Planning to Retire Soon!

If you are planning to retire in the Philippines soon, I suggest you visit several excellent websites on pro's and cons of retiring in the Philippines. However if you want to retire in the provinces, where life is simple, standard of living cheaper, less traffic congestion and pollution, availability of fresh seafood and vegetables compared to the big cities, my island province is the place for you! If this is your first time in my site, welcome. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights. The photo above is the front yard of Chateau Du Mer-Our Retirement Home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

Sunday, June 30, 2013

British Occupation of Manila-Forgotten Episode in Philippine History

Do you know that the Philippines was under British rule for two years from 1762 to 1764? Read on if you are a history enthusiast.


The British Occupation of Manila between 1762 and 1764 was an episode in Philippine colonial history when the Kingdom of Great Britain occupied the Spanish colonial capital of Manila and the nearby principal port of Cavite. This episode in Philippine history was not emphasized in Philippine History books during my high school days.

The resistance from the provisional Spanish colonial government established by members of the Royal Audience of Manila and their Filipino allies prevented British forces from taking control of territory beyond the neighboring towns of Manila and Cavite and Isabela Province in the North. The British occupation was ended as part of the peace settlement of the Seven Years' War. Here's more information from Wikipedia on this forgotten episode in the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. As a history enthusiast, I found this very interesting, indeed!

Offensive actions: Battle of Manila (1762)

On 24 September 1762, a British fleet of eight ships of the line, three frigates, and four store ships with a force of 6,839 regulars, sailors and marines, sailed into Manila Bay from Madras. The expedition, led by Brigadier-General William Draper and Rear-Admiral Samuel Cornish, captured Manila, "the greatest Spanish fortress in the western Pacific".

The Spanish defeat was not really surprising. Former Governor-General of the Philippines, Pedro Manuel de Arandia, had died in 1759 and his replacement, Brigadier Francisco de la Torre had not arrived because of the British attack on Havana in Cuba. The Spanish Crown appointed the Mexican-born Archbishop of Manila Manuel Rojo del Rio y Vieyra as temporary Lieutenant Governor. In part, because the garrison was commanded by the Archbishop, instead of by a military expert, many mistakes were made by the Spanish forces.

On 5 October 1762 (4 October local calendar), the night before the fall of the walled city of Manila, the Spanish military persuaded Rojo to summon a council of war. Several times the archbishop wished to capitulate, but was prevented. By very heavy battery fire that day, the British had successfully breached the walls of the bastion San Diego, dried up the ditch, dismounted the cannons of that bastion and the two adjoining bastions, San Andes and San Eugeno, set fire to parts of the town, and drove the Spanish forces from the walls. At dawn of October 6, British forces attacked the breach and took the fortifications meeting with little resistance.

During the siege the Spanish military lost three officers, two sergeants, 50 troops of the line, and 30 civilians of the militia, besides many wounded. Among the natives there were 300 killed and 400 wounded. The besiegers suffered 147 killed and wounded, of whom 16 were officers. The fleet fired upon the city more than 5,000 bombs, and more than 20,000 balls.

Occupation of Manila

Once Manila fell to British troops, the churches and government offices were ransacked, valuables were taken and historical documents such as Augustinian records, government documents and even the copper plates for the grand 18th-century Murillo Velarde map of the Philippines were ransacked along with the naval stores at the Cavite Naval Yard, the paintings in the Governor General’s Palace, the contents of Intramuros churches and the possessions of most wealthy houses. Rape, homicide and vandalism also rampaged through the city in what is known as the first "Rape of Manila". The British demanded a ransom of four million dollars from the Spanish government to stop the plundering of the city, to which Archbishop Rojo agreed in order to avoid further destruction.

On 2 November 1762, Dawsonne Drake of the British East India Company assumed gubernatorial office as the British Governor of Manila. He was assisted by a council of four, consisting of John L. Smith, Claud Russel, Henry Brooke and Samuel Johnson. Villacorta managed to escape. When after several attempts Drake realised that he wasn't getting as many assets that he expected, he formed a War Council that he named Chottry Court, with absolute power to imprison anyone who he wished. Many Spaniards, Latinos, Mestizos, Chinese, Indians and native Malays were brought into prisons for crimes, that as denounced by Captain Thomas Backhouse, were "only known to himself.

Resistance

In the meantime the Royal Audience of Manila had organized a war council and dispatched Oidor Don Simón de Anda y Salazar to the provincial town of Bulacan to organize continued resistance to the British. The Real Audencia also appointed Anda as Lieutenant Governor and Visitor-General. That night Anda took a substantial portion of the treasury and official records with him, departing Fort Santigo through the postern of Our Lady of Solitude, to a boat on the Pasig River, and then to Bulacan. He moved headquarters from Bulacan to Bacolor, Pampanga, which was more secure, and quickly obtained the powerful support of the Augustinians.

Anda eventually raised an army which amounted to over 10,000 combatants, most of them voluntary natives, and although they lacked enough modern weapons, they were successful in keeping the British forces confined to Manila. On 8 October 1762 Anda wrote to Rojo informing him that Anda had assumed the position of Governor and Capitan-General under statutes of the Council of the Indies which allowed for the devolution of authority from the Governor to the Audiencia in cases of riot or invasion by foreign forces, as such was the case. Anda, being the highest member of the Audiencia not captive by the British, assumed all powers and demanded the royal seal. Rojo declined to surrender it and refused to recognise Anda as Governor-General.

The surrender agreement between Archbishop Rojo and the British military guaranteed the Roman Catholic religion and its episcopal government, secured private property, and granted the citizens of the former Spanish colony the rights of peaceful travel and of trade 'as British subjects'. Under British control, the Philippines would continue to be governed by the Real Audencia, the expenses of which were to be paid by Spain. However, Anda refused to recognize any of the agreements signed by Rojo as valid, claiming that the Archbishop has been made to sign them by force, and therefore, according to the statutes of the Council of the Indies, they were invalid. He also refused to negotiate with the invaders until he was addressed as the legal Governor-General of the Philippines, returning to the British the letters that were not addressed to that effect. All of these initiatives were later approved by the King of Spain, who rewarded him and other members of the Audiencia, such as José Basco y Vargas, who had fought against the invaders.

The isolated British force proved insufficient. Severe disagreements then broke out between Dawsonne Drake and the military commanders who replaced Draper and Cornish, preventing either effective military action or fruitful negotiations with Anda. In the year 1763, the hacienda Buenavista is the supplier of food in Intramuros, they also selling cow’s meat to the British Government. The hacienda was given an order to mark the cow’s meat so that they could count and sold it properly according to the needs of the British Government. The British tried to persuade the Filipino workers to revolt against the friars in the Hacienda. British rule ended at the end of the Seven Years War. Reference: Wikipedia.org

Personal Note: Can you imagine what the Philippines would be right now if the British were successful in ruling the whole island from Spain. Perhaps we will have more British names than Spanish derived names. We would be predominantly Episcopalians instead of Roman Catholics. Would you like that? Just a thought!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Can You Describe What a Filipino Should Look Like?




Filipinos of mixed ethnic origins are still referred to today as mestizos. However in common parlance, mestizos are only used to refer to Filipinos mixed with Spanish or any other European ancestry. Filipinos mixed with any foreign ethnicities are named depending on their predominant physical aspect.

PHILIPPINE NATIONALITY LAW is currently based upon the principles of your place of birth or origin, and therefore descent from a parent who is a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines is the primary method of acquiring national citizenship. Birth in the Philippines to foreign parents does not in itself confer Philippine citizenship.

Thus, not all FILIPINOS share similar set of physical features to be considered as "specific and real" FILIPINOS.

Through INTERRACIAL MARRIAGES and MULTICULTURALISM, Filipinos may become a unique race with various physical attributes,BUT with ONE FILIPINO heart and mind.

Here's another video, describing today's Filipino faces and life in the Philippines.


Personal Note: In our travels to Europe, US, Canada and Asia during the last decade, my wife and I are often mistaken for either Japanese or Mexican. I would guess only 50% could tell that we are Filipino-Americans. However, once we start talking our Filipino and American roots can not be denied.

CREDITS / SOURCE: Google Image, Wikipedia

Friday, June 28, 2013

Time for Some Inspirational Music-The Prayer


I have heard several versions of the Prayer, with Celine Dione, Charlotte Church, Susan Boyle etc...Bot this video of Charice Pempengco(1) with the Canadian Tenors(2) is I would say, one of the best rendition of these very popular piece of music. View it and let me know if you agree or disagree. Just in case you have not heard of Charice and the Canadian Tenors, a brief description is printed below.



