Help Me Celebrate 1 Million Views: 5 Days Till #Christmas #MondayBlogs #MerryChristmas #Xmas #ASMSG


Welcome to the celebration. It’s five days until Christmas, and I’m celebrating an early Christmas gift. I’m celebrating one million page views on this blog. That’s incredible, amazing, and for me, mindboggling. I can’t even count to one million…well, if I did count to one million, it would probably take me a million days to do it.

So, I’m happy today. One million page views is an incredible number. It deserves to be celebrated with the people who made it happen. That means all of the people who came to read my writing on this blog. As you know, it has been in a constant state of evolution over the years.

What appears on this blog is personal, it is professional, and above all, it is not perfect. I write what I believe in. I write what I believe is important. I write what I would like to share with a good friend, you, the reader(s).

Each year, I’ve written less than the previous year. I’ve grown more insightful, more observant, more meticulous about what I share with you. I’ve never tried to be all things to all people. Often, what I write is counter to the beliefs and opinions that you might have. This is good, the fact that you may not always agree with me. It allows us to exercise our best judgement about the issues of the day.
1 - 1 A Million Site Visits
1 - 1 A Months & Years

As you know, I’m passionate about education, especially education in Chile. Education in Chile (public education) is currently undergoing a transformative process, from a market based theoretical underpinning, to a more equitable, inclusive model. Although I work in the private sector, I am in full agreement that equity and inclusion of all socioeconomic backgrounds in the same classroom would greatly benefit social cohesion in Chile, and ultimately, provide a solid framework to achieve higher quality education for everyone.

Speaking of education, I am no longer the Coordinator of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK Chile, a position I’ve held for the past 4 years. I’m proud of what the English department was able to achieve during that time. Here are a few highlights, if you will indulge me:

1. Ranked in Top 1% of schools in Chile in 2012
2. Ranked in Top 2% of schools in Chile in 2010
3. Over 90% success rate / pass rate on international exams
4. Passed International Baccalaureate MYP evaluation
5. 100% of English teachers international certified at CEFR level B2/FCE or higher

I would be remiss if I did not include the following:

6. 65 books written and published in 4 years

Wow! How did I do that? How did I write so many books? And then publish them? And then promote them?

That’s easy. None of it would have been possible without the love, understanding and support of my wife, Gabriela. Without her, I would be doing none of the things that I do. Somehow, she makes it all seem like what I do matters. When I look in her eyes, and I see her smiling face, and hear her speak the words from her heart to mine, “I Love You”, then it is the least I can do to give her something in return. And that’s the secret of my writing. I put my soul into it, my heart, and my mind, knowing that there is one person, my Gaby, who makes it all worthwhile.

So, what’s ahead for me?

I think now is the best possible time for me to seek a new challenge. So, I’m looking for a new job. Let me repeat that:


There, I said it quite loud, but it’s only because I wanted to convince you I’m serious. There is always a moment in time when you find yourself at a crossroads. You basically have two choices,

1) to just play it safe, and stay where you are. It’s familiar, there are no surprises, tranquil, predictable. If I stayed at my current job, as a teacher of English at Colegio SEK International School, I would be playing it safe.

2) The second choice is to take a risk, and try something new. That’s scary, because what if you fail? The unknown is full of surprises, turbulent, and unpredictable. If I take a new job, in a new capacity, I would definitely NOT be playing it safe.

A very wise man (Nelson Mandela) said: “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

As I said before, I’m looking for a new job.

I have nothing else that I would like to accomplish at my current job, no unfinished business.

The time I’ve invested in my work over the past four years have been mutually beneficial for everyone concerned. Nonetheless, nobody is irreplaceable. I was fortunate to have played a significant role in the preparation of the person who will succeed me. There is an absolute confidence that success will reward the efforts of the future.

So, if you think I would be a good addition to your educational efforts in the field of English Language Teaching in Chile, contact me and let me know how I can help you to achieve your goals. It would be a pleasure and an honor for me to consider your proposal.

In sum, I am thankful beyond words for all of you, each and every person who has read my writing on this blog. Without your readership, most certainly my authorship would not have been as it was. You have my gratitude, and my hope that you will continue to support my efforts as a writer, as a teacher of English, and as a human being. Thank you, again.

Next year, on January 5, 2015, (I think that is the date), I will be down south, in Concepción, Chile, giving a presentation to teachers of English in the DAEM of the Hualpén community. I will be talking about the way in which I believe Chile can become a bilingual country, why it matters, and how the seemingly impossible goal (bilingualism) is within the limits of our human potential. I promise it will be interesting, thought provoking, and above all, well worth your time to attend the seminar.

Finally, let me close this very special post, because how often do you get a chance to make two important and special announcements at the same time?

1. I’m looking for a new job. Contact me if you think I can help you.

2. This blog has had ONE MILLION PAGE VIEWS. Amazing and awesome, fabulous and fantastic, marvelous and magnificent!

For me, this is the first time ever. It’s taken four years, and hopefully, the next million page views will come even sooner.

There are only five days until Christmas. Gaby and I wish you and your family and friends a very Merry Christmas, a Prosperous New Year, and lots of Happiness in 2015!

