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How AI Is Revolutionizing Health Care

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The market value of AI in the health care industry is predicted to reach $6.6 billion by 2021. Artificial intelligence is increasingly growing in popularity throughout various industries. Most of us associate AI with things like robots, Alexa and self-driving cars.

But AI is a lot more than that. AI experts see it as a revolutionary technology that could benefit many industries.

The impact of AI in the health care sector is genuinely life-changing. It is driving innovations in clinical operations, drug development, surgery and data management. AI technology is also rapidly finding its way into hospitals.

AI applications are centered on three main investment areas: digitization, engagement and diagnostics. Looking at some examples of artificial intelligence in health care, it is clear that there are exciting breakthroughs in incorporating AI in medical services.

Let’s explore some of the amazing applications of AI that are revolutionizing health care.

Robot Doctors

AI does not get more exciting than robots. However, these are not the humanlike droids from science fiction films. We are talking complex and intelligent machines designed for specific tasks.

In 2017, a robot in China passed the medical licensing exam using only its AI brain. In the same year, the first semi-automated surgical robot was used to suture blood vessels as narrow as 0.03 mm.

Today, top-of-the-line hospitals are awash with intelligent machines. Surgical robots operate with a precision rivaling that of the best-skilled surgeons. A Chinese robot dentist equipped with AI skills can autonomously perform complex and delicate dental procedures.

What about robot-assisted surgery?

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Intelligent robots are also used as transporting units and recovery and consulting assistance. Transport nurse robots navigate the hospital pathways to deliver medical supplies. Most of these robots are not fully automated. However, these machines show great potential in changing the way medical procedures are performed.

Clinical Diagnosis

AI algorithms diagnose diseases faster and more accurately than doctors. They are particularly successful in detecting diseases from image-based test results.

Late last year, Google’s DeepMind trained a neural network to accurately detect over 50 types of eye diseases by simply analyzing 3D rental scans. This shows just how effective AI technology can be at identifying real anomalies.

Effective treatment of cancer heavily depends on early detection and preemptive measures. Certain types of cancer, such as different types of melanoma, are notoriously difficult to detect during the early stages. AI algorithms can scan and analyze biopsy images and MRI scans 1,000 times faster than doctors. The algorithms can diagnose with an 87% accuracy rate. Diagnosis errors and delays are becoming a thing of the past.

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Precision Medication

Precision medication refers to dispensing the correct treatment depending on the patient’s characteristics and behavior. Equally essential to correct diagnosis is the provision of the appropriate treatment. This mostly means the exact prescription and recovery routines for the best outcome.

Precision medicine depends on the interpretation of vast volumes of data. The patient’s data is used in determining the most effective medication. The data includes treatment history, restrictions, hereditary traits and lifestyle.

Data organization happens to be a strong suit for machine learning and AI algorithms. AI-powered data management systems seamlessly store and organize large amounts of data to draw meaningful conclusions and predictions.

Hospitals and other health care facilities collect a lot of information from their patients. The data ends up sitting on a hard drive or in a file cabinet. AI medication systems can browse through these archives to assist doctors in formulating precision medication for individual patients.

AI prescription systems are now equipped to deal with non-adherence with medical prescriptions. They do this by studying the patient’s medical history and determining the likelihood that the patient will take the medication as prescribed.

Drug Discovery

Drug development is a tedious venture that may take years and thousands of failed attempts. It can cost medical researchers billions of dollars in the process. Only five in 5,000 drugs that begin pre-clinical trials ever make it to human testing. And only one of the five may find its way to pharmacies.

Many pharmaceutical giants like Sanofi and Pfizer are teaming up with tech companies IBM and Google. These are tech experts who are already invested in AI technology. The idea is to build a drug discovery program using deep learning and AI. The results are already paying off.

Rather than using the traditional trial-and-error approach, drug discovery is now data-driven. Intelligent simulations of better cures are possible through analysis of the existing medicine, patients and pathogens. Researchers have even been able to redirect already existing drugs to combat new infections. This is a process that now takes days rather than months or years, thanks to AI research platforms.

Personal Health Assistants

An everyday example of artificial intelligence in health care is personal health monitoring.

Thanks to the internet of medical things (IoMT) and advanced AI, there is a host of consumer-oriented products geared to promoting good health. Over the last few years, we have seen mobile apps, wearables, and discrete monitors that continually collect data and check the vitals.

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These gadgets use the data to make recommendations. This is an attempt to remedy any irregularities. Most of these devices store data locally or online. The data can be retrieved and used by medical practitioners as a medical report.

Adopting Examples Of Artificial Intelligence In Health Care

AI is here to stay. It will not replace doctors with machines but work alongside them. The goal is to achieve cheaper and more efficient health care services. Being a relatively new technology in health care, AI still has a long way to go, but the progress is impressive.

We can expect improvements and new applications as this amazing technology continues to advance with time. The improvements will not only be in the health care industry but in other areas as well.

Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?

Terence Mills, CEO of AI.io and Moonshot, is an AI pioneer and digital technology specialist.

Source: How AI Is Revolutionizing Health Care

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8 Common CBT Based Therapies & How They Could Power Up Your Mental Health

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It starts where everything starts: a Google search. Which leads to a Psychology Today directory. And from there you write down a few names. Some people located near your office. A couple maybe near home.

Things cascade. It’s like the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie story, but it’s If You Give a Guy Some Mental or Emotional Distress. It begins as a panic-struck Sunday afternoon scrolling through streams of psychotherapists, certified counselors, licensed social workers, all with any number of credentialing acronyms at the ends of their names.

You ask a friend or two. Ask who they see, what they like. One sees a doctor who just doles out scrips. That’s too cold, and not what you need. Another builds sessions off pulling a card from a tarot deck. Which is just a little too hippy-dippy. But their preferences help you define yours.

