Kudos to Mayor Adams for Bringing the 21st Century to Life in NYC!

Knightscope security robot is seen in downtown Houston. Knightscope is an American security camera and robotics company.
Knightscope’s K5 in action in downtown Houston. Photo: iStock.

Is a Crime Terminator Here?

Not exactly, but it’s a start! New York City Mayor Adams has maintained his pledge to keep New York City high-tech and in so doing, he unveiled an autonomous robot that will patrol Times Square.

K5 as it is called stands about 5′ high and about 4′ wide and will act as the eyes and ears for the police. It maintains four cameras and has a button that can be pushed in case of emergency.

The robotics company Knightscope is the creators of this autonomous machine and stood beside Adams as he promoted it at a press conference in the Times Square subway. K5 is adorned with the NYPD colors. As the mayor was demonstrating it, its cameras were pointing directly at the reporters who attended the conference.

Autonomous robot in park
Photo by YAROSLAV SAPRYKIN on Unsplash

In keeping with the latest technology to fight crime in the city, the mayor said “The NYPD must be on the forefront of technology and be two steps ahead of those who are utilizing technology to hurt New Yorkers,” Adams said. “And trust me. They are.

And NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper said “It’s very important that the public knows what this robot is, what its capabilities are.”.

Is K5 a Buy or Lease?

The city is leasing the drone robot. It will roam the Times Square station between midnight and 6 a.m., but it will not go onto subway platforms.

The robot will capture video footage only. No audio but does have an emergency button that will allow commuters to contact the police department for questions or to report an emergency. No facial recognition software is attached to the machine.

Some are Not Enthused

Civil rights advocates have alleged that the police department is not following the required protocols. Some say that a public review as outlined in a law called the POST Act is not being followed.

The statute requires the Adams administration to publish detailed descriptions of a new technology’s capabilities, how it will be used, and what will be done with any data that is collected. The public is supposed to have weeks to weigh in.

However, the NYPD stated that if this type of technology, similar to one already in use (the Digidog mobile robot), it should be incorporated into its already existing impact statement.

The Legal Aid Society is questioning the NYPD and alleging that they are bypassing the concept of this law.

Legal Aid attorney Shane Ferro stated, “What happens when the 400-pound autonomous robot hits somebody or falls down the stairs?”.

Mayor Adams contends these concerns by stating that these advancing technologies are a way to increase safety in policing and help the NYPD become more efficient.

He also said that K5 saves money.“This is below minimum wage,” Adams quipped. “No bathroom breaks. No meal breaks. This is a good investment.” and “… eventually, this is going to be part of the fabric of our subway system.”

At the End of the Day!

Will these new technologies help or hinder the New York City Police Department? The answer remains to be seen, but the mayor appears hopeful it will be advantageous for the city and add additional safety for its citizens.

Scam Stories that Will Make Your Blood Boil

In a previous article, we spoke about Covid-19 scams. Now, with Covid practically over, we are going to discuss real-life examples of some common deceptions used by nefarious individuals with the sole intention of illegally extracting money from you.

Illustration of a computer hacker asking for your password
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Intro – If It Walks Like a Duck…

How many times have you heard your phone ring only to see that it is a phone number you don’t recognize, but the ID says it is coming from your location? Or you get an email or text that tells you your subscription is overdue and to “click here” to update your information? Quite often, right?

Copy of email scam
Emails from what appear to be legitimate companies can be scams. Image: SMS©

Have you noticed that this is increasing and not decreasing? One might call it an epidemic of financial proportions! Well, here are a few real-life examples of how other people were getting scammed, how they responded to the scam, and what they did afterward.

We are not expecting you to become an expert on how to handle fictitious calls or emails by reading this article, but these incidents may just help you realize what is out there and help you stay on the side of caution when contacted by fraudulent individuals.

The Guy Told Me to Withdraw $140,000
– Wait What?

Interios of a bank
Photo: Unsplash

A question that one might ask is why any thief would be so stupid as to not anticipate the variables that can go wrong in an operation like this? Be it as it may, this is a true case of an elderly person being conned into summing up over $140,000 in cold cash to give to an individual who told her that she needed to pay her taxes immediately and deliver the money to him. Believe it or not, these individuals exist and they are out there!

The Details

A 70-year-old woman entered her local bank to withdraw $140,000 in cash. As per bank policy, the teller immediately advised the manager who asked the woman why she was withdrawing so much money in cash.

The woman responded that she received a call from a company she was affiliated with and they told her that she was behind on her taxes and subsequently, she needed to pay them $140,000 immediately. They said they would send someone to her house to pick up the money.

Hooded man talking on cell phone
iStock

The woman, obviously scared went to the bank to withdraw the money, and the bank, obviously aware that this was a scam, contacted law enforcement, and a sting operation was set up.

When the perpetrator came to the house, he was arrested and is currently serving time in prison, which according to reports, is not “getting out any time soon”.

They Count on Your Vulnerability

Elderly man looking out a window concerned
iStock

Loan Desperation

Joe, a 68-year-old married man with two children lost his job due to layoffs and was looking for work, but as the months proceeded, he realized that he was falling more and more behind on his debt, specifically his credit cards which were, at times, surpassing their 30-day delinquency period.

When delinquency of a bank payment surpasses 30 days, an alert is sent to the credit bureaus and it is noted on the credit report, subsequently lowering their credit rating. This can make it harder to prove creditworthiness when buying a car or applying for a loan. The man was getting very nervous with this credit score decrease. Time was of the essence for this individual.

Additionally, knowing that his credit cards were maxed out to their limit, he was worried about not having enough funds to support his household and he knew he had to do something about this fast, so he went online and searched for debt consolidation loans. He responded to a few of the listings that showed up. One of them was a  website that looked for companies that listed a variety of companies that could possibly approve a loan, based on his credit score, which was under 620.

He applied to numerous offers but they all ended up declining him. Later that day, Joe responded to an email that was sent to him offering him a loan for $6,000. Just the amount he was looking for!

A focused and serious looking man working and thinking hard on a computer
iStock

They gave him an 800 phone number to call. He called them and they told him that they don’t use the credit bureaus for checking creditworthiness and that they use a different method. They said the first step was to deposit money into his checking account to verify it was a valid account.

Afraid and anxious that he wouldn’t be able to support his family under his current financial conditions, he hastily followed their instructions and gave them his bank account information.

The next morning he noticed that there was $3000.00 deposited into his checking account and shortly thereafter, a “financial representative” called him to verify that the money was there.

What happened next would have been obvious to many; however, Joe, being in the state of mind that he was in caused him to mentality bypass this red flag and not think there was any issue with the process. This is one of the methods that scammers pray on – emotional stress!

Joe was told that he needed to send them the money back. They requested him to go to a local store that provides wire transfers. He proceeded to go to the local Rite Aide that was down the block from him; however, it was 8:45 AM and they were not opened yet. So he went to CVS, but they also didn’t open until 9:00 AM.

The caller was persistent (another red flag) and told him to find an open store, but he told them that he would just prefer to wait until the store opened. While he was waiting in his car for the store to open, he thumbed through his email messages on his iPhone and saw a message from J.P. Morgan Chase – the bank where he has his account.

