Friday, February 15, 2013

Sperm banking education and information important for men with cancer and risk of infertility.

The uses of sperm banking are immense. It is useful where a woman’s partner is infertile or has been diagnosed with a genetic disease. Also, it can be used to make pregnancy possible through artificial insemination even when a woman has no partner. When a man is diagnosed with cancer, sperm banking is usually recommended. This is because the risk of long-term infertility from treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy is highly possible. This infertility could be permanent or temporary depending on the individual’s circumstances, that is why it is essential that men who have banked their sperms prior to undergoing cancer treatment need to undertake continuous follow-up checkups in order to assess their fertility status and maybe make sure their sperm at the bank is not disposed of. On the other hand, most men fail to do so, and this due to several factors which include lack of adequate information and pessimism.

New strategies for sperm banking education and information necessary.

The problem, according to Dr Allan Pacey and Professor Christine Eiser at the University of Sheffield, is that a large proportion of male cancer patients are
Sperm cells that are banked prior to cancer therapy give assurance of future fertility. Flickr.com/Futurowoman
missing out on appropriate fertility advice. The reasons they store their sperm at sperm banks and fail to make necessary follow-ups might be because they had suffered fewer side-effects post therapy, had a more negative experience of sperm banking or were negative towards sperm disposal and storage.

When a man is diagnosed with cancer, it is often recommended that he banks his sperm. The possibility exists that the sperm could be donated to other women in the future and hence the need for proper diagnosis. The case of a Danish sperm donor who passed severe genetic disorder to five children after tests did not detect it is striking. The clinic was even lax to act on evidence after a baby was diagnosed with the disorder. Hence, cryobanks carry out extensive tests on donated sperm. It is believed that most men are overwhelmed by the amount of information on diagnosis. Because the tests focus on cancer, they could be confused about the implications of treatment for their future fertility. If a man is pessimistic about recovery from cancer, it would be to his advantage to bank his sperm as an assurance that he could be able to father a child in the future.

Being told that you might lose your fertility could cause anxiety. If asked to go for constant fertility monitoring, many could see this as an intrusion into their daily lives. That is why providing them with adequate information is important. They want the reassurance that they can recover their fertility after cancer treatment, to restore their “male pride.” So, there is a kind of psychological advantage to a man when he is told that even if he loses his fertility post-cancer treatment, he could fall back on stored sperm. Some men are also reluctant to follow-up on checkup after banking their sperms because they do not know the fate of those banked samples. It could even take several years before any woman would need their donated sperms.

There is then a need for education about sperm banking, a need for making information about the uses and options that are available as well as how the sperm could be used or disposed. Laws in the United Kingdom allow for renewal of consent every ten (10) years and a maximum of fifty-five (55) years for banked sperm. Where follow-up checkups are not undertaken, or they do not return for fertility testing, these banked sperms might be destroyed in order to relieve the sperm banks of the costs associated with long-term storage of banked samples that may not be needed for conception, thereby freeing healthcare resources for other uses. Many men do not avail themselves of this knowledge, thereby, impacting on their future life choices and ability to father children. Dr. Pacey and Professor Eiser, cited earlier, believe that what is needed are new education strategies from the time of diagnosis to inform men of the importance of fertility monitoring as well as encouraging more men to attend their follow-up appointments. Clinics can do much in this regard by sending them timely letters highlighting the benefits of attendance.

Conclusions.

Central to whatever strategy that could be pursued are the oncologists. Improving the line of communication between the oncology department and the sperm banks is important. As noted earlier, because men who have cancer have to juggle between the information for their cancer treatments and sperm banking requirements, they might be inundated by so much information. The issues involved might be masked in other concerns. Hence, the need for these men to have a clinician who is ready to answer their anxious questions; they should be encouraged to come out with questions.

Granted, when a man is faced with a risk to his life and his ability to reproduce, he needs all the support he can have to make the rights decisions. His anxiety would surely affect his ability to work well and to even make meaningful contributions to society. It is imperative therefore that this segment of society be helped to go through a trying period of their life without impacting on their quality of life.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Infectious diseases as powerful as politics and economics in driving development.

Tropical economies are usually poor and agrarian; temperate ones wealthy and industrialized. Tropical diseases are usually vector born and parasitic diseases (VBPD) like acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), tuberculosis and malaria while temperate diseases which are usually due to lifestyle changes such as smoking, sedentary living and eating foods rich in cholesterol, sugars and salts are mostly cancer, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory problems. Whatever form the disease takes, they steal human resources and should be given as much importance in national planning as financial crimes and corruption in high places.

