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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:03 am 
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Cancer claims Darryl Cotton

Band manager Jeff Joseph had just told an Adelaide scout he wouldn't be looking at any more local bands when he was captivated by a blond-haired singer.

It was 1967 and the singer was Zoot frontman Darryl Cotton, who at 18 already had the glint of a future star.

That spark was the beginning of a career spanning music, television and theatre that lasted until May when Cotton discovered he had liver cancer.

He died yesterday morning, aged 62.

Mr Joseph recalled yesterday the start of Cotton's career and their life-long friendship.

''There was a certain amount of rawness but there was potential,'' Mr Joseph said.

''A whole pop evolution was evolving from this group.

''He was in the true sense of the word a pop star.''

It didn't take long for the band to make its mark with hits like It's About Time.

Zoot split in 1971 but its members continued to influence music locally and overseas.

Guitarist Rick Springfield wrote the smash hit Jessie's Girl, bass player Beeb Birtles founded The Little River Band and lead singer Cotton found success as a solo singer, songwriter and an actor.

Cotton continued to tour Australia with group Cotton, Keays and Morris until his diagnosis.

Springfield said Cotton was the lead singer of the best band he was ever in.

''We were bandmates in our early 20s and good friends in our early 60s,'' he wrote on Facebook.

''He now knows what we all want to know. Bless your great spirit my friend. Keep a spot in the band for me up there.''

Jim Keays, from Cotton, Keays and Morris, said his friend was youthful and charitable and he was shocked by the speed of his illness and death.

''He was just normal and healthy and one of us, and all of a sudden he's on death's door, it's just something you don't think is going to happen,'' Keays told ABC radio, describing his friend as a non-drinker and non-smoker who lived a frugal lifestyle.

Mr Joseph said Cotton, who regularly visited hospitals as part of his charity work, was loved by all.

''The most important thing would be that Darryl was universally loved. Not liked but loved,'' he said.

After Zoot broke up Cotton moved to the US where he toured with Olivia Newton-John but returned to Australia in 1978.

His song Same Old Girl was a top 10 hit in 1980.

Despite the fame he achieved as a musician and later television star, Mr Joseph said Cotton remained at heart a family man - with wife Cheryl and children Amy and Tim - and a homebody.

His family was at his side when he died.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nationa ... z21r5F5Cig


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:49 am 
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Cancer survivor Nasimiyu stars for Team Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 28- Kenya took her pride of place at the 30th Olympiad when Commonwealth Games champion swimmer, Jason Dunford, majestically bore the flag to the imposing London Olympics Stadium during the team’s march past.

It was a crowning moment for the 25-year-old who is bidding to be the first from his nation to fish a medal from the Aquatic Centre when he dives in for the start of 100m Butterfly heats on Tuesday afternoon.

Besides him dressed in all-white was young cancer survivor, Rose Nasimiyu, 10, who captivated the nation in stunning fashion when she took to the public to bravely express her plight last year, making her an adored celebrity as well as a brave face in the fight against the scourge.

Now residing in the UK following a massive fund raising effort to ensure she continued being a symbol of hope, her lining up alongside the small contingent of the 55-strong competing squad and a number of officials as Team Kenya paraded past was a fitting sub-plot to the spectacular ceremony that dazzled in its magnificence.

Among the heads of state and government watching the Danny Boyle directed spectacular that stretched every imagination in its brilliance was President Mwai Kibaki, who was gracing the Games for his first time. He was among those moved to tears by Nasimiyu’s story when the cancer heroine gained audience with him.

Back at home, selected invitees were treated to the Move to the Beat Kenyan Olympic anthem sponsored by Coca-Cola at a Nairobi hotel where they later on got the chance to sit back and marvel at the opening ceremony that cost a princely Sh3.618 billion (27m pounds), a figure enough to buy approximately 180.9 million 300ml bottles of the product locally!

Country Manager, Rocky Findley said they organized the experience to reinforce their commitment to the sporting spirit in the country besides motivating Kenyans to watch the country embark on conquering the world.