Thomas Baker
(Happy Holidays)

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#MerryChristmas! Books Make Great #XmasGifts! #ASMSG #Christmas #Presents #MondayBlogs

Books make great gifts. Why? According to a very wise man: “Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them.” Books inspire us, motivate us, thrill us, and most importantly, help us to be better people. So, give the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season. Here’s 5 good reasons to give someone you love a book this Christmas:

1. Books R Awesome – plain and simple.

2. Families can always find space for a book in their hearts.

3. Books R super easy to wrap.

4. The right book can be enjoyed by the entire family.

5. Books are treasured. They are kept, re-read and handed around and down through generations.

Need more reasons? Books inform us and delight us and they are “ready on demand,” just waiting on your book shelf for your next free moment. With that in mind, here is a list of a few titles that could make great gifts for readers on your list this year.

Looking For Catarina: A Love Story From Santiago de Chile to Florence, Italy.

An Italian-Chilean teacher of English travels From Santiago de Chile to Florence, Italy to celebrate New Years in his mother’s home country. What he will discover is a centuries-old love story that will defy his imagination. How this happens is a mystery that involves the paranormal and time travel. In the end, this is a poetic, mystical and magical tale of the true nature of love. It is the dilemma that every love story from the beginning of time has been faced with, namely: How long are you willing to wait for the one you love? Read this book for the surprising answer to that question…

Boudicca: Her Story.
Who was Queen Boudicca? Boudicca was the Warrior Queen of the ancient Iceni tribe. She is arguably England’s first, famous, female ruler. Tacitus, the Roman historian, writing over 30 years after the events he records, tells us she was a loving and devoted wife, obedient yet fully emancipated, loyal to her people, a loving mother, a determined foe, a fierce warrior in battle, and someone who never accepted defeat.

For some, Queen Boudicca will be forever surreal, a legend, a myth, a mystical person created by Tacitus. Others will see her through a practical, more historical lens, as a barbarian, warlike, incapable of peacefully compromising with the Romans for the greater good of all. For some, she will be a ruthless, vengeful, bloodthirsty woman. Indeed, how much blood must flow when a wrong is committed against your family and your people? The only one who could properly answer this question is the one who has suffered at the hands of the wrongdoer, the oppressor. We have been told the Roman story, the victor. What might the loser’s story be, if it were to be told?

Alexis Sanchez: The Beautiful Game: Poetry In Motion.

A quick, entertaining story about a super star in The Beautiful Game! The energy and the enthusiasm for the man and the game comes through in this inspiring tale of an athlete who gives his all to the game and, in turn, thrills fans around the world. There’s an almost athletic pace to the telling of this story that captures and conveys the joy soccer brings to “aficionados” and occasional viewers who tune in when the World Cup is at stake. The links included in the book is a bonus, a chance to see for yourself—poetry in motion.

Meet Me In Memphis: A Story of True Love.

This is a story of true love, a love story, a tale of serendipitous romance and fortuitous misfortune. It’s got a familiar feel, mixing in the culture of two nations, and two world-renowned cities, Memphis and Santiago. A romance needs beauty, and this book has the mythological beauty of a goddess present within its pages. And to make it complete, there’s a courageous teacher of English, with a dilemma, with a choice to make, a difficult decision to deliver. A word of caution: The reading of this book will cause you to feel the need to travel, to go “Walking in Memphis”, to enjoy the culture and customs, the music and the food, soul food. Why not try a delicious pecan pie while you are in Memphis?

Bilingual in Chile: An Impossible Dream?

Thomas Jerome Baker’s “Bilingual in Chile:: An Impossible Dream?” is well-researched, easy to follow and inspiring. I applaud the author for dedicating this book to all English language teachers and students and for his passion that clearly comes across. Very interesting to learn how bilingual minds work more efficiently.

Mr. Baker is able to explain what will make the people from different parts of the world, not just from Chile more self-sufficient by being able to communicate in English.This is such an inspiring subject, life changing, I am certain.

Quote ~ “When you make bilingualism a way of life. As a way of life, it becomes transformative. It transforms the possibilities for social, economic, and personal success. Doors that were previously closed are suddenly open.”

Ebola Virus Disease: From Epidemic To Pandemic: What You Should Know.

Quote ~ U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power: “Ebola has no greater friend than fear. The virus thrives on it. We see fear in the affected countries…

It is fear that leads community members to stigmatize survivors of the virus, or the relatives of those who have died, or even the health professionals and other people aiding in the response…

A 24-year-old survivor in Guinea told me she had lived three lives: her life before Ebola; her life in the hell of her infection; and her life since recovering. She said the stigma she has suffered since beating Ebola has made her current life the hardest.

All over the world, governments and our fellow citizens are afraid that if we send doctors or nurses or soldiers or engineers or other volunteers to the affected countries, we will put our own communities at risk… The fear is understandable. Many of our countries, like those most affected, are dealing with Ebola for the first time, and it is a dangerous and terrifying virus…

We must ask ourselves: twenty years from now, when we look back on this historic crossroads, will we want to say we left this fight to the people of the affected countries?

Will we want to say we did not act because we thought others would win the fight without our help?

Will we want to admit that fear held us back?

