Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Breakfast Foods to Avoid

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for people of all ages, and what you choose to eat in the morning is equally important.
A healthy breakfast is linked to many benefits, including weight control, improved performance, good metabolism, better concentration and overall good health.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health reports that the trend of skipping breakfast increases as adolescents grow older and is linked to increased weight gain.
Eating an unhealthy breakfast is as bad as skipping breakfast. So, plan your breakfast menu properly and pay attention to eating healthy always.
Here are the 10 worst breakfast foods to start your day.

1. Sugary Cereals

unhealthy breakfast cereal
Cereals are considered ideal breakfast foods, but you need to choose the best ones. The market is flooded with sugary cereals, which are not healthy for your body.
These cereals taste good because they have added sugar and artificial flavors. When you eat these cereals, the body converts the extra sugar calories to fat, thus increasing the risk of obesity.
Furthermore, the sugar causes blood sugar levels to spike, making you hungry again and you start craving more unhealthy, sweet and fatty foods. Plus, the food dyes used in colored cereals are not healthy.
According to a recent analysis by the Environmental Working Group of 1,556 cereals on the U.S. market, many are as sweet as cookies and should not be considered a part of a healthy breakfast.
Choose your breakfast cereals carefully. Look for those made with whole grains, as the fiber will help you stay full longer.
Plus, the vitamins, antioxidants and minerals found in whole-grain cereals can protect against problems like obesity, digestive issues, cancers and heart disease.

2. Fruit Juice

apple juice
Fruit juice is another staple breakfast item. The problem lies with processed fruit juices, which contain added sugars and preservatives.
Plus, processed fruit juices are often low in nutrient value, lacking healthy fiber, enzymes, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins.
In fact, to get the most health benefits from fruits, it is recommended to opt for whole fruits rather than fruit juice. Although the juice has as much sugar as the fruit, it does not contain fruit pulp which is rich in dietary fiber.
Unlike the juice which gets absorbed faster, the whole fruit with its fiber content that can help tame hunger pangs until lunch time.
A 2013 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that intake of whole apples or clear apple juice has contrasting effects on health.
While whole apples are rich in polyphenols and pectin, these constituents segregate differently during processing into juice form, thus the clear juice lacks these constituents.
Pick whole fruits over fruit juice for a healthy breakfast menu. Whole fruit will provide your body with all the necessary vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Some tasty, low-calorie fruit choices for breakfast include apples, grapefruits, papayas, watermelons and berries.

3. Bacon

smoked bacon
Make sure you are not eating something rich in saturated fat like bacon as part of your most important meal of the day.
Starting your day with bacon may increase your risk of heart disease and cancer due to its saturated fat, sodium, nitrate and nitrite content.
According to the American Heart Association, eating foods high in saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels, which in turn may increase the risk of heart disease and strokes.
The World Health Organization says that high red meat intake increases the risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancers.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests an association between high intake of red meat and processed meat and an increased risk for pancreatic cancer.
Make sure to eat something nourishing and sustaining for breakfast to keep you energetic throughout the day.

4. Cereal Bars

cereal bar
Cereal bars, also known as breakfast bars, are often considered delicious and healthy breakfast options, but in reality some of them are a nutrition nightmare.
Most cereal bars are high in calories, sugar, unhealthy saturated fat and salt. Being loaded with added sugars, cereal bars are digested quickly and don’t satisfy hunger for long.
There also is a particular concern over the poor nutritional value in certain breakfast foods aimed at children.
A 2013 study done by the University of Hertfordshire reports that children’s ‘healthy’ foods, such as yogurts, cereal bars and ready-made meals, are higher in fat, sugar and salt than those marketed to the general population.
When it comes to breakfast bars, choose those containing whole grains that can give you the desired amount of energy-producing carbohydrates. Calcium-fortified cereal bars are also a good choice.
A 2015 study published in PLOS ONE emphasizes eating calcium-fortified cereal bars to significantly increase calcium intake, especially among women.

