Teachers Warn Excessive Phone Use Leaving Children Too Tired to Learn, Call for Action

Teachers in Yorkshire are raising concerns about children’s excessive phone use, which they believe is leaving students too tired to focus in class. The government recently issued advice to schools to curb mobile phone use during lessons, but educators argue that the real issue lies in the amount of screen time children have at home. Hannah Feerick, an assistant head at Wales High School in Rotherham, noted that many students appear fatigued and disengaged during school hours, attributing this to their extensive online activities. She highlighted the impact of online conflicts on the development of friendship groups, emphasizing that these issues often unfold in digital spaces.

Data from No Phones At Home, an initiative promoting offline interactions, reveals the widespread ownership of phones among children, with 55% having phones by age 11, increasing to 77% by age 12. Moreover, 86% of these children have social media accounts, spending an average of 2.5 hours daily on their phones. Primary school teachers, gathered at a recent meeting in Leeds, shared observations of how excessive screen time affects children’s social skills and patience. They noted a tendency towards solitary behavior, impatience, and a lack of delayed gratification, with some expressing concern that parents underestimate the impact of digital consumption on their children.

Psychologist Charlotte Armitage from Leeds emphasized the importance of setting firm boundaries on device usage, advocating for a balanced approach. She highlighted the link between excessive screen time and mental health issues, stressing the need for parental intervention to mitigate these risks. Meanwhile, the government’s guidance on mobile phone use in schools aims to reduce disruptions and enhance classroom behavior. However, Pepe Di’lasio, head teacher of Wales High School and incoming general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, believes the focus should be on regulating online platforms rather than solely restricting phone use in schools. Di’lasio urged for greater efforts to address harmful content accessible to children online, suggesting a shift in focus from devices to the content children encounter.

Pioneering Oncologist’s Quest: Personalized Cancer Vaccines Herald New Era in Treatment

Seeking a remedy for cancer serves as a significant driving force for numerous aspiring medical practitioners, though only a few manage to earnestly pursue this ambition. Among these determined individuals is Dr. Catherine Wu, an oncologist affiliated with Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since the tender age of second grade, Dr. Wu has fixated her sights on combating cancer, prompted by a teacher’s inquiry about her future aspirations.

Recalling her childhood aspirations, Dr. Wu reminisces, “That’s when there was a lot of coverage on the war on cancer. I think I drew a picture of a cloud, probably a rainbow and drew a picture of (me) like, making a cure for cancer or something like that.”

Dr. Wu’s trajectory has evolved remarkably since then, with her research laying the groundwork for personalized cancer vaccines, honed to match the genetic composition of an individual’s tumor. This innovative approach holds particular promise for challenging-to-treat cancers such as melanoma and pancreatic cancer, showcasing encouraging results in preliminary trials and potentially applicable across the spectrum of cancer types.

Recognizing Dr. Wu’s seminal contributions, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences recently conferred upon her the prestigious Sjöberg Prize, citing her “decisive contributions” to cancer research. Professor Urban Lendahl, the committee’s secretary, underscores the perpetual need for advancements in cancer treatment, despite the strides made over the years.

Conventional cancer treatments, notably radiation therapy and chemotherapy, akin to sledgehammers, indiscriminately impact all cells, often causing collateral damage to healthy tissue. However, since the 1950s, researchers have sought methods to harness the body’s immune system, which inherently combats cancer but is frequently outmaneuvered by it. Progress on this front gained momentum around 2011 with the emergence of checkpoint inhibitors, a class of drugs amplifying the anti-tumor activity of T cells, a vital component of the immune system.

Dr. Wu’s fascination with the immune system’s prowess burgeoned during her tenure as a medical intern, where she witnessed firsthand the transformative potential of bone marrow transplants in bolstering the body’s defenses against cancer. This exposure ignited her interest in immunology, driven by the tangible outcomes observed in patients undergoing treatment.

Central to Dr. Wu’s research is the identification of minor mutations within cancerous tumor cells. These mutations, accruing as the tumor proliferates, give rise to proteins that deviate slightly from their counterparts in healthy cells. These altered proteins spawn what is known as a tumor neoantigen, recognizable by the immune system’s T cells as foreign entities susceptible to attack.

Elaborating on this aspect, Professor Lendahl describes the crucial importance of these neoantigens manifesting on the surface of tumor cells for the immune system to effectively target them.

The concept of cancer vaccines has been a longstanding pursuit within the scientific community, albeit with limited success due to the challenge of pinpointing the appropriate targets. Dr. Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren lauds the ability to identify neo-specific tumor antigens as a groundbreaking advancement in cancer research.

By meticulously sequencing DNA from both healthy and cancerous cells, Dr. Wu and her team ascertain the unique tumor neoantigens of each cancer patient. Synthetic replicas of these neoantigens hold promise as personalized vaccines, priming the immune system to recognize and combat cancer cells.

Navigating regulatory hurdles, Dr. Wu and her team championed the case for individualized vaccines tailored to each participant in their trial, overcoming skepticism regarding the unconventional approach. Subsequently, they administered a series of patient-specific neoantigen vaccines to six individuals with advanced melanoma, yielding breakthrough results published in a 2017 Nature article.

Dr. Wu expresses gratitude to the trial participants for their invaluable contribution, emphasizing the arduous journey they undertake in the pursuit of medical advancement.

In the years following the initial trial, Dr. Wu’s endeavors, alongside those of fellow researchers and pharmaceutical entities, have propelled the field of personalized cancer vaccines forward. Ongoing trials target a spectrum of cancers, including pancreatic and lung cancer, in addition to melanoma.

Despite promising outcomes, challenges persist, necessitating larger-scale randomized control trials to validate the efficacy of cancer vaccines comprehensively. Additionally, optimizing vaccine formulations and manufacturing processes remains imperative to ensure widespread accessibility and affordability.

Questions loom regarding the compatibility of cancer vaccines with existing treatments and their optimal timing within the treatment continuum. Notwithstanding these uncertainties, participants in early cancer vaccine trials attest to the transformative impact of these interventions on their lives, embodying newfound hope amidst the battle against cancer.

 

New Study Reveals Women Need Half as Much Exercise as Men for Longevity Benefits, Says Cardiology Expert

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that women may need to exercise less than men to achieve similar longevity benefits. Dr. Martha Gulati, co-author of the study and director of preventive cardiology at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, emphasizes the positive implications of this finding for women who may struggle to maintain regular exercise routines. She notes, “For me, the news to women is: a little goes a long way.”

The study revealed that while men who engaged in approximately 300 minutes of aerobic exercise per week experienced an 18% lower risk of mortality compared to inactive men, women needed only about 140 minutes of weekly exercise to achieve a comparable benefit. Interestingly, women who engaged in around 300 minutes of exercise per week had a 24% lower risk of death. However, the longevity benefits seemed to plateau beyond this threshold for both sexes.

Similarly, the analysis of muscle-strengthening exercise demonstrated a gender difference. A single weekly strength-training session was associated with equivalent longevity benefits for women as three weekly sessions for men. Gulati explains that women typically have less muscle mass than men, suggesting that they may derive greater benefits from smaller doses of strength training due to their initial lower muscle mass. Other physiological differences between the sexes, such as those related to the lungs and cardiopulmonary system, may also contribute to this divergence.

The study relied on data from over 400,000 U.S. adults who participated in the National Health Interview Survey from 1997 to 2017, correlating self-reported exercise habits with death records. While over 40,000 participants died during the study period, the observational nature of the study cannot establish causation. Nevertheless, the researchers attempted to mitigate confounding variables by excluding individuals with serious preexisting conditions or mobility limitations and those who died within the first two years of follow-up.

Limitations of the study include the reliance on self-reported exercise data, which may not always be accurate, and the exclusion of physical activity performed during work or household chores. Despite these constraints, Gulati emphasizes the need for further research to validate the findings. She stresses the importance of recognizing sex-based differences in both research and public health policy, challenging the longstanding practice of using men as the standard.

Current federal guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio per week, along with two muscle-strengthening sessions for all U.S. adults. However, data from 2020 indicate that a larger percentage of men meet these benchmarks compared to women. Gulati’s research suggests that women may still derive significant longevity benefits from exercise, even if they fall short of meeting these targets.

Nevertheless, Gulati maintains that the study’s findings should not discourage men, as emerging research indicates that both sexes benefit from even brief periods of physical activity. Encouraging individuals to reduce sedentary behavior and incorporate more movement into their daily routines remains paramount. She concludes, “Our pitch should be the same to men and women: something is better than nothing. Sit less and move more.”

 

Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy Conducts Workshop On Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Based Advanced Emergency Medical Care For Faculty of Gandhi and Osmania Medical College Hospitals in Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been recently playing a significant role globally in the Medical field to promote “Best Practices in Medicine.” The future of Medicine will be largely AI-based, supplementing physicians’ clinical skills for early diagnosis and timely management of medical conditions and preventive care. Not many countries are currently utilizing AI-based technology in Medicine to the maximum extent. As one of the world leaders in the information technology (IT) sector, India has several opportunities to reap maximum benefits to improve healthcare delivery throughout the country (urban and rural) by utilizing AI-based medical technology more.

Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, an Indo-US Resuscitation Training Expert from Chicago, Illinois, USA, conducted the First Telangana Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based simulation workshop in Emergency Medicine (“Diagnosis and Management of Medical Emergencies”) with the state-of-the-art simulation technology at the Gandhi Alumni Training Center in Hyderabad on February 12, 2024. The 2.5-hour interactive workshop was attended by the Medical Faculty from Gandhi and Osmania Medical Colleges. The training model utilized user-friendly intuitive simulation technology in various clinical settings of virtual realistic cases with game-like interfaces. 

Dr. Murthy is known for his several years of contributions to enhance outcomes during Cardiac Emergencies in India and the USA through community CPR Training, Medical University Resuscitation-focused Courses, Research involving Cardiac Arrests, and “Heart Saver” projects with multi-organizational collaborations. An Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois and current Advisor (CPR) to the Government of Odisha (Health and Family Welfare), he has conducted several community Mass CPR programs, directed high-fidelity simulation-based Advanced Cardiac Life support courses, and guided Emergency Medical Care Scientific Conventions in India including the most recent Telangana State Emergency Medical Care Convention organized by the Indian Medical Association (Telangana) on February 11,2024 at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad.

Dr. Murthy anticipates significant improvements in the quality of Emergency Medical Care with the Indian Government’s (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) recently introduced mandated National Emergency Life Support (NELS) Courses with simulation labs. in Medical Colleges for Doctors, Nurses, and Paramedics. He appeals to the Government to help fund lifesaving projects in every state. Dr. Murthy also hopes to see more and more cardiac disease-related research from Indian Physician peers, Medical Institutes, and Hospitals due to the fact that Indians and the Indian diaspora are more prone to heart disease and cardiac emergencies compared to other ethnic populations in the world.          

Ambitious survey of human diversity yields millions of undiscovered genetic variants

A massive US programme that aims to improve health care by focusing on the genomes and health profiles of historically underrepresented groups has begun to yield results.

