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The pitfalls of using Dr Google to self-diagnose medical conditions

05/06/2023

With the increased availability of the internet and easy access to vast amounts of information, self-diagnosing medical conditions has become increasingly common. Many people turn to search engines like Google to look up their symptoms and attempt to identify potential illnesses. However, relying solely on Google for medical advice can be problematic and even dangerous.  This article explores the pitfalls of self-diagnosing medical conditions using Google and emphasizes the importance of consulting healthcare professionals for accurate diagnoses. Misinterpretation of symptoms One of the major problems with self-diagnosis via Google is the potential for misinterpreting symptoms. The internet is filled with vast amounts of information, and symptoms can often be ambiguous and overlapping. A single symptom could indicate multiple conditions, ranging from minor issues to severe diseases. Without proper medical knowledge and expertise, individuals may mistakenly assume the worst-case scenario, causing unnecessary anxiety and stress. Incomplete or inaccurate information The quality and accuracy of medical information on the internet can vary significantly. While reputable websites, such as medical journals and official health organizations, strive to provide reliable content, numerous less credible sources also exist. It's essential to discern between trustworthy and unreliable information when conducting online research. Moreover, medical conditions are complex, and relying solely on internet sources may lead to an incomplete understanding of the condition, its causes, and treatment options. Confirmation bias and anxiety When searching for medical information online, individuals often experience confirmation bias, favoring information that aligns with their preconceived notions or fears. This bias can lead to heightened anxiety and may cause individuals to self-diagnose with serious conditions that they do not actually have. Moreover, constantly searching for symptoms and potential diagnoses can increase anxiety levels, exacerbating the stress associated with the condition. Lack of context and individual factors Google search results are not personalized to an individual's unique circumstances. Medical conditions can manifest differently in various individuals due to factors such as age, gender, medical history, and lifestyle. Without considering these important contextual factors, self-diagnosing based solely on general online information may lead to inaccurate conclusions. A healthcare professional, on the other hand, can assess a patient comprehensively and make a diagnosis based on their specific circumstances. Overlooking serious conditions or delayed treatment Perhaps one of the most critical risks of self-diagnosis is the potential for overlooking serious or life-threatening conditions. Some medical conditions share common symptoms with relatively harmless ailments. Ignoring or misdiagnosing a serious condition based on self-diagnosis can delay proper treatment and have severe consequences for an individual's health. Only a qualified healthcare professional can conduct the necessary tests, consider all relevant information, and provide an accurate diagnosis. Final thoughts While Google and the internet at large can be valuable sources of information, self-diagnosing medical conditions without consulting a healthcare professional carries significant risks. Misinterpretation of symptoms, incomplete or inaccurate information, confirmation bias, and overlooking serious conditions are all potential pitfalls of relying solely on online sources.  When facing health concerns, it is crucial to consult a qualified healthcare professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis based on comprehensive assessments. Remember, your health is best entrusted to those with the knowledge and expertise to guide you towards appropriate care. At France Surgery, we can help you get a second opinion from our network of medical experts in France. Contact us today to find out more. *Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Patient-Centered Care: The French Medical Experience

23/05/2023

In France, patient-centered care lies at the core of the healthcare system, emphasizing personalized attention, comprehensive consultations, and ongoing support. The French medical experience is characterized by strong doctor-patient relationships, thorough care provision, and patient feedback mechanisms that contribute to a patient-centric approach. Establishing strong doctor-patient relationships One of the cornerstones of the French medical experience is the establishment of strong doctor-patient relationships. Trust, empathy, and effective communication between doctors and patients are emphasized, creating a foundation of mutual understanding and collaboration.  Doctors in France take the time to listen to patients, ensuring they have a comprehensive understanding of their medical history, concerns, and goals. This collaborative approach to decision-making takes into account patients' preferences and values, fostering a sense of shared decision-making and empowering patients in their healthcare journey. Continuity of care is highly valued, with patients often seeing the same doctor over time, allowing for a deeper understanding of their individual needs. Thorough consultations and comprehensive care In France, thorough consultations are the norm, with doctors dedicating ample time to each patient. These consultations go beyond addressing immediate concerns, allowing doctors to delve into patients' medical histories and perform comprehensive assessments. The goal is to provide holistic care that encompasses preventive measures, early detection of conditions, and tailored treatment plans. By involving specialists and multidisciplinary teams, France ensures that patients receive well-rounded and integrated care. Coordinated and follow-up care France places great importance on coordinated care to ensure seamless and integrated services. Healthcare professionals work collaboratively to provide coordinated care, ensuring that patients receive appropriate referrals, treatments, and ongoing support. The continuity of care is reinforced through regular follow-up appointments and post-treatment monitoring, allowing doctors to track patients' progress and make any necessary adjustments to their care plans. General practitioners often serve as the coordinators of care, overseeing the overall treatment journey and ensuring that all aspects of patients' healthcare needs are addressed. Patient education and empowerment Patient education is a fundamental aspect of the French medical experience. Patients are provided with the knowledge and tools to actively participate in their healthcare decisions. Through educational materials, workshops, and digital platforms, individuals are empowered to make informed choices about their health. France promotes self-management and healthy lifestyle practices, recognizing the importance of patient engagement in achieving optimal outcomes. Patient feedback mechanisms and continuous improvement France places value on gathering patient feedback to continually improve the quality of care and enhance the patient experience. Patient satisfaction surveys, patient advisory committees, and online platforms for reviews and ratings are among the mechanisms in place to gather insights and perspectives. This feedback is used to drive quality improvement efforts and shape healthcare delivery to better meet patients' needs. By actively involving patients in shaping the healthcare system, France ensures a patient-centric approach that evolves with changing expectations and requirements. Cultural sensitivity and inclusivity France is committed to cultural sensitivity and inclusivity in healthcare. Efforts are made to accommodate diverse backgrounds, languages, and cultural practices to ensure equitable access to care. Initiatives aimed at reducing healthcare disparities and improving health outcomes among marginalized communities are prioritized. By fostering an inclusive environment, France strives to provide healthcare that respects and embraces individual differences. Promoting patient rights and privacy France has a strong legal framework in place to safeguard patient rights, privacy, and confidentiality. Informed consent procedures ensure that patients have a clear understanding of their treatments and procedures, and patients have control over their medical information. Patient advocacy groups play an important role in safeguarding patient rights and fostering transparency in healthcare, advocating for the protection of patient privacy and ensuring that patients' voices are heard. In summary The French medical experience is characterized by patient-centered care, emphasizing strong doctor-patient relationships, thorough consultations, comprehensive care, patient education, and continuous improvement. The commitment to prioritizing patients' needs and empowering them to actively participate in their healthcare journey contributes to a positive and impactful medical experience in France.  Through collaborative decision-making, personalized attention, and a holistic approach to healthcare, France strives to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care tailored to their individual needs. By actively incorporating patient feedback, promoting cultural sensitivity, protecting patient rights, and fostering inclusivity, the French healthcare system continues to evolve, setting a standard for patient-centered care worldwide. *image by ian kelsall from Pixabay

