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Fruits: Making the bad good, and the good better!

We all know that fruits are healthy.

The questions that elude some of us however relate to just how healthy fruits are, which fruits are healthy and whether fruits in all forms are healthy. Experts including a team from Harvard School of Public Health in the US examined whether certain fruits impact the risk of Type 2 Diabetes in people, which is the brand of the disease that more than 90% of Diabetes patients suffer from. According to their research, eating more fruit, particularly apples, grapes, and blueberries is said to lower the risk of the same significantly. The findings are based on a longitudinal study, which is a correlational observational research study that involves repeated observations of the same variables over long periods of time — often many decades.

Food questionnaires were used every four years to assess diet and asked how often, on average, people consumed each food in a standard portion size. It is just as essential to know that fruit is healthy as it to remember to steer clear of sugary fruit juice. The positive impact of eating three servings of peaches, plums, apricots, prunes, and oranges became significant compared with the same amount of fruit juice per week. Unlike type 1 – where the body produces no insulin – whether you get Type 2 diabetes or not can greatly depend on how healthy your lifestyle is. Each additional three servings per week of whole fruit is associated with a significant 2% lower odds of Type 2 Diabetes incidence after adjustment for other dietary, lifestyle, and personal risk factors. People who replaced all fruit juice with eating whole fruits can expect a 7% drop in their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The advantage was greatest with blueberries, at 26% lower odds per three servings a week. But the same amount of fruit juice correlated with a significant 8% elevated risk of developing diabetes, while those servings of cantaloupe were linked with 10% higher risk. Those eating grapes and raisins had a 12% reduced risk and apples and pears cut the chances by 7%. Prunes also had a protective effect, giving an 11% drop in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Many of us include fruits as a part of our diet but are inclined to abandon this practice if we “are not in the mood” or “find something tastier to eat”. Especially in teenagers and young adults, these habits are hard to maintain since coping with busy lifestyles leaves little time to eat right. The best way to reverse this is to surround yourself with fruit and less unhealthy things so that, in effect, you begin to have lesser and lesser distractions from the right kind of food. Like all habits however, they are most effectively sustained if started young. Another important factor in making fruits a larger part of our diet is to have them fresh.

After all, the only thing worse than no food in the fridge is food that’s gone bad!

Advancements in the field of medicine

The actual possibilities are endless; we can never predict what someone might randomly discover the next day, year or decade. There are new breakthroughs in medicine and science taking place every day. But here are the ones we feel that are the most interesting and likely possibilities that could take place over the next decade:

Real-time diagnostics should be in the focus for the next few years. The intelligent surgical knife (iKnife) was developed by Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London and works by using an old technology where an electrical current heats tissue to make incisions with minimal blood loss, but with iKnife the vaporized smoke is analyzed by a mass spectrometer to detect the chemicals in the biological sample. It means it can identify whether the tissue is malignant real-time. Surgeons will love this surgical Jedi knife which can significantly reduce the length of operations.

Medical communication is something that affects all patients and medical professionals worldwide without exceptions. This is one reason why social media has the potential to become a huge “mind machine” making it possible to transmit, share and store medical pieces of information either for e-patients or medical professionals if such social platforms are used in a proper way. Don’t underestimate the power of digital/medical communication.

If guns and other objects can be printed now and the biotechnology industry is working on printing even living cells; why would the appearance of 3D printed drugs be surprising? It will destroy and re-design the whole pharmaceutical world, but regulation will be a huge challenge as anyone will be able to print any kind of drugs that contain patented molecules at home. Bionic ears and simpler organs will be printed at the patient’s bedside.

Radiology is one of the fastest growing and developing areas of medicine; therefore this might be the specialty in which we can expect to see the biggest steps in developments. One multi-functional machine will be able to detect plenty of medical problems, biomarkers and symptoms at once. In one quick checkup it tells you what percentage of your cells are cancer free.

Medical students will study anatomy on virtual dissection tables and not on human cadavers. What we studied in small textbooks will be transformed into virtual 3D solutions and models using augmented reality. We can observe, change and create anatomical models as fast as we want, as well as analyze structures in every detail. Examples include Anatomage, ImageVis3D and 4DAnatomy.