(1)Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco
was born on May 10, 1992. She is popularly known by the mononym Charice. She is a Filipina singer who rose to popularity through YouTube. Dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as "the most talented girl in the world", she released her first international studio album Charice in 2010. The album entered the Billboard 200 at number-eight, making Charice the first Asian solo singer in history to land in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 albums chart.

She released the single "Pyramid" which featured singer Iyaz. It is her most successful single to-date, charting within the top 40 in a number of countries, and debuting on The Oprah Winfrey Show where she sang live vocals. Crossing over to acting on television, she joined the cast of TV series Glee as Sunshine Corazon.[4] She has released a new lead single, "Before It Explodes", written by Bruno Mars, from her international sophomore studio album, Infinity. Her latest single "Louder" was written by Andy Thi Hy in 2011. In March 2012, she signed on to be one of the four judges of the Philippine version of The X Factor, which began to air on ABS-CBN in June. She was in the news recently for admitting she is a Lesbian.

(2)The Tenors (formerly known as The Canadian Tenors)
are a vocal quartet (originally a vocal trio) consisting of Remigio Pereira, Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters, and Clifton Murray, with Murray replacing earlier member Jamie McKnight. They perform operatic pop music that is a mixture of classical and pop, featuring songs such as "The Prayer" and Panis Angelicus from the former genre, and Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah from the latter. The venues they have performed in include the Tel Aviv Opera House, and the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. They have also appeared on the 2009 Grey Cup broadcast and on CBC Television’s Holiday Festival of Ice.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Botanical Drugs versus Botanical Dietary Supplements


Do you know the differences between botanical drugs from botanical dietary Supplements? Please read on even if you know the answer.

There are only two botanical drugs approved by FDA as of today. Last January, FDA approved Fulyzaq, the first anti-diarrheal drug for HIV/AIDS patients. Fulyzaq (crofelemer) is only the second botanical drug approved by FDA. The drug is made from the sap of the Croton lechleri plant. It is indicated for the treatment of watery diarrhea due to the secretion of electrolytes and water in the HIV/AIDS patients gastrointestinal tract. FDA reported that a recent clinical trial of 374 HIV-positive patients established the safety and efficacy of the drug. In the study, nearly 18 percent subjects taking Fulyzaq twice daily experienced clinical improvements.

FDA approved the first botanical prescription drug, Veregen, in 2006. VEREGEN® is indicated for the topical treatment of external genital and perianal warts (Condylomata acuminata) in patients 18 years and older. It is formulated as an ointment.
Approval of this first botanical drug came about two years after FDA issued a guidance for the submission of a New Drug Application (NDA) in 2004. Prior to my retirement from FDA, I was a member of a Committee that drafted this guidance.

Two important distinctions between botanical drugs versus supplements are product claims and designated uses. In some cases the formulations of botanical drugs and botanical dietary supplements can be similar, but labeling has to be different.

Moreever, a botanical drug can claim to treat, prevent, cure, mitigate or diagnose a disease, but a supplement cannot. Therefore in order to become a botanical drug, the manufacturer/marketer must obtain pre-market approval from FDA by submitting an IND application, and then move on to the extensive NDA process to confirm safety and efficacy.
(http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com/2011/11/simplified-overview-of-new-drug.html)

In the United States, a dietary supplement is defined under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) as a product that is intended to supplement the diet and contains any of the following dietary ingredients: a vitamin, a mineral, an herb or other botanical (excluding tobacco), an amino acid, a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any of the above or a substance historically used by humans to supplement the diet.

Furthermore, it must also conform to the following criteria: intended for ingestion in pill, capsule, tablet, powder or liquid form, not represented for use as a conventional food or as the sole item of a meal or diet, and labeled as a "dietary supplement"

Based on the Dietary Supplement Health And Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements as a category of foods, and not as drugs. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies are required to obtain FDA approval, which involves assessing the risks and benefits prior to their entry into the market, dietary supplements do not need to be pre-approved by FDA before they can enter the market. Thus approval of new botanical drugs is a slow and tedious process, whereas dietary supplements are freely available for the consumers.

In September 2012, a report said sales of herbal dietary supplements in the United States rose by 4.5 percent in 2011. That report estimated 2011's U.S. sales as US$5.3 billion, whereas sales of the two botanical drugs approved was poor and sluggish.

I hope more botanical drugs are approved by FDA in the future. Botanical drugs in general have less side effects compared to the synthetic drugs.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Exotic and Bizarre Foods of the Philippines



I would never call the balut bizarre or exotic, since I am a Filipino-American. But if you are not a Filipino, I will not blame you. I have eaten the balut more than a hundred times when I was growing up in the Philippines, numerous coconut-rice cakes, fried crickets, stuffed frogs, cow internal organs, blood pudding but not the coconut and mangrove worms and the chicken intestines.

Balut is very delicious and nutritious and consider a brain food. When I was a student at the University of the Philippines, I will buy 4 baluts and gorged on it before my final examination in Chemistry. I dare you to try one, if perchance you have the chance to visit the Philippines in the future. The segment in the video about the underground river in Palawan is informative. This is an excellent video series by Andrew Zimmern.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Healing Festival of Siquijor Island


While I was searching for Herbal Medicine in the Philippines, I accidentally found this video about the Healing Festival in the Island of Siquijor. Do you know where Siquijor is? Siquijor [siki'hor], is an island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. Its capital is the municipality also named Siquijor. To the northwest of Siquijor are Cebu and Negros, to the northeast is Bohol and to the south, across the Bohol Sea, is the island of Mindanao.



Siquijor is the third smallest province in the country, in terms of population as well as land area (after Camiguin and Batanes). For a time it was part of Negros Oriental. During my teenager years, it was still a part of Negros Oriental, but I have already heard that is an island for witchcraft, magic and the prowess of the local medicine men and women. My interest in Siquijor Island have always been in my mind since my teenager days. The following video is a must view if you are interested in healing and alternative medicines practices in the Philippines.



Thousands of tourists and visitors flocked to the mystical island of SIQUIJOR for the annual healing festival held at Bandilaan Mountain View Park. This province has become known worldwide as the center that promotes natural healing. Tree bark, roots, herbs, dirt, insects and other 'secret' ingredients are thrown into a large cauldron filled with coconut oil. It is believed that supernatural forces roam the earth and share their healing powers to those who seek their assistance. Some sorcerers concoct 'love potions' or make amulets that are know to make their owners invisible! The videographer have personally witnessed and videotaped four healings and cures right before his eyes.! Thank you, Mr. videographer for info@globalvideoprotv.com for this excellent and informative video.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Herbal Medicine of the Philippines


Herbal Medicine in the Philippines is one of several scientific subjects also very closed to my heart. Thus in both of my undergraduate and graduate degrees, my minor subject was in natural products chemistry but my major subject was Analytical Chemistry. In FDA I was involved in the various committees promulgating requirements for the approval of botanical drugs.(http://pu.blish.us/article/585/a-brief-overview-of-new-drugs-development-in-the-united-states#).

As a tropical country the Philippines is a good and an abundant source of plants with medical benefits. Regulation of these products are under the guidance of the Philippines Department of Health (DOH).

The following are the ten Medicinal Plants in the Philippines endorsed by the Department of Health:

1. Akapulko (Cassia alata) a medicinal plant called "ringworm bush or schrub" and "acapulco" in English, this Philippine herbal medicine is used to treat tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness.

2. Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) Common names include "bitter melon " or "bitter gourd " in English. This Philippine herbal medicine has been found to be effective in the treatment of diabetes (diabetes mellitus), hemofrhoids, coughs, burns and scalds, and being studied for anti-cancer properties.

3. Bawang (Allium sativum) Common name in english is "Garlic". Bawang is a used in Philippine herbal medicine to treat infection with antibacterial, antiinflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-hypertensive properties. It is widely used to reduce cholesterol level in blood.

4. Bayabas (Psidium guajava) - "Guava" in English. A Philippine herbal medicine used as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, antioxidant hepatoprotective, anti-allergy, antimicrobial, anti-plasmodial, anti-cough, antidiabetic, and antigenotoxic in folkloric medicine.

5. Lagundi (Vitex negundo) - known as "5-leaved chaste tree" in english is used in Philippine herbal medicine to treat cough, colds and fever. It is also used as a relief for asthma & pharyngitis, rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, and diarrhea.

6. Niyog-niyogan (Quisqualis indica L.) - is a vine known as "Chinese honey suckle". This Philippine herbal medicine is used to eliminate intestinal parasites.