Who do you want to actually talk to? Someone who looks like you? Another man? Around the same age? Or someone totally different from you and the people you spend time with. Maybe an older woman who could be a stand-in for one of your mom’s old work colleagues. A Janet or a Caroline.

So you write a few inquiries, laying out what’s bothering you. They ask to get on the phone with you. “I would put the onus on them to organize the conversation,” says Avi Klein, a licensed clinical social worker and Men’s Health advisory board member. “That would start to give you a sense of how they work.”

Suddenly, you’re coordinating times and a private place to take the call. You try to take account of billing—if they’re in network or not. You check your insurance plan. And if their hours fit with your schedule. If the logistics line up, you keep going.

“Ask them to explain why their approach will work,” says Klein. “You should share a sense of a road map and what the expectations are.” If they’ll be direct and action oriented. Or if they’ll have you journal or fill out worksheets. If they’ll just sit and let you vent for 45 minutes.

The most important part of that consultation or phone call “is your sense of them,” says Klein. “Do you like them? A good working relationship is one of the biggest determining factors in successful therapy outcomes.”

And maybe you don’t follow up with one of them. Or you make an appointment, and just the one appointment. It’s fine. You’re testing people out. Tell them that. They get it. Then you leave one consultation feeling pretty good. You carve space in your schedule, and clear it with your insurance, and plan for next week.

Because once you get a hint of how much better you could feel, you find a way to make it work. —Matt Goulet

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There are hundreds of therapy techniques, some employed by trained professionals and some, like “puppet therapy,” that aren’t. Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D., helps us select the most effective methods.

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“I would encourage people to seek out practitioners of cognitive behavioral therapy,” says Lazarus. Focusing on corrective thoughts and actions, behavioral therapy aims to provide everyday strategies for the stresses and anxieties of the here and now. But avoid “monotherapy”—an approach that employs only one method. Choosing a behavioral treatment is like mixing a cocktail: It should include techniques tailored to the individual. These are some of the more common CBT-based approaches you’ll likely come across.”


Assertiveness Training/Interpersonal Effectiveness

  • Helps you: Learn to say no without feeling guilty. It also helps you express your feelings and desires in a responsible manner.
  • Best for: Those looking to express themselves in healthier ways.

Cognitive Restructuring

  • Helps you: Shift your thinking from negative and self-defeating patterns to more realistic and adaptive ones.
  • Best for: Those managing invasive and stressful thoughts.

Behavioral Activation

  • Helps you: Identify and correct behaviors that are driving depression. For example, you’re withdrawing and disconnecting from enjoyable activities.
  • Best for: Those whose depression prevents them from engaging socially.

Emotional Regulation

  • Helps you: Bring your emotional experience to a better baseline.
  • Best for: Those whose emotions interfere with healthy functioning.

Exposure Therapy

  • Helps you: Overcome your fear or anxiety by doing exactly what the name suggests: being exposed to its source.
  • Best for: Those with intense phobias or other anxiety disorders.

Mindfulness/Meditation

  • Helps you: Foster nonjudgmental awareness of the present, yourself, other people, your thoughts, and your emotions.
  • Best for: Those wanting to keep their mindset in the present and manage stress.

Somatic Therapy (Exercise/Yoga)

  • Helps you: Set your focus on the body and movement. “Physical exercise is probably one of the most powerful stress relievers and anti-depressants,” says Lazarus.
  • Best for: Those wanting to improve their mind and body as well as their mood.

Social Skills Training/Communication Training

  • Helps you: Better interact with those around you by developing skills like active listening and assertive expression.
  • Best for: Those working on sociability or suffering from social anxiety.

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Psychoanalytic Therapy

Also known as: psychodynamic therapy

The oldest (and perhaps now antiquated) technique, it involves tackling unresolved conflicts in your past and gaining insight through psychoanalysis. If a therapist uses the word analysis in his or her online profile, this is what you might be getting, says Lazarus. Think Freud, couches, and discussions of your childhood. Really, it’s still a thing.

Best for: The overly introspective, intellectuals.

Humanistic Therapy

Also known as: person-centered, existential, gestalt

Popular in the late ’50s, this practice focuses on providing a safe and supportive environment to explore your thoughts and feelings. The therapist won’t challenge your ideas or give you any recommendations but will instead listen and allow you to work through your issues verbally.

Best for: People who want passive, nondirective, sounding-board therapy.

Source: Which Form of Therapy Is Best for You?

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In this Your Health segment, William Regenold, MD, CM, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and psychiatrist at the University of Maryland Medical Center joins Donna Jacobs, senior vice president for community health, University of Maryland Medical System, and Jamal Lewis, a former NFL running back, to focus on men and mental health and why men may be hesitant to seek help when it comes to their mental health. For more information, go to: umms.org/communityhealth

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Hard Boiled Eggs: What May Be Behind This Deadly Listeria Outbreak

This is totally not eggs-ellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced yet another Listeria monocytogenes outbreak. This time the culprit seems to be, egg roll please: hard boiled eggs.

Yes, the CDC may have finally cracked the case on why seven people in five states have gotten sick with Listeria from April 10, 2017, to November 12, 2019. It can be hard to figure out the source of a Listeria infection, since symptoms of Listerosis can take a while to appear. Typically, symptoms appear one to four weeks after the consumption of the bacteria but can take up to 70 days to manifest.

For this outbreak, public health officials had detailed info on five of the cases. Of these, nearly all, with only one eggs-eption, had reported eating egg-containing products. Three had consumed hard-boiled eggs in salads. The common source seemed to boil down to bulk, fresh hard-boiled eggs produced by Almark Foods of Gainesville, Georgia. Although there currently isn’t a recall of such products , you may want to be eggs-tra careful about eating hard-boiled eggs, especially if you are at higher risk for Listeria badness.