Optogenetics will provide new solutions in therapies. A recent study published that scientists were able to create false memories in the hippocampus of mice. This is the first time fear memory was generated via artificial means. By time, we will understand the placebo effect clearly; and just imagine the outcomes we can reach when false memories of taking drugs can be generated in humans as well.

Now we wear a FitBit and other devices that measure easily quantifiable data, but the future belongs to digestible and wearable sensors that can work like a thin e-skin. These sensors will measure all important health parameters and vital signs from temperature, and blood biomarkers to neurological symptoms 24 hours a day transmitting data to the cloud and sending alerts to medical systems when a stroke is happening real time. It will call the ambulance itself and sends all the related data immediately.

Daunted by doctors? Here are 6 tips for a smooth appointment!

We all have had our share of unsuccessful experiences with doctors and at medical clinics and a lot of times we feel intimidated by them. But after a lifetime of interacting with doctors, one realizes that there is nothing to be scared of. Here are six strategies to help minimize the odds you’ll be intimidated

1. Remember who’s working for who, agreed, they provide a highly valuable service to society, but in the end you’re the one paying the bill, i.e. you’re the boss.

This doesn’t mean that you can order them to do whatever you want. But they work for you in the same sense that a lawyer or an accountant or even a hairdresser does. Why is it so easy for us to forget this? Maybe it’s due to a combination of factors. First, it’s their “house” not yours and in general the atmosphere never really keeps you at ease, coupled with the fact that if you’re at the doctor’s office, you are probably unwell in some way. Second, because you go seeking help, it can feel as if they have all the knowledge and all the power, even though you often know more about your medical condition than they do. Third, you are often at your weakest in the doctor’s office. The trip to get there followed by the typical waiting times—first in the waiting room and then in the examination room—can take its toll.

2. Consider taking someone with you.

Another person’s presence is beneficial for several reasons. You feel less intimidated because you know that there is an ally with you. In addition and this is just observation but usually when doctors see another person is with you, they become more attentive to what you say and are also more forthcoming with information and explanations.

3. Bring a list to the appointment.

Seven minutes is usually the average amount of time you get with the doctor. Most doctors are clearly working “on the clock.” You can sense it when they walk into the room. The best way to manage this is to bring a list of what you want to raise and have it visible to the doctor when he or she enters the room.

The list serves several purposes. First, it helps you manage your own time so you don’t linger on one item too long, or stray off onto something. Second, when doctors see the list, they often prompt you from it by saying, “Okay. What’s next on your list?” Most doctors appreciate that you’ve thought about the appointment ahead of time and structured your time together. It keeps you both focused on the task at hand, and you know that when you’re done with the list, you’re done with the appointment.

4. Let the doctor be the expert but don’t be afraid to ask questions. Although doctors work for you (always remember that!), you are seeking them out for their expertise, so go with an open mind and with the assumption that they are knowledgeable and are seeking the best outcome for you. That said; don’t be shy about asking questions, including what alternative treatments are available. There’s a practical reason for doing the latter. Doctors are often thinking about alternatives—just not out loud! When you ask questions, it encourages them to talk to you about what’s going on in their heads and that’s something you want to be a party to.

5. Repeat back your understanding of the plan of action.

When you sense your time is up, ask the doctor to give you a brief feedback about the appointment. For example, you might say: “To be sure I understand you correctly; you want me to start this new medication, get a blood test in a week, and return in two weeks.” I’ve had too many appointments where I get to the car afterward and neither my husband nor I can remember some important detail of what happened. The risk of this is even greater, of course, if you’ve gone to the appointment alone.

6. Don’t write off a good doctor because of one disappointing visit.

Let’s set the scene. You’ve seen this doctor before. The rapport was fantastic. She was a good listener and involved you in the entire process. You feel fortunate to have such an interactive relationship with your doctor. But then you have an appointment during which she rushes you and isn’t focusing on you the way she did before.

Sometimes people jump to the conclusion: “She doesn’t want me as her patient anymore; my illness is just too much of a hassle.”  But remember this; life can be stressful for doctors too. This may have been the day when she was badly overbooked, or tired from lack of sleep, or worried about a family member.