7. Sambong (Blumea balsamifera)- English name: "Ngai camphor or Blumea camphor" is a Philippine herbal medicine used to treat kidney stones, wounds and cuts, rheumatism, anti-diarrhea, anti spasms, colds and coughs and hypertension

8. Tsaang Gubat (Ehretia microphylla Lam.) - English :"Wild tea" is a Philippine herbal medicine taken as tea to treat skin allergies including eczema, scabies and itchiness wounds in child birth

9. Ulasimang Bato | Pansit-Pansitan (Peperomia pellucida) is a Phillipine herbal medicine known for its effectivity in treating arthritis and gout.

10.Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii) - commonly known as Peppermint, is used in Philippine herbal medicine as analgesic to relive body aches and pain due to rheumatism and gout. It is also used to treat coughs, colds and insect bites

Types of herbal medicine

Medicinal plants can be used by anyone, for example as part of a salad, an herbal tea or supplement. Many herbalists, both professional and amateur, often grow or wildcraft their own herbs. Making your own herbal medicine preparation is not only fun, but can be cost-effective. In using the above mentioned herbal medicines, some may require some degree of skill, you have to use your own judgement if you decide to use one. Below is a list of general ways on how to prepare your own herbal medicine. The list is not all inclusive and you have to see individual articles for the herb you use so that you will know how to prepare them.

Herbal teas: There are two methods of making herbal teas, infusion and decoction. Infusion is steeping lighter parts of the plant (leaves, flowers, light stems) in boiled water for several minutes. Decoction is boiling tougher parts, such as roots or bark for a longer period of time. Herbal teas are often used as a home remedy, and as an alternative to tea and coffee.

As a general rule unless recommended by a herbalist, Prepare 1 teaspoon of dried herb for every 1 cup of water. Let it steep in boiling water for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain the herbs out and drink 3 to 4 times a day.

Herbal tinctures: Steeping a medicinal plant in alcohol extracts the alcohol-soluble principles into a liquid form that can be stored for long periods. Herbalists may mix several herbal tinctures to form an individualized prescription for each patient. Plant tinctures are also the basis for many homeopathic medicines.

To prepare your herbal tincture you will need:

8 ounces of finely cut dried herbs,
1 large glass jar that can hold 4 cups of liquid
2 cups of vodka

Instructions:: Put the dried herb into a large, glass jar and pour in equal amount of liquid, making sure the herbs are completely covered (this is very important). Store the jar in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks, preferably 4. Make sure to shake the mixture every day. When ready to use, filter the mixture using a cheesecloth bag, coffee filter, or fine cloth, capturing the tincture liquid below in another container. Store the tincture in clean, dark glass containers, out of the sun. If stored properly the tincture will be preserved for two or more years. Vinegar tinctures should be refrigerated.

Note: A drop of tincture is equal to 1 tsp of herb juice.

For Vinegar Tinctures, use 1 ounce of herb per 5 ounces of vinegar.

Fluid extracts: Fluid extracts are stronger than herbal tinctures, and can be made with alcohol or glycerin.

Herbal poultices: Poultices are a solid, vegetable fat based mixture used externally. They have the shortest life span of any herbal remedy and must be made fresh for every use.

Powdered herbs and tablets: Herbs that are dried and (sometimes) certain parts are separated out then diced to powder fine consistency. Powered matter can then be compressed or put in an empty pill coating to form a tablet

Herbal creams and ointments: An ointment usually is mixed with beeswax (or something similar) to make it more applicable to outside the body, such as on a cut or scrape.

Essential oils: Extraction of volatile liquid plant materials and other aromatic compounds from plants gives essential oils. These plant oils may be used internally in some forms of herbal medicine as well as in aromatherapy and generally for their perfume, although their medicinal use as a natural treatment (alternative medicine) has proved highly efficacious in the treatment of headache and muscle pain, joint pain and certain skin diseases

Herbal supplements: Herbal supplements tend to be commercial products in tablet or capsule form manufactured and marketed by the health food industry for sale in retail outlets to the general public, although there are some types that are sold only to healthcare practitioners for prescription. Herbal supplements are often standardized to contain stated levels of active phytochemicals. Some herbalists may not agree with the standardization of active ingredients, preferring instead to use the whole plant.

Source: www.medicalhealthguide.com/philippinesherbalmedicine.htm

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My First Vegetable and Beef Soup Dish


I cooked my first Vegetable Beef Soup dish yesterday. Ever since (about 7 months ago) when my wife was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, I was forced to help in the kitchen. I have never cooked in my life before my first dish, a Filipino Chicken Vegetable soup (Tinola) that I described in my blogs about a month ago. Today, I enjoy cooking and am learning a few cooking tips everyday.

Yesterday, I cooked my first Vegetable Beef soup dish. I purchased 1.5 lbs beef shank, 2 lbs soup bones and ½ lbs of beef stew meat. After washing the meat, I placed it in a boiling crock pot containing about 12 cups of water. I added salt and garlic powder and one sliced onion. I continued the boiling until the meat was soft. I added 1 lb peeled taro roots cubes ( gabi roots in Philippines), then ½ lbs of washed fresh green beans cut about 6 inches. I continue the boiling until the taro roots were cooked then add one sliced green pepper and two hot sliced jalopenos ( seeds removed). The Jalopenos will give the soup a spicy taste. Omit the jalopenos, if you do not want a spicy flavor.

When all the vegetables were cooked, I added 10 bok choy stalks( washed) and simmer the pot for another 5 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to suit your taste. Served with steam rice. Bon Apetit!

Note: If the soup is not salty enough to your taste, add patis ( fish sauce). In my case, I add hot pecante sauce, since I love hot and spicy dishes. The two jalopenos above did give the soup a spicy taste, but not spicy enough for those who love hot and spicy dishes. If taro roots are not available in your area, you may substitute it with potato cubes.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

FDA Approved New Drugs for the Mid-Year, 2013


Last week, I posted a list of new drugs approved in 2012. Again, as an FDA retiree formerly involved in the approval of new drugs, I am still very interested on what is new in FDA drug development this year.

FDA has been very busy this year so far. One medical device and more than sixty new drugs had been approved in eighteen therapeutic areas already for this mid year. In 2002 the year I retired FDA approved more than 100 new drugs that year. By the end of 2013, I predict that another 60 new drugs will be approved.

As a diabetic, I am quite delighted that two new drugs for type 2 diabetes are approved. These new drugs will be expensive, but we the patients have an an alternative options if we desire and believe these new drugs will have more benefits than risks in the cure of our malady. Congratulations to FDA and its employees for a good year so far.

1. Cardiology/Vascular Diseases

Kynamro (mipomersen sodium); Genzyme; For the treatment of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, Approved January 2013

Liptruzet (ezetimibe and atorvastatin); Merck; For the treatment of hyoerlipidemia, Approved May 2013

Nymalize (nimodipine); Arbor Pharmaceuticals; For the reduction of incidence and severity of ischemic deficits following subarachnoid hemorrhage, Approved May 2013

2. Dermatology

Sitavig (acyclovir) buccal tablets; BioAlliance Pharma; For the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis in adults, Approved April 2013

3.Devices

Breo Ellipta (fluticasone furoate and vilanterol inhalation powder); GlaxoSmithKline; For the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Approved May 2013

4. Endocrinology

Invokana (canagliflozin); Janssen Pharmaceuticals; For the treatment of type II diabetes mellitus, Approved April 2013

Nesina (alogliptin); Takeda; For the treatment of type II diabetes mellitus, Approved January 2013

Osphena (ospemifene); Shionogi; For the treatment of dyspareunia and vulvar and vaginal atrophy due to menopause, Approved March 2013

5. Family Medicine

Actemra ((ocilizumab); Genentech; For the treatment of Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Approved May 2013

Breo Ellipta (fluticasone furoate and vilanterol inhalation powder); GlaxoSmithKline; For the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Approved May 2013

Flublok (seasonal influenza vaccine); Protein Sciences; For the active immunization against influenza virus subtypes A and type B, Approved January 2013

Ilaris (canakinumab); Novartis; For the treatment of Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Approved May 2013

Invokana (canagliflozin); Janssen Pharmaceuticals; For the treatment of type II diabetes mellitus, Approved April 2013

Liptruzet (ezetimibe and atorvastatin); Merck; For the treatment of hyoerlipidemia, Approved May 2013

Nesina (alogliptin); Takeda; For the treatment of type II diabetes mellitus, Approved January 2013

