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What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Neurological disorders affect at least 1 billion people worldwide according to the World Health Organization. The most common illnesses include epilepsy, headache disorders, multiple sclerosis, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. In Singapore, it was estimated in 2015 that 4,000 people suffer from Parkinson’s and 3 out of a thousand of these are the elderly.

What are the Symptoms?
Parkinson’s disease is a form of movement disorder that can disrupt the person’s ability to perform everyday activities. It is also a chronic and progressive illness that cannot be reversed. Parkinson’s affects a specific region of the brain called substantia nigra, where loss of neurons occurs. The neurons in this area are responsible for producing dopamine, which help in the movement of the body. Low levels or loss of dopamine will result in the inability to control movement.

Most of the people afflicted are aged 50 and above, but there are cases of early-onset or young-onset Parkinson’s. A person with Parkinson’s disease will suffer from various symptoms (and symptoms will usually manifest on one side of the body), but the most common are following:

1. Muscle tremors at rest
2. Slow voluntary movements or akinesia
3. Stiff or rigid muscles
4. Stooped posture
5. Less control over facial expressions
6. Mood swings, anxiety and/or depression
7. Fatigue and difficulty concentrating
8. Sleep problems
9. Digestion and bladder problems
10. Deterioration or loss of the sense of smell
11. Poor memory and speech difficulties

At stage 5 of the disease, the person might not be able to stand and walk and will experience hallucinations.

What are the Treatments?
The causes of Parkinson’s depend on the form of the illness. The most common type of Parkinson’s is idiopathic, which means that there is no clear cause that can be found. The damage is done to the nerve cells that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that sends electrical impulses to the muscles from the brain. There are cases, however, where Parkinson’s is caused by other neurological disorders, tumors, infections, or it could be a side effect of drugs.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s are apparent even before the person can get a diagnosis. The doctor, however, needs to do a physical exam and examine all the symptoms by testing the person’s reflexes, agility, and sensitivity to pain. Additional tests such as the L-Dopa, CT and/or MRI scans are also performed to rule out other potential illnesses that share the same symptoms with Parkinson’s.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s to date, but there are treatments that will help ease the symptoms so that the afflicted can still function and live a productive life. The treatment will be based on the stage or progression of Parkinson’s using the Hoehn scale, Yahr scale or UPDRS.

Parkinson’s is treated with medications to replenish the dopamine levels. This is adjusted as the symptoms progress and are paired with other treatments such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, and deep brain stimulation.

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Common Learning Disabilities in Children

Learning disabilities can affect a child’s acquisition of basic skills in life such as reading, writing, speaking, and doing arithmetic. In some cases, it can also affect his/her ability to organize, plan, reason, pay attention, and retain information. Not only will the child be unable to keep up with most children at school, but the disability can also impact the way he/she will interact with other people and form relationships.

Unfortunately, most children are not diagnosed with learning disabilities until they are sent to school, while others don’t have the access to the special care they need as they grow up. Add to that the misconception of mixing learning disability with learning problems associated with mental retardation, economic disadvantages, emotional problems, and handicaps.

Types of Learning Disabilities
Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in Singapore according to studies and is closely followed by ADHD. Most learning disabilities cannot be cured and will be a challenge for the affected person and his/her family for the rest of his/her life, so it’s important to note the symptoms early on.

1. Dyscalculia
A child will not be able to understand the basic concepts of arithmetic; therefore, he/she has difficulty understanding sequence of events, doing cash transactions, and recognizing sequences of information.

2. Dysgraphia
The child with this condition has difficulty writing, has problems with grammar and writing in a logical sequence, and might exhibit a strong dislike for writing.

3. Auditory Processing Disorders
A child will find it difficult to understand sounds made by others, so it’s more likely that he/she will not understand what you are saying or comprehend the words you have used.

4. Visual Perceptual or Visual Motor Deficit
This condition will affect the child’s ability to understand information that he/she sees. Other symptoms include the inability to copy or draw the visual information, confusing letters that look similar, bad sense of direction, and misalignment of letters when writing.

