Ruminations

Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Medical Job-Lottery

At one time in the not-too dimly-distant history of Canada's confrontation between balancing the health needs of Canadians and providing suitable academic-professional educations for the cadre of medical professionals that would look to the needs of people requiring medical attention, it was decided that the country was producing too many doctors. Medical schools, on order from the provinces, reduced the numbers of health professionals they were teaching.

Unsurprisingly, a shortage of doctors developed. And tens of thousands of people were unable to find a medical practitioner in general medicine willing and able to extend their practise any further, to absorb additional patients. The patient-load on established family doctors became so dire that thousands upon thousands of people were left without a general practitioner to look after their basic medical needs. Which placed an additional burden on hospital emergency rooms.

The situation became so serious that fast-tracking the upgrades seen to be required to allow foreign-trained medical professionals emigrating to Canada was thought as a possibility to solve part of the problems. And university medical schools began to extend enrolment, to produce more doctors. But many new doctors were disinterested in general practise; they wanted to specialize. Seeing themselves putting in fewer hours, and hauling in larger salaries.

And nor was there any interest in locating to rural communities, or more isolated areas where there was such an appeal from the communities badly in need of local health professionals that they were prepared to subsidize a new doctor to an extent unimaginable, buying them houses, cars, paying off their university tuition loans. The situation has since become less dire; more people are successfully being absorbed into new medical practices.

And suddenly, new problems have erupted. The Canadian Medical Association has responded to new surveys showing that one in six newly graduated medical specialists in Canada are unable to find employment. These are not the generalists, those entering the medical profession content to work as family doctors. These are those more ambitious professionals who aimed a bit higher, wanting to make their life work as medical specialists.

Such as cardiologists, anesthesiologists, gynecologists, dermatologists, surgeons, internists, geriatric physicians and oncologists. And, it seems now, so many are graduating with their spanking-new degrees and raring to go to work, that they cannot all be accommodated. According to a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada employment survey for 2013, 16% of new specialists and sub-specialists were reporting an inability to secure employment.

These newly-graduated doctors are competing for fewer resources, according to the College. Hospitals are reducing the number of their beds, as well as operating-room time. Older doctors have been postponing retirement, in reaction to a relatively weak stock market, where their retirement funds have been placed to grow as the prospect of non-earning years become more immediate. And there is the charge that medical schools are responsible, failing to produce the right mix and physician numbers.

Even while Canada's population is steadily aging, in 2012 its medical schools graduated a mere 17 specialists in geriatric medicine. This, in comparison to 142 pediatricians and sub-specialists focusing strictly on the medical treatment of children's needs. The specialities of critical care, gastroenterology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, radiation oncology and urology present as the tightest squeezes for new graduates.

And though it might once have been thought to be counter-intuitive, general practitioners aren't working the long hours they once did, nor spending time with home visits; working in group practices has proven beneficial in this regard. But for specialists, emergency situations are common, and they can call out the specialists at any time, many of whom work very long hours. And those specialists too are aging. Of their numbers only 34% report "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their profession.

On the other hand, they are exceedingly well paid; most averaging gross incomes of around $350,000. Before overhead, granted, but still a significant remuneration in light of their professional expertise. Neurosurgeons averaged $430,000, and eye surgeons can have gross earnings up to $700,000; just about triple what family doctors earn. In 2011/12 the 39,000 family medicine doctors in Canada earned on average $246,266.

And presumably, they do earn it. Society is dependent upon their professional skills.

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Rescue for Antarctic ice-bound ship under threat

BBC News online -- 31 December 2013
An Adelie penguin near the MV Akademik Shokalskiy The ship is being used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition
A rescue mission for a ship stuck in ice in Antarctica is under threat as reports have emerged that one of the assisting vessels may itself be stuck.

Fifty-two passengers and four crew members were due to be evacuated by helicopter from China's Xue Long ship as soon as conditions allowed.

However, the Xue Long has barely moved in a day and may be stuck in the ice.

The research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy has been trapped for nearly a week with 74 scientists, tourists and crew.

The ship is stocked with food and is in no danger, the team on board says.
The BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker says confusion surrounds the fate of the rescue vessel

The planned air evacuation required that the two icebreakers in the immediate area - the Xue Long and the Australian Aurora Australis - be positioned close to each other in open water, clear of the pack ice.

However, the captain of the Xue Long has told the Shokalskiy that he is keeping his vessel in a "holding position".

The Aurora Australis, is now understood to be planning to carve through the dense thick pack to assist the Xue Long.
Scientists preparing a suitable surface for a helicopter landing Passengers had been preparing an area close to the stranded ship for a helicopter landing
 
The initial plan had been for a helicopter from the Xue Long to carry people in groups of 15 up from the pack ice next to the Shokalskiy.

The airlifted passengers would then be transferred by a small boat, deployed from the Australian icebreaker, onto the Aurora Australis.

The expedition members would then have travelled to Australia's Antarctic base at Casey some four days' voyage away.

The Return to Mawson's Antarctica

However, if the Chinese vessel is also stuck and the Australian vessel cannot help it reach clear water, there will be no airlift.

Under the initial plan, the remaining crew members would have stayed on board until another, more powerful US icebreaker arrived in up to 10 days' time, the BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker reports from on board the Akademik Shokalskiy

However, it may now be that all of those on board may have to wait for the US icebreaker, the Polar Star, he adds.

The approximate location of the Akademik Shokalskiy 
 
Earlier attempts by Chinese and French icebreakers to reach the ship were also foiled by the thick ice.
The Shokalskiy was trapped on Christmas Eve by thick sheets of ice, driven by strong winds, about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart - the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania.

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China's Yutu Moon rover pictured from orbit by Nasa satellite

BBC News online -- 31 December 2013
LRO views Yutu and its lander The lander (top arrow) and Yutu (bottom arrow) cast shadows across the Lunar "soil"
An American satellite has pictured the Chinese Yutu rover on the surface of the Moon.

The 150cm-wide wheeled-vehicle appears as a single pixel in the images from the US space agency's (Nasa) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

The lander that placed Yutu on the surface of Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) on 14 December is also visible nearby.

Both pieces of Chinese hardware are distinctively bright against the dark lunar "soil" and cast long shadows.