Away from the glitterati, even beauty can be found in poverty. Flickr.com/meanest indian
A new study by Dr Matthew Bonds, an economist at Harvard Medical School, believes that money spent in combating diseases is money well spent because reducing the burden of diseases stimulates economic growth, and that the burden of such diseases drops when biodiversity rises. Although the study is not new, what is novel is that the burden of diseases is somewhat skewed with the equator serving as an iron wall.

Biological processes as important as studying economics and politics of development.

When disease burden on the populace of a nation becomes high, the costs start to escalate. Some of the costs are the loss of productive work, satisfaction or utility drops thereby increasing the costs of living and there is the risk of premature death leading to the loss of important human resources at the prime of life. If you translate all this into economic terms, it translates into a big amount of human resources lost due to diseases. This data also translates into low growth rates for countries burdened by diseases. Most of these countries are in the tropics and are usually incident for infectious and parasitic diseases.

When governments begin to understand these facts, they will begin to realize that investing heavily in preventive health care systems are worth the money, as much as investing in reining financial crimes and corruption in government. It has been found that the economy will take off into sustained growth when preventive health interventions are well carried out and infectious diseases are put under control.

As cited earlier, diseases that take a heavy toll on national income are usually found in the tropics. They exert such a big burden on these nations that they have been termed “diseases of the poor.” They are mostly vector-borne and cannot always survive outside the tropics. A 2004 study by the International Policy network states that most of the disease burden in these poor or low-income countries are due to poverty, such as poor nutrition, indoor air pollution and lack of access to proper sanitation and health education. To stimulate economic growth, governments in these countries have to invest heavily in prevention and make medicines available. When authorities count the costs of not taking the necessary action to make accessibility to drugs and preventive techniques for these diseases possible, then having the political will and international support to fight poverty through monetary aid and technical assistance might not be yieldingthe desired results.

Disease burden inversely related to biodiversity.

Dr. Mathew Bonds, cited earlier, also found that as the burden of infectious diseases for poor countries rises, ecological biodiversity has been recorded to be on the decline. No matter where a country might fall from the equator, whether in the tropics or temperate countries, these is no good news, especially when there is a global fight against climate change and polluting effects of human action on the global ecosystem. Wealthy and industrialized countries who have low incidence of infectious and vector-borne diseases might have increased burden due to biodiversity concerns which are exacerbated by abnormal changes in ecological factors like temperature, rainfall and soil quality.

Biodiversity creates disease resistance, ensures that natural predators of these disease organisms exist and that they get to compete for survival against other organisms. When these factors are taken away, vector-borne and parasitic diseases might not make poor and low-income countries south of the tropics their sole targets.

This is where the study is much interesting. It is not that many nations are not fighting back. Enormous resources are poured into research and development against these diseases by industrialized countries and pharmaceutical companies. What is most poignant is that many nations might look lame and fall into the trap of low-income countries if the global problems of pollution and climate change are not addressed. Biodiversity depends on these factors. When huge species and habitats disappear, no amount of research can bring them back.

Where the might exists, does the political will exist? Will big business allowS itself to be dictated to by nature? How much time does planet earth have before industrialized nations fall into these biodiversity and infectious diseases trap? All these are open-ended questions. What is important is for governments and policy makers to place biological processes into the same category as politics and economics before the fight can even begin.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Waiting for payback? Do not cast your vote on greed or generosity.

Have you been disappointed that other people did not return your goodwill, your generosity? Do not be. If also you think that greed, procuring things to your advantage and for yourself, will make you better off than others, have you counted the costs in health bills, failed relationships and trust, of that success? You better do.

Our thoughts are powerful instruments of the imagination. To understand the world around us, our thoughts combine with the experience of others to shape viewpoints and conclusions; hence, the importance of information and education. What you think about generosity and greed, where you desire that others show you generosity, or are caring towards you, is determined by what you think, because you might be disappointed.

Ask yourself: do you desire peace or conflict?

A bed of peace and love, how so sweet?Flickr/fabi dorighello
To err on the side of the utopic, we all expect goodwill or that our acts of generosity should get repaid. After using your skills and resources to help others, whether friends or strangers, you think that when you have similar problems or needs, you will be shown similar generosity or goodwill. Although what you think might be disappointing, it is wise you do not despair and refuse to shower others with this noble quality, because generosity could reap rewards through other means. What are acts of generosity one can display? Babysitting for a single parent, doing computer repairs for others, and helping out the elderly with their meals. These acts are the grease of society and should be encouraged. Yet, if you do them because you expect or think others will repay you in return, forget it. You better look elsewhere.

