Monthly Archives: February 2006

Spot the ball and win Getsmile!!!!

Well here it is – your chance to win your very own copy of Getsmile!! You’ve all seen the fantastic smilies that we use on the forums and in chat, and now you can win the program that will give you over 1600 smilies, including 700 especially for MSN Messenger!!
All you have to do is………SPOT THE BALL!!!
Our lovely little Rugby smiley is running up the pitch. He passes the ref  and lines up at the goal. He shoots….. But where does the ball go?!?
Here is his goal. All you have to do is guess which square the ball would have appeared in and post your answer here! It could be anywhere… Did he score? Did he miss? At what point was the photo taken?!?
i.e. If you think the ball is in the bottom left hand corner, put M1. Clue – it isn’t that square!!!!
The rules:
  • One guess per member
  • Posts CANNOT be edited once you have posted your answer IF A POST IS EDITED – YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!
  • Please put your answer only in this thread and only post once. If you want to discuss the comp, please do so in the other thread about it – HERE
  • The person who guesses correctly will win Getsmile. In the event of no one guessing correctly, the closest guess will win.
  • In the event of 2 members guessing the same, the one who posted 1st will win.
  • Deadline for entering is 7.30pm on Wednesday 1st March 2006. The winner will be announced at 8.30pm on that day.
The winning square has been chosen and verified in advance between Dizie and Flipflop. Please see the Madmums Competitions Policy for further info (here)
So, get your pundit heads on and decide where you think the ball is! The prize really is fantastic, so get thinking!!! For more information about Getsmile, and to see some of the smilies you could win, click here to visit the Getsmile website 

Madmums quiz night, every Tuesday 9pm

Madmums will be holding a quiz night every week. It will be on a Tuesday at 9pm in the bar! It will be a general knowledge quiz so there will be something in there for everyone.

I hope you will all try to make it. It is a great laugh! I will also send out a prize for the winner each week, how much more insentive do you need?

Come on in and enjoy the fun…..and remember its a free bar to all those that take part  xxxxxx

Drug limits foetal alcohol damage

Alcohol destroys a baby’s brain cells
A drug may be able to reduce the damage caused to babies whose mothers drink heavily during pregnancy.

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) – for which there is no current treatment – is associated with problems such as abnormal growth and mental retardation.

A team at Cornell University in the US found a drug called nicotinamide helped protect mice from FAS.

However, experts warned Public Library of Science Medicine study was no excuse to drink during pregnancy.

FAS is the most common cause of non-genetic mental retardation in the Western world.

Abnormal facial features
Reduced growth
Central nervous system abnormalities
Impaired learning and memory skills
Behavioural problems such as hyperactivity

It is caused by alcohol disrupting the formation and survival of nerve cells in the foetus’ developing brain, particularly in the final three months of pregnancy and the first few years after birth when brain development is particularly active.

The Cornell team injected mice shortly after birth with a dose of alcohol comparable to the amount to which a human foetus would be exposed during a bout of excessive drinking by its mother.

The dose was enough to cause the death of cells in the animals’ brains, and led to behavioural abnormalities after the mice had grown to adulthood.

But when researchers followed the dose of alcohol with an injection of nicotinamide two hours later, the number of cells that died was no greater than in normal brain development, and there were no behavioural abnormalities.

Work needed

The researchers say their investigation is at an early stage, and that much more work is needed before it becomes clear whether the treatment would work in humans.

They also stress that public health strategies should continue to focus on dissuading women from drinking during pregnancy.

However, they say it is possible that alcohol damage to babies might be prevented if a mother took nicotinamide soon after drinking.

Dr Raja Mukherjee, an expert in FAS at St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, agreed that the research was still at an early stage.

He said more information was needed about the safety of taking nicotinamide during pregnancy. The drug is already used to treat auto-immune conditions.

“The piece suggest you can block one drug (alcohol in the form of ethanol) with another drug which may have its own side effects and cause different types of harm during pregnancy.