If we will not want to give these answers when we are asked in twenty years – and make no mistake, we will all be asked – we have to do more.” (end of quote)

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#ASMSG Anyone who is good at #German learns #English better #IARTG #edchat #eslchat #ukedchat #cpchat #edcamp #T4US #Xmas #Christmas

There is a lively ongoing debate in the field of second language acquisition as to whether (i) a “sensitive” period of bilingual language development really exists, and, if it does, (ii) what are its age boundaries (Flege, Yeni-Komshian and Liu, 1999; Friederici, Steinhauer and Pfiefer, 2002; Hakuta, Bialystok and Wiley, 2003; Singleton and Ryan, 2004)?

Researchers study relevant issues from a wide variety of perspectives, and languages. Below are two abstracts from recent research done that explores the optimal age of acquisition. Does it matter when children learn a foreign or second language? Is it better for children to learn the mother language first, and then later learn the second language? Read on, for some surprising answers from two very different contexts…


How does age of first bilingual language exposure affect reading development in children learning to read in both of their languages? Is there a reading advantage for monolingual English children who are educated in bilingual schools? We studied children (grades 2–3, ages 7–9) in bilingual Spanish–English schools who were either from Spanish-speaking homes (new to English) or English-speaking homes (new to Spanish), as compared with English-speaking children in monolingual English schools. An early age of first bilingual language exposure had a positive effect on reading, phonological awareness, and language competence in both languages: early bilinguals (age of first exposure 0–3 years) outperformed other bilingual groups (age of first exposure 3–6 years). Remarkably, schooling in two languages afforded children from monolingual English homes an advantage in phoneme awareness skills. Early bilingual exposure is best for dual language reading development, and it may afford such a powerful positive impact on reading and language development that it may possibly ameliorate the negative effect of low SES on literacy. Further, age of first bilingual exposure provides a new tool for evaluating whether a young bilingual has a reading problem versus whether he or she is a typically-developing dual-language learner.

Your literacy skills in your first language heavily influence the learning of a foreign language. Thus, anyone who reads and writes German well is likely to transfer this advantage to English – regardless of the age of onset of foreign language learning. Foreign language lessons at an early age, however, pay off less than was previously assumed. In fact, they can even have a negative impact on the first language in the short run, as a linguist from the University of Zurich reveals in her long-term study involving 200 Zurich high-school children.

“A tree must be bent while it is young,” as one saying about learning a foreign language goes. In other words, the earlier you start learning a foreign language systematically, the better the language level will be in the long run. The second widely held view is that you need to be solid in your first language (L1) in order to develop good literacy skills in the foreign language.

Linguist Simone Pfenninger from the University of Zurich has been examining these two myths in her five-year study involving Swiss high-school children in order to identify the optimal starting age for learning German as a language of literacy and English as a foreign language. The partial results she has just published reveal that anyone who reads and writes German well is likely to carry over this advantage to English – and, interestingly, regardless of the age of onset of foreign language learning or the biological age.

The study also shows that students who are given early exposure to English do not maintain a clear advantage for more than a relatively short period over students who begin to learn the language only at secondary level. In fact, early foreign language learning can even have a negative impact on the L1 in the short run.

Positive and negative influences of German on English researched

For five years, the UZH scientist has been studying the extent to which starting age, biological age and L1 skills – Swiss or High German – influence the development of English proficiency. In order to test their skills in German and English, the literacy skills of 200 randomly selected high-school children in the Canton of Zurich were tested at the beginning and towards the end of their obligatory schooling in the senior grades. One group had begun English lessons in primary school at the age of eight, while the second group had only started English in high school at the age of thirteen.

Besides the positive influence of German on English, the negative influences and transfer of structures from the L1 to the foreign language were also studied in the areas of syntax and morphology. “After all, as the mother tongue becomes increasingly entrenched, you might also expect an increasing negative influence of the L1 on English,” explains Pfenninger.

As the results showed, foreign language lessons at an early age did not have a beneficial impact either in the long or in the short term. Already after six months learners who had started five years later had caught up with the early learners and sometimes even surpassed them, e.g. in terms of morpho-syntactic accuracy and complexity, syntactic fluency, grammaticality judgment, and content-related and structural aspects of written expression. However, the early learners had a larger vocabulary at the first measurement and less of a tendency to fill the gaps in their vocabulary in the foreign language with so-called “code-switching” into German. “By the second assessment, shortly before the final high-school exams, there were no longer any differences between early and late starters,” says Pfenninger.

Late starters had better German writing skills

According to the study’s author, the slightly disappointing results for early foreign language learning can be attributed to the following reasons (among others): at the beginning of high school, the late learners exhibited significantly better German writing skills than the early learners, who had already been taught German, English and French in elementary school. The late learners therefore began foreign language lessons with a more favorable foundation in the language of literacy. By the second assessment five years later, however, this advantage had disappeared.

Moreover, the link between German and English writing skills also displayed a positive and significant correlation: “Anyone who is good at German can carry over this advantage to the foreign language, utterly regardless of the age when they start learning the foreign language or their biological age,” sums up Pfenninger. Therefore, the results of this study have shown so far that, where success is concerned, this does not relate for the most part to age of onset or length of the exposure to the foreign language.

Pfenninger, Simone E. The Literacy Factor in the Optimal Age Debate: a 5-Year Longitudinal Study. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. December 10, 2014. doi: 10.1080/13670050.2014.972334

University of Zurich

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#MondayBlogs: Feliz Navidad! #MerryChristmas! #Xmas Countdown => 33 Days Until Christmas! #ASMSG

There are only 33 days until Christmas! Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? Give someone you love a book this Christmas.

