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The Role of Technology in Modern Health Check-ups

19/02/2024

Advancements in technology have revolutionized modern healthcare, including the way health check-ups are conducted. From digital health monitoring devices to telemedicine platforms, technology has made health check-ups more convenient, accessible, and effective than ever before. Here's how technology has transformed the landscape of health check-ups: Digital Health Monitoring Devices Wearable devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, and health monitoring apps allow individuals to track various health metrics in real-time. These devices can monitor heart rate, activity levels, sleep patterns, and even detect irregularities in vital signs. By providing continuous health data, digital monitoring devices offer a comprehensive picture of an individual's health status between check-ups. Telemedicine Platforms Telemedicine platforms enable remote consultations with healthcare providers via video conferencing, phone calls, or secure messaging. This allows individuals to access healthcare services from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need for in-person appointments for routine check-ups. Telemedicine facilitates timely consultations, especially for individuals with limited mobility, busy schedules, or living in remote areas. Mobile Health Apps Mobile health apps offer a wide range of functionalities, including appointment scheduling, medication reminders, symptom tracking, and access to health information. These apps empower individuals to actively participate in their healthcare management, facilitating communication with healthcare providers and facilitating adherence to treatment plans. Some apps even offer virtual check-ups or consultations with healthcare professionals. Remote Monitoring Devices Remote monitoring devices enable healthcare providers to monitor patients' health remotely, particularly for individuals with chronic conditions or those recovering from surgery. These devices can track vital signs, medication adherence, and symptom progression, providing valuable data for healthcare providers to assess patients' health status and intervene as needed. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Electronic health records digitize medical records, enabling seamless sharing of patient information among healthcare providers. EHRs consolidate medical history, test results, prescriptions, and other pertinent information in a centralized database accessible to authorized healthcare professionals. This streamlines communication, reduces duplication of tests, and enhances continuity of care during health check-ups. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning AI and machine learning algorithms analyze vast amounts of health data to identify patterns, predict health outcomes, and personalize treatment plans. These technologies can assist healthcare providers in diagnosing diseases, identifying risk factors, and recommending preventive measures during health check-ups, leading to more accurate and timely interventions. Remote Diagnostic Tools Remote diagnostic tools, such as home blood pressure monitors, glucometers, and EKG devices, enable individuals to perform diagnostic tests at home and transmit results to their healthcare providers. This reduces the need for frequent clinic visits and allows for more timely monitoring of chronic conditions between check-ups. In conclusion, technology has significantly transformed the way health check-ups are conducted, making them more convenient, accessible, and effective for individuals seeking to maintain their health. From digital health monitoring devices to telemedicine platforms and AI-driven diagnostic tools, technology empowers individuals to take proactive control of their health and enables healthcare providers to deliver personalized and efficient care during routine check-ups. To find out more about the health check-up services we offer, visit our check-up center. *Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The Top 10 Tests You Should Include in Your Health Check-up

07/02/2024

Regular health check-ups are essential for maintaining optimal health and detecting potential health issues early. Including specific medical tests as part of your routine check-up can provide valuable insights into your overall well-being and help identify any underlying health concerns.  Here are the top 10 tests you should consider including in your health check-up: Blood Pressure Measurement Checking blood pressure is crucial for assessing cardiovascular health. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications. Monitoring blood pressure regularly helps identify hypertension early and allows for timely intervention through lifestyle changes or medication. Cholesterol Levels (Lipid Profile) A lipid profile measures levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. High cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Screening for cholesterol levels helps assess cardiovascular risk and guide interventions such as dietary modifications, exercise, or medication to manage cholesterol levels. Blood Glucose (Blood Sugar) Test Monitoring blood glucose levels is essential for detecting diabetes or prediabetes. High blood sugar levels indicate impaired glucose metabolism, which can lead to diabetes if left untreated. Early detection allows for lifestyle modifications and interventions to prevent or manage diabetes effectively. Complete Blood Count (CBC) A complete blood count evaluates various components of blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. CBC helps diagnose conditions such as anemia, infections, and blood disorders. It provides valuable insights into overall health and helps identify underlying medical conditions. Thyroid Function Tests Thyroid function tests assess the levels of thyroid hormones (TSH, T3, T4) in the blood. Thyroid dysfunction can lead to various health issues, including fatigue, weight changes, and mood disturbances. Monitoring thyroid function helps diagnose thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and guides appropriate treatment. Liver Function Tests (LFTs) Liver function tests evaluate liver enzymes and proteins in the blood, providing insights into liver health. Abnormal LFT results may indicate liver damage or dysfunction, which can result from various causes such as alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis, or fatty liver disease. Monitoring liver function helps diagnose liver disorders and guides management strategies. Kidney Function Tests (Renal Panel) Kidney function tests assess the levels of creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and other markers of kidney function in the blood. Abnormal kidney function tests may indicate kidney disease or impaired kidney function. Monitoring kidney function helps detect kidney disorders early and guides interventions to prevent kidney damage. Bone Density Test (DEXA Scan) A bone density test, also known as a DEXA scan, measures bone mineral density and assesses the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. It helps diagnose osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakened bones, and guides preventive measures such as dietary changes, exercise, and medication to maintain bone health. Colon Cancer Screening (Colonoscopy or Fecal Occult Blood Test) Colon cancer screening aims to detect colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. Colonoscopy and fecal occult blood tests are common screening methods used to identify abnormalities in the colon. Early detection through colon cancer screening improves treatment outcomes and reduces mortality from colorectal cancer. Breast Cancer Screening (Mammography) Mammography is a screening test used to detect breast cancer in its early stages. It involves imaging the breast tissue to identify abnormal changes such as lumps or calcifications. Regular mammograms help detect breast cancer early, when it is most treatable, and increase the chances of successful treatment and survival. Including these essential medical tests in your health check-up provides a comprehensive assessment of your health and helps identify any potential health concerns early. Regular monitoring and early detection enable timely interventions and preventive measures, contributing to better health outcomes and overall well-being. To find out more about the health check-up services we offer, visit our check-up center. *Image by Bruno Pixabay