Osphena (ospemifene); Shionogi; For the treatment of dyspareunia and vulvar and vaginal atrophy due to menopause, Approved March 2013

Quartette (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol); Teva Pharmaceutical; For the prevention of conception, Approved April 2013

Sitavig (acyclovir) buccal tablets; BioAlliance Pharma; For the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis in adults, Approved April 2013

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate); Biogen Idec; For the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis, Approved March 2013

Uceris (budesonide); Santarus; For the treatment of ulcerative colitis, Approved January 2013

6. Gastroenterology

Stivarga (regorafenib); Bayer; For the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumor, Approved February 2013

Uceris (budesonide); Santarus; For the treatment of ulcerative colitis, Approved January 2013

7. Genetic Disease

Kineret, anakinra; Swedish Orphan Biovitrum; For the treatment of Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndromes, Approved January 2013

Kynamro (mipomersen sodium); Genzyme; For the treatment of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, Approved January 2013

Ravicti (glycerol phenylbutyrate); Hyperion Therapeutics; For the treatment of pediatrics and adults with urea cycle disorders, Approved February 2013

Flublok (seasonal influenza vaccine); Protein Sciences; For the active immunization against influenza virus subtypes A and type B, Approved January 2013

8. Hematology

Kcentra (Prothrombin Complex Concentrate); CSL Behring; For the reversal of vitamin K antagonist therapy-induced coagulation factor deficiency, Approved May 2013

Nymalize (nimodipine); Arbor Pharmaceuticals; For the reduction of incidence and severity of ischemic deficits following subarachnoid hemorrhage, Approved May 2013

Pomalyst (pomalidomide); Celgene; For the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma, Approved February 2013

Ravicti (glycerol phenylbutyrate); Hyperion Therapeutics; For the treatment of pediatrics and adults with urea cycle disorders, Approved February 2013

9. Immunology

Flublok (seasonal influenza vaccine); Protein Sciences; For the active immunization against influenza virus subtypes A and type B, Approved January 2013

Kineret, anakinra; Swedish Orphan Biovitrum; For the treatment of Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndromes, Approved January 2013

Sitavig (acyclovir) buccal tablets; BioAlliance Pharma; For the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis in adults, Approved April 2013

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate); Biogen Idec; For the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis, Approved March 2013

VariZIG, Varicella Zoster Immune Globulin (Human); Cangene; For the post-exposure prophylaxis of varicella zoster (chickenpox), Approved January 2013

10. Infections and Infectious Diseases

Flublok (seasonal influenza vaccine); Protein Sciences; For the active immunization against influenza virus subtypes A and type B, Approved January 2013

Sitavig (acyclovir) buccal tablets; BioAlliance Pharma; For the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis in adults, Approved April 2013

VariZIG, Varicella Zoster Immune Globulin (Human); Cangene; For the post-exposure prophylaxis of varicella zoster (chickenpox), Approved January 2013

11. Musculoskeletal

Actemra ((ocilizumab); Genentech; For the treatment of Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Approved May 2013

Ilaris (canakinumab); Novartis; For the treatment of Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Approved May 2013

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate); Biogen Idec; For the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis, Approved March 2013

12. Nephrology

Procysbi (cysteamine bitartrate); Raptor Pharmaceuticals; For the management of nephropathic cystinosis, Approved May 2013
Neurology

Nymalize (nimodipine); Arbor Pharmaceuticals; For the reduction of incidence and severity of ischemic deficits following subarachnoid hemorrhage, Approved May 2013

13. Nutrition and Weight Loss

Nesina (alogliptin); Takeda; For the treatment of type II diabetes mellitus, Approved January 2013
Obstetrics/Gynecology (Women’s Health)

Kadcyla (ado-trastuzumab emtansine); Genentech; For the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, Approved February 2013

Osphena (ospemifene); Shionogi; For the treatment of dyspareunia and vulvar and vaginal atrophy due to menopause, Approved March 2013

Quartette (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol); Teva Pharmaceutical; For the prevention of conception, Approved April 2013

14. Oncology

Kadcyla (ado-trastuzumab emtansine); Genentech; For the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, Approved February 2013

Pomalyst (pomalidomide); Celgene; For the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma, Approved February 2013

Stivarga (regorafenib); Bayer; For the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumor, Approved February 2013

Xofigo (radium Ra 223 dichloride); Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals; For the treatment of prostate cancer with bone metastases, Approved May 2013


15. Pediatrics/Neonatology

Actemra ((ocilizumab); Genentech; For the treatment of Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Approved May 2013

Ilaris (canakinumab); Novartis; For the treatment of Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Approved May 2013

Kineret, anakinra; Swedish Orphan Biovitrum; For the treatment of Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndromes, Approved January 2013

Kynamro (mipomersen sodium); Genzyme; For the treatment of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, Approved January 2013

Ravicti (glycerol phenylbutyrate); Hyperion Therapeutics; For the treatment of pediatrics and adults with urea cycle disorders, Approved February 2013

16. Pharmacology/Toxicology

Kcentra (Prothrombin Complex Concentrate); CSL Behring; For the reversal of vitamin K antagonist therapy-induced coagulation factor deficiency, Approved May 2013
Pulmonary/Respiratory Diseases

Breo Ellipta (fluticasone furoate and vilanterol inhalation powder); GlaxoSmithKline; For the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Approved May 2013

17. Rheumatology

Actemra ((ocilizumab); Genentech; For the treatment of Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Approved May 2013

Ilaris (canakinumab); Novartis; For the treatment of Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Approved May 2013
Trauma (Emergency, Injury, Surgery)

Kcentra (Prothrombin Complex Concentrate); CSL Behring; For the reversal of vitamin K antagonist therapy-induced coagulation factor deficiency, Approved May 2013

18. Urology

Xofigo (radium Ra 223 dichloride); Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals; For the treatment of prostate cancer with bone metastases, Approved May 2013

19. Vaccines

Flublok (seasonal influenza vaccine); Protein Sciences; For the active immunization against influenza virus subtypes A and type B, Approved January 2013

VariZIG, Varicella Zoster Immune Globulin (Human); Cangene; For the post-exposure prophylaxis of varicella zoster (chickenpox), Approved January 2013

Source: www.centerwatch.com

Friday, June 21, 2013

Amazing 4 year old Plays the Piano


This video reminds of an article on the 10 most popular child prodigies of the 19th century. Among the most popular prodigies are Pascal, von Neuman and Maria Agnesi. The article is as follows: http://science.discovery.com/life-earth-science/10-child-prodigies.htm

Thursday, June 20, 2013

UP Madrigal Singers and the UPSCA Choir

UPSCA Choir, 1953 with Prof Antonio Molina

The video below by the UP Madrigal singers performing the Prayers of St Francis reminds me of my college days and the UP Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) choir during my college years from 1952-1956 at UP Diliman, Quezon City Philippines. I do not have videos of our UPSCA concerts, but just photographs( below) of my college days. If you are in some of the photos, I would like to hear from you!

The following are some of the photos during my college years at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines from 1952-1956. My involvement with the activities of UP Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) were the highlights of my college life experiences. At that time I was studying for my Bachelor Science degree in Chemistry. I graduated in October, 1955 then went to US to pursue my Ph.D degree in 1959. The rest is history and for details of my life after my college years, please visit my site at, http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com

UPSCANS In front of the Old Chapel after Mass with Fr. John Delaney. Fr John was my inspiration and hero at that time. His words and action still reverberates in my mind today!

During two of our regular monthly meetings

During one of the many monthly socials during my college years. Dancing with Macrine

UP Men's South Dorm Officers and Residents, 1954. I was one of the officers of Mens South Dorm Association. I am in the front row kneeling first in the far Left.

UPSCANS, College of Liberal Arts

UPSCANS-After the General Meeting

After UPSCAN Board Meeting with Fr. John Delaney. Do you recognize yourself in this photo?

Dave and Macrine at the UPSCA Monthly Social

Note: If you are in any of the above photos, I would like to get in touch with you. I could be reached in my website above and also at http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com I hope you are also aging gracefully.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Origin of the Filipino Race-An Update

Si Malakas at Maganda(The Strong and the Beautiful)
Sometime in the early 1970's, I was invited as a guest speaker by the Lions Club in Kansas City, Missouri. They requested that I talked about The Filipino-American War (1898-1902) and also the Japanese-American War(1941-1945). My knowledge of the first war was from books that I have read. However, I have personal knowledge of the second war having written an article about my childhood memories of that War( see video at bottom of this page).

