The increasing role of the social media in healthcare

 

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 6With the social media having moved beyond being a platform for sharing personal information; its role in healthcare has nearly exploded of late. This is mainly because the growth of the social media has more or less coincided with that of the electronic records in healthcare.

Whatever the identifiable or unidentifiable reasons for the convergence of social media in healthcare; the fact is that social media in healthcare is a major phenomenon that is here to stay.

Social media in healthcare is being analyzed for potentially huge business opportunity, and it is being taken up for serious discussion in legal circles, with the American Congress and many other legislative bodies around the world thinking of taking serious steps for regulating it.

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 4

The most fundamental aspect of social media in healthcare is that its growth has been helped by the core feature it brings: its ease of adaption in this sector. Healthcare information, as we all know, is very vital, and speed is of great importance. This is why social media in healthcare has come to be one of the most talked about scenarios in the healthcare today, propped in no less measure by the gigantic size of the American healthcare economy.

The advantages social media brings into healthcare

 

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 1As just seen, the social media in healthcare facilitate great use because they help transmit information at a pace that was difficult to imagine till recently. With the development of the electronic health records (EHR) in the US, technology has made possible the customization of health records. A platform like the social media can help accelerate this pace enormously. It can also help practitioners and other stakeholders of healthcare information, such as Business Associates and Covered Entities and a host of related ones gather information and transmit it and process it at lightning speed.

Concerns

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 3

The enormous benefits that the social media bring into healthcare notwithstanding; there is room for serious concern.

Like all other technology-driven tools, the social media in healthcare comes with an inherent risk: the laxity of records. Loose or nil security or healthcare records are a serious cause for concern. The recent breaches in health data have cost many healthcare organizations in the US millions of dollars.

The social media in healthcare give an opportunity for marketers to pitch their products or services, but they also open up lots of opportunity for the unscrupulous among these to exploit and manipulate this information. This is akin to the potential drawbacks credit cards and other such facilities bring. The social media in healthcare is a tool that is open to a high degree of vulnerability to breach. This is all the more true of new technologies, such as the cloud, which the social media in healthcare have embraced with open arms.

So, while the social media in healthcare is a force to reckon with, it is not something that is totally free of drawbacks. Till regulatory action frees the sector of these, the social media in healthcare will continue to grow, albeit with its concerns.

 

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Health Education England launches online workshop on improving digital readiness

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Health Education England is launching an online workshop to gather views on digital readiness.

The organisation is working in collaboration with Digital Health and innovation and crowdsourcing agency Clever Together on the online workshop, which forms part of the Building a Digital Ready Workforce programme.

It will be launched on 22 November in partnership with BCS Health and Care, the Federation of Informatics Professionals in Health and Social Care, and the Faculty of Clinical Informatics.

James Freed, chief information officer at Health Education England, told Digital Health the exercise was a chance to gather the views of those who already have a strong voice as well as those who are less commonly heard.

“In almost all technological programmes I have seen, our efforts are mostly about technology and very little about process, and the process redesign, and almost none on people,” he explained. He hopes the new online workshop will address that.

Andy Kinnear, chair of BCS Health and Care, added the aim was to hear from “digital experts; the wider group of people involved in the digital space such as nurses, doctors and care professionals; and the entire health and social care workforce”.

The online workshop will run for about three weeks and its results will form the basis for how the BRDW programme will prioritise and invest £6m over the next four years. Its findings will be extensively covered by Digital Health.

You can register now for the online workshop. Our feature article gives more detail – including interviews with James Freed and Andy Kinnear. Keep an eye on Digital Health over the next few weeks for ongoing coverage.

Women’s Forum panel addresses women’s health, education challenges

nsWGLFNotecard-CourtesyWGLF

 

Health and education challenges that women face were the center of a panel discussion which took place Monday morning as part of the Women’s Global Leadership Forum.

Courtesy Women’s Global Leadership Forum

 

A panel addressing health and education challenges facing women took place Monday morning as part of the Women’s Global Leadership Forum. The discussion was facilitated by Rebecca Dillingham, director of the University’s Center for Global Health, and was comprised of of women who gave their global perspectives on the issues.

Newcomb Ballroom was packed with an audience that included high schoolers, University students, alumni and faculty members.

Vivian Pinn, the first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, spoke briefly about being the first African-American female graduate from the University Medical School.

“I went into that first morning class in the fall of 1963 thinking that when I looked around the room and saw only white men — that the other women and people of color must just be late getting there,” Pinn said. “Then I realized that I was it. It was me and my classmates.”

Pinn said one of her main priorities she has pursued throughout her life is trying to ensure the medical world listens to women and discusses women’s health.