Heart Bypass Surgery: Restoring the Rhythm of Life

01/11/2023

The human heart, a relentless muscle responsible for pumping life-giving blood throughout the body, occasionally faces challenges that disrupt its vital work. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one such challenge, where the arteries supplying the heart muscle become clogged with plaque, reducing blood flow and oxygen delivery. In these cases, heart bypass surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), emerges as a life-saving solution. Understanding Heart Bypass Surgery Heart bypass surgery is a surgical procedure designed to create new pathways for blood to flow to the heart muscle when the existing coronary arteries are significantly blocked or narrowed. These newly created pathways, often referred to as "bypasses," allow blood to circumvent the obstructed areas, restoring essential oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. When Is Heart Bypass Surgery Necessary? Coronary artery disease can lead to a variety of symptoms, including chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, and fatigue. While not all cases of CAD require surgery, heart bypass surgery may be considered in the following situations: Multiple Blockages: When multiple coronary arteries are significantly narrowed or blocked, bypass surgery is often the most effective solution. Left Main Coronary Artery Disease: Blockages in the left main coronary artery, which supplies a substantial portion of the heart, can be especially dangerous and may necessitate bypass surgery. Failed Angioplasty: In some cases, angioplasty (a minimally invasive procedure to open narrowed arteries) may not provide a lasting solution, and bypass surgery becomes the preferred option. Emergency Treatment: Bypass surgery is occasionally performed as an emergency intervention during a heart attack when other treatments are ineffective. The Heart Bypass Surgery Procedure Preparation: Before the surgery, the patient is given anesthesia to induce unconsciousness and ensure they feel no pain during the procedure. Incision: The surgeon makes an incision in the chest to access the heart. This can be done through a traditional open-chest incision or a minimally invasive approach, depending on the patient's condition and the surgeon's preference. Harvesting Blood Vessels: In most cases, blood vessels, typically the saphenous vein from the leg or the internal mammary artery from the chest wall, are harvested to serve as the grafts for the bypasses. Grafting: The surgeon then attaches one end of the harvested blood vessels above and below the blocked artery, creating a new path for blood to flow, bypassing the blockage. Completion: Once all necessary bypasses are in place, the heart is restarted, and the patient's chest is closed. Benefits of Heart Bypass Surgery Improved Blood Flow: Bypass surgery restores normal blood flow to the heart muscle, reducing the risk of heart attack and relieving symptoms of angina. Enhanced Quality of Life: Patients often experience a significant improvement in their ability to perform daily activities, leading to a better quality of life. Extended Lifespan: Bypass surgery can prolong the lives of individuals with severe CAD. Lower Risk of Future Heart Problems: By creating new pathways for blood flow, bypass surgery can prevent the progression of coronary artery disease. Risks and Complications While heart bypass surgery is generally safe and effective, like any surgical procedure, it carries some risks, including infection, bleeding, and complications related to anesthesia. There's also a potential for graft blockage over time, requiring further intervention. Recovery and Follow-Up Recovery from heart bypass surgery varies depending on the patient and the surgical approach used. However, most individuals can expect to spend a few days in the hospital, with a total recovery period ranging from several weeks to a few months. Rehabilitation typically involves cardiac rehabilitation, a program designed to help patients regain their strength, improve their heart health, and reduce the risk of future cardiac events. Final Thoughts Heart bypass surgery stands as a remarkable testament to the advancements in modern medicine. It offers a path to renewed health for those battling coronary artery disease, allowing them to regain control of their lives and live free from the constant threat of heart-related issues. As technology and medical knowledge continue to advance, heart bypass surgery remains a shining example of how medical science can mend even the most vital parts of our bodies, helping individuals reclaim the rhythm of their lives and look forward to a healthier, heartier future. For more information, visit our Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery page. *Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Virtual Second Opinions: The Rise of Telemedicine in Expert Consultations

10/10/2023

In today's interconnected world, healthcare is no exception to the digital transformation that has reshaped numerous industries. One notable development within the healthcare sector is the rise of virtual second opinions, facilitated by telemedicine. This evolution in healthcare delivery is changing the way patients access expert opinions and transforming the landscape of medical consultations. The Evolution of Telemedicine Telemedicine, the remote provision of healthcare services using technology, has experienced exponential growth in recent years. Initially, telemedicine primarily involved simple phone consultations. However, with advancements in digital communication, it has evolved into a comprehensive platform for remote healthcare delivery. [Related reading: Telehealth vs. Traditional Care: Weighing the Pros and Cons] The Concept of Virtual Second Opinions Virtual second opinions involve seeking expert medical advice and consultations without the need for physical presence. Patients can connect with specialists, often located in distant geographical areas, through telemedicine platforms. This concept is particularly beneficial for complex medical cases, rare conditions, or when patients desire additional perspectives on their diagnoses or treatment plans. Key Benefits of Virtual Second Opinions Access to World-Class Experts: Virtual second opinions break down geographical barriers, allowing patients to consult with renowned specialists from renowned medical centers around the world. Convenience and Efficiency: Patients can access expert opinions from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need for travel and reducing waiting times. This convenience is especially important for individuals with mobility issues or those living in remote areas. Timely Consultations: Virtual second opinions expedite the process of obtaining expert advice. In traditional healthcare settings, waiting times to see specialists can be lengthy, potentially delaying diagnosis and treatment. Cost Savings: Virtual consultations often come at a lower cost compared to in-person visits, making expert opinions more accessible to a broader range of patients. Patient-Centered Care: Virtual second opinions align with the principles of patient-centered care, empowering individuals to actively participate in their healthcare decisions. Challenges and Considerations While virtual second opinions offer numerous advantages, there are some challenges and considerations to keep in mind: Data Security: Ensuring the security and privacy of patient data during virtual consultations is paramount. Healthcare providers must implement robust cybersecurity measures. Regulatory Compliance: Telemedicine services must adhere to relevant healthcare regulations and licensure requirements, which can vary by region. Technology Access: Patients must have access to the necessary technology, including a reliable internet connection and devices capable of video conferencing. Continuity of Care: Coordinating virtual second opinions with a patient's primary healthcare provider is essential to ensure seamless care. Final Thoughts Virtual second opinions, facilitated by the growing field of telemedicine, represent a significant advancement in healthcare accessibility and patient empowerment. By connecting patients with expert opinions from around the world, these virtual consultations offer timely, cost-effective, and convenient solutions for individuals seeking additional perspectives on their medical conditions. As technology continues to evolve, virtual second opinions are poised to play an increasingly crucial role in healthcare decision-making, ultimately improving patient outcomes and enhancing the overall quality of care. 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. *Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels

When to Seek a Second Medical Opinion: Red Flags and Scenarios

06/10/2023

When it comes to your health, decisions about diagnoses and treatment plans are often life-altering. While most healthcare professionals are dedicated to providing the best care possible, the complexity of medicine means that misdiagnoses or suboptimal treatment options can occur. This is where seeking a second medical opinion becomes crucial, and understanding when to do so can make all the difference. Complex or Rare Diagnoses One of the most compelling reasons to consider a second medical opinion is when faced with a complex or rare medical condition. These conditions often challenge even the most experienced healthcare providers, and consulting with multiple experts can lead to a more accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. For instance, a rare genetic disorder or an unusual presentation of a common condition might warrant seeking additional perspectives. Serious or Life-Threatening Diagnoses When the stakes are high, such as in cases of serious or life-threatening illnesses like cancer, heart disease, or neurological disorders, it's prudent to explore all available options. Seeking a second opinion can provide peace of mind and ensure that the recommended treatment aligns with the best available evidence and expert consensus. Dissatisfaction with Current Treatment Plans If you find yourself feeling uneasy about your current treatment plan or you believe it isn't delivering the expected results, it's a valid reason to seek a second medical opinion. This is particularly important in chronic conditions where the treatment may need adjustments over time. A fresh perspective can uncover alternative approaches that may be more effective or better suited to your individual needs. Questions About Surgery Decisions regarding surgery should be approached with caution. If surgery is recommended, especially for complex or invasive procedures, seeking a second opinion is advisable. This can confirm the necessity of the surgery, explore less invasive options, or ensure that you are fully informed about the risks and benefits. Medication Side Effects or Allergic Reactions Experiencing unexpected or severe side effects from prescribed medications can be distressing. In such cases, it's essential to consult with another healthcare provider to evaluate whether the medication is appropriate for you or if there are safer alternatives. Persistent or Worsening Symptoms When your symptoms persist or worsen despite treatment, it could indicate an underlying issue that hasn't been addressed. Seeking a second opinion can help uncover the root cause of your health problems and prevent unnecessary suffering or complications. Complex Treatment Plans In cases where treatment plans involve multiple medications, therapies, or lifestyle changes, seeking a second opinion can provide clarity. It can help you ensure that the treatment regimen is well-coordinated, evidence-based, and aligns with your overall health goals. Concerns About Misdiagnosis If you suspect that you may have been misdiagnosed or have received conflicting opinions from different healthcare providers, seeking a second medical opinion is not only a right but a responsibility to your health. Misdiagnoses can lead to delayed or incorrect treatments, potentially causing harm. Peace of Mind and Confidence Sometimes, the decision to seek a second opinion is not based on specific concerns but rather a desire for peace of mind. Healthcare decisions are deeply personal, and you have the right to feel confident and fully informed about your treatment choices. A second opinion can offer reassurance and confidence in your healthcare journey. Final Thoughts In conclusion, knowing when to seek a second medical opinion is as crucial as the decision itself. It is not a sign of mistrust in your healthcare provider but rather a proactive approach to ensure the best possible care and outcomes. Ultimately, your health and well-being are paramount, and seeking additional perspectives when facing significant medical decisions can lead to more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatments, ultimately improving your quality of life. 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 valelopardo from Pixabay

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT): Transforming Healthcare Through Connected Devices

13/09/2023

In an age defined by technological innovation, the healthcare industry is undergoing a profound transformation through the integration of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). This remarkable development is changing the way healthcare is delivered and experienced, enhancing patient care, improving diagnostics, and revolutionizing healthcare management. In this blog, we will delve into the world of IoMT, exploring its impact, applications, and the future it promises for modern healthcare. Understanding the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) The Internet of Medical Things, or IoMT, refers to the interconnected ecosystem of medical devices, equipment, and applications that collect, transmit, and analyze healthcare data via the internet. This vast network encompasses wearable devices, remote monitoring tools, smart implants, and other connected healthcare technologies. Key Applications of IoMT in Healthcare - Remote Patient Monitoring: IoMT enables continuous monitoring of patients' vital signs and health metrics. Wearable devices and sensors collect data, which is transmitted to healthcare providers in real-time. This technology is invaluable for managing chronic conditions and post-operative care. - Smart Medical Devices: Implants and medical devices, such as pacemakers and insulin pumps, are now equipped with connectivity features. This allows healthcare professionals to monitor device performance and make timely adjustments remotely. - Telemedicine Support: IoMT supports telemedicine by providing physicians with access to patients' health data during virtual consultations. This enhances the quality of care and facilitates more accurate diagnoses. - Medication Management: Smart pill bottles and dispensers remind patients to take their medications and track adherence. Healthcare providers can monitor patient compliance and intervene when necessary. - Predictive Analytics: IoMT data, when analyzed using advanced analytics and machine learning, can help predict disease outbreaks, patient deterioration, or medication responses, enabling proactive interventions. Benefits of IoMT in Healthcare - Improved Patient Outcomes: IoMT enhances early detection of health issues, enabling timely interventions and better patient outcomes. - Enhanced Patient Engagement: Patients are more engaged in their healthcare when they have access to real-time data about their health and treatment progress. - Cost Savings: Remote monitoring reduces the need for frequent in-person visits, leading to cost savings for both patients and healthcare systems. - Efficiency: Healthcare providers can access patient data more efficiently, enabling faster decision-making and streamlined care processes. - Personalized Medicine: IoMT supports personalized treatment plans by providing detailed patient data, allowing for treatments tailored to individual needs. Challenges and Concerns While IoMT offers remarkable benefits, it also presents some challenges: - Security and Privacy: The vast amount of healthcare data transmitted and stored by IoMT devices raises concerns about data security and patient privacy. - Interoperability: Ensuring that different IoMT devices and systems can communicate and share data seamlessly remains a challenge. - Regulatory Compliance: Regulations governing IoMT devices vary, and navigating compliance requirements can be complex. The Future of IoMT The IoMT landscape is poised for continued growth and innovation. As technology advances, we can expect: - Greater Integration: More healthcare devices and systems will become interconnected, providing a comprehensive view of patient health. - Advanced Analytics: The use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics will become more widespread, further enhancing healthcare decision-making. - Improved Security: As IoMT expands, efforts to strengthen security and privacy protections will intensify. - Patient Empowerment: Patients will continue to take an active role in their healthcare through wearable devices and access to their health data. Final thoughts The Internet of Medical Things is reshaping the healthcare landscape, bringing a new era of connectivity, data-driven insights, and patient-centered care. While challenges exist, the potential benefits of IoMT in terms of improved patient outcomes, cost savings, and enhanced healthcare experiences are driving its rapid adoption and evolution. As technology continues to advance, the IoMT promises to be a transformative force in modern healthcare, ushering in a future where healthcare is not only more efficient but also more personalized and accessible.

Telehealth vs. Traditional Care: Weighing the Pros and Cons

31/08/2023

Telehealth vs. Traditional Care: Weighing the Pros and Cons The evolution of healthcare has brought forth new models of medical delivery, with telehealth emerging as a significant player alongside traditional in-person care. As patients gain access to a wider range of healthcare options, the debate between telehealth and traditional care continues to gain prominence. In this exploration, we will delve into the pros and cons of telehealth and traditional care, helping patients make informed decisions about their healthcare choices. Pros of Telehealth Accessibility and Convenience Telehealth eliminates geographical barriers, enabling patients to access medical care regardless of their location. Virtual appointments eliminate the need for travel, making healthcare more convenient for those with mobility limitations or residing in remote areas. Time and Cost Savings Virtual consultations save time by eliminating travel, waiting rooms, and potential delays. Moreover, telehealth is often more cost-effective for both patients and healthcare systems, reducing transportation expenses and operational overhead. Expanded Access to Specialists Telehealth allows patients to consult with specialists who may be located in different cities or countries. This opens the door to expertise that might not be locally available. Continuity of Care Patients can maintain a continuous relationship with their healthcare providers through follow-up telehealth appointments. This consistency can lead to more effective monitoring and improved outcomes for chronic conditions. Reduced Exposure to Contagious Diseases Telehealth gained further significance during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it enabled patients to seek medical advice without the risk of exposure to contagious diseases. Cons of Telehealth Limited Physical Examination While telehealth offers visual cues, it cannot replace a thorough physical examination that can be conducted during an in-person visit. Certain conditions may require hands-on assessments that telehealth cannot provide. Technical Barriers Not all patients have access to the necessary technology or a stable internet connection, limiting their ability to engage in virtual appointments. Lack of Personal Interaction Building a rapport with a healthcare provider is often easier in person. The absence of face-to-face interaction can impact the depth of doctor-patient relationships. Scope of Treatment Some medical interventions, such as surgeries or complex procedures, require in-person care that cannot be replicated through telehealth. Data Privacy Concerns Transmitting sensitive medical information through digital platforms raises concerns about data security and patient privacy. Choosing the Right Approach The choice between telehealth and traditional care depends on various factors, including the nature of the medical concern, patient preferences, and available resources. For routine check-ups, minor ailments, and follow-up consultations, telehealth can offer a convenient and efficient solution. However, for more complex medical issues, emergencies, or cases that require physical examinations, traditional in-person care might be the preferred choice. Final Thoughts Telehealth and traditional care each have their own set of advantages and limitations. The decision ultimately hinges on the patient's healthcare needs, their access to technology, and their comfort level with remote medical consultations. The future of healthcare might likely see a blend of both approaches, as patients and healthcare providers collaborate to offer the best care possible, combining the convenience of telehealth with the personalized touch of traditional care. *Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels

Telehealth and Wearable Devices: Empowering Patients in Self-Care

20/06/2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, telehealth has emerged as a transformative force, changing the way patients receive care. Coupled with wearable devices, telehealth offers a powerful combination that empowers patients to actively engage in their own self-care.  This article explores the intersection of telehealth and wearable devices, highlighting their impact on patient engagement, monitoring, and overall healthcare outcomes. The Rise of Wearable Devices Wearable devices, such as fitness trackers, smartwatches, and medical wearables, have gained significant popularity among consumers. These devices provide continuous monitoring, real-time data collection, and insights into individual health metrics. They have increasingly found integration into telehealth settings, allowing for remote patient monitoring and personalized healthcare delivery. While wearable devices offer numerous benefits for patients in self-care, challenges related to data accuracy, device interoperability, and user adoption must be addressed to fully harness their potential. Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring Telehealth platforms seamlessly incorporate wearable device data for remote patient monitoring. This integration enables healthcare providers to remotely monitor patients' health metrics and vital signs in real-time. Continuous data collection and analysis through wearable devices facilitate proactive interventions, allowing for improved chronic disease management and preventive care. Real-life case studies have demonstrated the successful integration of wearable devices into telehealth programs, showcasing positive patient outcomes and enhanced healthcare experiences. Empowering Patients through Self-Monitoring Wearable devices play a pivotal role in encouraging self-monitoring and promoting healthy behaviors among patients. By providing real-time feedback on physical activity, sleep quality, and other health metrics, wearable devices motivate individuals to engage in regular exercise, maintain good sleep hygiene, and adopt healthier lifestyles. Patients can track a wide range of health parameters, including physical activity levels, sleep patterns, heart rate, and blood pressure. Furthermore, wearable devices leverage gamification elements and personalized feedback to enhance patient motivation and engagement, resulting in improved self-care adherence and long-term engagement. Enhancing Chronic Disease Management Wearable devices, when integrated with telehealth solutions, offer significant benefits for managing chronic conditions. For instance, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices enable remote monitoring of patients with diabetes, facilitating timely adjustments in medication or lifestyle interventions. Wearable blood pressure monitors assist in managing hypertension, while smart inhalers help monitor asthma symptoms and medication usage. These devices also improve medication adherence through reminders and alerts, reducing the risk of complications. Continuous monitoring of health metrics allows healthcare providers to detect early signs of health deteriorations, enabling timely interventions and preventing adverse events. Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and Preventive Care Wearable devices act as powerful tools for promoting healthy lifestyles and preventive care. They track physical fitness, weight management, stress levels, and other factors contributing to overall well-being. Integration with telehealth platforms enables personalized health recommendations and interventions based on collected data. Wearable devices can facilitate early detection and prevention of diseases by continuously monitoring health metrics and analyzing trends. By empowering individuals to make positive lifestyle choices and adopt healthier habits, wearable devices contribute to proactive health management and reduce healthcare costs in the long run. Final Thoughts Telehealth and wearable devices have revolutionized patient self-care, offering a personalized and proactive approach to healthcare. By incorporating wearable devices into telehealth practices, patients have the means to actively engage in their health management. However, privacy, security, and ethical considerations must be prioritized to ensure responsible use of wearable devices in self-care. As technology continues to advance, the integration of telehealth and wearable devices holds immense potential to improve patient outcomes and transform the future of healthcare. At France Surgery, we can help you get in touch with a clinician from our network of medical experts in France. Contact us today to find out more. *Image by FitNishMedia 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

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 

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

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 

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

2-3 cups of coffee a day may reduce kidney injury risk by almost a quarter

16/06/2022

Coffee consumption is linked to numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as liver, heart, and neurological diseases. Now, new research suggests we can also add kidney protection to that list. According to the study, the results of which are published in Kidney International Reports, people who regularly drink coffee have a reduced risk acute kidney injury. However, the benefits are most apparent in those who drink 2-3 cups of coffee each day. For the study, the team of researchers used data from 14,207 adults ages 45-64 from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. The researchers asked the participants to disclose information relating to how much coffee they drank. The results were:  27% never drank coffee 14% drank less than a cup of coffee per day 19% drank 1 cup per day 23% drank 2-3 cups per day 17% drank more than 3 cups per day After adjusting for demographic factors, the researchers found that participants who consumed any amount of coffee had an 11% lower risk of developing acute kidney injury than those who did not drink coffee. The researchers further noted a that those consuming 2-3 cups of coffee per day experienced the most substantial risk reduction (23%) *Image by Craig Melville from Pixabay

Artificial pancreas could make life easier for people with type 1 diabetes

12/04/2022

For people living with type 1 diabetes, finger prick tests to check blood glucose levels are a necessary part of daily life. Without them, these individuals could experience potentially life-threatening hypoglycaemic attacks, where their blood sugar levels fall too low. But regular finger prick tests could become a thing of the past for people with type 1 diabetes thanks to an artificial pancreas being trialled in England. The technology includes a sensor under the skin that monitors blood glucose levels, a pump that automatically adjusts the amount of insulin the person needs and a smartphone app where they can input the number of carbohydrates they eat at meal times. NHS England says the artificial pancreas trial – which currently involves around 900 people – is the first nationwide test of the technology in the world. It also comes 100 years after the first diabetes patient received insulin injections. Prof Partha Kar, NHS national speciality adviser for diabetes, said: "Having machines monitor and deliver medication for diabetes patients sounds quite sci-fi like, but technology and machines are part and parcel of how we live our lives every day. "It is not very far away from the holy grail of a fully automated system, where people with type 1 diabetes can get on with their lives without worrying about glucose levels or medication." *Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 