5. Dyslexia
Children with this condition find it difficult to connect letters, sounds, spelling, and even recognizing words. The child may not be able to understand what you are saying, recall numbers in sequence, has difficulty learning new words and might delay the ability to speak, and has difficulty writing and speaking in an organized manner.

6. Dyspraxia
A child with dyspraxia will have problems with hand-eye coordination and will find tasks that require motor skills difficult. He/she has poor balance, is sensitive to loud and repetitive noises, sensitive to physical contact, prone to breaking things, and cannot organize his/her personal items.

7. ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by a child’s inability to control his/her behavior. He/she may also be hyperactive, impulsive or inattentive.

8. Memory Problems
Some children will have problems with short- and/or long-term memories, so they cannot create and even retrieve memories. They will find it hard to remember facts and follow instructions.

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Eat Healthy by Visiting these 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Singapore

Going vegetarian in Singapore doesn’t necessarily equate to boring meals filled with nothing but greens and salad. In fact, there are a number of restaurants all across the city-state which takes the vegan game to the next level. Goat cheese tart or a plate of scrumptious gnocchi are only among the many options you can try. Even if you’re not vegan, you will undoubtedly find yourself curious about the meal dishes these restaurants offer!

Thanks to these good vegetarian restaurants in Singapore, creative and good vegan food options are now made easily accessible to almost just anyone.

• VeganBurg
While VeganBurg is all vegan, this place is actually renowned as where all your vegan dreams come true. VeganBurg has about 4 outlets in Singapore which boasts quality burgers — all vegan, of course! This is the reason why the place is almost always crowded every other day. Not only does VeganBurg offer the customers good vegan food but it also comes along with a unique and refreshing dining experience in itself.

• Café Salivation
With a tagline of “Purely vegetarian: Sandwiches, pizza, pasta, salads”, Café Salivation is definitely a go-to for all vegans in Singapore. They offer a rich Western menu complimented with spicy food items, which goes beyond your usual meal choices! The interior décor of the place is also no joke. Customers always find the colorful interior design as refreshing as they enjoy their hearty meals.

• Divine Realm Vegetarian
Divine Realm is a Singapore-based restaurant which is famous for their homemade noodles, a perfect meal to warm you up on cold nights. Aside from their special noodles, they also offer other vegetarian dishes which can definitely delight your palate. Their menu has an impressive selection of almost a hundred dishes to choose from — including dim sum, ramen, and others.

• Komala Vilas Vegetarian Restaurant
One of the earliest vegan food chains in the city-state, Komala Vilas Vegetarian Restaurant has been loved by many Singaporeans from one generation to another. The place serves traditional south Indian meal items and it also offers a rich variety of vegan dishes in the evening. Visiting this restaurant to try their famous Indian Chhola Bhatura dish is considered a must-try for tourists.

• Vegetarian Era
Vegetarian Era is well-known to be one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Singapore. This place was established by none other than Henry Wang, a famous and renowned Singaporean chef. Their meal items embody both good food quality and affordability, which makes it famous among locals and tourists alike. Some of the must-try dishes in Vegetarian Era include Herbal soups, Rawan Rendang, and Hainanese curry rice.

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Healthy Tips to Help You Start a Vegan Diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet has been a challenge for a number of people over the years. Especially if you’re fond of consuming meat, eggs, and other dairy products, adapting a vegan diet is almost close to impossible. There are just some things you feel like you cannot give up, but you’ll be surprised to know how this lifestyle change can improve your health in general and even make you shed off some few pounds!

Here are some healthy and easy tips for you to follow in getting started with a vegan lifestyle. A plant-based diet doesn’t have to be difficult— if you know how to motivate yourself to keep going, that is.

• Eat a variety of foods
In order to make the most out of adapting a vegan diet, you have to ensure your daily meal plan is well-balanced so you do not miss out on essential vitamins and nutrients or consume only processed vegan food items. Your meals must be rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Include a variety of healthy foods which can offer you different nutrients. For instance, beans can give you the protein and fiber you need, while leafy greens can provide the body with vitamins C, A, and K.

