Saturday, April 25, 2009

Green about the gills


A German scientist is claiming to have proved that fish can become 'seasick'.

Dr Reinhold Hilbig, a zoologist from Stuttgart, studied the effects of weightlessness in water as part of research into how humans are affected in space.

Forty-nine fish in a mini aquarium were sent up in a plane that went into a steep dive, simulating the loss of gravity astronauts encounter in space flight.

He said eight of the fish began turning around and around in circles, reports the Daily Telegraph.

"They completely lost their sense of balance, behaving like humans who get seasick," said Dr. Hilbig.

"The fish lost their orientation, they became completely confused and looked as if they were about to vomit. In the wild such a seasick fish would become prey for others because they are incapable of fleeing from danger."

The eight seasick fish were later culled and their brains examined to try to determine the exact cause of their sickness.

"It would seem the loss of eye contact with water movement and vibrations plays a large part in their disorientation," Dr Hilbig said.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dad throws baby into boiling water

BARELY 10 months old, the little girl has had to suffer pain that's as excruciating as 'being slashed by a thousand knives'.

That was what happened in Changhua county, Taiwan, on Saturday after her alcoholic father threw her into boiling water following an argument with his live-in girlfriend.

The father known only as Mr Huang, 47, runs a noodle factory with his girlfriend, Ms Lin, 45.

After finishing his deliveries at 5am that day, Mr Huang met one of the stallholders for a drink. They had sorghum wine which is high in alcohol content.

Mr Huang returned to his noodle factory only at about 10am. By then, Ms Lin was livid.

She was carrying their baby in one arm, and stirring noodles in a gigantic wok of boiling water in another.

She reprimanded him: 'We are already so busy at work, and you still have time to go drinking?'

An argument broke out. It reached a point where Ms Lin dared Mr Huang to throw their 10-month-old daughter into the boiling water.


In a fit of anger, Mr Huang allegedly snatched the baby from Ms Lin and dumped her into the wok.

The baby wailed in pain. Although a shocked Ms Lin managed to whisk the baby out, the damage had been done.

Ninety per cent of her body was scalded, but her head and neck region were spared.

Ms Lin then flushed the baby with cold water but while removing the clothing, part of the baby's skin came off, adding to the pain.

Terrified, she ran home with the crying baby in her arms and got her younger brother to drive them to hospital.

Unfortunately, there was a traffic jam. Desperate, Ms Lin got out of the car and carried the baby to a nearby police station.

The police placed the baby in a basin of cold water and called for an ambulance.

The baby was later sent to the burns unit of Changhua Christian Hospital.

As her temperature was too low, her blood pressure was unstable, and she was crying non-stop, the doctor decided to inject her with an anaesthetic.

She is still in a critical condition, reported Apple Daily Taiwan.

A doctor described the baby's pain as 'being slashed by a thousand knives', and almost 10 times worse than labour pains.

When police arrived at Mr Huang's factory to arrest him, he was by his wok, cooking noodles, as if nothing had happened.

At the police station, he said: 'I don't mean to put the baby in the boiling water. I really regret what I did after having a drop too much.'

He will face charges of attempting to kill his daughter.

Mr Huang's neighbours told Apple Daily that he and Ms Lin were both divorced and had been cohabiting for 12 years.

They have another daughter, who is in Primary 5, and has been sent to a welfare home temporarily.

Neighbours said they have often seen the couple fighting, especially after Mr Huang has had too much to drink.

Said one of them: 'He's really a cold-blooded animal. This kind of father just ought to be shot.',...,199550,00.html?

Teenage girl died in agony 'after hospital said she was just a drama queen'

A teenage girl died in agony in hospital days after medics dismissed her as a 'drama queen' whose pain was 'all psychological', an inquest has heard.

Sian Jones, 15, was admitted to hospital with stomach pains, which doctors suspected were caused by appendicitis.