Why is it like that? Because generosity and goodwill involves expenditure of skills and resources. Have you thought for a moment if other people, from whom you expect repayment for your generosity, possess the required skills and resources? Most likely they do not. Ask any philanthropist. They hardly get repaid for their charitable donations. You could be stranded on a highway for hours and no one offered to help you out. Would that make you refuse to help another stranger whom you see stranded and you have the means to do so? Have you asked yourself: if you have what it takes to be generous, do others have it? They might not have the time or skill to stop over and help, or if they do, they do not possess the risk aversion needed to stop by the highway the same way as you do. Do not let it despair you. That is the secret of philanthropists.

At the other end of generosity is greed. Greed could be demonstrated in several ways, including when you do not show concern for the feelings of others, want the first place in everything and do not pay others what was agreed. If you judge people hastily and offer them what is inappropriate, like offering a Muslim roasted pork when you know his religion forbids it, then you are exhibiting greed. When you show greed, you should expect conflict. You will get repaid but unsuccessfully. It will be a negative, destructive payment. Imagine what will happen if a country inadvertently imposes trade restrictions on the import of other countries just because it is facing economic problems? That country could be calling for repercussions, even a trade war, not so?



Furthermore, greedy people emit negative stimuli which will surely be remembered and paid back in its negative kind. Negative stimuli produces strange behavior on people. It also has a more powerful effect on others than positive stimuli. If you think greed makes you better off, trade it off against the unhappiness you could be investing in, and do make a more profitable choice.

The golden rule will always be repaid.

“Do unto others as you want them to do unto you,” so states the golden rule. In brief, you should treat others as you would like to be treated. If you want people to listen to you, be equally ready to listen to them. If you want to be accepted for what you are, be ready to do the same to other people.

The golden rule works in most situations. Where you want others to repay you for your acts of kindness, treat them as equally well as you want others to treat you. These three reasons, amongst others, are why the golden rule works.

  1. We all possess the required skills and resources.
  2. Unlike generosity, we all possess the inherent skills and resources for treating others as well as we want them to treat us. Listening, fairness, peacefulness – they are inherent in us. We only have to use these skills if you want to.
  3. It makes for economy and healthiness.
  4. The more you treat others well, they see it in you and are ready to return the same to you. Even strangers will be ready to show reciprocity. It costs nothing, rather promotes godliness and healthy social relationships. Do you wonder why greedy people are fond of clenching their tooth? They are on edge because they have been treated badly by other people who accuse them of treating them badly in the past. If they only knew the golden rule.
  5. It is what we all prefer and desire.
  6. Wars and conflicts should be seen as children of necessity when all recourse to diplomacy is exhausted. No sane individual wants to live in a home where fighting, backbiting, and foul-play are daily occurrence. We all want and prefer good homes, high-paying jobs, happy achieving kids, good government and adequate security. We all want what is fair. To have our desires, we should ready to play fair. Give what is fair and just, and people will be ready to repay you back without asking for an incentive. The opposite would surely be an investment in future trouble.

Note before: It is not in all cases that the golden rule will be repaid, but in most of the cases, the golden rule is generally paid more than generosity and greed much more readily repaid in its negative kind than generosity.

My mantra for this week is: hey, where is the pain in all that? Make it yours.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

My latest blog, Incomeready.blogspot.com, has been launched.

There comes a time in life when a milestone is crossed; when that eureka! moment arrives. At the beginning of the year, while reading past articles on this blog, I decided I was missing out on one aspect of creative problem solving: shared experiences. I thought Solvingit had too much of research and studies and few of shared experiences. So, I decided to take a step forward. There was no space on SolvingIt for what I wanted. Thus was born another blog, incomeready.blogspot.com.

Incomeready.blogspot.com is complementary to this one, emekadavid-solvingit.blogspot.com". They both share the same subject space, but one difference is that incomeready.blogspot.com was meant to connect the readers with real persons, institutions, companies and governmental agencies. Solvingit has enough of abstract concepts and terms.

Incomeready.blogspot.com has already been launched. As of my writing this piece, there are already four articles on the blog. The first article was meant to introduce the casual reader to why I thought incomeready.blogspot.com was meant to see the light of day.

The second article was special. I chose a subject that would interest many a reader who is interested in monetary problems: barter economy. That article highlighted how Grecians are looking to the past for solutions. Because the Euro has become scarce and a privileged currency, they were resorting to barter currencies one of which is the Tem.

The third article was inspired by a blog post I found on the Internet concerning Work-At-Home Mums (WAHM) and Stay-At-Home Dads (SAHD). I decided to write a piece on how division of labor in the home is a big contributor to love, harmony and peace.

You can visit the blog, incomeready.blogspot.com for the fourth and other pieces. I promise you that incomeready.blogspot.com, the blog, will be much more exciting that even SolvingIt.

Nice reading everyone. May you find the greatest joy, love and happiness in your lives. I wish you charm.