Those at higher risk for Listeria infections include those 65 years and older, pregnant women and newborns, and anyone with a weaker immune system. If you fall into one of these categories, you are are probably all right if you are doing the boiling and hardening of the eggs yourself. However, any eggs that are already hard-boiled may not be all right, especially if they are from Almark. If you find out a hard-boiled egg is from Almark, put the egg down, step away from the table, and make sure that everything that touched the egg is cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.

As I have described before for Forbes, a Listeria infection may just give you a bout of flu-like symptoms. However, the greater concern is if the bacteria gets into your bloodstream or central nervous system. That’s when a Listeria infection can become deadly. This outbreak has already led to four people being hospitalized and one dying. Listeria can also cause many problems for pregnant women such as miscarriages and premature births and their newborns.

So, count these hard boiled eggs as yet another food product in the yolk of Listeria. Already this year, I have reported on Listeria contaminating deli meats and cheeses, happiness (otherwise known as avocados), sandwiches, salads, and wraps, sausage, oh Mann vegetables, and more happiness (otherwise known as sushi). What’s the eggs-planation for so many outbreaks? Have food safety regulations and monitoring been relaxed to the point that such contamination is becoming more common? It seems that this situation needs to be more closely eggs-amined.

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I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY), Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and founder and CEO of Symsilico. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. My work involves developing computational approaches, models, and tools to help health and healthcare decision makers in all continents (except for Antarctica) and has been supported by a wide variety of sponsors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, AHRQ, CDC, UNICEF, USAID and the Global Fund. I have authored over 200 scientific publications and three books. Follow me on Twitter (@bruce_y_lee) but don’t ask me if I know martial arts.

Source: Hard Boiled Eggs: What May Be Behind This Deadly Listeria Outbreak

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Public health officials are encouraging consumers to take steps to reduce their risk of listeria infection after recent outbreaks of the foodborne illness. “Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in food products, and can cause quite serious foodborne illness in certain populations,” says Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist. “We worry about it especially in pregnant women and their newborns, and people who have weakened immune systems, and in the elderly.” She says the most common foods that listeria infection is associated with are usually deli meats, hot dogs, and products that are refrigerated for a prolonged period of time. “Listeria is one of the few bacteria that likes to divide at low temperatures. That’s why we see this being a problem in foods that are refrigerated, and in foods that usually don’t transmit too many infections.” More health and medical news on the Mayo Clinic News Network http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/

The Technologies Driving Tomorrow’s Healthcare Solutions

Robots performing surgeries? New hip joints “printed” on command? “House calls” made from hundreds, even thousands of miles away? What seemed like science fiction just a few years ago has become an everyday reality as technology is revolutionizing the way healthcare is delivered.

Innovation changes health care for the better

Back in 2010, a video of a surgical robot sewing a split grape back together seemed so improbable, it went viral, garnering more than 5 million views [“Suturing a Grape,” YouTube clips (various uploads).] Fast forward to today, and robot-assisted surgery is firmly in the mainstream, used for gallbladder, prostate, gynecologic and kidney surgeries. The benefits of this minimally invasive technique are significant, including faster recovery times, shorter hospital stays, and less patient down time.

3D printing, still in its relative infancy, is already making massive contributions in healthcare. 3D-printed joint components have been used in more than 100,000 hip replacement surgeries over the past decade, according to a GE Report from March of 2018. The next evolution for 3D printing will be even more spectacular, promising the ability to print artificial organs, blood vessels, and even synthetic ovaries.

At a time when there is a shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas, telehealth is becoming a viable alternative to an in-office visit.

Virtual medical providers enable doctors to treat millions of Americans each year through internet and telephone consultations. That’s based on estimates from a recent J.D. Power study from July 2019, which found 9.6% of the adult population has used telemedicine in the past year. More than 75 percent of hospitals use telehealth services, too, as noted by the American Hospital Association Fact Sheet dated February 2019. Patients can consult with a doctor via phone or video, and receive diagnoses and prescriptions. Some employers use telehealth to provide virtual health clinics for employees.

Managing the cost

While such health innovations are exciting, they come at a cost. That’s where supplemental insurance can play a key role, enabling employers to offer a benefits option that provides added financial security over and above traditional health insurance. Beyond financial security, supplemental insurance also offers employees peace of mind.

“Employees are increasingly shouldering the high cost of medical care, especially when it comes to new medical solutions,” says Teresa White, president of Aflac U.S. In fact, 85 percent of employees see the need for supplemental insurance benefits to cover such costs, according to the Aflac WorkForces Report.

Adding to the challenge is the complexity of what’s covered and what isn’t under traditional health insurance.

“Health care today isn’t simple,” says Virgil Miller, Aflac EVP and chief operating officer. “Some consumers are confused by their benefit options and what their health care plans cost and cover. Our annual Aflac WorkForces Report found that just 39 percent of employees have a full understanding of their health insurance policies.

“And with medical debt being the most common reason people fall behind on bills, supplemental benefits such as Aflac’s should be a priority on every smart preparation checklist. Aflac helps cover the expenses health insurance doesn’t.”

Innovations improve insurance, too

Customer concerns like these led Aflac to create online tools like its easy-to-use critical illness calculator. “The calculator makes it easier for consumers to understand typical out-of-pocket heath care expenses and how Aflac’s critical illness coverage can help cover the costs health insurance doesn’t cover,” Miller says.

Aflac sees technological innovation as essential in serving its policyholders. To provide good customer service, Aflac worked with several industry experts on a technique called journey mapping to understand the various touch points and pain points customers have. “Through journey mapping, our customer experience teams created reliable road maps of where we needed to take our technology in the future,” adds Keith Farley, vice president of innovation for Aflac.