In my speech class in college, I was taught that in giving a speech, start with a joke to put your audience and you at ease. Preferably your joke should be related to your topic. So this is my joke. Do you know the origin of the Filipino Race?

Evidently, when God created mankind, he molded the human form using clays and an oven. The first time, he was doing this, God was so excited that he took what he was baking too soon. The human clay was under cooked or underdone. So it was pale and white. That was the origin of the White Race. God was not happy, so he started to bake another human form. This time he got a telephone call from Satan. God was upset he forgot about what he was doing and the baking over done, the human form was overcooked, and turned black. This was the origin of the Negro Race. God then told himself. This time It will be perfect. I will watch it very carefully and will not be distracted by any calls. His baking was perfect. The human form was golden brown, and perfectly cooked. This was the origin of the Filipino race.

Personal Note-An Update: Yes, the Filipinos were baked perfectly to golden brown but not disciplined. Just observed some of its politicians, and their shenanigans and you know exactly what I want to say.

The following video summarizes the Invasion Of the Philippines by the Japanese as well as the destruction of Manila. Do not forget to view the related videos in this set. This is a must see video for all history enthusiasts and students.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Are You Familiar with the Smell of the Ylang Ylang Flowers?


Photo of the Ylang-Ylang flower in my backyard, Chateau Du Mer, Marinduque, Philippines

Have you been ask what is the best smell that you have experienced in life? Will you be able to answer it without thinking? Mine is the smell of the blooming Ylang-Ylang trees in my garden at Chateau Du Mer, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. I have two big mature trees in the backyard of Chateau Du Mer that are about 15 years old.

When the trees are in bloom, you can smell the fragrance of it flowers to as far as 50 meters and even farther if the wind direction is favorable. It is one fragrance, that I will never forget at Chateau Du Mer in Marinduque. Its reminds me of the perfume, Channel No.5.

The fragrance of ylang-ylang is rich and deep with notes of rubber and custard, and bright with hints of jasmine and neroli. The essential oil of the flower is obtained through steam distillation of the flowers and separated into different grades (extra; 1; 2; 3) according to when the distillates are obtained. The main aromatic components of ylang-ylang oil are benzyl acetate, linalool, p-cresyl methyl ether, and methyl benzoate, responsible for its characteristic odor.

On the subject of Ylang Ylang Oil,I am proud to inform readers of this blog that my Master’s degree thesis was the Analysis of the Volatile Constituents of Ylang Ylang Oil by Gas Chromatography. This was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Vol.52, No.3 252-258 dated March, 1963.

I believe not too many non-Filipinos have heard of this tree and it fragrant flowers. Here’s a short information from Wikipedia for your reading pleasure.

Cananga odorata, commonly called Ylang-ylang (pronounced /ˈiːlæŋ ˈiːlæŋ/, EE-lang-EE-lang), cananga tree, ilang-ilang, kenanga (Indonesian), fragrant cananga, Macassar-oil plant or perfume tree), is a tree valued for its perfume. The essential oil derived from the flowers is used in aromatherapy and in the manufacture of perfumes.

Cananga odorata is a fast-growing tree of the custard-apple family, Annonaceae, that exceeds 5 m (15 ft) per year and attains an average height of 12 m (40 ft). It grows in full or partial sun, and prefers the acidic soils of its native rain forest habitat. The evergreen leaves are smooth and glossy, oval, pointed, with wavy margins, and 13–20 cm (5–8 in) long. The flower is drooping, long-stalked, with six narrow greenish yellow (rarely pink) petals, rather like a sea star in appearance, and yields a highly fragrant essential oil.

The Chemical Composition Typical chemical compositions of the various grades of Ylang ylang are reported as follows:

Constituents Linalool, geranyl acetate, caryophyllene, p-cresyl, methyl ether, methyl benzoate, other, sesquiterpenes.

The name ylang-ylang is derived from Tagalog, either from the word ilang, meaning “wilderness”, alluding to its natural habitat, or the word ilang-ilan, meaning “rare”, suggestive of its exceptionally delicate scent. A more widely accepted translation is “flower of flowers”. The plant is native to the Philippines and Indonesia and is commonly grown in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia.

The essential oil of ylang-ylang is used in aromatherapy. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac. According to Margaret Mead, it was used as such by South Pacific natives such as the Solomons where she did much of her research. The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes (like Chanel No. 5). Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood smells.

In Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaguita, are strung into a necklace (lei) and worn by women and used to adorn religious images.

Medicinal uses

Ylang Ylang is a common ingredient in the herbal motion sickness remedy, MotionEaze.

Circulatory System: Ylang ylang is recommended for treating palpitations and reducing high blood pressure

Nervous System : Ylang ylang is known for its ability to slow down over-rapid breathing and over-rapid heart beat. These symptoms are usually associated with shock, anxiety and anger.

Reproductive System: Ylang ylang has proven beneficial for treating PMS, especially associated with extreme mood swings that occurs just before the onset of menstruation. For this purpose, Fischer-Rizzi recommends blending Ylang ylang with clary sage and neroli. This blend should be used in a bath, massage oil or in a vaporizer.

Skin care: Added to the skin care preparation, Ylang ylang oil is beneficial in softening and balancing the moisture of the skin. It is recommended in hair care to treat split ends. It can be used in a shampoo base of massaged into the tips of the hair after shampooing with a base oil such as apricot kernel or jojoba oil. Ylang ylang is recommended for dry and oily skin and is reputed to have a balancing action on sebum production.

I hope you find this article informative. It is the best smell, I have ever experience in my life.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rail Away Series-Journey Around the World by Train



Travel around the world in the comfort of your room. I enjoyed watching this series. The 25 videos around 25 minutes or less is produced by Meskers Media Affairs. It is a travel documentary hosted by Michael Palin and published by BBC in 1993. with English narration. I have seen all the 25 episodes and if you love trains, this a must viewed series.



Episode Number Episode Name
1 Scotland
2 Ireland
3 Nostalgia Royal Scotsman
4 France and Corsica
5 Spain
6 Portugal 1
7 Portugal 2
8 Russia 1
9 Russia 2
10 Germany 1
11 Germany 2
12 Switzerland 1

13 Switzerland 2
14 Norway
15 Finland
16 Denmark
17 Denmark to Sweden
18 Hungary
19 Romania
20 Czech Republic
21 Holland
22 Poland
23 Austria
24 Orient Express
25 Greece

The above episodes are all European countries. However, there are videos for New Zealand, Australia, China, India, Canada, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Nanimbia, Zimbabwe, Mexico and several other countries besides Europe.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Serious Side Effects of Some Prescription Drugs


One of my blog readers after reading my article on the top 15 pharmaceutical firms suggested that I do an article on the dangerous side effects of popular prescription drugs. Here's some information that I found in the Web. Table 1 list the drugs with over 1000 complaints and Table 2 list Popular Drugs with serious side effects.

Table 1 Prescription Drugs with the Most Complaints

Here is a list of drugs with OVER 1,000 Complaints

Yasmin, Mirena, Singulair, Levaquin, Lisinopril, Nuvaring, Prednisone, Lipitor, Advair HFA (From Medications.com)

Table 2: Some Popular Drugs with Dangerous Side Effects


Actonel, Avodart, Boniva, Celebrex, Cialis, Crestor, Detrol, Ditropan, Enbrel, Fosamax, Humira, Levitra, and Lunesta.

Nexium, Paxil, Plavix, Premarin, Prilosec, Procrit, Strattera, Valtrex,

Vesicare, Viagra, Vioxx, Vytorin, Wellbutrin, Zelnorm, Zocor and Zyprexa.

The serious side effects can result in death, physical debilitation, heart conditions, stroke or cancer. The most common side effects are dizziness and nausea. Some of the popular drugs with dangerous side effects are Lipitor ( anticholesterol) linked to muscle weakness and loss of coordination, accutane linked to suicidal thoughts, Avandia and celebrex linked to heart failure, Tamoxifen for breast cancer linked to increase risk of uterine cancer, Actos ( for type 2 diabetes) linked to increase risk for bladder cancer, and Vioxx a pain killer linked to increase risk for stroke. Severity of side effects will vary from one individual to another.

If you are taking one of the drugs listed in either Table 1 or 2, be aware that the risks of side effects is more than its benefits. I suggest that you consult your physician as soon as possible. Reference: www.vaughns-1-pagers.com

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Top Fifteen Pharmacuetical Manufacturers in the World


Last week, I posted a list of top ten pesticides manufacturer of the world. One of my readers suggested I post a similar list for drug firms having been a former FDA employee. Yes, indeed as former FDA employee involved in the approval of new drugs, the subject of pharmaceutical firms, doing well really interest me. There was a report in Forbes Magazine by Mathew Herper( 2012) listing the top 15 best pharmaceutical firms based on the number of new drugs ( new chemical entity -NCE) approved by FDA. NCE is a drug that contains no active moiety that has been approved by the FDA in any other application submitted under section 505(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The list is as follow with reference noted below.