Sugar-free drinks help lower weight and risk of diabetes

24/03/2022

Sugar-free and low sugar drinks can help people realise a number of health benefits, a new study has found. According to the research, the results of which are published in JAMA Network Open, drinking diet soda and sugar alternatives, such as Stevia and Equal, instead of can help people lose weight, reduce their BMI, and lower their risk of diabetes. In fact, the researchers said participants who consumed low and no-calorie beverages saw positive effects similar to those one would expect from water. “Ideally, you would replace sugary beverages with water as much as possible, but our findings show that people have another choice — a low-calorie or no-calorie beverage is a good option as well,” said Tauseef Ahmad Khan, MBBS, PhD, a researcher at the University of Toronto department of nutritional sciences and a coauthor of the study. Modern Western diets often contain too much sugar and it's causing a huge health problem. For example, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons (tsp) of added sugar daily, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends people limit their daily intake of sugar to about 6 tsp women and 9 tsp for men. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, lists higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease among the health issues related to too much sugar intake. *Image by DesignDraw DesignDrawArtes from Pixabay

Just 10 mins of exercise a day can boost your health - study

01/02/2022

Just 10 minutes of exercise a day could prolong your life, as well as save hundreds of thousands of deaths every year, new research suggests. According to the study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, if adults over 40 added 10 minutes of moderate to physical exercise to their daily routines, more than 110,000 deaths in the US alone could be prevented annually. But the benefits of exercise don't stop there. If the amount of physical activity was increased by 30 minutes, even more lives – as many as 272,297 – could be saved each year. “We have known that regular exercise is essential and has tremendous health benefits,” said Dr. Vanita Rahman, clinic director of the Barnard Medical Center at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a non-profit organization that promotes preventive medicine. The good news is that almost anyone can benefit because your 10 minutes of exercise could be as simple as a walk around the block or dancing to a few of your favorite songs in your kitchen. Dana Santas, a mind-body coach for professional athletes, said: “Fitting in ten minutes of exercise every day is so much easier than people think. Consider how fast ten minutes goes by when you're mindlessly scrolling social media or watching your favorite TV show. It's not a big time investment, but it can deliver big health benefits.” *Image by Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

French start-up developing first-ever open-stent heart valve secures €2.5m

07/10/2021

A French medtech start-up that is developing the world’s first-ever open-stent heart valve has secured €2.5m in funding following a seed financing round. Open Stent Solution (OSS) says the funding will support the development of its ribbon-shaped stented mitral valve for transcatheter replacement. OSS says its breakthrough device is the first-ever open-stent heart valve and the only device bearing the promise to implant large size mitral valves through small delivery systems, comparable in size to TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation). The OSS valve components are attached to a ribbon-shaped open stent, which reduces the overall device’s size when loaded onto a delivery system, compared to conventional, radially expanding devices. Once implanted, the OSS heart valve gets locked, forming a circular shape, with stable radial anchoring force exactly like balloon expandable devices. Doctor Doron Carmi, senior cardiac surgeon, founder and CEO of Open Stent Solution, said: “We are grateful to our investors for their trust and for their support to our venture. The financing enables us to proceed to concept freeze for our unique minimally invasive solution. In few years from now, we aim to offer an effective transfemoral solution to millions of patients with failed mitral valves who cannot access treatment today.” *Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay 

French medical cannabis trial shows promise

05/10/2021

Pain medicines produced from cannabis oil have the potential to significantly improve the lives of patients, a French study has found. According to the initial results from a trial that began in a French hospital back in March, using medical cannabis for pain relief is effective. Psychiatrist Dr Nicolas Authier, Chair of the Scientific Committee on Medical Cannabis, is in charge of the experiment being conducted at the University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand in central France. Dr Authier picked 20 suitable patients for participation in the trial. One patient, Mounir, 47, who suffered a stroke aged 21 and consequently struggled with painkiller addiction in an attempt to manage his neuropathic pain, told France 3: “I'm not yet completely relieved of the pain. There is some still, but it is nothing like what I felt before.” The trial is part of a two-year nationwide experiment in France that is primarily designed to evaluate the best conditions of access to medical cannabis. Depending on the patient and their condition, medical cannabis can deliver mild to significant relief. However, some patients have experienced no improvement, while others experienced more undesirable effects than therapeutic ones. Dr Authier hopes that medical cannabis can be legalized for patients whose suffering is poorly relieved by conventional treatments. Image by Julia Teichmann from Pixabay

New home kit could reduce heart attack deaths in France

21/09/2021

A new home kit that can be used to restart someone’s heart following a heart attack could reduce the number of deaths in France from cardiac arrest by 50,000 each year. Paris-based Lifeaz has seen demand for its defibrillators for the home and office soar in the first seven months since its launch. The firm hopes its machines, which deliver electric shocks to the heart, will help prevent heart attack deaths in France by enabling people to restart a heart in the crucial first four minutes of an attack. Célia Rich, the firm’s chief training adviser, said: “In places like Seattle in the United States, where there are lots of defibrillators, the chances of surviving a big heart attack are 60% to 70%, while in France they are just 5%." Lifeaz’s founder, Johann Kalchman, previously worked for a business specialising in pacemakers. This is where he became enlightened about the need to improve heart attack victims’ chances in France. It’s estimated that 80% of heart attacks occur at home, but a lack of first aid training and fear of intervening mean people often wait the 10 to 15 minutes it takes for emergency services to arrive without helping. “Our machines are designed to make things as easy as possible,” said Ms Rich. “Once they are opened, you push a button to choose between French or English and then just follow the voice instructions and pictures. “After the shock treatment, it guides people on how to give cardiac massage until the victim recovers consciousness.” The defibrillators are designed and made in France and individuals can buy them for €990, or rent them for €29.90 per month. The price is slightly higher for businesses, but includes staff training. *Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

World-leading French robot technology helping oncologists treat liver tumors

06/07/2021

Liver cancer patients in France are benefiting from world-leading robot technology that is helping physicians treat and operate on them. The only two of their kind, the two robots, developed by Montpellier-based medical device company Quantum Surgical, assist oncologists in the delivery of a treatment known as “elimination by microwaves”. Prior to the addition of the robots, physicians needed to guide a tiny needle into a liver cancer patient’s tumor so that microwaves could be passed into it. Now, the robots carry out this part using 3D images with pinpoint accuracy. The robots are being used as part of a clinical trial at Montpellier Hospital that will test the technology on 20 patients. Currently, it is only being used on liver cancer patients, but the technology has been used target cancerous tumours in animals’ lungs and kidneys. Professor Thierry de Baère, head of therapeutic imaging at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, one of Europe’s leading cancer centres and one of two in France where the robot is currently used, said: “The robot can put a small needle in exactly the right place, from the right direction and at the right depth.” Prof de Baère has performed five operations using the technology and all the patients were discharged the next day. *Image courtesy of Quantum Surgical

Telemedicine for sleep disorders: An update from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

03/06/2021

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has published an update in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine stating that, during the pandemic, telemedicine has been an effective tool for the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders. Since the academy’s last update in 2015, the use of telemedicine services has increased exponentially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The academy’s latest update adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted telemedicine’s ‘importance in improving access to sleep care and advocating for sleep health.’ Furthermore, a growing body of published research has found telemedicine to be effective in the management of patients with sleep disorders, such as apnea, and for the delivery of cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of insomnia. The update authors also outlined how a shortage of trained behavioral sleep therapists has led to the development of online application-based CBT-I programs and a recent systematic review and meta-analysis found that internet-delivered CBT-I is effective in improving sleep. Telemedicine, the academy says, is also effective for helping to treat sleep disorders among children: ‘Telehealth follow-up visits, primarily via telephone, have been used for chronic management of obstructive sleep apnea and internet delivered CBT-I has been shown to be effective in adolescents with insomnia.’ *Image by Claudio_Scott from Pixabay

