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Category Archives: Longevity Medicine
How to live longer: Beetroot juice reduces risk of cancers and dementia to boost longevity – Express
When looking to find the right kinds of foods and drinks to help you live a longer and healthier life, one should look at an ingredient with the most health benefits. According to numerous studies, beetroot juice is just that. From preventing cancers, lowering blood pressure and even reducing the risk of dementia, beetroot juice packs a great punch and could be the answer to helping you boost longevity. How?
New research into the health benefits of beetroot juice suggests it's not only athletes who can benefit from its performance enhancing properties.
Beetroot juices physiological effects could help the elderly or people with heart or lung conditions enjoy more active lives.
When consumed, beetroot juice has two marked physiological effects.
Firstly, it widens blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood flow.
Secondly, it affects muscle tissue, reducing the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during activity.
The combined effects have a significant impact on performing physical tasks, whether it involves low-intensity or high-intensity effort which could help to boost longevity.
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Beetroots get their rich colour from betalains, which are water-soluble antioxidants.
According to studies, betalains have chemo-preventive abilities against some cancer cell lines.
Betalains are thought to be free radical scavengers that help find and destroy unstable cells in the body.
Its believed these help to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
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In a study published in Hypertension, dietary nitrate and how it lowers blood pressure in hypertensive patients was investigated.
The study noted: We randomly assigned 68 patients with hypertension in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to receive daily dietary supplementation for four weeks with either dietary nitrate (250 mL daily, as beetroot juice) or a placebo (250 mL daily, as nitrate-free beetroot juice) after a two-week run-in period and followed by a two-week washout.
Daily supplementation with dietary nitrate was associated with reduction in blood pressure measured by three different methods.
The study concluded that dietary nitrate is an affordable, readily available, adjunctive treatment in the management of patients with hypertension.
In another study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the effect of a high nitrate diet on brain perfusion in older adults was analysed.
Dietary nitrate may be important when increased blood flow in hypoxic or ischemic areas is indicated, noted the study.
It continued: These conditions could include age-associated dementia and cognitive decline.
The study found that nitrates may help increase blood flow to the brain in older people and help slow cognitive decline.
It was noted that after participants consumed a high-nitrate diet that included beetroot juice, their brain MRIs showed increased blood flow in the frontal lobes which are associated with cognitive thinking and behaviour.
Katie Lansley, a PhD student from the university's Sport and Health Sciences department said: "As you get older, or if you have conditions which affect your cardiovascular system, the amount of oxygen you can take in to use during exercise drops considerably.
This means that, for some people, even simple tasks like walking may not be manageable.
"What we've seen in studies is that beetroot juice can actually reduce the amount of oxygen you need to perform even low-intensity exercise.
In principle, this effect could help people do things they wouldn't otherwise be able to do.
While we haven't yet measured the effects on the elderly or those with heart or lung conditions, there is the potential for a positive impact in these populations which we intend to go on and investigate further.
Studies show that we are living longer and longer. If this is true, then what can we do now in our younger years to live a long life free of regret?
There is something deep inside of us, our own hidden understanding, that drives us to the realization that we gain so much through maturation; the feeling of fulfillment, the power of forgiveness, the medicine of generosity, and wisdom.
Through embracing the fact that even in this very moment, we are one day closer to old age, one minute closer to death, one breath closer to a wrinkle, we learn to appreciate what we have while we have it. We learn to love our bodies rather than judge them and connect with our community and families while we still can. We remember always: This, too, shall pass.
Is it possible that a lot of the suffering we see could stem from massive immaturity? If this is the case, then maybe if we embrace our ever-aging selves, we will radiate the energy of confidence and become a part of valuing wisdom in our society.
Having a mature presence means breaking the bonds of reactivity and stepping into the grace of receptivity.
Dr. Chandramallika Basak says research like hers helps explain how various health factors can protect us against declines in cognitive ability.
Adults over 60 with optimal blood pressure and high fitness levels can keep up mentally with people half their age, according to a recent brain-imaging study from researchers in The University of Texas at Dallas Center for Vital Longevity (CVL).