Medical tourism vs. health & wellness tourism: Understanding the differences

11/05/2023

Medical tourism and health and wellness tourism are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are not one and the same. While both involve traveling to another country for healthcare purposes, there are important differences to note between the two. Primarily, medical tourism refers to traveling abroad for medical procedures and treatments that are not available, affordable, or accessible in the home country. These procedures are typically focused on diagnosing and treating specific medical conditions or illnesses, such as heart surgery, cancer treatment, or organ transplants. Medical tourism is often seen as a way for patients to save money on expensive medical procedures, while also receiving high-quality care from qualified professionals. On the other hand, health and wellness tourism is focused on preventative care and promoting overall health and wellbeing. This type of tourism typically involves activities such as spa treatments, yoga retreats, and fitness programs that aim to improve physical, mental, and emotional health. Health and wellness tourism is becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to take a break from their busy lives and prioritize self-care. While medical tourism and health and wellness tourism may seem like two completely different things, there are some areas where they overlap. For example, some medical tourism destinations also offer health and wellness programs, such as nutrition counseling, stress management, and mindfulness training, to help patients recover and maintain their health after medical procedures. Another area where the two types of tourism intersect is in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Many medical tourism destinations offer CAM therapies, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and massage therapy, as part of their treatment programs. Similarly, many health and wellness tourism destinations incorporate CAM practices into their programs as well, to provide a more holistic approach to health and wellness. In conclusion, medical tourism and health and wellness tourism are two distinct types of tourism that serve different purposes. Medical tourism is focused on treating specific medical conditions, while health and wellness tourism is focused on promoting overall health and wellbeing. However, there are some areas where the two types of tourism intersect, such as the use of CAM therapies and the incorporation of health and wellness programs into medical tourism destinations. It’s important for travelers to understand the differences between these two types of tourism to ensure they choose the right type of travel experience for their needs. *image credit: Couleur from Pixabay  [Related reading: The benefits of partnering with a reputable company for medical treatment abroad]

From virtual consultations to digital diagnostics: How telemedicine is revolutionizing healthcare

08/05/2023

Telemedicine, the practice of using technology to provide medical care remotely, is changing the way we think about healthcare. With telemedicine, patients can access medical care from the comfort of their own homes, saving time and money while improving access to care. One of the most common forms of telemedicine is virtual consultations. Through videoconferencing, patients can connect with healthcare providers to discuss their symptoms, receive a diagnosis, and even receive a prescription for medication. Virtual consultations are particularly useful for patients who live in rural or remote areas, or who have difficulty traveling to appointments due to mobility issues or other health concerns. Telemedicine is also transforming how diagnostic tests are performed. With digital diagnostics, patients can perform certain tests at home, such as monitoring blood sugar levels or taking blood pressure readings, and then transmit the data to their healthcare provider for analysis. This allows doctors to monitor their patients' health more closely and make more informed decisions about their care. Another area where telemedicine is having a significant impact is in mental health care. With telemedicine, patients can access mental health services from anywhere with an internet connection. This is particularly important for people who live in areas where mental health services are scarce or who have difficulty accessing traditional mental health care due to stigma or other barriers. While there are many benefits to telemedicine, there are also limitations to be aware of. For example, telemedicine may not be suitable for all medical conditions or situations, and there may be limitations to the types of treatments that can be provided remotely. Overall, however, telemedicine is an exciting development in healthcare that has the potential to improve access to care, reduce costs, and improve health outcomes for patients around the world. *Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Second medical opinions: What to do when you have doubts about your doctor's diagnosis

28/04/2023

Receiving a serious diagnosis can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. In addition to processing the news, patients are often faced with making difficult decisions about their treatment options. But what happens when you have doubts about your doctor's diagnosis? This is where seeking a second medical opinion can be valuable. A second medical opinion is an evaluation of a patient's medical condition and treatment plan by another qualified medical professional. It is a way for patients to confirm or challenge their initial diagnosis, and to explore alternative treatment options. Here are some steps to follow when seeking a second medical opinion: Ask for a referral: Start by talking to your primary care physician, who can help you identify a specialist or another doctor who can provide a second opinion. Prepare your medical records: Collect your medical records and any diagnostic tests or imaging results that may be relevant to your case. Schedule an appointment: Contact the doctor or clinic you have identified and schedule an appointment for a second opinion. You may also want to ask about insurance coverage and any out-of-pocket costs. Be honest and open: During your appointment, be honest and open about your medical history and symptoms. Make sure to bring a list of questions and concerns to discuss with the doctor. Consider the advice: After receiving a second opinion, take the time to consider the advice you have received. You may want to discuss the findings with your primary care physician and other family members or loved ones before making a decision about your treatment. It is important to remember that seeking a second medical opinion does not mean you don't trust your doctor. It is simply a way to ensure that you are making informed decisions about your health and treatment options. By taking the time to explore alternative options, you can feel more confident in the decisions you make about your health. At France Surgery, we can help you get a second opinion from our network of medical experts in France. Contact us today to find out more. *Image credit: Julio César Velásquez Mejía from Pixabay 

The evolution of Medical Tourism: From spa retreats to surgery

13/04/2023

Medical tourism has come a long way since its early days, when it was predominantly a niche industry catering to wealthy clients seeking spa retreats in exotic locations. Today, medical tourism encompasses a wide range of medical procedures, from cosmetic surgery to complex organ transplants, and is a booming global industry estimated to be worth $11.56 billion in 2020. The origins of medical tourism can be traced back to ancient Greece, where pilgrims traveled to temples dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine, to seek healing. In modern times, medical tourism began to gain popularity in the 1990s, as patients from developed countries started to seek affordable healthcare options in developing countries like Thailand, India, and Mexico. In its early days, medical tourism was primarily focused on cosmetic surgery, dental procedures, and elective treatments like weight loss surgeries. Patients were attracted to the lower costs of these procedures, as well as the opportunity to combine medical treatment with a vacation or retreat. However, as medical tourism became more mainstream, it began to encompass a wider range of medical procedures, including complex surgeries like heart transplants, liver transplants, and cancer treatments. Patients from developed countries were attracted not only to the lower costs of these treatments, but also to the high-quality medical care provided by experienced and well-trained doctors. Today, medical tourism is a global industry that spans the globe, with patients traveling from all corners of the world to seek medical treatment in countries like France. The industry is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, driven by factors like rising healthcare costs, increased globalization, and advances in medical technology. Despite its many benefits, medical tourism is not without its challenges. Patients who choose to travel abroad for medical treatment must navigate complex legal, logistical, and cultural barriers, and must carefully research the quality and reputation of the medical providers they are considering. [Related reading: The benefits of partnering with a reputable company for medical treatment abroad] Overall, medical tourism has come a long way since its early days as a luxury retreat for the wealthy. Today, it is a global industry that is transforming healthcare, providing patients with affordable, high-quality medical care and driving innovation in the field of medicine. If you'd like to find out more about our own Medical Tourism services, contact us now. *Image by Tesa Robbins from Pixabay 

How medical tourism can save you money on healthcare costs

30/03/2023

Medical tourism has become a popular option for people seeking affordable healthcare, especially those who are uninsured or underinsured. With healthcare costs rising in many countries, medical tourism has emerged as a cost-effective alternative, providing patients with access to high-quality medical procedures (often at a fraction of the cost). One of the main advantages of medical tourism is the savings that patients can enjoy. For instance, a medical procedure that may cost tens of thousands of dollars in the United States can be obtained for a fraction of the cost abroad. This can make a huge difference for patients who may not be able to afford the treatment they need in their home country. Moreover, medical tourism can also provide patients with access to treatments that may not be available or legal in their home country. For example, some stem cell therapies are still illegal or highly regulated in many developed countries, but are available elsewhere. Patients who are seeking these treatments can travel to these countries to receive them, without having to worry about legal repercussions. However, travelling abroad for medical care isn’t something that should be taken lightly. There are a lot of logistics and planning involved, which is why people who are considering this option need to do adequate research. Furthermore, if you have insurance, it is important that you check it covers your proposed treatment abroad before making any definitive plans. [Related reading: The benefits of partnering with a reputable company for medical treatment abroad] Overall, medical tourism can be a great way for patients to access affordable, high-quality medical care. However, patients should carefully consider the risks and benefits before deciding whether to travel abroad for medical treatment. They should research the quality and reputation of the medical providers they are considering, as well as the legal and regulatory framework in the country where they will be receiving treatment. *Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay 