This made them easy to identify in before-and-after images of the landing location, which can now be given very precise map coordinates.

Nasa says its LRO satellite was not in the right position to capture the landing earlier this month. Only by 25 December had the spacecraft's orbit brought it directly overhead.

The published images were taken from an altitude of 150km.

Yutu ("Jade Rabbit") is China's first mission to make a soft landing at the Moon. After running down a ramp on to the lunar surface, Yutu trundled in an arc around its delivery lander.

Scientists were able to check the vehicle's systems before putting the robot into hibernation for the long lunar night, which lasts two Earth weeks.

When revived, Yutu will explore its landing zone, studying the dusty terrain and its geology.
Yutu Yutu is primed to explore the lunar surface for about three months


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Monday, December 30, 2013

Rage Disorder

Just about everyone knows all about IEDs. They are Improvised Explosive Devices. Simple to make and devastating in their impact. Widely used in Afghanistan by the Taliban, who plant them at the side of roads where UN foreign forces have met with their explosive impacts. Resulting in death at worst and amputations at the very least. Of course ordinary Afghan civilians, farmers, children have also had experience with IEDs, but those are the 'unavoidable casualties' of conflict.

Now we learn there's another IED. This one is listed in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the official "bible" of mental dysfunction. In that edition of psychiatry's listing of mental illness, IED is described as "recurrent, problematic, impulsive aggression", noted by its disproportionate reaction to the situations that happen to provoke the reaction.

Those reactions are characterized as explosive expressions of rage, verbal or physical. By people who, confronted with situations which would normally irritate, annoy or confuse people without the disorder, instigate a response so filled with provocation by those with the disorder they entirely lose control of their responses, they break or smash items and fill the air with loud and abusive language.

"These people blow up frequently, and it's getting them  into trouble. Not necessarily with police. It gets them into trouble in their relationships; it gets them into trouble at work.
"Sometimes they can mask it, or keep it under wraps. But after awhile, they can't. It's hard to live with these people."
"If you actually put inflammatory proteins into certain areas of the brain which are relevant for aggression, you can make animals more aggressive."
"What isn't clear is why the field or society is not interested enough in studying and treating these problems, which is just remarkable. The fact is aggressive people are not considered to be very sympathetic, because they're doing things to people.
"But the people we're studying are not psychopaths. They're not doing these things on purpose. There's a biology to this. There are circuitry issues that are out of balance, there is biochemistry that is out of balance. This is a real thing."
Dr. Emil Coccaro, chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience, University of Chicago

This man, who is an expert in IED, or "intermittent explosive disorder" has just had research findings published. Leading to the suggestion that people suffering from IED may be treatable. And the agent for treatment may be a pharmaceutical we use for a great many other health issues; Aspirin. Among adults, it would appear IED can afflict between three to five percent of the population. It commonly emerges in adolescent; age 13 for boys, 19 for girls.

Males are affected by the disorder more commonly than females, although the gender gap isn't very wide. It appears there's a connection between low levels of brain chemicals; notably serotonin and impulsive aggression. The research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, concludes that people with IED have higher levels than normal of C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 in their bloodstream.

Other studies demonstrate that people suffering from IED harbour a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. A medication for these conditions is not surprisingly acetylsalicylic acid. Dr. Coccaro and his research team are planning to test the anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex, in people with IED.

There's another issue associated with people with IED. People charged with the commission of certain crimes of violence often claim to be suffering from physical or mental problems. Hoping that they will be criminally exonerated from blame for their actions that have been harmful to others. Citing the belief that they suffer from IED effects when faced with a criminal charge, perpetrators of spousal abuse and other violent crimes might hope to avoid jail by claiming "rage disorder".

So now, we have not only crudely made bombs which are capable of wreaking havoc and killing people. We also have people with attitudes and emotions and reactions that are in effect, capable of making them into improved explosive devices, whose effect may produce a scene of mayhem and murder.

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NASA’s WISE Asteroid Hunter Is Back in Business


The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 20 2013 8:00 AM

NASA’s WISE Asteroid Hunter Is Back in Business



NEOWISE image
Asteroid 872 Holda crosses NEOWISE's gaze in one of the first images released in the new mission. The other streak is a satellite in a different orbit around Earth. Click to enherschelenate.
Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech
I’m very pleased to see that NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, is back in business! It’s been resurrected as NEOWISE, for Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.

WISE launched in 2009 and spent over a year mapping the sky in infrared light. This is where cooler galactic dust glows, making WISE images some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen (see related posts below). But asteroids in our own solar system are peppy little emitters of infrared, too, so WISE was an excellent tool to hunt them down. The satellite ran out of coolant in 2011 and was put into hibernation. However, in September 2013 it was switched back on to continue the hunt, part of NASA’s new push to look for near-Earth asteroids.


Phil Plait Phil Plait
Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies!
Astronomers have released the first few images from the now-revived NEOWISE, and it’s already turning up space rocks. The picture above shows a star field with the asteroid 872 Holda, seen as the series of red dots moving across the sky as NEOWISE took a set of exposures. Holda is big, about 42 kilometers (26 miles) across, and orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, safely away from Earth.

Asteroids like Holda are not the main targets of NEOWISE, however. As its name suggests, it will be looking for smaller rocks that get near our own lovely blue-green world, posing a threat if they should impact us. My friend Amy Mainzer, the NEOWISE principal investigator, has said everything looks good on board, and they expect to start finding previously undetected asteroids over the next few months.

WISE_art
Artist's illustration of NEOWISE in orbit
Artwork by NASA/JPL-Caltech
Not surprisingly, I’m all for this. I take the threat of asteroid impacts very seriously, and it’s good to see NASA looking in this direction as well. As NEOWISE shakes out, it’ll also help Mainzer and her colleagues better understand how to use NEOCAM, the Near-Earth Object Camera, which they’re building. It’s a next generation version of NEOWISE, specifically designed to hunt for potentially threatening rocks.

The advantages of NEOWISE (and NEOCAM) over ground-based telescopes are substantial. The biggest is that it can detect fainter asteroids, but also important is that by looking in the thermal infrared, where warm objects glow, a better size can be determined for an asteroid. When we look in visible light, we have to estimate the asteroid’s size based on how bright and how far away it is. But that’s a problem; a shiny small asteroid will look just as bright as a big dark one. By looking in the infrared, NEOWISE cuts through that; the infrared light emitted is a more direct measure of the asteroid’s size, independent of how bright or dark it is to the eye.

