Wake Up to Wellness: Issue #10

Health Newsletter

What’s new in the world of health and wellness this week?

We’ve got you covered:

  • The first heart monitor to use artificial intelligence
  • Why it’s not too late to get a flu shot
  • America’s obsession with sugar
  • How junk food can contribute to depression
  • How AI will change healthcare forever

The First Heart Monitor Powered by AI Will Save Lives

The Heartsense heart monitor is groundbreaking for the medical field. The wearable monitor is the first one powered by artificial intelligence (AI) one to market, developed by Dr. Rameen Shakur, a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Heartsense monitor looks like band that the patient wears around their chest. It’s waterproof, and uses several sensors to record your heart’s activity, which it analyzes to see if there are any irregularities. The data is immediately sent to a cloud storage where the AI algorithms scan them for abnormal rhythms and send the results back to an mobile app so you can talk about them with your physician.

Shakur said, “You’d see people walk around with these monitors that never understood the patient experience — these Holter devices that feel like having an octopus stuck to your old ’80s Walkman that’s strapped to your side. It got me thinking, ‘This is exactly why the majority of our patients don’t keep monitors on long enough. They’re not ergonomic, they’re not comfortable, they don’t fit in with daily life.’”

When in the U.S. alone, strokes take the lives of 140,000 people every year, this is a game changer, and will help save lives with early detection of atrial fibrillation and other heart arrhythmias.

Read the full story here.

If You Haven’t Gotten a Flu Shot Yet, Go Today

If you’ve waited this long to get a flu shot and think it’s not worth visiting the pharmacy, think again. According to the CDC, 45 percent of adults and 46 percent of children have gotten a flu shot this year (more than last year), but it’s still not enough.

Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine says, “I would say, very clearly, to the person who hasn’t gotten their flu shot yet: You should hustle along. You don’t have to run, but hustle along — get your vaccination this afternoon. It takes 10 days for protection to build up to maximum in your body. Influenza will be wherever you are in your community — someone has influenza today that could be transmitted to you tomorrow.”

Last year, 900,000 people were hospitalized and about 80,000 died from the flu and related complications, and 180 of those were children. As of October 1, there have been 544 flu-related hospitalizations and 78 deaths nationwide. A flu shot is recommended for everyone six months and older, while young children, the elderly, and unborn children of pregnant women have the highest risk.

Read the full story here.

New Study Shows 70% of American Adults Are Concerned With Sugar Consumption

An interesting study reveals that 70 percent of adults in the U.S. are concerned about how much sugar they consume. However, only 49 percent of people said they were likely to use an alternative to sugar, like stevia or monk fruit.

Respondents they they were most concerned about the amounts of sugar in soda, juice, candy, desserts, and flavored coffee. Despite the concern, most Americans have a diet that is too high in sugar — with an average of over 13 percent of calories coming from sugar.

The health risks of consuming too much sugar are vast, including obesity, cavities, diabetes, and joint risks. Some companies have responded by using less sugar in their products, creating awareness, and using sugar substitutes.

Read the full story here.

What We Know About the Connection Between Junk Food and Depression

Here’s another reason to clean up your diet. Junk food can literally weigh you down emotionally. Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University found that foods that increase inflammation, such as the ones high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and carbs, make you 40 percent more likely to experience depression.

Participants in the studies recorded their diet and were given a score for how inflammatory their diet was. Some of the participants were tracked for up to 13 years.

Each participant was assigned a score of how inflammatory his or her diet is. They found that those who had a more pro-inflammatory diet were 1.4 times more likely to develop depressive symptoms.

Dr. Steven Bradburn, from the Bioscience Research Centre at Manchester Metropolitan School of Healthcare Science, said, “These results have tremendous clinical potential for the treatment of depression, and if it holds true, other diseases such as Alzheimer’s which also have an underlying inflammatory component. Simply changing what we eat may be a cheaper alternative to pharmacological interventions, which often come with side-effects.”

So, what does an anti-inflammatory diet look like? Limit your intake of saturated fats and processed foods. Eat more fiber, unsaturated fats, green, leafy vegetables, and fatty fish.

Read the full story here.

How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Medicine

Advances in technology are affecting every industry, and the medical field is no exception. AI is bringing some interesting changes to health care.

What can you expect? Look for digital consultations where AI algorithms will use deep learning to know what types of questions to ask patients. Computer vision technology will soon be able to read X-rays and scans without a human doctor.

AI-based diagnosis has a long way to go, but one company has already made a mobile phone-based diagnosis for diabetes that can scan your eyes to diagnosis the disease. You can also anticipate robot surgeons, such as the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR), which can suture stitches more accurately than a human surgeon.

Read the full story here.

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