By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD


Nobody is perfect. Even the healthiest person you can think of has his or her occasional slips in terms of eating, exercise, sleep patterns, and ways of coping with stress. For instance, you may be successfully adhering to a strict diet of “clean eating” when you find yourself stuck in an environment that favors unhealthy eating with no plain water in sight. You will probably end up taking sips of that sugary beverage just to quench your thirst, especially when that water bottle you brought with you goes empty. Or would you rather succumb to dehydration?

Perhaps you sleep at 8 p.m. every night but something happens and you have to stay up late to take care of a sick family member or pull an all-nighter to meet deadlines, which are beyond your control to finish within the confines of your work schedule.

You see, as much as we want our lifestyle to be perfect, we live in an imperfect world. This does not give us a reason, however, to just give up when we find ourselves doing something outside the ideal routine. Here are some tips on how to get back on track:

Staying up late at night – movie marathon, browsing the internet, feasting on social media before bedtime is tempting. Do not be surprised when you see the morning light streaming through the windows after spending the entire night wide awake. Regulate your sleep pattern by deciding on having a downtime one hour before bedtime. That means having to put your gadgets away, taking a warm shower, dimming the lights, having a quiet time, setting your room to cold temperature or whatever will promote sleep. Do this every night until your body clock adjusts and you begin to get sleepy around the same time each night.

Binge eating and food cravings – Occasional treats are fine as long as you practice portion control. When you deprive yourself and obsess with foods that are off limits, however, it could result to a cycle of deprivation and overindulgence. Get back on track by embracing all food while eating everything in moderation. If you want more treats after taking one or two bites, drink water. Practice delayed gratification. Give yourself 10 minutes after drinking a glass of water before assessing if you are still hungry for more. You will be surprised. As you delay gratification, you will eventually forget about wanting more.

Skipping your exercise routine – Exercise schedule gets compromised. You may not have enough energy to exercise when sleep deprived or on those times when you are recuperating from an illness. There are many reasons that we can think of. But you have to get moving as soon as possible. Set a realistic schedule for your exercise. If you only have one precious hour to spare in a week, then take it. Having some exercise is better than none at all. Increase the frequency and duration of your exercise on days you have more time on your hands to make up for the times you are too busy. Squeeze in a few minutes of mindful movement such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking for 10 minutes after meals, or work on standing desks. Be creative in getting back to being physically active. If you have been sitting on your desk for hours, stand up and walk in place before going back to work.

Do not feel hopeless or frustrated when you slip once in a while. The most important thing is how soon you get back on track.

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By Eduardo Gonzales, MD


What are genetically modified foods. What are its pros and cons?

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The term genetically modified food (GMF) refers to food derived from organisms whose genes (i.e., hereditary units) have been altered to allow for introduction of new traits. The process of altering genes is called genetic engineering. It can be applied to plants, animals, bacteria and other microorganisms, but currently available GMFs are only from plants. In the near future, however, GMFs from animals and microorganisms are likely to be introduced into the market, too.


The practice of genetically modifying plants and animals is not new. We have been selectively breeding plants and animals for hundreds of years to create species that possess certain desirable traits. Examples of products of selective breeding are pedigreed dogs and plants that produce flowers of various colors. But the changes that are brought about by these traditional practices depended on nature. They are slow in coming and, as time has shown, carry negligible risk to both humans and the environment. In contrast, genetic engineering, which only started in the 1990s (the first GMF, a delayed-ripening tomato was introduced into the market in 1994) involves significant modifications in the characteristics of living organisms, not by natural selection, but by manipulation of their genes in the laboratory.

At present, genetic engineering is widely used in propagating vegetables and other crops and is focused on cash crops that are in high demand. It consists mostly of inserting foreign genes (i.e., from other plants or animals) into the genetic code of plants.


Genetically modified plants need less herbicides and insecticides and they yield products that are more nutritious, more palatable, and have longer shelf life than their non-modified counterparts. Genetically modified corn, for example, is naturally insect-resistant, while genetically modified tomatoes stay fresh longer.