It’s not often a space mission gets a second chance to do good, important work, and it’s really nice to see this fantastic mission get another shot. My congratulations to the team, and may they find as many space rocks as they can handle. It’s the first, necessary step in preventing the end of our world.

Related Posts
A WISE and Dusty Witch Head
Shocking Star Is Shocking. Shocking, I Say!
Orion’s WISE Head
The Seven WISE Sisters
WISE Finds the Coolest Stars. Literally.
S Marks the Spot

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Antarctic ship: Third rescue bid halted by bad weather

BBC News online -- 30 December 2013
The Akademik Shokalskiy stuck in the ice off East Antarctica, as it waits to be rescued, 30 December 2013 The Shokalskiy is surrounded by an estimated 3m (10ft) wall of ice
A third attempt to rescue a ship stranded off East Antarctica since Tuesday has failed because of fierce winds and poor visibility.

An Australian icebreaker trying to reach the Russian scientific mission ship was forced to turn back.
Earlier attempts by Chinese and French icebreakers to reach the Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy were also foiled by the thick ice.

The Shokalskiy is stocked with food and is in no danger, its team says.
Seventy-four scientists, tourists and crew are on the ship.

The vessel is being used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition to follow the route explorer Douglas Mawson travelled a century ago.

The BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker, on the Shokalskiy, said scientists on board thought the ice was much thicker than usual for this time of year.

The Aurora Australis icebreaker had been forced to turn back to clear water and was repositioning to try to find another route towards the Shokalskiy, he said.

"[The icebreaker] was slowly, slowly, trying to carve a path to us," he said. "It stopped for some time, and [now] has actually gone back the way it came. And it's now in clear water."
Chinese icebreaker Xue Long in an aborted effort to reach the Shokalskiy 28 December 2013 A Chinese icebreaker failed to reach the Shokalskiy on Saturday
In this image provided by Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography, Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy is trapped in thick Antarctic ice 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia, 27 December 2013 The Shokalskiy is stocked with food and the passengers were in no danger, the team on board said
An inquisitive penguin next to the stranded ship Akademik Shokalskiy, 28 December 2013 Passengers could potentially be winched to safety by a helicopter when the weather improves
In a statement, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said: "The area where the MV Akademik Shokalskiy is beset by ice is currently experiencing winds of up to 30 knots and snow showers."

"These weather conditions have resulted in poor visibility and made it difficult and unsafe for the Aurora Australis to continue today's attempt to assist the MV Akademik Shokalskiy."

Earlier, it was thought that passengers could be winched to safety by a helicopter on board the Chinese icebreaker, which had to abort its rescue mission on Saturday.

However, AMSA spokeswoman Lisa Martin told Reuters news agency: "We can't fly a helicopter in these conditions either. There is essentially nothing we can do at this point of time."
A crew member on the ship has recoded a video diary 

The Aurora Australis would have to wait for the weather to improve before making a second rescue attempt, she added.

The Chinese vessel, the Snow Dragon, came within seven nautical miles (11 km) of the Russian ship before stalling and being forced to return to the open sea.

Despite being trapped, the scientists have continued their experiments, measuring temperature and salinity through cracks in the surrounding ice.

The Shokalskiy was trapped on Christmas Day by thick sheets of ice, driven by strong winds, about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart - the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania.

View from the ship - image from BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker on board The Shokalskiy is trapped about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart - the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania
View from the ship - image from BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker on board The ship has encountered penguins curious about their new neighbours


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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Antarctic ship: New bid to free vessel trapped in ice

BBC News online -- 29 December 2013
The BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker: "We're wondering if this is our lucky break."
An Australian vessel is en route to East Antarctica in a renewed bid to free a scientific mission ship trapped in dense pack ice since Tuesday.

Earlier rescue attempts by Chinese and French icebreakers were foiled by the thick ice.
However, a BBC correspondent on the Russian research vessel says big cracks have appeared, raising hopes that it may even be able to move on its own.

Seventy-four scientists, tourists and crew are on the Academician Shokalskiy.
The vessel is being used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition to follow the route explorer Douglas Mawson travelled a century ago.

The Shokalskiy remains well stocked with food and is in no danger, according to the team.
Despite being trapped, the scientists have continued their experiments, measuring temperature and salinity through cracks in the surrounding ice.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating the rescue, said the Aurora Australis was expected to reach the trapped research ship on Sunday around 12:00 GMT.

The powerful icebreaker can cut ice up to 1.6m (5.2ft) thick - potentially still enough to plough through the estimated three-metre wall surrounding the Shokalskiy.

If this latest relief operation fails, passengers could be winched to safety by a helicopter on board the Chinese icebreaker, which had to abort its rescue mission on Saturday.

The Snow Dragon came within seven nautical miles (11 km) of the Russian ship before stalling and being forced to return to the open sea.

The BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker, who is part of the expedition, said the helicopter flew around the Shokalskiy on Sunday to see if the Snow Dragon could launch another attempt to break through the ice.

Our correspondent says a change in wind direction and slightly warmer temperatures have caused the ice to break and formed pools of water.

But he also warns that conditions could worsen again because of the Antarctica's extremely unpredictable weather.
Chris Fogwill Chris Fogwill and the team are retracing the steps of Douglas Mawson a century ago
This handout image released by the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales and taken by Andrew Peacock of www.footloosefotography.com on December 27, 2013 shows the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica The Shokalskiy was trapped by thick sheets of ice driven by high winds
This handout image released by the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales and taken by Andrew Peacock of www.footloosefotography.com shows the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica (27 December 2013) The scientists have continued to carry out experiments in the ice
This handout image released by the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales and taken by Andrew Peacock of www.footloosefotography.com shows the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica (27 December 2013) An Australian rescue boat is not expected to reach the Russian expedition until Sunday
 
The Shokalskiy was trapped on Christmas Day by thick sheets of ice, driven by strong winds, about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart - the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania.

Science volunteer Sean Borkovic earlier told the BBC: "I'll always remember this, that's for sure. It's brilliant. We've got some lovely light and the weather's pretty mild considering. The ship looks solid. I think we'll be good."