“Olympics is a big event for Kenya through the medal haul we achieve in the end hence the need to be part of it and bring alive the excitement,” he added in between servings of musical performances at the glitzy affair held at a Nairobi hotel.

Two upcoming artists, Juliet Karanja (aka Sign) and Collins Okoth (aka Colla Boy) were joined by rapper/producer Madtraxx on stage to the delight of the crowd to perform the anthem released after nearly two months of searching, auditioning and production courtesy of the company.

The manager announced that besides the Sh5m contribution they made to the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, they will host a luncheon for the athletes on their return after completion of the games in August.

Fans at the function expressed their confidence in the class of 2012 who will embark on surpassing the Beijing Olympics medal tally of six gold, four silver and four bronze at the London showpiece.

All but six of the remaining members of Team Kenya will depart on Monday, including captains world record holder David Rudisha and Olympic gold medallist Pamela Jelimo who Dunford stood brief for during the opening ceremony.

Men marathoners, Wilson Kipsang, Abel Kirui and Emmanuel Mutai in addition to the 5000m men line-up of Isaiah Kiplangat Koech, Edwin Soi and Thomas Longosiwa will join their teammates on August 7.

Flyweight boxer, Benson Mucharu will be the first of the red, green and black exponents to showcase talent at London 2012 when the round of 32 action gets underway on Monday. He won Commonwealth Games

The gold rush can now begin!

http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/sports/2012/ ... eam-kenya/


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:32 am 
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Pearson tells of his struggle with cancer

THE charismatic and outspoken indigenous leader Noel Pearson has fallen quiet over the past six months as he has undergone chemotherapy for lymphoma, it has been revealed.

Although the cancer is in remission, Mr Pearson has had a horrific six months, according to the latest issue of The Monthly. The magazine's editor, John van Tiggelen, interviewed Mr Pearson before a visit to his Cape York homeland by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott.

Mr Pearson, who has a young family, has admitted to having bleak thoughts in recent months.

''I'm 47 this year, going on 67. The average life expectancy of males at my end of the country is 49. When I look at my class picture at Hope Vale State School, there are a lot of friends missing,'' he said.

He also despaired after falling out with the editor of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, who until February ran his column regularly, and then with the News Ltd journalist Tony Koch, with whom he had a long association. The discord began when the newspaper started pursuing alleged funding improprieties at the indigenous Djarragun College near Cairns, which Mr Pearson has backed, The Monthly says.

''I can't tell you how close that came to defeating me. I was drugged out as hell [from chemo] and not seeing clearly. I thought my time was up,'' Mr Pearson told Mr van Tiggelen.

As a conservative-leaning lawyer known for oratory, Mr Pearson has championed projects designed to shift indigenous people off welfare and make parents act more responsibly. In the past, his style has been one of blistering attack rather than tactical retreat.

Lymphomas are the most common form of blood cancer, the Cancer Council of Australia says.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/pearson- ... z22VtDNE52


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:17 am 
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Popular 12-year-old makeup guru with cancer mulls difficult choice on treatment

(CBS News) On Aug. 7, YouTube makeup guru Talia Joy Castellano, a 12-year-old with a neuroblastoma cancer, shared with her viewers terrible news: She had developed a serious blood disorder that may lead to leukemia, and she was deciding between continuing treatment or living out the rest of her days.

"Everyone asks me if I'm scared. I'm definitely scared," she admitted in her video.

The pre-teen, who proudly says she'll be 13 soon, has posted 150 videos of herself giving makeup tutorials to show that people with cancer can still be beautiful. Claiming that makeup is just like a "wig" for her to feel comfortable, her videos have done more than show how to apply rouge and primer. They have inspired many, showing that bravery through illness can be the most courageous and beautiful thing to do.

According to Castellano, she's battling neuroblastoma, a malignant cancer that develops from nerve tissue and affects 1 out of 100,000 children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and preleukemia, which is now known as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). MDS is a condition where stem cells in bone marrow do not mature into healthy blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health. Past treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy can increase the risk of developing the disease, and it can develop into acute myelogenous leukemia, a fast-growing and sever cancer, according to the National Marrow Donor Program. Recently, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts announced that she had been diagnosed with the disease, after beating breast cancer five years earlier, bringing it into the spotlight.