The message said that they were sorry to hear that there was money illegally withdrawn from his account and that they replenished the account with the $3000 that was “missing” until an investigation was completed.

Man with credit card in hand upset that he'd been scammed
Photo: iStock

Now Joe woke up. It hit him like a ton of bricks and he realized he had been scammed. He ignored the spammer’s phone calls and drove directly to Chase.

The manager helped him place a report to their fraud department and Chase immediately withdrew the message that they received about a $3000 loss. In the end, no harm was done. Joe was saved from losing a lot of money and there was no record held against him from Chase, but had CVS or Rite Aide been open at the time, Joe would have most likely proceeded with the wire transfer.

Behind Your Bills Scare Tatic

Alexa was laid off from her job and she started falling behind on her bills. She was not that worried about her credit cards or FICO score so much as her utility bills, and she was most concerned about her electric bill.

Being two months behind on your electric bill is sure to concern even the most optimistic of people. Then the dreaded phone calls come in. Alexa is no exception to this.

But Alexa was no fool. She never answers phone calls that don’t have a  caller ID and even when the caller ID shows up, she won’t pick up if she doesn’t recognize the name of the company calling.

In Alexa’s situation, putting these two factors together wasn’t enough to catch her off guard. Being delinquent on her utility bill was certainly enough to catch her ill-prepared for what was to come.

The utility company called and she answered. Why would she not? The ID showed up who it was so she had no reason to believe it was not a fraudulent phone call.

The woman told her that she was delinquent and that she needed to bring the account up to date or her electric bill would be suspended. Alexa had no choice but to decide to use part of her mortgage money to pay for the electric bill and she reiterated that message to the woman who transferred her to a man who called himself “Dave”.

Dave explained to her in perfect English (no accent) the procedure where they could receive the money today by using Zelle. A quick and legitimate application where the recipient can receive money in a matter of seconds and most banks offer this method of money transfer.

Scared, Alexa complied and followed his directions. She went online to her bank app and clicked Zelle as directed by Dave. He told her that she should type in the box that asked for the amount of cash to be sent with the last four digits of her utility account number and that their algorithm would read it and know how to handle it; other words, by reading the utility code, the past due amount and only the past due amount will be withdrawn from her bank account.

Alexa followed his directions and the result was that it took out the amount that was listed as the code and not the past-due balance, so she ended up paying $347 more than she needed to pay.

When she told Dave what happened, he replied that this happens sometimes and he directed her to go back to the Zelle app. On the app, Alexa told him that she saw the Request Money button and asked him if she should enter the code in this box or request the exact amount that was withdrawn.

Dave corrected her and told her not to use the Request Money button but to use the Send Money button as she did before and the algorithm will correct itself and return her the amount she overpaid.

This is where Alexa drew the line. She realized that she had been scammed and hung up on Dave, not before telling him what she thought of him.

Alexa immediately contacted her bank and they initiated a return sequence via Zelle and Alexa was lucky. She had the band reverse the amount back into her bank account.

Zelle scams are on the rise and take many forms!

Conclusion

World Map With Currency Icons Network Over Dark Background,iStock

Spammers can approach you from anywhere in the world. Email, websites, phone calls or they could even approach you in the street. They prey on the elderly and hope their phone calls will reach vulnerable individuals, no matter what their age is.

Be wary of anything that even seems the slightest bit suspicious and never send anyone any money until you are sure they are the legitimate party!

 

 

Top 10 Medical Advancements of 2023

Robot touching computer screen
3D rendering 3D illustration of medical artificial intelligence robot working in a future hospital. Futuristic prosthetic healthcare for patients and biomedical technology concept.

In 2018, we published an article on medical advancements, but five years have passed and the advances in medicine have been astounding. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant medical advancements in recent years that have the potential to change medicine as we know it today!

CRISPR Gene Editing

Concept of treatment and adjustment of DNA molecule.
Wouldn’t it be great if medical scientists could simply replace bad genes with healthy ones?

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, known as CRISPR is a fairly new biological process that allows scientists to modify the DNA of living organisms.

The name arises from clustered DNA sequences, composed of a succession of repeats (short or long patterns of DNA, also RNA, that occur in multiple copies) separated by unique sequences called spacers.

It has made significant strides in genealogical research, but what is most appealing is its potential ability to cure certain diseases by editing faulty genes responsible for the disease. 

CAR T-Cell Therapy

Cancer cell, CAR t-cell (lymphocyte) and red blood cells on red background. vector Poster about immunotherapy or chemotherapy cancer
Cancer cell and CAR t-cell (lymphocyte) and red blood cells. Photo: iStock

This therapy, technically called Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy uses a patient’s own immune cells to attack cancer cells. Your immune system keeps track of all the substances normally found in your body. Any substance the immune system doesn’t recognize triggers an alarm, causing the system to attack it.

More specifically, it is a way to get immune cells called T cells (a type of white blood cell) to fight cancer by changing them in the lab so they can find and destroy the bad cells.

CAR T-cell therapy is also sometimes referred to as a type of cell-based gene therapy because it involves altering the genes inside T cells to help them attack the carcinogen.

This type of treatment can be very helpful in treating some types of cancer, even when other treatments are no longer working.

3D Printing in Medicine

Man applying prosthetics arm to a patient
Image by RAEng_Publications from Pixabay

Most of us have already seen or heard of 3D printing, but how is applied to medicine? 3D printing technology has already been used to create customized implants, prosthetics, and even human organs. Let’s take a look at what eD printing has done for the medical field so far this year.

    1. Surgical Training
      No doubt the use of 3D-printed anatomical models is the perfect training for medical professionals. Surgeons can understand more than ever before the patient’s anatomy and subsequently improve surgical outcomes.
    2. Prosthetics
      3D printing allows for the creation of personalized prosthetics, which is designed to perfectly match the anatomy of the individual. Not only is this a great advance for those who lose limbs due to diseases or accidents, but is extremely helpful for over 150,000 veterans who would definitely benefit from this technology.
    3. Patient-Specific Implants: Surgeons can use 3D printing to create implants tailored to a patient’s unique anatomy. This is particularly valuable in complex cases where off-the-shelf implants may not fit optimally or provide the required level of support.
    4. Organ and Tissue Bioprinting: While still an evolving technology, 3D bioprinting holds great promise for creating functional human organs and tissues for transplantation. This could potentially alleviate the shortage of organ donors and reduce the risk of transplant rejection.
    5. Drug Delivery Systems: 3D printing enables the production of complex drug delivery systems, such as personalized drug dosage forms or implants that release drugs gradually over time, improving treatment effectiveness and patient compliance.
    6. Medical Devices: 3D printing allows for the rapid prototyping and production of medical devices, ranging from simple instruments to more complex tools used in surgeries or diagnostic procedures.
    7. Orthotics and Wearables: Customized orthotic devices, such as braces and supports, can be easily produced using 3D printing technology, improving patient comfort and treatment outcomes.
    8. Education and Research: 3D-printed models are valuable educational tools for medical students and researchers. They can help in learning anatomy, practicing surgical techniques, and exploring new treatment options.
    9. Accessibility and Cost-Effectiveness: 3D printing can reduce the cost of manufacturing medical devices and prosthetics, making them more accessible to patients, especially in resource-constrained regions.
    10. Emergency Medicine: In remote or disaster-stricken areas, 3D printing can be used to produce essential medical supplies or devices quickly, helping to bridge the gap until conventional supply chains can be restored.