The benefits of partnering with a reputable company for medical treatment abroad

24/03/2023

When it comes to undergoing a medical procedure abroad, partnering with a reputable company can make all the difference. Said company can help you navigate the complex world of medical tourism, ensuring that you receive high-quality care and that your experience is safe and stress-free.  In this article, we'll explore the benefits of partnering with a reputable company when you want to undergo a medical procedure abroad. Access to high-quality medical facilities and professionals Partnering with a reputable company means that you'll have access to high-quality medical facilities and professionals. They will have partnerships with top medical facilities and professionals, ensuring that you receive the best possible care. They'll also have access to the latest medical technologies and treatments, which may not be available in your home country. Support and assistance throughout the process Undergoing a medical procedure abroad can be a daunting process, but partnering with a reputable company means that you'll have support and assistance throughout the process. The company will provide you with a dedicated point of contact, who will help you with everything from arranging travel and accommodations to scheduling medical appointments. This means that you can focus on your recovery, knowing that all the logistical details are being taken care of. Reduced risk of medical complications Partnering with a reputable medical travel facilitator can also reduce the risk of medical complications. A reputable company will only partner with medical facilities and professionals who meet strict standards for safety and quality. This means that you can be confident that you're receiving the best possible care, reducing the risk of complications and ensuring a smooth recovery process. Cost savings Partnering with a reputable company can also result in cost savings. They will have partnerships with medical facilities and professionals that offer competitive pricing, meaning that you can receive high-quality care at a more affordable price. They may also be able to negotiate discounts on travel and accommodations, further reducing the cost of your medical trip. In conclusion, partnering with a reputable company when you want to undergo a medical procedure abroad offers many benefits, including access to high-quality medical facilities and professionals, support and assistance throughout the process, reduced risk of medical complications, and cost savings. When considering a medical trip abroad, it's important to choose a company with a proven track record of success and a commitment to safety and quality. With the right partner, you can have peace of mind knowing that your medical trip will be a success. *Image by Sam Williams from Pixabay 

France ranks third in latest World’s Best Smart Hospitals list

17/03/2023

France has ranked third in a list of the world’s best smart hospitals, compiled by a leading US magazine and an online platform specializing in market and consumer data. According to Newsweek and Statista’s World’s Best Smart Hospitals 2023 – the second iteration of its kind – France is home to more than 6% of the most state-of-the-art hospitals in the world. In fact, only the United States (28%) and Germany (7.6%) have more. Furthermore, the AP-HP - Hôpital Universitaire Pitié Salpêtrière in Paris was ranked third overall among all the European hospitals that made the top 300 list. As outlined in the survey’s methodology, “Smart Hospitals use state-of-the art technology to fundamentally rethink how care is delivered within the health system. Taking advantage of these new technologies can not only improve care delivery outcomes and efficiencies within the hospital but can help to drive health goals around prevention, population health and quality of life outcomes.” The final list of 300 facilities in 28 countries represents institutions that lead in their use of AI, digital imaging, telemedicine, robotics and electronic functionalities. More than 4,000 votes were collected in the month the survey was open (June-July 2022) and a score was calculated for each hospital based on the number of recommendations. The survey itself was developed by a global board of renowned experts. Contact us now to find out more about our services. Photo by Pixabay

A beginner's guide to medical tourism: how to plan your trip and choose the right provider

02/03/2023

Medical tourism can be a great option for those seeking affordable and high-quality healthcare, but it can also be daunting for those who are new to the process. If you're considering medical tourism, it's important to do your research and plan ahead to ensure a safe and successful trip.  Here are some tips for getting started: 1. Determine your healthcare needs Before you start researching medical tourism providers, it's important to have a clear idea of the medical procedures or treatments you require. Consult with your physician to ensure you are a good candidate for traveling abroad for treatment. 2. Research potential destinations and providers  Look into popular medical tourism destinations and the providers that operate there. Consider factors such as the cost of treatment, quality of care, and the reputation of the facility and its doctors. Look for providers who are accredited and have positive patient reviews. [Related reading: Beyond borders: the benefits of having medical treatment abroad] 3. Check your insurance coverage If you have health insurance, check to see if it covers medical treatments abroad. If not, you may need to purchase travel insurance or consider self-insuring for any potential risks. 4. Plan your travel logistics Once you've chosen a provider and destination, you'll need to plan your travel logistics, including transportation, accommodations, and any necessary visas or vaccinations. 5. Prepare for the treatment Before you leave for your medical tourism trip, be sure to prepare yourself for the treatment. Follow any pre-treatment instructions provided by your provider, and pack any necessary medications or supplies. 6. Follow up with post-treatment care After your treatment, it's important to follow up with any post-treatment care instructions provided by your provider. If you experience any complications or have concerns about your recovery, be sure to contact your provider right away. By following these steps, you can help ensure a safe and successful medical tourism trip.  Here at France Surgery, we can take care of many of the aspects mentioned above to ensure your medical procedure here in France is seamless. If you’d like to find out more, contact us today. *Image by Gustavo Fring

The importance of second medical opinions: why seeking another perspective is often worthwhile

22/02/2023

Navigating the healthcare system can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to important medical decisions or complex medical conditions. In some cases, patients may feel unsure about their diagnosis or treatment plan and wonder if there are other options available. This is where seeking a second medical opinion can be beneficial. A second medical opinion involves consulting with another healthcare professional to obtain an independent assessment of your medical condition or treatment plan. While some patients may feel hesitant about seeking a second opinion, it can be a valuable tool in ensuring that you receive the best possible care. Here are some reasons why second medical opinions can be valuable: Confirmation of diagnosis: A second medical opinion can help confirm a diagnosis and ensure that the correct treatment plan is being pursued. This is particularly important for serious or life-threatening conditions where misdiagnosis can have significant consequences. Exploration of alternative treatment options: A second medical opinion can also help explore alternative treatment options that may not have been considered initially. Different doctors may have different areas of expertise, experiences, and approaches to treatment, which can result in different treatment options being recommended. Peace of mind: Obtaining a second medical opinion can provide peace of mind for patients and their families. It can help alleviate concerns about the diagnosis or treatment plan and provide reassurance that the best possible care is being received. Empowerment: Seeking a second medical opinion can also empower patients to take an active role in their healthcare and decision-making. It can help patients gain a better understanding of their condition and treatment options, allowing them to make more informed decisions. Overall, seeking a second medical opinion can provide valuable insights and confirmations that can help guide medical decision-making and ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. It is always a good idea to discuss the option of seeking a second opinion with your healthcare provider if you have any doubts or concerns about your diagnosis or treatment plan. Here at France Surgery, we can provide you with a second medical opinion in France from just €450. If you’ve recently had a diagnosis and you’ve got some doubts, contact us now to benefit from a second medical opinion. *Image by batian lu from Pixabay 