Dr. Chandramallika Basak, associate professor in the Department of Psychology in theSchool of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and director of the CVL Lifespan Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory, said the findings help define the characteristics of superagers and shed light on the clearest path to late-life cognitive health.
Basak is senior author of a study published Sept. 9 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience that uses functional MRI (fMRI) to investigate the effects of low fitness levels and hardened arterial walls on brain activations during a task-switching exercise. The results suggest that these cardiovascular risk factors act independently in hampering the performance of the aging mind. For people with both risk factors, the detrimental effects on the aging brain is compounded.
This kind of research helps us understand how various health factors can help protect us against declines in cognition by promoting brain activation, Basak said. Only with that understanding can we begin to think about effective interventions in mid- and late life.
You might believe that if you stay fit, it will help maintain your blood pressure, and that in turn should prevent hardened arteries. But we are learning that these operate independently that fitness doesnt cut out all of the cardiovascular risk on brain functions.
Dr. Chandramallika Basak, director of the Lifespan Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory at the Center for Vital Longevity
For the study, pulse pressure calculated from blood pressure levels was used to measure arterial hardness, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Basak said that most cognitive researchers have studied the effects of either fitness level or blood pressure level in the belief that the factors are correlated and represented essentially the same measure of cardiovascular health.
You might believe that if you stay fit, it will help maintain your blood pressure, and that in turn should prevent hardened arteries, she said. But we are learning that these operate independently that fitness doesnt cut out all of the cardiovascular risk on brain functions.
Shuo Qin PhD19
CVL research associate Shuo (Eva) Qin PhD19, the lead author of the paper, described another surprise: Older participants with no risk factors performed as well as younger adults.
There is no statistically significant difference between younger adults and high-health older adults in brain activations, she said. We expected a small gap, but not no gap at all.
The 88 participants included 60 in a 60-or-older cohort and 28 in a control group of UT Dallas students ages 18 to 30. No one in the older group had extraordinarily low or high fitness levels, or suffered from uncontrolled hypertension.
Even within this restricted group of healthy adults, if you have greater arterial stiffness or lower general fitness or worse, both it depletes your neural resources and your cognitive performance is significantly worse, Basak said.
For the cognitive task, participants viewed a single-digit number on either a pink or blue background. If the background was blue, subjects had to indicate if the number was high or low; if it was pink, they had to determine if the number was odd or even. Participants initially did the tasks separately, then the tasks were randomly interspersed.
We chose numbers because they are not biased against old age, native language, gender, race or socioeconomic status, Basak said. The timing in the task is also random so participants brains cant get into a rhythm and plan in advance the timing of when the numbers appear.
Qin said that the task-switching paradigm used in the study measures various cognitive processes, including some that are not affected by aging.
This allows us to examine effects of cardiovascular health factors on brain activations that are either affected by age or not affected by age, she said. Such a multidimensional approach can investigate effects of cardiovascular health factors on brain functions beyond general aging.
Basaks task-switching paradigm included a section of calling the numbers lower or higher than five, a section of odd-or-even judgments, then a section of intermixed decisions designed to test participants task-switching skills.
In fMRI, the brain is scanned about every second as the participant performs a mental task. Since more active brain areas use more oxygen, researchers can distinguish brain regions that activate during the task by an increase in flow of oxygenated blood to that region. One well-established pattern found in fMRI results of aging brains is that older adults activate frontal regions in addition to posterior regions while doing a memory or multitasking or visual task, while younger adults require only the posterior regions, where visual tasks normally take place.
What we found in our study is that older adults activate these posterior regions about the same as younger adults, Basak said. But low-fitness older adults are also activating additional frontal regions in an attempt to maintain their performance. But this compensation effort is maladaptive; it doesnt succeed in restoring their performance levels.
The researchers found that low-fitness older adults are specifically activating the inferior frontal gyrus part of the prefrontal cortex when they have to do two tasks simultaneously.