It’s important to note that while 3D printing has shown immense potential in the medical field, it also raises some ethical and regulatory considerations, especially in the case of bioprinting and patient-specific implants. Therefore, ongoing research and responsible implementation are crucial to fully harness the benefits of this technology while ensuring patient safety and ethical standards are upheld.

Precision Medicine

Precision medicine is a personalized approach to healthcare that considers a patient’s unique genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors when diagnosing and treating disease. It has the potential to greatly improve patient outcomes.

Regenerative Medicine

There are many animals that can regenerate. Now add humans to the list. Here doctors use stem cells and other techniques to repair or replace damaged tissue or organs. It has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of a wide range of diseases and injuries.

Liquid Biopsies

Liquid biopsies are a less invasive alternative to traditional biopsies and can detect cancer at an early stage. They are expected to become more widely used in the coming years.

Nanomedicine

Artist's rendering of nano robots interfacing with red blood cells
Artist’s illustration of nanomedicine robots inside a human artery flowing inside as a treatment for disease

No. Not Nano Nano from Mork and Mindy. This is mind-boggling stuff!
Nanomedicine involves the use of very tiny man-made devices, called nanoparticles to deliver drugs and treat diseases at a cellular level. It has the potential to greatly improve drug efficacy and reduce side effects.

Virtual Reality Therapy

Virtual reality therapy is a type of therapy that uses immersive technology to help patients with mental health disorders, phobias, and chronic pain. It has been shown to be effective in some cases and is expected to continue growing in popularity.

Artificial Intelligence

Illus
Doctors studying robotic AI to diagnose virtual Human Lungs with viruses spread inside

We saved the best for last! Artificial Intelligence. AI is being used to improve diagnosis, develop personalized treatments, and streamline administrative tasks. It is expected to become more prevalent in the coming years.

One of the most significant advancements in medical AI is its potential to diagnose issues with much greater accuracy. Machine learning algorithms can now analyze  X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans with a precision never before imagined.

These AI programs are designed to detect subtle anomalies that doctors might miss, and these faint but no doubt significant detections can provide more accurate diagnoses of cancer and other serious medical issues. Subsequently, it will allow medical professionals to detect life-threatening diseases at a much earlier time.

Conclusion

We are living in an exciting time for medical advancements and there is no telling how far these technologies will take us, although, anyone who watches Star Trek may have a pretty good idea of what’s in store!

 

National Centenarian Day – How You Can Live to 100!

Granddaughter with her grandfather
Photo by Pixels -Kampus Production

You Wish You Could Live That Long – But You Can!

Joe was 95 years old when he was hit by a car while walking on the sidewalk in Queens, New York. The woman driving the car said she hit the gas instead of the brake while parking. Except for a fractured arm and being a bit stunned, Joe was ok, but he was taken to the hospital for the fracture and additional tests.

When the nurse came in, she asked Joe to take his dentures out. The senior politely replied, “I don’t have dentures”. The nurse, a bit took back didn’t believe him, so she put her fingers in his mouth to check if his teeth were genuine. To her surprise, they were. Not one tooth missing tooth.

Joe was in pretty good health for his age and was 100% cognizant of everything around him. The nursing staff asked him questions such as who is the president of the United States and what state do you live in?, All their questions were responded to without hesitation. But how did Joe did he get to be this healthy at such a grand old age?

Joe Sachs 1925
Joe was very active when he was young. Photo: Oct. 3, 1925. Scanned 101023 – SS

Joe’s diet wasn’t anything special. He would periodically eat at fast food restaurants and have hot dogs, hamburgers, and/or pasta for dinner, as well as soda, but he never gained a lot of weight.

Joe was not a couch potato. He would go to the bus stop and commute to his senior center daily. When he would come home, he would read the NY Times almost cover to cover and make sure he did the crossword puzzles.

Additionally, Joe was active in sports in his early years. From tennis to swimming to boxing and hiking miles, he kept in shape!

In general, Joe was a typical active senior citizen. He would go to the doctor for routine checkups but was never put on much medication, as it wasn’t necessary.

The longevity of each human individual depends upon several factors, but we must include how a person’s metabolism deals with it all as in the case of Joe.

With that said, there are some basic guidelines that we can all follow that will help to keep us healthy just like Joe was when he reached his 100th birthday!

But let’s first acknowledge and celebrate National Centurions Day!

September 22 – The Day of Centenarians!

Senior Citizens
Photo by Joe Hepburn on Unsplash

September 22nd of this year celebrated National Centenarian’s Day. It is a day to honor all of those who have reached the age of 100 and beyond.

Medical technology is advancing every day. In the 19th century, it was incredibly rare for anyone to live past 100 years of age. What was once a deadly disease 100 years ago, like polio, is now virtually nonexistent due to the successful vaccine developed by Joas Polk and others who followed in his footsteps. So with that said advancements in medical technology are better than ever before and those centurions alive today are being celebrated as they should well be!

Oldest Living People in the World

Currently, the United States has the largest number of known centenarians which totaled 53,364 according to the Census of 2010. A whopping 83% are female. At this rate, there could be close to 1 million people aged 100 or older by 2050 living in the US.

The amount of centenarians in Japan is currently lower than in the US, however, that number has quadrupled in the past 10 years and is likely to surpass the US by 2050.

It is nice to say that this list of people over 100 years old is a large one, but since the list is so large, we will celebrate the most seniors. That doesn’t mean that we should ignore others. We salute them as well and wish all these centurions the best of health going forward and a long life ahead of them!

The names below have been confirmed by the Geology Research Group to be factual and valid.

Lucile Randon

Lucile Randon - Oldest Living Person - Senior
Lucile Randon – Oldest Living Person in the world.

This young lady from France is the oldest human being on earth, born February 4, 1904. A whopping 118 years, 235 days and still going.

Ms. Randon is a Roman Catholic nun and is currently living in a nursing home in Toulon, France.

We would say God bless her, but it looks like that has already been taken care of.

Maria Kononovich

It is believed that Maria was born on May 27, 1904, in Belarus, which would also make her 118 years young at the time of this writing, and is listed as a farm worker. Maria had two sons. One died circa 1939 and her other son passed in in 2012. Her husband died in 1988.

Maria is cognizant and physically active, at least for a 118-year-old, but a nurse does stop by to see how she’s doing.

Francisca Celsa dos Santos

A native of Brazil, Francisa was born on October 21, 1904, and still going strong, well still going we should say. She is listed as a housekeeper and clothing merchant.

Francisca’s mental capacity is wailing, but physically, she is pretty good and doesn’t take or need much medicine. She married Raimundo Celso in 1935 and had six children. Francisca and her husband stayed together until Raimundo passed in 1979. As a good family should, Francisca is being looked after by her remaining children and grandchildren.

Honorable Mention

We felt we couldn’t conclude this article without acknowledging those that have reached the centurion landmark but have not yet hit the oldest category in the list, so let us now celebrate some that for sure deserve to be acknowledged!

Harold Nelson

Harold Nelson 107 old veteran
Photo: Pfc. Bernabe Lopez III, US Army

Hats off to Harold Nelson, a 107-year-old World War II veteran who recently received the Silver Star. First Sgt. Nelson who was in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division was shot three times by German artillery.