Likewise, production of genetically modified foods is cost efficient, which translates into cheaper crops and products. It could therefore be the key to fighting hunger in this world where the population is rapidly growing. Some companies are also now producing crops that provide specific nutrients, such as milk proteins and iron. GMFs such as these that are loaded with specific nutrients can help ease the micronutrient deficiency in the diet of many population groups throughout the world.


Genetically engineered plants reduce the need for chemicals, pesticides, and other toxic substances that are employed in growing of crops. Theoretically, this should make our environment and the food we eat safer. But is this true?

Scientists who are proponents of genetic engineering say GMFs are safe and governments believe them that is why GMFs have been allowed to penetrate the market. Evidence that GMFs are not totally safe, however, is accumulating. The long-term adverse effects of early technological breakthroughs that have been performed on plants are now just surfacing, to name a few: pollen from genetically modified plants has been found to be harmful to certain beneficial insects; natural insecticides that many varieties of biologically modified corn produce  stay and accumulate in the soil for a long time; many allergic reactions to genetically modified soy beans have been documented; rats that have been fed genetically modified potatoes have weakened immune system (and if this is true in rats, it could be true in humans, too).

What is becoming apparent is that in some instances, genetically-modified food products could adversely affect humans and the environment (ecosystem). This realization should, at the least, caution those concerned against unleashing “technological breakthroughs” before their long term effects are fully observed, evaluated, and understood.

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By Dr. Kaycee Reyes


“Ay, ang daming galis!” “Baka nakakahawa.” Patients of psoriasis have to live with these comments, more often than not, for the rest of their lives.

Red itchy, flaky, and scaly patches on the skin that can be mildly to severely itchy are common characteristics of psoriasis. Contrary to what others know about the disease, it is not infectious and you can’t get it by spending time with someone with the disease.

Psoriasis is a long-term inflammatory disease that can involve nail and joints, in addition to the skin. It affects two percent of the world’s population and can develop in both males and females, regardless of age and race. For patients with moderate and severe psoriasis, there is an increased risk of developing psoriatic arthritis, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. Psoriasis has inherited and environmental components as causes, and can be triggered by stress, infection, alcohol, and smoking.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriasis, but there are several effective treatments available. In the Philippines, an estimated two million Filipinos suffer from this disease. What is difficult about psoriasis is that it affects the patient not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and socioeconomically that alters their overall quality of life.


UNITE AGAINST PSORIASIS Psoriasis is a lifelong disease that must keep the patient and others aware and well-informed. Remember that psoriasis is not fatal, nor is it contagious.

UNITE AGAINST PSORIASIS Psoriasis is a lifelong disease that must keep the patient and others aware and well-informed. Remember that psoriasis is not fatal, nor is it contagious.



A lot of times, psoriasis patients feel sorry for themselves. It is common among psoriasis patients to feel unattractive, and a number of patients have also felt depressed. Some are burdened financially, and some have even limited themselves to work from home. With psoriasis, there is an overproduction of proteins, called cytokines, by the immune system, causing inflammation and the rapid growth of skin cells. The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, described above as red, itchy, and scaly skin that usually appears on elbows, knees, lower back, palms, and feet.

Other types of psoriasis are:

– psoriatic arthritis, characterized by joint stiffness and swelling;

– scalp psoriasis, where flaky scalp may bleed when scratched;

– nail psoriasis, where nails may appear a different color;

– guttate psoriasis, where smaller scales appear, triggered by an infection;

– inverse psoriasis, that appears on areas with skin-to-skin contact, such as genitals, armpits, or under the breasts;

– pustular psoriasis, a rare type where pus-filled blisters appear or reappear; and

– erythrodermic psoriasis, an extremely rare type that appears all over the body

To determine the disease, physicians diagnose it based on the appearance and distribution of the plaques. More than the debilitating disease itself, the lack of information, awareness, and assistance about the psoriasis affects patients the most. Often, patients feel isolated from other people who might discriminate them. Some are also afraid to seek treatment.


TEACHING ABOUT PSORIASIS Psoriasis is a long-term inflammatory disease that can involve nail and joints, in addition to the skin.

TEACHING ABOUT PSORIASIS Psoriasis is a long-term inflammatory disease that can involve nail and joints, in addition to the skin.