Table 1:Top 15 Firms Based on New Drugs Approved for the past 15 Years

Company - Number of New Drugs
Novartis 17
Merck&Co 16
J&J 15
Pfizer 14
Wyeth 13
Bristol-Myers 11
Hoffmann/Roche 11
Lilly 11
GlaxoSmithKline 10
Abbott 9
Amgen 9
Pharmacia/Upjohn 9

Source: Bernard Munos, InnoThink Center for Research in Biomedical Innovation


On the other hand the top ten pharmaceutical firms based on Dollars sales for 2012 is as follows:

Table 2: Special Report: Top Pharma Companies by 2012 Revenues-Billion of Dollars *
1 Johnson & Johnson- 67.2
2 Pfizer- 58.9
3 Novartis- 56.7
4 Roche- 47.8
5 Merck- 47.2
6 Sanofi- 46.4
7 GlaxoSmithKline- 39.9
8 Abbott Laboratories/AbbVie- 37.8
9 AstraZeneca - 27.9
10 Bayer HealthCare- 24.3

*Reference: Pfizer - FiercePharma http://www.fiercepharma.com/special-reports/pfizer

Note: Based on the two tables above, four firms are confirmed not only to be innovative but also profitable. The firms are J&J, Novartis, Merck and Pfizer. Wyeth and Roche made it to the top five firms for Table 1 and 2 respectively.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park


Macrine( my spouse of 56 years) and I visited the Mauna Loa Volcano National Park about 15 years ago. It was a vacation that we will always remember. I can described our experiences during our one day tour but the following video summarize it better than I could. Enjoy the video produced by the National Park Service.



Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, was established in 1916. It is located in the U.S. State of Hawaiʻi on the island of Hawaiʻi. It encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive volcano. The park gives scientists insight into the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and ongoing studies into the processes of vulcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna.

In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987. In 2000 the name was changed by the Hawaiian National Park Language Correction Act of 2000 observing the Hawaiian spelling. Here's a video of the latest eruption of Mt Kilauea filmed from a helicopter and a boat nearby.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Grand Canyon National Park


Have you been to the Grand Canyon National Park? Macrine and I visited the North Rim of the Park a few years ago for one day, while we were vacationing in Las Vegas. It was a day trip we will always remember. The following is a video worth your time made by the National Park Service. This video includes also videos of Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, Glacier and Death Valley National Parks.



The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States in the state of Arizona. It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, and the Havasupai Tribe. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery. It is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet or 1,800 meters). Nearly two billion years of the Earth's geological history has been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists,recent evidence suggests the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to its present-day configuration.

For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon ("Ongtupqa" in Hopi language) a holy site and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.

I hope you get a chance to visit Grand Canyon National Park this summer. If not enjoy the park watching the video above. Have a Safe and Cool Summer Season.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Latest Development for the Treatment of Parkinson Disease



My wife was diagnosed with early Parkinson Disease( PD) about six months ago. Today she is taking a carbo-levodopa( Sinemet)combination, 25/100mg to control her hand tremors. Thus, any new developments that may help my wife from the unpleasant and related problems caused by PD really interest me. As you know, today there is no cure for PD. If you have not heard about PD: Parkinson's disease is a degenerative brain disorder, affects more than 1 million Americans. It destroys nerve cells in the brain that make dopamine, which helps control muscle movement. Patients experience shaking or tremors, slowness of movement, balance problems and a stiffness or rigidity in arms and legs.

A recent article written by Kathleen Doheny (HealthDay News) indicated that there are three new drugs that may offer hope to PD patients. These are: Droxidopa, tozadenant and Azilect

In one study, Hauser evaluated the drug droxidopa, which is not yet approved for use in the United States, to help patients who experience a rapid fall in blood pressure when they stand up, which causes light-headedness and dizziness. About one-fifth of Parkinson's patients have this problem, which is due to a failure of the autonomic nervous system to release enough of the hormone norepinephrine when posture changes.

Those on the medicine had a two-fold decline in dizziness and light headedness compared to the placebo group. They had fewer falls, too, although it was not a statistically significant decline.

In a second study, Hauser assessed 420 patients who experienced a daily "wearing off" of the Parkinson's medicine levodopa, during which their symptoms didn't respond to the drug. He compared those who took different doses of a new drug called tozadenant, which is not yet approved, with those who took a placebo. All still took the levodopa.

At the start of the study, the patients had an average of six hours of "off time" a day when symptoms reappeared. After 12 weeks, those on a 120-milligram or 180-milligram dose of tozadenant had about an hour less of "off time" each day than they had at the start of the study.

In another study, Hauser looked at 321 patients with early stage Parkinson's whose symptoms weren't handled well by a medicine called a dopamine agonist, typically the first drug prescribed for Parkinson's patients. During the 18-week study, Hauser assigned them to take either their usual medicine plus an add-on drug called rasagiline (brand name Azilect) or their usual medicine and a placebo.

Azilect is approved for use in patients with early stage disease as a single therapy or as an add-on to levodopa, Hauser said, but not yet as an add-on to dopamine agonists. Those taking the Azilect -- but not those taking the placebo -- improved by 2.4 points on a standard Parkinson's disease rating scale.

Each of the studies was funded by the pharmaceutical company making the particular drug: Chelsea Therapeutics paid for the blood-pressure study; Biotie Therapies Inc., supported the "wearing-off" study; and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries sponsored the Azilect study. Hauser is a consultant for all three companies.

So far the most impressive of the three studies is the use of droxidopa to prevent dizziness and fainting, said Dr. Michael Okun, national medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation and director of the University of Florida Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration.

This is indeed good news for millions who are suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Personal Note: Today, after six weeks on the waiting list, my wife had finally made an appointment with a neurologist specializing in movement disorder associated with PD. To my surprise the neurologist indicated that nicotine and caffeine as well as fruits like blue berries appeared to delay the onset of PD. He also prescribe Azilect as an add-on to Sinemet. He also prescribed my wife to go to a physical therapist to minimize falls and improved gait and walking. He also recommended that she take Vitamen E and C. Finally he recommended that my wife get a brain scan (MRI), just to assure no mild stroke had occurred. One final note: My wife loves this neurologist. He is the only physician that does not tell her to quit smoking. To summarize, the current treatment for PD is three-way:medications, exercise( physical therapy) and diet.

Thirty Plus One things to do Before You Die

MI, Inc Medical Mission in Marinduque. 2011
I have just finished reading several articles on things to do before you die. The articles ranged from just 10 to 1000 fabulous and incredible things that an average person will probably had a hard time doing, because it requires money and a lot of time. There is another article that listed 75 things, a bit more practical. But what inspired me is an article that listed 101 things and most of them I have already done(www.squidoo.com) Thus, I have created my own list(30). It is not a wish list since I have already done all of the things in the list. Does this mean, I am ready to die? I hope the following list will inspire you to write your own list. There is no order of priority in the list, but my favorites are numbers 1 and 3. Number 31 is on my wish list. However, at this stage of my life, I do not believe I will be able to do this. I will just be contented watching the video.

1. Write your autobiography and memoirs.
2. Join a medical mission to a third world country(Philippines recommended)
3. Create a web site or start a blog
4. Try eating three exotic fruits ( durian, tamarind, passion fruit and others)
5. Eat raw oysters, escargot, seafood paella or or any dish that you have not eaten before (maybe a balut or dinugu-an)
6. Go to the Casino without Gambling. Just eat a buffet lunch or dinner
7. Attend a Broadway Show in New York City or in San Francisco
8. Go to a jazz club at the French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
9. Visit the Rock of Gibraltar and Tangiers, Morocco

10. Visit at least one Mayan Ruins in Mexico( Chichen Itza and/or Tulum Ruins)
11. Attend a Tennis Academy for one week at Rancho Bernardo, California
12. Visit at least five National Parks/Monuments in US
13. Try something you have not done before, perhaps sky diving, deep sea fishing or a helicopter ride
14. Visit St Peter's Square, the Vatican and have an audience with the Pope
15. Visit the White House and the National Monuments, Washington, D.C.
16. Visit Gettyburgh, Pennsylvania, Civil War National Cemetery
17. Learn how to snorkel or Scuba Dive
18. Learn a new dance, perhaps a Cha Cha, a Tango, a Rhumba or a Quick Step
19. Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
20. Go on a canopy tour( tranverse between trees on a zip line)
21. Ride a mechanical bull in Sugar Land, Texas
22. Attend a Cock Fight or a Bull Fight
23. Visit Disneyland and Ride a Roller Coaster
24. Swim with the Dolphins or with the manatees

25. Visit a Botanical Garden( Longwood Gardens in PA or Buchart Gardens in Victoria Island recommended)
26. Ride a camel, an elephant or a water bufallo
27. Milk a cow or a Goat or a water bufallo
28. Go Bird Watching
29. Watch sea turtle eggs hatching and running toward the sea
30. Visit Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona or any of one of the several national parks in US
Here's my # 31 in the list-Railroad tour in the Oriental Express from Singapore to Bangkok. I do not think I will be able to do this. I will just be contented watching the following video.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ten Things to think about Aging Gracefully


I received the following article from a friend in my e-mail just recently. My friend do not know the author, but it is circulating in the Internet. I love sharing it with you. It is titled Enlightened Selfishness.