A visit from Secret Santa and a sumptuous Christmas dinner contributed to the mood of optimism.
The goal of the modern-day Australasian Antarctic Expedition is to repeat many of the original measurements and studies of the Mawson expedition to see how facets of the environment have changed over the past century.
View from the ship - image from BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker on board The crew aboard the Shokalskiy are surrounded by awe-inspiring views
View from the ship - image from BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker on board And they have some curious neighbours

More on This Story

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Impressing Strangers

Bullies tend to be braggarts. And sometimes being a bully who wants to impress others by recounting their exploits to a presumed appreciative audience can have repercussions that the brashly vicious moron who would conduct an unprovoked attack upon an entirely innocent person, feeling himself clever in the process could use some help in restoring a sense of reality to his conscience.

On November 24 in the town of Katy, in Texas, 27-year-old Conrad Barrett approached a 79-year-old black man with a greeting. "How's it going, man?" he asked. And then, while videoing the event, he engaged in what was termed a "knockout game" attack. He sucker-punched the unsuspecting elderly man. In the video a "loud smack" is heard, the victim falls, a laugh is heard and a voice says "knockout".

The elderly man by then may or may not have been aware that the young man who brutally assailed him had fled the scene, in a vehicle. He was left lying on the ground. In the attack the man lost three teeth. He required surgery to repair his jaw, broken in two places. The 79-year-old man who might never have imagined that he would be the butt of someone's racist amusement was hospitalized for over four days.

And the imbecile who attacked the old man went about shopping his video to what he assumed would be an appreciative audience. Twelve days after the attack, Conrad Barrett showed off his video to a couple he had met at a restaurant. He was trying to impress a man and a woman, with no idea that the man was an off-duty investigator. Did they know about the knockout game, he asked?

After viewing the video, the investigator flagged down a uniformed officer and escorted him to Conrad Barrett. While Barrett's face doesn't appear on the video his voice was matched to the one in the video. The couple informed investigators that Barrett was wearing the same shorts and shoes as the person shooting the video.

Conrad Barrett was arrested on federal hate-crimes charges. Conscience? Forget it!
This booking photo released by the Harris County Sherrif's Office shows Conrad Barrett after he was arrested for DWI in 2003.
This booking photo released by the Harris County Sheriff's Office shows Conrad Barrett after he was arrested for DWI in 2003.  
AP Photo/Harris County Sheriff's Office, via Houston Chronicle

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Recycling Faith's Domicile

"It's something that we're going to take care of. We have a pianist, he's really good ... he really knows how to jazz up our hymns.
"This is still the South; we love the Lord down here. I envisioned a white church, big steeple, the whole thing, and this just fell in our lap.'
Pastor Jerel Keene, Louisiana Church
For the remaining congregants of All Saints Church, said the Rector, “the options were either we take the building down ourselves and put a cairn on the spot, or we find someone who’s going to take the building away entirely.”
Ryan Scranton    For the remaining congregants of All Saints Church, said the Rector, “the options were either we take the building down ourselves and put a cairn on the spot, or we find someone who’s going to take the building away entirely.”
"Folks here were sad to lose the building, but pleased that the building would be rebuilt somewhere else and used as a church. Difficult decisions these."
Rev. Canon Ken Vaughan, rector of Annapolis
ravis and Maggie Charlie
Travis and Maggie Charlie    The church, now little more than a jigsaw puzzle of wooden beams stacked onto the back of a flatbed truck, pulled into Abita Springs, Louisiana only a few hours before Christmas.
 
It's an unprepossessing, but picturesque, typical Canadian Anglican church; white clapboard, steeple, simple in its charm and readily recognizable. Built two hundred years ago, Nova Scotia's All Saints Church has left Canada, and is preparing to be "resurrected" over 3,200 kilometres distant from where it has made its home for the past two centuries, in Louisiana.

Mind, it hardly resembles a church at the present time. Sitting on a flatbed truck, disassembled, a wooden jigsaw waiting to be reassembled and presented to the waiting parishioners at Abita Springs, Louisiana. It was their Christmas gift to one another, and that's when it arrived; Christmas Day. Now, far from the freezing wet winds that battered it for 200 years, it will bask in the balmy warmth of the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
Travis and Maggie Charlie
Travis and Maggie Charlie  Wooden beams sent from the All Saints Church in Nova Scotia.
 
The music that blessed its interior, wafting out on waves of hymnal sound to the near surrounds will be far, far different, as well, come the near future. For once the building is erected, new siding and plaster adorning its exterior, the 78-member Southern Baptist congregation anticipates the rollicking music and singing more representative of their version of Christianity to rock forth; no more Anglican hymns; gospel will be the order of the day.

As All Saints Church, located rurally in the community of Granville Centre, it was one of seven Anglican churches to be closed, reflecting the unfortunate plummeting rural population and numbers of dedicated churchgoers. Others were sold off, transformed into private dwellings, another demolished, some burned to the ground as tragedies waiting to happen.

The Catholic Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia had addressed the sad reality of having to close over a dozen historical rural churches, a reflection of the reality of "fewer priests and less bums in pews". It's not just the Anglican church, but Presbyterian and Catholic churches in the Maritimes that have seen a reduction in use and consequently need.

And it just happened that in the Bayou State church attendance is going the other way; among the highest in the United States, they needed a building to accommodate larger numbers of church goers. Pastor Keene began searching for a period-style building with "lots of character". He searched along the Mississippi Delta, but it was online where he saw the All Saints Church listed by TimberhArt Woodworks, a Nova Scotia wood contractor specializing in selling off reclaimed timber framed East Coast churches.

Pastor Keene felt motivated to fly to Granville Centre for an on-site inspection, and there he came across a "beautiful, beautiful building.  To me, it just seemed to all fit ... I just thought it was awesome -- still do." Its cornerstone date was 1814.

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Icebreaker trying to reach ship stranded in Antarctic forced to turn back

Above: A ship that has been trapped in thick Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve was nearing rescue on Friday, as a Chinese icebreaker drew close to the icebound vessel.