Castellano told viewers that there were not that many treatments that could target both conditions, and if she keeps using the low dose chemotherapy that she's on, she can live between four months to a year. However, she does have the option of undergoing a risky bone marrow transplant. Seeing that she's had so many surgeries already, she's leaning towards not doing any drastic measures.

"I know it's a lot to take in, where I'm leaning to is not doing it because I really just don't want to go through with it because the chances of surviving are fewer than surviving so, yeah, and if we even find a match for my bone marrow if my body rejects it, then I'm screwed. Then I went through all that crap for nothing and then, I, yeah..," she explained, shrugging.

Still upbeat, the young girl said that she would continue her makeup tutorials while she felt up to it. Viewers have flooded her comments section with words of support, remaking that it is incomprehensible that a 12-year-old would have to make such life and death decisions.

"The journey of having cancer was amazing," Castellano said. "But every journey has an end. I hope you guys understand what I'm saying, and understand where I'm coming from."

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162- ... treatment/


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:13 am 
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David Rakoff, 47, Comic Essayist, Dies

David Rakoff, a prizewinning humorist whose mordant, neurotic essays examined everything from his surreal stint portraying Sigmund Freud in a Christmastime shop window display to his all-too-real battles with cancer, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 47.

His death was announced by his mother, Gina Shochat-Rakoff. Mr. Rakoff’s cancer had first appeared when he was 22 and recently reappeared as a tumor in his left shoulder.

The return of his cancer, and the possibility that his arm and shoulder would have to be amputated, were the subjects of the concluding essay in Mr. Rakoff’s most recent collection, “Half Empty” (2010), a darkly comic paean to negativity.

For his incisive wit and keen eye for the preposterous, Mr. Rakoff (pronounced RACK-off) was often likened to the essayist David Sedaris, a mentor and close friend. Like Mr. Sedaris, he was a frequent contributor to “This American Life,” broadcast on public radio.

Mr. Rakoff’s print essays appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Details, Salon, Slate and elsewhere. They formed the meat of his three published collections, which, besides “Half Empty,” include “Fraud” (2001), in which he chronicled, among other things, his brief appearance on a television soap opera (Mr. Rakoff was also an actor); and “Don’t Get Too Comfortable” (2005), which, as its jacket proclaims, skewers the American demographic beleaguered by “the never-ending quest for artisanal olive oil and other first world problems.”

A self-described gay Jewish Canadian transplant to New York City, Mr. Rakoff was a social anthropologist of postmodern life. His research often entailed firsthand field work, as when, in pursuit of conspicuous consumption, he became a passenger on one of the last flights of the Concorde.

He described the trip in his essay “As It Is in Heaven”: “At 42,000 feet and Mach 1.71 (1,110 m.p.h.), we are given some small canapés. Triple rounds of edible money: filet mignon topped with caviar, smoked salmon, foie gras and a gooseberry.”

(As a cultural counterweight, Mr. Rakoff next flew on Hooters Air, the short-lived airline operated by the Hooters restaurant chain and with a crew that included its pneumatic, scarcely clad hostesses, an experience recounted in the same essay.)

While some critics faulted Mr. Rakoff’s writing as overly aphoristic, many praised his singular style, which combined an amiable dyspepsia with an almost palpable undercurrent of melancholy.

In his essay “Christmas Freud,” Mr. Rakoff tells of volunteering to spend several weeks as Freud in a tableau vivant, part of the 1996 holiday window displays at Barneys New York, the luxury emporium. (He knew the store’s creative director.)

Gawked at by passers-by, the display included little more at first than Mr. Rakoff, a chair and an analyst’s couch. That, he soon determined, would not do.

“I’ve decided to start seeing patients,” he wrote. “I’m simply not man enough to sit exposed in a window doing nothing; it’s too humiliating and too boring.” Manhattan being Manhattan, they came in droves; many spoke to the good doctor about Christmastime anxiety.