One byproduct of this research is an advanced mobile app called MyAflac. With the MyAflac mobile app, policyholders can handle myriad healthcare-related tasks, ranging from filing a claim to signing up for direct deposit of their insurance payments, right from their phones. Combined with Aflac’s One Day PaySM initiative, it helps get payments into the hands of policyholders faster than ever. “Our goal is to help policyholders worry less about finances and focus more on recovery, which can lead to better health outcomes,” adds Miller.

Innovation is woven into every level of Aflac’s culture. Farley points to My Special Aflac Duck as a perfect example of this. “This isn’t just a toy, it is a high-tech robot that interacts with children, helping provide them with comfort as they move through their cancer treatment. As a company, we have been blown away by the response,” Farley says.

The company has invested millions of dollars into this program including donating to cancer research, developing the duck and giving away more than 5,000 of them to pediatric cancer patients at more than 220 hospitals in 47 states.

Innovation is also at the heart of how Aflac designs its benefits policies. Aflac’s cancer policy, for example, helps policyholders take greater advantage of cutting-edge medical techniques. “Genetic testing helps identify potential health risks and help people understand and prepare for potential risks. Screenings can also save lives. Aflac’s cancer policy is designed to reflect the evolution of patient needs and challenges, and it helps cover modern approaches to prevention, early detection and diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care,” White says.

At Aflac, innovation is more than saving money and improving efficiencies. It is part of its mission to help employers support their employees to lead healthier and happier lives. At the end of the day, it’s about growing consumer trust and satisfaction, Miller says.

One Day PaySM is available for certain individual claims submitted online through the Aflac SmartClaim process. Claims may be eligible for One Day Pay processing if submitted online through Aflac SmartClaim, including all required documentation, by 3 p.m. ET. Documentation requirements vary by type of claim; please review requirements for your claim(s) carefully. Aflac SmartClaim is available for claims on most individual Accident, Cancer, Hospital, Specified Health, and Intensive Care policies. Processing time is based on business days after all required documentation needed to render a decision is received and no further validation and/or research is required. Individual Company Statistic, 2019.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999

By Anita CampbellCEO, Small Business Trends

Source: The Technologies Driving Tomorrow’s Healthcare Solutions

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https://www.job-applications.com/afla… An Aflac benefits consultant talks about the interview process, interview questions, how to get a job and what its like to work for Aflac.

Health Authorities Know What’s Potentially Causing Vaping-Related Deaths

Topline: The CDC announced on Thursday that vitamin E acetate, a chemical found in skincare products that is dangerous when heated or inhaled, is a “very strong culprit” in the spate of vaping-related lung injuries and deaths have for months perplexed and alarmed federal health officials.

  • The CDC determination comes from a study that examined 29 samples from patients with vaping-related lung illnesses. All 29 of them contained traces of vitamin E acetate.
  • No other potential toxins were detected.
  • Vitamin E acetate is a chemical commonly found in skincare products, and it isn’t dangerous when applied to the skin or swallowed. But when heated and inhaled through vaping devices, the chemical can cause harm to a patient’s lungs.
  • Vitamin E acetate has been recently used in black market products containing THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, as a thickening agent.
  • But officials do not yet know exactly where the vitamin E acetate is coming from.
  • THC was found in 23 of 28 patients, including three who said they had not used THC products, while nicotine was detected in 16 of 26 patients.
  • Officials cautioned that there could more than one toxin causing the illnesses, and more evidence is needed to establish a causal link between vitamin E acetate and the injuries.

Crucial quote: “These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs,” said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the CDC, in a press call Thursday. “And the samples reflect patients from across the country.”

Key background: As of Tuesday 2,051 cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported along with 39 deaths, according to the CDC. The cause of the lung injuries and deaths have prompted health officials to warn against vaping altogether and for state and federal lawmakers to mull or impose vaping sale bans.

Further reading: Read the CDC’s report on the study here.

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I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Previously, I’ve reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: Health Authorities Know What’s Potentially Causing Vaping-Related Deaths

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Vaping & E-Cigarette related illnesses & deaths have gathered significant media attention. Join Dr. Seheult of https://www.MedCram.com as he illustrates key points about vaping and E cigarette-related acute pulmonary illness & disease symptoms, diagnosis, CXR, and CT scan findings that we understand at this time. More information and studies are needed as vaping deaths and hospitalizations in 2019 continue to rise (some are calling it a “vaping epidemic”). See the second video in this series on the treatment of vaping associated pulmonary injury: https://youtu.be/7TO7Cfi_o38 Links to articles from the New England Journal of Medicine referenced in this video: Pulmonary Illness Related to E-Cigarette Use in Illinois and Wisconsin — Preliminary Report: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056… Vaping-Induced Lung Injury: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056… Instructor: Roger Seheult, MD Co-Founder of MedCram.com Clinical and Exam Preparation Instructor Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine. Visit https://www.MedCram.com for top-rated medical videos, over 30 hours of category 1 CME and CE, and over 100 free lectures. MedCram: Medical education topics explained clearly including: Respiratory lectures such as Asthma, COPD, and vape / E cigarette related lung disease. Renal lectures on Acute Renal Failure and Adrenal Gland. Internal medicine videos on Oxygen Hemoglobin Dissociation Curve and Medical Acid Base. A growing library on critical care topics such as Shock, Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), and Mechanical Ventilation. Cardiology videos on Hypertension, ECG / EKG Interpretation, and heart failure. VQ Mismatch and Hyponatremia lectures have been popular among medical students and physicians. The Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) videos and Ventilator-associated pneumonia bundles and lectures have been particularly popular with RTs. NPs and PAs have given great feedback on Pneumonia Treatment and Liver Function Tests among many others. Dr. Jacquet teaches our FAST exam tutorial & bedside ultrasound courses. Many nursing students have found the Asthma and shock lectures very helpful. We’re starting a new course series on clinical ultrasound/ultrasound medical imaging. Recommended Audience – Medical professionals and medical students: including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, respiratory therapists, EMT and paramedics, and many others. Review and test prep for USMLE, MCAT, PANCE, NCLEX, NAPLEX, NBDE, RN, RT, MD, DO, PA, NP school and board examinations. More from MedCram.com medical lectures: Blog: https://blog.medcram.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MedCram Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/1/+Medcram Twitter: https://twitter.com/MedCramVideos Subscribe to the official MedCram.com YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_… Produced by Kyle Allred PA-C Please note: MedCram medical videos, medical lectures, medical illustrations, and medical animations are for medical education and exam preparation purposes, and not intended to replace recommendations by your doctor or health care provider. #Vaping #ECigarettes #vapingdeaths