¡Felices Fiestas!

Pavarotti,Carreras,Domingo – Feliz Navidad
(We Wish You A Merry Christmas)
Bought a #Kindle 4 #Xmas?

Make sure 2 buy #Books! ★ #read #ASMSG ★★ RT @profesortbaker – video created at

We Wish You A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

Feliz Navidad! Prospero Año y Felicidad!

Give a gift that keeps on giving.

Give someone a book this Christmas.

Books are 4Ever! Public Speaking Story Tellers: In Pursuit of Happiness Looking For Catarina Boudicca: Warrior Queen (paperback) Meet Me In Memphis Five Short Stories

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#BookReview of: “The Last #Vestal #Virgin” by Lorraine Carey #ASMSG #IARTG

1 - A TheLastVestalVirgin

History meets mystery… “The Last Vestal Virgin“, by Lorraine Carey, skillfully merges the historical, the paranormal, and the mysterious into an unforgettable tale. Right from the beginning, the reader is provided with the background information that will prove essential to understanding the unfolding tale. We are aware that the protagonist, Christina Ciccone, has extraordinary beauty and visionary gifts that will be an integral element to the story. Her nightmarish dream of being dressed in a white gown, veiled, in a dark, candle-lit room, foreshadows what is to come. Nothing will be as it seems to be.

The attractive cover photography, of a beautiful woman dressed in white, with the word “vestal”, written in white, and the word, “virgin” written in red, is subtle, yet suggestive, to the discerning eye. A master storyteller is at work, showing rather than telling, leaving clues in plain sight. We are forewarned, prepared to be shocked, frightened, horrified even. The Supernatural will come into play. A dark secret will be uncovered. Christina is the “Chosen One.” Rome’s ancient cult of the Vestal Virgins is vying to control her destiny. Vestal Virgins? Who, or what, are the Vestal Virgins??? We turn to the Ancient History Encyclopedia for an answer:

(quote) “Vestal Virgins( Latin: Vestales) were the priestesses of the Roman goddess of the hearth, Vesta, in the state religion of ancient Rome. At varying times there were four to six priestesses employed. They were the only full-time clergy (collegia) of a Roman deity which attests to the high regard in which the goddess was held. They tended the sacred fire in the shrine of Vesta in the Roman Forum and performed other rites associated with the goddess such as caring for the sacred objects in the shrine and inner sanctuary, preparing ritual food and officiating at public events during the yearly Vestalia, Vesta’s feast days (June 7-15). They also ritually prepared the herbs sprinkled on sacrifices and made the bread (pane) which was offered on feast days such as March 1st, which was the Roman New Year.

The Roman writer Plutarch (45-120 CE) notes, “Some are of the opinion that these vestals had no other business than the preservation of [the sacred] fire; but others conceive that they were keepers of other divine secrets, concealed from all but themselves.” Their duties required them to remain chaste and male clergy were not allowed to participate in the rites concerning Vesta and the Vestales. The Collegia of the Vestales, according to ancient writers such as Livy, was instituted during the reign of the second (possibly mythical) Roman king Numa Pompilius (717-673 BCE) and remained a sigificant part of Roman life until 394 CE when the Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed against pagan rituals, had the sacred fire put out, and dissolved the Vestales.

PerfectThe virgins were chosen between the ages of six and ten years old by the chief priest and had to serve for 30 years (during which time they, of course, had to remain chaste). Once their 30 years of service was completed, they were free to marry, but very few did as it was considered unlucky since they had, essentially, been the brides of Vesta for most of their lives and were consecrated to the goddess. Plutarch writes,

The whole [of their] term being completed, it was lawful for them to marry, and leaving the sacred order, to choose any conditions of life that pleased them; but of this permission few, as they say, made use; and in cases where they did so, it was observed that their change was not a happy one, but accompanied ever after with regret and melancholy; so that the greater number, from religious fears and scruples, forebore, and continued to old age and death in the strict observance of a single life.

If a Vestal Virgin failed in her duties, she was severely beaten and the punishment for loss of virginity was being buried alive, though other, worse, punishments were sometimes given such as having molten lead poured down one’s throat. Even so, the Vestal Virgins were honored by the community, had most of their needs provided for by temple tithes, and were free of many of the restrictions Roman women had to endure. It was, in fact, because they were so highly regarded that the punishment of breaking their vows was so severe. Plutarch writes, “If these vestals commit any minor fault, they are punishable by the high-priest only, who scourges the offender, sometimes with her clothes off, in a dark place, with a curtain drawn between; but she that has broken her vow is buried alive near the gate called Collina, where a little mound of earth stands.” Most of the virgins on record kept their vows, however, and continued through time to honor their goddess Vesta, and the city and people of Rome, until the coming of Christianity.