One such “patient,” a writer for the British newspaper The Independent, described Mr. Rakoff’s analytical spiel as follows:

“‘Let’s look at the name. Father Christmas,’ ” he says, emphatically. “ ‘It’s obviously an Oedipal fantasy. Santa Claus is supposed to come down a chimney, a simulacrum for a vagina. Then he leaves presents, and children are always anxious about what kind. So it’s really all about parents engaged in sex, an act that necessarily excludes their kids.’ ”

David Benjamin Rakoff was born in Montreal on Nov. 27, 1964, and reared in Toronto. He earned a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies from Columbia in 1986 and afterward worked in Japan as a translator.

His stay in Japan was cut short by a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He moved back to Canada for more than a year of treatment and remained free of cancer for two decades.

Returning to New York, Mr. Rakoff worked as an editor and publicist for various publishers before gathering sufficient nerve to pursue writing in earnest. A letter he wrote to Mr. Sedaris in the early 1990s after hearing him on the radio, and Mr. Sedaris’s subsequent championing of Mr. Rakoff’s work, led to his own radio career, which in turn led to his books.

Mr. Rakoff acted in several stage plays by Mr. Sedaris and his sister Amy. He also wrote the screen adaptation for, and starred in, a 20-minute film, “The New Tenants” — a ghoulish comedy about the worst New York rental experience imaginable — which won the Academy Award for best live-action short film in 2009.

Besides his father, Vivian Rakoff, a psychiatrist, and his mother, a physician, Mr. Rakoff’s is survived by a brother, Simon, a well-known stand-up comic in Canada, and a sister, Ruth Rakoff, whose memoir, “When My World Was Very Small” (2010), recounts her own battle with cancer.

Mr. Rakoff received the Thurber Prize for American Humor for “Half Empty.” “Fraud” and “Don’t Get Too Comfortable” received Lambda Literary Awards, an annual honor for lesbian- and gay-themed books.

When Mr. Rakoff’s cancer returned and he risked amputation, he ruminated on life without his arm and shoulder. It was not so much the physical loss that worried him, he said, but something far larger.

“There are other extrafunctional and noncosmetic realities I have to consider,” Mr. Rakoff wrote in “Another Shoe,” his essay about the tumor. “How does someone without a left arm know he’s having a heart attack, for example?”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/11/books ... at-47.html


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:03 am 
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Robin Gibb refused cancer scans

Robin Gibb refused to have scans that could have detected his cancer to go on tour according to his wife, Dwina.

The Bee Gees singer lost his battle against liver and colon cancer in May, and his wife, Dwina says he went against doctors' advice to have his cancerous cells properly checked.

The cells were initially spotted after the 'How Deep is your Love' singer had an operation to remove an intestinal blockage in October 2010, but he ignored it to continue writing and performing.

Dwina told the Daily Mail newspaper: "He didn't want to stop and I said, 'Please just have the scan.' Despite all his wonderful ways, Robin could be very stubborn and he never liked bad news - he just didn't want to know.

"He went to do a show in New Zealand as they'd just experienced an earthquake.

"Maybe it was very important for him to do that show, but it was still important for him to have his scans."

Robin toured for over two weeks in November 2010 and Dwina says when he finally did have a check up, the cancer had developed to a secondary stage, when the tumour starts to spread to nearby blood vessels.

Since Robin's death many stars and friends have paid tribute, and his brother Barry - the only remaining member of the Bee Gees - has vowed to go on a solo tour in honour of him, his twin brother and band mate Maurice, who passed away in 2003, and younger sibling Andy, who died in 1988.

Barry said: "I will live on the music. And no matter what stage I'm standing on, my three brothers will be standing there with me."

http://www.skynews.com.au/showbiz/artic ... ?id=785252


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:59 am 
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Lewis cancer battle inspires Penrith to finish 2012 season strongly

KEVIN Kingston says Penrith will use Luke Lewis's cancer scare as motivation to finish the season strongly and honour the star back-rower's legacy at the club.
A neck scan last month revealed Lewis had thyroid cancer in his neck. It was removed in two surgeries and the 29-year-old was given the all-clear earlier this week.

Lewis, who will join Cronulla in the off-season, will still need to take medication and has no chance of playing when the Panthers host Gold Coast today, but that hasn't stopped teammates drawing inspiration from his battle.