5. Doughnuts

Many people indulge regularly in doughnuts for breakfast, but doughnuts are one of the worst breakfast foods. These fried pastries are full of sugar, white flour and trans fat.
The high sugar content will raise your blood sugar level and can lead to significant weight gain over time. In fact, people with diabetes should avoid this sugary food as much as possible.
Doughnuts are made of white flour, a simple carbohydrate that contains close to no fiber. Fiber is essential for digestive health, and it helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels.
Store-bought doughnuts are made up of about 35 to 40 percent trans fat. A 2015 study published in the BMJ reports that intake of trans unsaturated fat is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
Just like doughnuts, muffins and other pastries are also not a good choice for breakfast. Instead of these sugary items, even a glass of plain milk is a better way to start your day.

6. Instant Noodles

instant noodles
When you have a busy morning schedule and need something easy to cook and tasty to eat for breakfast, instant noodles is often the answer. But instant noodles are not at all good for your health.
The two main preservatives, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and t-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), used in instant noodles can have adverse effects on your health.
A 2005 study published in Drug Metabolism and Disposition notes that long-term constant exposure to TBHQ may prove carcinogenic.
Moreover, the wax used in instant noodles is not digested easily and takes at least 3 days to flush out of your system. These noodles are also filled with empty calories and too much sodium.
A 2014 study published in The Journal of Nutrition reports that high intake of instant noodles may increase a person’s risk for cardio metabolic syndrome, especially in women.

7. White Bread

white bread
White bread is one of the worst foods that you can have for breakfast. White bread has a high glycemic index (GI) as it is made from refined grains that are rapidly absorbed during digestion.
This causes sharp spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. High GI foods increase your risk for weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Also, white bread is low in fiber content, so you will usually feel hungry again before lunch time. These breads are also low in essential nutrients and may even have an adverse effect on your health. Plus, they are packed with yeast that can make you feel bloated.
Replacing white bread with a healthier alternative is easy to do. When buying bread, opt for those made with whole grains, such as whole wheat, whole oats or whole rye.
These breads may be a little more expensive than white bread, but they are worth the money in terms of being healthier for your body.

8. Pancakes

Typical pancakes are made with white flour, sugar, sodium and butter, thus making them unhealthy. It is recommended not to start your day with this sweet, calorie-rich food.
Being low in fiber, pancakes are less filling, thus making you hungry more quickly. They also do not contain any protein that keeps you feeling full.
Plus, the sugar and syrup used in pancakes can rapidly increase your blood sugar and harmful triglyceride levels that raise your risk of heart disease.
Even the butter used in pancakes is not good for your heart. Butter is high in saturated fat, and when eaten in excess can boost blood cholesterol levels.
But you don’t have to give up the fun of a pancake breakfast. Just make them using healthy ingredients.
Make the batter with whole grains and add mashed, grated or chopped nuts, fruits or vegetables to add a punch to the taste as well as nutritional value.

9. Flavored Yogurt

flavored yogurt
Flavored yogurt is another popular and convenient breakfast item that is not healthy due to the presence of artificial colors and flavors. Plus, it contains lots of added sugar and syrup.
Flavored yogurt is low in nutrient value as compared to plain yogurt. It is low in potassium, protein, calcium and vitamin D.
Plus, the mouth-watering flavors actually don’t come from the real fruit, but rather the pureed form that is high in sugar content, which provides instant energy but no nutrition. The sugar also increases your calorie intake, thus making you gain weight.
Instead of flavored yogurt, opt for plain yogurt for breakfast. Plain yogurt is a good source of calcium, protein and gut-healthy probiotics.
You can make your plain yogurt tastier by adding chopped fruits and nuts, such as apples, pomegranates, berries, almonds and walnuts. These add-ons will promote slower digestion and increased satiety.

10. Coffee

For many, a cup of coffee is a delicious way to boost their mood and brain function in the morning. But coffee is something that you should avoid including in your breakfast menu.
A 1999 study published in Physiology & Behavior reports that when coffee and breakfast cereal is compared, caffeine increased blood pressure and pulse rate, whereas breakfast cereal only had an effect on pulse.
Plus, many add-ons like non-dairy creamers or sugar in a cup of coffee can add excessive carbohydrates or sugar in your body. This in turn is not good for your weight as well as heart health.
Instead of coffee, start your day with a cup of green tea, which is good for your overall health.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bestfoods to Lower Lower Cholesterol

A high LDL cholesterol level is medically known as hypercholesterolemia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one-third of American adults have high levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and heart attacks.

Cholesterol falls under three categories: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) that may need medications and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL and VLDL are bad for your health, while HDL is good for your health.

People of all ages, ethnicities and genders can have high cholesterol.

Certain factors put you at a higher risk, such as excessive smoking, obesity, large waist circumference, poor diet, lack of exercise, hypothyroidism and diabetes. Most of these factors are within your control. Genetics is one risk factor that is beyond your control.

As high cholesterol does not present any symptoms, you need to get your cholesterol levels checked from time to time.

A lipid panel test measures your total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, along with triglycerides. The CDC defines the following blood cholesterol levels as healthy:

Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter of blood)
LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol: 40 mg/dL or higher
Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
If not controlled early enough, high cholesterol can lead to health complications like chest pain, heart attacks and strokes.

By making changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can lower your cholesterol. Several foods can help keep your cholesterol at healthy levels.

1. Oatmeal
Having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast daily is another easy way to lower your high cholesterol level. The high soluble fiber content in oatmeal helps lower LDL.

It reduces the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Fiber also fills you up quickly and helps you avoid mindless eating.
In addition, eating oats regularly is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast daily.
You can also add oatmeal to smoothies or use it in baked goods.

2. Almonds
The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and fiber in almonds help raise good HDL cholesterol and reduce the bad LDL levels.

A 2011 study published in Nutrition Review found that consumption of tree nuts like almonds help reduce LDL cholesterol, a primary target for coronary disease prevention, by 3 to 19 percent.

In addition, a 2015 study published in the Journal of American Heart Association states that daily almond consumption may be a simple dietary strategy to prevent the onset of cardio-metabolic diseases.

Almonds are a great snack or topping for salads, cereal and yogurt. Eat a handful of almonds a day and remember moderation is key. Other nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flaxseeds are also beneficial for reducing blood cholesterol levels.

3. Orange Juice
Sweet, tangy and juicy oranges are another superfood that has cholesterol-lowering properties.

In a 2000 study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition journal, researchers found that orange juice improves blood lipid profiles in people who have hypercholesterolemia. This happens due to the presence of vitamin C, folate and flavonoids like hesperidin in oranges.

Drink 2 to 3 cups of orange juice daily. Freshly extracted juice is a good option. You can also drink plant sterol-fortified orange juice. Phytosterols also help lower total cholesterol to some extent.
Alternatively, you can eat a few oranges daily.

4. Salmon
The omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA found in salmon provide protection against high cholesterol. It helps lower triglycerides and boosts good HDL cholesterol slightly, thus lowering the risk of heart disease.

In addition, salmon is low in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Eat at least 2 servings of salmon each week. Baked and grilled salmon are the best options. A serving of salmon is about 2 to 3 ounces.
You can even take fish oil supplements after consulting your doctor.

5. Soybeans and Soy Products
Soybeans and other soy products offer a complete plant-based protein that is great for those who suffer from high cholesterol.

Although soy may not lower total cholesterol to a great extent, it can still lower bad LDL cholesterol. This high-protein food contains high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals as well as low levels of saturated fat.

A study published in 2011 in the Journal of American College of Nutrition found that eating 1 to 2 servings (15 to 30 grams) of soy protein daily has a significant impact on serum lipoprotein risk factors for coronary heart disease.

To help lower your cholesterol, include more soybean, tofu, soy flour, edamame and enriched soy milk in your diet.

6. Green Tea
Drinking a few cups of green tea daily is one of simplest ways to reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels. Green tea intake lowers fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol in adults, according to a 2011 meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

There are several compounds in green tea that prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract and aid in its excretion.

In addition, this healthy beverage prevents plaque buildup in the arteries and reduces the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea (hot or iced) daily.
You can also take green tea supplements, after consulting your doctor.

7. Olive Oil
Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat that helps lower bad LDL cholesterol levels. This is turn lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, it is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that is good for your heart and overall health.

Use 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil daily as a replacement for less healthy oils. You can use this oil to sauté vegetables, make salad dressing or as a dip for bread.

Note: As olive oil is high in calories, avoid excessive use.

8. Avocados
Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats that can help reduce LDL levels in people who are overweight or obese. Monounsaturated fats also help raise HDL levels. Avocados also contain plant sterols that have cholesterol-lowering properties.

In addition, they are rich in protein, fiber, B-complex vitamins, vitamin K and several minerals that are good for your overall health.

Eat an avocado daily. You can add avocado slices to salads and sandwiches or eat them as a side dish.

9. Garlic
Garlic is another superfood that can help reduce high cholesterol. In addition, it prevents blood clots, reduces blood pressure and protects against heart disease.

According to a 2013 press release from the National Institute of Integrative Medicine, garlic extract is a safe and effective alternative to pharmaceutical blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications for many people.

Eat 2 to 3 raw garlic cloves on an empty stomach daily.
Use fresh garlic in your salad dressings and in cooking many types of dishes, soups and stews.
You can take garlic supplements after consulting your doctor for the correct dosage.

10. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate can also effectively reduce bad cholesterol and improve the level of good cholesterol in the blood.

According to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the component theobromine in dark chocolate is mainly responsible for its HDL cholesterol-raising effect.

The high level of antioxidants and flavonoids in dark chocolate prevent blood platelets from sticking together and keep the arteries unclogged. This in turn reduces the risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Eat 1 or 2 small pieces of dark chocolate with at least 60 percent cocoa on a regular basis.

Additional Tips

Strive to maintain a healthy weight.
Quit smoking.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
Avoid alcohol. If you drink, do so in moderation.
Eat a diet low in saturated fats.
Avoid fried or fatty foods and excessive carbohydrates and processed sugars.
Avoid foods that contribute to bad cholesterol, such as red meat, full-fat dairy products, egg yolks and processed foods.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Top 10 Healthcare Predictions For 2016

As 2015 comes to a close, Frost & Sullivan experts and thought leaders gather together to predict the top 10 trends to expect during the coming year.
1. Next generation wearables hit a $6 billion market
The new generation of “medical” or “clinical wearables” is going to be equipped with more sophisticated sensing, capture and analytical functionalities, thus making the clinical utility of those devices more actionable. Currently, sales of healthcare wearables primarily involve monitoring technologies like those developed by Vital Connect and Proteus Digital Health; moving forward, technologies like the Quell from Neurometrix that provides therapeutic support will continue to gain traction.
Expect healthcare and consumer technology companies alike to be highly active in exploring strategic acquisitions of early stage wearable companies.
Frost & Sullivan’s recent study on consumer behavior to digital health shows approximately 24% of consumers currently use mobile apps to track health and wellness, 16% use wearable sensors and 29% use electronic personal health records. This trend is expected to continue as 47% of consumers would consider using wearables in the near future.
2. Retail care goes mainstream with 35% expansion of in-store clinic footprint
2015 witnessed retailers allocating a great deal of investment toward expanding their clinical footprint, acquiring new tools and forming unique partnerships with healthcare companies. Consequently, 2016 should see the efforts of those machinations as retailers begin to fully execute their strategies for becoming the front line of primary care services.
3. New Development Bank (NDB) invests heavily in healthcare, changing dynamics in many countries
With a total capital of $100 billion, the NDB was formed as an alternative to other world banking organizations dominated by American and European stakeholders. Formerly the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Bank, the NDB is focused on improving the lives of citizens in developing nations. Its key initiatives include significant infrastructure investment in healthcare and wellness services for underserved populations.
4. Rapid Expansion of Private Insurance in India finally unlocks untapped market
Through March 2014, only 17% of Indians were covered by health insurance, resulting in a high (more than 75%) out-of-pocket burden for care. The new government is prioritizing healthcare, through the National Health Assurance Mission, which will provide free drugs and diagnostic services as well as help individuals gain access to low-cost insurance schemes.
5. Population Health opportunity drives over $50 billion in healthcare M&A
Long term corporate strategy aligned with opportunities tied to population health management is expected to drive decision-making tied to corporate restructuring, M&A, spin-offs, R&D spending and venture arm investments. Industry participants must evolve or risk obsolescence in a new healthcare industry paradigm where compensation is tied to outcomes.
The requirements for population health tools are forcing companies to consider their acquisition strategies differently, leading to more transactions involving companies in adjacent or complimentary markets.
6. Less expensive and faster point of care (POC) testing enables new diagnostic care models
Commercialization of new POC test platforms with capabilities such as molecular POC, connectivity features, biosensors and microfluidics is able to drastically improve turnaround times (5 to15 minutes) and allow for testing services to be performed in settings previously not feasible.
7. Free preventative care services available to over 90% in the U.S.
To mitigate the cost and care burden of late-stage chronic diseases, everyone from payers, employers, and the government will be offering a wide range of technology and wellness enabled preventative services. With access now available, it remains to be seen how engaged consumers will be in leveraging those services.
8. Healthcare IoT solutions spur $10 billion in venture capital investments for start-ups                                                                                                                                                         The startup environment in healthcare is being reinvigorated by a wide spectrum of early stage companies looking to bring their IoT expertise honed in other industries to healthcare. With a focus on “disruptive” business models, these companies are looking to help tear down outmoded forms of care delivery and deploy approaches  optimizing new tools and technologies.
9. Hospitals investing heavily in overhauling and retooling outdated facilities to avoid closure trends                                                                                                                            
Ongoing trends of hospital closures and consolidations are forcing hospitals to rethink everything from hospital layout to resource utilization. Initiatives like the $1.3 billion overhaul of Dallas’s Parkland Hospital are happening around the country, as those institutions seek to adapt to new forms of care delivery that emphasize efficiency and patient satisfaction.
10. The global regenerative medicine market to reach $30 billion in 2016          
Pharmaco will see the regenerative market as its trump card as the business is expected to see growth rates of 22.4% from 2015. With growing investments in this area, favorable legislative policies and an increasing number of cell therapy marketed products this business will witness new competitors vying for a slot.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Few Health Tips for Corporate Employees

Taxing 9am to 5pm jobs, long hours in front of a computer screen, uneven sleeping patterns and clumsy diet issues, are the most common issues faced by over 70 per cent of blue collar employees in today's fast paced world where the youth ranks their career ambition over their health.

Carry a water bottle
Keeping water handy is a really smart idea. Sometimes, if you’re working, you’ll just forget to drink water for long periods of time. Also, sipping water or a fruit based drink keeps your body hydrate and your mind refresh, which in turns makes you perform more efficiantly at work. So, opt this habbit now.

Go healthy! Nothing beats home cooked food
Nothing substitutes a nutritious salad or a wholesome meal cooked at home. Thus, it's best to eat home cooked Dal Chawal or any healthy meal at work. However, if you happen to live away from your family or being too occupied to pack your lunch, then there are a good number of start-ups delivering home cooked food and fresh salads. Try binging on the products offered by such fast service start-up instead of ordering fast food with high content of unhealthy food, which do no good to your health.

Don't go too hard on yourself. Chill!
Your client can wait for a few minutes. Close your eyes and relax for 2 minutes for every hour. This clears your mind and keeps you active.

Go easy on your posture
Yes, it's enjoyable to sit on that comfy office chair with your back reclined in odd postures, but it actual damages your spine and it's high time that you start sitting in proper postures. Be sure, the back is aligned against the back of the office chair. Avoid slouching or leaning forward, especially when tired from sitting in the office chair for long periods.

Sleep pays off
Believe it or not but getting even 30 minutes less sleep than your body requirements can have short- and long-term consequences for health, mood and performance. It's good to maintain a regular sleep and wake schedule, with at least 8 hours every day, even on the weekends. It's actually not as impractical as it sounds, provided that you make a genuine effort.

Kick the caffeine habit
It's a well known fact that caffeine interferes in your sleep and lead to sleep disorder in many. Thus, its advised to avoid tea, coffee and soft drinks close to bedtime. Instead, go for a glass of fresh juice in the morning and a cup of green tea in the evening.

Join weekend wellness sessions
There are hundreds of dance groups, Yoga trainers, aerobics classes operating in India, which will help your body play, exercise and get some vitamin D. By joining a dance class over weekends will help you socialize with people out of your circle as well as work on your fitness in a fun manner.

Walk and Talk
If you work at a corporate house, it goes without saying that a major part of your day is spent on the phone. What you should do is get a wireless headset and make a habit of walking while you talk. You may not think that it is a workout, but even simple movements can make a huge difference rather than just sitting at one place and working for hours in one posture.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Technology & Medicine

The most significant announcement that Apple made in 2014 wasn’t a larger-sized iPhone. It was that Apple is entering the health-care industry. With HealthKit, it is building an iTunes-like platform for health; Apple Watch is its first medical device. Apple is, however, two steps behind Google, IBM, and hundreds of startups. They realized much earlier that medicine is becoming an information technology and that the trillion-dollar health-care market is ripe for disruption.

2015 will be the year in which tech takes baby steps in transforming medicine. The technologies that make this possible are advancing at exponential rates; their power and performance are increasing dramatically even as their prices fall and footprints shrink. The big leaps will start to happen at around the end of this decade.

The health devices that companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung are developing are based on MEMS sensors, which are one of the exponential technologies. These enable the measurement of things such as heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, and activity levels and can feed data into cloud-based platforms such as HealthKit. They will be packaged in watches, Band-Aids, clothing—and contact lenses. Yes, Google announced in January that it is developing a contact lens that can measure glucose levels in a person’s tears and transmit these data via an antenna thinner than a human hair. In July, it said that it was licensing the technology to Novartis, enabling it to market it to people with diabetes. We will soon have sensors that monitor almost every aspect of our body’s functioning, inside and out.

Advances in Microfluidics are making possible the types of comprehensive, inexpensive diagnostics that in a single drop of blood, it can test for things such as cancer, cholesterol, and cocaine. Newer technologies coming from Nano biophysics like Gene-Radar, a portable nanotechnology platform that uses biological nanomachines to rapidly and accurately detect the genetic fingerprints of organisms. It will enable the detection of diseases such as HIV and Ebola and deliver the results to a mobile device within minutes—for a hundredth of the cost of conventional tests. By combining these data with EMR (Electronic Medical Records) and the activity and lifestyle information that our smartphones observe, Artificial Intelligence-based systems will monitor us on a 24 x 7 basis. They will warn us when we are about to get sick and advise us on what medications we should take and how we should improve our lifestyle and habits. 

With the added sensors and the apps that tech companies will build, our smartphone will become a medical device akin to the Star Trek tricorder. With health data from millions of patients, technology companies will be able to take on and transform the pharmaceutical industry—which works on limited clinical-trial data and sometimes chooses to ignore information that does not suit it. These data can be used to accurately analyze what medications patients have taken, to determine which of them truly had a positive effect; which simply created adverse reactions and new ailments; and which did both.

And then there is the genomics revolution. The cost of sequencing a human genome has fallen from $100 million in 2001 to about $1000 today and will likely cost as much as a blood test by the end of this decade. What this means is that the bits and bytes that make up a human being have been deciphered; for all intents and purposes, we have become software.

2014 marked an inflection point in the technology curve for medicine. It isn’t yet clear which technology advances will indeed affect humanity and which will be nothing more than cool science experiments. What is clear is that we have entered an era of acceleration and that there is much promise and peril ahead.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Reasons for Healthcare Crisis in India

While India has made rapid strides in raising economic growth and lifted millions out of poverty, progress in improving healthcare has been slow.

In its recent assessment of the Indian economy, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) identified India’s poor health outcomes as one of our major developmental challenges. India is a laggard in health outcomes not just by OECD standards, but also by the standards of the developing world. In 2012, India witnessed 253 deaths per 100,000 persons due to communicable diseases alone, much higher than the global average of 178. India faces a higher disease burden than other emerging economies such as China, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and Sri Lanka, as the charts below illustrate. Even poorer neighbours such as Nepal and Bangladesh have a better record in health compared to India. 

While India has made rapid strides in raising economic growth and lifted millions out of poverty, progress in improving health outcomes has been slow. As a result, India continues to face an extraordinarily high disease burden, which saps the productivity of Indian workers and lowers their earnings. According to a 2010 World Bank estimate, India loses 6% of its gross domestic product (GDP) annually because of premature deaths and preventable illnesses. 

A key reason behind the poor health of the average Indian is the low level of public investments in preventive health facilities such as sanitation and waste management, as well as in medical care facilities such as primary health centres and health professionals. Even when public health facilities are available, they are often of poor quality. The poorest income classes receive fewer benefits from the public health system than their better-o peers. The lack of reliable public health services and the absence of health insurance compel the poor to spend heavily on private medical care. According to a 2011 research paper by Soumitra Ghosh of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, out-of-pocket health expenditures account for nearly one-sixth of India’s poverty burden. The high costs of healthcare also act as a deterrent for poor people in seeking treatment, leading to delays and aggravating health problems. 

1) India has one of the highest disease burdens in the world. Many more die of preventable diseases in India than in other countries. 

2) One big reason driving India’s health crisis is the unavailability of doctors and nurses. 

3) Another key reason for poor health of Indians is the high proportion of out-of-pocket expenditure on health because of low insurance coverage and weak public health systems, which forces even poor people to visit private medical practitioners, and drives up average health costs. High healthcare costs often lead people to delay treatment, aggravating health problems. 

4) Public health expenditure in India has moved up over the past decade, but still remains among the lowest in the world. 

5) India’s public health expenditure is not just low, it is also regressive. The poorest income classes benefit less from the public health system than the better-off sections of society.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Health Benefits of Drinking Water in the Morning

1. Drinking water balances the lymphatic system of your body. This prompts the lymph to reach your heart in a continuous motion. The lymph glands also help strengthen the immune system, which ultimately helps your body fight infections.

2. Drinking water first thing in the morning, it purges toxins from the blood, which results in glowing and better-looking skin.

3. Drinking water in the morning increases your metabolism by almost 25%, which ultimately leads to weight loss.

4. Drinking water helps in rehydration, which would help you get rid of headaches and back pain. These are often caused by dehydration.

5. Drinking water early in the morning would make you a regular cycle, as it helps in digestion of food and prevents constipation.

6. Drinking water helps you think better, as your brain is made up of fluid.

7. Drinking water also boosts your energy levels as the nutrients are absorbed better.

Also, when you start the habit of drinking water in the morning, start with not more than 4 glasses of water. Increase the intake eventually as you start to realize the advantages.