Twitter gives abandoned, crippled Saudi hope

Updated 13 May 2014
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Twitter gives abandoned, crippled Saudi hope

A cry for help on Twitter has changed the life of a bedridden, lonely Saudi young man.
In fact, a single Tweet was enough to see scores of residents flock to the bedside of 24-year-old Ibrahim, who had become paralyzed in an accident a year-and-a-half ago, only to be reportedly abandoned by his family a few months later.
Thousands of citizens queued at Ibrahim’s door at King Khaled Hospital in Riyadh to offer him moral support. His family reportedly has not visited him in three months and only his sister visits him on Fridays.
Ibrahim took to the social networking site after suffering depression at the sight of other patients being taken care of by their loved ones.
“I need stem cell treatment in Germany to recover from my injury and hope for someone to visit me,” Ibrahim tweeted on Sunday. “I have become restless. My father and brothers have not visited me for three months.”
He added: “I look around and see other patients being visited by their relatives and friends,” he said in his Tweet. His Tweet was “favorited” and retweeted thousands of times , making it one of the most retweeted posts over the past 24 hours.
A hashtag was created for Ibrahim, garnering even more support from sympathetic readers.
Even businessmen expressed their solidarity with Ibrahim, keeping him company and reassuring him that he is not alone. “I saw Ibrahim’s tweet last night and personally came to see him this morning to express my sympathy with his plight,” Waddah Omran, public relations manager at McDonald’s Riyadh, told Arab News.
Students from King Saud University also visited Ibrahim. “We should be there for one another in times of need,” they said.
Many well-wishers had to wait for their turn to enter Ibrahim’s room. Messages of sympathy and support also went viral on Facebook.
Khaled Al-Ammar, a Saudi businessman, has launched a fundraising campaign on Twitter to collect SR2 million to help Ibrahim afford treatment in Germany.
Al-Ammar has urged Saudi businessmen to extend financial support to a fellow countryman in need.
Many businessmen have since come forward with messages on Twitter pledging support for Ibrahim.


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.