He is from Denver, CO., and was given this long-awaited honorable medal at a ceremony at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs.

Phillip and Bella Maisel


A story for the history books and a heartwarming a that!17-year-old Phillip Maisel and his twin sister, Bella was holocaust 17-year-old, a teenager in Poland when the Nazis moved in. They were taken to separate concentration camps and neither thought they would ever see the other again, and most of their immediate family did not make it.

Surprisingly and happily these two holocaust survivors were reunited and celebrated their 100th birthday on August 22, 2022, where they currently live in Australia. Both have married and have families of their own.

Following a reporter’s question, Mr. Maisel acknowledged that this was a victory over the Nazi’s ‘Final Solution‘ and emphasized that after the war, he and his sister have been living a happy and fruitful life!

Norman Lear

Norman Lear
Norman Lear at the Kennedy Center Honors Dinner. U..S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on December 2, 2017.

Probably the greatest screenwriter of all time, Mr. Lear just recently celebrated his 100th birthday on television with a host of admiring stars. Norman is responsible for such popular sitcoms as All in the Family, MaudeSanford, and SonOne Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, and Good Times.

He has five Emmys and is a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame. We congratulate Norman Lear who, without his creativity, society has been blessed with a cultural intellectualism that has sparked countless conversations, controversy, and sometimes arguments throughout the decades, but all boils down to one common denominator – laughter!

How Can We Live That Long?

We can all take a lesson from these centenarians by looking at what they all have in common. They show no signs of cognitive difficulties or dementia before age 92. They have not suffered from old age diseases or symptoms such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease and they have never smoked or abused alcohol. They also tend to have an innate ability to deal with stress as well as living in nonindustrial and less toxic environments, and most of all, they are all WOMEN!

Want to be like them? Here’s a breakdown of what you can do to live to 100 or beyond!

Elderly couple jogging
Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash
  • Eat healthily!  Foods high in antioxidants are your best bet! They help fight off those bad guys called free radicals that roam your body looking to destroy your healthy cells. Free radicals are entities that develop naturally in your body daily. You can find high-antioxidant foods in fruits and vegetables, as well as fish, especially salmon.
Vegetables
Photo: CC G Maxpixel
    • Keep That Brian Functioning! 
      • Those free radicals are everywhere in your body and that includes your brain! Keep reaching for foods that are high in antioxidants so that your brain cells will remain healthy.
      • Don’t be a couch potato! Find a part-time job, take some continuing education courses at your local university or senior center or volunteer at a hospital.
      • Do crossword puzzles or play other games that stimulate your mind. Do you watch game shows? Jeopardy is a good one if you like trivia. Trivia Today is a great website to join.
    • Don’t smoke! Must we have to even say that? And keep alcohol drinking to a minimum.
  • Sandwich with measuring tape around it
    Photo: Pixabay
    • Keep your weight down. We know this one is probably the hardest to do, but obesity can lead to many diseases, with diabetes being the main culprit.
      • Try the many diet plans that are offered.
      • If they do not work, talk to your doctor and if you have extreme obesity, you might want to consider bariatric surgery, but only as a last resort.
      • Stay away from weight-gaining foods, such as processed foods, sugar, and red meat.
      • Make sure that you exercise on a routine basis.
Preparing Meat for Diner
The consumption of red meat should be done in moderation. Photo: CC G Pixhere.com

Many are also spiritual and actively involved in their religion. Centenarians are also very active throughout their entire lives even in old age. If you want to live to 100 and beyond, be sure to live a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Reduce stress and anxiety, and incorporate exercise into your daily routine, whether it’s Tai Chi, dancing, or an evening walk with a friend.

Saluting All Centurions!

This author is proud to say that his father lived a healthy lifestyle to the grand old age of 100 and the story above is about the senior who was hit by a car! That was him!

With that said, let us all give a salute to those who have made it to 100 and beyond!

Medical Advances During COVID-19

Since March 2020, the news has been loaded with stories about COVID-19. It has been a year like no other since the Spanish flu. You may think that all medical research had stopped in order to confront this virus. This may be so in part, but not entirely, as studies of other diseases have continued throughout 2020 and through this year.

In this post, you will learn about the five most impactful medical advancements that have occurred during these COVID-19 times. Let’s take a look.

#1. Eradicating Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Zika mosquito

Mosquitos are one of the deadliest insects known to humanity. From malaria to dengue, Zika, and yellow fever, mosquito bites are causing millions of deaths every year. However, a groundbreaking discovery led to the introduction of a new mosquito control method that effectively reduces dengue infections by 77 %.

Dengue, which can cause vomiting, bleeding, headaches, body pain, and possible death is spreading at an exponential rate around the world, with around 50 million cases every year. Moreover, Indonesia is reporting 7 million cases of the disease annually. Part of the spread of this mosquito-borne infection is a result of global warming. Furthermore, no vaccine provides a considerable cure to the condition. Similarly, other mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika, are spreading globally and are even making their way into the U.S.

The groundbreaking innovation followed by a 27-month trial in Indonesia led to exciting results where mosquitos infected by a bacteria named Wolbachia were unable to pass dengue on to people. The breakthrough can scale to metropolitan cities worldwide where mosquitos infected by bacteria will be unable to spread virus-borne diseases like Zika and yellow fever.

#2. Breakthroughs in Heart Diseases and Stroke Research

Graph of a heart rate
Heart Rate Vector Design 

Another groundbreaking achievement is a new study that can change the treatment of a medical condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a thickening of the heart muscles. The highlights of this study include a minimally invasive procedure to prevent stroke. Moreover, the other interesting aspect of the research is that you don’t need more treatment to improve coronary heart conditions. Instead, you need to look for an interconnected and comprehensive approach to treatment.

The idea was supported by evidence that showed that the medication for controlling diabetes might also improve heart conditions among individuals without diabetes. The research is particularly interesting because it is likely to offer a road map to a future where a comprehensive treatment plan will be recommended to patients to improve overall health and well-being instead of treating a specific condition.

#3. A Better Approach to Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is the next big thing for treating individuals with cancer, genetic disorders, and blood diseases. And this latest approach to gene therapy is going to be a game-changer.

A research team led by UCLA reported the development of a new method of delivering DNA into the stem and immune cells quickly and economically. The current genetic therapies are expensive and can cost up to thousands of dollars for a single treatment. Moreover, current therapies can take months to produce.

However, with this latest approach to gene therapy, it is possible to get quicker and more effective results with only a fraction of the cost.

Moreover, researchers hope this research is an integral step forward in treating several health conditions, including cancer. With this therapy taking a new approach, the treatment plan for cancer that traditionally involved painful procedures, including bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, and radiation, will now shift to a new form of gene therapy.

Note that this new therapy is still not available for treating patients; however, it will be the future of treatment of several genetic diseases in this decade.

#4. Saving Lives of Mothers

Next on the list of medical advances is the latest research on how to prevent the loss of a mother’s life resulting from uncontrolled blood loss following childbirth. When a woman gives birth and her uterus fails to contract, it can lead to a severe loss of blood that results in an emergency hysterectomy and even death. Postpartum blood-related death results in almost 1/3rd of all childbirth-related death.  

The current treatment options include medications (which seldom work) and inserting a balloon that puts pressure on the uterus. This existing treatment comes with associated risks.

However, researchers have figured out a new and improved way to control the situation. The groundbreaking innovation is a vacuum device that aids in facilitating natural contractions following childbirth. The vacuum puts pressure on the leaking blood vessels, which in turn helps control bleeding. The trial results revealed that this vacuum device could control bleeding in around three minutes and successfully treated around 94% of the participants.

#5. Changing Paradigm to Alzheimer’s

Old Woman Senior CitizenAround 2/3rd of the individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are women, but as opposed to the longstanding view of the disease, women are less vulnerable to the condition than men. According to this research, the double X chromosome in the female body protects against it. It is due to the presence of the extra X in the chromosome that allows women with Alzheimer’s to live longer and experience less severe symptoms compared to men.

This groundbreaking discovery is just one of the several similar discoveries that are yet to come, which will help figure out how having a double X chromosome makes female bodies and minds different from a single X and Y chromosome among men. 

Summary

Medical research may have slowed a bit due to the coronavirus, but never halted. Studies have continued regarding research into other medical fields while we live through this pandemic. Additionally, by putting so much time and effort into finding a cure for COVID, new life-saving medical technology may materialize in the fight against SARS related illnesses.

Why Biometric Authentication is a Must!

Illustration of biometric technologyWe might not be at the Terminator stage, but computers are becoming more interactive with humans every day. Our body parts have become an essential component when working with machines. Putting aside the creation of androids to look and act like us, there are also technologies that can look back at us and equate what they are looking at to a specific human being.

With that said, there is no doubt that the trend of new technologies materializing this early part of our 21st century is sure making a mark on our lifestyles. Video cameras, webcams, dash cams and cell phones are all over the place and whether you call it big brother is watching or you take the opposite approach that this technology is needed to help deter crime, it is here and is going nowhere but up.

This technology has provided the world with the ability to view situations we would have never have known about before and that is most apparent in the political and social environments. We are not here to take sides, nor is this what this article is about, but we couldn’t continue this discussion without at least mentioning how our lifestyles have been affected, for better or for worse.

Let’s Take a Look at One Specific Aspect of One Growing Technology – Biometrics Biotechnology

In a broad sense, biotechnology is the act of using technology to solve problems. In this case, we are looking at biometrics, which is a means by which machines solve a problem by identifying specific human beings. 

What are the Uses of Biometrics?

Close up photo of a hazel eye
Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

Primarily, it is used to identify individuals, as each one of us has unique physical characteristics that are different from everyone else.

Most likely, many of us have seen these biotechnologies in action, probably from sci-fi movies, but this is not science fiction anymore. It is real! Let’s take a look at what biometrics can do!

There are a number of areas where biometrics comes into play. 

      • Fingers
      • Face
      • Eyes
      • Palms

And this technology is used both in law enforcement to locate individuals who are wanted for criminal activity (facial recognition) and for people to secure devices, such as locks, laptops and mobile phones, to name a few.

The Apple iPhone is a perfect example of the usage of biotech. The iPhone 10 uses fingerprint detection to unlock it and the iPhone 11 uses facial recognition. You don’t even have to lift a finger (pardon the pun) but just hold it in front of you and viola – you have unlocked your device!

High-Tech Security is the Criminal’s Worst Nightmare 

The use of video surveillance in everyday life has transformed the modus operandi of individual security measures. From iPhones capturing an unscrupulous person breaking the law to professional home security to high-tech radiation detection devices in Times Square, security has taken a giant leap forward and there is no doubt that biotechnology has grown along with it.

Fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, iris and voice recognition are all part of this security trend. Before we move on to discuss the benefits of these biometric measures, it is important to briefly define what entails biometric technology.

Biometrics: The Identification of Unique Physical Traits 

Biometric Facial Recognation
An example of a biometric security system that analyzes human face to verify personal data. Bigstock Photo

Biometric technology has been developed on the concept that every individual is unique, due to several inherent physical and anatomical features. This means unique information can be used to identify people for access from everything from door entries to cell phones to highly secure devices, even top-secret computer systems.

Let’s have a look at some of these noteworthy benefits and the verification process. 

Biometrics has Entirely Changed the Look of Databases 

Gone are the days when governments had to maintain massive physical records to register their citizens. Now, with the help of biometric authentication, every citizen can be registered against his or her unique physical identity. 

It is also worth mentioning that biometric databases don’t require high-end technological expertise. The technology providing fingerprint recognition has become really inexpensive in the last decade or so. This is the reason why even underdeveloped jurisdictions have managed to adopt biometrics for maintaining their citizen records. 

Biometrics for Elections

The same databases are also being used in many countries to ensure transparent elections. There are minimal chances of discrepancies in biometric voting. Besides that, biometric identification has also helped several businesses in streamlining their client databases, but if that would happen in the US, there would be so much political fallout, especially now with the Russian interference issue, it would take another century before it would be implemented. By that time new technologies would have materialized. 

Biometrics Makes Security Measures Fairly Foolproof 

From managing the financial confidential information to establishing the security of a premise, biometric authentication has been proven to be a game-changer. For criminal elements, it’s almost impossible to hack the majority of biometric authentication processes. Additionally, its identity is non-transferable i.e. one can’t reassign their physical trait to someone else for any malevolent use. Few simple examples can demonstrate the effectiveness and success of biometrics security measures. 

If an entry in any premises is subjected to fingerprint or iris authentication, instead of traditional entry passes and cards, then it is nearly impossible to get access to those secured parameters. People looking to get unauthorized access can temper and replicate entry cards and passes, but they can’t reproduce the unique physical and anatomical features of someone (barring sci-fi movies of course). 

Instead of passwords and PIN access to use banking facilities, many financial institutes have implemented biometric authentications. For example, ATM skimming and hacking are causing losses of millions of dollars to consumers and banks.

For that reason, many banks have incorporated cardless ATM transactions in which users can withdraw money after verifying themselves through biometrics identifications in place of entering PINs and using banking cards that are prone to tampering. 

Biometric Authentications are Accurate and Convenient 

Biometric tools are a great way to instill accuracy in the verification processes. For every person, there is a single unique biometric feature for authentication, and it is inherently accurate i.e. one would have a definite pattern on their thumbs and finger marks. The machine would only verify any given person if it can accurately match his pattern with the existing database. One can say that biometrics can protect the accuracy of any authentication process from human error.

Moreover, biometric authentication has also brought a whole lot of convenience for people on both ends of the process. For instance, one doesn’t require carrying cards, remembering passwords and PINs to get access to their bank accounts. If you are a part of the biometric authentication process, you are literally walking with your login credentials all the time. 

Similarly, databases composed of biometric information enable companies to use a single piece of concrete information to verify the identity of any individual. In addition, it is easier for companies to train their staff to look over the process of fingerprint authentication, retinal scanning or voice recognition.

Biometrics is Adaptable and Scalable Like No Other

From a small storefront that offers cellular connections to large conglomerates, regardless of the size of operations, use of biometric technology can be witnessed in every field of life. It has become only possible because of the scalable and adaptable nature of the technology. Every business can implement biometric security measures to the level they want their security to be beefed up.

