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How AI May Prevent The Next Coronavirus Outbreak – Forbes

AI can be used for the early detection of virus outbreaks that might result in a pandemic. (Photo by ... [+] Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)

AI detected the coronavirus long before the worlds population really knew what it was. On December 31st, a Toronto-based startup called BlueDot identified the outbreak in Wuhan, several hours after the first cases were diagnosed by local authorities. The BlueDot team confirmed the info its system had relayed and informed their clients that very day, nearly a week before Chinese and international health organisations made official announcements.

Thanks to the speed and scale of AI, BlueDot was able to get a head start over everyone else. If nothing else, this reveals that AI will be key in forestalling the next coronavirus-like outbreak.

BlueDot isn't the only startup harnessing AI and machine learning to combat the spread of contagious viruses. One Israel-based medtech company, Nanox, has developed a mobile digital X-ray system that uses AI cloud-based software to diagnose infections and help prevent epidemic outbreaks. Dubbed the Nanox System, it incorporates a vast image database, radiologist matching, diagnostic reviews and annotations, and also assistive artificial intelligence systems, which combine all of the above to arrive at an early diagnosis.

Nanox is currently building on this technology to develop a new standing X-ray machine that will supply tomographic images of the lungs. The company plans to market the machine so that it can be installed in public places, such as airports, train stations, seaports, or anywhere else where large groups of people rub shoulders.

Given that the new system, as well as the existing Nanox System, are lower cost mobile imaging devices, it's unsurprising to hear that Nanox has attracted investment from funds looking to capitalise on AI's potential for thwarting epidemics. This month, the company announced a $26 million strategic investment from Foxconn. It also signed an agreement this week to supply 1,000 of its Nanox Systems to medical imaging services across Australia, New Zealand and Norway. Coronavirus be warned.

Its CEO and co-founder Ran Poliakine, explains that such deals are a testament to how the future of epidemic prevention lies with AI-based diagnostic tools. "Nanox has achieved a technological breakthrough by digitizing traditional X-rays, and now we are ready to take a giant leap forward in making it possible to provide one scan per person, per year, for preventative measures," he tells me.

Importantly, the key feature of AI in terms of preventing epidemics is its speed and scale. As Poliakine explains, "AI can detect conditions instantly which makes it a great source of power when trying to prevent epidemics. If we talk about 1,000 systems scanning 60 people a day on average, this translates to 60,000 scans that need to be processed daily by the professional teams."

Poliakine also affirms that no human force available today that can support this volume with the necessary speed and efficiency. Time and again, this is a point made forcefully by other individuals and companies working in this burgeoning sector.

"When it comes to detecting outbreaks, machines can be trained to process vast amounts of data in the same way that a human expert would," explains Dr Kamran Khan, the founder and CEO of BlueDot, as well as a professor at the University of Toronto. "But a machine can do this around the clock, tirelessly, and with incredible speed, making the process vastly more scalable, timely, and efficient. This complements human intelligence to interpret the data, assess its relevance, and consider how best to apply it with decision-making."

Basically, AI is set to become a giant firewall against infectious diseases and pandemics. And it won't only be because of AI-assisted screening and diagnostic techniques. Because as Sergey Young, a longevity expert and founder of the Longevity Vision Fund, tells me, artificial intelligence will also be pivotal in identifying potential vaccines and treatments against the next coronavirus, as well as COVID-19 itself.

"AI has the capacity to quickly search enormous databases for an existing drug that can fight coronavirus or develop a new one in literally months," he says. "For example, Longevity Vision Funds portfolio company Insilico Medicine, which specializes in AI in the area of drug discovery and development, used its AI-based system to identify thousands of new molecules that could serve as potential medications for coronavirus in just four days. The speed and scalability of AI is essential to fast-tracking drug trials and the development of vaccines."

This kind of treatment-discovery will prove vitally important in the future. And in conjunction with screening, it suggests that artificial intelligence will become one of the primary ingredients in ensuring that another coronavirus won't have an outsized impact on the global economy. Already, the COVID-19 coronavirus is likely to cut global GDP growth by $1.1 trillion this year, in addition to having already wiped around $5 trillion off the value of global stock markets. Clearly, avoiding such financial destruction in the future would be more than welcome, and artificial intelligence will prove indispensable in this respect. Especially as the scale of potential pandemics increases with an increasingly populated and globalised world.