It’s also possible that an unexpectedly disappointing visit was due to your doctor’s frustration about not being able to “fix” you. Doctors learn in medical school: examine, diagnose, fix. But that isn’t how it goes for people with chronic pain and illness. So, if you have a good relationship with a doctor, I suggest that you give him or her some slack and accept that on some days, a hard-to-treat patient is simply too difficult for the doctor to handle gracefully.

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Obesity: Disease or Symptom?

Recently the American Medical Association labeled obesity as a disease, which is rather odd considering that obesity by definition, is the medical condition where there is excess accumulation of body fat, “leading” to reduced life expectancy and increases the likelihood of various diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer etc.

This move effectively creates sick people where none existed, which takes the said sick people off the hook. Cancer is a disease. Type-1 diabetes is a disease. Plague is a disease and to some people the latest hip hop music emanating from those Disney Teen stars is also a disease, brainwashing all the teens. Those are things that happen to you despite your best efforts and through bad luck, bad genes or bad karma, whatever your belief system might be. Obesity is, with few exceptions, created by the person who is obese, or by his or her surrounding environment. Moreover, obesity in and itself is not even bad. It can create or cause a disease, but is not a sickness itself.

 

So a person with a BMI in the obese category who is otherwise completely healthy and happy is now sick. And the person who has sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, and poor circulation from a lifetime of doughnuts and pizza is also sick, but it’s not his fault, because he has a disease. Wow! That ought to be a load off a lot of peoples’ minds. Once you allow people to assume the sick role, personal responsibility tends to fade away. Of all organizations, the members of the AMA should know the difference between a symptom and a disease.

It is basic first year medical school stuff, not only that, it’s also the basic difference between cause and effect, any philosophy student can tell you that. A healthy person might be obese by classification. Many football players would fall in this category. A lot of sick IPL stars out there. Sure, Obesity is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide, with increasing prevalence in adults and children, and authorities view it as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century, but changing its definition from symptom to disease is not a good solution at all. Or, I guess semantically, obesity could be a cause of disease. Pneumococcus is a cause of pneumonia. Is pneumococcus a disease? No, it’s a bacterium. The thing about causes is, if you can treat the cause, the disease goes away. But then again, this makes it a symptom. As usual, the AMA has added another way for the health care industry to make some more money. Label something a disease and suddenly drug companies, procedures, and specialists spring up out of nowhere ready to reap the benefits of the fact that now people or their insurance is going to pay for all these new so called treatments.

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Music is great for your digital health, here is why!

It’s a rather baffling phenomenon to see an entire species whose numbers run well into the billions, to be listening to apparently random tonal patterns. However, humans as a species are so absorbed in the system that we never view it this way, for us music is more than an arbitrary collection of frequencies, it is an expression of our emotions and thoughts and in our minds, it’s the best form of expression that will ever exist. We connect with music on a level so deep that of late, music is starting to be used as a healing mechanism.

It has been used in brain injury patient management as well as to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain and promote physical rehabilitation. Before you start accusing us of being delusional for saying this, read these examples:

Music is universal.

Music is a communication tool which transcends the issue of language and cultural barriers presented in the context of graphic or other simple instructions; it can be used in a number of acute or chronic disease settings by a provider, therapist or caregiver with the patient if necessary.

Music needs no literacy.

Reading, health, or digital literacy gaps can be bridged with simple digital music devices. The interface would be rather simple, just one simple one/off in a personalized programmed device for the patient with prerecorded simple instructions.

Music tech is economical and generic.

It would be amazing to have analytic tools that prescribe different types of music based on diagnoses found in the patient’s electronic record.

Music as alternative to certain types of medication post surgery.

Music is known to decrease anxiety during and after surgical procedures. In addition, it conveys an appreciated humanistic side of the provider to the patient.

Music helps stroke victims:

Recent studies among stroke victims indicate that their cognitive impairments lessened while listening to songs they loved. The music stimulated neurological pleasure centers adjacent to damaged brain regions, apparently producing a therapeutic crossover effect. It releases dopamine, an emotion-regulating neurotransmitter, which leads to an increase of neural resources in the critically damaged brain regions. The dopamine-boosting drug Levodopa has been used experimentally to treat strokes, but results have been mixed and its side effects are severe. Music is obviously a less-toxic source, unless you’re listening to the dulcet tones of Justin Bieber, in which case you might just have another stroke assuming you don’t have a pre-pubescent girl’s taste in music.