This Inexpensive Action Lowers Hospital Infections And Protects Against Flu Season

Harvard Medical School graduate and lecturer, Stephanie Taylor, is something of an Indiana Jones of medicine. She’s a determined scientist who can’t seem to sit still. Along with a resume full of accolades and publications, she’s a skydiver with 1,200 jumps. She solves haunting medical mysteries. “Anything that seems scary, I say I need to learn more about that,” she explained in a recent interview

While practicing pediatric oncology at a major teaching hospital, Taylor wondered why so many of her young patients came down with infections and the flu, despite the hospital’s herculean efforts at prevention. Her hunch: the design and infrastructure of the building contributed somehow.

Dr. Taylor embarked on a quest to find out if she was right. First, the skydiving doctor made a career jump: She went back to school for a master’s in architecture, and then began research on the impact of the built environment on human health and infection. Ultimately, she found a lost ark.

She and colleagues studied 370 patients in one unit of a hospital to try to isolate the factors associated with patient infections. They tested and retested 8 million data points controlling for every variable they could think of to explain the likelihood of infection. Was it hand hygiene, fragility of the patients, or room cleaning procedures? Taylor thought it might have something to do with the number of visitors to the patient’s room.

While all those factors had modest influence, one factor stood out above them all, and it shocked the research team. The one factor most associated with infection was (drum roll): dry air. At low relative humidity, indoor air was strongly associated with higher infection rates. “When we dry the air out, droplets and skin flakes carrying viruses and bacteria are launched into the air, traveling far and over long periods of time. The microbes that survive this launching tend to be the ones that cause healthcare-associated infections,” said Taylor. “Even worse, in addition to this increased exposure to infectious particles, the dry air also harms our natural immune barriers which protect us from infections.”

Since that study was published, there is now more research in peer-reviewed literature observing a link between dry air and viral infections, such as the flu, colds and measles, as well as many bacterial infections, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding more research. Taylor finds one of the most interesting studies from a team at the Mayo Clinic, which humidified half of the classrooms in a preschool and left the other half alone over three months during the winter. Influenza-related absenteeism in the humidified classrooms was two-thirds lower than in the standard classrooms—a dramatic difference. Taylor says this study is important because its design included a control group: the half of classrooms without humidity-related intervention.

Scientists attribute the influence of dry air to a new understanding about the behavior of airborne particles, or “infectious aerosol transmissions.” They used to assume the microbes in desiccated droplets were dead, but advances in the past several years changed that thinking. “With new genetic analysis tools, we are finding out that most of the microbes are not dead at all. They are simply dormant while waiting for a source of rehydration,” Taylor explained. “Humans are an ideal source of hydration, since we are basically 60% water. When a tiny infectious particle lands on or in a patient, the pathogen rehydrates and begins the infectious cycle all over again.”

These findings are especially important for hospitals and other health settings, because dry air is also associated with antibiotic resistance, which can devastate whole patient populations. Scientists now believe resistant organisms do not develop only along the Darwinian trajectory, where mutated bacteria produce a new generation of similarly mutated offspring that can survive existing antibiotics. Resistant pathogens in infectious aerosols do not need to wait for the next generation, they can instantly share their resistant genes directly through a process called horizontal gene transfer.

According to her research, and subsequent studies in the medical literature, the “sweet spot” for indoor air is between 40% and 60% relative humidity. An instrument called a hygrometer, available for about $10, will measure it. Every hospital, school, and home should have them, according to Taylor, along with a humidifier to adjust room hydration to the sweet spot.

Operating rooms, Taylor notes, are often kept cooler than other rooms to keep gown-wearing surgical staff comfortable. Cool air holds less water vapor than warm air, so condensation can more easily occur on cold, uninsulated surfaces. Consequently, building managers often turn humidifiers off instead of insulating cold surfaces. This quick fix can result in dry air, and Taylor urges hospitals to bring the operating room’s relative humidity up, even when it is necessary, to maintain a lower temperature. Taylor’s research suggests this reduces surgical site infections.

Taylor travels the country speaking with health care and business groups to urge adoption of the 40%–60% relative humidity standard. And she practices what she preaches. “My husband has ongoing respiratory problems and had at least one serious illness each winter. Ever since we started monitoring our indoor relative humidity and keeping it around 40%, even when using our wood stove, he has not been sick. Our dogs also love it because they do not get static electricity shocks when being petted in the wintertime!”

The bad news is that it takes on average of 17 years for scientific evidence to be put into medical practice, according to a classic study. The good news is that Taylor is on the case, and she’s on a crusade against the destruction of bacteria and viruses. She’s not waiting 17 years. Jock, start the engine.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I run an organization called The Leapfrog Group with a membership of highly impatient business leaders fed up with problems with injuries, accidents, and errors in hospitals. I can’t stand the sight of blood but I’ve worked in healthcare over 20 years, including a rural hospital system, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s health policy office, and the National League for Nursing. Follow me on twitter: @leahbinder.