The fall of the Roman Empire, it was argued, was caused by the acceptance of Christianity and the neglect of the old gods who had kept the city safe and prosperous for so long. Both St. Augustine and Orosius wrote in defense of this very accusation. The desecration of the temple of Vesta, and the disbanding of the Vestal Virgins, was seen by pagans as the height of ingratitude for the service the goddess had given the city over the centuries. A woman named Serena, the Christian niece of Theodosius I, is said to have desecrated Vesta’s temple by taking the necklace from her statue and claiming it for her own. For this act she was cursed by one of the last remaining Vestal Virgins and was tormented by nightmares about her impending death. Whether she died young is not known, nor is the truth of the account verified, but the fact that it survives attests to the importance the Vestales played in the life of ancient Rome and what their loss meant to those of the city who did not place their faith in the new god of the Christians.” (end of quote)
Source: Ancient History Encyclopedia

In sum, this is a highly entertaining, well-written story. Genuine fans of historical fiction, mystery, and paranormal will enjoy this story. The background knowledge of the Vestal Virgins will surely serve to enhance the reader’s enjoyment. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of “How to Teach Debating

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#ASMSG #Teaching #Academic #Writing: Problematization of Teaching

November 17, 2014
By Dr. Joyce Knudsen

“We realized that if we could represent practice, then the possibilities for investigating and communicating about teaching and learning-by different communities-would be enhanced. Although others wanted to highlight our practice, what we needed to draw on was our knowledge of investigative practice, not our own evolving knowledge of practice itself. We understood this as a problem of representation and communication. How could the many complex layers of practice be represented? And how could practice be engaged and discussed by a wider range of people concerned with teaching and learning? – Deborah Loewenberg Ball and Magdalene Lampert

One telling measure of how differently teaching is regarded from traditional scholarship or research within the academy is what a difference it makes to have a “problem” in one versus the other. In scholarship and research, having a “problem” is at the heart of the investigative process; it is the compound of the generative questions around which all creative and productive activity revolves. But in one’s teaching, a “problem” is something you don’t want to have, and if you have one, you probably want to fix it.

Asking a colleague about a problem in his or her research is an invitation; asking about a problem in one’s teaching would probably seem like an accusation. Changing the status of the problem in teaching from terminal remediation to ongoing investigation is precisely what the movement for a scholarship of teaching is all about. How might we make the problematization of teaching a matter of regular communal discourse?” – Randy Bass

This book by author Thomas Baker makes a positive contribution to the scholarship and problematization of “Teaching Academic Writing“. Is there really a Passive Voice Controversy? Maybe, maybe not, but we won’t know until we open this problem for discussion about the best way to deal with this for a wide diversity of English language learners.

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Doctor Who Caught and Beat #Ebola Hits the Road to Donate #Blood, Dispel #Myths #ASMSG

By Caroline Chen
Nov 6, 2014

This article first appeared on

1 - Dr Kent Brantly

Just two weeks after Kent Brantly, the first person to be treated on U.S. soil for Ebola, walked out of Emory University Hospital cured of the deadly virus, he received a call.

Another doctor, Rick Sacra, was infected. Would he be willing to donate some of his blood?

“I said, ‘I would give Rick Sacra my right arm if it would help him,’” Brantly told reporters at an event in North Carolina.

The 33-year-old, who was infected with Ebola while working as a missionary doctor in Liberia, became a household name on Aug. 2 as cable-news outlets showed him walking, covered in protective gear, into the entrance at Emory in Atlanta. Now cured, Brantly said his new mission is to raise awareness about the Ebola outbreak that has infected more than 13,000 people in West Africa, killing almost 5,000.

“If I were still in Liberia, I would be treating 50 patients in an Ebola treatment unit, and here, with this platform that I’ve been given, hopefully my message can have an effect that will impact and help thousands,” he said yesterday in an interview.

Brantly continues to share his antibody-enriched blood with other patients. While the use of survivor’s blood isn’t a proven therapy against Ebola, the World Health Organization urged in September it be used as an experimental treatment. Survivors develop antibodies that recognize the virus and, in theory, donating some to a sick patient may help fight the disease.

A Positive

A month after giving his blood to Sacra, Brantly was driving across the country with his family when he was called again. Ashoka Mukpo, a cameraman for NBC, had been admitted with Ebola at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and his blood type — A positive — matched Brantly’s.

Brantly stopped the car in Kansas City, Missouri, at a local blood bank, where his blood was drawn and sent to Nebraska. Several days later, he visited nurse Nina Pham in Dallas to repeat the process.

Brantly said he doesn’t mind continuing to be a source of blood for Ebola patients.

“I hope and pray there is no more need for convalescent serum treatment for Ebola in the United States,” he said. “But if there is, I will definitely be willing.”

Brantly’s heightened profile may also be helping generate donations to Samaritan’s Purse, the charity that had sent him to West Africa. Today, the group sent a chartered Boeing 747 stuffed with 90 tons of supplies to Liberia.

Quarantine Concern

The heightened awareness of Ebola has cut both ways, also creating a climate of fear in cities like New York and Dallas and leading to a debate over whether people at risk of infection should be quarantined. Brantly called on lawmakers to do away with 21-day quarantine requirements for health workers returning from West Africa, and instead provide incentives for more doctors to volunteer in the affected countries.

“If we’re going to treat the volunteers who go over there harshly or like criminals, then it callouses us and removes our sense of compassion for the people we need to be helping right now,” he said.

Brantly is living with his family in north Texas, and has taken on the title of “medical missions adviser” for Samaritan’s Purse, according to Todd Shearer, a spokesman for the group. This is a new position created for Brantly so he can travel around the country raising awareness about the Ebola crisis.

Future Plans

Brantly will act as an adviser for “the foreseeable future,” Shearer said, though Brantly told reporters that he hopes to return someday to work in Liberia.