Beyond borders: the benefits of having medical treatment abroad

20/02/2023

As hospital waiting lists continue to grow in many countries, the number of people seeking medical treatment abroad has increased in recent times. But aside from getting treatment quicker, there are a number of other benefits associated with having medical treatment abroad, several of which we’ll outline in this article. Quicker access to treatment First and foremost, patients can receive treatment quickly. Waiting lists for certain procedures in developed countries can be months, if not years, long. In contrast, medical facilities in other countries often have shorter waiting times, which means that patients can receive treatment sooner. This can be especially important for procedures that are time-sensitive or for patients who are experiencing significant pain or discomfort. Wider range of treatments available Patients can access treatments and procedures that may not be available in their home country. Medical technology and treatments are constantly evolving, and some countries may not have the latest or most advanced treatments available. By seeking medical treatment abroad, patients may be able to access cutting-edge treatments and procedures that are not available in their home country. Higher quality care Patients often also receive better quality care abroad. Many countries that are popular for medical tourism, including France, have world-class medical facilities that are staffed by highly trained doctors and medical professionals. Patients can expect to receive the same level of care they would receive in their home country, if not better. Combine treatment with a vacation Seeking medical treatment abroad can be an opportunity for patients to combine medical care with a holiday. Many medical facilities in other countries offer packages that include accommodation and sightseeing tours, allowing patients to enjoy a vacation while also receiving medical treatment. This can make the experience of seeking medical treatment more enjoyable and less stressful. Maintain privacy Finally, seeking medical treatment abroad can be a way to maintain privacy and confidentiality. Some patients may prefer to keep their medical procedures and treatments private, and seeking medical treatment abroad can provide an opportunity to do so. Patients can receive treatment without worrying about running into acquaintances or colleagues, which can be a concern in their home country. Overall, there are numerous benefits associated with having medical treatment abroad. However, it is important to do thorough research and consult with a medical professional before deciding to seek medical treatment abroad, as there are also potential risks and drawbacks that should be taken into consideration. Partnering with a reputable organization is paramount. *Image by David Mark from Pixabay 

French biotech company pioneers stem cell treatment for heart attack victims

07/02/2023

A biotechnology company in France has developed a new stem cell treatment for heart attack victims who would otherwise need to wait for a transplant. CellProthera, which is based in Mulhouse in eastern France, is currently halfway through clinical trials with 50 patients and says the new treatment could be available by 2026, all being well. The pioneering treatment uses stem cells from a patient’s own body to repair their heart. During an extremely promising first stage trial, patients with very bad hearts were injected with stem cells. Their hearts were seen to start repairing themselves and most were able to live lives similar to those before they fell sick. CellProthera spokeswoman Paula Lee told The Connexion: “They are all people who have had severe heart attacks, which have damaged the heart muscles.” If all goes to plan, CellProthera’s second-stage trials will end in mid-2023, followed by a third stage on a wider patient pool, with full approval for use in 2026.  Approximately 80,000 people in France suffer from heart attacks each year, with 12,000 resulting in immediate death. Another 10% pass away within an hour of the attack, while 15% of survivors die within a year.  CellProthera aims to assist the approximately 30% of individuals who survive the initial heart attack but have weakened heart muscle due to oxygen deprivation during the attack. Without treatment, this often leads to death within five years. “We cannot say yet what the cost per patient will be but it will be much cheaper than a heart transplant,” added Lee. *Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Increasing number of Brits resorting to medical treatment abroad amid long NHS waiting lists

31/01/2023

An increasing number of British people are traveling abroad for medical care, as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) continues to struggle to serve patients amid nursing strikes and budget cuts. Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and still feeling the after effects, NHS waiting lists in England alone now stand at a record seven million. That’s seven million people who are awaiting “routine, or non-urgent, treatment”, like hip replacements, eye care and gallbladder surgery. The situation has become so severe that the chairman of the British Medical Association, Professor Philip Banfield, has described it as a “national scandal”. Talking to Sky News, Professor Banfield said: “What the pandemic has done is aggravate a situation that was deteriorating, and we have been highlighting for ten years or more so if you look at the waiting list the figures had gone from 2.6 to 4.4 million before the pandemic. It has gone over seven million now. This is an absolute national scandal.” Professor Banfield’s comments come after the Royal College of Nursing said twice as many of its members were preparing to go on strike in February if talks with the UK government remain at a stalemate. The UK government says nurses have been offered a "fair" pay deal and it has accepted the recommendations of the independent pay review body "in full". As a result of the record-high waiting times, many Brits are opting to pay for their treatment privately, be it at home or abroad. Indeed, data shows the number of people in the UK searching Google for the term “private healthcare” has risen significantly to hit a record high. Meanwhile, figures from the Private Healthcare Information Network reveal the number of people self-paying for private acute care has increased by more than a third versus before the pandemic. Here at France Surgery, it is certainly something we’ve seen, too, with increased demand from UK patients seeking cardiology care and orthopedic surgery. “Before Brexit, English people came to France for healthcare purposes because they were reimbursed by the NHS. Now, they come to France because of the skyrocketing waiting lists in the UK,” said Carine Briat-Hilaire, chief executive and co-founder of France Surgery.

Preventative Care for Women: Understanding the Importance of Regular Gynecological Exams and Breast

19/01/2023

Preventative care for women is crucial for maintaining good health and detecting potential health problems early on. One important aspect of preventative care for women is regular gynecological exams and breast cancer screenings. These exams and screenings can help detect and prevent a variety of health issues, including cancer, sexually transmitted infections, and other conditions that can impact women's reproductive health. A gynecological exam is a routine check-up that includes a pelvic exam and a pap smear. During a pelvic exam, a healthcare provider will examine a woman's reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. A pap smear, also known as a cervical cancer screening, is a test that looks for abnormal cells on the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Regular pelvic exams and pap smears are important for detecting cervical cancer and other conditions, such as endometriosis and ovarian cysts, in their early stages. In addition to gynecological exams, regular breast cancer screenings are also an important part of preventative care for women. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and early detection is key to survival. There are two main types of breast cancer screenings: mammograms and clinical breast exams. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast, and a clinical breast exam is a physical examination of the breast by a healthcare provider. Both types of screenings can help detect breast cancer early, when the chances of treating it are higher. It is recommended that women between the ages of 50 and 74 have a mammogram every two years, and women over the age of 75 should continue to have mammograms as long as they are in good health. Women between the ages of 40 and 49 should talk to their healthcare provider about when to start having mammograms and how often to have them. Regular gynecological exams and breast cancer screenings can be a daunting prospect for some women, but they are important for maintaining good health. It is important to remember that these exams and screenings are not just about detecting cancer, but also about detecting and preventing other conditions that can affect women's reproductive health. It's important for women to make sure they are aware of their body and any changes that happen. It's also important for them to communicate with their healthcare provider about any concerns they have. They should be aware of the different types of screenings and tests that are available to them and understand the benefits of these tests. *Image by Alisa Dyson from Pixabay 

5 ways to ward off health issues

12/01/2023

As they say, “prevention is better than cure”, yet many people only visit their healthcare physician when they feel significantly unwell. Sometimes, sadly, depending on how long they have left it, their treatment options and prognoses can be more limited. Early detection and intervention of health issues can have several benefits. Some of the main reasons why it's important to identify health issues early include: – Increased treatment options: If a health issue is detected early, there may be more treatment options available, and the treatment may also be less aggressive and more effective. – Improved outcomes: Early detection and treatment of health issues can lead to better outcomes, such as a greater chance of recovery or remission. – Reduced risk of complications: Early detection can help to reduce the risk of complications from a health issue, such as the development of chronic conditions or secondary illnesses. – Increased chance of survival: For some health issues, such as certain types of cancer, early detection can greatly increase your chance of survival. – Cost savings: Treating health issues in their early stages can be less expensive than waiting until they are more advanced and harder to treat. This can also reduce the burden on the healthcare system. Overall, early detection is crucial for preventing or minimizing the consequences of a disease, which is why preventive screenings, regular check-ups, and being aware of potential health concerns are important. Here are 5 ways you can ward off health issues: 1. Eat a balanced diet: Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help to keep the body healthy and ward off disease. 2. Get regular exercise: Regular physical activity has been shown to improve overall health, reducing the risk of chronic disease, and promoting longevity. 3. Get enough sleep: Getting adequate sleep is essential for maintaining good health and can help to improve immune function and prevent chronic disease. 4. Manage stress: Chronic stress can have a negative impact on overall health, so it's important to find ways to manage and reduce stress, such as through meditation, yoga, or other relaxation techniques. 5. Preventive health screenings: Regular check-ups and screening tests can help to detect and prevent health issues in their early stages, when they are more treatable. This includes tests like blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer screening,and sexual health checks.

What is preventative care?

