Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marmite to be relabelled as Mo-mite in support of prostate cancer week in NZ...

Sanitarium brand Marmite is to be relabelled as Mo-mite next month in support of Movember - the campaign to increase awareness of prostate cancer - the male equivalent of breast cancer that kills millions.

This campaign is to raise money for the Cancer Society and the NZ Mental Health Foundation in New Zealand.

For every jar of Marmite or Mo-mite bought in November 2008, Sanitarium will donate 15 cents to the Movember Foundation in New Zealand.

Are there similar promotions in your country to create awareness in prostate cancer there?

Momite prostate cancer promotion

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Monday,October 27 2008, is Labour Day in New Zealand...

This Monday, October 27 2008, is Labour Day here in New Zealand...

This Monday is Labour Day here in NZ and most workers wouldn't know the history behind it. Oh yeah, its something to do with a holiday for workers, some would say!

I know you celebrate Labour Day in the US too. I'll tell you a little about ours.

It's 165 years since an English carpenter, Samuel Parnell, arrived at Wellington's Port Nicholson in 1840 determined that life would not be a continuation of the work-slavery he and his fellows had previously endured back in the England of those days. After all what would be the point of travelling 12,000 miles down to New Zealand if conditions were to be the same?

On his arrival, a fellow passenger reportedly asked Parnell if he would set up a store for him. He agreed, but as a condition he made his famous and historical statement that is the ethos behind Labour Day here in NZ: He would work only eight hours a day, because his philosophy was that in any 24 hours,eight were for work, eight for sleep and eight for recreation.

Parnell knew he couldn't change things on his own; he needed a movement for change behind him. So he made it a mission to meet incoming ships to the new British colony here and explain to tradesmen just how things were and should be in New Zealand.

According to a workers meeting was held in October 1840 on Lambton Quay in Wellington at which workers resolved that any tradesman breaking the eight hour rule would be thrown in the drink - would get a dunking in the harbour!

Oh how times have changed, so much for the ethos behind Labour Day, now just a holiday reminding us all of the intestinal fortitude of one Samuel Parnell who started a movement for change in the interests of workers rights, long before there were established trade unions(labor unions)or any inclination for establishing any.

Since the arrival and establishment of Labour Day, and the changes made to workers rights with the advent of the Employment Contracts Act here by the previous right wing National government in 1991, many workers now work in excess of 50 hours a week, and many are paid minimal overtime rates or none at all, levels exceeded only by South Korea.

There was a time in NZ when our trade unions were strong enough to ensure we had at least minimal rights and we considered unions overseas including the US with a little derision, and even more with stronger advocacy from the more militant unions here. So much has been lost during the last 17 years that we need another Samuel Parnell to make some determined decisions. Well lets enjoy Labour Day at least, while we still have it!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Zealand Government approves clinical trials to transfer pig cells into humans...

NZ Government approves pig cell research trials...
Chronic obesity in adults and children is leading towards an epidemic in Type-TWO Diabetes throughout the western world, but a new study suggests type 1 and type 2 are the one and same; governments have become extremely concerned with the future health of their citizens.

Diabetics around the world are now pinning their hopes on a controversial new experiment that was approved by the New Zealand Government this week, which will allow the transfer of pig cells into the bodies of human beings. Previous trials in Russia and other countries have not yet been successful.

New Zealand is the first country to officially allow clinical trials to hopefully transform the lives of people living with Type-One diabetes. These people have up to now had to live with multiple daily insulin injections, the constant monitoring of their blood and consideration of an exercise regime. Type- One diabetes reportedly shaves off one third of their expected lifespan!

The government approved trials in Southland in the South Island of New Zealand; the actual location is top secret at present, will involve the transfer of live cells from the pancreas of piglets into the patients abdomen to produce insulin on demand.

The pigs that will be used in the trials come from a group of unique pigs from the Auckland Islands a few hundred miles off the coast from the New Zealand mainland, who have been totally isolated for two hundred years and are free of any retroviruses.

The scientists concerned are presently selecting suitable diabetic patients for the trials.

I have reproduced part of a scientific report to explain the reasons and necessity behind the decision to hold these forthcoming trials in New Zealand:

The transportation of embryonic pig pancreatic tissue as a source of insulin has been suggested for some time now as a cure for diabetes. Previous limited trials failed in their attempts to treat diabetic patients by the transportation of advanced gestational age porcinc embryonic pancreas.The present study examined the growth potential, functionality and immunogencity of pig embryonic tissue harvested at different gestational ages. I hope this is all clear to readers?

Xeno transplantation.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)

Embryonic Pig Pancreatic Tissue

Transplantation for the Treatment of Diabetics


Friday, October 3, 2008

New Zealand could legalise the medicinal use of cannabis...

New Zealand could legalise the medicinal use of cannabis...

First published at Qassia:

The New Zealand government could soon legalise the medicinal use of cannabis products such as sprays, after an application by the leading British manufacturer of "Sativex".

Medsafe is considering whether to allow the marketing and sale of cannabis sprays for severe pain relief in this country.

Cannabis is a class C drug, and cannabis preparations are class B drugs in New Zealand. But the NZ Medicines Act allows the drug to be used with ministerial approval.

It comes at a time when the country faces a parliamentary election in a matter of weeks, and mounting pressure from patients and scientists to legalise the use only foraccident victims, cancer patients and some multiple sclerosis patients.

There is bound to be opposition from certain quarters who do not support any use of drugs such as cannabis and would consider it to be the short end of the stick. This will be a major change in policy for New Zealand society who have indicated their disapproval in the past for any relaxing of the drug laws, even for medicinal use.

The medicinal cannabis use lobby have spent many years putting forward their case for using cannabis for severe pain relief.

Read here

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stories in nature - human in nature...

Stories in nature - human in nature...

First published at Qassia:

A beige coloured penguin was taunted and ostracised by its fellows down in Antarctica.It lacked its normal pigmentation of a trademark 'black dinner' jacket colouring.

Scientists down there in Antarctica were trying to come up with ideas to help the unfortunate penguin - perhaps dye it black and white or something else. Aussie researchers restoring the historic Mawsons Huts felt sorry for the 'poor little bugger'.

So it proves that not only humans are discriminated against by their fellows. Anything different or standing out could be in danger of discrimination.

Read here