Top Trends in Preventative Health Care 2016- Personalized Medicine

DNA-double-helix-1024x774

2016-Science and Technology Increasingly Converge
Part 2

In my previous blog, I have been discussing some of the technological and scientific opportunities in preventative health care. So what does personalized medicine mean?

PERSONALIZED MEDICINE AND GENETIC PROFILING ON THE RISE

Personalized medicine is an emerging practice that uses an individual’s genetic profile to guide decisions about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Knowing a patient’s genetic profile can help doctors select and administer the proper medication or therapy in the correct dose or regimen.
A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) highlights that medical science and technological advancements have converged with the growing emphasis on health, wellness and prevention to push personalized medicine to a tipping point. We are now seeing a blurring of the lines between traditional healthcare offerings and consumer-oriented wellness products and services.
I think we need only be open-minded about innovations but also vigilant about expectations and about medical evidence in evaluating these products.

INCREASING USE OF GENOMICS AND OTHER DIAGNOSTICSbigstock-Test-Tubes-in-Science-Research-5143772

What this means is that with the help of genomics and other diagnostics we will increasingly be able to target medical care and identify an individual’s susceptibility to disease to predict how a given patient will respond to a particular drug.

Genetic testing, helping us understand personal risk, may be a wonderful starting point.

Genetic testing will also help eliminate unnecessary treatments, reduce reactions to drugs and increase the efficacy of treatments and, ultimately, improve health outcomes.
In the field of oncology, we do tests on tumors for receptors, as a means of understanding the likelihood of a response to a certain drug. This has become standard for example in breast cancer, learning whether a tumor is hormone sensitive or not, to then decide to treat with a hormone- blocking agent. This is not new. What is new is the arena of testing for prevention, not only for treatment options.

We are also now also seeing the growth of in-home testing of genetic products that are giving consumers information to will enable them to predict better medical risks, detect health issues sooner to manage their health. This early trend will no doubt continue in 2016 and beyond. So let’s welcome new options, but be careful as to medical evidence and expectations.

Disclaimer
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Trends in Preventative Healthcare 2016

Science and Technology Converge
Part I

Wearable Technology- specifically fitness trackers will continue to grow in 2016

The use of wearable technology- specifically fitness trackers to maintain a healthy lifestyle will continue to grow

As a passionate advocate of preventative healthcare and wellness, I am glad to see that there will be an increased focus on prevention, because many older people continue to have chronic diseases which overwhelm their daily activities and are not enjoying a good quality of life in their later years. It is worth emphasizing that while most of us will face some sort of illness in our later years, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle; get enough exercise, eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking, excessive drinking, sugar, salts and unhealthy fats and processed foods. That way we will cope with illness, aging and any disability in a strong and independent manner.

Advances in technology and science are making it easier for people to focus on preventative healthcare. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and for a more health conscious society, let’s look at some of the possibilities and opportunities.

 Wearable Technology will continue to grow! And why do I love it?

It seems we need to quantify every step, every workout, every morsel of food and every waking and sleeping minute of the day and as a result there is an ever-expanding range of technologies to support our need to chronicle our daily lives. Interest in mobile apps such as activity trackers like Fitbit will continue to capture consumer interest. According to a report by international consulting firm, PwC, “Adoption of health-related smartphone apps doubled in two years, from 16 percent in 2013 to 32 percent in 2014 and will continue. There are many fitness and activity trackers on the market today, it can be confusing.   PcMagazine, has an excellent article comparing various trackers and recommends you try them out before you buy. Once you’ve bought a fitness tracker, the next step is to integrate it into your daily routine, which I recently wrote about. “You’ve bought a fitness tracker—Now what!

What has worked for me is the challenge of maintaining my commitment by using my Fitbit, trying really hard to maintain that 10,000.00 steps per day. I appreciate a measurable outcome. And yup, I have learned once again, that “hectic does NOT equal aerobic”.

Disclaimer

The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

Women’s Brains – Our Grey Matter, Matters!! An Update on the Women’s Brain Health Initiative

 

Three Generations of Women

 New research confirms Dementia develops faster in women than men, and not just because we live longer. The Why?? is what’s driving the Women’s Brain Health Initiative and other organizations to press for more research on women’s brains.