Analyses of up to 245,000 genomes gathered by the All of Us programme, run by the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, have uncovered more than 275 million new genetic markers, nearly 150 of which might contribute to type 2 diabetes. The work has also identified gaps in genetics research on non-white populations. The findings were published on 19 February in a package of papers in Nature1,2Communications Biology3 and Nature Medicine4.

They are a “nice distillation of the All of Us resource — what it is and what it can do”, says Michael Inouye, a computational genomicist at the University of Cambridge, UK. “This is going to be the go-to data set” for genetics researchers who want to know whether their findings are generalizable to a broad population or apply to only a limited one, he adds.

Bridging the gap

Researchers have long acknowledged the lack of diversity in the genomes available for them to study, says Jibril Hirbo, a geneticist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, who studies the genetics of health disparities. One study5 that looked at data gathered up until January 2019 found that 78% of people in most large-scale genomic studies of disease were of European descent. This has exacerbated existing health disparities, particularly for non-white individuals, Hirbo says. When researchers choose genetic or molecular targets for new medicines or create models to predict who is at risk of developing a disease, they tend to make decisions on the basis of non-diverse data because that’s all that has been available.

The All of Us programme, which has received over US$3.1 billion to date and plans to assemble detailed health profiles for one million people in the United States by the end of 2026, aims to bridge that gap, says Andrea Ramirez, the programme’s chief data officer. It began enrolling people in 2018, and released its first tranche of data — about 100,000 whole genomes — in 2022. By April 2023, it had enrolled 413,000 anonymized participants, 46% of whom belong to a minority racial or ethnic group, and had shared nearly 250,000 genomes. By comparison, the world’s largest whole-genome data set, the UK Biobank, has so far released about half a million genomes, around 88% of which are from white people.

The All of Us data set is “a huge resource, particularly of African American, Hispanic and Latin American genomes, that’s massively missing from the vast majority of large-scale biobank resources and genomics consortia”, says Alicia Martin, a population geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

In addition to the genomes, the database includes some participants’ survey responses, electronic health records and data from wearable devices, such as Fitbits, that report people’s activity, “making this one of the most powerful resources of genomic data”, Martin says.

An urgent need

A study in Nature on type 2 diabetes2 is an example of the power of using a database that includes diverse genomes, Ramirez says. The condition, which affects about one in ten people in the United States, can be caused by many distinct biological mechanisms involving various genes. The researchers analysed genetic information from several databases, including All of Us, for a total of more than 2.5 million people; nearly 40% of the data came from individuals not of European ancestry. The team found 611 genetic markers that might drive the development and progression of the disease, 145 of which have never been reported before. These findings could be used to develop “genetically informed diabetes care”, the authors write.

In another of the studies3, researchers used All of Us data to examine pathogenic variants — that is, genetic differences that increase a person’s risk of developing a particular disease. They found that, among the genomes of people with European ancestry, 2.3% had a pathogenic variant. Among genomes from people with African ancestry, however, this fell to 1.6%.

Study co-author Eric Venner, a computational geneticist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, cautions that there should be no biological reason for the differences. He says that the disparity is probably the result of more research having been conducted on people of European ancestry; we simply know more about which mutations in this population lead to disease. In fact, the researchers found more variants of unknown risk in the genomes of people with non-European ancestry than in those with European ancestry, he adds. This underscores the urgent need to study non-European genomes in more detail, Venner says.

Updating models

Gathering and using more genomic and health data from diverse populations will be especially important for generating more accurate ‘polygenic risk scores’. These provide a picture of a person’s risk of developing a disease as a result of their genetics.

To calculate a score for a particular disease, researchers develop an algorithm that is trained on thousands of genomes from people who either do or don’t have the disease. A person’s own score can then be calculated by feeding their genetic data into the algorithm.

Previous research6 has shown that the scores, which might soon be used in the clinic for personalized health care, tend to be less accurate for minority populations than for majority ones. In one of the current papers4, researchers used the more-inclusive All of Us data to improve the landscape: they calibrated and validated scores for 23 conditions and recommended 10 to be prioritized for use in the clinic, for conditions including coronary heart disease and diabetes. Martin applauds these efforts, but she hopes that future studies address how physicians and others in the clinic interpret these scores, and whether the scores can improve a person’s health in the long term because of the treatment decisions they elicit.

The All of Us programme plans to release a tranche of data every year, representing new enrolees and genomes, including one later in 2024, Ramirez says. It’s excellent that diverse data are coming in, Hirbo says, adding that he would like to see existing algorithms that were trained mainly on the genomes of people of European ancestry updated soon. “The models are still way behind,” he says.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-024-00502-0

Unlocking the Secrets of Hunza Valley: The Remarkable Habits Behind Centenarian Longevity

In the remote and lesser-known region of Hunza Valley, situated in the far north of Pakistan, the inhabitants seem to defy conventional medical expectations.

The area is predominantly inhabited by the Burusho and Wakhi people, who have not only survived but also flourished for centuries in isolated villages with limited facilities for healthcare. Research indicates that the average lifespan in this region hovers around 100 years.

“My spouse originates from the Burusho indigenous group and was born and raised in this valley. Upon our marriage, I relocated from the United States, and we settled in the central area of the valley.”

Here are some fascinating practices contributing to the longevity of the Hunza people:

1.Consumption of Apricot Seeds and Oil

Apricot trees constitute a vital local crop in the valley. Studies suggest that apricot seeds, rich in a compound called amygdalin, possess cancer-fighting properties and can combat inflammation within the body.

“Traditional Hunzai cuisine prominently features apricot oil. Previously, it was manually extracted, but nowadays, locals employ machines for this purpose.”

“My mother-in-law recounted that half a century ago, apricot oil was the primary cooking medium, even for meat dishes. Additionally, dried apricot fruits aid in alleviating altitude sickness and are utilized in winter soups.”

2.Continuous Physical Activity

Individuals in Hunza maintain an active and healthy lifestyle throughout their lives, extending into old age. Even during harsh winters, it is common to observe elderly individuals engaged in activities such as tending to livestock, gathering firewood, and performing household chores.

“Community engagements like ‘rajaki,’ involving the cleaning of elevated water canals during spring, further contribute to their active lifestyle. Cycling, skating, and playing sports like soccer and cricket are daily pursuits for locals of all age groups.”

3.Consumption of Glacier Water

Hunza Valley is endowed with numerous glaciers that melt during the summer months. The resulting glacial water, known as “Hunza water,” has attracted scientific interest due to its unique properties. Filtered naturally by layers of ice and rock, it is believed to contain beneficial minerals, including quartz in colloid form, which are potent antioxidants.

“Glacial water, available from May to October during the runoff period, is highly valued by the locals, who prefer it over filtered water for its purported health benefits.”

4.Minimal Consumption of Processed Foods

The Hunza diet primarily consists of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Processed foods are rare, and fast food establishments are non-existent in the region. Meals are prepared fresh daily within households, often incorporating homegrown vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, and potatoes.

“Locally sourced meat, obtained from recently slaughtered animals, is a staple in Hunza cuisine. The emphasis on fresh, organic produce underscores the community’s commitment to wholesome eating.”

5.Strong Community Bonds

Community cohesion is a cornerstone of life in Hunza Valley, with close-knit neighborhoods and villages where residents support and care for one another, particularly the elderly. Unlike in many other places, retirement homes are absent, and elders are revered and looked after within their families.

“With negligible crime rates, children enjoy a safe environment where outdoor activities take precedence over screen time. The collective spirit of Hunza society fosters a sense of belonging and mutual support.”

“After residing in this valley for the past two years, I can attest to the exceptional sense of community that permeates every aspect of life here.”

Unlocking Lasting Happiness: How Strategic Spending Can Transform Your Well-being

For years, the prevailing belief has been that money cannot buy happiness. Although money may solve certain issues, studies have revealed that material possessions only provide temporary satisfaction before losing their appeal. Nonetheless, recent research suggests that spending money in particular ways can have a positive impact on one’s well-being.

“Scientifically-backed purchases aligned with personal values can lead to more sustained joy,” the article explains. It emphasizes the importance of not just purchasing items but being deliberate about expenditures that enhance life, foster connections, and promote personal growth. By exerting some effort and engaging in self-reflection, individuals can cultivate a fulfilling and purposeful existence.

The article delves into seven categories of purchases scientifically linked to heightened happiness. It aims to provide insight into how to invest meaningfully in emotional health by supporting the suggestions with research, real-life examples, and practical tips.

1.Prioritize Experiences Over Material Possessions

Research consistently shows that investing in experiences such as travel, courses, or cultural events leads to longer-lasting happiness compared to material purchases. While people quickly adapt to new possessions like gadgets or clothing, experiences contribute to shaping one’s identity and often involve social connections.

“Choose experiential purchases that resonate with your core interests and values for maximum fulfillment,” advises the article. For instance, instead of splurging on the latest iPhone, consider taking a Mediterranean cooking class. Not only does this activity build self-confidence, but it also offers an enjoyable social experience with lasting joy.

2.Allocate Resources for Quality Time with Loved Ones

Human beings inherently crave social connections, which significantly contribute to happiness and well-being. Therefore, spending money to strengthen bonds with friends and family is considered a wise investment. Purchases that facilitate meaningful interactions and togetherness often result in shared laughter, joy, and comfort.

The article suggests considering activities that loved ones enjoy when making purchases to promote quality time. For example, rather than dining out at an expensive restaurant, opt for a potluck meal where everyone shops for ingredients together and prepares dishes collectively. This shared experience fosters deeper connections and lasting memories.

3.Support an Active Lifestyle

Regular exercise not only provides physical benefits but also boosts mental well-being by releasing endorphins that elevate mood. Investing in equipment and gear that supports an active lifestyle can reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, and increase energy levels. Outdoor activities further enhance mood by exposing individuals to sunlight and boosting vitamin D levels.

“Consider purchasing a bike, running shoes, or home workout equipment tailored to your interests,” suggests the article. Instead of buying more electronics or clothing, engaging in activities like biking along local trails or walking while listening to audiobooks can contribute to mood-enhancing movement.

4.Enhance Sleep Quality

Quality sleep is essential for allowing the brain and body to recharge, process information, and regulate emotions. Poor sleep can significantly impact focus, decision-making, immunity, and mental health. Investing in bedroom upgrades such as new mattresses, weighted blankets, and blackout curtains can improve sleep quality.

For instance, upgrading bedding with high thread count sheets, breathable comforters, and ergonomic pillows can create a luxurious sleep environment. Blocking external light with thick curtains can mimic natural melatonin rhythms and promote better sleep.

5.Invest in Personal Growth and Self-Care

Spending on personal development focuses on internal growth, healing, and learning, ultimately leading to a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Whether it’s furthering education, indulging in spa treatments, or seeking therapy, investing in self-improvement can boost confidence and overall well-being.

“Sign up for activities like a wine-tasting class, a shiatsu massage, or watercolor painting lessons to indulge your inner self,” suggests the article. Balancing physical pampering with intellectual or skill growth can lead to a more well-rounded identity and a greater sense of fulfillment.

Unlocking Happiness: Expert Insights and Business Strategies for Social Connection

In 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a statement emphasizing the concerning levels of loneliness and isolation in the United States. Post-pandemic, a pressing question on many minds is “How can I feel happier?”