Australian Government to extend telehealth funding until at least the end of the year

27/04/2021

During the coronavirus pandemic, eligible Australians have been accessing Medicare-subsidised telehealth services. However, this arrangement is due to end on June 30. But it now looks like there will be an extension until at least the end of the year. Australian Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has said the government will extend Medicare-subsidised telehealth services until the end of the year, while the government works with peak bodies to design a post-pandemic telehealth system going forward “Over the last 12 months, telehealth services have been life-changing for many in need of support,” Mr Hunt said. “The extension will ensure that Australians can continue to see their GP, renew scripts and seek mental health support from the safety of their own home. This allows vulnerable Australians to feel protected and supported during these unprecedented times.” The Australian Government rapidly rolled out telehealth subsidies back in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic became apparent to enable citizens to continue to access GP, mental health and allied health services even during lockdowns. Over the course of the year to the end of March, more than 54 million Medicare-subsidised telehealth services were delivered to 13.5 million patients. The cost of the six-month extension will be detailed in the Australian federal budget on May 11, 2021. *Image: Sydney Opera House, courtesy of Patty Jansen from Pixabay

Telehealth consultations via drone could soon be real

31/03/2021

Telehealth services have really come into their own during the coronavirus pandemic, offering a way for patients and clinicians to have consultations without the need for a face-to-face meeting. Now, a group of inventors at the University of Cincinnati (UC) want to take telehealth consultations to another level by facilitating them to be performed via drone. The technology aims to fill the gap in telehealth delivery among those who do not own or have access to the devices, such as smartphones, computers and internet connectivity, that are required for telehealth consultations. Inventors Victoria Wangia-Anderson, Manish Kumar, Seung-Yeon Lee and Debi Sampsel from three colleges at UC collaborated to develop a semi-autonomous prototype that can be dispatched right to people’s homes. The drones are capable of carrying certain medical equipment and supplies, but remain agile enough to navigate the tight spaces found in homes. A variety of health assessments can be conducted using the telehealth drones, including taking temperatures and measuring oxygen levels. The drone kits also include patient-friendly devices, and the clinician will be able to instruct patients on how to use them. Patients who require assistance can also seek help from family or other caregivers during the drone sessions. Speaking about the telehealth drones, Debi Sampsel, director of telehealth at UC’s College of Nursing, said: “We can perform all kinds of functions: chronic disease management, post-operative care monitoring, health coaching and consultations,” she said. “And in the health care arena, there is no age limit. Telehealth services are useful from birth to death.” Find out more via the University of Cincinnati website. *Image courtesy of Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand for the University of Cincinnati

France eases ban on AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for over-65s

02/03/2021

People in France aged over 65 with existing health problems will be allowed to be given the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, after the French Government reversed its policy. When the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use by European Union regulators, the French Government said it should only be given to eligible people under 65 because data from trials in older age groups was limited. The AstraZeneca vaccine will now be offered to people up to the age of 74. However, the shot has been hit by a slow rollout and a lack of trust. French Health Minister Olivier Veran said Monday: "Anybody aged 50 or over who is affected by co-morbidities can get the AstraZeneca vaccine, including those between 65 and 74." The announcement has the potential to affect more than two million people. British health authorities released new data on Monday that showed the AstraZeneca vaccine reduced hospitalization from COVID-19 by more than 80%. The vaccine is widely used in the UK but has missed delivery targets in the EU. People aged 75 and over would continue to get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines only, Veran said. Meanwhile, Germany still hasn’t cleared the AstraZeneca vaccine for over 65s. This has led to fewer people stepping up for the shot and several doses being wasted. Image courtesy of Marco Verch on Flickr, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

France welcomes first post-uterus transplant baby birth

18/02/2021

A baby has been born in France following a uterus transplant for the first time, the hospital treating the mother and baby announced on Wednesday. While such births are not unprecedented, they are extremely rare, happening after a woman whose own uterus is damaged or missing has had a cutting-edge procedure to have a healthy one transplanted. The baby, a girl weighing 1.845kg, was born last Friday, according to the team at the Foch Hospital outside Paris. "Mother and baby are doing well," said Dr Jean-Marc Ayoubi, head of gynaecology, obstetrics and reproductive medicine at the hospital. The 36-year-old mother, who reports are naming only as ‘Deborah’, was born without a uterus because of a rare condition known as Rokitansky Syndrome, which affects about one in 4,500 women. Deborah received a uterus transplant in March 2019 from her own mother, then aged 57. The transplant was performed by the same team at the Foch Hospital that delivered the new baby. The first ever birth after a uterus transplant was in Sweden in 2014 and there have been other such births in the United States and Brazil to date. However, they remain rare. Nevertheless, this new birth, as well as those before it, will give hope to women who suffer similar reproductive problems that they maybe have alternatives to adoption or surrogacy.

French COVID-19 cases ease as AstraZeneca inoculations start

09/02/2021

Last Saturday, February 6, France reported both a fall in new COVID-19 infections and in the number of patients being treated in hospital. The country registered 20,586 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, down from 22,139 the previous day and marking the third straight daily fall. Meanwhile, hospitals across the country were treating 27,369 people for the disease, down 245 from the previous day, marking the fourth consecutive daily fall. The fall in numbers comes as France continues with its COVID-19 vaccination programme, with 1.86 million people now having received their first dose. Almost a quarter of a million people (247,260) have also received their second dose. At present, France has three vaccines approved for use: Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, the latest to be received. The country has taken delivery of 273,600 AstraZeneca, according to the health ministry, with a second batch of 304,800 doses scheduled to be delivered this week. The initial AstraZeneca shots were prioritized for health personnel under 65, with the first injections taking place over the weekend. While the arrival of the AstraZeneca shot will help France accelerate its vaccination programme, the quantities that are expected to be delivered are likely to be less than first thought. Nevertheless, with a third approved vaccine and COVID numbers falling, pressure on the French health system is easing day by day.

Vegan restaurant becomes France’s first to earn a Michelin star

21/01/2021

Despite Covid-19-related lockdowns continuing in many countries across the world, the Michelin Guide has awarded its coveted stars for 2021 — and France (including Monaco) now has more three-star establishments than any other country. Originally due to be announced at a lavish gala ceremony in Cognac, southwest France, the Michelin awards were broadcast via Facebook on Monday from the Jules Vernes restaurant (one star) on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Social distancing rules forced Michelin to call off the event in Cognac, which would have been the first time the awards were held outside Paris. Ahead of this year’s awards, Michelin had promised that no three-star restaurants would be demoted as the global pandemic continues, causing many establishments to remain closed or switch to take-aways and deliveries. One of the main talking points of this year’s awards was ONA, which stands for Origine Non Animale or Non-Animal Origin. The vegan restaurant in Ares near Bordeaux, which serves only plant-based foods, became the first of its kind in the country to be awarded a Michelin star. Vegan restaurants in the US, Germany and Spain have already received Michelin stars in recent years. ONA was also awarded a green star for its strong ethical and sustainable practices.