When the task is simple, the fMRIs of low-fitness older adults look very similar to the high-fit and young, Basak said. The difference is only apparent in the low-fitness brains when the tasks get harder. And the more you activate this region of the brain, the worse your performance is.
While the brain images dont conclusively indicate that cardiovascular risk factors cause cognitive issues, they do strongly suggest the two are related.
There are cardiovascular-related differences in brain activation, and the greater your risk factors, the worse you perform, Basak said. That doesnt establish cause and effect; to do that is impractical.
As the connection between these risk factors and cognitive decline become more firmly established and the characteristics of superagers are refined, Basak hopes that tactics for maintaining cognitive function can become widespread.
We hope to find ways to create superagers via interventions later in life in order to help with cognitive problems relating to fitness or blood pressure, she said.
This research was partially supported by National Institute on Aging grant R56AG060052 as well as a grant from the Advanced Imaging Research Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
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Brain Imaging Links Cardiovascular Health to Multitasking Ability - University of Texas at Dallas
Biology: Deep Longevity and SquareOne Wellness partner on deep biomarkers of aging and longevity – Tdnews
Photo:Deep Longevity added SquareOne Wellness to its growing longevity network. SquareOne physicians will get training in longevity medicine and interpret the AgeMetric reports incorporating multiple aging clocks.view more
Credit Image: Deep Longevity, Inc
Today, Deep Longevity Inc, a pioneer in deep biomarkers of aging and longevity, and SquareOne Wellness announced a collaboration to deploy an extensive range of AI-powered aging clocks. Deep Longevity is to develop and provide the customized predictors of human biological age to the network of SquareOne Wellness clinicians and to provide a training program in longevity medicine.
Deep Longevity is a fully-owned subsidiary of a public company, Regent Pacific Group Limited (SEHK:0575.HK). Deep Longevity developed and exclusively in-licensed a portfolio of granted and pending patents on aging clocks developed using the latest advances in artificial intelligence.
Deep Longevity aging clocks are supported by a number of academic publications summarized in a recent review titled BioHorology and biomarkers of aging: Current state-of-the-art, challenges and opportunities
SquareOne Wellness has been on the forefront of total wellness in the treatment of addiction. SquareOne has a holistic approach to wellness and addiction whose goal is to help patients live happier, healthier and longer lives. Deep Longevity and SquareOne will partner to see the impact that the utilization of aging clocks has on continued recovery. We are always looking for new tools to help our patients reach their full potential in their recovery and in their overall health and life. We believe that the addition of deep aging clocks will be an added tool in long term patient success, said Joshua Jones, Director of Patient Interactions of SquareOne Wellness.
In the scope of the partnership SquareOne Wellness physicians will be trained in deep aging clocks and will be able to provide their customers with AgeMetric reports and engage in advanced research to assess the performance of aging clocks in the context of continued recovery.
The traditional approach to preventative medicine is focused on preventing disease by diagnosing the symptoms early or reducing the risks of disease. The AI-guided longevity medicine goes much further then that and is focusing on tracking the persons rates of aging at many levels, identification of longevity bottlenecks, and utilizing the latest advances in science and technology to slow down or reverse biological and psychological aging. We are very happy to have SquareOne join the rapidly growing network of our research and clinical partners focused on providing customers with extra years of productive and happy life, said Alex Zhavoronkov, Chief Longevity Officer of Deep Longevity Inc.
About Deep Longevity, Inc
Deep Longevity has been acquired by Regent Pacific (SEHK:0575.HK), a publicly-traded company. Deep Longevity is developing explainable artificial intelligence systems to track the rate of aging at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, system, physiological, and psychological levels. It is also developing systems for the emerging field of longevity medicine enabling physicians to make better decisions on the interventions that may slow down, or reverse the aging processes. Deep Longevity developed Longevity as a Service (LaaS) solution to integrate multiple deep biomarkers of aging dubbed deep aging clocks to provide a universal multifactorial measure of human biological age. Originally incubated by Insilico Medicine, Deep Longevity started its independent journey in 2020 after securing a round of funding from the most credible venture capitalists specializing in biotechnology, longevity, and artificial intelligence. ETP Ventures, Human Longevity and Performance Impact Venture Fund, BOLD Capital Partners, Longevity Vision Fund, LongeVC, co-founder of Oculus, Michael Antonov, and other experts AI and biotechnology investors supported the company. Deep Longevity established a research partnership with one of the most prominent longevity organizations, Human Longevity, Inc. to provide a range of aging clocks to the network of advanced physicians and researchers.