According to Laurie Santos, instructor of “The Science of Well-Being,” the most sought-after course at Yale, and host of “The Happiness Lab” podcast, the key to happiness is straightforward and could benefit businesses as well. Santos asserts that the top method to enhance happiness is through social connection. She notes, “Every available study of happy people suggests that happy people are more social… they invest time in their friends and family members.”

To nurture these social bonds, Santos proposes three strategies:

  1. Dedicate intentional time to nurture existing relationships.
  2. Embrace connecting with strangers, as research indicates it can be more rewarding than anticipated.
  3. Engage in conversations that delve deeper into understanding others’ values, fostering genuine connections.

Businesses are also recognizing the significance of social connection in their operations. Maryellis Bunn, co-founder and CEO of the Museum of Ice Cream, shares that the idea for the immersive experience emerged from her desire to find NYC activities beyond alcohol or dining out. Reflecting on her passion for ice cream, Bunn envisioned leveraging it to unite people and spark creativity.

Bunn’s vision led to the creation of the Museum of Ice Cream, which now spans four locations after nearly a decade. Recognizing the potential to enhance visitors’ sense of connection, Bunn sought guidance from Santos on fostering social interactions within the museum, especially for solo visitors seeking to meet others.

To infuse more opportunities for connection into businesses like the Museum of Ice Cream, Bunn suggests leveraging communal experiences, particularly around food. She highlights food’s role as a catalyst for bonding, akin to the shared meals in schools, and proposes creating immersive dining experiences to facilitate meaningful connections among patrons.

Debate Ignites Over Biden’s Fitness for Office Amid Handling of Classified Documents and Age Concerns

Last Thursday, President Joe Biden faced a challenging day, starting with the release of a report by special counsel Robert Hur regarding Biden’s handling of classified documents after leaving the vice presidency. While the report did not recommend criminal charges, it highlighted Biden’s retention of classified materials in his garage and unlocked drawers. Additionally, the report emphasized concerns about Biden’s advanced age, noting instances where he appeared forgetful in interviews.

Biden responded to the report at a press conference, vehemently denying any memory issues and defending his fitness for office. However, he also made errors during the press conference, including misidentifying Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the president of Mexico. These events sparked debate about Biden’s suitability for a second term as president and raised questions about his handling of classified documents.

Political analysts weighed in on the potential impact of the report on Biden’s political future. Some suggested that while Biden’s mishandling of documents could be damaging, it might not outweigh other concerns voters have. Others argued that Biden’s age and memory lapses could be significant factors in the 2024 campaign, especially considering existing public perceptions of his capabilities.

Discussions also revolved around comparisons between Biden’s case and former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents. While Trump faced similar accusations, his approach to the issue differed, leading to speculation about how each case might influence public opinion.

The report’s characterization of Biden as an elderly man with memory issues resonated with existing concerns about his age and fitness for office. Surveys indicated that a majority of Americans had significant doubts about Biden’s ability to serve a second term as president, with many citing concerns about his age and competence.

Analysts debated the potential consequences of Biden dropping out of the presidential race, with some suggesting Vice President Kamala Harris as a potential replacement. However, others expressed skepticism about the party’s ability to navigate such a significant change, given existing divisions and concerns within the Democratic Party.

Biden’s handling of classified documents and concerns about his age and memory have ignited debates about his fitness for office and his prospects in the 2024 presidential race. While the report’s findings have raised questions about Biden’s leadership, the ultimate impact on his political future remains uncertain, with analysts offering differing perspectives on the potential outcomes.

Virginia: A Safe Haven for Seniors – The Ideal Retirement Destination with Legal Protections, Tax Benefits, and Abundant Amenities

Ensuring the well-being and security of seniors during their golden years is imperative. Nevertheless, each year, approximately five million elderly individuals in the United States suffer from various forms of abuse, including physical, mental, and financial exploitation, as per data from the National Council on Aging. The severity of the issue is further underscored by the Centers for Disease Control, which suggests that numerous non-fatal injuries often go unreported, exacerbating the problem. This pervasive issue significantly impacts the health and overall welfare of older adults, potentially leading to conditions such as depression, malnutrition, and anxiety.

Should prioritizing senior safety resonate with you, Virginia emerges as a promising retirement destination. Recent findings from a WalletHub survey assessing the best retirement locales placed Virginia in the third position overall, owing largely to its robust legal framework targeting elder abuse.

According to WalletHub, “This makes seniors physically safer and less vulnerable to being taken advantage of financially. The state has high-quality geriatrics hospitals and a lot of doctors and dentists to choose from, too.”

The study evaluated states based on their provisions against financial, emotional, and physical abuse. Virginia, known as the Old Dominion, boasts legislative measures safeguarding retirees from economic exploitation, allocating funds to various elder abuse prevention initiatives, and furnishing legal assistance.

Virginia counts 1.9 million adults aged 60 and above, constituting 22 percent of the Commonwealth’s populace, as reported by the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

Quoting from the report, “In a survey of older Virginians conducted in 2022, 79 percent of older Virginians rated their overall quality of life as excellent or good. Most respondents scored their communities positively, and about 50 percent indicated that their communities valued older residents.”

Additionally, Virginia hosts numerous hospitals that receive commendable rankings in US News’s Best Hospitals list.

WalletHub further highlights that the Commonwealth does not impose estate or inheritance taxes, rendering it an appealing retirement destination. Furthermore, Virginia stands among the 39 states nationwide that do not levy taxes on Social Security income, permitting seniors to deduct $12,000 annually against withdrawals from other retirement accounts.

Beyond safety and tax advantages, Virginia offers an array of amenities, including 375 golf courses, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, a picturesque wine region, numerous lakes, thousands of miles of shoreline, and a well-developed infrastructure.

However, these benefits come with a price tag. According to a recent report by GoBankingRates.com, the annual cost of living in Virginia amounts to $58,454. Additionally, retirees contemplating Virginia should be prepared with approximately $907,922 in savings. It’s worth noting that this figure may be higher in Northern Virginia, where housing costs persistently escalate due to inventory shortages.

Senate Grills Pharma CEOs Over Sky-High Drug Prices Amidst Revelations of Financial Priorities

Sparks ignited on Capitol Hill Thursday as the leaders of three pharmaceutical giants faced interrogation from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions regarding the substantial disparity in drug prices between the United States and other nations.

During the nearly three-hour session, executives from Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck engaged in a heated exchange with the committee members over pricing strategies and the allocation of company resources.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the committee chairman, acknowledged the significance of the life-saving drugs developed by these companies but underscored the critical issue of accessibility, stating, “those drugs do nothing for anybody who cannot afford it.”

The committee’s analysis revealed staggering discrepancies in drug prices across countries. Merck’s cancer drug Keytruda, for example, costs $100,000 more in the U.S. than in France, while Bristol Myers Squibb’s Eliquis is nearly ten times pricier in the U.S. than in Germany, and Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara is five times more expensive in the U.S. compared to Japan.

Executives defended the higher prices in the U.S., citing faster access to new drugs and the substantial share of list prices claimed by pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs).

Merck’s CEO, Robert Davis, highlighted the increasing pressure from PBMs for larger discounts, resulting in a widening gap between list and net prices, ultimately to the detriment of patients.

However, legislators countered with examples such as Japan and Canada, where despite longer drug approval processes, life expectancies surpass that of the United States, challenging the notion that delayed access necessarily compromises health outcomes.

Senator Sanders confronted Merck’s CEO about the human toll of exorbitant drug costs, revealing instances of individuals resorting to crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe to finance their treatments. He recounted the story of Rebecca, a Nebraska school lunch lady who tragically succumbed to cancer after struggling to afford Keytruda.

Behind the scenes, there was drama as Merck and Johnson & Johnson initially refused to testify, citing a lack of expertise on drug pricing. Senator Sanders deemed their excuses “laughable to absurd” and threatened subpoena before they agreed to testify voluntarily.

PhRMA, the pharmaceutical trade group, preemptively defended drug pricing disparities, arguing that earlier drug launches in the U.S. provide Americans with swifter access to medications. They also pointed fingers at high healthcare spending and PBMs.

A Senate report released earlier exposed the disproportionate allocation of resources by Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck, revealing that they prioritize executive compensation, stock buybacks, and dividends over research and development.

Senator Sanders raised questions about the discrepancy between corporate spending and the pursuit of new cures, emphasizing the need for accountability and transparency.

The report further demonstrated that these companies generate more revenue from selling drugs in the U.S. than in the rest of the world combined, while drug prices either decrease or remain steady elsewhere.

Rethinking the 10,000-Step Rule: Experts Shed Light on Optimal Daily Activity Levels for Health

The widely propagated notion of walking 10,000 steps daily as the pinnacle of good health prompts the question: Is this figure truly substantiated? Lindsay Bottoms, an expert in exercise and health physiology at the University of Hertfordshire, underscores the multifaceted benefits of walking, including enhanced cardiovascular fitness, weight management, mood improvement, better sleep, cognitive function enhancement, and decreased risk of chronic illnesses like dementia and certain cancers, and even the amelioration of conditions like type 2 diabetes.

While any form of exercise bolsters immune function and mental well-being, walking stands out for its simplicity, accessibility, and versatility, rendering it suitable for individuals of all ages. Notably, recent research findings highlight the significance of relatively lower step counts. A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology unveiled that walking approximately 3,967 steps daily is associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality, while a mere 2,337 steps correlate with diminished cardiovascular disease mortality. Another study, featured in JAMA Neurology, suggests that around 8,900 steps per day may decelerate cognitive decline and brain volume loss among high-risk individuals.

However, the genesis of the ubiquitous 10,000-step goal traces back to a marketing initiative by Yamasa Clock in Japan during 1965. This “Manpo-kei” pedometer, translating to ‘10,000 steps meter,’ served as a promotional tool for the device, cementing the 10,000-step benchmark globally. Nevertheless, some individuals advocate for the benefits of surpassing this target by walking 20,000 steps daily. But is this level of activity truly necessary? Bottoms advocates for a pragmatic approach, suggesting that while there’s merit in breaking up sedentary time and staying active, aiming for 20,000 steps might prove demoralizing and unattainable for many.

Empirical evidence suggests that the threshold for optimal health outcomes lies significantly below the 10,000-step mark. Research indicates that mortality rates and cardiovascular disease incidents plateau at approximately 7,500-8,500 steps, with some studies even demonstrating mortality reduction in women with as few as 4,400 steps daily.

So, what’s a reasonable step goal to support overall health? Bottoms advises aiming for as many steps as feasible while prioritizing the interruption of prolonged sitting. A target of 7,000 steps daily serves as a practical benchmark, with incremental increases recommended for those falling short. She emphasizes the importance of integrating physical activity into daily routines, such as walking during work calls or opting for brisk walks with pets in lieu of sedentary breaks.

Bottoms further stresses that it’s not solely about step counts but overall physical activity. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise), coupled with at least two muscle-strengthening sessions.

In essence, while the 10,000-step goal persists in public consciousness, emerging research suggests that reevaluating this standard may be prudent. Embracing physical activity in various forms, including walking, remains pivotal for fostering holistic well-being.