Kingston, who took over the Panthers captaincy mid-year from Lewis, said the news about Lewis would make the Titans game "even more special".

"He came and spoke to us all during the week and he spoke with passion," Kingston said. "That filters through to the game and we'll definitely be playing for him."

The players have known for a fortnight of Lewis's condition, which Kingston said had helped them come to terms with the news."It definitely rocked us as well," he said. "We've had some time to adjust to it and we've just been ... seeing how he is doing."

The Titans, who enter this match in 10th spot and two points outside the top eight, remain a chance of reaching the finals but would need results to fall their way as well as four points from their final two matches. Kingston believes the Titans have emerged as one of the form teams over the past three months after a rough start.

"They're playing to their potential now," said Kingston, who is just 24 short of making 1000 tackles this season.

"They have a lot of threats there, they have so many attacking weapons across the field. We'll definitely have to be on our toes."

Veteran halfback and captain Scott Prince has been key to the Titans mid-season revival

"You've got to cut his time down and cut his options down," Kingston said. "The way we defend I believe we can do that."

http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/lewis- ... 6457755277


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:49 am 
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Paltrow, Roberts join cancer fight

GWYNETH Paltrow and Julia Roberts are joining A-list celebrities for a telethon to raise money to fight cancer.

Australian Mentalist star Simon Baker, Matt Damon, Samuel L. Jackson and Emma Stone are also among the stars participating in the third Stand Up to Cancer telethon, the organisation announced yesterday.

Paltrow also is an executive producer for the fundraiser that will be carried commercial-free in the US from 8-9pm EDT Sept. 7 on the four major American broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, and more than a dozen cable channels.

Musical performances by Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Alicia Keys and Tim McGraw are planned, and more than 25 movie, TV and sports stars will be on hand to take phone pledges, said executive producer Joel Gallen.

Laura Ziskin, founder of Stand Up to Cancer and producer of its first two telethons in 2008 and 2010, lost her seven-year fight against breast cancer last year. The Spider-Man movie producer was 61.

Ziskin represents "tremendous shoes to fill," Mr Gallen said.

"I can't really replace Laura, but I'm coming from a different point of view, from a respectful point of view, and continuing the mission she was on."

Hope is the theme for this year's telethon, Mr Gallen said. It will include information on how to prevent cancer and on the treatment research funded by Stand Up to Cancer, also known as SU2C.

The experiences of several patients who are part of Stand Up to Cancer trials will be explored in mini-documentaries that show the progress made in just a few years of effort, Mr Gallen said.

The organisation said it has awarded about $US120 million ($115 million) in grant commitments to multidisciplinary research "Dream Teams" and to scientists seeking innovative approaches to end cancer's role as the world's leading cause of death.

Of the $US180 million-plus that has been pledged, some larger donations are being made over a period of several years, a spokeswoman said.

Katie Couric, who joined with Ziskin and other women in the entertainment industry to found Stand Up to Cancer, will appear in the telethon. Others taking part include Jessica Biel, Jeremy Renner, Seth Rogan, Masi Oka and Rashida Jones.

Couric lost her husband to colon cancer, while Paltrow's late father, director Bruce Paltrow, had oral cancer. Some participants, such as Michael Douglas, have fought the disease themselves.

Cable channels carrying the telethon are BIO, Encore, HBO, Showtime, HBO Latino, ION Television, LMN, Logo, MLB Network, mun2, Palladia, Starz, TBS, Smithsonian and VH1.

Stand Up To Cancer, which also receives corporate donations, is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a philanthropic arm of the TV and movie industries.

The American Association for Cancer Research is the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer and conducts scientific oversight of its research projects in conjunction with the SU2C advisory committee.

http://www.news.com.au/news/paltrow-rob ... 6456239993


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:36 am 
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Cancer, cycling and maybe a change of mind about Lance Armstrong

Time stopped for Steve Scott and me.

It was in 1996 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. One of America’s great milers, Scott was making a comeback from treatment for aggressive testicular cancer. As he signed autographs, I mentioned that I’d had testicular cancer a year earlier than his.

