three days, Roy Fan, who works at the funeral home said. He said he hopes a new supply from the mainland will arrive soon. Daily cremation has almost doubled because of Covid-19 deaths, he said. “It is a big problem, “ he said. “Without coffins, other procedures will be affected,” said Fan, referring to funeral delays. The government is working with the mainland to increase the supply, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in a press conference on Wednesday, adding that she expected 730 coffins to arrive by Friday.

Society

Stigma over mental health issues causing workplace discrimination

Nancy Chan is a qualified kindergarten teacher, but had trouble finding a job. “They didn’t hire me when I confessed to my potential employers that I had a history of psychosis,” she said. “When I stopped revealing my mental health history, job opportunities started to come,” she added. An estimated one in seven people in Hong Kong experience some form of mental disorder at any given time, according to Mind HK, a local mental health charity. “Ten to 20 years ago, there was not much public education on mental health illnesses. Patients have often faced discrimination and were excluded from mainstream society,” said Chris Wong, Head of Professional Services from the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association. Her organisation provides services such as vocational rehabilitation and employment services for patients in the autism spectrum and for those rehabilitated from mental illness. In 1977, the government published the first Rehabilitation Policy White Paper to help mental health patients. But in 1989, the government abandoned the rehabilitation service, which further delayed the comprehensive review and reduced the government’s commitment to the service. Wong said rehabilitated psychiatric patients often face unfair treatment during recovery. “People may use “crazy man” to describe psychiatric patients. When a person feels mentally ill, people will think they are crazy during the recovery process,” she added. Rehabilitated patients may have residual symptoms such as refractions, uncontrollable body movements and facial expressions during recovery. In recent years, some local celebrities have raised awareness on mental illness by sharing their experiences with the public. “The community gradually understands what really happens to mental illness patients,” Chris Wong said. In March 1992, the government launched a public consultation on Rehabilitation Policies and Services. In 2010, NGO community support services were enhanced and the Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness service was started. …

Society

Government distributes COVID-19 rapid test kits

Starting from today, the Home Affairs Department will distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to people who live or work in districts where the sewage has tested positive for the coronavirus. Residents, cleansing workers and property management employees working in Kwai Tong, Sha Tin, Sham Shui Po, Eastern District, Kwai Chung and Wong Tai Sin can get the test kits in the relevant designated estates.  The government encourages people in those areas who are at risk of infection to get tested, in order to achieve the government’s goal of "early identification, early isolation and early treatment". Wong Ka-lok, 58, a resident who lives in Sau Mau Ping Estate  received the test kits after waiting for only five minutes.  “I am happy with the arrangement because there is enough staff to help us,” Wong said.  Lee Yu-mei, a 66-year-old cleaning worker who works in Chai Wan, Siu Sai Wan Estate. His company demands employees to undergo regular COVID-19 testing. “I hate doing the COVID-19 rapid tests because it makes me feel so anxious waiting for the test result,” Lee said. “I understand that being a cleaning worker is a high-risk job and I may be easily exposed to the virus. That’s why I will do the test.” People who test positive with the rapid test kits can dial the government's 24-hour hotline for "persons tested positive with rapid antigen tests in areas with positive sewage testing results" for assistance, the government stated in a press release today.  Also, officials advise infected people with severe symptoms, such as prolonged fever of 38 degree Celsius or shortness of breath, to dial 999 for an ambulance so that they can go to hospital.

Society

Implementation of vaccine pass is in use

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Phoebe Law、Lokman YuenEdited by: Jenny Lam、Jayde Cheung
  • 2022-02-25

From Thursday, visitors to a variety of public spaces must produce a vaccine pass this include shopping malls, wet markets and restaurants. Hong Kongers hold different views towards the new implementation.

Society

Vaccine pass kicks in at public venues

From today, visitors to government revenues and 23 categories of premises, including restaurants, malls, supermarkets, and wet markets must scan the Leave Home Safe app.  The policy applies to everyone aged 12 years and above. The app sounds an alarm if the phone does not show proof of vaccination. Staff at these premises are then required to inform the visitors or ask for proof of exemption. Chan Chui-san, 58, thought it was cumbersome to use the vaccine pass.  "The restaurant needs to scan my QR code again after I have scanned  the "Leave Home Safe" app, but the scanning equipment in some restaurants are not sensitive, and they wasted my time," Chan said. The scheme will be phased in so that people have ample time to receive a second or third dose of the vaccine. But from 30 April, people aged 18 or above must show at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on their vaccination passes. Premises are divided into two categories for implementation of the scheme, namely “active checking” and “passive checking” premises. At “passive checking” premises, such as shopping malls and department stores, patrons do not need to show their vaccine passes upon entry, but law enforcement officers will conduct spot checks.  There are exceptions, for example, people who visit restaurants just to pick up takeaways or retrieve items, or are being tested or vaccinated, and receiving essential government services. People who cannot take the Covid-19 vaccine because of  health reasons may be exempted for  3 to 6 months but they need to present a certificate issued by a doctor. Jessie Wong is not vaccinated because she believed her allergies make her unsuitable, but her doctor would not give her an exemption certificate. "I can only plan for getting injections now," she said.  The president of …