Unlocking Happiness: Three Science-Backed Strategies for Personal Fulfillment and Success

Prioritizing your happiness holds immense significance for several reasons, each carrying its own set of advantages that warrant careful consideration. The article highlights the pivotal role happiness plays in enhancing both physical and mental well-being, fostering engagement, focus, and resilience, particularly in challenging circumstances, and ultimately contributing to professional success.

The piece delves into three scientifically proven strategies aimed at bolstering happiness:

1.Strategic Downtime: In today’s tech-driven world, while technology has undoubtedly revolutionized convenience, it has also introduced new challenges. The incessant need to stay connected and productive, even during unconventional hours, adversely affects brain function. Research indicates that this addiction to constant stimulation leads to a loss of focus and mental clarity. Understanding the necessity of rest and rejuvenation is crucial for maintainingoptimal brain function throughout the day. Just as our sleeping brains undergo 90-minute cycles, transitioning from light to deep sleep and back again, a similar pattern repeats during waking hours. It is recommended to incorporate 10-minute breaks after every 80 to 120 minutes to calm brain activity. Creating intentional gaps in your schedule, free from meetings or work-related discussions, allows for uninterrupted time to think, meditate, take a nature walk, or engage in casual conversations. Guarding this precious downtime is vital and requires deliberate allocation.

2.Gratitude through Giving: The adage “It’s better to give than to receive” finds scientific validation in the realm of happiness. Generosity, particularly when tied to social connections, significantly enhances one’s sense of well-being. Research emphasizes the importance of “social giving,” where the act of giving benefits another individual, thereby fostering positive emotions in the donor. Whetherit’s supporting a friend’s GoFundMe campaign or contributing to a grassroots charity, the social connection amplifies the psychological rewards of altruism.

3.Optimism as a Mindset Shift: Embracing change with optimism is pivotal for navigating life’s uncertainties. Optimistic individuals approach challenges with hope, blending realism with a positive outlook. Despite the prevailing stressors, cultivating optimism allows individuals to sidestep unnecessary drama, set ambitious goals, and celebrate achievements with enthusiasm. Harvard-trained happiness researcher Shawn Achor advocates for a daily practice to cultivate optimism: sending a positive email or text to a different person each day, expressing gratitude or praise. This simple activity, when repeated for 21 days,facilitatesa lasting shift towards a more positive and optimistic mindset.

In essence, fostering happiness transcends mere transient gratification; it emerges as a strategic imperative for personal fulfillment and success.

https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/science-says-your-overall-happiness-comes-down-to-3-timeless-strategies.html

US Economy Surges Ahead While China Falters: Expert Insights and Corporate Shakeups Dominate Headlines

The United States economy is surpassing expectations, with markets soaring and inflation inching closer to the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. There’s optimism for a soft landing, a scenario where inflation is controlled, and recession is avoided. On the flip side, China is facing economic challenges: markets are sluggish, consumer confidence is waning, growth is slowing, and there’s a demographic decline. Evergrande’s winding-up, mandated by a court, adds uncertainty to China’s real estate crisis.

In light of these economic dynamics, questions arise about the relationship between the world’s two largest economies. Eswar Prasad, a trade policy professor at Cornell University and former head of the IMF’s China division, sheds light on the matter.

Prasad observes the US solidifying its global growth leadership while other nations struggle. He attributes this to the US economy’s resilience compared to China’s, which grapples with labor force decline, a faltering property market, and dwindling confidence in governmental policies.

Regarding US-China tensions, Prasad suggests China’s weak economy fuels its desire to ease trade tensions with the US, especially with the approaching US election season and escalating anti-China rhetoric.

Investors monitoring China should note the government’s efforts to stimulate the economy through increased spending, interest rate cuts, and market interventions. However, these measures have limited efficacy in addressing fundamental issues like low consumer and business confidence.

Transition planning at JPMorgan Chase, led by CEO Jamie Dimon, is in the spotlight. With Dimon nearing 68, speculation mounts about his successor. Marianne Lake’s appointment as the sole CEO of the consumer division, alongside Jennifer Piepszak’s new role leading the commercial and investment bank, signals a potential leadership shift.

Dimon, an influential figure in global banking, has expressed contentment in his current role but hasn’t ruled out a future in politics, citing his love for the country.

In a concerning revelation, it’sdisclosed that the NSA has been purchasing Americans’ web browsing data from commercial brokers without warrants. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden revealed unclassified documents confirming these transactions, highlighting the routine acquisition of sensitive citizen information by government agencies.

These disclosures coincide with fears of foreign governments engaging in similar data purchases, prompting the Biden administration to consider measures to safeguard US citizens’ personal data from foreign exploitation.

https://edition.cnn.com/2024/01/29/investing/premarket-stocks-trading/index.html

Healthcare Revolution: Startups Reshape America’s Medical Landscape with Innovative Approaches and Virtual Solutions

In the various permanent establishments of Cityblock Health scattered throughout the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions of the United States, one can find sleek waiting areas adorned with a royal-blue theme, mirroring the company’s branding. Additionally, in certain cities, the company employs mobile units, large motor caravans retrofitted for medical purposes and painted in the same distinctive hue. Originally conceived as part of Sidewalk Labs, Google’s Urban Innovation division, Cityblock Health aims to enhance accessibility in healthcare by providing medical, mental health, and social services. Its aesthetic resonates with the polished ambiance often associated with Silicon Valley startups, resembling a trendy urban coffee shop.

Cityblock Health is just one of the many startups, both physical and digital, that have emerged within the American healthcare landscape, striving to revolutionize the sector. These ventures aspire to replace the conventional, sterile, and often labyrinthine healthcare systems with something more welcoming and efficient, occasionally even resembling a spa-like experience. While similar initiatives are emerging globally, the United States presents a unique opportunity due to the complexity and opacity of its private insurance system.

These companies endeavor to tackle some of the fundamental challenges in the American healthcare domain, primarily revolving around cost and accessibility. They streamline appointment scheduling, reduce waiting times to see healthcare professionals, and facilitate access to previously restricted medical technologies. Moreover, many of these entities engage directly with private and government insurers, simplifying administrative processes for patients as an integral component of their business strategies.Healthcare Revolution Startups Reshape America's Medical Landscape with Innovative Approaches and Virtual Solutions

In adopting this approach, these startups not only aim to dismantle barriers within the healthcare sector but also seek to attract a new, younger demographic of consumers through familiar and frictionless experiences. The success of such endeavors remains to be seen.

The Healthcare Market Landscape

Many of these emerging healthcare players boast physical establishments characterized by curated, minimalist designs across various areas of healthcare provision. Dental franchise Tend operatesnumerous storefronts across the United States, all featuring warm wood accents and cool green tiling. Utilizing an app for appointment scheduling, Tend emphasizes transparent pricing and offers amenities such as noise-canceling headphones for patients to enjoy television during treatments. Furthermore, they feature “The Brushery,” a designated area designed for capturing “selfie moments,” according to Tend. One Medical, a membership-based chain of urgent-care centers, prioritizes same-day appointments and hosts an on-site laboratory. In February 2023, Amazon finalized an all-cash acquisition of the chain for $3.9 billion, subsequently introducing discounted memberships for Prime subscribers at an annual rate of $99 in November.

Virtual startups, guided by similar principles, play a significant role in the healthcare landscape. These digital platforms echo the minimalist aesthetics of brick-and-mortar clinics while offering services through modern, highly functional web interfaces. Maven Clinic, a virtual women’s healthcare platform, earned recognition as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies of 2023. Meanwhile, BetterHelp, connecting patients directly with mental health professionals online, surpassed $1 billion in profits in 2022.

Additionally, certain companies aim to deliver healthcare hardware directly to consumers’ homes. TytoCare markets a thermometer-otoscope-stethoscope device branded as a “smart clinic,” available for purchase at national retailer Best Buy. Mosie Baby offers an at-home insemination kit priced at $129 and recently obtained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Healthcare Revolution Startups Reshape America's Medical Landscape with Innovative Approaches and Virtual Solutions

According to Dan D’Orazio, CEO of healthcare research and consulting firm Sage Growth Partners, the surge in privately-funded healthcare startups can be attributed to the substantial scale of healthcare spending in the United States. D’Orazio highlights that if US healthcare were treated as an independent entity, its GDP would amount to $4.3 trillion, ranking it as the fourth-largest in the world. This vast financial landscape presents fertile ground for innovation and potential profit.

Addressing Pain Points in Healthcare

Helen Zhang, head of communications at Tend, acknowledges the widespread aversion to dental visits. She notes that not only do customers often rate the experience poorly on metrics such as the net promoter score, but dental visits are also associated with surprise bills, lengthy wait times, judgmental attitudes from clinicians, and unwelcoming environments. Zhang emphasizes Tend’s mission to eliminate these deterrents, aiming to create a dental visit experience so comfortable and inviting that patients perceive it as a joyful occasion, thereby encouraging regular attendance and prioritization of oral health.

 

Optimal Timing

The proliferation of healthcare startups, particularly in the realm of virtual health services, owes much to timing. While many of these companies had been in existence since the 2010s or earlier, the exponential growth in telehealth utilization during the pandemic accelerated consumer acceptance and demand for digital services.Healthcare Revolution Startups Reshape America's Medical Landscape with Innovative Approaches and Virtual Solutions

Dan D’Orazio underscores the significance of this shift, noting that prior to COVID-19, telemedicine adoption rates stood at around 2 to 3%. The pandemic catalyzed a transformation in attitudes toward virtual care, condensing what would have taken years into a matter of weeks. This newfound openness to telehealth facilitated the expansion of medical technology startups, including physical franchises offering specialized services in aesthetically appealing environments. While catering to patients of all ages, younger generations have been particularly receptive to these innovations.

A Path Forward?

While the proliferation of startups has undoubtedly improved accessibility to primary and specialist care, Dan D’Orazio cautions against equating these achievements with overall success and sustainability. Numerous health tech startups, especially those reliant on private investment, have faltered, with notable examples including Theranos, founded by Elizabeth Holmes, which was exposed as fraudulent. Other ventures, like Smile Direct Club, have faced abrupt closures, leaving customers in uncertain situations.

D’Orazio attributes the challenges faced by many startups to a fundamental misalignment between their identity as tech companies and the complexities of the healthcare industry. He stresses the importance of collaboration between traditional medical establishments and startup ventures, emphasizing the need for integration to navigate regulatory hurdles and workforce shortages effectively.

While the emergence of startups heralds a potential shift in the landscape of American healthcare, it is unlikely to supplant traditional models entirely. However, these innovative ventures may serve as catalysts for incremental changes within the broader healthcare system.

Study Reveals Exceeding Exercise Guidelines Linked to Lower Mortality Risk

Consistent physical activity is widely acknowledged as beneficial for health and well-being. However, determining the optimal duration and intensity of exercise necessary to decrease mortality risk has remained a topic of interest. A study recently published in the Circulation journal sheds light on this matter.

The study’s findings challenge the current 2018 physical activity guidelines, which suggest that adults should aim for 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of both. Surprisingly, exceeding these recommendations appears to confer even greater benefits in terms of reducing mortality risk.