We became oblivious to the bystanders around us. Scott asked about my diagnosis and prognosis, and I about his. We discussed our surgeries and therapies. He’d gone with extensive additional surgery, I with radiation. Testicular cancer is a young man’s disease, and both of us were surprisingly old to develop it.

Eventually we parted, giving encouragement to the other.

That was my only encounter with Scott, and I remember it fondly.

In contrast, I held no desire to meet another famous survivor of testicular cancer, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. I consider Armstrong a self-centered cad in the same vein as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and management guru Jack Welch.

The irony is that cycling and my cancer were connected. I’d discovered a lump on my testicle but kept silent for a month because I was committed to crewing for my brother in the Furnace Creek 508.

My brother won that 508-mile, around-the-clock cycling race from Valencia, Calif., through Death Valley to Twentynine Palms. And I survived possibly the greatest challenge of my life: In the dark of night, driving the crew van at 50 mph headlong down a steep, curving mountain pass, mere feet behind my brother’s rear wheel, so the van’s headlights would help illuminate the roadway and prevent him from hurtling into the abyss beyond.

As for the cancer, I was fortunate. It’s a stunning, horrible experience to realize that your body can turn against you — and even want to kill you. But as long as the testicular cancer neither returns nor leads to other diseases, it’s one of the best things that has happened to me. It changed my outlook; it reset my priorities.

My bicycling hero never was Lance Armstrong. It’s Coach John Hughes.

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article ... ck_check=1


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:24 am 
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Soon science could enable us all to run as fast as Usain Bolt

One of the biggest scientific research projects in recent years has just unveiled its results. The Encode consortium, consisting of 442 researchers working in 32 institutes around the world, has spent the last five years studying a representative 1% of our genome. The findings may help to revolutionise medicine, but could also provide us with novel ways of tinkering with our minds and bodies.

One of the puzzles the researchers hoped to solve was why we have so much DNA. We've known for decades that only a tiny fraction of it, about 2%, are codes for conventional genes (protein-coding segments), the supposed movers and shakers of our cells and bodies. Many scientists thought that the remaining 98% was mostly junk, a bit like all the deleted fragments of documents that clog up your hard disk. The researchers found that it was instead packed full of genetic switches that tell each cell in your body which genes must be switched on or off to make a muscle, skin or nerve cell.

The results are likely to have major implications for our understanding of common diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer and even the debilities of old age, such as Alzheimer's disease. These were previously thought to bechiefly caused by defective genes (together with environmental influences, such as smoking), but decades of research have has failed to findenough defects that could account for their prevalence. Today, scientists believe that these diseases are caused not by defective genes, but defective switching: a liver cell may be genetically tripped to stop absorbing blood sugar, thereby causing diabetes; a lung cell may be tripped into generating mutagens that attack its own DNA, causing cancer.

That's potentially good news for sufferers because, although it's hard to fix a faulty gene, it may be much easier to flip a genetic switch and return a diseased cell back to its healthy state. Scientists have already developed novel forms of drugs, based on DNA's molecular cousin, RNA, that act like our own genetic switches to manipulate the control panel of our cells. A few of these gene-switch drugs are already in the market, but the Encode project suggests that thousands more await discovery.

A new era of gene-switch medicine may be on the horizon, but there are many problems that still have to be overcome. The first is getting the RNA-based gene-switch drugs safely inside the target cells and not into others where they might cause adverse side-effects. But even more of a challenge is to accurately predict the effect of flipping a genetic switch. The thousands identified by Encode are unlikely to work like simple light switches; instead, each switch is connected to many others in a vastly complicated gene circuitboard. Flipping one switch will be more like dropping a stone into a pool: the effects will reverberate through the entire network, and the eventual outcome will not be easy to predict. Systems biology, a new science, is simultaneously trying to unravel the circuit boards to make better predictions.