• Choose whole grains
Substitute your usual refined grains (white bread and pasta, for instance) with whole grain food items. You can start off with quinoa and rice. Whole grain foods add B vitamins and iron to your vegan diet, both of which are essential to the body. They also offer extra fiber — which can keep you full for long stretches of time and help you in shedding off some unwanted fats!

• Try plant-based proteins
Eating more plant-based proteins is one effective way to improve your health in general. Vegan sources of protein contain less unhealthy saturated fat (contrary to animal sources), and thus they are essential to include in your vegan diet. Your choices can include tofu, lentils, chickpeas, edamame (soybeans), and other beans. Nuts such as walnuts and almonds can also deliver protein to the body.

• Incorporate lots of vegetables
There are lots of good meal dishes which revolve around vegetables of all kinds. Keep in mind that a hearty meal doesn’t have to necessarily contain meat. Vegetable-based meals are a win-win choice for everyone. They are rich in essential vitamins and minerals (such as Vitamin A, K, and Potassium), and they also keep your daily calorie consumption in check. Vegetables are also high in fiber content. With that, you are most likely to feel more satisfied after consuming one hearty veggie meal.

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How to Check for Anemia

Do you always feel tired and weak even if you look healthy? Maybe you’re suffering from the most common blood disorder called anemia which results from the lack of red blood cells in the body.

What is Anemia?
To understand the significance of red blood cells, remember that one of its functions is to take the oxygen from your lungs to the various organs in the body and to take the carbon dioxide from those tissues to your lungs. If you have few red blood cells for this gas exchange, there is a chance of losing blood and the loss of red blood cells. If the person has other health problems, there is also a risk of hypotension or very low blood pressure.

What Causes Anemia?
According to researchers, anemia can be caused by hemolysis (or destruction of your red blood cells), decreased production of red blood cells, and blood loss. Each of these causes are more likely to occur due to various factors such as a pre-existing health condition or genetic condition, nutritional deficiency, physical trauma, infectious diseases, and chronic illnesses.

What are the Symptoms?
You may be anemic if you have the following symptoms: fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, pale skin, headache, cold hands and feet, chest pain, and arrhythmia. Some mild forms of anemia do not have obvious symptoms, but others can also damage other organs in the body because of lack of enough oxygen supply to function normally.

What are the Tests?
To determine if you have anemia, you need to have a complete blood count or CBC test that will check the level of hematocrit and hemoglobin in your blood. The CBC will additionally determine the size of your red blood cells or mean corpuscular volume, which might be an indicator of the cause of the condition. It will also check your platelet count and the number of red and white blood cells.

The normal levels can vary among different ethnic groups, but the doctor can explain to you what is considered a normal count. Other tests may be recommended if your CBC results show you’re anemic in order to determine the damage the condition has done to other organs and to point out the specific cause or rule out other health problems.

What are the Treatments?
Depending on the type of anemia you have, the treatment aims to address iron deficiency, blood loss, and to stop bleeding, if any. By the end of the treatment, you should have enough red blood cell count or hemoglobin to supply oxygen to different parts of the body. Your doctor in Singapore will advise you to make changes in your diet, add supplements (such as iron, B12, folic acid, and vitamin C), and to take your medications regularly.
The medications will address any existing complication brought about by anemia. However, if your condition is severe, the doctor will recommend blood transfusion or bone and marrow stem cell transplant. Surgery will address complications such as bleeding of anemia has damaged certain organs.

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8 Common Food Misconceptions

Every day we struggle with our food choices. Our busy schedule demands more time, thus we tend to buy food that is just conveniently available in the market, without considering its nutritional value. However, a lot of today’s media is spreading health awareness to the mass. Consequently, more people became health conscious and became more selective with their food. However, sometimes the information that we receive is deceiving. Here are the eight common food misconceptions:

1. Eggs are bad for you. The yellow part of the egg contains fat and cholesterol which contributes to clogged arteries and heart attacks. But when consumed in moderation, egg white is actually good for your health. It contains choline (which helps in brain function), vitamin D and lutein, among other nutrients.