SYDNEY, Australia – A Chinese icebreaker that was en route to rescue a ship trapped in Antarctic ice was forced to turn back on Saturday after being unable to push its way through the heavy sea ice.
The Snow Dragon icebreaker came within 11 kilometres of the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck since Christmas Eve, but had to retreat after the ice became too thick, said expedition spokesman Alvin Stone.

The Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been on a research expedition to Antarctica, got stuck Tuesday after a blizzard’s whipping winds pushed the sea ice around the ship, freezing it in place. The ship wasn’t in danger of sinking, and there are weeks’ worth of supplies for the 74 scientists, tourists and crew on board, but the vessel cannot move.

 In this image provided by Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography, Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy is trapped in thick Antarctic ice, 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013.(AP Photo/Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography, Andrew Peacock)
In this image provided by Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography, Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy is trapped in thick Antarctic ice, 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013.(AP Photo/Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography, Andrew Peacock)

Three icebreakers, including the Snow Dragon, have been trying to reach the ship since Wednesday. France’s L’Astrolabe made it to the edge of the sea ice surrounding the ship on Saturday, but called off its mission after it, too, failed to break through, said Lisa Martin, spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is co-ordinating the rescue.

The third icebreaker, Australia’s Aurora Australis, has the best chance of cutting through the ice, and is expected to arrive on Sunday, Martin said. The Snow Dragon will remain in the area in case its help is needed.

“I think we’re probably looking at another 24 hours of twiddling our fingers and waiting for something to happen,” said Stone, the expedition spokesman.

The scientific team on board the research ship – which left New Zealand on Nov. 28 – had been recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson’s century-old voyage to Antarctica when it became trapped. They plan to continue their expedition after they are freed, expedition leader Chris Turney said.

Passengers and crew initially had to contend with blizzard conditions, including winds up to 70 kilometres per hour (40 miles per hour), but the weather has calmed considerably since then, Turney said.

Despite the interruption to the expedition, the scientists have continued their research while stuck, counting birds in the area and drilling through the ice surrounding the ship to photograph sea life. Those on board also managed to celebrate the holiday with a traditional Christmas feast and a “Secret Santa” gift exchange, which helped keep everyone’s spirits high, Turney said.

© The Canadian Press, 2013

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Friday, December 27, 2013

New analysis of ocean currents may solve eel mystery

eels Eels have been declining across Europe for several decades
A new analysis of wind-driven Atlantic currents may help scientists solve a mysterious decline in eel numbers. 

These secretive creatures are born in the Sargasso sea but migrate to Europe where they spend most of their lives.

But unexplained fluctuations in the numbers of those traversing the ocean have thwarted efforts to save the species.

Now researchers believe they have built a computer model that will accurately predict the level of migration.

The research is published in the journal, Current Biology.

Smoke, fried or boiled, eels remain a popular dish in many parts of Europe, particularly at Christmas.
Newspaper reports in the UK have indicated an upsurge in their consumption due to the recession as the fish are cheap and nutritious.

But numbers of European eels have declined rapidly in recent decades and scientists have struggled to explain the reasons behind the drop.

Complicating matters is the creature's complex life cycle. They are born in the Sargasso sea, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

elvers Young eels take two years to travel across the Atlantic to freshwater habitats in Europe
 
The young, called elvers, are sometimes known as glass eels, as you can literally see through them.
Carried by the Gulf stream, they end up in European rivers where they can spend 20 years before embarking on the return voyage to spawn.

A team of scientists has now managed to simulate these journeys on a mass scale, using a computer model that followed 8 million tiny drifting particles that represented the eel larvae. This model simulation covered the years between 1960 and 2005.

The researchers found that small scale, wind-driven ocean currents strongly determined fluctuations in eel populations in Europe.

The numbers were big when favourable currents made for a short trip. But when the currents changed and the journeys were much longer, fewer elvers survived.

"There is a clear link," Dr Christophe Eizaguirre from Queen Mary, University of London told BBC News.

"If the weather changes then there is a clear risk for the eel population."

jellied eels Jellied eels have long been a favourite in the East End of London
 
The destruction of river habitats and infections with a parasite have also impacted the eel numbers. But researchers believe that, if they can't figure out the scale of returning young, they won't be able to save this endangered species.

"Between the moment the eels are born and when they arrive on the European coast takes two years," said Dr Eizaguirre.

"So we can look at the currents and predict the number successfully arriving on the European coast so we have time to adjust management programmes."

This would mean that, if numbers were low, eel fishing quotas could be lowered until stocks recovered.
Homeward bound
How conservationists in the UK are trying to help European eels swim upstream

By combining their modelling with genetic analysis, the researchers now believe that each eel returns to the spot where it was born - similar to turtles and salmon.

"This is a new finding," said Dr Miguel Baltazar-Soares, from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research and the lead author of the study.

"So far it was assumed that the mating in the Atlantic takes place completely independently of the area of origin. Future scientific expeditions will have to verify this result in situ."

The scientists say that the first draft of the eel's genome, which will be available in the coming months, might shed new light on just how these slippery creatures manage to navigate the ocean so accurately.

"Is it the Earth's geomagnetic field as some believe?" posed Dr Eizaguirre.

"Or do they have large numbers of olfactory genes like turtles, and somehow find the smell of home?"

"It is the one million dollar question," he said.

Follow Matt on Twitter @mattmcgrathbbc.

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China icebreaker fails to reach stuck Antarctic ship

BBC News online -- 27 December 2013
Chris Fogwill Chris Fogwill and the team are retracing the steps of Douglas Mawson a century ago
A scientific mission ship, trapped in dense pack ice off East Antarctica, is still awaiting rescue after a Chinese icebreaker failed to reach it.

The Snow Dragon icebreaker was itself stalled by heavy ice, officials say.

It had been trying to cut a path through the ice in order to help the research vessel reach open water.
The Russian Academic Shokalskiy, which has been trapped since Christmas Day, has 74 on board and is being used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

They are following the route explorer Douglas Mawson travelled a century ago.

One of the leaders of the expedition, Chris Turney, earlier tweeted an image of the Snow Dragon icebreaker - also known as the Xue Long - on the horizon as it approached the research ship.
But the Chinese vessel encountered heavy ice and could not continue, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said on Twitter.