When they removed her appendix the next day, her condition continued to worsen.

Doctors said the pain was from the operation and missed a series of tell-tale signs that she was suffering from perienteritis - a serious infection that inflames the lining of the stomach and intestines.

Sian, from Stirchley, Birmingham, died from multiple organ failure, brought on by the infection, a week after being admitted to the city's Heartlands Hospital in August 2007.

Her sister Sarah, 22, said that four days before Sian's death, staff had told their father 'there was nothing physically wrong with her and that it was all psychological, that she was a drama queen'.

The family claimed staff also said the pain was brought on by problems at home, as Sian's father, Andrew, was fighting leukaemia. He has since died from the illness.

The inquest at Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, heard the medic who had most contact with Sian, Dr Nehtab Ahmad, had only started her surgical training at the hospital three days earlier.

Dr Ahmad told the hearing the surgical team, including two more senior surgeons, 'thought there was nothing amiss surgically and had been falsely reassured by a CT scan and a review from a paediatric doctor'.

The doctor added: 'With the benefit of hindsight I can see that she was getting worse, but at the time it was not so obvious. In hindsight all the factors were viewed independently and not together.

'The emotional aspect had been raised to me by my seniors and psychological issues were raised in a conversation with her father.'

The inquest continues

Japanese woman gets death for curry murder

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan's Supreme Court sentenced a woman to death on Tuesday for killing four and making more than 60 ill by poisoning a large pot of curry at a summer festival in 1998, a case widely covered in domestic media.

The incident shocked Japan, where crime rates are relatively low and mass killings extremely rare.

Public broadcaster NHK reported the Supreme Court upheld a lower court death sentence on Masumi Hayashi, 47, for the crime that took place in the western Japanese city of Wakayama.

The Supreme Court called the crime "cruel and despicable," NHK added.

Prosecutors charged Hayashi became enraged after being shunned by her neighbors and put arsenic in the curry when she was alone in the garage where it was being prepared, Japanese media said.

Hayashi has denied being involved in the deaths in recent interviews with several domestic media outlets.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Needle removed from bum - after 31 years

Source: Ananova

A Chinese pensioner can finally sit in comfort after doctors removed a broken syringe needle which had been stuck in his bottom for 31 years.

Lao Du, 55, of Zhengzhou, said the needle was left in his rear by an 'amateurish' doctor in 1978, reports the Zhongyuan Network.

"I got a cold and went to see an amateurish doctor in my hometown village, but the needle broke off once it pierced my bum," he said.

"I was sent to a provincial hospital immediately. After being hospitalised for nine days, doctors checked me but failed to find the broken needle."

Lao Du said he always believed the broken needle was still in his bottom and four or five years ago he began to feel sharp pains regularly in his rear.

"Even walking has become a suffering to me," he said.

"I sought help from too many hospitals but none of them dared to do the surgery for me as they are not quite sure if they can find a tiny broken needle from 31 years ago."

Du tried his luck one last time at the Zhengzhou People's Hospital where doctors agreed to try to find the broken needle.

Chief surgeon Fu Konglong, who finally found the needle tip after three hours of surgery, said: "It was very detailed work. We had to look for it in every muscle fibre."

Cat teaches puppies how to catch mice

Source: Ananova

A cat in China has adopted two orphaned puppies - and is trying to teach them how to catch mice.

The female cat - named Tom - nurses the puppies and washes them with her tongue, reports the Yaxin Network.

Owner Ms Shen, who lives in Urumchi, said the puppies' natural mother, Mao Mao, died delivering them a month ago.

She hoped that Tom might take care of the puppies as she had just given birth to three kittens and had been close friends with Mao Mao.

"We didn't dare put the puppies in Tom's basket at first, but just outside of it. Unexpectedly the puppies crawled over to Tom and started to fight for breast milk with the kittens," Ms Shen said.

She said Tom was treating her adopted children very well, even feeding them first, before the kittens.