What a year 2015 has been for the The Women’s Brain Health Initiative –(WBHI)  a leader in the fight against women’s brain aging disorders and I am proud member of the board of directors.
There have been many exciting developments at Women’s Brain Health Initiative this year. We are creating a global discussion on women’s brain health by increasing awareness in Canada and the United States. In March, we launched WBHI in New York City, which made a huge impact on awareness and support. The event was held at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen location, supported by co-hosts Martha Stewart, Trudie Style, Wendi Murdoch, Ivanka Trump, Arianna Huffington, Tamara Mellon and Barbara Walters. Yes, it was a wonderful night and an impressive group of women who came together to raise awareness about how as women we need to rethink our habits and make better long-term choices for our families and ourselves.

The exposure led to an opportunity to work with Maria Shriver, a tireless spokesperson for women’s brain health and brain aging disease prevention. And this fall, we held a similar wonderful night in Los Angeles supported by Anne Heche, Molly Sims and Camilla Belle among others. So the word is spreading, and by leveraging our amazing relationships and extending our reach to into the US, the momentum is growing everyday.

The exposure led to an opportunity to work with Maria Shriver, a tireless spokesperson for women’s brain health and brain aging disease prevention. And this fall, we held a similar wonderful night in Los Angeles supported by Anne Heche, Molly Sims and Camilla Belle among others. So the word is spreading, and by leveraging our amazing relationships and extending our reach to into the US, the momentum is growing everyday.

At the heart of this is not only to create awareness but to combat brain aging diseases that affect women by focusing on research and the role gender plays in brain health and scientific outcomes.   For the first time in Canada, for instance, sex and gender will now be taken into account in all aspects of research from the cell to lab studies.

And we are most excited about the opportunity to collaborate as The Women’s Brain Health Initiative Canada, WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s USA, Alzheimer’s Research UK and 21st Century BrainTrust® join to form the Global Alliance on Women’s Brain Health to raise awareness of women’s brain health challenges and significantly expand funding for sex-based brain health research, that benefits both men and women.

The latest research confirms dementia develops faster in women than in men, women are more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, and not just because we live longer. What is not clear, though, is why. If scientists can figure out the mechanism that causes more Alzheimer’s disease in women, they might be able to develop treatments that halt the process. This is the type of research the Global Alliance will fund, for a healthier outcome for both men and women.

The Global Alliance on Women’s Brain Health will define a scientific agenda, drive new funding for research, and convince scientific leaders to assure the most rapid and effective scientific strategies in women’s brain health. It will also raise awareness at the public and private levels of the health, economic and social tsunami that will result without gender-sensitive focus and investment.

Medisys Health Group, Inc. is an active supporter, involved with the Women’s Brain Health Initiative organization by sponsoring speaker’s events, participating in ongoing efforts for awareness and education, as well as placing a special focus on women’s health issues.

www.womensbrainhealth.org or to join the conversation @womensbrains
Disclaimer
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts are made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

 

 

Pneumonia deaths are increasing. Protect yourself and your family.

1500 adults die from pneumonia in Canada every year

1500 adults die from pneumonia in Canada every year.

Since it’s the season to talk about immunization and flu shots, I thought I would also write about adult pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and needlessly affects millions of people worldwide each year that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. Common signs of pneumonia can include cough, fever, and trouble breathing.

In Canada, only 16.7% adults with chronic medical conditions are immunized against Streptococcus pneumonia. That’s right –only a small percentage of Canadians are immunized. As a result there is a dramatic increase in the number of people who get the disease and about 1500 Canadian adults die from it every year.

Who Is At Risk for Pneumonia?

Certain people are more likely to become ill with pneumonia:

  • Adults 65 years or older
  • Children younger than 5 years old
  • People who have underlying medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes or heart disease)
  • People who smoke cigarettes
  • People with immune suppression diseases, such as HIV, leukemia and other cancers

However, Pneumonia can often be prevented and can usually be treated. Many of these deaths——could be prevented with vaccines and appropriate treatment (like antibiotics and antivirals).

A vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease or lower your risk, while reducing the risk of the population at large coming down with pneumonia.

Pneumococcal Recommendations for Older Adults
There are two different types of pneumococcal vaccines for adults and guidelines are NOT the same in the US and Canada.

  • US Guidelines: One dose of PCV13 is recommended for all adults 65 years of age or older who have not previously received the vaccine. A dose of PPSV23 should be given at a later date (anytime after 8 weeks from the initial vaccine)
  • Canadian Guidelines: Currently differ for those of us that are 65 and healthy, or those with significant underlying disease. Healthy 65 year old adults are advised to simply take PPSV23. Those with higher risk would follow the guidelines of both vaccines
  • Recently the Canadian government included vaccinations for individuals that required medical attention for asthma in the past 12 months.

Pneumococcal Recommendations for Children

  • Children with asthma younger than 18 years should receive both vaccines

What you can do

  • Encourage friends and loved ones with certain health conditions, like diabetes and asthma, to get vaccinated.
  • Make sure children get vaccinated
  • Practice good hygiene; wash your hands regularly or use alcohol based hand sanitizers
  • Don’t some
  • Keep your immune system strong-get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and health a healthy diet

 

Disclaimer

The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

 

Is it the end of bacon, hot dogs and red meat, as we know it?

The-report-s-classifications-a

 When weighing the cancer risk of some meats to colorectal cancer moderation is the new normal.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) a subsidiary of the World Health Organization, (WHO) ruled that processed meat causes colorectal cancer and red meat e.g. pork, lamb, beef probably does.

The finding was reached by a group of 22 international scientists who scrutinized existing research in more than 800 studies- and concluded there is enough evidence to say that processed meats such as hot dogs and ham increase the risk colorectal cancer. They found that eating as little as 50 grams (almost a pound) of processed meat a day drives up that risk by 18 per cent.

This is not really new; health experts have long recommended limiting the amount of processed meat and red meat from our diet.
Is this latest warning enough to stop people from eating processed meats or red meats? Likely not. But you can moderate your diet—have that occasional hot dog and limit your intake of red meat.
According to Registered Dietician and columnist Leslie Beck, processed meats should be eaten sparingly, if at all. ‘Processed meats ‘ refer to meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives.Ham, bacon, corned beef; pastrami, salami, bologna, sausages, hot dogs, bratwursts, frankfurters and beef jerky are processed meats.So are turkey (and chicken) sausages, smoked turkey and turkey bacon. However, most studies have looked only at processed red meats.

Diets high in red and processed meats are linked to a greater risk of Type 2 diabetes. A steady intake of fat- and sodium-laden processed meats can also increase the likelihood of high blood pressure, being overweight and cardiovascular disease.
But she says that you don’t have to stop eating red meat, its good a good source of high quality protein It is a good source of high-quality protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc. That said if you eat red meat frequently and in large portions, you should cut back. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends a limit of three servings – three ounces each – per week.
Leslie also recommends varying your protein source by adding fish and chicken to your menu, replacing ground beef for ground turkey or chicken in burgers, chili and pasta sauce recipes. Replace deli meats in sandwiches and salads with tuna, salmon, egg or cooked fresh chicken or turkey. Eat at least four meatless meals each week, such as lentil soup, bean salad, chickpea curry, black bean tacos, pasta e fagioli, tofu stir-fry and vegetarian chili.
As always eating a diet that includes a variety of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. So does limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise. It is simplistic to blame one food or one habit as being the “cause”, rather increasing risk relates to lots of health choices.
Staying healthy requires much more than eating less meat.

Disclaimer
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

 

 

Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Let a viral cold run its’ course

Pills

It’s that time of year again—when colds, flu, bronchitis, sore throats and many sinus and ear infections start to surface at home, school and our workplaces. The tendency when someone gets sick these days is to presume they will need an antibiotic to get better. The facts are that taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses not only won’t work; it can have dangerous side effects—over time. It could result in the development of resistant bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotics that may have worked in the past. Antibiotics that could be vital to recovering from a bacterial infection when you need them the most or are required to take increasingly higher doses of an antibiotic.

Antibiotic resistance is a widespread problem, and one that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US call “one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.” Bacteria that were once highly responsive to antibiotics have become more and more resistant. Among those that are becoming harder to treat are pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and meningitis.

The Differences Between Bacteria and Viruses
Although bacteria and viruses are both too small to be seen without a microscope, they’re as different as giraffes and goldfish.   Website WebMD says it best: Bacterial and viral infections have many things in common. Both types of infections are caused by microbes — bacteria and viruses, respectively — and spread by things such as coughing and sneezing, contact with infected people, especially through kissing and sex, contact with contaminated surfaces, food, and water, contact with infected creatures, including pets, livestock, and insects such as fleas and ticks. But the infections are dissimilar in many other important respects, most of them due to the organisms’ structural differences and the way they respond to medications.

When do you ride out a cold or see a doctor?
While viruses and bacteria can cause similar symptoms, the concerns that suggest your infection is more serious, include fever and chills, muscle aches and pains, decreased appetite and overwhelming fatigue. These symptoms are more generalized and may need an expert opinion to decide how best to proceed. Symptoms such as a sore throat and swollen glands can occur with either bacterial or viral infections. If this infection/sore throat/flu like illness or cough is overwhelming and feels like the worst infection you can recall, go get checked by your health care professional! Or if you are not improving in a couple of days, with an easing up of symptoms, this may need further attention.

Taking Antibiotics Safely

So what should you do? To minimize the risk of bacterial resistance, keep these tips in mind:

  • Take antibiotics only for bacterial infections. It’s a good idea to let milder illnesses (especially those thought to be caused by viruses) run their course. This helps prevent antibiotic-resistant germs from developing. But leave it to your doctor to decide if an illness is “mild” or not.
  • Remember: Antibiotics can only treat bacterial infection if taken for the full amount of time prescribed by the doctor
  • And most important, never use antibiotics that have been lying around your home.
  • Help fight antibiotic resistance by taking simple steps to prevent the spread of infections such as frequent hand washing and immunization such as a flu shot and pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Ask your healthcare professional about over-the-counter treatment options that may help reduce symptoms.
  • Drink more fluids.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion.
  • Soothe your throat with crushed ice, sore throat spray, or lozenges. (Do not give lozenges to young children.)Disclaimer The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

Disclaimer: The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions

 

PAP TESTS HELP ELIMINATE CERVICAL CANCER IN CANADA

Every year there are 400,000 Canadian women who receive news that their Pap test results are not normal. The voice of women physicians, The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (www.fmwc.ca) wants to change that. This month they are launching an awareness campaign aimed at physicians to urge their female patients to have a PAP test.
Cervical cancer is the 4th most common reproductive cancer in Canadian women today.
This year, 1500 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and sadly 380 women will die. Cervical cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the cervix. Malignant means that it can spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. Cells in the cervix sometimes change and no longer grow or behave normally. Changes to cells of the cervix can also cause precancerous conditions. This means that these cells are not yet cancer, but there is a chance that these abnormal cells might become cancerous if not treated. Most women with precancerous changes of the cervix are successfully treated and don’t develop cancer. *
Cervical Cancer is Preventable!
Most cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have never been screened or have not been screened regularly. Screening is the only way to detect the early changes that might lead to cervical cancer.  I can’t emphasize enough how important is to have a PAP test. In Ontario PAP tests are recommended at the age of 21, if the individual has ever been sexually active. If the test is normal, then screening should be done every three years.
HPV and Cervical Cancer can be prevented with vaccines.
Another way to protect against cancer is to get vaccinated against HPV, the Human Papillomavirus. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection with more than 40 types of HPV contracted through sexual intercourse, genital skin-to-skin contact and oral sex. They can infect the genital areas of men and women, including the penis, vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum and anus.
There are millions of women in Canada who still do not get regular PAP tests and/or a HPV vaccination.We are fortunate in Canada to have access to government-funded healthcare. Prevention is the best way to reduce your chances of facing a serious illness.

TO FIND A CLINIC NEAR YOU GO TO:
http://bit.ly/1hJ2CyS

Disclaimer

The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.