“I have focused on things that have been important to me my whole life,” Pinn said. “That is — What about the health of girls and women? What about girls getting careers in medicine? I couldn’t think of a better time to focus my energy on women’s health.”

The panel centralized their conversation on the importance of enabling education at a young level to facilitate greater gender equality amongst leadership roles.

Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of the Society for Science and the Public, spoke about her trip to India in which she saw train platform schools. The trip inspired her Global Fund for Children which works on behalf of vulnerable children. Ajmera said in the future she wants to focus on empowering local, grassroots organizations to enact change.

“Grassroot entrepreneurs …  They are the ones that resources really need to get put into because I think they’ve been starved,” Ajmera said. “I think they’ve been starved in this country, but I also see that starvation globally. So if we’re going to reach people, it’s through the grassroots.”

Ajmera also said one of her main priorities is to ensure that girls continue their education beyond primary school.

“We have to get the education of girls at the secondary level globally up,” Ajmera said. “The development goals of the U.N. have achieved great success in getting primary school admissions very high. But secondary school really has to be an emphasis.”

Abinet Sitotaw, a gender and nutrition advisor for nonprofit organization CARE-Ethiopia also said education was important in promoting women and girl’s empowerment. Speaking of her own personal mission and the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sitotaw said her priorities involved getting girls into safe educational institutions.

“It’s going to be a leadership academy whereby I manage to bring a group of young girls who cannot attend secondary schools to the city,” Sitotaw said. “I want to give them a boarding school whereby they can get a state of the art education and also leadership skills.”

 

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IT’S A NO BRAINER! Action needed to stop children being exposed to chemicals that harm their brain development!

A report published today by CHEM Trust highlights how chemicals in food and consumer products used in homes, schools and offices could harm brain development in children.

The impacts – which may include ADHD and lower IQ – are avoidable and can prevent children reaching their full potential says CHEM Trust, in No Brainer: The impact of chemicals on children’s brain development: a cause for concern and a need for action.

Researchers have shown that many thousands of people have been exposed to now largely-banned chemicals such as lead and PCBs at high enough levels to have harmed their brain function. Now there is growing concern about the impacts of exposures to many of the ‘new’ chemicals in our 21st century lifestyles.

Chemicals of concern include brominated flame retardants (BFRs), a group of chemicals added to furniture, electronics and building materials, per- and poly- fluorocarbons (PFCs), used for non-stick coatings or breathable coatings in everyday products including packaging and clothes. Some chemicals in these groups are being phased out, but similar chemicals remain in everyday use.

The study also points out the unpleasant reality that children are constantly exposed to a cocktail of chemicals, which can act together, something which is still largely ignored by chemical safety laws.

CHEM Trust proposes a range of policies that could help address this challenge, for example faster regulatory action on groups of similar chemicals, and development of new methods for identifying chemicals of concern. They also include advice for consumers on how to reduce their exposure.

Dr Michael Warhurst, Executive Director of CHEM Trust, said:

“The brain development of future generations is at stake. We need EU regulators to phase out groups of chemicals of concern, rather than slowly restricting one chemical at a time. We cannot continue to gamble with our children’s health.”

The report has been peer reviewed by two eminent scientists in the field, Professor Philippe Grandjean and Professor Barbara Demeneix.

Prof Barbara Demeneix (Laboratory of Evolution of Endocrine Regulations, CNRS, Paris) said:

Chemical exposure is now at unprecedented levels, is multiple, ubiquitous, and present from conception onwards

Prof. Philippe Grandjean (Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Southern Denmark), added:

The current generation has the responsibility to safeguard the brains of the future
“I would insist that the Precautionary Principle must be applied in order to protect the next generation’s brains.”

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/maoou#http://www.chemtrust.org/brain/

 

The science of Sad: understanding the causes of ‘winter depression’

The science of Sad

For many of us in the UK, the annual ritual of putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues as autumn well and truly beds in. This might be felt as a lack of energy, reduced enjoyment in activities and a need for more sleep than normal. But for around 6% of the UK population and between 2-8% of people in other higher latitude countries such as Canada, Denmark and Sweden, these symptoms are so severe that these people are unable to work or function normally. They suffer from a particular form of major depression, triggered by changes in the seasons, called seasonal affective disorder or Sad.

In addition to depressive episodes, Sad is characterised by various symptoms including chronic oversleeping and extreme carbohydrate cravings that lead to weight gain. As this is the opposite to major depressive disorder where patients suffer from disrupted sleep and loss of appetite, Sad has sometimes been mistakenly thought of as a “lighter” version of depression, but in reality it is simply a different version of the same illness. “People who truly have Sad are just as ill as people with major depressive disorder,” says Brenda McMahon, a psychiatry researcher at the University of Copenhagen. “They will have non-seasonal depressive episodes, but the seasonal trigger is the most common. However it’s important to remember that this condition is a spectrum and there are a lot more people who have what we call sub-syndromal Sad.”

Around 10-15% of the population has sub-syndromal Sad. These individuals struggle through autumn and winter and suffer from many of the same symptoms but they do not have clinical depression. And in the northern hemisphere, as many as one in three of us may suffer from “winter blues” where we feel flat or disinterested in things and regularly fatigued.

Putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues.

One theory for why this condition exists is related to evolution. Around 80% of Sad sufferers are women, particularly those in early adulthood. In older women, the prevalence of Sad goes down and some researchers believe that this pattern is linked to the behavioural cycles of our ancient ancestors. “Because it affects such a large proportion of the population in a mild to moderate form, a lot of people in the field do feel that Sad is a remnant from our past, relating to energy conservation,” says Robert Levitan, a professor at the University of Toronto. “Ten thousand years ago, during the ice age, this biological tendency to slow down during the wintertime was useful, especially for women of reproductive age because pregnancy is very energy-intensive. But now we have a 24-hour society, we’re expected to be active all the time and it’s a nuisance. However, as to why a small proportion of people experience it so severely that it’s completely disabling, we don’t know.”

There are a variety of biological systems thought to be involved, including some of the major neurotransmitter systems in the brain that are associated with motivation, energy and the organisation of our 24-hour circadian rhythms. “We know that dopamine and norepinephrine play critical roles in terms of how we wake up in the morning and how we energise the brain,” Levitan says. One particular hormone, melatonin, which controls our sleep and wake cycles, is thought to be “phase delayed” in people with severe Sad, meaning it is secreted at the wrong times of the day.

Another system of particular interest relates to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety, happiness and mood. Increasing evidence from various imaging and rodent studies suggests that the serotonin system may be directly modulated by light. Natural sunlight comes in a variety of wavelengths, and it is particularly rich in light at the blue end of the spectrum. When cells in the retina, at the back of our eye, are hit by this blue light, they transmit a signal to a little hub in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus that integrates different sensory inputs, controls our circadian rhythms, and is connected to another hub called the raphe nuclei in the brain stem, which is the origin of all serotonin neurons throughout the brain. When there is less light in the wintertime, this network is not activated enough. In especially susceptible individuals, levels of serotonin in the brain are reduced to such an extent that it increases the likelihood of a depressive episode.

The most popular treatments for Sad is bright-light therapy.

Read More: http://snip.ly/25gi4#https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/30/sad-winter-depression-seasonal-affective-disorder

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Second Death From Flesh-Eating-Bacteria Infection After Hurricane Harvey Is Reported

 

A 31-year-old man who helped to repair homes in Galveston, Texas after flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey was recently diagnosed with flesh-eating bacteria and died on October 16th after being admitted to a hospital on October 10th, according to a statement released by health officials in Galveston on Monday.

He is the second person to die from flesh-eating bacteria since Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast. Two weeks ago, a 77 year old woman died after a fall inside her flooded home in which she cut her arm and subsequently contracted the flesh-eating bacteria.

When the man initially presented to the hospital on October 10th, officials described an infected wound affecting the upper portion of his left arm.

The aggressive and deadly soft tissue infection is formally referred to as necrotizing fasciitis . It’s a rare infection under normal circumstances, but if promptly recognized, diagnosed and treated with the appropriate antibiotics and surgery to remove dead or dying tissue, the majority of patients recover without any serious consequences.

Necrotizing fasciitis, or “nec fasc”, is most commonly caused by Group A Strep , but a mixed infection with anaerobic bacteria including Clostridium may also develop, leading to what is commonly known as gas gangrene. Necrotizing fasciitis causes pain out of proportion in the affected area, relative to the degree of injury.

A cut, scrape, puncture or any break in the skin may serve as a portal of entry for the dangerous bacteria, which then leads to destruction of blood vessels, fat, nerves and a white fibrous covering of the muscle known as the fascia. The infection then proceeds to enter the muscle, compromising blood flow and leading to death of the tissue.

Its important to realize that bacteria don’t actually digest the tissue, but instead produce a deadly toxin that is responsible for the extensive tissue damage.

As the bacteria enter the bloodstream, fever, chills and vomiting may rapidly develop, leading to a dangerous condition known as sepsis which is characterized by low blood pressure, rapid and difficult breathing and confusion.

Early warning signs include severe pain and tenderness in the infected area, spreading redness and warmth and blue to purple skin discoloration, with darkened tissue in the later stages. The presence of gas or air in the soft tissue known as “crepitus” produces a crackling sound or crunching sensation if the area of skin is palpated. An abscess containing pus may also form as the infection becomes more organized.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a surgical emergency. Aggressive fluid resuscitation along with broad spectrum antibiotics must be started promptly with emergent preparation for surgery to remove or debride the affected area in order to contain the infection.

