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Health Club Awards 2014

Health Club Awards 2014

The Midland Hotel’s health club, the club I have been going to since my teenage years, has won Health Club Awards 2014 for the north west and ranked 3rd overall nationally. This is the second year running that our club wins this award and today the staff took this photo of Rianne and I with the awards for this year. The staff there is wonderful.

Transplants and Ethical Approval

YESTERDAY I had a conversation with my sister in law in Singapore, as she works on surgeries there, mostly transplants. The subject fascinates me because I am registered as an Organ Donor who also believes that terminally-ill patients should consider donating their organs as part of euthanasia that helps dodge the pain of dying. It’s not the same as organ harvesting, it’s a case of assessing how to increase overall survival of the collective. Yes, it’s a controversial subject, but ethics do change over time (or place) and if it’s all consensual and it increase communal benefit, e.g. survival, then why not entertain the idea? Here is part of the conversation:

(14/12/12 14:58:35) Anonymised: Hi bro, I’m sorry I haven’t reply to you..I fall asleep, been toxic this week..
(14:59:02) Roy: oh, tell me about it sis
(15:10:56) Anonymised: We have back to back liver transplant both cadaveric And living related donor..
(15:13:29) Anonymised: I’m on pager call for two weeks for the transplant and we have cases :)
(15:13:44) Anonymised: :(
(15:15:35) Roy: Oh, I didn’t realise it works like this..
(15:15:51) Roy: I spoke about this in the sauna last night
(15:17:51) Anonymised: You mean u talk about the transplant in a sauna?
(15:18:13) Roy: yes, hypothetically
(15:19:09) Roy: I said to a friend who is about 60, what if there was ethical approval for a terminally ill person to give a sibling with dodgy liver his/her own liver as part of the euthanasia, like live organ donor, pre-death
(15:45:36) Anonymised: Yes bro, just like last Monday..
(15:47:13) Anonymised: The patient donor is an road traffic accident victim, which is brain dead so the family gives the consent for organ retrieval but not all of his organ.
(15:48:41) Roy: oh, how timely a conversation I had… although the hypothetical situation I described was terminal cancer and the receiver perhaps a heavy drinker
(15:49:56) Anonymised: Here in SG, those who sign to be a donor and if time will come that they have an accident or they got terminal sickness the family are prepared that he or she will donate his or her organ..and the recipients here are listed…
(15:51:14) Roy: i am registered here
(15:52:45) Anonymised: If the donor dies of cancer, I’m not sure if they will retrieve the organs coz they will check the laboratory works like blood if they matches too then they will decide if they can do the transplant
(15:53:28) Anonymised: So, you have a donor card
(15:53:45) Roy: assuming the tumour has not spread to the donated organ and the donation is between siblings, I thought…
(15:54:02) Roy: Anyway, i carry my donor card in my wallet, to be on the safe side (time is valuable)
(15:56:13) Anonymised: Between siblings, still need to undergo check of blood groups and laboratory check up they need to be sure it matches..ESP. Kidney which is very sensitive organ
(16:09:12) Roy: Oh, see that’s where I don’t have sufficient knowledge.

Perhaps one day we’ll be able not only to breed replacements through pigs (which in itself is controversial as it devalues the life of other animals) but also people whose chance of survival is too slim and desire to help others is greater than to have a few more days of living agony.

All these issues, like depopulation or stem cells and abortion, are understandably controversial. I rarely discuss them.

SCI Fitness Announced

Mike Coogan as Mr. Fitness

After some preparation and discussions among ourselves, we are finally ready to show SCI Fitness to the outside world. Some of the pages are still work in progress, but we are eager to make updates and provide information in the near future, so by all means subscribe to the RSS feed if interested.

Looking Back at 15 Years of Weight Training

Just over 15 years ago I started lifting weights. I had only just turned 14 at the time. The memories are many and it was only about 7 years ago that I started writing abut it. I can probably reference my older blog posts about health and exercise, starting with recent and older photos of times when I was in top shape and before I turned to more running (I could run long distances well) and cycling. Back in the days I competed in Mr. Fitness contests (see 2008 victory and photos also from prior years as I had won several times since 2004). I did well at strength events of all kinds. My main competitor was Mike Coogan, who won previous contests (here are some highlights and awards).