Biometric Technology Offers Good Return on Investment

Security maintenance that follows traditional protocols eats up a sizable amount of resources. Therefore, it is always a huge concern for organizations. Biometric authentication and verification, on the other hand, offer comparatively good ROI to organizations. With a single device and software, they can set up a really good security blanket for their operations. Stationing a security guard to allow admission to a restricted premise is a recurrent expenditure for businesses. On the other hand, the same task can be carried out with a simple fingerprint scanner, which is a one-time investment.

Biometric Processes are Time Efficient

Biometric security measures also offer a significant level of time conservation. Within a fraction of a second, the identity of any individual can be confirmed through biometrics. Establishing swift entrance practice will eventually add up to accumulative work hours. 

  

Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Medical Practitioners?

A robot standing with a first aide kit next to it
Photo by Kirill_m – yayimages.com

Will physicians be a thing of the past? It is claimed that robots will replace doctors by 2035 and artificial intelligence (AKA AI, machine language, machine learning) is the source of this highly sort after the trend of the 21st century.

Indeed, AI is proving to be a benefit across a broad spectrum of industries. It is of special use for law enforcement, such as the Department of Homeland Security who is using machine language to help identify human traffickers. Moreover, the medical industry is very interesting and aggressive with promoting AI and the results are impressive. 

A study by Massachusetts General Hospital showed that machine learning is more efficient in analyzing readings for mammograms of high-risk cancers than human radiologists. Similar efficiency of AI was reported when examining retinal images of diabetic patients. 

Advancements in medical technology go much farther than that. Be it imaging, testing, or microscopic surgery, machine language is now widely used in the medical field. It is believed that AI will provide more evidence-based medical care along with more accurate diagnoses and provide very few chances of errors.

And the industry is thriving with new and innovative minds who will bring us to a new technical revolution of machine learning all through this 21st century, such as the discussion in this tweet.

What Exactly is Artificial Intelligence?

In a nutshell, AI is the use of computers to study data and subsequently learn from that data in order to produce more efficient results. 

With that said, the health care industry still has certain limitations when using machine language. For example, it cannot replace the need for medical practitioners physically and psychologically diagnosing a patient, but as advancements continue, it is not a far thought that practitioners may be seeing less and less of us.

One example is heart monitor apps that you can download to your smartphone, along with acquiring the appropriate apparatuses. Another example is small chips that a surgeon might place near your heart and as you sleep, it monitors your heartbeat and sends the data back to the hospital.

Whether human physicians will always remain in the health care equation in the future or they will leave and we will be diagnosed by a hologram doctor remains to be seen. Let’s see how close we really are to having robots diagnose our physical health.

Benefits of AI in the Medical Industry 

Animated man with bacteria showing moving towards him

Intelligent software has numerous applications. It is widely used in robot-assisted surgeries, analysis of images like CT scans and MRIs, and clinical trials. The total investment in healthcare AI is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021. There are many important reasons for such a huge investment. 

Some of the reasons why AI is likely to have a greater hand in helping human doctors are:

Faster and More Accurate Diagnosis

Though artificial intelligence is not a real doctor, it is an accurate tool for faster and more accurate diagnoses. Some diseases require immediate intervention, and human medical practitioners might fail to meet this need.

Neurons in the Brain

AI systems are designed similar to the neural network in the human brain and have the ability to learn from previous cases and that is the key – they learn.

Unlike standard software which simply performs a task or multiple tasks, machine language goes one step further by taking certain facts (called data points) and compares them to other examples to would determine the outcome. AI also has the ability to quickly access knowledge bases around the world in order to make an accurate judgment and a faster diagnosis. 

Interactions with humans can be exhausting for medical practitioners, and subsequently, increase the chances of an inaccurate diagnosis. But computers never get tired. They can deal with hundreds of patients without affecting the chances of error.

Cost Reduction

Investment in machine learning is generally considered by many to be an expensive proposition. In reality, though, the operating costs are far less when compared to human practitioners. The initial investment is huge, but it can be easily recovered because of lower operating costs. 

Reliance on AI also saves costs for the patients. Since AI can provide you with a solution without visiting a doctor’s office, it saves traveling time and cost. 

Virtual Presence 

Doctor reading medical computer data

Not exactly AI, but still an advancement in technology, telemedicine allows people with medical issues to have a video conference with a physician without the need to visit his/her office.

Regardless of your location, you can seek accurate medical assistance for numerous ailments. This is exceptionally helpful for people that live in rural areas where medical practitioners are many miles away.

Reasons Why Artificial Intelligence Cannot Replace Doctors 

Even though AI is widely used in the medical industry, it cannot replace the need for medical practitioners altogether. Some of the reasons why there will always be a need for physicians are:

Robots and AI are Not Empathetic

a-male-patient-smiles-while-holding-the-hand-of-a-friend
Compassion is one area where computers cannot compete. At least not currently, but who knows?

Human beings are social animals. They do not only have physical needs but emotional needs as well. At times, a patient visits a doctor’s office just to be heard and understood. 

Though machine language can help in providing a faster and more accurate diagnosis, the algorithms can never fulfill the emotional needs of patients. For life-changing decisions like surgery, even the smartest algorithms cannot listen to your concerns and provide compassionate advice. It is still impossible to imagine healthcare without the human element involved. 

Not Everything Can be Classified as 0s & 1s

Algorithms classify everything as 0s and 1s – the binary code (DNA of computers) used in all machines worldwide. However, in case there are multiple problems, it is may become complicated before reaching a conclusion.

Diseases also follow the same pattern of variability. AI is still incapable of analyzing complex information about multiple diseases and illnesses at the same time. In the future, there might be an improvement in technology that can process more complicated information, but right now, our dependence on computers for accurate diagnosis remains specific to single ailments.

Human Element in Data Entry 

AI is not self-sufficient. It still needs humans to enter data. Only then will artificial intelligence process information and suggest a conclusion. If there is human error in the data entry phase, there will be an error in the analysis and diagnosis. Therefore, we cannot always rely solely on the diagnosis of machines, so currently, there will always be the need for a medical practitioner to reach a final conclusion.

It’s Not About Technology vs. Humans 

Robot looking into hyperspace

Machines and human beings are not rivals. They are partners working towards the same goal. Technology helps in providing more accurate and timely solutions, but it lacks the ability to process complex information at this time.

Human medical practitioners, on the other hand, are not as quick thorough on specific diagnoses and might reach a faulty conclusion. Only if humans and technology work together, can they provide safe and reliable medical solutions to the patients. 

Conclusion 

Doctor with StethoscopeWe see that there is a bright future for the medical industry as far as technological advancements are concerned. The human error aspect has decreased drastically, while efficiency has increased multiple times over, but even considering the efficiency of AI, it is highly unlikely that robots will replace human physicians in this decade. 

So for now, AI and humans will have to work in collaboration, but who knows? Maybe in our lifetime, we may just see that holographic doctor after all.

 

Will Getting the Right Medical Information Online Reduce Your Visits to the Doctor?

Doctor with StethoscopeYou are what you eat. If you eat healthily, get adequate sleep and exercise regularly, chances are you will stay healthy. But part of staying healthy also requires you to visit a doctor. Be it a routine checkup or an emergency, visiting a physician’s office is inevitable. For many people and not a wise choice to do, they don’t visit a doctor until there is an emergency or a serious medical condition that materializes. 