15/12/2022

Most people only see their doctor when they are sick. This is referred to as ‘diagnostic care’ and it usually involves your physician running tests and carrying out examinations to determine what’s wrong with you. As its name suggests, preventative care, on the other hand, focuses on helping you stay as healthy as possible. It does so primarily through regular physical examinations or check ups, which can often identify a range of medical issues before they develop into something more major.  Examples of preventative care The concept of preventative care is all about being proactive rather than reactive. This means taking advantage of the resources and services that are available to you to help avoid more serious medical problems going forward. Examples of preventative care include: – Annual physical examination or check up – Laboratory and screening tests carried out during a check up – Yearly flu shots  – Routine vaccinations – Yearly mammograms (usually for women 40 and older) – Colonoscopy (usually one every 10 years for those 50 and older) The benefits of preventative care As we’ve already mentioned, preventative care is designed to identify any potential health issues early on before they become a more serious problem. Doing so affords a number of benefits, including: – Better prognosis (this is especially true for certain cancers) – Greater treatment responses – Lower healthcare costs – Overall peace of mind for you While preventative care is important for everyone, it can be particularly beneficial for those who have a family history of certain conditions. Your physician will take this into account during any regular examinations you have, tailoring your tests to look for specific issues. Preventive care costs Depending on the type of insurance you have, preventative care is often 100% covered. However, if you’re in any doubt, it’s always best to contact your insurance provider in the first instance. If preventative care is indeed covered by your insurance, taking advantage really is something that shouldn’t require much thought. The benefits are numerous and the peace of mind you can afford from doing so is priceless. *image courtesy of batian lu from Pixabay

Laboratory & screening tests you can expect during a physical exam

09/12/2022

Following on from our post last week on what to expect during a physical examination, today’s blog will explain some of the laboratory and screening tests you may also undergo. Now it’s important to note that there are no standard laboratory or screening tests during a physical exam, so what you are advised to have will depend on your physician and health history. Laboratory tests during a physical exam The main laboratory tests you are likely to undergo during a physical exam are: – Complete blood count (CBC) – A CBC is a blood test that helps evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of conditions, including anemia, infection and leukemia. – Chemistry panel – A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) will include an electrolyte panel (which measures levels of sodium, chloride, potassium and bicarbonate), kidney function tests, liver function tests and also measures glucose and calcium. – Blood glucose – To look for signs of diabetes or pre-diabetes. – Urinalysis – Using a sample of your urine, this test can detect a range of conditions, including urinary tract infections, kidney disease and diabetes. – Fecalysis – A stool sample test (fecalysis) can detect certain conditions affecting your digestive tract, including parasites, viruses, bacteria, poor nutrient absorption and even cancer. Screening tests during a physical exam In addition to the laboratory tests outlined above, you may also undergo the following screening tests: For women: – Mammogram – A screening test for breast cancer, usually recommended for women 40 and over – Pap smear – A screening test for cervical cancer, usually recommended for women 21 and older For men: – Prostate exam – A digital rectal exam is the most common method used for physically checking your prostate, while a PSA test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood – both of which can flag early signs of prostate cancer. – Testicular exam – A physical exam that checks both testicles for signs of abnormality, including lumps, changes in size, and tenderness. – Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening – This simple ultrasound looks for a bulge or swelling in the aorta, and is usually recommended for men 65 and over, as they are most at risk. Both men and women: – Cholesterol test – Also called a ‘lipid panel’, this checks your cholesterol levels to see if you are at risk of heart attack or stroke. – Osteoporosis - A bone density scan can help reveal potential issues relating to weak bones. – Hepatitis – Everyone should be tested for hepatitis C at least once to find out if they have ever been infected with the virus. – Colorectal – A colonoscopy is usually used to check for colorectal cancer and other abnormalities in your colon. If you are a smoker, or have a family history of certain conditions, your physician may also recommend further tests in addition to those above. * Image by Ernesto Eslava from Pixabay 

What to expect during a physical examination

06/12/2022

In our last blog, we explained why regular health check ups are a must. But if you haven’t had one for some time, you might not know what to expect. Don’t worry; we’re here to provide you with some of the common aspects of a physical examination (exam) so you know what to expect. Still not sure about the importance of regular medical check ups? According to one published in the American Journal of Medicine, inadequate physical examination is a significant source of medical errors and subsequent adverse effects. So what can you expect from a physical exam? Updated health history First and foremost, any good doctor will ask you about your health history. This will include any past problems, as well as new developments and changes. This is your opportunity to explain any concerns you may have and provide your physician with as much information as possible so they have as clear a picture as possible of your overall health. During this part of the physical exam, be prepared to answer questions relating to your lifestyle, like whether you smoke, how much alcohol you drink, the amount of exercise you get and possibly dietary habits. It’s important to be honest, as it’s only yourself you’re doing an injustice to if you’re not. Vital sign checks Another important part of any physical exam are the vital sign checks. These standard tests provide a benchmark of your health based on a set of recommended guidelines. Vital sign checks will involve taking your blood pressure (anything less than 120/90 is considered “normal”), measuring your heart rate (between 60 and 100 is considered “normal”), checking your respiratory rate (12 to 16 breaths per minute is “normal” for a healthy adult) and taking your temperature (“normal” body temperature can range between 97 F (36.1 C) and 99 F (37.2 C)). Visual and physical exams The final aspect of your physical exam will comprise a series of visual and physical tests, designed to look for signs of any potential problems or medical conditions. The visual exam will include examination of the following: - Head - Eyes - Ears - Nose - Chest - Abdomen - Musculoskeletal system, such as your hands and wrists - Nervous system/neurological functions, such as reflexes, balance and speech and walking The physical exam will comprise: - Touching, or “palpating,” parts of your body (like your abdomen) to feel for anything unusual - Checking your skin, hair, and nails - Checking your organ size and shape - A possible examination of your genitalia and rectum When was the last time you had a physical exam? If it’s been a while, maybe it’s time you considered having one. Look out for our blog next week on the additional laboratory and screening tests you can expect during a physical exam.

What to expect during a physical examination

01/12/2022

In our last blog, we explained why regular health check ups are a must. But if you haven’t had one for some time, you might not know what to expect. Don’t worry; we’re here to provide you with some of the common aspects of a physical examination (exam) so you know what to expect. Still not sure about the importance of regular medical check ups? According to one published in the American Journal of Medicine, inadequate physical examination is a significant source of medical errors and subsequent adverse effects. So what can you expect from a physical exam? Updated health history First and foremost, any good doctor will ask you about your health history. This will include any past problems, as well as new developments and changes. This is your opportunity to explain any concerns you may have and provide your physician with as much information as possible so they have as clear a picture as possible of your overall health. During this part of the physical exam, be prepared to answer questions relating to your lifestyle, like whether you smoke, how much alcohol you drink, the amount of exercise you get and possibly dietary habits. It’s important to be honest, as it’s only yourself you’re doing an injustice to if you’re not. Vital sign checks Another important part of any physical exam are the vital sign checks. These standard tests provide a benchmark of your health based on a set of recommended guidelines. Vital sign checks will involve taking your blood pressure (anything less than 120/90 is considered “normal”), measuring your heart rate (between 60 and 100 is considered “normal”), checking your respiratory rate (12 to 16 breaths per minute is “normal” for a healthy adult) and taking your temperature (“normal” body temperature can range between 97 F (36.1 C) and 99 F (37.2 C)). Visual and physical exams The final aspect of your physical exam will comprise a series of visual and physical tests, designed to look for signs of any potential problems or medical conditions. The visual exam will include examination of the following: Head Eyes Ears Nose Chest Abdomen Musculoskeletal system, such as your hands and wrists Nervous system/neurological functions, such as reflexes, balance and speech and walking The physical exam will comprise: Touching, or “palpating,” parts of your body (like your abdomen) to feel for anything unusual Checking your skin, hair, and nails Checking your organ size and shape A possible examination of your genitalia and rectum When was the last time you had a physical exam? If it’s been a while, maybe it’s time you considered having one. Look out for our blog next week on the additional laboratory and screening tests you can expect during a physical exam.

