Entries in Health (4)


Nelson Mandela in Critical Condition

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, took a turn for the worse and was in critical condition on Sunday in his battle with a lung infection, according to a statement from the South African president's office.

"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands," South African Jacob Zuma said, using Mandela's tribal nickname.

Mandela had been listed in "serious but stable condition" for since he entered the hospital June 8.

The 94-year-old Nobel Peace prize winner's medical team informed the president's office that Mandela's condition become critical over the past 24 hours, according to the statement.

Zuma reiterated Sunday that Mandela's health was not compromised when the ambulance that was bringing him to the hospital in June 8 broke down.

"There were seven doctors in the convoy who were in full control of the situation throughout the period. He had expert medical care," Zuma said. "The fully equipped military ICU ambulance had a full complement of specialist medical staff including intensive care specialists and ICU nurses. The doctors also dismissed the media reports that Madiba suffered cardiac arrest. There is no truth at all in that report."

Mandela was forced to wait for a second ambulance after the first one broke down, the South African government admitted Saturday.

"When the ambulance experienced engine problems it was decided that it would be best to transfer to another military ambulance which itself was accompanied for the rest of the journey by a civilian ambulance," the president's office said Saturday.

Mandela was rushed to the hospital in the early morning hours of June 8, after his health deteriorated rapidly from a recurring lung infection.

News of Mandela's turn for the worse comes after a week in which there were several statement's that his health was improving.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki suggested Saturday that Mandela was getting better.

After speaking to Mandela's doctors, Mbeki told a South African radio station, "Nelson Mandela is improving in terms of his health. I don't think anyone should entertain some sort of wrong notion that Nelson Mandela is about to die tomorrow. He's not going to."

Earlier this week, Mandela's daughter Zenani Mandela-Dlamini told a crowd of reporters outside Mediclinic Heart Hospital her father "is doing very well." President Jacob Zuma has also said publicly Mandela's health is "improving."

In April, Mandela spent 18 days in the hospital due to a lung infection and was treated for gall stones in December 2012.

Mandela served as the first black president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

In 1993, he received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in ending apartheid through non-violent means.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Australian Completes Treadmill Half Marathon -- On a Hot Air Balloon

Zoonar/Thinkstock(CANBERRA, Australia) -- Most people would feel plenty accomplished if they could finish a half-marathon, and even more so if they trekked the 13 miles for charity. But that's child's play for Aussie Rob Ginnivan.

On Thursday, Ginnivan finished a half marathon while on board a treadmill -- which had been loaded onto a hot air balloon.

Ginnivan told the U.K. Telegraph it took him longer than he thought. "What I didn't count on was that the basket actually tilted, so it was like running up a hill. Every time I took a step the basket would sway from left to right so I kind of had this sea type motion being in the air. It was quite bizarre and made it very difficult."

Ginnivan is hoping the stunt will help him raise around $70,000 for a heart foundation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Japan's High Life Expectancy Rate on the Decline?

Imagewerks/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- When it comes to longevity, the Japanese have long been number one.

On average, men there live until they're 79 years old, and women until they're 86.

Healthy living is a source of national pride in the Land of the Rising Sun, but a new study says the life expectancy of Japanese are shrinking.  The report, published in the British Medical Journal, says suicides and smoking are on the rise, and that means longevity is on the decline.

Author Dr. Christopher Murphy attributes the health problems to major financial and social challenges facing the country, including economic stagnation, political turmoil, and an aging population. Dr. Murphy, affiliated with the University of Washington, says it's all taking a toll, by increasing the population's stress levels, tobacco use, and overall anxiety. Japan's public health system isn't addressing the problems, and that's leading to the country's slow decline.

Japanese health care has long been seen as the perfect model.  Infant mortality and infectious diseases declined for decades following World War II.  The system managed to provide universal health coverage for a relatively low price, and the culture taught people to treat health as a social responsibility, not just a personal issue.

But Japan is changing.  The rapidly aging population has made the country the oldest in the world, where the average age is 40 years old. Some of those who don't die of old age take their own lives out of depression in increasing numbers.

At least 30,000 have committed suicide annually for the last 13 years.  The study says that number will continue to increase unless the public health system acts soon. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


India's Health Minister Under Fire; Called Homosexuality a "Disease", India) -- India's minister of health, Ghulam Nabi Azad said he was misquoted after saying that homosexuality was "unnatural" at a HIV/AIDS conference in Delhi on Monday, according to BBC News.

Although homosexuality was legalized in India in 2009, discrimination against the homosexual community in the country is still common.

Azad was criticized by activists for calling homosexuality "a disease which has come from other countries."

"Even though it is unnatural, it exists in our country and is now fast-spreading, making it tough to detect," the health minister said at the conference Monday.

Gay rights activists are now calling for Azad to apologize for the remarks, one even telling BBC News that Azad is "ill-informed" and "living on another planet."

But Tuesday, Azad said in a news conference that his quotes were taken out of context.

"My reference was to HIV as a disease," Azad said, according to BBC News. "As health minister, I know [male homosexual sex] is not a disease."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio