Medical Tourism: Traveling Beyond Borders for Health and Pleasure

Medical tourism is defined as the enhancement or restoration of the individual’s health through medical intervention by organized travel outside one’s natural healthcare jurisdiction.

Patients needing major heart surgery, hip operations , cataracts or even looking for breast augmentation, nose job, body contouring  are using the internet to book operations to be carried out thousands of miles away.

Around 8-9 million patients from across the world travel overseas each year to avail treatment. The worldwide medical tourism market is growing at a rate of 15-25%

  • Singapore is the most thriving medical tourism center in the South East
  • In Latin AmericaPanama and Costa Rica  are becoming well-known tourist spots for medical travelers
  • Mexico being close to the US is now one of the top rated medical tourism destinations.
  • Malaysia is also a famous destination for medical tourists and travelers
  • Another hot spot for medical tourism is India
  • Seoul in South Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world
  • South Africa is the first country in Africa to emerge as a medical tourism destination
  • India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand are well-established destinations for patients seeking cardiac surgery and orthopaedic surgery
  • Italy, already recognized as a major travel destination, offers medical tourists the opportunity to combine treatment with a vacation of a lifetime
  • The Malaysian government provides flexible ease of entry for foreign patients entering Malaysia for treatment where visa for medical tourists are extended if needed, from 30 days to 90 days
  • Thailand hospitals are among the first in Asia to be internationally accredited. To date, there are 37 hospitals accredited by JCI in Thailand
  • The uniqueness of India is its ability to offer holistic medical services such as unani, yoga, meditation, ayurveda, and homeopathic treatments

Medical  tourism is defined  as the enhancement or restoration of  the individual’s health through medical intervention by organized travel outside one’s natural healthcare jurisdiction.

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Help your children enjoy science: Parents buckle up

Help your children enjoy science

There is considerable concern regarding a future where industries around the world will face shortage of high quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers to meet the demands of the labor market. This is definitely a point of concern, especially since robots, AIs and chips would be running the future generation.

Leaving aside getting a job, even for a student of today, citizen of tomorrow to even comment on issues around them like what kind of robots should be employed at their office or home or what would be the impact of carbon foodprint or what technology should be applied to make their work done most efficiently, they must be aware of science and technology.

 It is important to invest in STEM education to ensure a future talent pipeline, it’s just as important to have a scientifically-literate population to understand why we need to do so. – Ron Mobed, CEO Elseveir

One day we’re going to look back and whatever this era will get called, it’s going to put a premium on math and science. We should prepare our future workforce differently. – Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM

Why is this happening ?

Currently Science learning is more of mugging up and boring with less focus on understanding it with appropriate reasoning and facts.

Would like to share a small story from Einstein’s life…..

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Hair loss: every man’s nightmare

 

We are going to see more bald men around us. Not a happy news.

Men are turning bald as early as in their 20s. This is definitely was not the case in our father’s generation where men in 40s walked around with a full crop of hair . About 85% of men will have major hair thinning by the time they’re  50. Some guys will start to lose theirs before they turn even 21.

Different ethnic groups show varying susceptibility levels to pattern baldness. Chinese, blacks and Native Americans are more likely to keep a full head of hair than whites.

Four main reasons that makes hair fall rate so bad: stress, bad habits, pollution and poor nutrition

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‘Go Blue!’ to Fight Prostate Cancer

About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime

Prostate cancer only affects men. This cancer begins to grow in the prostate – a male reproductive organ.  After the Testis (the male reproductive organs), Prostate is the second most important gland for proper male sexual functioning. This is a small gland that sits below the bladder near the rectum.  It produces most of the fluid that makes up semen that enriches sperm.

prostate gland : image

Prostate cancer facts

  • About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, and one man in 36 will die of this disease
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in men
  • About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men 65 years or older
  • Prostate cancer often has no early symptoms, means people are not aware of the disease at early stages
  • Prostate cancer  spreads, to the bones in nine out of 10 fatal cases
  • Advanced prostate cancer can cause men to urinate more often or have a weaker flow of urine
  • Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it
  • The older the patient, especially if they are over 70, the less aggressive the disease usually behaves
  • Several studies have indicated that perhaps about 80% of all men in their eighties had prostate cancer when they died, but not even the doctor knew
  • Scientists have found a chemical linked to depression to prevent prostate cancer invasion to the bones
  • Prostate cancer treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, cryotherapy, hormonal therapy and radiation
  • Prostate cancer treatments, like radiation and hormone therapy  can affect your sex life

Many famous celebrities have been diagnosed with prostate cancer

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Oral Health Goes Modern

Oral Health Goes Modern

Dentistry has come a long way since the olden times, when people in many cultures believed that cavities were holes bored by tooth worms. This is the age of digital dentistry. Usage of x-rays, dental drills and manual removal of decayed tooth is going to be history soon. The field of dentistry is constantly evolving, changing, and advancing and is becoming more efficient and natural-looking for the patient’s as possible.

Let us take you through some cool developments in dentistry, which surely would be of use to you…..

Smart Toothbrush:

This is the age of Artificial Intelligence and why should ‘Brushing’ be left behind : image

This is the age of Artificial Intelligence and why should ‘Brushing’ be left behind. Products are already available in the market that are designed to help users improve their oral health, by providing feedback about brushing techniques collected by integrated artificial intelligence (AI). This would be a great hit with parents as they would be able to track their kids brushing habits.

  1. Oral-B SmartSeries electric toothbrush : http://connectedtoothbrush.com/
  2. Ara from Kolibree: https://www.kolibree.com/en/ara/

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Improve oral health and Rediscover your Smile

We are amidst a global oral disease epidemic. Nearly 100 percent of adults have had cavities

Oral health is an important contributor to overall health and well-being. Oral health touches every aspect of our lives.  Oral health means more than just healthy teeth- it includes the health of the gums, oral soft tissues, chewing muscles, the palate, tongue, lips and salivary glands. Good oral health enables an individual to speak, eat and socialize without active disease, discomfort or embarrassment. It is integral to general health and well-being.

We are amidst a global oral disease epidemic, and the statistics are startling: nearly 100 percent of adults have had cavities.

Oral disease is one of the most common public health issues worldwide with significant socio-economic impacts. Oral health is affected on a daily basis by various forms of oral diseases, mainly dental caries and periodontal disease, and occasionally by oral cancer, lesions in HIV/AIDS, mucosal and salivary gland diseases, and orofacial pain and clefts. These oral disorders are collectively the commonest chronic diseases in mankind with great impacts on vita functions, self-esteem, quality of life.

It is currently recognized that oral diseases are worldwide epidemic and a major public health problem.

The facts on Oral health are disturbing : based on WHO 

  • Worldwide, 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities
  • Globally, about 30% of people aged 65–74 have no natural teeth
  • 16-40% of children in the age range 6 to12 years old are affected by dental trauma due to unsafe playgrounds, unsafe schools, road accidents, or violence
  • In young children, there is a relationship between dental caries and childhood obesity
  • Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities, is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in humans
  • Dental cavities and periodontal disease are major causes of tooth loss
  • Birth defects such as cleft lip and palate occur in about one per 500–700 of all births.
  • Severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss, is found in 15–20% of middle-aged (35-44 years) adults
  • Oral cancer is the eighth most common cancer globally
  • Oral disease in children and adults is higher among poor and disadvantaged population groups
  • Almost half (40–50%) of people who are HIV-positive have oral fungal, bacterial or viral infections
  • Because of the high prevalence and recurrent cumulative nature of caries and periodontal disease, the mouth is among the most expensive parts of the body to treat in some countries such as Japan, Australia and Germany
  • Several oral diseases are linked to non-communicable chronic diseases or conditions that share common risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease
  • With the growing consumption of sugar in the developing world as a result of westernization, the levels of dental decay are likely to rise

Impact of lifestyle on Oral Health:

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Why do women crave chocolate so much

Women tend to desire chocolate much more than men

Women desire chocolate much more than men. Women crave chocolate, and approximately half of the cravers crave it specifically around the onset of menstruation. Chocolate cravings appear to exist in 40% of females and 15% of males, three fourths of whom claim that no other substance will appease their desire.

Chocolate affect the brain, leading to an increase in neurotransmitters and dopamine and a feeling of happiness sets in. Chocolate increases serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for better mood, sleep, and reduction of anxiety.  Women have a natural decrease in serotonin in the brain in the week before menstruation, so this may partially explain the specific craving for chocolate during this time.

Chocolate affects the brain of women in a different way. The brain of some men and women were scanned using MRI and it was found that chocolate affected the activity of the amygdala more in the brain of women. The Amygdala is a part of the brain that can affect emotions and sexual desire.

Scientists have speculated that chocolate consumption may be even motivated by magnesium deficiency, especially because magnesium deficiency is associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Chocolate and cocoa powder both contain exceptionally high concentrations of this nutrient.

What make women chocolate addict

What make women chocolate addict

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Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition

Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition

Childhood obesity is not only associated with a higher risk of getting disease and premature death, but is also accompanied by many other medical conditions during childhood.

The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. The high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense, and micronutrient-poor foods, that are lower in nutrient quality are to be blamed for this scenario. Sometimes a child may be eating the right type and amount of food but lack physical activity, because of which they put on weight. The problem is global. Based on 2015 WHO reports, the number of overweight children under the age of five, was estimated to be over 42 million. Also almost half of all overweight children under 5 live in Asia and one quarter in Africa. If WHO is to be believed, If current trends continue the number of overweight or obese infants and young children globally will increase to 70 million by 2025.

Global obese population aged 0-5 years in million

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Leading ‘Direct to Consumer’ genetic testing companies

Direct to Consumer Genetic testing

From allergy to alzheimers, cancer to coeliac disease,  we can blame everything on our ‘Genes’.  These genes spread across our 23 pair of chromosomes and remains more or less the same throughout our life (leaving aside environment induced changes).

So it would mean if we are able to understand our problematic Genes well before, we would be able to combat our disease better or even prevent it from expressing by making lifestyle changes or even going under the knife (preventive double mastectomy done by Angelina Jolie)

We never heard of it in earlier days

2003 was a landmark year for geneticists. The very first human genome was completed in 2003 as part of the Human Genome Project, which was formally started in 1990. This costed a whopping $2.7 billion. This gave scientist new hope and with time and coming in of newer technologies the whole procedure became simpler. Now it’s possible to sequence entire human genome in a couple of days with less than $10,000. This does not mean everybody has to shell out so much. It’s possible to analyze a small stretch of genes (already mapped to diseases through research studies) to predict the possibility of developing disease like cancer or cardiovascular problems.

 Define Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. There are mainly seven types of genetic test and over 2000 tests are available.

Can a simple medical test tell whether my child or myself will develop chronic illness?

Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe

Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe ran a swab across the inside of her baby boy’s cheek, and tested her daughter’s amniotic cells. She did this to get a glimpse of her children’s genes and determine whether they contain certain kinks that increase the risk of developing anything from gallstones to multiple sclerosis. “As a parent,” says Wojcicki, “the most responsible thing I can do is get as much information about my children as possible so I can then think through how I can make them as healthy as possible.”

Should I go to my Physician

Sequencing, or “reading,” a person’s genome has grown into an industry by itself.  Now one can even order these tests online from the comfort of their home, without any prescription from healthcare professional. This new age companies are called ‘Direct-to-Consumer’ genetic testing companies. They just need blood sample, cheek swab or saliva (based on the test selected) to perform the tests. The results are then send across through email or uploaded to personal account. The tests either confirm or rule out a person’s chance of developing a disease, or indicate a person as a carrier for a particular disease. The result often include dietary advice to prevent the onset of the disease, which is very valuable.

Define Direct-to-Consumer genetic testing companies

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing refers to genetic tests that are marketed directly to consumers via television, print advertisements, or the Internet.

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing refers to genetic tests that are marketed directly to consumers via television, print advertisements, or the Internet. This form of testing, which is also known as at-home genetic testing, provides access to a person’s genetic information without necessarily involving a doctor or insurance company in the process.

In total there are around 250 plus companies which offer genetic testing services. Click here for complete list

Trusted direct to consumer genetic testing companies

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Predictive Genetic Testing : Angelina Jolie, Anne Wojcicki, Anu Acharya

Predictive Genetic Testing

 

Angelina Jolie hit the news headlines in early 2013 by announcing her decision to go for elective double mastectomy after testing positive for mutated BRCA1. People from around the world suddenly came to know about ‘ Predictive Genetic  Testing’. The impact was really big. A retrospective study performed at a Toronto hospital in 2014, for example, reported that the number of women referred for genetic counseling skyrocketed by 90 percent in the six months after Jolie’s announcement. The number of women at the hospital identified as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers during that period jumped by 110 percent.

Why Predictive Genetic Testing is important

 “Error” in our genes (called “mutations”) can cause disease and predictive genetic tests help to confirm the disease probability in advance.

“Error” in our genes (called “mutations”) can cause disease and predictive genetic tests help to confirm the disease probability in advance. image
  • Determine whether you would get Cancer or other chronic illness in future
  • Determine whether your unborn child is prone to genetic disorders like Downs’Syndrome
  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can prevent a couple from having a sick child
  • For couples who worry about passing along hereditary illnesses 
  • For children with diseases like autism, genetic testing can inform their pediatrician of specific contributing genetic factors influencing the severity of their illness. 
  • From infants to teens, parents can use genetic testing to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis
  • Help in avoiding unnecessary clinical investigations
  • Help in taking preventive measures to reduce the risk and severity of the disease in the future

Finally, Preventative care is the best solution for successfully treating or avoiding future illness

Angelina jolie effect

Predictive Genetic Testing ?

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