Sergey Young also explains that AI could play a substantial role in the area of impact management and treatment, at least if we accept their increasing encroachment into society. He notes that, in China, robots are being used in hospitals to alleviate the stresses currently being piled on medical staff, while ambulances in the city of Hangzhou are assisted by navigational AI to help them reach patients faster. Robots have even been dispatched to a public plaza in Guangzhou in order to warn passersby who aren't wearing face-masks. Even more dystopian, China is also allegedly using drones to ensure residents are staying at home and reducing the risk of the coronavirus spreading further.

Even if we don't reach that strange point in human history where AI and robots police our behaviour during possible health crises, artificial intelligence will still become massively important in detecting outbreaks before they spread and in identifying possible treatments. Companies such as BlueDot, Nanox, and Insilico Medicine will prove increasingly essential in warding off future coronavirus-style pandemics, and with it they'll provide one very strong example of AI being a force for good.

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How AI May Prevent The Next Coronavirus Outbreak - Forbes

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Government-Controlled Health Care Won’t Help Us Live Longer – Heritage.org

Will government-controlled national health insurance increase Americans life expectancy?

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and some of his colleagues in the House of Representatives often claim that Medicare for Alllegislationwill improve American longevity and reduce American health care costs.

According to a comprehensive 2018 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association,the United States has thelowest life expectancyat birth (78.8 years) among 11 high-income countries. Japan has the highest level of life expectancy (83.9 years).

In a recent Democratic presidential debate, Sanders cited the work of a team of Yale University researchers who,writingin The Lancet, project major savings, plus a significant improvement in American life expectancy. Sanders noted that The Lancet is one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world.

Headded: You know what it said? Medicare for All will lower health care costs in this country by $450 billion a year and save 68,000 lives of people who otherwise would have died.

The Lancet authors based their estimates on their assumptions of the effects of covering the remaining uninsured and securing continuity of coverage.

The Lancet researchers alsosaytheir estimate of 68,500 saved lives (to be exact) is conservative, but such precise projectionsshould give pausefor three good reasons.

First, access to coverage is not the same as access to care, let alone timely access to high-quality care. Experience shows that single-payer systems offer free care at the point of service, but these systems are often understaffed by lower-paid medical professionals. That is why there are often significant wait times and delays in care.BritishandCanadiansingle payer records bear this out.

Not all insurance coverage is equal.For example, those on government welfare programs such as Medicaid are more likely to face steeper climbs in getting access to physicians and medical specialists and securing positive medical outcomes compared to, say, a person enrolled in a standard employer-sponsored health plan. Thats not surprising.

As Dr. Douglas Blayney wrote about the treatment of cancer patients in California inMarch 2018: Medicaid in California (MediCal) is neither safe nor effective. If MediCal were a drug, a responsible regulator should consider pulling it from the market.

Second, overcoming Americas lower life expectancy depends on more than overcoming gaps in health coverage or deficiencies in care delivery, even among the uninsured. Behavioral and other risk factors are involved that have little to do with insurance coverage or whether health care dollars pass through public or private programs.

As a team of researchers wrote in arecent editionof the Journal of the American Medical Association: Although poor access or deficiencies in quality could introduce mortality risks among patients with existing behavioral health needs or chronic diseases, these factors would not account for the underlying precipitants (such as suicidality, obesity) which originate outside the clinic.

This is a crucial point.

Consider obesity.American overconsumption of refined carbohydrates, among other factors, contributes to obesity rates that are the highest in the worldand thus contributes directly to high rates of chronic disease, particularly hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. According to the researchers, mortality rates among Americans in the middle of lifeincreased 114%between 1999 and 2017.

Not surprisingly, about three-quarters of all health spending is focused on treating or mediating the consequences of chronic disease.

Indeed, in amajor 2017 studyin the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers estimated that almost three-quarters of the variation in life expectancy in the United States was attributable to behavioral and metabolic risk factors. Within those categories, there also are demographic, geographic, and socioeconomic variations among states and populations.

Moreover, few economically advanced countries record Americas high level of traffic fatalities or have our homicide and suicide rates.

Nor have they experienced our burden of drug abuse. Between 1999 and 2017, according to the researchers, our midlife mortality from drug overdoses increased by a stunning 386.5%. Along with alcohol abuse, these drug overdoses (including opioids) undercut American progress in life expectancy.

Of all themember nationsof the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. had the highest number of opioid-related deaths at 130 per million, followed by single-payer Canada with 120 deaths per million. Hard to blame that notoriously elusive free market.