Moderate physical activity encompasses activities like walking and weightlifting, while vigorous exercise includes running, biking, and swimming. The study drew data from two large prospective U.S. cohorts, involving 116,221 adults who self-reported their leisure-time physical activity over three decades.

Participants who engaged in two to four times more than the recommended amount of vigorous physical activity saw a significant decrease in cardiovascular disease mortality risk. Similarly, those exceeding the moderate physical activity guidelines by the same margin, roughly 300 to 599 minutes weekly, experienced the most substantial benefits.

The study revealed that individuals who surpassed the recommended levels of moderate physical activity by two to four times had a notable reduction in all-cause mortality (26% to 31%), cardiovascular disease mortality (28% to 38%), and non-cardiovascular disease mortality (25% to 27%).

Likewise, adults who exceeded the recommended vigorous physical activity levels by two to four times (approximately 150 to 299 minutes per week) showed a decreased risk of all-cause mortality (21% to 23%), cardiovascular disease mortality (27% to 33%), and non-cardiovascular disease mortality (19%).

The study emphasizes the importance of combining moderate and vigorous physical activity for optimal results. Individuals who maintained adequate levels of both types of activity experienced significantly lower mortality risks. Furthermore, higher levels of vigorous activity were particularly beneficial for individuals with insufficient moderate activity levels.

However, for individuals already engaging in high levels of moderate physical activity (over 300 minutes weekly), additional vigorous activity didn’t yield further mortality reduction benefits.

Moreover, those who were inadequately active—engaging in less than 75 minutes of vigorous or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly—could significantly reduce mortality risks by incorporating modest levels of either type of exercise.

A separate study published in JAMA Oncology suggests that even small amounts of vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity, such as short bursts of fast walking or stair climbing, are associated with decreased cancer risk.

Contrary to common assumptions, age did not appear to influence the impact of exercise intensity on mortality reduction. Both younger individuals, who typically opt for vigorous activities, and older adults, who often prefer moderate exercise, experienced similar benefits from long-term physical activity.

Furthermore, the study found no evidence to suggest that high levels of long-term vigorous physical activity had adverse effects on cardiovascular health, contrary to previous concerns. However, further research is warranted to confirm these findings conclusively.

Medical Experts Urge Supreme Court Action to Combat Vaccine Misinformation

Vaccines play a vital role in saving lives, preventing diseases, and easing the strain on healthcare systems. Recognizing this, various medical organizations, including the AMA, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, and American Geriatrics Society, have jointly submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Murthy v. Missouri. This document emphasizes the crucial need to counter vaccine misinformation to safeguard public health.

The brief highlights the collective experience of hundreds of thousands of medical professionals who have witnessed both the life-saving potential of vaccines and the damaging impact of misinformation. Drawing on decades of research and practice, these organizations stress the unparalleled benefits of vaccines as a cornerstone of public health.

On the legal front, Missouri and Louisiana’s attorneys general have filed suits against social media platforms, alleging coercion in censoring individuals critical of COVID-19 policies, masks, and vaccine mandates. Conversely, the Biden administration argues that its engagement with these platforms aimed to curb online misinformation, particularly by flagging content violating platform policies.

A central point of the brief is the detrimental effect of misinformation on COVID-19 vaccine uptake, which undermines the vaccines’ effectiveness in saving lives and controlling the spread of the virus. The government’s intervention, therefore, becomes imperative in combating falsehoods that endanger public health.

The brief underscores the safety of FDA-approved vaccines, emphasizing the rigorous process of clinical trials and ongoing monitoring by regulatory agencies. In contrast, it highlights baseless claims circulating widely, such as individuals becoming “magnetized” post-vaccination or being implanted with tracking microchips, which lack credible evidence.

Moreover, the decline in vaccination rates due to misinformation has led to the resurgence of diseases like measles, once on the brink of eradication. Legal proceedings surrounding the case have seen a district court ruling in July 2023 limiting governmental communication with social media companies, partially upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court’s intervention in October temporarily halted the district court order until its own ruling, expected in June.

In a related case, the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies has filed an amicus brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the upholding of a permanent injunction against a 2021 Montana law barring physicians from accessing vaccination status information of employees or patients who decline to disclose it.

ACA Urges Caution in Integrating AI into Mental Health Counseling, Emphasizing Human Expertise

Artificial intelligence (AI) exhibits potential as a valuable aid in mental health services, educational counseling, and career guidance. However, the American Counseling Association (ACA), the primary body representing counseling professionals, emphasizes the importance of not substituting AI for human counselors.

The ACA’s AI Working Group has released guidelines to assist counselors and their clients in comprehending the benefits and limitations of integrating chatbots, robotics, and other emerging AI tools into mental health services. Russell Fulmer, PhD, LPC, chair of the working group and professor at Husson University, Bangor, Maine, stresses the necessity for clients to grasp the technical limitations, unresolved biases, and security risks associated with AI before incorporating it into counseling.

“While AI may present promising advantages, its assertions can occasionally be overly ambitious, unsupported by evidence, or even incorrect and potentially harmful,” the panel emphasizes in its recommendations.

AI technologies are engineered to replicate human-like reasoning, decision-making, and language comprehension. Counselors currently utilize them to streamline administrative tasks, such as progress reports for clients, according to Olivia Uwamahoro Williams, PhD, NCC, LPC, a clinical assistant professor at the College of William & Mary and an ACA working group member. Some counselors are encouraging clients to utilize AI chatbots to aid in understanding and managing their thoughts and emotions between therapy sessions, Fulmer notes.

However, as highlighted by the ACA panel, these algorithms inherit the fallibilities and biases of their human creators. There’s a risk that AI tools may rely on data that overlooks specific communities, particularly marginalized groups, potentially resulting in culturally insensitive care. Additionally, there’s a possibility of disseminating false claims or inaccurate information. Despite their potential as diagnostic aids, AI tools cannot replicate the professional judgment and expertise necessary to accurately assess an individual’s mental health requirements.

“Unlike human counselors, AI lacks the ability to comprehensively consider a client’s intricate personal history, cultural background, and diverse symptoms and factors,” the guidelines underscore. “Hence, while AI can be a supportive tool, it should not supplant the professional judgment of professional counselors. It is advisable to utilize AI as a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, the expertise provided by professional counselors.”

The ACA panel recommends that clients take the following into consideration:

  1. Ensure your provider educates you on what AI can and cannot provide so you can make informed decisions regarding its use in your counseling.
  2. To safeguard confidentiality, confirm that the AI tools you utilize comply with federal and state privacy laws and regulations.
  3. Discuss with your counselor strategies to mitigate the risks of AI tools providing misinformation or factual errors that could jeopardize your well-being.
  4. Refrain from utilizing AI for crisis response; instead, seek assistance from crisis hotlines, emergency services, and other qualified professionals.

Providers are urged by the working group to develop a comprehensive understanding of AI technologies, their applications in counseling services, and their implications for confidentiality and privacy. Fulmer stresses the necessity for counselors to undergo thorough and ongoing training in the evolving applications of AI.

“We have an ethical obligation to ensure our competence in anything we utilize,” he asserts. “Thus, one of our recommendations is to enhance our understanding of AI.”

The panel also calls upon technology developers to involve clients and counselors in the design of pertinent AI tools. This inclusion of users will ensure that AI tools are client-centered and address practical needs.

ACA assumes a leadership role in ensuring the responsible use of AI in mental health services, according to Shawn Boynes, FASAE, CAE, the organization’s chief executive officer.

“The integration of AI and its impact on mental health is expanding rapidly in various ways that we are still exploring,” Boynes remarks. “As one of numerous mental health organizations dedicated to well-being, we aim to lead by offering solutions to help address future concerns.”

Women with Fatty Liver Disease from Alcohol Consumption Face Higher Mortality Risk Than Men, Study Find

A recent study conducted by researchers from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai and their colleagues has revealed that women diagnosed with fatty liver disease due to alcohol consumption are at nearly double the risk of mortality within a specific timeframe compared to men with the same condition.

The study, published in the esteemed Journal of Hepatology, underscores the imperative for women at risk of liver disease to abstain from excessive alcohol consumption.

Also termed steatotic liver disease, fatty liver disease develops when an excess of fat accumulates in the liver, potentially leading to enduring liver damage. This condition is also associated with an elevated risk of heart disease.

Dr. Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, the director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Department of Cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute and the lead author of the study, emphasized, “Steatotic liver disease is a significant and increasingly prevalent ailment, likely serving as an underlying precursor to numerous conditions, including those affecting the heart. We are increasingly concerned about steatotic liver disease as we observe its close correlation with established cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.”

Recent medical discourse has introduced new terminology to classify distinct types of steatotic liver disease, including metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD), alcohol-related liver disease (ALD), and metabolic dysfunction-associated and alcohol-related liver disease (MetALD).

The investigators from Cedars-Sinai endeavored to investigate how these variants of steatotic liver disease might manifest differently in men and women.

Data spanning from 1988 to 1994, sourced from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, were scrutinized by the investigators. The study participants underwent comprehensive medical assessments, including questionnaires, physical examinations, and liver imaging scans, providing insights into alcohol consumption patterns, cardiometabolic risk factors, and liver health.

The analysis encompassed over 10,000 individuals aged 21 and above residing in the United States, with accessible data from liver scans and other medical evaluations. Approximately one-fifth of the cohort, totaling 1,971 individuals, exhibited steatotic liver disease, with MetALD accounting for over 75% of cases. While all forms of steatotic liver disease were approximately twice as prevalent in men compared to women, the data unveiled a significantly elevated risk of mortality among women over a median duration of 26.7 years. For instance, women diagnosed with MetALD faced an 83% higher risk of mortality compared to men without liver disease. Moreover, women afflicted with ALD confronted a mortality risk 160% greater than their male counterparts with ALD.

Dr. Alan Kwan, MD, a research instructor in the Department of Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai and a collaborator on the study, remarked, “These findings are particularly alarming against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which alcohol consumption and associated mortality, particularly among women, have surged.”

Indicators of underlying metabolic liver disease include being overweight or obese, prediabetes or diabetes, high blood pressure, or abnormal blood cholesterol levels. The investigators caution that women exhibiting these risk factors should be particularly vigilant regarding excessive alcohol consumption.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines moderate alcohol consumption for women as one drink per day or less.

The researchers intend to further explore why alcohol exerts a more pronounced impact on the female liver than the male liver and identify lifestyle modifications, beyond curtailing alcohol intake, that may mitigate a woman’s susceptibility to fatty liver disease.

They underscore that since the study relied on data collected between 1988 and 1994, additional research is imperative to ascertain how the prevalence of liver disease and alcohol consumption patterns may have evolved over time.

Dr. Yee Hui Yeo, MD, and Dr. Hirsh Trivedi, MD, both affiliated with Cedars-Sinai, also contributed to the study.

Addressing Loneliness and Social Isolation Could Mitigate Health Risks for Individuals with Obesity

Loneliness and social isolation, prevalent global issues, may play a significant role in mitigating health risks associated with obesity, according to a recent study. The findings are particularly noteworthy as individuals classified as obese tend to experience higher levels of loneliness, according to the report.