About Regent Pacific (SEHK:0575.HK)
Regent Pacific is a diversified investment group based in Hong Kong currently holding various corporate and strategic investments focusing on the healthcare, wellness and life sciences sectors. The Group has a strong track record of investments and has returned approximately US$298 million to shareholders in the 21 years of financial reporting since its initial public offering.
About SquareOne Wellness.
SquareOne Wellness is an addiction and wellness clinic that focuses on recovery of opioid addiction and behavioral health. SOW focus is on helping patients look at every aspect of their health utilizing medically assisted treatment, behavioral health therapy and lifestyle changes to help sustain recovery and live healthier and longer lives. For more information, visit Squareonewellness.org.
Amid the news explosion that followed President Trumps COVID-19 diagnosis and brief convalescence earlier this month, there was a nugget you might have missed: The antibody treatment from biotech company Regeneron the president tookseemingly to great effecthad been developed in part by means of cells derived from fetal tissue.
Most of the discussion around this revelation concerned whether it showed the president to be a hypocriteeither personally because of his stated pro-life beliefs, or as a matter of policy because his administration has suspended federal funding for scientific research involving fetal tissue. (Both claims were dubious: There was no reason to believe the president knew the provenance of the Regeneron cocktail when he was treated with it, and the kind of fetal-derived cells used to develop the drug were not included in the administrations funding freeze.)
But the news portended a larger problem that may prove important in months to come: the ethical objections other pro-life people may have to new COVID treatmentsincluding vaccineswith similar issues in their development history.
I think its going to test our convictions about these things, said Dr. C. Ben Mitchell, a professor of moral philosophy at evangelical Union University and senior fellow at the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity. Whether or not we are going to be consistent with our convictions.
Beyond the central aim of ending legal abortion, no issue has so united the pro-life movement over the last few decades as the push to prevent fetal and embryonic remains from being used in medical research. In the 2000s, the battle involved embryonic stem cell research: President Bush prohibited federal funding for research involving new embryonic stem cell lines in 2001, a policy President Obama reversed in 2009. More recently, the issue has been researchers use of fresh tissue from recent abortions, following activist David Daleidens 2015 expos on Planned Parenthoods practice of selling organs from aborted fetuses to medical research companies.
But while pushing for public policy changes and supply chain reforms to make researchers less reliant on ongoing abortions, pro-lifers have also struggled with a parallel issue on a more personal level: whether its permissible to make use of treatments developed via the use of fetal tissue that already exist. If abortion is evil, they ask themselves, then can I in good conscience allow myself to benefit from medicines that rely on the practice?
Such questions are complicated by the fact that, unlike the tissue research that has dominated pro-life policy space in recent years, many medical products in current use, including a number of childhood vaccines, have a connection to abortion that is distant and tenuous. The cell cultures used in developing such medicines are most accurately described not as fetal cells themselves, but as cells that are fetal-derived: Cells originally taken from an aborted fetus that have been cultivated to multiply freely ever since.
The most widely used of these cell lines date back to just a handful of abortions in Europe in the 1960s. The WI-38 cell line, which has been used to develop vaccines for rubella, rabies, measles, mumps, and various other diseases, is derived from the lung tissue of a fetus aborted in Sweden in 1962; The MRC-5 line, used to produce vaccines for Hepatitis A and polio, dates back to 1966. Other lines are used for other purposes: HEK293 cells, which are derived from fetal kidney cells isolated in the Netherlands in the early 1970s, can be used to create virus-like cells that arent able to infect humans. Researchers use these pseudoviruses to test new therapeutics without having to handle live virus themselves, reducing the need for extreme biosafety precautions in laboratory settings. (The aforementioned Regeneron made use of HEK293 cells in this way.)