2. Low-fat/fat-free food is healthier. Fat is one of the key flavor components of most food. Hence, products that claim to be low-fat could be loaded with sugar and additives to improve their taste. Also, people tend to eat something when it’s low-fat/fat-free. Before buying food products, it is always wise to check the label.

3. Brown sugar is better than white sugar. It is believed that brown rice is healthier than the white variety because it is less processed than its counterpart. However, this is not true when we talk about sugar. The traces of the minerals found in brown sugar are very minimal. Thus, both varieties are relatively the same.

4. Food products that are labeled as organic are always healthy. The labels on the packaging of food products are deceiving. It may claim that it has natural or organic contents on it but, the its nutritional value is too low. Remember that it may still contain white flour and sugar, which are highly refined food components.

5. Energy drink is a great way to energize yourself. A bottle of energy drink contains higher caffeine than a cup of coffee. It also contains loads of calories which is not good for the health.

6. Carbohydrates make you fat. It actually depends on which source. Carbohydrates are used by the body as its main fuel. Those that are from plant sources are considered “good” as it contains fiber and nutrients. On the other hand, sugary food and refined products such as pasta and white bread has the “bad” carbohydrates. It is actually eating more calories that will contribute to your weight gain.

7. Healthy food options are expensive. This is not true. Healthy food options do not require spending a lot of money. Affordable fruits and vegetables are available everywhere. Though organic choices cost more, they are actually an investment to your health.

8. Fresh fruits are better than its frozen counterpart. Frozen fruits have as much nutrients as fresh fruits have. Freezing locks the nutrients up until it is defrosted.

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A Primer on Biometric Door Lock Systems

An electronic lock system allows for a better home security than most traditional door locks, because they include extra features, such as its authentication method, that can be controlled and monitored. One of the most popular authentication methods used in commercial spaces and even in residential areas in Singapore are biometrics.

How does it work and what are its other security features?

What are Door Lock Systems?

Door lock systems refer to the electronic locks that use electric locking devices instead of the traditional mechanical locks. The door lock systems vary based on the existence of an access control, the type of electronic lock, and the authentication method to allow access to the system. How do they work? Most electronic locks provided by security system providers here in Singapore like www.secureoffice.sg use motors, magnets, and solenoids powered by electricity to unlock and lock a door.

Like any type of lock, the door lock systems serve to limit access to specific areas, but the electronic locks also include features that will allow for monitoring, authentication, and alarm systems to function. These modern door lock systems can also be integrated with other office or business systems such as the intercom system or other communication system, time and attendance system, human resource management, and accounting and billing.

What is Biometrics?

Biometrics refers to the primary authentication method used in the biometric door access system. Biometrics makes use of the biological features of a living organism, in this case a person, through measurement and verification of specific characteristics. The verification and identification method can either be behavioral or physical biometrics.

The latter refers to the physical characteristics, such as the fingerprints or facial features, used for biometric thumbprint and facial biometric for example. Biometric door access that makes use of biometric thumbprint and facial biometric is common in commercial offices, businesses, government offices, educational institutions, banks, and other establishments in Singapore because it plays a significant role in complex day-to-day operations.

What is Electronic Access Control?

If you have been considering a biometric door access system, you might have also heard of the term electronic access control. It refers to a security system that allows for detailed and high-tech control over the physical security of the vicinity because you can restrict access based on a set of guidelines. Traditional locks do not have this feature, but all electronic access control systems including card access door, pin access door system, and biometric door access system can be manipulated to follow a set of limitations, show who accessed the door, who was denied entry, and when the access happened.

Biometric door access can provide you with detailed information on all the security activities. There are various hardware systems to choose from depending on how many locks are needed and how many people will be using the system. The pin access door system for example uses assigned information (such as numbers) to identify personnel allowed entry in the vicinity, while card access uses magnetic stripe cards to limit the access to the area. The card is swiped through a reader and the credentials are read by the system.