Dr. Lu Qi, the lead author of the study published in JAMA Network Open, emphasized the current focus on dietary and lifestyle factors in preventing obesity-related illnesses. However, he highlighted the importance of considering social and mental health to improve the well-being of individuals with obesity. Dr. Qi, a professor and interim chair of the department of epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, conveyed this message via email.

The research, drawing data from nearly 400,000 individuals in the UK BioBank, a comprehensive biomedical database, explored the long-term impact of loneliness on health. Participants initially did not have cardiovascular disease when data collection commenced, and the study followed up between March 2006 and November 2021.

The results revealed a notable 36% lower rate of all-cause mortality for individuals classified as obese who reported lower levels of loneliness and social isolation over the study period. Dr. Qi suggested integrating social and psychological factors into intervention strategies to prevent obesity-related complications.

Surprisingly, social isolation emerged as a greater risk factor for all-cause mortality, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, compared to depression, anxiety, and lifestyle risk factors such as alcohol consumption, exercise, and diet.

Dr. Philipp Scherer, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, expressed that while the findings weren’t surprising, they underscored the potential of improving social isolation as a remedy to reduce mortality.

Loneliness, often overshadowed by discussions on diet and exercise, has gained recognition as a major risk factor for poor health outcomes. A study from June 2023 found that socially isolated individuals were 32% more likely to experience premature death than their socially connected counterparts. Chronic loneliness can act as a form of stress, adversely affecting the body through stress hormones, as explained by Turhan Canli, a professor of integrative neuroscience at Stony Brook University.

Canli suggested that the link between loneliness and poor health outcomes might also be tied to socially isolated individuals having reduced access to medical care or engaging in other unhealthy habits, such as smoking and excessive alcohol use. He emphasized the importance of maintaining a social network as a health-promoting activity, akin to regular exercise and a balanced diet.

Rachael Benjamin, a licensed clinical social worker based in New York City, highlighted that despite the plethora of online connections available, individuals might still feel lonely. Feeling known by others and integrated into the community is crucial for combating loneliness. Benjamin pointed out that fatphobia could make it challenging for people with obesity to feel understood and accepted within their communities.

Addressing bias on an individual level may be challenging, but Benjamin outlined steps to foster quality relationships. She defined a quality relationship as one where individuals can be themselves without the pressure to pretend. Benjamin encouraged self-reflection to identify self-imposed isolation habits and recommended making an effort to connect with people regularly, even if it feels uncomfortable initially. Building quality connections, she noted, takes time, effort, and patience.

The study sheds light on the interconnectedness of social well-being and physical health, particularly for individuals classified as obese. Integrating strategies to alleviate loneliness and social isolation alongside traditional approaches may contribute to more comprehensive efforts in preventing obesity-related complications.

Former Kenyan Prime Minister’s Daughter Praises Ayurveda’s Healing Touch, Vows to Introduce it to Kenya

Ayurveda, an ancient healing system originating from the Indian subcontinent, has garnered acclaim from Rosemary, the daughter of Raila Odinga, the former Prime Minister of Kenya. In 2019, Rosemary regained her eyesight through Ayurvedic treatment in India and now expresses her intention to introduce Ayurveda to Kenya, believing it can benefit millions.

Rosemary conveyed her gratitude, stating, “Earlier I couldn’t see, now I can. PM mentioning my treatment shows close relations b/w our countries. I’ll take Ayurveda to my country, it can help millions of people,” as reported by news agency ANI on Wednesday.

This development coincides with the recent inauguration of the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jamnagar, Gujarat. Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, attended the ceremony alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The WHO center in Gujarat aims to harness the potential of Ayurveda by integrating ancient practices with modern science, making it the world’s first and only global outpost center for traditional medicine.

Raila Odinga himself had lauded Ayurveda and expressed his intent to bring it to Kenya. In February, he discussed with PM Modi the possibility of establishing a branch of the hospital where his daughter underwent treatment in Kenya. Odinga stated, “I have suggested to them that they should come and set up a branch in Nairobi, Kenya, and I am going to work with them to set up this center,” as reported by ANI.

Odinga was referring to the Sreedhareeyam Ayurvedic Eye Hospital and Research Centre in Kerala. Following a diagnosis of a brain tumor in 2017, Rosemary underwent surgery in Nairobi. However, during the post-operative period, she experienced a severe loss of eyesight. In 2019, she traveled to India and received treatment at Shreedhareeyam Ayurvedic Eye Hospital in Koothattukulam, Kerala, which successfully restored her vision.

Navigating the Ongoing COVID-19 Landscape: Balancing Normalcy and Caution in 2024

In recent times, a substantial portion of the U.S. population has found themselves grappling with respiratory illnesses, constituting 7% of all outpatient healthcare visits during the week ending December 30, as per data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While flu, RSV, and other routine winter viruses contribute to this surge, the highly contagious JN.1 variant of COVID-19 is playing a significant role, presenting a challenging start to the year. Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina, author of the Your Local Epidemiologist newsletter, asserts that Americans are witnessing a potential glimpse into their “new normal.”

Jetelina laments, “Unfortunately, signs are pointing to this [being] the level of disruption and disease we’re going to be faced with in years to come.”

The absence of active COVID-19 case tracking by the CDC complicates the assessment of the virus’s spread. Wastewater analysis, while not a perfect substitute, currently serves as a real-time signal, and its data indicate that the ongoing surge may only be surpassed by the initial Omicron wave in early 2022. Some projections suggest that over a million individuals in the U.S. could be contracting the virus daily at the peak of this surge.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have seen an increase, with almost 35,000 recorded during the week ending December 30, a 20% rise from the previous week in 2023. Deaths, typically lagging behind hospitalizations, are already at around 1,000 per week in the U.S.

Despite these concerning trends, everyday activities such as working in offices, attending schools, dining in restaurants, and sitting in crowded movie theaters continue with minimal masking. Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, and former COVID-19 response coordinator for the Biden Administration, emphasizes that the changing landscape is influenced by factors such as widespread immunity, available treatments like Paxlovid, and the general population’s familiarity with mitigation measures.

Jha states, “COVID is not gone, it’s not irrelevant, but it’s not the risk it was four years ago, or even two years ago.” He advocates for a balanced approach, acknowledging the persistent risks for certain groups while asserting that vaccines and treatments should instill confidence in resuming normalcy.

Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, acknowledges the challenge of adjusting to this new reality after years of heightened vigilance. Wachter advises adapting behavior based on individual risk tolerance and vulnerability to severe disease, recommending additional precautions during surges.

With precise COVID-19 data less available, Jetelina suggests aligning behavior with specific objectives. For example, individuals aiming to protect vulnerable family members may choose to avoid crowded places before visits. Dr. Peter Hotez of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development emphasizes the need for more people to receive updated vaccines targeting newer variants to enhance overall protection.

Despite vaccination efforts, Long COVID remains a challenging risk to address. Jetelina notes that staying up-to-date on vaccines reduces the risk but does not eliminate it entirely. Hannah Davis from the Patient-Led Research Collaborative for Long COVID advocates for adopting precautionary measures such as wearing quality masks, improving ventilation, and testing before gatherings.

Davis contends that the government should do more to inform the public about the persistent risks of Long COVID and reinfections. She suggests policy measures, such as ventilation requirements for public places and mask mandates on public transportation, to supplement individual efforts.

While some mask mandates have been reinstated in certain healthcare facilities and nursing homes, Jha argues against widespread mandates, asserting that with the current array of tools available, they are less crucial. Jetelina anticipates a potential relaxation of COVID-19 guidance in 2024, speculating on changes to isolation guidelines by the CDC.

Looking ahead, Wachter predicts that the threat of COVID-19 will become integrated into background risks, similar to other potential health hazards. Jha emphasizes the need to move forward rather than attempting to revert to pre-pandemic norms. He expresses hope that lessons learned during the pandemic will lead to a comprehensive approach to respiratory diseases, standardizing guidance on vaccines, masks, ventilation, and sick-leave policies for all infectious diseases, not just COVID-19.

https://time.com/6554340/covid-19-surge-2024/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=sfmc&utm_campaign=newsletter+health+default+ac&utm_content=+++20240112+++body&et_rid=207017761&lctg=207017761

Affordable Fitness: Building a Thrifty Workout Routine

If budget constraints have kept you from achieving your fitness goals, you’re not alone. While the dream of a personal gym with top-notch equipment may seem out of reach, there are cost-effective ways to get in shape without breaking the bank. Milo F. Bryant, a San Diego-based trainer, highlights the simplicity of free outdoor activities: “I can go to the beach for free. I can pick up some hundred-pound rocks and carry them.” Bryant also recommends bear crawls, emphasizing their effectiveness on steps.

Creating a home gym doesn’t have to drain your wallet. The classic jump rope, priced at just $10, offers an incredible workout. Gwen Gates, a coach at the Logan Health Medical Fitness Center, suggests a Tabata-style routine, utilizing 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off intervals for 10 to 20 minutes. For those uncomfortable with jumping, letting the rope hit the ground and stepping over it still elevates the heart rate.Affordable Fitness Building a Thrifty Workout Routine

Battle ropes are another budget-friendly option for working the arms and incorporating cardio. While commercial ones may start at $50, a homemade version using supplies from a hardware store can be just as effective. For those interested in strength training without barbells, exercise bands, costing no more than $20 for a full set, offer versatile options. Bryant recommends placing bands around ankles or knees while walking sideways, providing an effective workout.

Kettlebell workouts are popular, but the weights can be expensive. Brad Roy, the editor of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, suggests using medicine balls instead, starting at around $20. Gwen Gates advises incorporating them into squats, progressively adding difficulty by raising the ball above your head.

For a back-to-basics approach, consider rucking, or walking with weight on your back. This age-old practice builds strength, stamina, and muscular endurance. While specialized rucking backpacks start at $100, you can achieve the same effect by loading your current backpack with a few books or water bottles. Utilizing pull-up bars or exercise tools found during your walk adds an extra dimension to your routine. Playground exercises, from step-ups to tricep dips, provide a diverse set of options.

Bird-watching, disc golf, and shadowboxing can also be incorporated into your walks. Bird-watching, in particular, can extend the duration of your walk as you seek out new species. If you’re not a bird enthusiast, try disc golf, a budget-friendly activity with approximately 9,000 courses across the United States. Shadowboxing routines or walking with poles, starting at $25, provide effective arm and shoulder workouts. Trekking poles, suggested by Dr. Roy, encourage better posture than traditional canes, making them an excellent option for those considering walking aids.

For a more dynamic workout, consider pickleball on a tennis court. Paddle and ball sets start at $30, offering not only physical benefits but also improving hand-eye coordination and balance, especially beneficial for older adults. Dr. Roy describes pickleball as an “awesome activity” for overall fitness.

Achieving fitness goalsdoesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. By incorporating affordable tools and outdoor activities into your routine, you can build strength, improve endurance, and enhance your overall well-being without burning a hole in your pocket. As Milo F. Bryant aptly puts it, “You want to be able to move,” and these budget-friendly optionsprovide the perfect opportunity to do just that.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/02/well/move/cheap-workouts-fitness-exercise.html?smid=nytcore-android-share

Empowering Ladakhi Women: A Journey from Tragedy to Cervical Cancer Awareness

In the early stages of his medical career in southern India, Nordan Otzer, an ENT surgeon now in his mid-40s, received a life-altering call from his home in the Ladakh Himalayas. This call sparked his commitment to cervical cancer awareness, a cause that became deeply personal.