Few doubt that gene switching will provide the medicine of the future, but no one is sure when that future will be realised. When it comes, it will provide opportunities that go well beyond curing disease. Just as the difference between healthy and sick people may be down to gene switching, it seems likely that many of the differences between one person and another – between us and Usain Bolt, for example – may be due, similarly, to different patterns of gene switching. The kind of gene-switch medicines that will cure diseases may then be turned to therapies that will allow us all to run sub-10 second 100 metres. Physiology, mood, intelligence, libido, anxiety, appetite may all be fair game for the gene-switch therapeutics of the future.

Even the signs and frailties of old age may be kept at bay by a careful manipulation of our gene switches to return them to their youthful state. And what about the differences between us and our closest relatives, which many scientists believe are mostly due to differences in gene switching? Could gene-switch therapy be developed that would allow a chimp to talk? Planet of the Apes may not be so far away.

Five years of the Encode project has revealed just 1% of the human gene switches, but the pace of genetics is accelerating so fast that it seems likely that we will know most of them within a decade. That will be far too late to be any threat to Usain Bolt's dominance on the track, but the doping authorities in sport may face significant new challenges in the future.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... sfeed=true


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:19 am 
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Australian author Bryce Courtenay reveals cancer battle

AUTHOR Bryce Courtenay wants to be buried vertically with a tree planted above him when he dies of stomach cancer.

The highly acclaimed writer tonight told Channel Nine's A Current Affair he only had months to live.

He said he had had most of his stomach and part of his intestines removed in a bid to conquer the disease but had come to accept the fact that his days were numbered.

"I would (want) to be buried vertically,'' he said.

"And I want to be buried in a cardboard box. And then they are going to dump this thing vertical in.

"And then they are going to plant a tree on top of it. A beautiful tree's going to grow up.''

Born in South Africa, Courtenay emigrated to Australia where he penned more than 20 works including The Power of One, The Persimmon Tree and Jessica.

The father-of-three became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1995 and has been also honoured with a postage stamp after being named an Australia Post Literary Legend.

Wife Christine said the diagnosis was devastating.

"Bryce is Australia's Dickens,'' she said.

"He's an inspiration. I'm the luckiest girl in the word to be married to him and I know he'll live in our hearts forever.''

Courtenay's fans inundated his Facebook page tonight, paying tribute to the "remarkable storyteller'' after the 79-year-old posted a moving statement.

"It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that Jack of Diamonds, my new book due out in November this year, shall be my last," he wrote.

"It is the usual big, bulky Bryce Courtenay saga, and I do hope you enjoy reading it.

"I have been diagnosed with terminal gastric cancer and am expected to have only some months to share with my adorable wife Christine."

Courtenay said he was keeping busy gardening and writing a collection of short stories.

"May I thank you all for your tremendous loyalty over the past 21 books,'' he wrote. "I feel immense gratitude and am humbled by your support over so many years.

"Our greatest wish is that your lives also continue to blossom. Goodbye and God bless from us both."

http://www.news.com.au/news/australian- ... z25oU15HKb


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:08 am 
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A six-pack of courage: one man's surrender to a terminal disease

I still remember the first day I realised something was wrong. The day when my life's path would be irreversibly altered and I would leave my role as caregiver and doctor and begin my gradual surrender into the role of patient.

There was nothing special about that day, just an average workday within a busy hospital haematology ward, managing patients diagnosed with blood cancers.

I was leading my usual eight o'clock ward round, examining my patients and investigating any issues that had developed during the night. Seeking and managing symptoms or side effects from the chemotherapy I had prescribed.

Little did I know that my attention to detail would set off a chain of events leading to my diagnosis, and ultimately to where I am now.

That day one of my patients was complaining about a "funny feeling" in his left foot, a dysaesthesia we call it. The night-time resident doctor had seen him and had dismissed this new symptom as a somatic manifestation of the patient's extreme anxiety.

It turned out this patient had every right to be scared.

In the morning, I made my own assessment. I worked my way through a neurological examination, testing his peripheral and central nervous systems, looking for signs of pathology. I got him out of bed and asked him to stand on his toes and then on his heels to demonstrate the strength within his lower leg muscles. He was unable to stand on his heels. He had a "foot drop", weakness in the muscles that lift the toes and foot off the ground.