Finally, the relationship between mortality and health insurance coverage is not statistically neat and clean. In a 2002 report, the Institute of Medicine concluded that lack of health insurance caused 18,000 deaths annually.

But in 2009, Richard Kronick of the University of California School of Medicine conducted a large study andconcluded:

The Institute of Medicines estimate of the lack of insurance leads to 18,000 excess deaths each year is almost certainly incorrect. It is not possible to draw firm causal inferences from the results of observational analyses, but there is little evidence to suggest that extending insurance coverage to all adults would have a large effect on the number of deaths in the United States.

There are many other factors beyond health insurance. Thats not to say policymakers shouldnt work diligently and target expanded coverage for Americas remaining uninsured.

Health insurance with good access to medical professionals and advanced medical technology can secure good medical outcomes and reduced mortality as long as care is timely and of high quality. Americassuperior performancein combatting cancer, heart disease, and stroke testifies to that fact.

There is a lot that is right about American health careits responsiveness and well-documented success in combating deadly disease among thembut there also is a lot wrong with it. There are gaps in coverage and quality. American health markets are alsodistorted, and these distortions undercut efficiency and increase the costs for individuals and families.

Barriersto market competition at the state and federal levels undercut innovation in design of health insurance benefits and productivity in health care delivery, which also raises costs. The system is burdened by bureaucracy and paperwork, generated by giant government health programs (Medicare and Medicaid) as well as private third-party payers.

And current federal tax and regulatory policies block the portability and personal ownership of health insurance coverage, eliminating the ability of persons to take their coverage from job to joband maintain the continuity of coverage and carethrough different stages of their lives.

Rather than destroying the entire system of public and private insurance by enacting Medicare for All legislation, Congress needs to enactnew policiesthat will expand coverage and personal choices, break down barriers to market competition, and thus lower health care costs for millions of Americans.

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Government-Controlled Health Care Won't Help Us Live Longer - Heritage.org

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The Traditional Chinese Medicine Ingredients That Can Help To Boost Your Health – Hong Kong Tatler

Photo: Courtesy of Dominik Martin via Unsplash By Kristy Or March 05, 2020

Whether youre trying to fight the flu or build up your immunity, these commonly used ingredients in Traditional Chinese Medicine will help keep you feeling at your best

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Traditional Chinese Medicine has been making its way back into the mainstream with the popularisation of more natural methods of achieving health and wellness. In Chinese medicine, Qi is the vital energy that helps regulate the body and keep it functioning normally. Any disruptions in the Qi are primarily seen as the source of physical and mental health issues including common ailments like the flu, fever, cough, depression and anxiety.We spoke to two Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners - Gianna Buonocore from Integrated Medicine Institute and Cecilia Cheung from Health Wise- for advice on which herbs to add to your diet to help boost your immune system and improve your wellbeing.

The most commonly suggested ingredient by the two experts to add to your routine to boost your immunity is the Astragalus Root - or Huang Qi - as known in Chinese. The root is a principle herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for increasing an individuals vitality and promotes immune boosting compounds. Astragalus Root is typically combined with Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) and Ledebouriella Root (Feng Feng) to create a soup. According to Cecilia Cheung, this soup is like building a defensive wall to protect your body from cold and flu and is generally good for everyone at all stages of life.

See also:Urban Escapes: Where To Find The Cleanest Air In Asia

Fresh ginger is often prescribed to boost the energy levels in individuals. According to Gianna Buonocore, it not only soothes an upset stomach but helps fire up your immune system and helps clear the pathogen by inducing sweat. Ginger has been used to treat many initial flu and heat symptoms like dry and sore throat, constipation and fatigue. It can also assist with promoting blood circulation and aids in relieving constipation, vomiting symptoms and morning sickness.

Garlic has been widely recognised for its many antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory effects. The active ingredient inside garlic known as allicin, has antimicrobial properties which is activated through the action of chopping, crushing or chewing raw garlic - though Buonocore warns that these properties are destroyed during cooking. It is great for preventing and treating cold and flus, including relieving symptoms such as coughs, clear(ing) phlegm and enhanc(ing) immunity Cheung adds.

Chrysanthemum is a cooling herb and has antimicrobial properties which has a cleansing effect on the body and can help to clear pathogenic heat. Cheung describes chrysanthemums as a lung clearing herb as it is known to treat ailments like headaches, sore, throats, acne and ulcers. It has also been prescribed for issues like sleeplessness, strained eyes and high blood pressure.