An encouraging suggestion.....to share. Many people feel unhappy, health-wise and security-wise, after 60 years of age. Or 70! or 75! Or whatever is your age now!

Life can begin now, it is all in your hands! Many people feel unhappy, health-wise and security-wise, owing to the diminishing importance given to them and their opinions. But, it need not be so, if only we understand the basic principles of life and follow them.

Here are ten encouraging thoughts to age gracefully and make life after retirement pleasant.

1. Never say I am ‘aged': There are three ages, chronological, biological, and psychological. The first is calculated based on our date of birth; the second is determined by the health conditions; the third is how old we feel we are. While we don't have control over the first, we can take care of our health with good diet, exercise and a cheerful attitude. A positive attitude and optimistic thinking can reverse the third age.

2. Health is wealth: If you really love your kith and kin, taking care of your health should be your priority. Thus, you will not be a burden to them. Have an annual health check-up and take the prescribed medicines regularly. Do take health insurance coverage.

3. Money is important: Money is essential for meeting the basic necessities of life, keeping good health and earning family respect and security. Don't spend beyond your means even for your children. You have lived for them all through. If your children are grateful and they will take care of you, you are blessed. But, never take it for granted.

4. Relaxation and recreation: The most relaxing and recreating forces are a healthy religious attitude, good sleep, music and laughter. Have faith in God, learn to sleep well, love good music and see the funny side of life.

5. Time is precious: It is almost like holding a horses' reins. When they are in your hands, you can control them. Imagine that every day you are born again. Yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is ready cash - use it profitably. Live this moment; live it fully, now, in the present time.

6. Change is the only permanent thing: We should accept change - it is inevitable. The only way to make sense out of change is to join in the dance. Change has brought about many pleasant things. We should be happy that our children are blessed.

7. Enlightened selfishness: All of us are basically selfish. Whatever we do, we expect something in return. We should definitely be grateful to those who stood by us. But, our focus should be on the internal satisfaction and the happiness we derive by doing good for others, without expecting anything in return. Perform a random act of kindness daily.

8. Forget and forgive: Don't be bothered too much about others' mistakes. We are not spiritual enough to show our other cheek when we are slapped in one. But for the sake of our own health and happiness, let us forgive and forget them. Otherwise, we will be only increasing our blood pressure.

9. Everything has a purpose: Take life as it comes. Accept yourself as you are and also accept others for what they are. Everybody is unique and is right in his own way.

10. Overcome the fear of death: We all know that one day we have to leave this world. Still we are afraid of death. We think that our spouse and children will be unable to withstand our loss. But the truth is that your life on earth is not eternal, earth is not your home perpetually. Your love ones will miss you but the memories live on, you can be an example for them to carry on!

Last but most important, you have a God who loves and cares for you! You have a future and a hope in Him....you have a choice...life can begin NOW.....


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Afterglows in the Sunset of Our Lives-An Update



Macrine ( my spouse of 56 years) and I retired in 2002. Our friends often asked us, if we have done anything after retirement that we can be proud of. Yes indeed, please read on..

Last April, I took a photograph of a sunset and its afterglow from the west balcony of our retirement home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. Looking at the photo reminded me of both Macrine's and my professional life in the US.

Macrine retired as Manager, Quality Assurance Nurse from one of Maryland's Home Health Nursing Company. I retired from FDA as a Chemistry Team Leader in the Center of New Drugs, Silver Spring, MD. Both of us had satisfying careers( I had received several awards, letters of commendation and appreciation, and an EEO award). So when we retired in 2002, we often ask ourselves, if this is all that we can contribute to society and the community.

Seven years ago, Macrine received a letter of Appreciation and Thanks from Governor Carmencita Reyes because of her involvement in MI, Inc Medical Mission Of Love, 2006. Macrine was president and over-all chairperson of the medical mission in Marinduque that year. Here's an excerpt from C Reyes letter of Thanks.

Dear Mrs. Katague,

I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for all the assistances extended by MI, Inc. Your association is one of our full-time partners in the delivery of health services particularly in the conduct of medical/surgical missions which benefited hundreds of Marinduquenos. Thank you so much for the support and assistance extended to our administration and to the people of Marinduque. Mabuhay Kayo!

In 2008, Macrine and I received a Letter of Thanks and Appreciation from then Governor Antonio Carrion in our efforts to promote tourism in the island not only during Easter but also whole year round. The letter mentioned several of my blogs and articles that proclaimed my love for the province and encouraging other Balikbayans to build retirement homes in the island.

In 2009, my dream as a "citizen journalist" was attained when two of my articles was accepted for publication in HULIQ News. The first article was about Marinduque as the Ecotourism capital of the Philippines. The second was on the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan.

Just recently three of my thousands of readers of my blogs commented: " I have been reading your various blogspots and websites for about one week now. They are all well written and great reading. What I have been reading and following intently in your blog is your life story, very interesting indeed. Please keep on writing and thanks for opening yourself up in your blogs."

A second reader also commented: I have been following your blog for quite sometime. I learned a lot about Marinduque and the Philippines. I specially enjoyed reading your childhood experiences during the Japanense-American War. Your contribution as an FDA employee to the burnt victims of the bombing in New York and the Pentagon is indeed commendable and worthy of an award. Keep writing !

A third reader wrote, I just came across your site while I was looking for background information regarding the Rigodon de Honor. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs and admire your dedication to keeping your blogs updated. Looks like retirement suits you! I am also a Filipino American who have dedicated the last 25 years in pursuit of improving the clinical trial enterprise. I just wanted to let you know that your stories inspired me to look into doing something similar. At age 56 and in the process of yet another reinvention of my professional and personal life,I found some wise pearls in your blogs. Thank you for sharing your stories with the world! Kind regards

Last but not least, a couple of days ago, I received an E-mail and a call from Melvin Rickarby of BBC Radio 4 ( Bristol) in the UK. He interviewed me regarding my article on Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. I am so flattered that he is reading my blogs. There is a possibility that our interview would be broadcasted in his radio program in UK- a documentary on Soul Music. As of today I have close to a million readers in my ten blogs from 174 countries.

Will there be more afterglows in the future? I hope so. I would like to hear that our oldest grandson ( now 22) got married and gave us a great grandchild( that my wife and I can pamper whenever we want to). In addition, we would like to hear the news that our youngest granddaughter( now 10) had graduated from college and that both my wife and myself are still healthy to attend her graduation.

Lastly, my wife and I thanks the Lord for the past, present and future afterglows in the sunset of our lives.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Supervisory Work versus Working Alone



In my 40 years of professional career as a Chemist here in the US, I have experienced working alone as well as supervising the work of others. I have worked in four private firms( for 28 years) and the Federal Government( for 12 years), specifically, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I enjoyed both types of job situation. I tell you why.

My first job was for Chemagro Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri. The firm was a subsidiary of Bayer Corporation a German conglomerate. My title was “Chemist” and I worked for the Analytical Chemistry Department. The department was composed of about 50 employees half of them were either chemists or biologists. My specific task was to develop analytical methods for the detection of pesticide residues in plant and animal tissues. It was a very challenging job, being my first.

I worked alone with six other bench chemist and we report to a supervisor. I worked in Chemagro for five years. The firm sponsored the change of my student visa to a permanent resident visa, so my family and I can reside in the US permanently. The firm treated their employees very well. On Christmas time, all of us received a 13-month salary bonus. The employees along with their immediate families were also treated to an extravagant Christmas Party in a downtown Kansas City hotel, complete with dancing and free drinks all night. I left Chemagro to move to the West Coast for a milder winter climate as well as a 20% raised in salary. My supervisor wanted to keep me, but the company was only willing to give me a 10% salary raise.