He was horrified, I'm told. The chemotherapy had indeed damaged his nerves and it was obvious for all of us to see. But I missed his reaction. I was transfixed by my own legs. He couldn't stand on his heels and neither could I.

That night my wife Mel and I walked our two dogs, and during the walk I could hear the faint sound of my left foot slapping the ground with each step. It was still there, it wasn't just a pinched nerve, I hadn't just slept funny. We got home and I lay on the bed and I asked my then fiancee, who is also a doctor, to examine my legs. I was 33 and it would turn out that I have motor-neuron disease (MND).

http://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/ ... 58754.aspx


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:54 am 
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Hicks forced to take high drug doses in Guantanamo

GUANTANAMO Bay detainees, including David Hicks, were forced to take high dosages of anti-malaria drug mefloquine despite showing no signs of the disease, a practice likened to ''pharmacological waterboarding'' by a US military doctor.

Questions have been raised about whether the mass administration of the drug to detainees was a secret, illegal experiment after a medical journal article last month by an army doctor, Major Remington Nevin, highlighted the ''inappropriate use'' of the drug and asked if its use had been motivated by the drug's psychotic side effects.

The US Centres for Disease Control issued a warning against the use of mefloquine on anyone suffering psychiatric disturbances or having a previous history of depression. Dr Nevin also warned high doses of the drug could cause brain injuries.

Mr Hicks has long claimed he was drugged against his will. Evidence including previously secret reports and witnesses including a Guantanamo guard and New York lawyer Josh Dratel support Mr Hicks' claims.

Mr Dratel, who has top secret security clearance from the US Department of Justice and has acted for a number of detainees including Mr Hicks, was to give direct evidence of Mr Hicks' drugging against his will for ''non-therapeutic reasons''. In an affidavit prepared for the trial, Mr Dratel revealed US prosecutors admitted Mr Hicks' claims ''guards had forced him to eat a meal which contained a sedative before they read him the charges'' were true. He was told it was done to protect the officers reading the charges from his reactions.

Former Guantanamo guard Brandon Neely also supplied an affidavit for the trial saying detainees were beaten for refusing to take the drugs. He also claimed doctors never told detainees what drugs they were given.

What drugs were administered in some cases may never be known. Many medical records have apparently had names and dosages of drugs removed.

Evidence of forced drug injections at Guantanamo has been revealed in a previously secret US Department of Defence intelligence report into allegations of the use of mind-altering drugs to interrogate detainees.

The report also found ''chemical restraints were used on detainees that posed a threat to themselves'' and detainees being treated with psychoactive drugs that impaired mental functions were interrogated while under the effects of the medication.

Such forced druggings and abuse handed out to Mr Hicks and other detainees in Guantanamo Bay was to be at the heart of his defence against the Australian government's legal action to stop him receiving proceeds of crime by collecting royalties from his book Guantanamo: My Journey.

On July 24, a week before his case was due to go to trial in the New South Wales Supreme Court, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the case, saying it would have been unable to satisfy the court that admissions made by Mr Hicks while in Guantanamo should be relied upon and that Mr Hicks had served evidential material not previously available.

Mr Hicks' lawyer, Steven Glass, said: ''The only thing David has wanted since he was first detained in 2001 was to have the allegations against him determined by a properly constituted court applying the rule of law. The trial … would have been the first time he had that opportunity.''

http://www.theage.com.au/national/hicks ... z26ZPDSxhz


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:25 am 
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Housing Minister Brendan O'Connor reveals his partner is undergoing cancer treatment

MINISTER for Housing Brendan O'Connor has been taking leave to care for his partner as she underwent surgery for breast cancer and started chemotherapy.

In a brief statement today, Mr O'Connor said he would return to parliament soon but may need to seek more leave in the future.

"A month ago my partner, Ms Jodi Dack, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery," he said.

"I took leave from parliament to be with her during this time and to look after our beautiful four-year-old daughter, Una Rose."

He said Ms Dack started chemotherapy this week, so he was at home for her and their daughter.

"Jodi is progressing well and is looking to fully recover from this illness.

"She has asked me to thank the many people who have sent their love and good wishes to us at this challenging time."

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/nation ... 6477443708


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