Read more:In Good Health: How Traditional Chinese Medicine Is Evolving In Leaps And Bounds

Buonocore states that Goji Berries or Wolfberry Fruit are often used to improve health, vitality, longevity, energy and stamina. In Chinese Medicine, it is typically prescribed to treat poor eyesight, diabetes and anemia. Add them to your breakfast or include them in your tea for extra nutrients.

For those suffering from insomnia, restlessness, fatigue or loss of appetite, red jujube dates have often been used as a treatment by Chinese medicine doctors. The dates are said to have properties to calm the mind, reduce stress and decrease anxiety. Buonocore recommends a cup of jujube tea before bed (as it can) promote a restful nights sleep or treat insomnia.

See also:Hate The Gym? Here Are 8 Alternatives That You Can Try

In Chinese medicine, rose buds have a warming effect, and are used to alleviate abdominal pain, reduce indigestion, improve blood circulation in the body, and help to regulate menstruation and alleviate abdominal cramps. Buonocore suggests that rose bud tea can be combined with goji berries or red dates to combat tiredness, fatigue and sluggishness, however for those suffering from sore, dry throat, or constipation, Cheung recommends limiting your intake.

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The Traditional Chinese Medicine Ingredients That Can Help To Boost Your Health - Hong Kong Tatler

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Why The Females Of Many Species Live Longer Than The Males – IFLScience

In many species,females have a tendency to live longer than males.Our own species is no exception: the average human life expectancyfor females is 74.2 years compared to just 69.8 years for males. This chasm in lifespan is often explained by environmental or social factors, such as males undertaking more dangerous jobs, indulging in riskier behavior, or taking less care of their health.

However, it's starting to look like it might have something to do with doubling up on sex chromosomes. A new study has found that having two copies of the same sex chromosome is associated with having a longer lifespan. In humans, sex chromosomes are generally either XX (female) or XY(male).

Some species of bird, fish, reptile, and insect have a different system of sex determination based on Z and W chromosomes, where the males have ZZ sex chromosomesand females have ZW chromosomes. Interestingly, even under this "reversed" system, the theory remains true:the males, which have two copies of the same sex chromosome, generally outlive the females.

Reporting in the journal Biology Letters, researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) wanted to see whether this trend could be seen among a wider variety of animals. They looked at sex differences in lifespan in 229 species spanning 99 families, 38 orders, and eight classes and noted whether the longer-living sex had homogametic chromosomes (such as XX or ZZ) or heterogametic chromosomes (XY).

As expected, the sex with homogametic chromosomes tended to have a longer life across most species.

We looked at lifespan data in not just primates, other mammals and birds, but also reptiles, fish, amphibians, arachnids, cockroaches, grasshoppers, beetles, butterflies and moths among others, Zoe Xirocostas, first author on the paper and PhD student at UNSW, said in a statement.And we found that across that broad range of species, the heterogametic sex does tend to die earlier than the homogametic sex, and it's 17.6 percent earlier on average.

In species where males are heterogametic (XY), females live almost 21 percent longer than males," she added. "But in the species of birds, butterflies and moths, where females are heterogametic (ZW), males only outlive females by 7 percent.

This idea is known as the unguarded X hypothesis." While this theory has been floating aroundfor some time, this is the first time a scientific study has tested the hypothesis across such a wide range in animal taxonomy.

The theory goes that individuals with heterogametic sex chromosomes, such as XY, are less able to protect against harmful genes expressed on the X chromosome. On the other hand, those with homogametic sex chromosomes have a second copy that could serve as a back up. Alternatively, it might have something to do with how the Y chromosome degrades and telomere dynamics as possible explanations for this trend.

However, there are examples of heterogametic species that buck this trend, so though it appears to certainly be a factor in the longevity of some species, other factors may also play a role.

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Why The Females Of Many Species Live Longer Than The Males - IFLScience

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Trump says coronavirus will die off in warmer weather. Is he right? – The Hill

In recent weeks, one of the hottest questionsabout the coronavirus has been focused around, quite literally, temperature.

President Trump has suggested that the coronavirus outbreakwill be gone by April because the heat generally speaking kills this kind of virus, as reported by USA Today. He has appointed Vice President Pence to take charge of the U.S. response to the disease.

But, will the coronavirus be responsive to seasonal changes similar to the flu?

In short, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that the spread of the disease will abate with warmer weather. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that at this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer.

COVID-19 is different from the virus strains that cause the flueven though it can lead to similar symptoms of respiratory problems.