“Surely the safest way, as the piece suggests, is to not take anything in the fist place rather than block the effects of one thing with another.

“This is not to detract from the importance of the work for those people – ie chronic alcoholics – who find it impossible to stop.”

Dame Karlene Davis, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives warned the new drug should not make women believe that they can drink excessively during pregnancy.

She said: “The RCM is concerned that the availability of this drug could detract pregnant women from the importance of a healthy and well balanced diet throughout her pregnancy.

“Pregnant women should at all times ensure that they’re eating the most appropriate, healthy, fresh food alongside a recommended exercise regime to ensure they’re at their optimal health during pregnancy.”

“FAS is often called the number one preventable birth defect. And the RCM believes that it still is – by following a healthy diet that will benefit both mother and child.”

Getsmile Competition!! Win some smilies!!


Getsmile, who kindly provide the smilies used in the forums and chat, are giving you the chance to win their software in our next Madmums competition.
Unlike other smiley programmes, Getsmile does not contain any spyware, adware or additional programmes like toolbars.   Its doesn’t slow down your PC and id doesn’t make hundreds of changes to your computer. GetSmile is simply the easiest way to express your emotions and thoughts in the Internet. Whether you are writing an email, participating in forums or chatting on MSN Messenger, GetSmile is going to help you express yourself and bring more fun into your life. 

Now you can send, capture, organize and share smileys with one easy-to-use and absolutely safe tool. Finally, the smiley software youve been waiting for is here.
Getsmile comes with over 1600 smilies, including 700 especially for MSN messenger!
This competition will start on Monday 27th February at 7.30pm, and you will again have 48 hours to enter. The competition will close on Wednesday 1st March at 7.30pm and the winner announced at 8.30pm.
In the meantime, please visit the Getsmile website by following the banner add from the affiliates page.
Please read the Madmums Competitions policy here – thank you!!!

Hormone may block premature birth

Image of a small baby
Prematurity carries many health risks
Scientists believe giving pregnant women the hormone progesterone may reduce the risk of a premature birth.

A team at Glasgow University are to test whether the hormone can prevent women going into labour too early.

Around 50,000 babies are born too soon every year in the UK, and can suffer life-long difficulties such as blindness, deafness and cerebral palsy.

The reasons are largley unknown, but there is some evidence to suggest progesterone can reduce the risk.

“The more routes we find to preventing prematurity then the greater the chance of saving lives and preventing lifelong illness”
Andrew Proctor

Progesterone is a female hormone made in the ovaries and produced by the placenta in large quantities during pregnancy.

Lead researcher Professor Jane Norman said: “We’re going to be studying mothers at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the increase in knowledge that this will give us could help in developing new treatments that will save lives.

“In normal labour, white blood cells are activated in the bloodstream and migrate to the womb during the birthing process.

“Sometimes this can happen too soon and we believe that these cells might play a key role in triggering pre-term labour.

“If this is the case then progesterone could stop this from happening by blocking the activation of white blood cells.”


Action Medical Research is running a project called the Touching Tiny Lives Campaign which is designed to find ways to prevent premature birth.

It is hoped to raise

Farmers told to plan for bird flu

Chickens could be ordered inside if the virus reaches the UK
Poultry farmers are being told to prepare to move their birds inside in case avian flu hits the UK.

While it was not inevitable the virus would arrive, the risk had increased, Tony Blair’s spokesman said.

EU farm ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss the spread of the virus, which has now reached France.

UK ministers said it was still not necessary to lock up Britain’s 20 million free-range poultry, despite some experts backing it.

The National Farmers’ Union said such a move would be a “massive over-reaction”.

There are an estimated 200 million birds on farms across the UK and between 10% and 15% are free-range.

Current British policy is that birds would be ordered inside only if the disease was found in the UK.

That possibility has moved a step closer with the news that France has confirmed its first case of the deadly H5N1 virus.

Tony Blair’s official spokesman said: “It is common sense that as the incidents of bird flu on the continent geographically get closer, so the level of concern increases.