My second industrial job was in the Agricultural Research Division of Shell Development Company in Modesto, California. My job title was “Research Chemist” and again I worked alone with five other chemist reporting to a supervisor who then reported to the head of the Analytical Department. My specific job was again developing analytical methods for detecting pesticide residues in plant and animal tissues. I worked for Shell Development for five years until the company decided to get out of the pesticide business and closed their research facility affecting the job of more than 200 employees.

My third industrial job was with Stauffer Chemical Company, Agricultural Research Division in Richmond, California. My job title was “Senior Research Chemist”. Again I worked alone doing the same project as my previous industrial jobs. I worked for 12years at Stauffer Chemicals with outstanding performance evaluation every year. I reached the position of Principal Research Chemist, the highest position attainable in the company without supervisory duties.

One day my supervisor called and informed me that my job has been terminated and I have one day to vacate the facility. It was the most shocking experience in my life. My feeling of anger, sadness and humiliation had been unforgettable. This incident was the lowest point in my professional career.

Fortunately, due to my networking abilities, I found another job just 4 weeks after my termination from the company. My job was in the same field as my expertise- Analytical Method Development for the Detection of Pesticide Residues in Food, Plants and Animal Tissues.

A friend from church hired me as a “Senior Research Chemist” and as a group leader with two technicians to supervise. My new employer ( Chevron Chemical Company) was also in Richmond, CA so I did not have to relocate my family. This job gave me the introduction and basic knowledge of managing the work of others. I worked for Chevron Company four and a half years, until the company decided to consolidate their research facilities in Texas. By this time after experiencing three lay offs working for a private company, I vowed that I will never worked for a private company.

My new goal was either to work for the state of California or the Federal government in Washington, D.C. Four months after I lost my job in Chevron,I was hired by the Food and Drug Administration(FDA)as a “Review Chemist” in the Fall of 1990. In 1994, I was promoted to “Expert Research Chemist” with a Government Service(GS)-14 rating. My expertise was on Antimalarial and Anti-parasitic drug products.

I worked alone doing Chemistry and Manufacturing reviews of all new drug anti-infective drug products submissions (NDA and IND) from pharmaceutical firms submitted to FDA.

As a reviewer, I have the privilege of working 2 days per week at home. I enjoyed this independence so much that I refused a promotion to team leader once. To be a team leader, you will not be able to work at home. You will be required to attend meetings both in-house and with representatives of Pharmaceutical firms every week. In addition you need to supervise six or more chemistry reviewers. However, the second time another opportunity arise, my co-reviewers and supervisor insisted I should apply since I am the best qualified. I did and in 1997, I became a Chemistry Team Leader. As far as I knew, I was the first Filipino-American to attained this position in the history of FDA.

As team leader, I was responsible for prioritizing, assigning, and assuring the technical accuracy of all chemistry, manufacturing and control issues for all new drug applications submitted to the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products, Center of New Drugs. It was also my responsibility to give advice, instruct and promote high morale and teamwork in my group.

In 1998, I won the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award. The citation reads, “For outstanding accomplishments in fostering the objectives of the EEO Program by hiring minorities and encouraging their professional growth while providing excellent leadership.” The award was the result of my hiring the first Black-American chemist in the Division.

I have received numerous certificates of appreciation, awards in leadership and communications, commendation for teamwork and excellence in the accomplishment of the FDA mission. I have also received several letters of appreciation from private industry for my review work.

There is nothing wrong with working alone, if you enjoyed your job. It is even better if you like your immediate supervisor. Working alone develops your skill in goal setting and scheduling. But in general, the monetary rewards is much lower than a person who has supervisory responsibilities.

Managing the works of others is not easy. However, it develops your skill to be more people-oriented and the monetary rewards are great. It is more stressful, more work and responsibility than working alone. But a supervisory job give more personal growth and satisfaction from my personal experience. My work in FDA as a team leader managing the work of six scientists had been the happiest and the most rewarding experience in my life.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Eleven Years after Retirement-Am I still Happy?


Next Month will be my 11th year after retirement. As of today, I am still very happy and felt accomplished, I will tell you why.

About eleven years ago today, I retired from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Before my retirement I was a Chemistry Team Leader for the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products, Center of New Drugs in Silver Spring, Maryland. I considered this job an important venue to contribute my talents and skills to all US consumers and also to all citizens of the world who had purchased anti-infective drug products approved by FDA.

A couple of months after my retirement, I felt useless and missed my co-workers. I also missed the challenge of using my brain in my daily activities as team leader and managing the work of six other FDA employees. This feeling of boredom was slightly alleviated when my wife and I started babysitting for our youngest grand daughter.

Two months after my retirement, a bright idea came to rescue my feeling of inadequacy and uselessness. Why not convert our retirement beach house in the Philippines into a small business-an exclusive beach resort. But, how will I advertised for clients? I decided to create/design a web site. I have no knowledge of creating a web site, but by trial and error, I was able to construct a website, www.chateaudumer.com. I also created another site and I named it http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com

My second activity was to promote the island of Marinduque, Philippines (where our retirement home is located ) as a world tourist destination not only during Holy week but also whole year round. This was achieved via my other two blogs http://marinduqueonmymind.blogspot.com and http://marinduqueawaitsyou.blogspot,com). As a result of this endeavor, I received a letter of Appreciation and Commendation from the Governor of the Province in 2003.

My third activity was to continue in full time mood my volunteer work as a participant/organizer during Marinduque International, Inc medical and dental mission to the province of Marinduque. Along with my spouse, Macrine Nieva Jambalos, we have dedicated our time, resources and hearts to alleviate the medical needs of the poor and needy in the island since our retirement . We have participated to this humanitarian project four times since 2002. I plan again in participating to the next medical mission in Marinduque scheduled for January, 2014.

Last but not least I started writing and blogging. I found this activity relaxing and enjoyable. I had my first article, Marinduque-Ecotourism Capital of the Philippines published in 2009 by www.huliq.com, making me a citizen journalist. This was followed by my two other articles on US National Parks and Monuments and The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant revival in the Philippines. I had also written numerous articles for ViewsHound, now a defunct writing site that was based in UK.

Today, I am also writing for Publish US ( http://pu.blish.us), a writing site based in the US and I also have a page on www.squidoo.com.

May I reiterate that the joy one gets from retirement is very specific. Some enjoy their free time by learning new activities, getting involved with humanitarian projects or spending more time with their grandchildren. Others hate retirement. They missed their coworkers and interaction at work. Others with no children or grandchildren spend their free time on traveling, turning their hobbies into small business or more community involvement. Those that retire and hate it are believed to die earlier than those who enjoy their retirement years.

I suggest you plan your retirement as early as you can. The happier you are on retirement, the longer you will live.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Medical Device for the Treatment of Hypertension


I have hypertension. I am taking a combination of drugs currently to control my blood pressure. Thus, any new development on the treatment of this malady really interest me. The latest development on the cure of hypertension is not a new drug but a medical device. Continue reading if you or your relatives have high blood pressure, especially if your blood pressure is not effectively controlled by medications.

Last month an article by Jo Wiley was published at www.express.co.uk discussing a simple operation that effectively cure high blood pressure of several British patients. It involves a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure without the need for a general anaesthetic. The procedure places a small device known as a Rox Coupler to divert blood from an artery to a vein in the upper thigh. This breakthrough treatment could save thousands of lives each year after the trials showed a substantial and ­permanent reduction in blood pressure and a decrease in drugs needed.

The article reported that cardiologists in London and Eastbourne carried out the first half-hour operations using the keyhole process. They reported the results as “exciting” after patients experienced an immediate reduction in extremely high blood pressure.

Dr Neil Sulke, a cardiologist at Eastbourne General Hospital, said: “This operation holds the promise of a meaningful long-term reduction of high blood pressure in patients whose blood pressure isn’t controlled by their ­medication.”

The article stated that the tests are aimed at significantly improving blood pressure levels in patients who have failed to get their blood pressure under control despite taking three or more drugs. The trial was conducted at The London Chest Hospital by Barts Health NHS Trust.

This is indeed good news for all the millions who are suffering of hypertension. I hope that this device will be approved soon. In the meantime, if you are hypertensive continue your medications and practice a lifestyle of exercise and good diet to live longer and prevent a heart attack or a kidney disease.
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