What to expect during a physical examination

01/12/2022

In our last blog, we explained why regular health check ups are a must. But if you haven’t had one for some time, you might not know what to expect. Don’t worry; we’re here to provide you with some of the common aspects of a physical examination (exam) so you know what to expect. Still not sure about the importance of regular medical check ups? According to one published in the American Journal of Medicine, inadequate physical examination is a significant source of medical errors and subsequent adverse effects. So what can you expect from a physical exam? Updated health history First and foremost, any good doctor will ask you about your health history. This will include any past problems, as well as new developments and changes. This is your opportunity to explain any concerns you may have and provide your physician with as much information as possible so they have as clear a picture as possible of your overall health. During this part of the physical exam, be prepared to answer questions relating to your lifestyle, like whether you smoke, how much alcohol you drink, the amount of exercise you get and possibly dietary habits. It’s important to be honest, as it’s only yourself you’re doing an injustice to if you’re not. Vital sign checks Another important part of any physical exam are the vital sign checks. These standard tests provide a benchmark of your health based on a set of recommended guidelines. Vital sign checks will involve taking your blood pressure (anything less than 120/90 is considered “normal”), measuring your heart rate (between 60 and 100 is considered “normal”), checking your respiratory rate (12 to 16 breaths per minute is “normal” for a healthy adult) and taking your temperature (“normal” body temperature can range between 97 F (36.1 C) and 99 F (37.2 C)). Visual and physical exams The final aspect of your physical exam will comprise a series of visual and physical tests, designed to look for signs of any potential problems or medical conditions. The visual exam will include examination of the following: Head Eyes Ears Nose Chest Abdomen Musculoskeletal system, such as your hands and wrists Nervous system/neurological functions, such as reflexes, balance and speech and walking The physical exam will comprise: Touching, or “palpating,” parts of your body (like your abdomen) to feel for anything unusual Checking your skin, hair, and nails Checking your organ size and shape A possible examination of your genitalia and rectum When was the last time you had a physical exam? If it’s been a while, maybe it’s time you considered having one. Look out for our blog next week on the additional laboratory and screening tests you can expect during a physical exam. *Image by Hamilton Viana Viana from Pixabay 

Why regular health check ups are a must

24/11/2022

Regular health check ups can help with everything from weight and blood pressure monitoring to early detection of more serious issues. Yet a significant proportion of people simply neglect to have them frequently. Indeed, according to a new national poll from NORC at the University of Chicago and the West Health Institute, around 40 percent of Americans reported skipping a recommended medical test or treatment. Meanwhile, 44 percent said they neglected to see a doctor despite being sick or injured in the last year because of cost. Separate research also reveals that men are more likely to miss health check ups, with a third of men thinking they do not need annual health screenings. The Harris Poll, which surveyed people nationally, also found that two-thirds of men believe they are “naturally healthier than others in general.” The benefits of regular health check ups First and foremost, regular health check ups can help detect medical conditions while they are still in their early stages, which can yield a number of follow on benefits. For example, an early cancer diagnosis can significantly improve a patient’s outcome. Treatment can be given sooner, increasing the chances of a patient responding positively. Furthermore, when medical conditions are diagnosed earlier, the chances of them becoming more severe are lessened. In turn, this means that healthcare interventions and associated costs are, inevitably, greatly reduced. Then there is the peace of mind that can be afforded through regular health check ups. Instead of wondering whether the few symptoms you are experiencing are serious, isn’t it better to get checked out and put your mind at ease? Finally, regular health check ups also serve to strengthen your relationship with doctors and physicians. By building mutual trust, more open and honest conversations can be had, which often lead to swifter diagnoses. Final thoughts When was the last time you had a health check up? On an annual basis wouldn’t be a bad start. Whether you are young or old, regular health check ups are important. Most medical conditions do not discriminate, which means staying abreast of any changes with your body is so important. Chances are you’ll be given a clean bill of health on a regular basis. But with regular health check ups, you stand a significantly greater chance of any potential medical issues being discovered early and, potentially, before they become a bigger problem. *Image by tomwieden from Pixabay 

Why picking your nose may increase your risk of Alzheimer's Disease

09/11/2022

If you're one of those people who picks their nose, or aggressively plucks any hairs you find there, new research may provide you with a reason to stop. According to a study in mice, the results of which are published in Scientific Reports, such habits as those outlined above may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease. That's because Chlamydia pneumoniae bacteria can easily travel along a nerve running from the nasal cavity into the brain. From there, the bacteria were seen to infect the mice's central nervous system. When the bacteria invade the brain, they display a key marker of Alzheimer’s disease. “We’re the first to show that Chlamydia pneumoniae can go directly up the nose and into the brain, where it can set off pathologies that look like Alzheimer’s disease,” study coauthor James St John, PhD, head of the Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, said in a statement. “We saw this happen in a mouse model, and the evidence is potentially scary for humans as well,” Dr. St John said. In the mouse studies, the Chlamydia pneumoniae bacteria were found to have traveled to the mice's brains within 72 hours, but this was witnessed to be even faster among mice whose nasal passages were damaged. “Picking your nose [or] plucking the hairs from your nose is not a good idea,” St John said. “We don’t want to damage the inside of our nose, and picking and plucking can do that.

Crosswords or video games: which is better for your brain?

03/11/2022

In our modern age where smartphones and apps are ubiquitous, so-called brain training games are all the rage. But people of a certain age will be much more familiar with the good old-fashioned crossword. Which is better for your brain when it comes to slowing cognitive decline? New research has provided some insights. According to the study, led by Davangere Devanand, MD, a professor and director of geriatric psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, the humble crossword puzzle may actually be better for aging brains than new-fangled video games. “This is the first study to document both short-term and longer-term benefits for home-based crossword puzzles training compared to another intervention,” said Devanand. For the study, the researchers followed 107 adults aged 55 and over with mild cognitive impairment for 78 weeks. The participants were randomly given either crossword puzzles or brain-training games, and asked to do four 30-minute sessions weekly over three months. The participants were also asked to do a number of booster sessions up until the end of the study period. The researchers found that the people in the crossword group showed a small improvement in tests of memory and other mental skills. The results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine. *Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Low carb diet can prevent and treat type 2 diabetes

27/10/2022

Over 400 million people worldwide are living with type 2 diabetes, according to the World Health Organization. Yet a new study suggests the condition could be controlled and even prevented through diet alone. Publishing their findings in the journal JAMA Network Open, researchers from Tulane University in Louisiana in the United States revealed how following a diet that is low in carbohydrates can help people with unmedicated diabetes and those at risk for diabetes lower their blood sugar. For the study, the researchers recruited 150 participants and separated them into two groups: one which followed a low carb diet (less than 40 net grams of carbohydrates a day for the first 3 months and less than 60 net grams during months 3 to 6) and one which followed their usual diet. The researchers found that not only did the low carb diet group see their hemoglobin A1c, a marker for blood sugar levels, drop, they also lost weight and had lower fasting glucose levels. “The key message is that a low-carbohydrate diet, if maintained, might be a useful approach for preventing and treating Type 2 diabetes, though more research is needed,” said lead author Kirsten Dorans, assistant professor of epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. *Image by Nemanja_us from Pixabay