These cell cultures wont reproduce infinitely, but saying so almost feels like a technicality: Descendants of the WI-38 and MRC-5 lines have been used to create hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines over the past half-century.
Going by any sort of costbenefit analysis, the use of these cell lines has been a force for good in the world. By making use of the remains of a bare handful of elective abortionsabortions that would have taken place whether or not researchers decided to use thema staggering number of people around the world have been spared the miseries of a whole host of wretched and deadly diseases.
But for those who advocate for decoupling from such practices, simply to use the language of cost and benefit in the first place is to give away the game. If thats the measure, they argue, its hard to see how you could oppose any promising medical research, even the most depraved: How can you weigh the suffering of a few unfortunates against the ongoing benefits to all humanity of curing a deadly disease?
These sorts of ethical questions arent the exclusive domain of the pro-life movement. What posture we ought to take toward ill-gotten medical research is a question that has long occupied bioethicists, given how much of the science underpinning our current understanding and practice of medicine was conducted in unethical waysoften even by the standards of their own time, and even more so by the more exacting standards of the present.
The classic example, of course, is the gruesome human experimentation carried out by Nazi doctors in concentration camps, but there are examples closer to home, too: black men in Alabama whose untreated syphilis was allowed to fester for decades so government researchers could observe the progress of the disease, all the while assuring the subjects they were being treated; developmentally disabled children in New York given chocolate milk laced with feces to deliberately infect them with hepatitis as part of an effort to develop a vaccine.
Other ethical issues involve the origin of immortalized cell cultures in particular. The longevity of these cell lines is such that many of them predate modern medical standards on ethical human research, which werent truly codified until the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavior Research, established by Congress for the purpose in 1974, published its Belmont Report in 1979. The oldest such cell line in existence is a culture of cervical cancer cells taken from a woman named Henrietta Lacks in 1951, who died of the disease that same year. Lacks never consented to having her cells cultured; nor did the women who obtained the abortions that resulted in the WI-38 or MRC-5 cells.
These fraught ethical issues are not a thing of the past. After decades of lobbying, the Lacks family finally won a partial concession from the National Institutes of Health in 2013 to place some restrictions on medical access to information about their relatives cells. Pro-life organizations continually push for researchers to divest from and seek alternatives to fetal cell cultures as well.
For some pro-life bioethicists, the vast distance between the harm of the original abortion and the use of the modern treatment in which it resulted means that, while policymakers and biotech firms still have a moral obligation to work toward developing ethically unproblematic alternatives, individuals dont necessarily have a moral duty to abstain from such treatments themselves. Medical ethics are complicated and a matter of conscience, said Tiffany Manor, who directs the Life Ministry of the conservative Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod. Some modern medical procedures result from past research that was conducted unethically. That doesnt mean that we ought to throw out all of the beneficial procedures.
But others argue that individuals retain a moral duty to keep pressure on the medical research industry by declining the use of such treatments when possible without creating grave risks to public health. The Catholic Churchs Pontifical Academy for Life tried to strike such a balance when it considered the question in 2005:
On a cultural level, the use of such vaccines contributes in the creation of a generalized social consensus to the operation of the pharmaceutical industries which produce them in an immoral way. Therefore, doctors and fathers of families have a duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available. They should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human foetal origin.
The document goes on:
As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health.
You can see the precarious moral tightrope here: It is good, in the mind of pro-life ethicists, to attempt as much as possible not to participate, however indirectly, in the evil act of a long-ago abortion. But one ought not strain so hard to avoid that participation that one thoughtlessly commits another evil act: allowing oneself or ones children to become vectors of otherwise preventable disease, spreading suffering and even death to those around them.
All this, remember, is just the moral calculus that surrounds such vaccine under normal medical circumstances. Throw in a global pandemic and an unprecedented race to treat and cure it, and you begin to get a sense of the scale of the ethical headaches involved.