There seems to be a strong coupling in the brain between emotional and attentional areas, when the emotional areas light up and are activated, the attentional system seems to be more effective as well. The possible benefits of this technology could be boundless. While not yet considered a digital health technology, music is digital and is certainly another possible path to healing. So let’s begin to consider it as such and build it into health portals, apps and other tools.

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Eliminate cancer from your home!

Cancer is a terrible disease that takes almost 600,000 lives every year. The disease isn’t hereditary, as many believe it to be. Most cancers do not result from inherited genes but from damage to genes occurring during one’s lifetime. Everyday lifestyle factors are the primary causes that damage the genes. Certain foods (like carrot, flax seed, broccoli and leafy greens like kale and romaine lettuce) have also been shown to fight the development of prostate cancer. Despite these findings, poor diet and exercise are not the only factors related to cancer risk.

Here is a quick checklist that will eliminate the top five cancer causes from your home

1. Food Additives

Stay away from foods containing food additives, dyes, coloring s, flavorings, stabilizers, fake fats, artificial sugars and preservatives. The average person ingests 140 to 150 pounds of additives a year.

2. Medications

The nearly four billion prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and vaccines are themselves chemical toxins.

3. Plastics

Food wrapped in plastic, plastic take-out food containers and water sold in plastic bottles expose you to very high levels of toxic chemicals. Plastics damage hormone receptors, cause fatigue, harm brain chemistry, accumulate in organs and lead to illness. They’ve been specifically linked to cancers of the prostate, lung and thyroid.

4. Water

Monitor the quality of the water you drink, bathe in and use to clean and prepare foods. Tap water is full of chlorine, heavy metals, contaminants, and other toxins. Chlorine is a big red flag. If it is strong enough to kill all bacteria and other dangerous compounds in our water, do you really think it’s a good idea to pass it through our systems?

5. Personal Care Products

These toxins are hiding in plain sight on the shelves and in the drawers of your bathroom. The list of toxic substances includes sunscreens, soaps, shampoos, detergents and toothpastes. Switch to organic and plant-based products to avoid the long-term toxic buildup caused by these dangerous chemicals. Prolonged toxicity is known to foster the development of cancer.

There have been various people who have fought cancer successfully! The cycling legend Lance Armstrong was diagnosed testicular cancer in 1996. His diagnosis was made rather late, by which time, it had spread to his lungs, stomach and brain and his chances of survival were penned at 40%. Thanks to his strong spirit and support from well wishers, Armstrong turned his life around and emerged victorious in his battle against cancer. He opened the ‘Lance Armstrong Foundation’ in 1997 to assist cancer patients and their families all over the world. Yuvraj Singh is another great example who has successfully recovered. After being diagnosed with Lung Cancer, Yuvi took inspiration from none other but Lance Armstrong throughout his treatment. Yuvraj and Lance are some great people to look upto who have successfully recovered from this horrible disease. Moreover, changes in lifestyle can be very rewarding in recovering from cancer.

Following these simple steps can avoid cancer and keep you in safe hands. Keep watching this space for more updates!

Let’s make the doctor’s visit a lot smoother!

Don’t we all hate the long lines at the doctor’s place for a quick appointment? Handle your visits to a doctor like a pro, and they’ll seem less like nightmares and more like what they are: important, necessary and relatively painless health analysis.

Here are some quick tips to make the process faster and more efficient:

Snag a spot on the waiting list:

Consider taking a far off appointment; however ask the receptionist to give you a call if there are any cancellations before your appointment and follow up with them. It’s sometimes very hard to get an appointment as you please but it’s worth a try. Also, if your doctor refers you to a specialist, ask if he can call and make the appointment. If the doctor’s office calls, you’re going to get in a whole lot sooner.

Picking the right day and time

The trick is to pick a time slot when there is going to be minimum traffic at the clinic – try and take the first appointment of the day if it suits you, as the doctor won’t be backed up then. Try to avoid the weekends, Mondays and Fridays, as these tend to be the busiest..