So, to glean some insights, we needto look backwards to comparable outbreaks.

TheSARS epidemic, which spread in 2002 across Asia, started in November and continued into July. The outbreak was contained comparatively quickly only 8,000 people worldwide were infected.

MERS began in September 2012 in Saudi Arabia, a country with relatively higher temperatures. We dont see too much evidence of seasonality in MERS, Stuart Weston, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, toldNational Geographic.

TheCDCsays it is is simply too soon to know howCOVID-19 will react when it first encounters warmer springtime temperatures.

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Nutrition Month 2020: 7 Traditional Ingredients From Chinese Medicine That Can Help Boost Your Health – Philippine Tatler

Photo: Courtesy of Dominik Martin via Unsplash By Kristy Or March 05, 2020

Whether youre trying to fight the flu or build up your immunity, these commonly used ingredients in Traditional Chinese Medicine will help keep you feeling at your best

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get all our top stories delivered

Were on Facebook and Instagram. Follow us for the latest news, events and happenings

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been making its way back into the mainstream with the popularisation of more natural methods of achieving health and wellness. In Chinese medicine, Qi is the vital energy that helps regulate the body and keep it functioning normally. Any disruptions in the Qi are primarily seen as the source of physical and mental health issues including common ailments like the flu, fever, cough, depression and anxiety.We spoke to two Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners - Gianna Buonocore from Integrated Medicine Institute and Cecilia Cheung from Health Wise- for advice on which herbs to add to your diet to help boost your immune system and improve your wellbeing.

The most commonly suggested ingredient by the two experts to add to your routine to boost your immunity is the Astragalus Root - or Huang Qi - as known in Chinese. The root is a principle herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for increasing an individuals vitality and promotes immune boosting compounds. Astragalus Root is typically combined with Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) and Ledebouriella Root (Feng Feng) to create a soup. According to Cecilia Cheung, this soup is like building a defensive wall to protect your body from cold and flu and is generally good for everyone at all stages of life.

See also: Nutrition Month 2020: 5DietChanges You Can Make For Healthier Living

Fresh ginger is often prescribed to boost the energy levels in individuals. According to Gianna Buonocore, it not only soothes an upset stomach but helps fire up your immune system and helps clear the pathogen by inducing sweat. Ginger has been used to treat many initial flu and heat symptoms like dry and sore throat, constipation and fatigue. It can also assist with promoting blood circulation and aids in relieving constipation, vomiting symptoms and morning sickness.

Garlic has been widely recognised for its many antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory effects. The active ingredient inside garlic known as allicin, has antimicrobial properties which is activated through the action of chopping, crushing or chewing raw garlic - though Buonocore warns that these properties are destroyed during cooking. It is great for preventing and treating cold and flus, including relieving symptoms such as coughs, clear(ing) phlegm and enhanc(ing) immunity Cheung adds.

Chrysanthemum is a cooling herb and has antimicrobial properties which has a cleansing effect on the body and can help to clear pathogenic heat. Cheung describes chrysanthemums as a lung clearing herb as it is known to treat ailments like headaches, sore, throats, acne and ulcers. It has also been prescribed for issues like sleeplessness, strained eyes and high blood pressure.

Read more: Where To Eat: Manilas Hidden Gems For Vegans And Vegetarians

Buonocore states that Goji Berries or Wolfberry Fruit are often used to improve health, vitality, longevity, energy and stamina. In Chinese Medicine, it is typically prescribed to treat poor eyesight, diabetes and anemia. Add them to your breakfast or include them in your tea for extra nutrients.

For those suffering from insomnia, restlessness, fatigue or loss of appetite, red jujube dates have often been used as a treatment by Chinese medicine doctors. The dates are said to have properties to calm the mind, reduce stress and decrease anxiety. Buonocore recommends a cup of jujube tea before bed (as it can) promote a restful nights sleep or treat insomnia.

See also: Five Secrets To A Radiant Power Look

In Chinese medicine, rose buds have a warming effect, and are used to alleviate abdominal pain, reduce indigestion, improve blood circulation in the body, and help to regulate menstruation and alleviate abdominal cramps. Buonocore suggests that rose bud tea can be combined with goji berries or red dates to combat tiredness, fatigue and sluggishness, however for those suffering from sore, dry throat, or constipation, Cheung recommends limiting your intake.

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Nutrition Month 2020: 7 Traditional Ingredients From Chinese Medicine That Can Help Boost Your Health - Philippine Tatler

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