Vitamin D deficiency may increase premature death risk

26/10/2022

It's often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, and now new research shows that vitamin D could prolong your life. According to a study by researchers from the University of South Australia, there is a causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and premature death. For the study, the researchers recruited over 300,000 individuals, aged 37-73, from the UK Biobank. They obtained the participants' genetic data, as well as their vitamin D serum levels. Over a 14-year follow-up period, the researchers recorded all-cause mortality and deaths caused by cancer, cardiovascular disease respiratory disease. At the end of the research period, there had been 18,700 deaths. Further analysis revealed that the risk of death decreased significantly with increasing vitamin D levels, but that this effect plateaued when serum levels reached 50 nmol/L. “In this study, we found evidence for a benefit across all the main causes of death, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory disease-related mortality,” said study author Elina Hypponen, PhD, a University of South Australia professor and director of the Australian Centre for Precision Health. “However, in most cases, any benefit for increasing vitamin D levels was restricted to those individuals who have very low concentrations,” she added. *Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay 

New wearable device can track tumors in real time

20/10/2022

A revolutionary new wearable sensor, which tracks tumors in real time, could provide invaluable insights into how cancer cells respond to treatments. The new device can report in real time how a tumor is growing or shrinking. The results are sent wirelessly to a smartphone for analysis, enabling physicians to more closely monitor patients' progress. So far, the device has been used and proven itself in animal studies. “Our technology is the first bioelectronic device to monitor tumor regression, and the first technology to monitor tumors in real time,” said Alex Abramson, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech and a co-author of a new study focusing the device. At present, the most common ways to measure tumors are calipers or bioluminescence imaging (BLI). While these methods are useful and, indeed, accurate, they are only typically performed every few days or weeks. With the new wearable sensor, tumor information is captured every 5 minutes, allowing changes to be recorded in a more timely fashion. Furthermore, the new sensor can also detect extremely small changes that calipers and BLI can’t. Our sensor will allow us to better understand the short-term effects of drugs on tumors and allow scientists and health care professionals a more streamlined method to screen drugs that could become therapies in the future,” Abramson added. *Image by Darko Stojanovic from Pixabay

5 hours or less sleep could put older adults at risk of multiple chronic conditions

19/10/2022

Older individuals who regularly sleep for five hours or less could be putting themselves at risk of developing multiple chronic conditions, new research suggests. According to the research, the findings of which are published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine, people aged 50 and over who sleep for five hours or less per night are at greater risk of developing more than one chronic disease compared with their peers who sleep seven hours. In fact, at age 50, those who slept five hours or less had a 30 percent greater risk of multimorbidity compared with those who slept seven hours. “Our study showed that sleep five hours or less is associated with 30 to 40 percent increased risk of onset of multimorbidity,” says lead author Severine Sabia, PhD, of Université Paris Cité, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), and University College London. The association remained in each decade of life, whether sleep was measured at 50, 60, or 70 years old, says Dr. Sabia. When considered alongside previous research into the importance of sleep, the present study highlights why older individuals should prioritise this aspect of their lives. “Sleep is important for the regulation of several body function such as metabolic, endocrine, and inflammatory regulation over the day, that in turn when dysregulated may contribute to increase risk of several chronic conditions and ultimately death,” Sabia said. *Image by เดชาธร อมาตยกุล from Pixabay 

Eating earlier can reduce weight gain

12/10/2022

Eating earlier in the day can be beneficial for weight loss, new research suggests. According to the study by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, people who eat later are hungrier during the day and have lower levels of serum leptin, the hormone that helps regulate body fat. Later eaters also burned fewer calories and had a lower core body temperature. The researchers say that eating later actually changes gene expression in adipose tissue in favor of increased fat storage, which could predispose people to becoming obese. Based on the study, the researchers said that people who ate later in the day were twice as likely to feel hungry. They were also more likely to desire certain foods like starchy foods or meat. To thoroughly test, the researchers had half the study group eat earlier in the day and half eat later. Both groups then switched places and tried the alternative eating protocol. The results were mirrored on both occasions, underlining the study findings. Commenting on the study, Julie Palmer, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said that one main takeaway is that we feel hungrier when we wait to eat later in the day. “When higher-calorie foods are more available to us later in the day … we’re more likely to overeat them,” said Palmer.  *Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 

Lifting weights linked with longer life

06/10/2022

We recently wrote about how 10,000 steps a day may halve dementia risk. Now, separate research has revealed how lifting weights can help people live longer. According to the study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, US, regularly lifting weights was linked to a lower risk of death from any cause, with the exception of cancer. “Older adults who participated in weight lifting exercise had significantly lower mortality before and after factoring in aerobic exercise participation, and importantly, those who did both types of exercise had the lowest risk,” said lead author Jessica Gorzelitz, PhD, researcher in the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute. Publishing their findings in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the researchers said individuals who met recommended amounts of both muscle-strengthening exercises and aerobic moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), appeared to gain additional benefit. The findings provide strong support for the current Physical Activity Guidelines for U.S. adults, added Gorzelitz. Current guidelines in the United States on physical activity recommend all adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week, or a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity, or an equal combination of the two. In addition, the guidelines also advocate two or more days of strengthening activities that incorporate all major muscle groups, including the legs, hips, back, abdomen chest, shoulders, and arms. *Image by Fabiano Silva from Pixabay 

10,000 steps a day may halve dementia risk

03/10/2022

Walking 10,000 steps a day could halve your risk of developing dementia in later life, new research suggests.   According to the study, the results of which are published in the journal JAMA Neurology, walking around 9,800 steps per day was associated with a 50% dementia risk reduction. However, there is also good news for people who are unable to achieve this many steps. That’s because walking just 3,826 steps a day reduced dementia risk by 25%.   The study used almost 80,000 individuals’ data from the UK Biobank, of whom 44.7% were male and 55.3% female and had a mean age of 61.1 years. At the start of the study, all participants were free of cardiovascular disease and dementia. The researchers followed up with everyone involved after a median of 6.9 years (6.4–7.5 years).   Dr. Claire Sexton, Alzheimer’s Association senior director of scientific programs and outreach, who was not involved in the study, said: “This is an important study that may help inform public health guidelines around the amount of physical activity necessary to reap health benefits.   “These results are not surprising given the robust data we have linking physical activity and better cognition. A strength of this paper is it used an objective, widely-understood measure of step count rather than self-reported data.”   *Image by Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

Artificial sweeteners linked with increased cardiovascular disease risk

26/09/2022

Artificial sweeteners are often the go-to choice for people wishing to lose weight, but new research suggests they may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the study, the results of which are published in the BMJ, artificial sweeteners are associated with a 9 percent higher risk of any type of cardiovascular disease event and an 18 percent increased chance of stroke. “Our results indicate that these food additives, consumed daily by millions of people and present in thousands of foods and beverages, should not be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar,” the study authors wrote in The BMJ. Moreover, different sweeteners carried different risk. For example, aspartame, sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal, was tied to a 17 percent increased risk of stroke. Acesulfame potassium, sold under the brand names Sweet One and Sunett, was linked to a 40 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease. For the study, more than 100,000 adults (mostly female) were followed for around a decade, making it the largest to date to investigate cardiovascular health problems associated with sugar substitutes. At the start of the study, none of the participants had a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes — and none of them were diagnosed with these conditions during the first two years of follow-up. *Image by designfoto from Pixabay 

Good dental health can reduce dementia risk

15/09/2022

People with poor dental hygiene are 21% more likely to develop dementia in later life, new research suggests. According to the study, recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, poor oral health and tooth loss increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The study authors said their findings emphasize the importance of monitoring, as well as management of “periodontal health in the context of dementia prevention”. They added that because of this finding, dental professionals are in a great position to track and intervene should a patient's periodontal health begin to deteriorate. “Our mouth is full of bacteria (good and bad). We need these bacteria to live in equilibrium and when our dental hygiene is missing, the bad bacteria can overcome and install in our gums. There is evidence that bacteria can travel to the brain and participate with neurodegeneration that will ultimately decline our cognitive health,” she told Healthline. “Oral health is important for our overall quality of life. Taking care of our mouth is as important as taking care of our body. Our mouth is more exposed to the environment, and it is the entrance to our entire body,” she added. The research has spoken: Brush your teeth two to three times a day and visit a dentist twice a year as routine, or sooner if you notice a change in your dental health. *Image by Reto Gerber from Pixabay 