It said another boat, Australia's Aurora Australis, was still travelling to the area.
"Our rescue boat, the Xue Long, has had to turn back because the ice was too thick for it to get through. We're now awaiting Aurora Australis," said Alok Jha, a journalist on board the Shokalskiy.

This handout image released by the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales and taken by Andrew Peacock of www.footloosefotography.com on December 27, 2013 shows the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica The Shokalskiy was trapped by thick sheets of ice driven by high winds
 
He said a French vessel, L'Astrolabe, had not been strong enough to break through the ice.

The research ship Shokalskiy was trapped by thick sheets of ice that were driven by strong winds about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart - the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania.
There had also been fears that blizzards could hamper the rescue effort.

The Shokalskiy is well stocked with food and is in no danger, according to the team.
Although trapped for the moment, the scientists are continuing their experiments. They have been measuring temperature and salinity through cracks in the surrounding ice.

Science volunteer Sean Borkovic told the BBC: "I'll always remember this, that's for sure. It's brilliant. We've got some lovely light and the weather's pretty mild considering. The ship looks solid. I think we'll be good."

A visit from Secret Santa and a sumptuous Christmas dinner contributed to the mood of optimism.
The goal of the modern day Australasian Antarctic Expedition is to repeat many of the original measurements and studies of the Mawson expedition to see how facets of the environment have changed over the past century.

More on This Story

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China icebreaker close to trapped Antarctic ship

BBC News online -- 27 December 2013
Professor Chris Turney: "Spirits are very high" on board the Academic Shokalskiy
A scientific mission ship, trapped in dense pack ice off East Antarctica since Christmas Day, is close to being rescued as a Chinese icebreaker nears.

The crew can see the Snow Dragon icebreaker, which will try to cut a path through the ice allowing the research vessel to reach open water.

The Russian Academic Shokalskiy ship has 74 on board and is being used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

They are following the route explorer Douglas Mawson travelled a century ago.
One of the leaders of the expedition, Chris Turney, tweeted an image of the Snow Dragon icebreaker on the horizon as it approached the ship.

He described to the BBC how it was opening up a channel in order to help the stranded vessel get out of the ice.

"It looks like it's doing well at the moment which is great news. It's basically like lancing a wound. So, it's trying to get in, opening up a channel for us to get out.

"If that's not enough it will probably go into the second mode which will be effectively going around in the shape of a doughnut to relieve that pressure and hopefully that will give us enough give in the ice to break free and follow it back out," he said.

The Chinese icebreaker - twice the length of the Shokalskiy - may ask for assistance from two other boats, the French vessel L'Astrolabe and Australia's Aurora Australis.

The research ship was trapped by thick sheets of ice that were driven by strong winds about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart - the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania.
There had also been fears that blizzards could hamper the rescue effort.
Chris Fogwill Chris Fogwill and the team are retracing the steps of Douglas Mawson a century ago
 
The Shokalskiy is well stocked with food and is in no danger, according to the team.
Although trapped for the moment, the scientists are continuing their experiments. They have been measuring temperature and salinity through cracks in the surrounding ice.

Science volunteer Sean Borkovic told the BBC: "I'll always remember this, that's for sure. It's brilliant. We've got some lovely light and the weather's pretty mild considering. The ship looks solid. I think we'll be good."

A visit from Secret Santa and a sumptuous Christmas dinner cranked up the celebratory mood.
The goal of the modern day Australasian Antarctic Expedition is to repeat many of the original measurements and studies of the Mawson expedition to see how facets of the environment have changed over the past century.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

We Are Canadian, Hear us, Eh!

"We need the best data we can get to understand how immigrants are adapting, and to assess whether the policies we have in place are the right ones -- both for the country that's accepting people and for the newcomers who are arriving."
Kevin McQuillan University of Calgary, professor of sociology
rcinet.canada

"The devil is in the details but if you're a big-picture person, you can wipe the sweat off the brow. On both the national and provincial scale, I think (the NHS) caught the broader trends.
"[The figures are] relevant to the types of debates we're having in Canada right now about the place of religion" [in public life and criteria for voluntary as opposed to mandatory questions]. We need to justify why some things are considered private while others are not. There needs to be a genuine national discussion about it, and we need to do it reasonably soon."
Jack Jedwab, executive vice-president, Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration

Those interested in statistics have now been gifted with a few facts about Canada and its population they might have only guessed at before the publication of results from the National Household Survey. This survey took the place of the Statistics Canada mandatory long-form census that was abolished by government decree for a purportedly less-intrusive type of census questionnaire, equally lengthy and detailed, but voluntary in nature.

It was feared that making the census voluntary would result in few responses, and that answers would not be as forthcoming. The chief statistician for Statistics Canada resigned in protest over the turmoil that resulted from the abolishing of the long-form census. And university departments, private industry, news gatherers were all dismayed at the expectation that the once-reliable statistics gleaned from the long-form census would never be accurate through its replacement.

And government itself, concerned about the adaptability and streamlining into the Canadian way of life, and acceptance of Canadian values and laws will have some answers through the distilled responses. Canada has the highest proportion of foreign-born citizens of its collegial-member G8 countries.  An amazing 20.6% of Canadians were born elsewhere than in Canada, migrating to the country by choice or necessity.

And though there were stern denunciations of the cancellation of the long-form census with its replacement by a strictly voluntary questionnaire (one in seven households received the long-form census, while the short-form was sent out to the balance of households) responses were received from 2.65-million households to provide Statistics Canada with a fairly accurate look at the details of Canadian life and lifestyles.

We know now that fully one-fifth of the current population was born elsewhere than in Canada. And of that number 1,162,900 arrived in the country between 2006 and 2011, the last year which the numbers reflect. The gathered statistics also tell us that there are 7.9-million Canadians who profess no religious faith, a steep rise from the decade before. Of the largest faith in the country, 22,102,700 Canadians identified with Christianity; a notable decline of 10% since 2001.

 Median family income for families of two or more in 2010 was $76,600; while the median for single Canadians living on their own was $28,200; quite the gap.  This is the first Canadian census ever undertaken that resulted in the knowledge that more working-age females than males had achieved post-secondary qualifications; 64.8% as opposed to 63.4%. Women now account for almost six in ten adults age 25 to 34 with university degrees.