“This is a disease which kills birds quite rapidly”
Peter Bradnock
British Poultry Council


“We recognise that, and that is why Defra is issuing new guidance today telling poultry farmers that they should prepare plans to bring their flocks in if that is necessary.

“It is still not inevitable that bird flu will come to the UK, but clearly the risk must be higher today than it was.”

A Defra spokesman said the original guidance to poultry farmers was being repeated, rather than any new advice being issued.

NFU president Tim Bennett said his union was sure poultry producers would be ready to get birds indoors at short notice once it was needed.

Mr Bennett urged shoppers not to stop buying and eating British chicken, which will remain safe to eat.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett agreed, saying it was important “to reassure people that there is no reason to stop eating poultry in the way that they normally do”.

“A one-off dead bird isn’t necessarily something to worry about”
British Veterinary Association


She dismissed claims of confusion over who would be responsible for tackling a UK outbreak and said the jobs of the various services had always been clear.

“If you are asking me where the buck stops, you are looking at it,” she added.

Professor Neil Ferguson, a mathematical biologist from Imperial College London, thinks the government response is right because solutions must be long-term.

He said the H5N1 virus could be endemic in wild bird populations in Western Europe for decades.

EU farm ministers are debating the introduction of a preventive vaccination against bird flu.

However, the government has said this would be hugely expensive and could be confusing because it could only prevent symptoms in birds, not the disease itself.

Dead swans

Nine dead swans have been tested for signs of infection, after reports from the public – two each were from Bury St Edmunds, Winchester and Preston, while individual birds were found in Shrewsbury, Thirsk and Hertfordshire.

A Defra spokesman said the Veterinary Laboratories Agency had confirmed that all nine had tested negative for bird flu.

Several pairs of swans at Abbotsbury Swannery, a nature reserve in Dorset, have been moved about 20 miles inland because of the threat of avian flu.

And nearly 11,200 commercial keepers with 50 birds or more have so far registered on Defra’s central database ahead of the February 28 deadline.

Peter Bradnock, the chief executive of the British Poultry Council, told the BBC his industry was concerned but well-prepared.

In the event of the virus spreading to a UK poultry farm, the disease would be spotted quickly, the farm isolated and hopefully the infection contained, he said.

The H5N1 strain has killed dozens of people in Asia, the vast majority following very close contact with sick birds.

But some scientists fear it could mutate so that it could be passed easily from person to person.

Baby found minutes before womb op

Jeremy, Natasha and Henry Hill-Cannan
The Hill-Cannan family celebrated Henry’s christening recently
A woman who was minutes away from having a hysterectomy after years of failing to conceive discovered she was pregnant after a routine test.

Natasha Hill-Cannan, 33, had attempted to start a family for eight years, and had tried IVF without success.

The mother from Ebbw Vale suffered from endometriosis, an agonizing condition affecting the womb, and agreed to a hysterectomy to try to end the pain.

Her son Henry was born seven months after the cancelled operation.

Mrs Hill-Cannan has spoken for the first time about the birth last August after what she calls her “miracle”.

She had agreed to the hysterectomy at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny following advice from her consultant.

She had been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome in 1994, which caused her to have an irregular menstrual cycle, and with endometriosis in 2000.

“When we were told that was our baby, he fell off the bed and I started crying”
Natasha Hill-Cannan

Mrs Hill-Cannan had been told the chances of having a baby would be very low, as her husband Jeremy, 36, also had a low sperm count.

Initially, she did not think the test result meant anything, as she had had false positive results in the past.

She said: “I had psyched myself for the operation and had been in pain for many years. We had been told we could not have children and I just wanted to be free of pain.

“I was devastated when the operation was postponed because positive pregnancy results had been part of the health problems I was suffering and nothing had ever come of it.

“Even the consultant said there was only a slim chance I was actually pregnant even though the result was positive.”

She was sent for a scan three hours later, which revealed she was 10 weeks pregnant.