Switch 30 mins of social media for exercise to reap mental health benefits – study

13/09/2022

By replacing 30 minutes of daily social media use with physical activity, you will feel happier, new research suggests. According to the new study, switching social media for exercise for just two weeks can have a positive impact. The research team from the Mental Health Research and Treatment Center at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, headed up by assistant professor Julia Brailovskaia, Ph.D., reported that participants who swapped social media for exercise felt more satisfied, less depressed, and less stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic than their peers in a control group. Furthermore, the positive effects of the two-week period lasted for up to six months after the study concluded. “Given that we don’t know for certain how long the coronavirus crisis will last, we wanted to know how to protect people’s mental health with services that are as free and low-threshold as possible,” Brailovskaia said in a statement. “This shows us how vital it is to reduce our availability online from time to time and to go back to our human roots,” she added. “These measures can be easily implemented into one’s everyday life and they’re completely free – and, at the same time, they help us to stay happy and healthy in the digital age.” *image courtesy of Irina L from Pixabay 

Scottish smokers face fines for lighting up outside hospitals

06/09/2022

Smoking outside hospitals is now banned in Scotland, with individuals who break the rules liable to hefty fines, under the new rules. From Monday 5 September, anyone found smoking within 15 feet of a hospital in Scotland could be fined up to £1,000. The new regulations are the latest part of the Scottish Government's overall efforts to create a tobacco-free Scotland by 2034. Sheila Duffy from independent Scottish charity Ash Scotland hopes the new legislation will prevent tobacco smoke being drawn in through windows, doorways and vents. She told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland: "It has effects on the blood, it has effects on the lungs and it interferes with people getting well, which is what they are in there to do. "There are newborns and people who are ill in hospitals and this measure is about creating cleaner air for their stay and making sure that they get out as healthy as possible. "This is a toxic substance. It is preventable and is not a welcome addition to the indoor air in hospitals.” Hospital authorities in Scotland - those who are already responsible for enforcing indoor smoke-free legislation - will implement the new rules. *Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Here's the lowdown on Tomato Flu

30/08/2022

A few months ago, we told you about an emerging health threat that was receiving a lot of attention: monkey pox.Today we're here to explain a little more about another health issue that is gaining some traction in the headlines at the moment: Tomato Flu. Called Tomato Flu because of the painful, red blisters it causes that can be as big as a tomato, the likely viral disease has so far impacted more than 100 children in India's Kerala region. According to The Lancet medical journal, Tomato Flu was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala, India on May 6, 2022. The journal further notes that the disease is considered non-life-threatening and resolves on its own in time. Furthermore, The Lancet says that Tomato Flu's primary symptoms observed in infected children resemble those of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus which can cause high fever, rashes, and intense pain in joints. “Transmission is likely to be through close contact,” said Hannah Newman, MPH, director of infection prevention at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “The virus has been named tomato flu on the basis of the red, painful blisters it causes that can mimic the look and size of a tomato,” Newman added. Seeing as Tomato Flu is contagious, there is a significant chance it could spread outside of India. *Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

New adhesive bandage offers twice the sticking power and pain free removal

18/08/2022

If you cut your finger, providing it's only a minor wound, one of the first things you'll reach for is an adhesive bandage. These simple yet effective medical dressings are found in most households around the world. But they have a couple of pitfalls: sometimes, they don't stick very well and oftentimes it hurts when they are removed. Now, researchers from Pennsylvania are looking to change this by developing an adhesive bandage that sticks well to skin – even hairy areas – and causes little pain when it is removed. To solve the problem, the researchers turned to the main ingredient in school glue. The problem with existing adhesive bandages is the ones that stick hard and fast are usually difficult to remove and can cause pain – especially if they are placed on sensitive skin. Other adhesive bandages are easier to remove but don't have the sticking power required to keep a wound closed, allowing to heal. Outlining their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia say their new bandage has been developed using vinyl alcohol – a primary ingredient in the glue – and boric acid, a common and naturally occurring compound frequently used in antiseptics. The result is an adhesive bandage that can effectively hold wound closed, yet can be painlessly removed by soaking it in water for just 30 seconds. *Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

Reducing salt intake by just 1g per day can reduce heart disease risk

17/08/2022

Reducing salt intake by just 1g per day can significantly lower a person's risk of heart disease, a new study has found. According to the Chinese study, published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention, & Health, almost 9 million cardiovascular events could be prevented each year by 2030 if people cut their salt intake by just 1g per day. Despite the World Health Organization recommending people to eat a maximum of 5g of salt per day, the researchers noted that China has one of the highest daily salt intakes in the world with an average consumption of 11 grams per day – more than twice the WHO recommended amount. Furthermore, around 40 per cent of all deaths in China are associated with or because of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the researchers found that reducing salt by 1g per day could lower the average systolic blood pressure by 1.2 mm/Hg, potentially preventing 9 million cardiovascular disease events and stroke cases by 2030 – of which 4 million would be fatal. “While this study focused on the salt intake in China, the benefits of salt reduction in an American diet are well established,” Dr. Jeffrey Tyler, a cardiologist with Providence St. Joseph Hospital in California, told Healthline. “People who are middle or older age, diabetic, with kidney disease… benefit, even more, when reducing salt intake.” *Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

Short walks after meals lowers diabetes risk – study

10/08/2022

Taking a short walk after eating can help lower the risk of type-2 diabetes and heart problems, a new study suggests. According to the study, published in Sports Medicine, just 2 to 5 minutes of light walking after a meal can reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. Blood glucose levels spike after eating, triggering the pancreas to release insulin to control the increase and promote the storage of glucose in fat, muscle, liver and other body tissues. Over time, some people's cells develop a resistance to insulin, which can lead to blood glucose levels remaining elevated. If this persists, complications, including cardiovascular disease and nerve damage, can occur. “With standing and walking, there are contractions of your muscles” that use glucose and lower blood sugar levels, Aidan Buffey, the lead study author and a PhD student in physical education and sport sciences at the University of Limerick, told The Times. “If you can do physical activity before the glucose peak, typically 60 to 90 minutes [after eating], that is when you’re going to have the benefit of not having the glucose spike,” he said. *Image by

Green tea may help reduce blood sugar and gut inflammation

04/08/2022

Its origins date back to 2737 B.C. in the Far East when the Chinese Emperor Shennong mistakenly drank water with a dead tea leaf boiled inside. Fast forward to today and people all over the world enjoy green tea as part of their diet, benefiting from the list of potential health benefits in the process. Now, new research shows that green tea may also help reduce blood sugar and gut inflammation. According to the study, published in Current Developments in Nutrition, people who regularly consume green tea have lower fasting blood sugar levels than their peers who don't. Furthermore, green tea extract was also found to decrease gut inflammation, highlighted by a decrease in stool inflammatory proteins. Senior study co-author Richard Bruno, PhD, a professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University, said the study showed positive results after just one month. “What this tells us is that within one month we’re able to lower blood glucose in both people with metabolic syndrome and healthy people, and the lowering of blood glucose appears to be related to decreasing leaky gut and decreasing gut inflammation — regardless of health status,” he said in a statement. “This could be a simple yet powerful intervention for people with metabolic syndrome or those at risk for it. It could be a therapy to start while we continue to promote healthy lifestyle changes,” said Olivia Vaughn, a registered dietitian nutritionist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. *Image by Mirko Stödter from Pixabay 

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