Take the issue of Regeneron. Since his own positive experience with the companys antibody cocktail, REGN-COV2, President Trump has become its biggest cheerleader; pushing for it to play a major role in COVID treatment going forward. We have hundreds of thousands of doses that are just about ready. I have emergency use authorization all set, he said on October 7. Youre gonna get better, and youre gonna get better really fast.
But both Regenerons drug and a similar antibody treatment currently being developed by Eli Lilly made use of fetal tissue in their developmentnot in the actual manufacture of the drug, as mentioned above, but in creating neutered pseudoviruses to test its effectiveness.
Imagine a person whose doctor has recommended such a drug trying to make a decision in the light of the moral principles suggested by the Pontifical Academy for Life. On the one hand, the drug is a product of fetal tissue research in only the most remote possible way. But the possibility of endangering others by abstaining does not bear considering here, as the cocktail is a treatment, not a vaccine. Further, it is unclear how a person recommended such a treatment by a doctor ought to think about the question of whether there are ethically acceptable alternatives. Other drugs can help manage COVID, of course, but generally speaking their effect is cumulative: Dexamethasone and remdesivir are not replacements for antibody therapy.
To cap the dilemma off, it isnt as though a pro-life person could start off with unproblematic treatments and work up to REGN-COV2 as a matter of last resort: Patients arent prescribed antivirals or steroids for COVID unless theyre already seriously sick, while antibody treatments like Regenerons have been shown to be helpful only if theyre given very early in the course of the disease, before the bodys own immune response has had a chance to kick in.
COVID vaccines in development present further difficulties. First, we dont actually know which of the many vaccines currently being developed will end up the first to pass muster as a safe, effective, and mass-producible weapon against the pandemic. Many of the candidates do not make use of fetal-derived cells in any capacity. Others use such cells only in confirmatory tests, as with Regeneron. Still others use them in the production of the vaccines themselves.
Of the four vaccines seemingly closest to release in America, twothose being developed by Pfizer and Modernawere merely tested on fetal-derived cells. Two others, from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, are made with them. The latter vaccines Phase III clinical trials were placed on hold earlier this month, but were resumed last week.
Under ordinary circumstances, this would be a no-brainer: Many pro-life people would simply wait for one of the less objectionable vaccines to become available. But during the coronavirus pandemic, where every day that goes by without a vaccine is critical, what happens if Johnson & Johnson or AstraZenecas product is first past the post, and the federal government invests heavily in its development and distribution?
Its unclear whether such a situation would provoke a legal clash. The federal government doesnt have the constitutional authority to mandate vaccines, but states and cities can; all 50 states require children to receive a battery of vaccines before attending public school, although all offer various exemptions for religious, philosophical, and/or other reasons. Whether citizens have a right to such exemptions, however, is less clear: the Supreme Court has upheld mandatory vaccination programs in the past and has separately ruled that the right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease.
Theres no reason to believe yet that states will choose to go that route. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state was racked by the coronavirus this spring and who last year signed a state law ending religious exemptions for childhood vaccines, is thus far messaging that an eventual COVID vaccine will be available to all New York residents who want one.
The likelier scenario may be that such a clash will instead simply play out in the court of public opinion.
One of the nightmare scenarios Ive been thinking about is, say we get a safe and effective vaccine, and it comes from what many would regard as tainted sources, said Mitchell. And so pro-lifers decide not to use the vaccinethey wont be vaccinated. My guess is that there would be a huge uprising in the society saying, Well, youre posing now a public health risk. We now have a vaccine, but youre choosing not to use it. Youre exposing others to it by not taking the vaccine, or youre going to cost our health care system huge amounts of money in treating you when we have a vaccine that could prevent getting COVID-19, but you choose not to. So I think those are going to be an important test of our convictions.
Photograph by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images.
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Is the Pro-Life Movement on a Collision Course with the Coronavirus? - The Dispatch
The environment directly affects our health and plays a major role in our quality of life, longevity, and health disparities.