Otzer recounts the distressing moment when his mother’s health deteriorated, revealing a silent battle with cervical cancer. Despite experiencing persistent spotting and abdominal pain, she only sought medical help when the pain became intolerable. This delay, unfortunately, proved fatal. Otzer reflects, “My mother’s death due to cancer altered the course of my career, leading me to make the choice to remain and contribute to my own community.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that over 95% of cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), emphasizing the importance of early detection and prevention. The WHO recommends screening for HPV infection starting at 30 years of age, with regular screenings every 5 to 10 years.

Cervical cancer stands as the fourth most common cancer among women globally, with a substantial burden in low- and middle-income countries. In 2020, an estimated 90% of the 604,000 new cases and deaths occurred in these regions, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue on a global scale.

Otzer’s personal tragedy fueled his determination to make a difference in Ladakh, a remote mountainous region at an altitude exceeding 14,000 feet. Since 2009, he, along with local supporter Stanzin Dawa and visiting doctors from Singapore, has organized over 140 awareness and screening events, reaching out to women in villages scattered across challenging terrains.

“We have conducted screenings for 12,400 women thus far, among whom one out of every 10 women has precancerous lesions,” Otzer reports, underscoring the critical need for timely treatment to prevent the progression to full-blown cancer.

Beyond the logistical challenges of reaching remote areas, Otzer encountered cultural barriers. Ladakhi women, initially reticent about discussing women’s health openly, hesitated to undergo checkups. Otzer recalls, “Women in Ladakh tend to be reticent about discussing women’s health matters openly, not even with their own family members.”

However, with persistence, the community became more receptive over time. Initially avoiding eye contact and refraining from asking questions, Ladakhi women gradually started attending screening camps, breaking down the stigma surrounding cervical cancer.

In the context of India, cervical cancer ranks as the second most common cancer in women, contributing significantly to the global burden. The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare aims to vaccinate 68 million girls against HPV by the end of 2025, followed by an annual vaccination of 11.2 million girls aged 9 and older.

A December 2021 study published in Springer reveals that cervical cancer accounted for 9.4% of all cancers and 18.3% (123,907) of new cases in India in 2020. It remains a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

The study emphasizes the alarming situation in rural areas where women, often illiterate and unaware of cervical cancer hazards, face scarce healthcare resources. The availability of medical infrastructure and awareness play pivotal roles in preventing cervical cancer, as confirmed by a study in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention.A Lancet study from October 2023 exposes disparities in cervical cancer survival across India, with higher rates in urban areas boasting better healthcare facilities. The study calls attention to the importance of addressing inequities in the healthcare system, highlighting the need for awareness, early detection, and improvements in healthcare infrastructure.

Otzer’s journey from personal tragedy to community empowerment illustrates the transformative impact of raising awareness about cervical cancer. By breaking down cultural barriers and overcoming logistical challenges, Otzer and his team have made significant strides in Ladakh, offering hope for a future where cervical cancer is detected early, treated effectively, and lives are saved.

https://www.ipsnews.net/2023/11/this-doctor-helps-himalayan-women-ward-off-cervical-cancer/

AAPI Honors Dr Abhijat Seth, President of India’s National Board of Examinations, Dr. Minu Bajpai, Executive Director of NBEMS, Dr. Rakesh Sharma, Member of BEMS During GHS in New Delhi

(New Delhi, India — January 9, 2024) The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic medical association in the Un8ted States representing over 20,0,000 physicians of  Indian Origin honored Dr Abhijat Seth, President of National Board of Examinations, India with the Life Time Achievement Award in appreciation and recognition of his distinguished leadership exceptional contributions and lifelong commitment to the field of medical education in India during the 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit 2024 held in New Delhi on January 5th, 2024.

Dr SharmaWhile introducing Dr. Seth, Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chairman of AAPI BOT said, “Dr. Seth is the president of NBEMS, who has brought significant contributions to medical education, increase in much needed post graduate seats I n medical education in India, and has encouraged family medicine post graduated and diploma courses,” he said.  “ in addition, he has taken CPR awareness initiatives and worked with several healthcare institutions including NMC, Dental, Nursing, Para Medic, whose numbers have reached more than 2 million people as of 2023.”

Dr. Abhijat Sheth completed his post-graduation in Cardiothoracic Surgery from  KM School of Postgraduate Medicine and Research, Ahmedabad. He extensively worked as an academician at various medical colleges in Ahmedabad. In 1998, he went to UK for further training in Cardiothoracic Surgery where he had  worked as a Senior House Officer and Registrar in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle.

Dr. Sheth obtained his FRCS in General Surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians of Glasgow in 2000. Since 2001, his main focus of work has been in the Cardiothoracic Department of St George’s Hospital NHS Trust in London, where he has worked with the eminent cardiothoracic consultant Professor Brendan P Madden. Dr. Sheth has undertaken his MD (Research) degree from London University under the supervision of Professor Brendan P Madden and MBA (Health Executive) from Keele University, Manchester.

Dr. Sheth has a long and distinguished career in adult Cardiothoracic Surgery, Cardiothoracic Research andDr Bajpai Academia, initially in India and then extensively in the UK. He published more than 20 peer reviewed publications in prestigious journals, including in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 40 abstract presentations and 40 conference presentations at the British Thoracic Society, World Congress of Brontology, European Respiratory Society and American Thoracic Society. His major research and publications are in the fields of large airway intervention and Sildenafil therapy for patients with pulmonary hypertension.

In his 10 years of academic career at St. George’s Hospital, he successfully guided a number of specialist registrars in developing competency with endobronchial intervention, pulmonary artery catheterization and management of patients with secondary pulmonary hypertension.

Dr. Minu Bajapi, Executive Director of NBEMS and a former Dean of AIIMS Delhi was honored with the Outstanding Leadership Award in appreciation and recognition of his distinguished leadership, exceptional contributions, and lifelong commitment to the field of medical education.

AAPI also presented Dr. Rakesh Sharma, Member of BEMS with the Outstanding Leadership Award in appreciation and recognition of his distinguished leadership, exceptional contributions, and lifelong commitment in the field of medical education.

The focus of the recently concluded 17th Annual Global Healthcare Summit by The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) held in Delhi and Manipal has been sharing of knowledge and expertise on The Future of Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence, providing hundreds of delegates from abroad and India to interact and learn from one another about the trends in modern technology in healthcare and best practices that can help physicians to provide the best and affordable healthcare to the patients.

“It’s a well-known fact that physicians of Indian origin excel in their respective areas of work and continue to play key roles in patient care, administration, academics and medical research. In order to cater to its diversity of medical specialties, AAPI continues to use a multi-disciplinary conference format. The essence of AAPI is educational,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, president of AAPI, while describing the objectives of CME said. Dr. Samadder expressed AAPI’s commitment to collaborating with prestigious institutes like AIIMS and MAHE.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS highlighted the significant Indian involvement in the American health sector and the aim of the global health conference, discussing innovative technologies’ relevance. Stressing the growing focus on AI technology globally, the conference has aimed to explore its possibilities in healthcare, he added.

AAPI is an umbrella organization which has nearly 160 local chapters, specialty societies and alumni organizations. For over 41 years, Indian physicians have made significant contributions to health care in this country, not only practicing in inner cities, rural areas and peripheral communities but also at the top medical schools and other academic centers. Almost 10%-12% of medical students entering US schools are of Indian origin. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, AAPI represents the interests of over nearly 200,000 physicians, medical students and residents of Indian heritage in the United States. For more details please visit:  www.aapiusa.org

Surge in Medical Seats Signals Robust Growth in India’s Healthcare Infrastructure

In a recent announcement, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya disclosed data illustrating a substantial surge in the number of medical seats across India, marking a significant improvement in the country’s healthcare infrastructure over the past decade.

According to Minister Mandaviya’s tweet on his official Twitter handle, India has experienced a more than twofold increase in both MBBS and PG medical seats in the last 10 years. The data revealed that the total number of MBBS seats in India has risen to 108,940, and PG seats have reached 70,674, compared to the 2014 figures of 51,348 seats.

Highlighting this growth trajectory, the Health Minister stated that an impressive 57,592 new MBBS seats were introduced between 2014 and 2024. The expansion was particularly notable in PG medical seats, with the addition of 39,489 seats during the same period.

Dr. Mandaviya emphasized the government’s commitment to raising awareness and ensuring healthcare services reach the last mile. He highlighted India’s unique four-tier healthcare system, operating from grassroots to primary to secondary to tertiary levels. The establishment of institutes like Ayushman Arogya Mandir in rural and urban areas played a crucial role in this strategy.

“Differing from other nations, India has a four-tier healthcare system that functions from grassroots to primary to secondary to tertiary, wherein institutes such as Ayushman Arogya Mandir have been established across rural and urban areas,” Dr. Mandaviya stated.

These institutes not only provide a wide range of healthcare services but also act as connectors, facilitating secondary and tertiary level consultations at their respective locations. This approach aims to save patients time and money while delivering services and care with ease at affordable rates.

Furthermore, the Minister reiterated the government’s persistent dedication to ensuring equal and accessible healthcare. Initiatives like Ayushman Bharat have been implemented to make healthcare services more affordable and available to everyone in society.

The significant increase in medical seats underscores the government’s strong commitment to enhancing healthcare infrastructure, ensuring fair access to healthcare, and strengthening the country’s medical facilities to meet the growing needs of the people.

ADA Announces Diverse and Accomplished Leadership Team for 2024, Featuring Three Indian-Origin Experts

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has disclosed its roster of principal officers and board of directors for the year 2024, a lineup that notably features three accomplished individuals of Indian origin. The ADA’s 15-member board, comprising professionals from the medical, scientific, education, and executive business realms, was detailed in a recent news release.

Among the distinguished appointees are Dr. Mandeep Bajaj, Dr. Rita Rastogi Kalyani, and Dr. Madi Rajulapalli, each bringing a wealth of expertise to the ADA’s leadership. Dr. Mandeep Bajaj, holding the position of president of medicine and science, serves as the vice chair for clinical affairs in the department of medicine and holds a professorship in medicine and molecular and cellular biology at the esteemed Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Dr. Bajaj occupies the role of chief of the endocrinology section at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, concurrently acting as the medical director of the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Diabetes Program and Baylor Medicine Endocrinology and Diabetes. His contributions extend beyond clinical roles, having served on the association’s scientific sessions meeting planning committee, finance committee, and research grant review committee. The ADA has acknowledged his exceptional contributions with the Outstanding Physician-Clinician award.

A graduate of the renowned All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, Dr. Bajaj pursued fellowship training in endocrinology and diabetes at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. His impressive background and dedication to the field have positioned him as a respected figure within the ADA.

Dr. Rita Rastogi Kalyani, assuming the role of president-elect of medicine and science, is an associate professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Kalyani previously chaired the ADA’s professional practice committee, responsible for formulating the ADA standards of care in Diabetes in 2018. Her involvement with the ADA also extends to her presidency of the ADA’s Maryland community leadership board.