In this era of technology, Google can help you find just about anything. Medical treatments are no exception. If you are sick, you might want to check your symptoms online and find out the cure, similar to what you are probably doing with this article. 

A person once posted a meme on Facebook that said: “If you found it on the Internet, you know it is true!”. Well, that is obviously a sarcastic talking point, especially in today’s social environment, so is getting information online the right approach? How do we distinguish between correct and incorrect data? Will access to medical information online completely replace the need to visit a doctor in the near future? Let’s take a look. 

Online Medical Information Saves Time

Alarm clock showing time as 1:40PMOne of the most sacred resources of our generation is time. You never have enough of it. If you are a working individual or a stay at home parent, your daily routine is packed with tasks. In case you are sick, access to online medical information can help you save time and money. 

It is a benefit not only in scheduling an appointment and commuting to the doctor’s office, but it will also save time in the waiting room. 

If you access the right information online, it will help you save money as well. It will allow you to proceed with your day as planned rather than rescheduling it for the doctor’s visit. So if you have the right information from a credible source, you can move on with your day at work or school. 

Getting the right medical information online will also help you avoid any unpleasant experiences with your insurance company when scheduling an appointment with your doctor. Since you don’t have to pay anything, you don’t have to worry about informing your insurance company or paying out of our pockets, so as far as time is concerned, it’s a winner here.

The Credibility of Medical Information 

Doctor reading medical computer dataNow to a more significant factor. How true is what you are reading?

Before you use the medical information available, check the source of information. Always review who is providing or endorsing the content. Blogs, news articles, and website material are generally published for information sharing and might not be backed with research. 

Also, check the reviews and read the “About Us” page. How long have they been in business? Are they located in the US? What doctors are on staff?

Some companies provide biased recommendations about certain medicines and treatments, so be careful. The effectiveness of prescribed treatments depends on a number of factors. So when referring to online content, do thorough research before you go with medical advice.

If you are using a credible source, such as John Hopkins Medical Library, WebMD or the Mayo Clinic, you know you are reading reliable material, so make sure your sources are from a credible source by following the suggestions above.

Chances of Incorrect Diagnosis and Treatment 

hands-of-person-typing on a-computer-on a wooden-desk-backgroundIf you follow the conventional pattern of visiting a doctor and using the prescribed medicine, you can refer to the doctor in case of an incorrect diagnosis or side effect of a certain drug. But you lose this edge if you are only relying on online medical information. 

Self-medication is dangerous, but an incorrect diagnosis is worse. That too if you are doing it yourself. Since you are not a trained medical professional and Google is not a doctor, there is always a chance that you might end up with the wrong diagnosis. Not because the information available online is wrong but because it might not be right for you.

Check the relevance and date of the information available online. Data on the internet is limitless but only a very small percentage may be relevant for you. Make sure you only refer to information that can help you. 

Online Medical Information Does Not Take into Account a Patient’s Medical History.

If you are visiting a doctor’s office or if you are telecommuting (a more appropriate approach) with a doctor, he/she is likely to take all your medical history into account before suggesting a treatment for your problem. This process ensures that the current medication does not interfere with any other medicines which you are already using. It also ensures that the current treatment does not aggravate or trigger any other previous medical condition.

If you are referring to online medical information for the treatment, Google will ignore your medical history and an online treatment will ignore the reaction of new drugs with the ones you are already using; however, it might give warnings about mixing a subject medication with ones that you already have. With that said, these warnings only scratch the surface and when you are dealing with drugs, scratching the surface is not good enough. You must be vigilant of this! 

A patient’s medical history also includes a list of allergies and drug chemicals which might trigger or worsen them. This information might also be available online, but since you are not a trained professional, the chances are that you might simply overlook these facts. This small mistake can be a serious hazard to your health. Drug reactions and allergies can even be fatal. 

Conclusion 

a-male-patient-smiles-while-holding-the-hand-of-a-friendAccess to online medical information comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you are getting information from a credible source, it is highly likely that you get the right medical information. Effective treatments for certain medical conditions like fever and flu can be easily accessed online but you still should see a doctor and for emergency conditions like burns or fractures, you must see a doctor. It is easier to identify more serious medical conditions like chronic kidney disease or cancer, but you have to see a doctor for the right treatment. 

With advancements in technology and access to information, your visits to the doctor are likely to decrease in the near future. But humans are social animals, and sick people always need emotional support. The social needs of a human being cannot be met by the internet. The human element in treating patients will always survive regardless of access to information. 

Breath: A New Indicator of Various Health Issues

Girl breathing Breathing is one of those homeostatic phenomena which occurs naturally. It is underlined by the involuntary movement of the lung muscles, which carries out the vital procedure of the oxygenation of the blood.

With advancements in the field of medical sciences, breathing is now being used as an indicator to diagnose different diseases and health complications. Now, anomalies in breath can reveal significant medical information about the examined individual.

In this article, we will outline all the diagnostic measures that can be performed through samples of one’s breath. Some of them are still in their preliminary research phase but might become part of conventional diagnostic practices in near future. Let’s take a look.

Bad Breath Can Indicate Stomach Cancer

Right now, screening of stomach cancer involves a difficult invasive procedure. Therefore, it is uncommon for people to get themselves screened for it.  However, this may get changed in a few years because research has shown us that the nanoarray analysis of breath can reveal information which can help in differentiating between various early stages of stomach cancer.

The test was conducted where participants had to fast for 12 hours prior to the test. The same test is now being performed on a large cohort of individuals to authenticate the initial results. If the test remains successful, then it will be a momentous development in the field of medical diagnosis.

Breath Test for the Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

For the diagnosis of lung cancer, diagnostic facilities carry out ultrasounds of lung and biopsies of the affected tissue. However, a study conducted a few years ago suggests that lung cancer diagnosis can also be made cheaper and non-invasive with the help of an electronic nose test.

A coded electronic device was used in the study to identify the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in the exhaled air. This profiling of VOC was then used to diagnose lung cancer of a group with a mix of people having lung cancer and other lung-related issues.

The study showed that this electronic nose was successful in diagnosing lung cancer in around 90 percent of the cases. Scientists are working on improving the accuracy of this device so that it can be adopted as a standard apparatus for the diagnosis of this disease.

Heart Failures and Breath Tests

It is quite strange to determine the condition of your heart through breath. But as we know, science is all about committing such wonders. A research was conducted in this regard where 41 patients with cardiovascular complications went through a breath test. The breath samples of these patients were then studied for chemical and molecular signs of heart failure through spectrometry.

Breath tests to indicate the conditions of heart failure are not conclusive yet, but they have paved a way for non-conventional diagnostic measures for cardiovascular diseases.

For the Identification of Diabetic Issues

One of the side effects of diabetes is compromised oral health. Dry mouth, bad breath, and gingivitis are common oral health issues that occur with diabetic patients. But now, scientists have found that the oral odor of diabetes patients probably contain significant information regarding the severity of their diabetic condition.

Scientists have found out that fruity breath in the people suffering from diabetes indicates a critical condition called ketacidosis. This condition is usually reached when a diabetic person’s body starts to churn out energy through fat metabolism due to low levels of insulin. This energy generation mechanism can lead to a coma because of its detrimental byproducts including acetone which gives a tinge of fruity smell to the breath of the affected individuals.