And, each day, Tom was trying to show the puppies how to catch mice, including how to jump onto the sofa and hide in a corner before pouncing on them.

However, the two puppies lacked the cat's agility and generally failed to jump on to the sofa and just bit and scratched the cover instead.

Hen lays green eggs

Source: Ananova

A Croatian poultry farmer is doing a cracking Easter trade in naturally-laid green-coloured eggs.

Stipa Gregacevic was astonished when his prize hen Fata began laying coloured eggs at the family farm in Forkusevci.

"I can't really explain why it happens," said Stipa. "Some say it might be because we put red pepper in the hen food."

And Stipa says customers are happy to shell out twice the going rate for normal eggs to buy a carton of his coloured specials.

"We're an organic farm and we're always being told to be more Green but I don't think this is what the scientists have in mind," he added.

Piglet has two mouths and three eyes

Source: Ananova

A Chinese farmer was shocked when one of his new piglets was born with three eyes and two mouths.

The piglet was among eight newborn piglets at Liu Dingsheng's farm in Chongren County, Zhejiang province.

"We were shocked to see such a weird looking creature," said Liu, "I don't really know what to do with it."

Liu told People's Daily that the mother was a four-year-old sow which was completely healthy and normal.

A local vet said the abnormality may have been caused by genetic mutation or feed pollution.

As the world's fastest developing industrial nation, China suffers heavily from environmental pollution.

Meet Britain's first vegetarian cat who refuses to eat meat or fish

When he was found starving in an alleyway, the abandoned kitten clearly needed a square meal.

His rescuer Becky Page took him home and prepared a hearty bowl of chicken - but the black and white bundle of fluff just turned his whiskers up.

A plate of fish prompted the same response.

It was only when the kitten spotted some leftover vegetables by the kitchen bin that he began licking his lips.

He 'wolfed' them down, says Miss Page - and ever since he has stubbornly stuck to a vegetarian diet.

Now aged two, the kitten Miss Page went on to name Dante continues to refuse to eat tinned cat food, and could even be the world's first vegetarian cat.

Instead of meat, he happily feasts on fruit and vegetables his owner grows, such as Brussels sprouts and rhubarb.

He also has a penchant for melon and asparagus and has been known to raid the fruit bowl for bananas.

Dante's eating habits have baffled experts because cats are natural carnivores and unlikely to willingly forgo meat from their diet.

Unlike humans and dogs, they can only derive certain vital nutrients in sufficient quantities from meat.

These include taurine, an amino acid essential for cats but not for other mammals.

In the prolonged absence of taurine, a cat's retina slowly degenerates and it can become irreversibly blind. Others include arachidonic acid - a fatty acid vital for helping wounds heal.

Dante, however, has remained as fit as any puss his age - perhaps because his owner secretly tries to hide scraps of meat in his food.

Yesterday Miss Page, 21, a child minder, said: 'Since he had that first plate of veg, he won't go near anything fatty and prefers the things I grow in the garden.'

Maggie Roberts, director of veterinary services at the animal charity Cats Protection, said: 'This is extremely rare, I have never before heard of a cat that will not eat meat.

'We advise that cats be fed a complete cat food, which provides all of the necessary nutrients in the right balance.'

Miss Page is convinced Dante does not supplement his diet by hunting for wild prey.

'He doesn't really like going outside much, he finds it all a bit too scary,' she said.

'I've never seen him chase any birds or small animals. He hunts bits of string around the house instead to fulfil his predatory instincts.

'I have to smuggle bits of meat in among the veggies because I want him to get all the nutrients he needs. But sometimes he spots the meat and will just leave it.'

Miss Page, who lives with her partner Adam Carpenter, 26, also keeps three chickens, a rabbit, two guinea pigs, a rat, a hamster and fish at her home in Tasburgh, near Norwich, but Dante has not been tempted to try to catch any of them either.