Doing your homework

Doctors are busy – make things simple for them and for you – write down all your questions ahead of time. There are plenty of distractions that may arise during your appointment, so you may forget questions you don’t jot down. Write questions concerning your current issue as well as those you anticipate having after the exam about, say, a prescribed medicine.

Also take notes before your appointment. Make a very specific list about your symptoms, when they started to appear, how they’ve changed and possible triggers.

Being a squeaky wheel in the waiting room

As you sign in, ask if the doctor is running behind and how long you’ll likely wait. If the receptionist doesn’t know, ask him to check.  Asking the question is sensitizing the office staff to the idea that your time is valuable. If you find the doctor is very behind, ask to reschedule the appointment. Say the staff member says your wait will be 30 minutes. If it has been 32 minutes, start (gently) squeaking. Check in and ask again how much longer he expects you to wait. You’re not being overbearing or pushy; you’re asking a question. It should help speed things along a little bit. Not always, but it’s worth a try.

Repeat after the doctor

If the doctor speaks above your head in medical jargon, don’t just nod along with glazed eyes. This is your health—it’s important to understand your diagnosis and treatment options, especially if you’ve waited a while to get an appointment and be seen. Repeating to the doctor what he or she has said so you’re both on the same page is a good idea. A patient can ask something like: “Can I try this in my own words so I make sure I understand?”

Learn how to reconnect after the appointment

Near the end of the appointment, ask the doctor about the best way to reach them – the doctor may have certain hours they take calls, knowing these communication preferences in advance will make it easier to follow up with important questions and possibly prevent a frustrating game of phone tag.

Follow these simple tips for a smooth experience at your next doctor’s appointment!

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The best sip forward: What you drink plays an important role in maintaining your health.

What we drink has a huge impact on our health and body weight – we fail to realize the number of calories, sugar and chemicals that are present in our drink that we use to quench our thirst. Every sip counts towards a good health. Are you keeping fit with every sip?

What we drink makes for a substantial amount of calories, in fact it adds up to more than what we eat. According to a study in Canada, beverages account for almost 20% of the calories consumed by children! Every time one reaches for a soda, sports drink, fruit juice or other beverage, they consume calories derived entirely from sugar. Most of these sugary beverages contain the equivalent of 11-12 teaspoons of sugar per bottle. Would you ever put 12 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee or on your cereal? Of all the steps that you can take to improve your health, dumping unhealthy sugary drinks from your diet offers the single greatest return for your efforts.

We list down the top healthy drinks that contribute to a better health and better well-being!

Green tea
 
Green tea is a rich source of antioxidant. Green tea has many anti-cancer and cardio-protective properties. It is believed that green tea can help with arthritis and can keep your teeth healthy by combating oral bacteria. Aim for 3-4 cups per day.

Coffee
 
Coffee can reduce the risk from many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease, makes you more alert and enhances your workout. Recommended intake is a maximum of 450 milligrams per day or approximately four 1 cup (8 ounce) servings.

Chocolate milk
 
Sports drinks can’t match the vitamins and minerals and protein that you find in chocolate milk.

Tomato juice
 
Tomatoes are the richest source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been associated with a reduced risk of lung and stomach cancer, as well as pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, oral, breast and cervical cancers.

Cranberry juice
The antibacterial properties present in cranberry juice that fight off urinary tract infections may also protect against periodontal disease. Look for 100% juice varieties and limit to 6-8 ounces per day.

Orange juice
 
Orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant which improves immune-cell functioning, enabling your body to fight off infections more efficiently. Benefits may also include warding off cataracts as well as prevention of lung cancer.

Lemon water 
Lemon water can be a digestive aid, improve liver function and prevent colds and flu. Drinking lemon water has an alkalizing effect on the body which helps you to fight off cold and flu germs, which instead thrive in an acidic environment due to excess stress and unhealthy foods and lifestyle.

Coconut water

Coconut water contains many nutrients including vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. Excellent for post exercise fluid and electrolyte replenishment. Offers a more natural source of sugars than sports drinks.

These are top drinks to keep well this time around! Stay tuned to our blog for more!

Blog based on article by Healthy Living Magazine

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