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Why Verifying your Electrician’s License is Important

Hiring a licensed electrician for various electrical work around your house is always encouraged. However, it also pays to be meticulous on an electrician’s license – as it would give you an idea regarding their field of expertise and their work experience on the field.

Working with your home’s electrical system isn’t always safe. There’s always the possibility of danger with any electrical project hence it’s always advised to seek a good electrician before getting any work done. Faulty electrical works can start a fire, and your insurance may not be enough to cover all the damages caused by unlicensed electrical work. Unless you’d want to risk a bit of your fortune, always pay attention to your electrician’s license.

Is a license important?

Not everyone can easily tinker around with the electrical wires and systems they have at home and expect the issue to be resolved at the end of the day. Electrical work may vary in the degree of their complexity, hence it’s best to consult electrician services for a proper assessment.
There’s also risk involved in any electrical work, which good electrician in Singapore are trained to safely deal with. Before one is given a valid electrician license, they should first undergo rigorous training. This includes four to five years of formal education which is common in Singapore, where aspiring electricians take up electrical engineering. They also take extensive on-the-job training and has a long apprenticeship period.

During their formal training, they are taught how to safely work with various electrical systems and be informed of local codes and statures. Building codes may vary by community. An electrician must know any code requirements for your area, and if the severity of the issue requires you to apply for a permit before any work can be done.

Required by the law

Any electrical work must be undertaken by a rightfully licensed electrician. This includes new wiring, rewiring, or adding extensions which must be tested prior to turning the supply on.

A license also entitles the holder to carry out advanced electrical work such as design, operate, maintain, inspect, or test an electrical supply installation. The specific operating voltage of the installation must not exceed 1000 volts and the approved load of such installation must also not exceed 45 kVA.
The license also allows the electrician to carry out any electrical work as instructed by an authorized high voltage switching engineer, or under his/her supervision.

It is considered an offense if a person:

    a: carries out or caused to carry out any electrical work without a valid electrical worker license; or

    b: knowingly engages another person who isn’t a licensed electrical worker to carry out electrical work

If you need any electrical work done at your premises (residence or on buildings you own), check if the electrician has a valid Electrical Worker license duly issued by the authority.

Individual or contractor?

Licenses for electrician services are made available either for individuals or contractors. Therefore, it’s urged to check whether the electrician license is for individual practice or contractor. Individually practicing electricians generally work on their own. They are the ones who study local codes and other regulations themselves. Accordingly, they work as they deem fit.

For contractors, any work done by employees must be verified to meet all code and safety requirements. Electricians who are employed by contactors are often obliged to attend seminars, forums, and other meetings regularly.

Whenever presented with a license, take it upon yourself to verify that the person’s name matches the name of the license. If the license is contractual, verify if the electrician is truly employed by the licensed company. You can do so by giving the company hotline a call and ask if the electrician is currently working for the company.

Verifying a license

In Singapore, there are various information you can use to verify an electrician’s license. First, you can use the number that appears on the license. If the license number appears to be too long or too short, it is urged to get it checked with Energy Market Authority (EMA). Any suspicious electrician license must be dealt with accordingly.

Next, you can also get information through the electrician’s full name. Does he have a clean track record? Are there any failures/major issues regarding his electrician services in the past? Does he have a history with dissatisfied customers? Knowing an electrician’s professional work history will give you an idea how your experience will unfold as you work along with them.

Another way to verify a license is to ask for verification from one’s company. If your electrician is employed by a company, you can always ask for relevant details from their employer. For one, you can ask about their related work experiences and if they have worked with issues similar with your case before.

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) can also verify if an electrician is licensed to work in your area. Keep in mind that faking an electrician license is illegal, however, there are still cases where unlicensed electricians claim they have one. If your electrician’s license isn’t verified in EMA’s database, then it’s encouraged to look for other potential electricians to work with you.

You can also opt to ask for proof of liability insurance. Generally, electricians offer insurance if something goes wrong with their electrical works. If they work with an electrical firm, the company itself offers the insurance for their services. Inquire with the respective insurance company to verify their license.