Part of his personal mission is “to dispel the fear around Ebola,” he said. Brantly recounted a conversation with a taxi driver in New York City on the day that Craig Spencer was diagnosed and isolated at Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan.

“I was trying to reassure that taxi driver, ‘You have zero risk of getting Ebola.’ He said, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Do you know the guy who’s in the hospital?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Did you give him a hug today?’ ‘No.’ ‘Then you have no risk of getting Ebola.’”

(An earlier version of this story included an incorrect number provided by the aid organization for the amount of goods flown to West Africa.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Caroline Chen in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at Andrew Pollack

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Is #Ebola Going To Kill You? Top 10 Causes of #Death Worldwide #ASMSG

Graphic: John McCann Source: Center For Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Vox

Graphic: John McCann Source: Center For Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Vox

CAPE TOWN, South AfricaEbola has grabbed all the headlines, but HIV still remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease – killing nearly the same number of people every day that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has so far killed in 9 months

First posted at The Richest
by Elyssa Rosadiuk
Jan 3, 2014

Top 10 Leading Causes Of Death In 2013

Throughout history, various diseases, influenzas, and wars have plagued the world. The Black Plague decimated 14th century Europe with an estimated 75 million deaths. Small Pox, along with gunfire, wiped out an entire North American ethnic group. The Spanish Influenza claimed about 50 million lives around the world between the years of 1918-1920. About 50 million people, both military and civilian alike, were killed in World War II. And even though Tuberculosis is no longer in the top 10 causes of death around the world, it was still the main cause behind the deaths of 1.3 million people in 2012.

Although the world has suffered through many fatalities, there are 10 leading causes of death that plague the world in a whole new way. They don’t attack in waves, aren’t really caused by just touching other people, and cause many to lose their loved ones. The order of the top 10 causes of death in a country, vary according to the country and the income class that you are researching, but around the world these are the top 10 leading causes of death for about 55% of the world’s population.

10. Prematurity: 1.2 Million Deaths

Prematurity has claimed the title of 10th top causes of death around the world and is the leading cause behind 1.2 million deaths. If a child is born before 35 weeks, it is considered premature and the baby is usually kept in the hospital’s intensive care unit. If a woman goes into labor before 37 weeks it is called preterm labor, and “late preterm” babies are born between 34-37 weeks, they are still handled carefully. Babies that do not look premature and are not put into intensive care, are still at risk for more problems than the full-term babies. Premature babies tend to have trouble breathing, feeding, and are more at risk of catching an infection.

If the mother has certain health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, these may contribute to preterm labor. 15% of all premature births are multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.). Other factors that contribute to preterm labor include: a weakened cervix, birth defects in the uterus, history of preterm labor, infections (urinary tract, amniotic membrane, etc.), poor nutrition during pregnancy, high blood pressure, age (girls under 16, and woman older than 35), smoking, taking drugs, and being underweight all contribute to premature births.

November 17th is World Prematurity Day where countries raise awareness for prenatal care, and to honor preterm babies and their families. An average of 15 million babies were born prematurely in 2013, with an 8% of those infants dying. March of Dimes is the leading American organization in raising awareness for premature births.

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9. Road Injury: 1.3 Million Deaths

Road injury is the leading cause of death for 1.3 million people. Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15-29 years. About 91% of the world’s road fatalities occur in low-income and middle-income countries, even though these countries only have about half of the world’s vehicles. Approximately half of road related deaths are “vulnerable road users”: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Only 28 countries (7% of the world’s population), have adequate laws that address all 5 risk factors of road/vehicle deaths: speed, drunk-driving, helmets, seat belts, child restraints.

Distracted driving has also become a huge issue when it comes to road related injuries. It has in fact become the leading cause behind road related deaths. In the first 7 weeks of 2012, 9 people died on the road in Canada because of distractions such as texting while driving.

Russia, China, and India have the highest road related injury and deaths around the world. This has become such a big issue in Russia, cars actually have a Dash-Cam in order to tell whose fault an accident was.


8. HIV/AIDS: 1.63 Million Deaths

35.6 million people are living in the world with HIV, with an estimated 2.3 million newly affected. On top of that 1.63 million died from AIDS-related illnesses. 33% reduction since 2001 of newly affected people with HIV, while AIDS continues to severely impact countries like China and Africa.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus infects cells of the immune system, destroying or severely impairing their function. HIV Is transmitted through unprotected sex, (vaginal, anal, oral), with an infected person. It is also transmitted through the transfusion of contaminated blood. Basically it is past with the introduction of human bodily fluids, including milk from a mother.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, which applies to the most advanced stage of HIV. AIDS isn’t the direct cause of death, but because of how it greatly impacts the immune system, the smallest cold can cause death.

World AIDS Day, December 1, has become an incredibly important day throughout the world.

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7. Diarrheal Diseases: 1.9 Million Deaths

Affects Africa (average of 130.3 per 1000,000 people), and India (132.7 per 100,000 people) the most and affects the greatest number of children under the age of 5. It is treatable and preventable, but many people who have it don’t know, or can’t afford the treatment. It is caused by the lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene.

It kills about 760,000 children under the age of 5 and affects 1.7 billion people globally. In total, it was the cause of 1.9 million deaths in 2013, between children and adults.