Switch to telemedicine linked to positive asthma control in inner city kids

19/11/2020

A researcher from the University of Southern California (USC) Medical Center in Los Angeles says telemedicine had a positive impact on inner city children with asthma at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Kenny Kwong, MD, making the switch to telemedicine for routine asthma visits early on in the pandemic resulted in positive disease control and an increase in appointment "show rates" among Los Angeles inner city children. Prior to taking advantage of telemedicine, in-person appointment show rates between March and June 2019 averaged 70%-80%. After the switch to telemedicine, this increased to 90%-95% between March and June 2020. Furthermore, delivering routine asthma care via telemedicine did not appear to negatively impact asthma control among the children in the study, Wong said in a presentation at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology virtual meeting. There was also a notable increase in the amount of time healthcare providers spent with patients after switching to telemedicine, with appointments conducted over the telephone lasting as much as 62% longer than pre-pandemic in-person visits. “This system has worked very well. We have been able to treat many asthmatic children until the debacle of COVID-19. All our face-to-face visits on the mobile asthma units came to a grinding halt, and we had to switch almost overnight to telephone visits,” Wong said.

New data shows usage of telehealth services has increased by more than 2,000% since last year

22/10/2020

The United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released new data that shows usage of telehealth services has jumped significantly over the past year. According to the figures, more than 34.5 million services were delivered via telehealth in Medicare and in the Children's Health Insurance Program from March through June. This represents an increase of a whopping 2,532% in services delivered via telehealth compared to March through June 2019. Furthermore, the agency also notes that there is always a "claims lag" between the time a service occurs and when the claim is reflected in its database. Taking this into account, the actual number of services delivered via telehealth is likely to be higher than reported. The CMS data reflects the relaxation of federal regulations around virtual care at the start of the pandemic, which caused usage of telehealth services to skyrocket. Speaking about the figures, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement: "This revolutionary method of improving access to care is transforming healthcare delivery in America." [Related reading: Telehealth in the ER affords better outcomes for both patients and healthcare providers – research]

Why COVID-19 poses a greater risk to men than women

16/04/2020

Several studies have revealed that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting men and the potential reasons include everything from biology to bad habits. According to the World Health Organization, men have accounted for 69% of COVID-19 related deaths in Europe. Meanwhile, reports suggest that in New York City men have been dying from COVID-19 at almost twice the rate of women. It is thought that both genetics and lifestyle choices play a part when it comes to COVID-19 outcomes in men. First and foremost, because of their extra X chromosome, women have stronger immune systems and respond better to infections than men. Then there is the fact that more elderly men suffer from heart disease than elderly women and that high blood pressure and liver disease are more prevalent in men too. All of these conditions are factors that are associated with more negative COVID-19 outcomes. In addition, men are statistically more likely to smoke than women. In fact, according to Our World in Data figures, more than one-third (35%) of men in the world smoke, compared to just over 6% of women. With smoking one of the biggest risk factors for chronic lung disease, men are at a much greater disadvantage should they get COVID-19. [Related reading: Can you catch the new coronavirus twice?]

Cancer mortality rates continuing to fall in U.S.

17/03/2020

With news headlines currently dominated by the Covid-19 outbreak, it could be easy to overlook other health stories worthy of note. That’s why we are pleased to share that cancer rates in the United States are continuing to fall, according to a new report. As outlined in the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, cancer rates in the U.S. continued falling from 2001 to 2017 – dropping, on average, by 1.5% a year. Furthermore, new cancer diagnoses have decreased at an average annual rate of 0.6% over the same period. Interestingly, the annual decline in mortality was slightly more pronounced among men (1.8%) than women (1.4%); nevertheless, decreases were seen across all major racial/ethnic groups and among adults, teens and children alike. Among men, mortality rates fell for 11 of the 19 most common cancers. They remained stable for four cancers, including prostate. And increased for another four: mouth, pharynx, soft tissue and pancreas. Among women, mortality rates fell for 14 of the 20 most common cancers, including the top three: lung, breast and colon. However, an increase in mortality rates was seen in cancers of the uterus, liver, brain, soft tissue and pancreas. Mouth and pharynx cancer rates remained stable. Despite mortality rates decreasing by 4.8% a year in men and 3.7% in women, lung cancer remains the number one cause of cancer death in the United States. Commenting on the findings of the report, U.S. Centers for Disease Control director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said: “The United States continues to make significant progress in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.”

British woman is first to receive revolutionary new cancer treatment

19/12/2019

A British woman has become the first in the world to receive a revolutionary new cancer therapy which involves injecting a high dose of chemotherapy directly into cancer cells. Karen Childs, from north-west London, is the first patient on the clinical trial for acoustic cluster therapy to treat cancer that has spread to her liver. During the therapy, clusters of microdroplets and microbubbles are injected into the patient at the same time as chemotherapy, which experts say will enhance its delivery. Ultrasound scans are then used to ensure the clusters “pump” the drug directly into the tumour, which should result in substantially more chemotherapy reaching cancer cells. Experts hope the technique will mean fewer doses of chemotherapy for cancer patients going forward, which should reduce side-effects. The new treatment is being trialled by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London. Ms Childs, who was diagnosed with cancer in November 2013, said: “I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet that I’m the very first patient in the world to be receiving this new treatment. This trial is an exciting step for the hospital and a huge step for patients like me.” The aim of the clinical trial at this stage is to establish if the new therapy is safe and to provide data on its effectiveness. Eventually, it is hoped the treatment could be used to reduce the size of tumours prior to surgery, making them easier to remove and potentially offering more patients a cure.

Compound found only in avocados could hold promise for type 2 diabetes treatment

12/11/2019

A compound found only in avocados could help reduce type 2 diabetes, new research suggests. The study by researchers from the University of Guelph in Canada found that a fat molecule called avocatin B, or AvoB - which avocados alone contain – can help strengthen insulin sensitivity and could forestall type 2 diabetes. Initial tests involving mice showed that AvoB slowed weight gain and increased insulin sensitivity by ensuring the complete oxidation of fats. As a result, mice that were given the compound had improved glucose tolerance and utilization. Then, in a separate, double-blind placebo‐controlled human trial, an AvoB supplement was given to people with an average Western diet for 60 days. The researchers found that the participants had tolerated the compound well and no negative effects in the liver, muscles, or kidneys were witnessed. There was also some weight loss among participants that took the supplement, though the authors of the study considered it statistically insignificant. Paul Spagnuolo, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Guelph, said the research team will now design clinical trials to assess AvoB's effectiveness in people. Furthermore, they have already received clearance from Health Canada to sell AvoB in powder and pill forms, perhaps as early as next year.