Breath Smells of Ammonia Indicates Renal Issues

Breath, with traces of ammonia, smells like you have eaten fish meat lately. However, if you are noticing that your mouth smells like seafood when you haven’t consumed any then this might be an indication that your kidneys are not doing their job properly. Toxins which kidney fails to remove from the body can affect the adjacent vital organs including the respiratory system. This renal failure can lead to the condition where the affected person’s breath gets ridden with ammonia.

Bad Breath Can Indicate Digestive Issues

Many people are concerned with their bad breath because of its social implications. Acid reflux and overburdening the digestive system are the common underlying reasons for bad breath. However, it has been concluded by researchers that bad breath can also be indicative of some serious digestive problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This digestive disorder underlines the stomach’s inability to digest food in time which results in the decay of organic matter in the gut resulting in bad breath.

Allergies in Respiratory Tract and Bad Breath

There are various respiratory tract infections which can lead to the problem of bad breath. Therefore, stinky breathe can also be used as a diagnostic pointer for flu, sinusitis, and bronchitis. Science tells us that allergies and infections in the respiratory tract can lead to the development of cells and tissues which produces bacteria that cause bad breath.

Foul Breath and Oral Health

Last but not least, oral health and foul breath have a strong connection with each other. Tooth decay can lead to the development of bad breath. In tooth decay, the outer hard layer of teeth called enamel erodes, exposing the soft inner layer. This exposed inner layer of the teeth entraps food particles that can’t be removed through regular tooth brushing. In the acidic environment of the oral cavity, the trapped food particles pave the way for the production of bacteria that causes bad breath.

Aside from different health conditions, bad breath is usually caused by poorly a maintained dental health and lifestyle. Failing to floss regularly and not brushing your teeth before going to bed can lead to this unwanted condition.

Moreover, smoking is another one of the major reasons for bad breath. Xerostomia or dry mouth also encourages the growth of bacteria in the oral cavity that can cause bad breath.

Are Mobile Apps the Answer to Contemporary Health and Fitness Issue


”Image of a smartphone displaying a health app"
Photo by Wavebreakmedia – yayimages.com

In the United States, where obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes are the leading health concerns, the significance of staying fit can’t be overstated.

Our physical movements are shrinking by every passing day, which proportionally leads to a greater prevalence of the above-mentioned diseases. The conveniences of technology have made our lives virtually stationary. However, such is the paradox that technology can also help in compensating for the conveniences it provides to us.

Ender smartphones, the most noteworthy placard of modern technology. They offer us many different health applications designed to facilitate our lifestyles and encourage us to maintain our health.

On face value, these apps look great and might help people with their benefits. However, at this current time, no reliable records are available that adequately can provide us with results of using these health apps. Therefore, some experts contest that these health and fitness apps are not helpful and consider them counterproductive, but the developers and corporations that produce these apps may differ. 

In this article, we will try to play the role of advocate of both points of views and then you can decide about the benefits of health and fitness apps on your smartphones.

Benefits of Health Apps

The proponents of health apps bring up several points to prove the benefits of these mobile applications.

Many are Free and Easy to Use

Most of the software applications available for smartphone users are free of cost and for that reason, this is the first benefit put forward by the ones advocating them. Others may cost just a few dollars, while other applications can be acquired after you join a diet group or health club. With these, the apps will most likely be free, but you will have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to join; however, these will be the best health apps you can use since they will provide you with many tools and recording features not found in free or almost free apps.

As far as the low-cost ones are concerned, you can still benefit greatly as they will help you with your daily workout and provide you with fitness ideas that are otherwise only available to people who can spend money on fitness books and professional consultancy.

All these programs have easy-to-use interfaces, which is different from the free-floating information available on the Internet. This feature of customization makes these health apps handy for every individual user according to his/her level of fitness and health condition.

Woman doing yoga

 

They Have Unlimited Scope

Many health and fitness apps are not limited to any particular niche and health regimen. This feature makes them very universal in their reach. For instance, there are specific programs only designed to guide and help you with everyday running and then there are others that can facilitate your yoga routine.

This flexibility of use definitely makes them popular among people with a preference for different fitness regimens. From a virtual gym to a yoga studio, these health mobile apps can come handy to implement different physical fitness routines.

Helps in Maintaining Diet Routines

To stay fit, maintaining a healthy diet is as important as a physical fitness routine and sometimes even more and there are apps that address this aspect. The nutritional information regarding your meals can be furnished and there are some which can break down the food you ingest into its nutritional components and guide you in tracking your weight loss mission. Some of these programs are very professional; such as, Weight Watchers, which provides you with powerful software where you can actually point the phone at a food item’s barcode and acquire the necessary information you need to process your diet with..

Heart Rate Variability Reading

Provide Best Tracking Mechanism

Have you completed your 10,000 steps today? How often have you heard that? With the help of navigation, mobile apps can perform a fairly accurate tracking of your fitness routine. They can also show you the number of calories burned during the activity. Moreover, you can schedule a complete fitness plan, track it and find your success ratio. There are even apps that can monitor your heart rate. 

Downsides of Health Apps

Many people blame these mobile apps for being unproductive and harmful to the efforts of achieving fitness goals. Let’s have a look at the most common critiques on these virtual health applications.

Lack of Precision

Health apps are often criticized for their lack of precision and inaccurate information and this criticism is not uncalled for. For instance, some researchers most of the apps that calculate heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels use sensors that are not manufactured and assembled to find out these measurements. They say this information is unproven, unreliable and therefore can’t be used for any inference.

No Involvement of a Healthcare Expert

The exclusion of healthcare professionals is a USP of many mobile apps, but this same feature is also criticized because unaided and unassisted use of health regimen can prove to be counterproductive.

Lack of Regulation

Another issue which doubts the benefits of health apps is the lack of regulation associated with them. Clinics, physical fitness centers, and physicians, in general, have to comply with the regulatory policies of the FDA, HIPAA, and other regulatory agencies. But mobile apps are not required to undergo that strict and necessary checklist, which makes their use untrustworthy. Developers are not liable if anything goes wrong by acting upon the advisory information provided by these apps.

According to a research article published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, only three percent of the top 100 apps used to gauge blood pressure are designed by different healthcare agencies and rest of them are developed by coding engineers and developers. This free flow of health apps without any regulations is only giving rise to more inaccurate medical data.

Compromise of Confidentiality

Doctor-patient confidentiality is an important part of healthcare practices. It is imperative to maintain them for the peace of mind of patients. But unfortunately, health apps are not bound to maintain any such thing. Even though many health apps clearly mention that they maintain complete confidentiality of the user’s personal information, but the opposite has been found to be true on certain occasions.

As per research study conducted by an NGO, nearly two-thirds of 43 analyzed health apps leaked the personal details in the form of dates of birth and other medical information.

From the above discussion, it can easily be deduced that the use of mobile health apps can be beneficial sometimes. But relying too much on them and excluding professional counsel can also make them perilous with their use.

Research these health applications before you download. One good way to determine how good they are is to read their reviews. For the ones where you have to join a club or health organization, you will most likely be using a much more reliable health program; hence the saying:“You get what you pay for!”