6. Lung Cancer: 2 Million Deaths

A leading cause of death of people around the world, lung cancer is caused by multiple factors. It is the second most common cancer in the world after breast cancer. More than 8-10 cases of lung cancer are in people aged 60 or older, and the occurrence of lung cancer in Scotland is one of the highest. The lowest lung cancer rates are in Middle African countries.

Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates, as two-thirds of patients are diagnosed in too late of a stage when curative treatment is not possible. Around 30% of diagnosed people survive at least one year after diagnosis, and more than three/quarters of people who die from this cancer are 65 or over. Around 2 million people died worldwide in 2013.

The link between tobacco and cancer was established over 50 years ago, and smoking causes more than 4 in 5 lung cancers in the UK. Smoking, secondhand smoking, occupational exposures (such as asbestos), exposure to radon when you are a smoker increases your chances, and diesel exhaust. Poor diet is also a contributing factor.

1 - A Lung Cancer

5. COPD: 3.4 Million Deaths

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a long-term lung disease often caused by smoking. It is a life-threatening lung disease that interferes with normal breathing and an estimated 70 million people have COPD worldwide. Approximately 3.4 million people died this past year because of this serious lung blockage, and total deaths are expected to increase 30% over the next 10 years.

COPD is a lung disease that is characterized by the persistent blockage of airflow from the lungs. It is not fully reversible if treated, and chronic bronchitis and emphysema are now included with COPD.

Symptoms include: shortness of breath, a mix of saliva and mucus in the airway (abnormal sputum), and chronic coughing. It is not curable, but can be helped with various forms of treatment. Certain medicines that help dilate the airways are often used to help people have an easier time.

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4. Lower Respiratory Infections: 3.4 Million Deaths

These infections include pneumonia, lung abscesses, and acute bronchitis. They are the leading causes of 3.4 million deaths around the world, which occurred mainly in children. Influenza also falls under this category.

Bronchitis can be acute or chronic, as well as bacterial or viral. It affects over 40 per 1000 adults each year, and consists of extreme inflammation of the major bronchi and trachea. Pneumonia occurs in a variety of situations and treatment can vary as well. It is most often caused by bacteria and is extremely dangerous with a mortality rate of 25%. Both of them can usually be cured with antibiotics, but they are very dangerous for elderly and those with immune deficiencies such as those with AIDS.

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3. Diabetes: 3.5 Million Deaths

About 347 million people in the world suffer from diabetes and 3.5 million people died in 2013. Diabetes in Africa is especially problematic as a large portion of the population has diabetes, but 80% of those go undiagnosed. There are a few different types of diabetes:

Type 1: body’s failure to produce sufficient amounts of insulin. Approximately 15% with diabetes has Type 1 and always need insulin treatments.

Type 2: body’s resistance to insulin, often caused by normal or increases levels of circulating insulin. 85% have this type of diabetes and usually presents itself in people 30 years or older, but can show up earlier.

Gestational Diabetes: pregnant women who have never had diabetes before, but have high blood glucose levels during pregnancy are said to have this type. It can become Type 2 diabetes and affects about 4% of pregnant women.


2. Cerebrovascular Diseases: 6.2 Million Deaths

Stroke caused the death of 6.2 million people and tends to be higher in African-Americans. It is caused by the rapid loss of brain function due to a disturbance in the blood supply. This can be caused by lack of blood flow because of a blockage, or a hemorrhage. As a result the affected area of the brain cannot function, which can cause many serious problems later, such as lack of limb movement, or an inability to see.

A stroke is a medical emergency that can end with permanent neurological damage or death. Risk factors include old age, high blood pressure, previous history with strokes, diabetes, tobacco smoking, high cholesterol, and atrial fibrillation. It is the second most common and leading cause of death around the world.

About 87% of all strokes are caused by ischemia (hemorrhagic transformation). A hemorrhage is the accumulation of blood anywhere within the skull, and can be inside the brain or outside. It is unclear how many hemorrhages cause a stroke.

1 - A Stroke-Spot it FAST

1. Ischaemic Heart Disease: 7 Million Deaths

IHD is the main contributing factor behind 7 million deaths around the world. Ischemia is when blood that normally flows to a part of the brain is temporarily restricted. When this happens to the heart it is called Cardiac Ischemia. The sudden restriction of blood going to the heart causes chest pain, or angina, which is actually a warning sign that something bad is about to happen. However, sometimes angina does not happen; this is called a silent heart attack. It is also very easy to mistake some lesser symptoms for heartburn and continue on with the day. About 25% of heart attacks are silent which is often why so many people die. People beyond the age of 60 are most affected, and much like the stroke, if you have history with having heart attacks, you are most likely to get them again.

1 - A Heart Attack



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Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh Sacrificed Her Life To Save #Nigeria From #Ebola #ASMSG #WHO #CDC

This post first appeared on The Accra Report
By AccraReport Staff @accrareport
September 14, 2014

President Mahama Attends Memorial Service of Ebola Victim Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh

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A requiem mass was held at the Christ the King Church on Friday, September 12, 2014 for Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, the lead consultant physician and endocrinologist at the First Consultants Medical Centre in Lagos, Nigeria.

Dr Adadevoh contracted the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and died after coming into contact with a victim from Liberia.

The physician, who died on August 19, 2014, prevented Mr Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian who had arrived in Lagos en route to an ECOWAS meeting in Calabar, from leaving the medical centre when he showed symptoms of the EVD.