The much-scorned "one percenters", those in the high income brackets with earnings of $191,00 on average, close to seven times the national median, will remain detested by those hugely greater numbers considered the working poor. 

http://nicknoorani.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Passages-to-Canada-1024x770.jpg
The Canadian Immigrant magazine



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A Fearful Rendezvous For Mars Express

Mars ornament
That actually would make a pretty awesome ornament.
Photo of tree by Tracy Ducasse; Mars by NASA / ESA / Hubble
Ten years ago this Christmas — Dec. 25, 2003 — the European Space Agency probe Mars Express took up orbit around the red planet. For the past decade it’s been sending back scads of information about Mars and its moons. I’ve written about it many times (see Related Posts below), and the mosaic of the Martian South Pole made using Mars Express images was one of my picks for Best Astronomy Photos of 2013.

Phil Plait Phil Plait
Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies! Follow him on Twitter.


On Dec. 29, the probe will make a pretty gutsy move: It will pass just 45 kilometers (27 miles) above the surface of Phobos*, the bigger of the two moons of Mars. Given that Phobos is only about 22 km across, and Mars Express will be zipping along at several kilometers per second you can see why this is a pretty bold move. It’s passed by Phobos before, but never this close.

It won’t take any pictures, but will relay data about its precise trajectory as it passes Phobos. The gravity of the tiny moon will cause the probe to deviate a bit in its path, and from that the mass of Phobos can be accurately found. Currently, we don’t know the mass exactly, but it appears as if the moon has a very low density, indicating it may be a loosely-collected rubble pile, like a giant bag of rocks in space. That can happen if an asteroid or moon suffers repeated low-speed collisions with other space rocks. It shatters in place, like a car windshield when a decent-sized piece of debris hits it.
I’ll write about that once the data are in, analyzed, and reported. In the meantime, here is an extremely cool high-def video of Phobos created using images from Mars Express. This’ll give you a really good look at this weird little moon:

You can see the very odd collection of linear chains of craters across it; these grooves are not well-understood. It’s been theorized they are formed from impacts slamming the moon and creating seismic waves, or that they may have been from chains of debris blasted out from Mars when the planet suffered a major impact. Both of these ideas have big problems with them, and it’s really not at all clear what the heck formed these bizarre features.

Even though Mars and its moons are relatively close by to Earth, there’s a whole lot more we have to learn about them. There are mysteries a-plenty to investigate, and it’s worth our time to look into them. Knowledge is worth it for its own sake, in my not-so-humble opinion, but also it’s simply true that the more we know about the Universe around us, the better we understand our own home world and our place in it.

* “Phobos” means “fear”, hence the post title, but it’s also apropos.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Santa Claus is Coming to the Solar System

The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 25 2013 8:00 AM

Santa Clausteroid

It’s Christmas morning, so by now you’ve probably heard someone in your family telling you that the Yule log, Christmas tree, festive lights, and half a dozen other holiday traditions aren’t actually Christian in origin, but were absorbed by the religion from a bunch of different cultures.

That’s fine; most traditions we celebrate today have evolved one way or another over the centuries. But I learned a new one this week that really surprised me. It’s about Santa, and it’s amazing: Santa is not a jolly old elf with a white beard and red suit. He’s actually a 35-kilometer wide asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter!

And I have proof:
asteroid Santa
Asteroids sleigh me.
Photo by NASA / WISE / Amy Mainzer
That’s an image from NASA’s WISE spacecraft, which observes in the infrared. You can see stars and galaxies as blue (actually, light at about 3 microns, roughly five times the wavelength the human eye can see), and on the left a series of red dots. That’s Santa! Actually, 1288 Santa (1933 QM), the asteroid’s official name. The picture was posted yesterday by my friend Amy Mainzer, who is the Principal Investigator of NEOWISE — that’s the name of the mission now that it’s been rededicated to hunt for near-Earth objects.

Santa is no threat to us, though; it orbits the Sun at a distance of about 435 million kilometers (270 million miles), far, far from Earth. The picture is actually a composite of several exposures, and Santa moves a bit between each as it orbits the Sun, which is why it looks like a series of dots. But why does it look red?

Phil Plait Phil Plait
Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies! Follow him on Twitter.


Actually, in visible light Santa is darker than a lump of coal! Many asteroids only reflect about 3-5 percent of the sunlight that hits them, about the same amount as coal. But that means it absorbs a lot of sunlight, warming it — if a temperature of about -90° C (-130° F), way colder than even the North Pole, can be considered “warm” — and at that temperature it glows in the infrared, at a wavelength of about 20 microns where WISE can see it. Traditionally, that color is designated red in WISE pictures, which is why Santa looks the way it does in the image.

Unless, of course, that’s actually a red suit. Or, as Amy noted to me, it’s Rudolph’s nose!
Either way, and whatever your beliefs or lack thereof, I hope you have a good holiday. May you have clear skies and boundless wonder for the Universe.

Tip o’ the white puffball-tipped red tuque to Amy, who spent time on the day before Christmas chatting with me about this. Oh, and note: She found a total of 11 asteroids in the picture. One more and I could’ve titled this post “The Twelve Asteroids of Christmas”. But honestly, I hoped she’d only find two more besides Santa. Then it would’ve been “Three WISE Asteroids”.

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Acid Reflex, GERD in Dogs, Cats - Natural Remedies, Causes, Symptoms



Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Acid Reflex, GERD in Dogs, Cats - Natural Remedies, Causes, Symptoms