“I had rung my husband when the result came back positive, and he said, ‘don’t be silly’.

“He was sitting on my bed when an image came up on the screen and he said ‘What is that?’

“We think he truly is a miracle and have to pinch ourselves every day to make sure we are not dreaming”
Natasha Hill-Cannan

“When we were told that was our baby, he fell off the bed and I started crying. Even the radiographer was stunned,” she said.


“You could hear [the baby's] heart beating and it gives me goose bumps to talk about it now.”

Doctors believe drugs she was given to thin the lining of the womb prior to the operation helped her to conceive.

The couple’s son Henry was born after just 23 minutes of labour.

Mrs Hill-Cannan said: “Henry is doing extremely well. We think he truly is a miracle and have to pinch ourselves every day to make sure we are not dreaming.”

The pregnancy has had a beneficial effect on her condition. “The pain isn’t half as bad as it was,” she added.

As to having another child, Mrs Hill-Cannan remarked: “How do you build on perfection? If it happens it would be great but I think we’re more than happy with Henry.”

‘Baby gap’ as maternity delayed

Mother at home
Parental leave should be paid for three months, the IPPR suggested
There is an annual 90,000 “baby gap” between the number of children women say they want and the number they have, a study suggests.

There would be 13% more births each year if women actually had the number of babies they said they wanted in their 20s, the IPPR report suggested.

However, a third of mothers who returned to work faced a “fertility penalty” in the form of low paid jobs.

Better childcare and parental leave was recommended by the think tank.

‘Demographic fork’

The Institute of Public Policy Research said women who became mothers at 24 missed out on

Vigilance warning over bird flu

The public should report bird deaths to the Defra helpline
The public and poultry keepers have been asked to be “extra vigilant” in reporting any deaths of birds as the presence of bird flu nears the UK.

As France confirmed it had one case of the H5N1 avian flu virus, UK animal health minister Ben Bradshaw said it was of concern the closer it came.

He said the risk of the virus arriving in the UK was “still low”.

“But vigilance and swift reaction is the most important thing in the event of any outbreak,” he said.

The H5N1 strain has killed dozens of people in Asia, the vast majority following very close contact with sick birds.

But some scientists fear it could mutate so that it could be passed easily from person to person.

“We wouldn’t want to do anything that was unnecessary or jeopardise people’s businesses unnecessarily”
Ben Bradshaw
Animal health minister

The wild duck was found near Lyon in south-east France, and subsequently tested positive for H5N1.

In the UK, Mr Bradshaw said any reported dead birds would be tested.

The president of the British Veterinary Association, Dr Freda Scott Park, said people should report any dead birds to the Defra helpline.

Officials stressed that no H5N1 virus had been found in the UK, but Mr Bradshaw warned that the poultry industry needed to be ready to act.

“Poultry keepers really need to be ready to house their birds at short notice should that be required.”

He said that until the source of any outbreak was identified – whether wild or domestic birds – then the government would ask poultry keepers to keep birds inside where practicable.

Other measures such as enclosing birds in wire netting or feeding and watering birds indoors would also be recommended.

Government powers

The government does have the power to impose compulsory slaughter or restriction of movement.

“Those powers are proportionate to the risk,” Mr Bradshaw said.

“We wouldn’t want to do anything that was unnecessary or jeopardise people’s businesses unnecessarily,” Mr Bradshaw said.

He said an outbreak would not have the same impact as the foot-and-mouth epidemic five years ago.

Bird flu “was not nearly as virulent”, nor does it travel on the air and only spreads through contact with bird faeces.

Mr Bradshaw also said that the poultry industry was not as concentrated as the dairy industry.

The National Union of Farmers has also expressed worry over the development in France, with its poultry spokesman saying: “I’m more concerned than I was a week ago.”

Charles Bourne, chairman of the NFU’s poultry board, said it was a “good pointer” that no commercial birds had been affected in Europe.

Defra helpline is 08459 33 55 77