Persons with diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cancer who are receiving chemotherapy are most at risk for complications, due to poor blood supply to skin, muscle and soft tissue from having such chronic conditions.

Flood waters harboring bacteria (from sewage), along with dirty surfaces or debris contacting the victim’s initial cut or injury, likely led to the onset of this aggressive and deadly infection. As a general rule, it’s best to keep all cuts or blisters covered with a dry gauze and waterproof type dressing if there is any potential to come in contact with floodwater or dirty surfaces or debris.

The CDC describes about 700-1,110 cases annually in the U.S., the result of an active surveillance and reporting network that is set up to monitor such aggressive infections.

Cases of typhoid and cholera, invasive and aggressive diarrheal illnesses typically associated with floods in developing countries, never materialized after the hurricane, according to data from the CDC. In addition, cases of tetanus, which can develop from heavily contaminated wounds after soil exposure, have generally not been a concern with such flooding in the U.S., as supported by data from the CDC.

“Necrotizing fasciitis is caused by strep group A (flesh-eating bacteria) or anaerobic bacteria which thrive in areas without oxygen,” said Debra Spicehandler, MD, Co-Chief of Infectious Diseases, Northern Westchester Hospital.  ”Antibiotics are important but swift surgical debridement is necessary. The cases caused by strep release a toxin which can also cause systemic effects and organ failure leading to mortality.”

Read More: http://snip.ly/rjcse#https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2017/10/25/second-victim-of-flesh-eating-bacteria-after-hurricane-harvey-dies/&refURL=&referrer=

Sneak Peak into World’s Largest Flying Restaurant [Infographic]

World's largest flying restaurant - first class in Emirates
First class cabin passenger in Emirates Airline enjoying her dinner. Photo-Emirates

How does a global airline like Emirates cater to the needs of its over 55 million customers? Here’s a neat infographic that gives you a glimpse into how Dubai’s flagship airline is able to meet and exceed its customer’s gastronomic requirements!

Emirates serves more than 100 million meals a year with the same attention to detail in First, Business and Economy Class. Catering for more than 55 million dine-in guests a year travelling to and from 144 cities across 6 continents, no one understands global culinary trends better than Emirates as it serves destination-inspired cuisine onboard the world’s largest flying restaurant.

With a catering investment of US$1 billion per year, Emirates runs a round-the-clock kitchen with 1,200 chefs based in Dubai whipping up 12,450 recipes. The finely-tuned operation caters 590 flights a day with authentic local cuisines giving customers a taste of the destination they are going to. The airline also works closely with 25 catering partners around the world to provide the same quality of food for its Dubai-bound flights.

Infographic: Emirate Airline – Catering to the World

Infographic- world's largest flying restaurant
Catering to the world. Infographic courtesy-Emirates

Global delicacies local flavour

Emirates’ focus on local flavour means it has food available from every region it flies to. Flights to Japan for example, offer authentic Kaiseki cuisine and Bento boxes served with Japanese crockery, cutlery and tea sets to ensure an unrivalled food experience on board.

The airline recently launched a new menu for its Australian routes inspired by the breadth of the country’s multicultural flavours and cuisines, after a 14-month process working in consultation with local chefs.

The new menu features a broad range of traditional local favourites such as minted lamb sausages. Reflecting Australia’s multiculturalism, the menu also includes Asian flavours, as well as Middle Eastern flavours and ingredients, catering to Emirates’ diverse passenger mix and representing its global route network.

To keep up with regional and seasonal food trends, Emirates changes its onboard menus monthly and continually reviews its recipes.

The varied menus on each route are also reflected in the bread baskets served on board. Flavoured breads or breads produced with a sourdough base are popular on European routes while parathas, pooris, and naan bread are served on all nine Emirates routes to India. On its Middle Eastern routes, customers get to enjoy Arabic bread – Markook – a very thin unleavened bread common in the region, and Manakesh which is either topped with Zaatar or Cheese.

In premium classes, meals are served on Royal Doulton tableware with Robert Welch cutlery specially designed for Emirates.

Global partners, best of local and artisanal produce

Emirates focuses on simple, well cooked dishes that emphasise fresh ingredients of the highest quality. The airline brings the finest products on board through long standing partnerships worldwide, and supporting local suppliers and artisans. This includes sourcing over 15,000 kilograms of Persian feta from the Yarra Valley in Australia each year. The olive oil served on board is exclusively from carbon neutral producer Monte Vibiano in Italy, a partnership that is now more than 15 years old.

 

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