Friday, July 31, 2009

Throat cancer on the rise

"Changing sexual practices over the last 20 years, especially as they relate to oral sex, are increasing the rate of head and neck cancers and may be increasing the rates of other cancers as well."
Otis Brawley, MD Chief Medical Officer American Cancer Society

Changing sexual practices have led to a dramatic rise in throat cancer in the United States over the past two decades, and experts say they fear an epidemic of the disease.

Increasing rates of HPV infection, spread through oral sex, is largely driving the rapid rise in oropharyngeal cancers, which include tumors of the throat, tonsils, and base of the tongue, said Scott Lippman, MD, who chairs the thoracic department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The experts agreed that it is critical for the public to understand that oral sex doesn't equal safe sex.

Photo: takomabibelot

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nessum Dorma

I have always loved this piece of music.................long before I heard Pavorotti's rendition.Nessun dorma (English: No one shall sleep)is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot, and is one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera.


It is sung by Calaf, il principe ignoto (the unknown prince), who falls in love at first sight with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. However, any man who wishes to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles. If he fails, he will be beheaded.

The Story:
In the act before this aria, Calaf has correctly answered the three riddles put to all of Princess Turandot's prospective suitors. Nevertheless, she recoils at the thought of marriage to him. Calaf offers her another chance by challenging her to guess his name by dawn. (As he kneels before her, the Nessun dorma theme makes a first appearance, to his words, "Il mio nome non sai!") If she does so, she can execute him; but if she does not, she must marry him. The cruel and emotionally cold princess then decrees that none of her subjects are to sleep that night until his name is discovered. If they fail, all will be killed.
As the final act opens, it is now night. Calaf is alone in the moonlit palace gardens. In the distance, he hears Turandot's heralds proclaiming her command. His aria begins with an echo of their cry and a reflection on Princess Turandot:
"Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma! Tu pure, o Principessa, nella tua fredda stanza, guardi le stelle che tremano d'amore, e di speranza!"
(English translation: "None shall sleep! None shall sleep! Even you, O Princess, in your cold bedroom, watch the stars that tremble with love and with hope!")

"Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me; il nome mio nessun saprà! No, No! Sulla tua bocca lo dirò quando la luce splenderà!"
("But my secret is hidden within me; none will know my name! No, no! On your mouth I will say it when the light shines!")

"Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio che ti fa mia!"
("And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!")

Just before the climactic end of the aria, a chorus of women is heard singing in the distance:
"Il nome suo nessun saprà... E noi dovrem, ahimè, morir, morir!"
("No one will know his name... and we will have to, alas, die, die!")

Calaf, now certain of victory, sings:
"Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! Tramontate, stelle! All'alba vincerò! Vincerò! Vincerò!"
("Vanish, o night! Set, stars! Set, stars! At daybreak I shall win! I shall win! I shall win!")

Paul Potts also shocked the world with his performance of this magical piece in the 2007 final of Britain's got talent.



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Swine Flu

Cover your nose with a tissue when you sneeze. Visit for more information.
There's been a lot of hype and news making the rounds lately about H1N1 virus aka "Swine Flu". It was first discovered in Mexico in early June and since then it has spread rapidly around the world and so far over 700 people have died from this flu. It is no more a western problem because it has gotten to Africa. The department of Health in South Africa has meanwhile confirmed that there are over 100 cases of swine flu in South Africa since its outbreak on 12 June. It was recently declared a level 6 pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Have you ever bothered to know what it is all about? Do you know what to look out for in terms of signs and symptoms? Knowledge is power and it goes a long way to know what it is one is up against.

What is Swine Flu:

Swine flu is an infection caused by a virus. It's named for a virus that pigs can get. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. The virus is contagious and can spread from human to human.


These are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills and fatigue.
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Wash your hands with soap and clean running water. Visit for more information.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Staying home from work or school if you are sick.

Helpful Resources:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teen Suicide

Dunno where to start really. Got a lot of things I'd like to talk about at the same time but I guess I'll have to take things slow and steady. There's always a tendency to get too overly excited...........and indeed I am excited.

One thing I'll like to address is the topic of one of Oprah Winfrey's shows: Teen Suicide.

I was taken in by the mothers of 2 11 year old boys who had committed suicide at home. One had just buried her son 3 days previously while the other buried her son 2 weeks before coming on the show. Both of them stated that their boys complained of bullying at school and they believe this was what drove their boys to suicide. Both boys committed suicide by hanging.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, surpassed only by accidents and homicide.

According to KidsHealth:

Suicide rates differ between boys and girls. Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, and tend to attempt suicide by overdosing on drugs or cutting themselves. Yet boys die by suicide about four times as often girls, perhaps because they tend to use more lethal methods, such as firearms, hanging, or jumping from heights.

I found the show quite alarming and more alarming was the fact that the trend was or is on the increase. Down here in Africa, suicide's not common. It's generally believed that suicide's a western problem.

I marvel at the irony that lies hidden in that truth: Suicide's commoner in a place where there's hardly any hunger or suffering. A place where under 5 mortality rate is below 5%. A place where the basic amenities that make life worth living are within reach. But suicide is rare in a place where 3 out of every 5 children die from Malaria, malnutrition or from a complete lack of access to medical treatment before they reach the age of 5. It is rare in a place where constant electricity/power supply is a privilege (I still can't help jumping up anytime I turn on the light switch and the bulb comes on!!!!).

This all means that when one is deprived of what makes life easier and fun, he/she's forced to look inward and lay less emphasis on what the rest of the world considers "the source of happiness".

Nevertheless, the sooner this suicide trend is addressed by families, the government and school authorities; the better for us all.


This is saying a big hello to you and a big thank you for taking the time to visit and my blog: An Artist's Musings. There are a lot of things that pique my interest thus I'll be using this platform to address those things.

I talk strictly about art and art related matters at my main blog: Paintings by Nkolika Anyabolu (M.D). I hope you'll take out time to visit there.