New ‘supercooling’ technique triples organ lifespan

12/09/2019

A new way of cooling human livers could significantly extend the time they can be kept ahead of an organ transplant By supercooling livers to -4C, researchers have been able to triple their viable lifespan to more than one day. It could revolutionise the way organs are stored in the future and allow even more people to benefit from transplants. The team from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School pioneered the technology using rats’ livers five years ago. The tiny livers were supercooled, while nutrients and oxygen were pumped around their blood vessels. But developing the technique to work with human organs wasn’t without its challenges. Because they are much larger, human livers are at greater risk of ice crystals forming, which can rupture cells and kill tissue. To overcome this, the researchers used protective agents to prevent the livers from freezing. As a result, they were able to extend their viable lifespans to 27 hours – a significant increase on the current nine hours when organs are stored on ice. Once brought back up to temperature, the livers were found to function normally and also responded as expected when connected to an artificial blood supply. One of the researchers, Dr Reinier de Vries, said: “This is a big breakthrough in organ preservation. “This is the first time that we actually show that it is feasible to preserve human organs at sub-zero temperatures.”

Ear ‘tickling’ could prevent age-related diseases

01/08/2019

New research suggests that tickling the ear with a small electric current could help rebalance the body’s nervous system in people over-55 and help them age more healthily. The therapy works by stimulating the vagus nerve, the longest of the nerves that connect the brain with other parts of the body such as the heart, lungs and gut. The vagus nerve is usually difficult to access and usually requires surgical intervention so that electric stimuli can be delivered. However, one small branch of the vagus nerve reaches a part of the outer ear and that’s where the researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Glasgow — both in the United Kingdom – stimulated it from. Patients who received the electric stimuli for 15 minutes a day over a 14-day period noted improvements in body, sleep and mood. As we age, our body’s nervous system gradually becomes out of balance and the sympathetic branch begins to dominate. This makes us more prone to diseases, such as hypertension and heart problems, as well as anxiety and depression. The researchers found that the electric ear tickling therapy – named so because that’s how it feels – helped rebalance the body’s nervous system by increasing parasympathetic activity and decreasing sympathetic activity. People with the greatest imbalance at the start of the trial showed the biggest improvement at the end.

Obesity now accounts for more cases of four common cancers than smoking

04/07/2019

A leading UK cancer charity has warned that obesity now causes more cases of four common cancers than smoking. According to Cancer Research UK, bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancers are more likely to be caused by being overweight than by smoking tobacco. The warning is particularly concerning as obese people outnumber smokers by two to one in the UK, which means millions of people are at risk of developing any of these cancers simply because they are overweight. Despite the fact that smoking remains the number one preventable cause of cancer in the UK and causes more cases of cancer than being overweight each year (54,300 vs. 22,800), for the four cancers previously mentioned, obesity causes more. However, Cancer Research UK’s latest billboard campaign highlighting the risks associated with being overweight has been accused of fat-shaming. And it’s not the first time the charity has been picked up for this either. Nevertheless, the charity remains adamant that outlining the risks of being overweight when it comes to cancer is an important step. Speaking about the Cancer Research UK warning, the British Medical Association said: “While we are very much aware of the health risks associated with smoking, less effort has been thrown behind tackling obesity, which is now a major cause of cancer.”

Could garden snails hold the answer when it comes to fighting deadly bacteria?

20/06/2019

The humble garden snail could provide us with some ammunition in the fight against aggressive bacteria, according to two researchers from the United Kingdom. Intrigued how garden snails spend their lives sliding over dirt and coming into contact with deadly bacteria, yet don’t seem affected, Sarah Pitt, Ph.D. and Alan Gunn set out to discover why. It seems the answer lies in the mucus snails excrete. After analysing snail mucus, Pitt, principal lecturer in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science at the University of Brighton, and Gunn, subject lead for biosciences in the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, discovered four new previously unknown proteins. What’s more exciting is that two of these proteins appear to have strong antibacterial properties – especially against aggressive strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that causes dangerous lung infections in people who have cystic fibrosis. Speaking about the findings of their research, which appears in the British Journal of Biomedical Science, Pitt said: “In previous work, we found that the mucus consistently and convincingly inhibited the growth of one species of bacterium P. aeruginosa, a tough bacterium that can cause disease, but it did not seem to work against other bacteria. “So, in this study,we tried all the control strains of P. aeruginosa we had available in the lab here at the university as well as five strains taken from patients with [cystic fibrosis] who had lung infections with this bacterium.” The new discoveries could open up new possibilities in the fight against bacterial infections.

GM Fungus Shows Huge Promise In Fight Against Malaria

04/06/2019

A fungus that has been genetically modified (GM) to produce spider toxin can rapidly kill 99% of mosquitoes that carry and spread malaria. Following trials of the fungus – known as Metarhizium pingshaense – in Burkina Faso, 99% of malaria mosquito populations were wiped out in just 45 days. Metarhizium pingshaense was used because it naturally infects Anopheles mosquitoes (the ones that carry and spread malaria). Scientists then enhanced it using genetic engineering so the fungus would start creating its own version of a venom found in a species of funnel-web spider. For the trials, scientists built a fully-enclosed ‘mosquitosphere’ that mimicked a small village community. They introduced 1,500 mosquitoes. When the insects were left alone, their numbers soared, but when the fungus was introduced, just 13 mosquitoes remained after 45 days. The researchers say their aim is not to destroy all mosquitoes, simply to cull the spread of malaria – a disease that kills more than 400,000 people every year (mostly children). Speaking about the trials, Dr Tony Nolan, from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said: “These results are encouraging. “We need new and complementary tools to augment existing control methods, which are being affected by the development of insecticide-resistance.” The results of the GM fungus trials are published in the journal Science.

World-first phage therapy treats teenager with drug-resistant bacterial infection

09/05/2019

A British teenager has become the first person in the world to have a drug-resistant bacterial infection treated by genetically engineered viruses. Isabelle Holdaway, 17, was given just a 1% chance of survival after a double lung transplant to treat her cystic fibrosis left her with an intractable bacterial infection that could not be treated with antibiotics. Her arms, legs and buttocks had numerous big, black, festering lesions where the bacteria were pushing up through her skin. She finally ended up in intensive care after her liver began to fail. Every previous patient in Isabelle’s situation died – some within a year, despite aggressive treatment. Desperate for a solution, Isabelle’s mother researched alternative treatments online and came across phage therapy. It’s not new; doctors have been using it for nearly a century, but its use has been eclipsed by antibiotics because they are much easier to use. Isabelle’s care team at Great Ormond Street Hospital contacted Prof Graham Hatfull at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, in the US, who had the world's largest collection of phages (approximately 15,000). Hatfull and his team identified three potential phages that would be effective in tackling Isabelle’s bacterial infection and genetically modified two of them to make them more effective. Isabelle was injected with the cocktail of phages twice daily and they were also applied to the lesions on her skin. Within just six weeks, a liver scan showed that the infection had essentially disappeared. Phage therapy involves injecting bacteria-killing viruses into a patient’s body which track down, infect and ultimately kill bacteria. The phages hijack the bacterial cell and turn it into a phage factory until the viruses burst out of the bacteria killing it in the process. While Isabelle’s fatal infection has not been completely cured, it is under control and she is beginning to lead a normal life. She still has two infusions of phages every day and is currently waiting for a fourth phage to be added to the mix, which will hopefully clear the infection completely.

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