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Health 12 January 2015 13 1003
Hidden away in a valley in Ecuador is the world's largest population of people with Laron syndrome. This rare form of dwarfism wasn't thought to have any wider medical significance until local doctor Jaime Guevara started to research the condition. His discovery of apparent immunity to cancer and diabetes in this population has attracted the attention of the international medical community, sparking hopes that a cure to these diseases could be found. RTD follows the doctor and his team as they conduct research into the rare condition that one day may benefit all mankind.
China was the first country to recognise internet addiction as a clinical disorder. It has hundreds of rehab camps where concerned parents can send their web-dependent kids, who don’t always go willingly. The path to recovery isn’t easy but it is most effective, if the parents walk it with them.
E-waste, the term given to discarded electronic appliances, is often shipped by developed nations to poorer countries such as Ghana. RTD visits the country's most infamous dumping ground, Agbogbloshie. Locals call it “Sodom and Gomorrah” after the infamous Biblical sin cities. Its air and soil are polluted with toxic chemicals, while extreme poverty, child labour and criminal gangs are also rife.
Swinging new-borns by their feet and forcing toddlers to dive – Russian PE teacher, Elena Fokina, has adopted an unconventional approach to child development at her school in Dahab, Egypt. Her critics say these methods border on abuse. But Elena insists that kids raised this way become strong, agile and independent.
This is a game in which the stake is human life. These people play with death. While the grim reaper stands at the head of the dying person’s bed, waiting for their final breath, volunteers from the Dutch “Ambulance Wish Foundation” arrive. They are prepared to fulfil any last wish of the patient. Completely free of charge!
As of 11 December, the Ebola virus has claimed 7,690 lives this year. From a couple of cases at the end of March, the outbreak's rapid spread has sowed seeds of panic all around the world. RTD goes to Liberia, the country hardest hit by the disease, to speak to those battling on the frontline against the terrifying illness.
Autism is a fast-spreading illness. No scientist is certain where it comes from or how to cure it. One thing is clear: people with autism are intelligent individuals who don’t have the mental capability to stand their ground. As such, their well-being depends a great deal on the people around them.
Aleksandr Suvorov graduated with a PhD from Moscow State University's department of psychology, and later went on to become a professor and work with children who are deaf and blind. While these are impressive achievements, what makes them truly remarkable is that Dr. Suvorov is both deaf and blind himself, and must communicate primarily by touch.