Source: This Inexpensive Action Lowers Hospital Infections And Protects Against Flu Season

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The flu season in the U.S. has already claimed a number of lives in what the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has called one of most severe flu seasons in nearly a decade. “People often forget that tens of thousands of Americans will die each year from influenza infection; the vast majority of those who die are those who have underlying medical comorbidities,” says Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic. “They have heart disease or lung disease, and influenza tips them over and they end up dying from their underlying medical comorbidity, or chronic illness.” More health and medical news on the Mayo Clinic News Network http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/

4 Wellness Trends You Have To Try

Wellness is seeping into every aspect of our lives, from exercise and diet to sleep and work. According to the Global Wellness Summit, complete health also has become a big business, raking in $4.2 trillion a year worldwide.

As GWS prepares for its annual conference of industry professionals at Grand Hyatt Singapore October 15 to 17, we asked organizers to share their insights on the latest trends in approaches to wellness.

Nature Immersion Getaways

GWS reports that there’s a wave of global urbanization, with 55 percent of the world population living in cities. That number is projected to jump to 68 percent by 2050. A consequence of this surge in urban living is that people are seeking ways to immerse themselves deeper into nature. Hotels are accommodating by moving workouts and spa treatments into the great outdoors. But nothing captures this trend more than the rise in forest bathing.

Today In: Lifestyle

Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, began in Japan in the 1980s. Despite the translation, the practice doesn’t literally mean to take a bath among the trees. Instead, it focuses on soaking up the essence of the forest. The practice is supposed to aid immune systems, reduce blood pressure, ease stress, boost energy and improve sleep.

Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star L’Apothecary Spa at L’Auberge de Sedona in Arizona steeps you in its pristine Oak Creek surroundings with its Connecting with Nature offerings. Led by a certified forest bathing facilitator, the personalized sensory sessions encourage you to absorb the gushing waters, towering trees, red rocks, blue skies and local wildlife. You’ll receive a journal to record your experience. Another option is a nighttime forest immersion. Star bathing helps you find peace under the serene starlit sky amid the wooded backdrop. When the darkness of night envelops your sight, your other senses are heightened.

Tough and Transformative Wellness

Travelers want to visit wellness destinations that push them harder to conquer challenges, engage in extreme experiences and, ultimately, transform them, GWS reports.

Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire in England has devised The Escape, an antidote to boring old fitness routines. Amid the property’s 500 countryside acres, the two-day bootcamp includes an outdoor meditation session, two “extreme” exercise classes, a nutrition masterclass, tailored treatments in the spa, yoga, tai chi and a highwire adventure.

Chatham Bars Inn hosts an ongoing Wellness Weekend series that features interactive itineraries hosted by wellness experts in stunning Cape Cod. The activities consist of mindfulness workshops, motivational lectures, personal coaching and plenty of exercise at the Four-Star hotel.

In Mexico, Four-Star Grand Velas Los Cabos targets women with its five-night Alpha Female Adventure Getaway. The rigorous schedule includes a power hike through the Sierra de la Laguna biosphere reserve, swimming in a hot spring, snorkeling and paddleboarding. The getaway also comes with a four-handed tequila massage, an 80-minute treatment that releases muscle tension. A therapist rubs the liquor into the skin to reduce inflammation.

Sleep Performance

Alongside exercise and diet, sleep is essential for optimal health. And the focus on rest across the travel industry has been one of the biggest wellness trends.

Hotels are rethinking the sleep experience. Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner is attacking stress-induced insomnia with a holistic approach. Partnering with sleep experts at Longeva, the D.C. hotel created a spa treatment that fosters a good night’s rest, a special snooze-inducing room service menu with dishes like almond butter banana dark chocolate toast (the treat’s high magnesium relaxes muscles, and bananas have tryptophan, the same amino acid in turkey that makes you drowsy after Thanksgiving dinner), a TV station that serves as a sleep machine and a take-home kit so that you can continue deep slumbers in your own bed.

The newly opened Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards in New York City was built with sleep in mind. The wellness hotel’s rooms have total soundproofing, blackout blinds and mattresses made with temperature-regulating natural fibers to prevent night sweats. If that’s not enough send you to dream land, you can employ the assistance of an Equinox sleep coach.

Digital Detox

For all the good they provide, smartphones also have sparked a slew of problems: they cause an “always on” work mentality, the overconsumption of negative news and a social media addiction that has led to an anxiety and depression crisis, GWS says.

More travelers want to go to a place to unplug, clear their minds and recover. Mandarin Oriental launched a digital wellness initiative at all of its spas in 2018. In collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, the program teaches ways to manage your relationship with technology and the stress that can accompany a constantly connected digital lifestyle. Experience it at Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou’s luxurious Five-Star spa. The 100-minute Digital Wellness Escape homes in on the head, eyes, neck, shoulders, hands and feet.

Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing turned its offerings into a two-night package that includes a 90-minute treatment, a class pass to nearby Pure Yoga in WF Central as well as breakfast and a healthy lunch at Café Zi.

 

 

Source: 4 Wellness Trends You Have To Try

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Last year some of the big wellness trends were collagen, intermittent fasting and CBD oil. But 2019 brings a new set of ways to be our best selves.

Heart Checks While You Shop: NHS Announces Plan To Have Pharmacies Check Shoppers’ Heart Health In Bid To Cut Deaths

Shoppers will be offered on-the-spot NHS heart checks to detect signs of killer conditions.

High street pharmacies will be overhauled under the national plan to prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks and strokes within a decade.