Her action was based on the fact that Mr Sawyer, who later died of the disease, posed a danger to members of the Nigerian public and the participants at the ECOWAS meeting.

She quarantined and treated Sawyer but unfortunately she contracted the disease which led to her death. She has since been buried in Nigeria.

A cousin of the late Dr Adadevoh, Mrs Sedina Tay-Agbozo, described her as a warm and friendly person who pursued any cause she believed in.

“She was committed and firm” she told the Daily Graphic and added that “By refusing to allow Mr Sawyer to leave the hospital, she prevented the disease from spreading.”

An uncle of the late Dr Adadevoh and an Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Prof. Sydney Kobla Adadevoh, told the Daily Graphic that: “She put herself at risk and became a victim of the disease she was trying to prevent from spreading. She served for more than three decades, doing what she loved best—serving humanity.”

Prof. Adadevoh said by identifying Mr Sawyer as a victim of the EVD in August, this year, Ameyo prevented a national catastrophe, left a permanent mark on society and made solid her legacy as a courageous and patriotic heroine.

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Brief biography

The late Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh was born on October 27, 1956 in Lagos, Nigeria. She was the first of four children.

Her paternal grandfather, an Anlo from Anyako and a staff of the United Africa Company (UAC), was transferred from the Gold Coast to Lagos in the early 1940s where he married the daughter of Herbert Macaulay, Nigerian nationalist.

The union produced many children including Prof. Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh, a renowned Harvard University-trained physician and a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, who is Ameyo’s father.

Ameyo’s mother, Deborah Regina Mcintosh, is a niece of Nigeria’s first President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

She was awarded a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree by the University of Lagos in 1980.

In 1993, she completed a fellowship course in Endocrinology at Hammersmith Hospital of the Imperial College in London, UK.

For more than three decades, she practised as a medical doctor and for 21 of those years, she was the lead consultant physician and endocrinologist at the First Consultants Medical Centre in Obadele, Lagos.

Events leading to her death

1 - Ebola Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh

Mr Sawyer was sent to the First Consultants Medical Centre in Lagos when he collapsed a few minutes after arriving in Lagos on his way to Calabar for an ECOWAS meeting.

The first impression that Dr Adadevoh had was that Mr Sawyer was suffering from malaria but other symptoms showed that he was not.
She had an HIV test conducted on Mr Sawyer, which proved negative.

She then consulted senior medical practitioners who urged her to test for Ebola. The test proved positive.

Immense pressure was brought on Dr Adadevoh by the Liberian government to release Mr Sawyer to attend the meeting but she refused because he posed a danger to the public and had him isolated and later quarantined.

Tests conducted on Dr Adadevoh later proved that she had contracted the disease.

She later fell into a coma and despite attempts to save her, she could not survive the scourge of the disease.

She was an aunty to Radio Ghana’s presidential correspondent Pascaline Ameyo Adadevoh.

May her soul rest in perfect peace…

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#IamaLiberianNotaVirus: Liberian-American Woman’s Powerful Video Slams Misdirected #Ebola Stigma! #CrushEbolaNow #ASMSG

This post first appeared on ThinkProgress.

A Liberian-American woman filmed a now-viral video to challenge xenophobic attitudes in light of Ebola’s proliferation. With the slogan “I am a Liberian, not a virus,” Shoana Solomon sheds light on the recent stigmatization of people of African descent.

After Solomon’s 9-year-old daughter was told she has a disease because she is from Liberia, Solomon shared the incident on Facebook. A day later, Solomon’s niece sneezed in school and was sent home, despite having never traveled to Liberia or interacted with anyone who had visited the country in the past two years.

So Solomon, a TV presenter, decided to take action by publicly addressing misdirected discrimination. In her video, Solomon holds a sign with the campaign’s slogan and talks about her child’s experience, as well as the experiences of many others who have been ostracized.

“I am hurt and upset. We are Liberians, Sierra Leoneans, Guineans and Nigerians. We live in a region that has been devastated by a deadly disease, but we’re not all infected. It is wrong to stereotype and stigamatize an entire people. Remember, we are human beings.”

Rife with racial undertones, Ebola hysteria, largely stemming from misinformation, has contributed to stigma of many Africans since the first Ebola case came to the US. For instance, a community college in Texas started turning away students in good health from countries with Ebola cases. Restaurants in Texas are also refusing to serve Liberian immigrants. And due to parents’ fears of their children contracting the infection, two Rwandan students have been unable to attend school, even though Ebola is not an issue in the East African country.

Solomon is not the first person to start an internet campaign to change the framing of the Ebola narrative.

Acclaimed actor Jeffrey Wright recently launched the #CrushEbolaNow campaign to counter the perception that the virus is a death sentence. “We could do well focusing on the strengths of the affected regions and not entirely on the weaknesses despite the enormity of the challenges,” he said in an interview with ThinkProgress.

“I found the news narratives disturbing. It didn’t take into account the absence of health infrastructure in these countries. These reports say that the outbreak is a function of the virus when it’s not. The outbreak is a function of economic underdevelopment. I wanted to reframe that narrative and speak closer to the reality that exists there.”


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Carimah Townes is a special assistant for ThinkProgress. Before joining ThinkProgress, she worked for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and interned with the Communications and Development teams at Vital Voices Global Partnership. You can follow her on Twitter @CarimahWheat.


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