I participated in mini triathlons and won rowing competitions too, several times in fact, until recent years.

As a scientist, I strongly reject sport quacks and embrace solid, credible research instead. Although I did not pursue sports professionally as a child (I preferred it being a hobby/game), I do maintain a high degree of knowledge and skill in the area and I spent most of my life (over 15 years) doing regular exercise without ever taking a long break, even when time management seemed hard.

Radiation and Smoke in the Workplace


Having discussed the subject with half a dozen people over the past week or so, it seems clear that the threat of radiation is underplayed by companies that make business out of it (X-ray for the most part, if not nuclear energy too). The crux of the argument is that, just as people are increasingly not allowed to smoke in pubs due to people who work there (not always out of choice), in places where radiation is abundant, e.g. scanning facilities in hospitals and airports, people’s right to deny and avoid exposure to radiation should be respected. In companies where CT scanners are tested, even software developers are required to be exposed to radiation (my siblings) and sign a sort of waiver that removes liability. In more and more airports not only suitcases are subjected to X-ray treatment but humans too; they are not even given alternative options, except not work (in the former case) or not fly (in the latter case). The attitude ought to change. As someone with doctoral qualifications in the area of medical imaging, I occasionally try to raise the issue (not confront) those who are victim of this status quo (e.g. hospital workers who spend hours in particular rooms and particular airport staff standing adjacent to high-power scanners), but it is not easy to reach a solution which does not leave both sides with relative discomfort.

The solution one might propose here is a legal requirement for companies to bear full liability in case staff develops cancer (tumours that can be shown to have their causality within the workplace) and people who enter X-ray scanners should be both advised/alerted and also require to sign a form of waiver in case an X-ray-free gate is not made available at an airport (like in Manchester Airport). It is bad enough that the problems with cellphones are de-emphasised; here we talk about modalities whose effect is orders of magnitude higher and in late 2009 a study was published in a respected journal having managed to show the correlation between CT and cancer to be far greater than previously stated, possibly in industry-funded studies.

The GE-owned MSNBC used to tell us how wonderful and safe nuclear energy was. That was before the GE-designed Fukushima facility suffered a disaster that would probably kill hundreds of thousands, over time, with agony.

People used to think smoking was harmless. People used to smoke in places where non-smokers were the majority. Why is radiation still treated differently?

Last Time in My 20s


I am well past my prime time (shown in the linked post is 2005, even though the prime was around 2002 when I was 20), but while I’m still in my 20s I manage to find time to do exercise, currently with a folding keyboard and a PDA on my lap (between sets). The above photo is days old and it is totally unedited (taken with an iPhone). Since I never took illegal substances like steroids it might not impress those who are accustomed to seeing so-called ‘body builders’ (where the name of the game is consuming as much/many steroids as humanly possible before passing out or passing away). Anyway, the above was the first time in 6 years that I took photos of myself flexing muscles and it may be the last time before I’m in my 30s. I will never exceed in terms of strength or stamina what I reached at age 20 not just because of physical limitations that accompany ageing but also the excess amount of time spent on the computer and other activities. Diet too has gotten a lot worse, but there will always be the memories.

K-Swiss Manchester 10K

K-Swiss 10K

US Independence Day/Weekend was a lot of fun. The Manchester City Stadium 10K (ten kilometers, which is about a quarter of a marathon) took place on Sunday. I was among the runners there and the following day I cycled for 9 hours because it was nice and sunny (now it rains again). Today I spent over 3 hours at the gym, making the total of time spent on exercise in the past 3 days something around 16 hours. In order to keep in decent shape but not make races just a torturous experience (I went to the gym straight afterwards for weights), I took it easy in this race and I intend to carry on running and cycling more than before, maybe building up stamina for a change. My diet too has improved somewhat. So anyway, it was a very pleasant weekend, maybe I will upload more photos later. I will probably do the same Manchester 10K race next year as it exceeded my expectations. The number of participants was a couple of thousands, meaning far smaller than the great run, which is also 10K but has a low of slow runners. The race was by mere chance talking place on one of the more pleasant days of the year, even though it was a little too hot for running (early in the day and not a cloud in the sky). Anyone who considers doing future K-Swiss Manchester 10K races probably won’t regret it.

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