The country’s most senior doctor said the new approach would be a “game changer,” helping to identify risks far earlier, with advice on lifestyle overhauls as well as targeted medication.

Pilot schemes have seen some types of strokes fall by a quarter.

From October, chemists will begin rolling out the “rapid detection service,” which includes mobile electrocardiograms to spot irregular heartbeats, as well as checks on blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

If successful, the scheme will be rolled out to every pharmacist in the country within three years.

An NHS sign is pictured at St Thomas’ Hospital  Credit: AFP

The plans aim to identify those at risk far earlier, when treatment and lifestyle changes are most likely to be effective.

Pharmacists will be expected to dole out advice on exercise and diet, with results passed directly to GP practices, who can prescribe the right medication.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said: “Heart disease and strokes dramatically cut short lives, and leave thousands of people disabled every year, so rapid detection of killer conditions through high street heart checks will be a game-changer.”

The plans, launched to coincide with the world’s biggest heart conference, follow proposals to scrap “one size fits all” health MOTs at GP surgeries.  In future, GPs will be expected to increasingly target checks on those thought to be at greatest risk, due to their medical and genetic history, while routine screening tests are offered by pharmacists.

Heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer, with deaths from heart attacks, strokes and circulatory diseases accounting for 160,000 deaths in the UK every year.

More than 7 million people are living with heart and circulatory diseases.

Speaking at the European Society for Cardiology (ESC) conference, in Paris, Professor Bryan Williams, author of its guidelines on disease prevention, said: “This is hugely important. Heart disease and stroke remain the most important cause of premature death and disability and we have the means to prevent the many of them.

“The key is early detection of those at risk and doing this is a way that is convenient for the public, not having to wait for a GP appointment that could be done simply the local pharmacy.”

Chemists will begin rolling out the “rapid detection service,” which includes mobile electrocardiograms to spot irregular heartbeats, as well as checks on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Yesterday Dexter Canoy, clinical epidemiologist from the University of Oxford, presented research showing that raised blood pressure at the age of 40 is a clear indicator of the risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes in later life.

He said: “We need to find ways to target the people who aren’t seeing their GP regularly – the middle-aged men who think they are healthy, but haven’t actually been checked.”

“If opening it up to pharmacies and shopping malls means that people are more likely to have their blood pressure checked, that could make a significant difference,” he said, calling for proper evaluation of the measures.

The checks are part of a new £13 billion five year contract for community pharmacists which aims to expand their roles and offer earlier detection of diseases.

More than 100 pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside have begun offering blood pressures screening services, under a local initiative, backed by the British Heart Foundation, with plans to recruit more than 200 more chemists to the service as it expands.

Medics said widespread use of the monitors by pharmacies, hospitals and individual patients could cut costs, speed diagnosis and avoid preventable hospital admissions.

Pilot schemes in Lambeth and Southwark in south London identified more than 1,400 patients suffering from atrial fibrillation – an irregular heart rhythm –  who should have been taking blood thinning drugs, but were not. In total, 1,300 of the patients have now been put on the medication, leading to a 25 per cent reduction in the rate of strokes linked to their heart condition.

Keith Ridge, England’s chief pharmaceutical officer, said: “This new contract makes the most of the clinical skills of local pharmacists and establishes pharmacies across England as local health hubs – open in the evenings and at weekends – where people can go for an ever-increasing range of clinical health checks and treatment.”

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Millions of people in England are living with conditions such as high blood pressure which, if left untreated, significantly increase the risk of having a potentially deadly heart attack or stroke. Reaching more people and encouraging them to check their blood pressure, working with them to lower it where necessary, will play an absolutely critical role in saving lives in the coming years.”

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Source: Heart checks while you shop: NHS announces plan to have pharmacies check shoppers’ heart health in bid to cut deaths

Life-Changing Hacks For Coffee And Weight Loss

You may not be thinking of all of the goodness in your coffee when you wake up, stumble to the kitchen, and put on that pot. But, in addition to providing warmth, comfort, and a boost of fuel you need to start your day, that cup of Joe has amazing health benefits.

Your morning cup of coffee is filled with good-for-you antioxidants that can protect cells and combat free radicals in your body that cause illnesses and disease. Caffeine (in moderation) is also effective at boosting your metabolism for fat-burning benefits.

And, if you want to increase those benefits even more, this is the one calorie-burning nutrient nutritionists say you should start adding to your coffee for a flat stomach.

woman holding latte with latte artThanks to the popularity of diets like the Keto Diet, many people are getting on board with the fact that fat isn’t so bad for us after all.

The latest coffee craze is one that may have its roots in Keto logic, but has expanded to become mainstream popular thanks to three factors: it’s unusual, tasty, and, according to many who have tried it, works wonders when it comes to giving you energy and helping you burn stubborn fat.

woman leaning on counter drinking coffee out of mug

Drinking Bulletproof Coffee For Weight Loss

Add Butter To Your Coffee

To those already in the know, “bulletproof” coffee is coffee that has been spiked with butter. A few tablespoons of grass-fed butter can give your coffee a rich, buttery flavor that many say tastes like creamer. But its unusual and unexpected health benefits are what keep coffee lovers coming back for more.

espresso machine making a latteWhile there’s no denying that adding butter to your coffee also means adding upwards of 200 calories to a beverage that contains zero calories, some nutritionists say the benefits may outweigh the negatives.