A Vegetarian Society spokesman said: 'Although it is possible to keep dogs on a vegetarian diet satisfactorily, cats are more specialised.'

Some vegetarian cat foods are available which include synthesised forms of the nutrients they need from meat.

Award for hero puppy who was repeatedly stabbed after taking on knife-wielding intruder

A Labrador puppy suffered repeated stab wounds across his body after he tried to protect his owners from a knife-wielding burglar.

Eight-month-old Toby leapt into action after the intruder broke into the home of owners Jonathan and Samantha Morton.

The normally placid dog, who suffered stab wounds across his chest and legs and a punctured lung during the attack, has received a bravery award for his actions.

Mr Morton, of Barnoldswick, Lancs, said: 'I looked out of the bedroom window and I could see a lad climbing over the fence, so I ran downstairs.'

But by the time he ran down, Toby was already attacking the intruder and had been stabbed.

'I just saw blood on the walls and all over the carpet. I went outside to find Toby on his back legs still trying to get at him,' he said.

Toby collapsed minutes later and was rushed to a vet's surgery for emergency surgery, where he remained for a week.

The intruder was later arrested trying to steal a neighbour's car and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison after being convicted of aggravated burglary.

Police were so impressed by Toby's actions that he was awarded the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals' gold award at a ceremony in Blackpool on Thursday.

Mr Morton said: 'We are just happy to have Toby. Normally he would not hurt a fly and is great with children.

'But that night something must have upset him and he was protecting his territory. He has fully recovered now, but still wakes up at the least little thing.'

'The lad who broke in told police he didn't know what was coming at him and he just lashed out.'

Mr Morton, who has a five-month-old daughter, Megan, said he was glad the dog was there to protect the family.

'I'm just glad it wasn't one of the family that was stabbed. Toby was certainly looking after us,' he said.

'Without Toby being there that night, who knows what might have happened.'

'My dog ate my g-string'

The Northern Territory News reports the elastic on the size 10, lacy black G-string became wrapped around the intestines of Baxter, a two-year-old cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Baxter's owner, who was too embarrassed to be named, said she rushed her tiny pooch to the University Avenue Veterinary Hospital in Palmerston at 9pm on Saturday after she became concerned when the ''usual pig when it comes to food'' was refusing to eat and started vomiting.

Her fears were recognised when an X-ray revealed something was obstructing the 9.7kg spaniel's bowel and vets said if he wasn't operated on immediately he would be lucky to survive the night.

But the $2200 life-saving operation turned to hysterics in the surgery when vets found a piece of underwear was to blame for Baxter's misfortune. The dog's owner said she couldn't believe it when the vet rang her at 3am on Sunday following the surgery to say they'd found women's undies.

'When she rang back and said that it was a ladies black g-string I couldn't believe it,'' she said.

''He had 20cm of elastic all through his intestines, they had to untangle it all.

''Now we know he is okay we can have a laugh about it but he is very lucky.''

She said it was not the first time the spaniel had ran off with her underwear.

''The dog's a real guts and will eat anything,'' she said.

''He's taken off with undies before but we'd learnt not to leave them around.'',27574,25336795-13762,00.html

Russian doctors find tree growing in man's lung

MOSCOW, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - Surgeons in Russia's Urals Region were staggered to find a 5-centimeter high spruce growing inside a man's lung, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported on Monday.

The discovery was made while Artyom Sidorkin, 28, from the Urals city of Izhevsk, was undergoing surgery.

Sidorkin had complained of extreme pain in his chest and had been coughing up blood, doctors suspected cancer.

"I blinked three times and thought I was seeing things," Izhevsk surgeon Vladimir Kamashev told the paper.

Medical staff believe Sidorkin had somehow inhaled a seed, which later sprouted inside his lung. The spruce, which was touching the man's capillaries and causing severe pain, was removed.

"It was very painful. But to be honest I did not feel any foreign object inside me," Sidorkin said.