By Kunal Sood
When it comes to Global Health, there is no THEM, only US
GLOBAL HEALTH COUNCIL
Global health is an important phenomenon nowadays and an urgent social concern. A sick and ailing population across the globe has created geo-political instability and compromised our security. Mutating patterns of diseases that include the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other factors such as the lack of PPE in the field to protect our frontline global health practitioners have created tremendous challenges. We are in the midst of a global health crisis here and now. More than ever before do the fields of science, psychology, innovation and technology need to come together to create a better future for us.
Here are some of the most pressing global health issues we face today that we need to solve for with scientific and technological innovation:
Efficient and affordable access to effective healthcare: Good and affordable health services should be a human right and available within reasonable reach given the exponential innovation in the field of medicine to those who require them whenever necessary. It should be convenient, effective and affordable irrespective of ones age, caste, colour, creed, sex, race or religion. Apart from easy access, there should be a safe, evidence-based protocol when treating the likes of a global health crisis from such communicable diseases like the current pandemic and rarer diseases like chikungunya. Additionally With the overall increase of illness like cancer, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases worldwide, access to quality health care for all is essential in reducing health inequality and the road map in order to do this lies in using technological innovation and democratizing digital health for all
Environmental quality: The environment directly affects our health and plays a major role in our quality of life, longevity, and health disparities. Poor air quality is linked to premature death, cancer, and long-term damage to our respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Secondhand smoke containing toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that contributes to cardiovascular disease and lung cancer in non-smoking adults. Globally, nearly 25% of all deaths and the total disease burden can be attributed to poor environmental factors. Safe and clean air, land, and water are fundamental to a healthy community and a healthy environment. Smoke and pollution-free environment help prevent disease and even helps advanced medicine heal and cure other health problems. As an alternative today we have technologies such as HEPA and UV light air purifiers that can help control the high levels of air pollution and second-hand smoke to protect the ones we love and create a healthier environment by design
Mental health: Mental health problems have spiked given the recent lockdowns and although help is available we must deploy more resources and capital towards helping those that suffer. People with mental health problems can get better and many fully recover from depression and other forms of mental illness. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act and often causes stress which is the underlying cause for many physical ailments as well. Our mental state often determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your mindset, mood, and behaviour could be affected negatively. Hence it is vital to pay attention to your mental health and use health-based apps such as headspace or calm on your smartphone to help inculcate the practice of mindfulness to regulate your emotional wellbeing. Yoga is also known to do wonders for the mind, body and soul connection so find time in your daily routine to integrate mediation and yoga into your way of life.
Substance abuse: Substance abuse can be very harmful to your health given the hazardous nature of certain substances if overdosed, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Psychoactive substance use can lead to addiction and eventually in some cases leads to isolation and even death. The solution lies in legislating effective policies which influence the consumption levels and patterns of substance use to minimize related harm can significantly reduce the public health problem.In addition health interventions that use technology to track and alert health care workers in time to intervene in cases where one may overdose can save a life. Such interventions with technology can also be used for rehab once the patient is stable with the right kind of medical supervision can recover and restore their overall wellbeing.
Tobacco: Over 80% of the worlds 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries. The tobacco epidemic is the second biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year around the world. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Again here we must be able to use conscious media and technology to help change behaviour and quit smoking. Furthermore, we must create awareness around protecting those that suffer around smokers due to second-hand smoke.
Obesity: Obesity has become the number one epidemic globally outpacing even tobacco and is defined as the abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk of our health in all forms. Obesity is one side of the double burden of malnutrition, and today more people are obese than underweight. It is associated with a higher risk for serious diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and chronic lower back pain which affects ones overall quality of life.
It is critical that we as a nation and planet take stock of both our personal and communal healthcare systems and personal wellbeing. There has never been a better time for us to launch a Global Health Revolution. We can light the spark that ignites a movement that doesnt just save our planet but transforms humanity to usher in a new era of human prosperity and planetary flourishing. A place where technology truly serves all of the wonder and biodiversity that exists in our world. But most important make sure that every life counts and every human being matters.
(The author is Founder, We The Planet. Views expfressed are personal.)
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