“This may make the drink slower to digest and absorb, therefore potentially prolonging the effects of the caffeine,” Jaclyn London, MD, RD, CDN, Good Housekeeping Institute told Good Housekeeping. “As for the grass-fed distinction, proponents tout the slightly higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and some vitamins that come from cows grazing on an all-green diet.”

woman holding blue coffee mug

Correlation Between Bulletproof Coffee And Weight Loss

There is still a lack of data on whether bulletproof coffee truly helps your health, London says, and the only evidence that currently exists stems from research performed on rats. If it’s any consolation, those rats did experience higher metabolism and energy burn levels after drinking coffee with butter.

woman eating breakfast of yogurt cereal and strawberries in bedAccording to London, bulletproof coffee may help you lose weight — but that depends entirely on your overall diet.

“Bulletproof coffee could help you lose weight if you use it to replace a daily sugary short stack, or if you currently don’t eat breakfast at all,” London told Good Housekeeping. “In that case, BPC may provide a sense of fullness that you might not have experienced otherwise. Eating more calories from longer-lasting sources of energy can help you cut back on random grazing later on.”

But be aware because bulletproof coffee could also backfire on you: drinking your calories and sources of fat could make you feel more “ravenous,” London says. You could end up consuming even more calories each day.

cinnamon sticks and grown cinnamon on a table

If you aren’t sold on the idea of putting butter in your coffee, don’t worry. There are plenty of other healthy coffee additive alternatives that won’t pack on added calories and fat. Alternate coffee add-ons to consider include cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and coconut milk.

Source: Life-Changing Hacks For Coffee And Weight Loss

Entrepreneur Dave Asprey first added butter to his coffee to boost his brainpower. Now, he reveals what he learned about his brain to achieve his weight-loss goals. Subscribe to Dr. Oz’s official YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/1QhiDuv

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How Exercise Lowers Alzheimer’s Risk by Changing Your Brain

Senior woman on bicycle by beach

More and more studies are showing how regular exercise benefits the brain, and in particular, the aging brain. What’s less clear is how exactly exercise counters the cognitive decline that comes with aging and diseases like Alzheimer’s.

To find out, for nearly a decade, Ozioma Okonkwo, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and his colleagues have studied a unique group of middle-aged people at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Through a series of studies, the team has been building knowledge about which biological processes seem to change with exercise.

Okonkwo’s latest findings show that improvements in aerobic fitness mitigated one of the physiological brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s: the slowing down of how neurons breakdown glucose. The research, which has not been published yet, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association on Aug. 9.

Okonkwo works with the 1,500 people on the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP)—all of whom are cognitively normal, but have genes that put them at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s, or have one or two parents who have been diagnosed with the disease, or both. In the latest study, Okonkwo recruited 23 people from the WRAP population who were not physically active. Eleven were asked to participate in an exercise regimen to improve their aerobic fitness for six months, and 12 served as the control.

All had their brains scanned to track Alzheimer’s-related brain changes including differences in how neurons metabolized glucose, since in people with Alzheimer’s glucose breakdown slows. At the end of the study period, the group that exercised more showed higher levels of glucose metabolism and performed better on cognitive-function tests compared to the controls.

“We are carrying our research full circle and beginning to demonstrate some causality,” says Okonkwo about the significance of his findings.

In their previous work, he and his team identified a series of Alzheimer’s-related biological changes that seemed to be affected by exercise by comparing, retrospectively, people who were more physically active to those who were not.

In this study, they showed that intervening with an exercise regimen could actually affect these processes. Taken together, his body of research is establishing exactly how physical activity contributes to significant changes in the biological processes that drive Alzheimer’s, and may even reduce the effect of strong risk factors such as age and genes linked to higher risk of neurodegenerative disease.

For example, in their earlier work his group confirmed that as people age, the presence of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes increases—including the buildup of amyloid, slower breakdown of glucose by brain cells, shrinking of the volume of the hippocampus (central to memory), and declines in cognitive function measured in standard recall and recognition tests.

But they found that in people who reported exercising at moderate intensity at least 150 minutes a week, as public health experts recommend, brain scans showed that these changes were significantly reduced and in some cases non-existent compared to people who were not active. “The association between age and Alzheimer’s brain changes was blunted,” says Okonkwo, “Even if [Alzheimer’s] got worse, it didn’t get worse at the same speed or rate among those who are physically active as in those who are inactive.”

In another previous study, they found the benefits of exercise in controlling Alzheimer’s processes even among those with genetic predisposition for the disease. When they divided the participants by fitness levels, based on a treadmill test and their ability to efficiently take in oxygen, they found that being fit nearly negated the effect of the deleterious gene ApoE4. “It’s a remarkable finding because it’s not something that was predicted,” says Okonkwo.

In yet another previous study, Okonkwo and his team also found that people with higher aerobic fitness showed lower amounts of white matter hyperintensities, brain changes that are signs of neuron degeneration and show up as brighter spots on MRI images (hence the name). White matter hyperintensities tend to increase in the brain with age, and are more common in people with dementia or cognitive impairment.

They form as neurons degrade and the myelin that surrounds their long-reaching arms—which helps nerves communicate with each other effectively—starts to deteriorate. In people with dementia, that process happens faster than normal, leading to an increase in white matter hyperintensities. Okonwko found that people who were more aerobically fit showed lower amounts of these hyperintensities than people who were less fit.

Given the encouraging results from his latest study of 23 people that showed intervening with exercise can change some of the Alzheimer’s-related brain changes of the disease, he plans to expand his small study to confirm the positive effect that exercise and better fitness can have in slowing the signs of Alzheimer’s. Already, his work has inspired a study launched earlier this year and funded by the National Institutes of Health that includes brain scans to track how physical activity affects biological factors like amyloid and glucose in people at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The cumulative results show that “there may be certain things we are born with, and certain things that we can’t change ]when it comes to Alzheimer’s risk], but a behavior like physical exercise might help us to modify that,” says Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer’s Association.

By Alice Park

Source: How Exercise Lowers Alzheimer’s Risk by Changing Your Brain | Time

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