Psoriasis is a lifelong disease that must keep the patient and others aware and well-informed. Remember that psoriasis is not fatal, nor is it contagious. If you think you or your loved one has psoriasis, visit your dermatologist right away to test your skin. Psoriasis can be managed with proper care and treatment. With the help of a holistic management of Rizal Medical Center and its Psoriasis Center, you can start living your life to the fullest.

Treatment options to manage the symptoms of psoriasis vary from patient to patient, from topical medications and tablet to phototherapy and systemic injectables, some of which may have potential severe side effects. Biologics is a relatively new form of treatment that aims to alter the immune system. It is currently given to patients who have very severe psoriasis and who have not responded to standard treatments. Biologics has not been approved in the list of the Philippine National Drug Formulary (PNDF). According to the Department of Health (DOH), PNDF is a part of the Philippine Medicines Policy that “aims to make quality essential drugs available, efficacious, safe, and affordable.”

Rizal Medical Center, however, was able to overcome this, making it the first DOH institution to allow the use of Biologics. This also makes them the first to offer a whole and complete treatment plan for the patient.

Rizal Medical Center is a DOH-trained hospital that recently set up its Department of Dermatology last December 2016.  Since then, it has been considered by Department of Health (DOH) as one of regional referral subspecialty Center for Dermatology.  It has set up the Psoriasis Center that offers a holistic approach to all patients, developing a multidisciplinary group of doctors who can offer psoriasis-related treatments in Cardiology, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, Rehabilitation Medicine, and Mental Hygiene.



MANILA -- An ant-smoking advocacy group on Monday called on the government to ban electronic cigarettes or e-cigs in the country, saying health experts have yet to determine the dangers on the long-time use of such gadgets.

“There is a need to ban e-cigarettes even at the local level until there is sufficient evidence that will prove that they are safe for consumers,” said New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) president Emer Rojas in an interview with the media.

Rojas said that they are making the call while the safety of e-cigs is still being determined by health experts.

“Do we still have to wait for illnesses caused by e-cigarettes to increase as well as the number of those addicted to it before we impose a ban?” Rojas said.

He said that the nicotine content itself of e-cigs makes it addictive so its unregulated sale and use clearly put at risk the lives of millions of Filipinos.

He also cited World Health Organization has already reported that there is insufficient evidence of e-cigs are effective to stop people from quitting smoking.

Rojas also expressed fear over the reported e-cig explosions across the globe, causing injuries to its users and people around them.

He said there have been 243 cases of e-cig explosions as of May 2017 based on the data of ASEAN Tobacco Watch,

“This may also happen to anybody with very serious physical harm effects. But why take that risk? Government, especially local governments must include e-cigarette bans in their smoke-free ordinances to protect the people from this emerging threat of addiction,” Rojas said. (PNA)


by: Leilani Junio


CHICAGO -- When a woman enters midlife, she would feel less stressed and enjoy a high quality of life during this period, a US study showed.

A recent study of the University of Michigan found that perceived stress -- a measure of confidence, control and ability to cope with life's stressors -- did indeed decrease for most women over a 15-year span.

The results came from data collected from more than 3,000 women who were recruited between the ages of 42-53 for the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation.

The study also found that menopausal status wasn't a factor, which challenges the notion that menopause is associated with higher stress and depression.

Women with less education and increased financial hardship consistently reported higher levels of stress compared to their peers, but this difference diminished over time.

"The results suggested that even women with less education or more financial hardship reported less perceived stress over the midlife," Elizabeth Hedgeman, one of the researchers, said. "And then there's menopause."

"Our perception of stress decreased even through the menopausal transition, which suggests that menopause isn't a great bugaboo, perhaps in relation to the other events or experiences that we're having in the midlife," she said.

Despite reporting decreased levels of stress throughout life, women who reported higher stress at the start of midlife continued to report higher stress levels than their peers as they aged. This is important because stress is a known health risk.

The study did not specifically examine the reasons for this decrease in perceived stress, but Hedgeman said that there could be both circumstantial and neurological causes -- children have moved out, professional goals are being met, or women might have hit a sweet spot before the next life challenges arise, such as chronic health conditions or aging parents. (Xinhua)


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