In this article…
  1. What is Acid Reflux - GERD
  2. Who is at Risk of Acquiring GERD
  3. Causes of Acid Reflux – GERD
  4. Other Conditions That May Mimic the Symptoms of GERD
  5. Symptoms of GERD
  6. Strategy for Natural Treatment and Remedy
1.0 What is Acid Reflux - GERD
Acid Reflux in dogs is called Gastroesophageal reflux – GERD for short. GERD occurs when the sphincter muscle of the lower esophagus is damaged or weakened. The malfunctioning valve of the esophagus allows an uncontrollable reverse flow of gastric or intestinal fluids - bile salts, stomach acid and other GI juices to pass into the muscular tube that connects and passes food from the throat (pharynx) to the stomach. The lining of the esophagus is not designed to tolerate the strong stomach acids. As a result the lining of the esophagus can become irritated and further damaged.
GERD can result in a mild or more severe condition:
  • Mild esophagitis is a mild inflammation of the esophageal lining;
  • Severe esophagitis causes damage to the deeper layers of the esophagus.
2.0 Who is at Risk of Acquiring GERD
  • Dogs and cats of all ages;
  • Dogs and cats with a genetic pre-disposition to acquiring GERDS – this includes Brachycephalic breeds (short nose, flat face breeds) that are most susceptible to GERD;
    • For example:
      • Bully breeds such as the –
      • American Bulldog;
      • American Pit Bull and Staffordshire Terrier;
      • Boston Terrier;
      • Boxer;
      • Cane Corso;
      • Presa Canario;
      • Pug;
      • etc.
  • Other dog breeds such as -
    • American Cocker Spaniel,
    • Lhasa Apso
    • Shis Tzu
  • Feline breeds such as –
    • Himalayan Cats;
    • Persian Cats;
    • etc.
  • Dogs and cats that may be subject to any of the conditions listed under ‘Causes’ of Acid Reflux - GERD’ as provided just below…
3.0 Causes of Acid Reflux - GERD
  • Consumption of a meal (or a daily diet) that is very high in fat;
  • Consumption of too much food when the stomach is already full;
  •  Foreign matter in the esophagus;
  • Genetic predisposition – brachycephalic breeds as noted in section 2.0 above;
  • Hiatal hernia in the upper portion of the stomach – dogs with genetic pre-disposition for condition;
  • Megaesphagus – a condition caused by improper functioning of esophagus muscles;
  • Result of surgery:
  • Side effect or adverse reaction to a veterinarian prescribed antibiotic or other drug;
  • From improper fasting prior to surgery and/or;
  • Improper positioning of the dog or cat during surgery;
  • Placement of the breathing tube (used to provide anesthesia) and oxygen during surgery.
4.0 Other Conditions That May Mimic the
      Symptoms of GERD
  • Abscess;
  • Cancer of the throat or mouth;
  • Hiatal hernia;
  • Ingestion of toxins;
  • Tumor in the esophagus.
  • Megaesophagus – a condition where the muscles of the esophagus fail to push the food into the stomach.
5.0 Symptoms of GERD
  • Appetite loss;
  • Burping;
  • Chronic vomiting;
  • Excessive salivation or drooling (in the case of severe esopagitis);
  • Gagging after eating;
  • Inactive after eating;
  • Inflammation of the espophagus;
  • Fever (in the case of severe esophagitis);
  • Regurgitation of food;
  • Pacing;
  • Pain while swallowing – dog or cat may whine, cry, howl, etc.;
  • Weight loss.
6.0 Strategy for Natural Treatment and 
      Remedy
  1. Reduce factors that promote bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid;
  2. Replace enzymes, nutrients and stomach acid that are essential for digestion and enable health;
  3. Restore beneficial bacteria and healthy mucosal lining in the gut.
Step One
  • With hold (fast) the dog for a day or two – this provides the esophagus with a chance to relax and heal a little;
  • After fasting change the feeding schedule...
Step Two
  • No more large meals, (i.e. 1 or 2 meals per day) instead do;
  • Frequent small meals throughout the day – i.e. 4 to 6 small meals/day, and;
  • Don’t add water to the food in the bowl as this can make acid reflux worse.
Step Three
Avoid Exacerbating GERD with the Wrong Dietary Choices...
  • While treating GERD eliminate all of the following from food and treats -
    • All grains – refined cereal grain, whole grains and grain by-products;
    • Legumes;
    • Refined sugars;
    • Starchy vegetables;
    • High fat poor source meat and fats;
    • Commercial off the shelf and veterinarian prescribed  and dry dog and cat food and treats contain many ingredients (and hidden ingredients) that can exacerbate GERDS.
Consider Changing to a Diet with Ingredients You Control...
  • You can use this homemade grain-free recipe;
    • Include the following -
      • Lean ground meat from organic pasture fed animals;
      • Squash, pumpkin, turnip or rutabaga instead of sweet potatoes or legumes;
      • Low fat cottage cheese and low fat kefir from organic pasture fed animals;
      • The recipe includes many herbs that help in the treatment of GERD.
Step Four
Add some nutraceuticals and herbs that help stop GERD by supporting good digestive health –
Probiotics to support health of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • Add kefir to the daily diet this article explains how to choose a good quality kefir product for your dog or cat;
  • If you don't want to use kefir you can use fresh sauerkraut (fresh sauerkraut can be found in the refrigerated section of a grocery store or speciality food store or you can make it yourself – don’t use wine sauerkraut or the unrefrigerated type of sauerkraut);
    • If you want to make your own sauerkraut you can use this recipe;
  • If you don't want to use a probiotic food then purchase a good probiotic supplement;
    • Most probiotic supplements are not worth buying - make sure you really know how to select a good product - read here.
Bone Broth for protection and healing of the GI tract
  • Make a bone broth soup;
    • Bone broth contains glutamine – a metabolic fuel used by intestinal cells which helps the lining of the gut;
  • You can offer the bone broth as a mini-meal once a day;
  • You can use this homemade bone broth recipe.
Aid Digestion with Herbs
Prior to using any herbs make sure that you check each herb’s drug interactions if your dog is on any conventional medicines, and cautions if your dog has any additional medical conditions.
One 
 
  • Add two to three of the following bitter herbs (use either dry herb or tincture form with no alcohol) to each meal;
  • Bitter herbs stimulate stomach acid production which helps with the proper digestion of food;
    •  Add two to three of the following bitter herbs (use either dry herb or tincture form with no alcohol) to each meal;
      • Use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of each herb if using dry herb or powder
        (of the two or three herbs that you select from the list below);
      • Add 1 to 2 drops of each herbal tincture (of the two or three herbs that you select from the list below);
You can also add a papain or bromelain based digestive supplement to your dog or cat’s food or use fresh minced Papaya – you can read about that here.
Two
 
Add fresh garlic to food once a day – make sure you read this article on garlic to understand best preparation methods, daily dosage, cautions, drug interactions.
Three
Mix the following together and add to each meal…
 
 

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For related and additional articles on dog and cat: behaviour; care; communication and psychology; health; training; nutrition, and animal advocacy go to the index page of my blog site.

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