Currently serving as an associate editor for BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, Dr. Kalyani is a Harvard alumna, having earned her bachelor’s degree there. She completed all her medical training at Johns Hopkins, solidifying her academic and professional credentials.

Dr. Madi Rajulapalli, entrusted with the position of regional medical director for Medicare Case Management at CVS Health, boasts a distinguished career path. Before her current role, she served as the chief medical officer for Aetna Better Health of Louisiana and held leadership positions as the chief medical officer for provider-based health plans and population health, as well as chief medical officer for community healthcare centers.

Dr. Rajulapalli holds diplomas from the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Quality and Utilization Review Physicians. Her educational journey includes an MBA from Texas Woman’s University and executive education from Harvard Business School. Beyond her corporate responsibilities, Dr. Rajulapalli actively contributes to the ADA as the president of its board, Louisiana-Mississippi chapter. Additionally, she participates in the value-based care council—executive leadership advisory committee (EAC) for the National Association of Managed Care Physicians.

In her leadership role, Dr. Rajulapalli aligns with the ADA’s mission as a voluntary health organization committed to addressing the diabetes epidemic and enhancing the well-being of individuals living with diabetes.

The ADA, through its newly appointed principal officers and board members, continues to play a pivotal role in combating the challenges posed by diabetes. The inclusion of these three accomplished individuals of Indian origin underscores the organization’s commitment to diversity and excellence in its leadership. As the ADA strives to “bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic” and support those affected by the condition, the collective expertise of Dr. Bajaj, Dr. Kalyani, and Dr. Rajulapalli promises to contribute significantly to the organization’s ongoing efforts.

AAPI’s Global Healthcare Summit In Manipal Ends, Giving Delegates A Memorable Experience In Scientific Learning And Authentic Karnataka Culture

(Manipal India – Jan. 8th, 2023) The focus of the 17th Annual Global Healthcare Summit by The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) held in Delhi and Manipal’s has been sharing of knowledge and expertise on The Future of Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence, providing hundreds of delegates from abroad and India to interact and learn from one another about the trends in modern technology in healthcare and best practices that can help physicians to provide the best and affordable healthcare to the patients.

The highly acclaimed annual Summit, organized by AAPI in collaboration with AIIMS, Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, the Indian Medical Association, and the Government of the State of Karnataka and the Global Association of Indian Medical Students (GAIMS) was inaugurated with the lighting of the traditional lamp in Manipal, setting the stage for the convergence of profound medical discourse and cultural celebration on January 5th, 2024.

Future of Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence was echoed in every scientific presentation provided by the esteemed speakers from around the world. The multidisciplinary CME conference during the GHS allowed specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers discussed gaps between current and best practices on a wide-ranging topics during the CME sessions.

“It’s a well-known fact that physicians of Indian origin excel in their respective areas of work and continue to play key roles in patient care, administration, academics and medical research. In order to cater to its diversity of medical specialties, AAPI continues to use a multi-disciplinary conference format. The essence of AAPI is educational,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, president of AAPI, while describing the objectives of CME said. Dr. Samadder expressed AAPI’s commitment to collaborating with prestigious institutes like AIIMS and MAHE.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS highlighted the significant Indian involvement in the American health sector and the aim of the global health conference, discussing innovative technologies’ relevance. Stressing the growing focus on AI technology globally, the conference has aimed to explore its possibilities in healthcare, he added.

According to Dr. Shivangi, “The objective of the GHS has translated into numerous Continuing Medical Education (CME) and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields. CMEs during GHS provided comprehensive and current reviews and guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases with the objective of reducing morbidity and mortality and achieve cost effective quality care outcomes. At the end of the GHS, it is expected that attendees have gained an understanding of the causation, diagnosis and the best clinical practices for the management of the diverse groups of diseases.”

AAPI 2024 Collage 7The AAPI Medical Symposium continued its legacy of delivering engaging and informative sessions, bringing together medical professionals and experts to explore various facets of healthcare. On January 5th, CME Sessions in Manipal was Inaugurated by Indian Medical Association National President, Dr. R .V. Ashokan.

The inaugural CME session was led by Dr. Amit Chakrabarty MD, MS (PGI), FRCS (Edin), FICS, Consultant Urologist USA Chairman, Poplar Bluff Urology PC, who presented his insights on: PSA Testing – Quandaries and Conundrums, Dr Tom Devasia’s presentation focused on: Intracoronary imaging in complex coronary interventions: Indian trends with a focus on Manipal, Experience. “SGLT2-I & HFrEF” was the topic presented by Dr. Dyanand Naik MD FACC, Associate Prof. at Columbia University, New York.

Comparison of USA & India Zoonotic Diseases was eloquently presented by Dr. Jois Krishnamurthy DVM, MVSc,MS, M(ASCP), DM – Retired Veterinary Medical Officer & Director – U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington D. C. Dr. Bantwal Suresh Baliga MD, MRCP(UK) Associate, Prof. Mercer School of Medicine, Mercer University, GA USA had his session on Innovative AI management of Diabetes Mellitius. Dr Karthik Udupa’s session was about Principles of Immunotherapy & its application in clinical practice.

Dr. Unnikrishnan opened the 2nd day of the CME with his eloquent presentation on: Role of Artificial Intelligence in achieving sustainable development goals.  Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar, Cancer Care Advisors & Consultants LLC University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA presented on Precision population medicine in cancer care: Potential benefits for cancer care in India.

Dr. Yogeesh Kamath’s focus during his session was on AI in the prevention & treatment of arthritis for young and old. Dr. Sanjay Agarwal MD Pulmonary & Critical Care did his presentation on Advanced Technology and AI focused Care in OBA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) & Lung Cancer. A session on Management of Snake Bite by Dr. Chakrapan provided practical solutions to a common problem faced by many.

Insights into Impact of Climate Change on Health Systems was offered by Dr. Vikas Kapil, Chief Medical Officer, Associate Director of Science, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Georgia, USA.

Dr. Krishan Kumar MD FAAP FACEP FAEMS, Prof. Pediatrics & Emergency Medicine, NY College New York, USA educated the delegates on: Emergency Medicine and updates – Weapons of Mass Destruction Relevant to the Current World Order. The final session of GHS 20024 was by Dr. Vani Vijaykumar MD who had her presentation focused on: Transthyretin Cardiac Amyloidosis (ATTR-CA) and Alzheimer Disease & Beyond oncology into Autoimmune Diseases- FDG PETCT role in Systemic Vasculitidis.

AAPI 2024 Collage 9The Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred upon Dr. Ramdas Pai, Chancellor of Manipal Education Institute (MAHE). Dr. Ranjan Pai and Mrs. Vasanthi Pai accepted the honor on his behalf, and lauded Dr. Ramdas Pai’s achievements and invited all attending doctors to MAHE. Prominent personalities present at the event included Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) Dr. Ranjan Pai, Dr. H S Ballal Pro Chancellor, MAHE, and Lt Gen (Dr) M D Venkatesh, Chair, GHS, India.

Dr. Arathi Krishna, Deputy Chairman, NRI Forum, Government of Karnataka, while inaugurating the program expressed her happiness about the health summit being organized in Karnataka. She affirmed the government’s commitment to supporting technological and medical sector development.

On January 4th, entertainment by Manipal Cultural Committee was breathtaking, showcasing the rich classical and folk traditions of southern India. This was followed by Live Music & Entertainment, presented by US delegate Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Vice President of AAPI.

Saturday, January 5, 2024 began with a visit to Udupi Sri Krishna Temple, seeking blessings on all by the delegates. A visit to the Hastha Shilpa Heritage Village Museum Tour was a unique experience appreciated by all participants. Tour of Manipal University provided participants to see and experience the campus, that stands among the best in the world.

Kavyabhinaya performance om January 5th by Manasi Sudhir, led by Kantara, a fame actress & Team was mesmerizing.  The delegates enjoyed cultural programs featuring a captivating Kavybhinaya performance by Manasi Sudhir and team, renowned for their contributions to the show “Kantara.” The night ended with a Musical Extravaganza by the highly acclaimed Anirudh Shastry. The grand finale on Saturday night was by Dr. Mohan Alva, the Cultural Ambassador of India, a unique NUDISIRI Cultural Gala Show, cherished by one and all.

Authentic and delicious Mangalore dishes served on traditional banana leaf was another memorable experience for all delegates during GHS in Manipal. Welcome Dinner by Manipal (MAHE) was served on January 4th.

AAPI 2024 Collage 10The popular CEO Forum had leaders in both the corporate and healthcare field, including, Ganesh Nayak, Executive Director, Zydus Lifesciences Ltd., Jagadish Tande, Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat, Dr. Vijay Gopal, Cardiologist, and Mr. Jagadish K M, CEO of KMF. The CEO Forum chaired by Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS 2024. The CEO Forum was moderated by Dr. Subra Bhat, who was a lead organizer og GHE Manipal along with his wife, Dr. Anu Bhat.

The much-anticipated Women’s Forum had eminent successful women leaders, including: Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of AAPI;  Dr. Arathi Krishna, Deputy Chairperson, NRI Forum of Karnataka, Guest of Honor; Smt. Lakshmi R. Hebbalkar, Princess of Travancore Lakshmi Bayi Nalapat; and Dr. Annapurna Bhat. Co-Chair of Women’s Forum. The Forum was eloquently moderated by Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI’s Women’s Forum and a key organizer of the GHS 2024 in Manipal.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS 2024 expressed his gratitude to all who have been instrumental in organizing the highly successful GHS in Manipal, particularly Dr. Subra Bhat, Dr. Annapurna Bhat, Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Dr. Ballal, Dr. Venkatesh, Dr. Rohit Singh, Dr, Sharat Kumar, Dr. Raj Alappan, Dr. Bantwal S. Baliga, Dr. Unnikrishnan, and Dr, Padmaraj Hegde.

India is making tremendous progress in the healthcare sector and is building modern medical facilities throughout the country. Physicians of Indian origin have earned a name for themselves in the medical field and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub. With a rise in population, there is an urgent need to create additional health infrastructure, which entails a higher level of investment in the Indian healthcare market in the coming years.

It’s in this context, the groundbreaking AAPI Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) from January 1-6th, 2024 in Delhi and Manipal, Karnataka, organized with participation from some of the world’s most well-known physicians, and industry leaders becomes very critical and significant. This international healthcare summit is a progressive transformation from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007.

AAPI is an umbrella organization which has nearly 160 local chapters, specialty societies and alumni organizations. For over 41 years, Indian physicians have made significant contributions to health care in this country, not only practicing in inner cities, rural areas and peripheral communities but also at the top medical schools and other academic centers. Almost 10%-12% of medical students entering US schools are of Indian origin. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, AAPI represents the interests of over nearly 200,000 physicians, medical students and residents of Indian heritage in the United States. It is the largest ethnic medical organization in the nation. For more details and registration for the convention, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org and www.aapiusa.org

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Declares Presidential Candidacy in Utah, Gaining First Ballot Access

In a significant move towards the 2024 presidential race, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has officially filed to run as an independent candidate in Utah after successfully meeting the 1,000-signature requirement essential for ballot inclusion. This marks the inaugural state where the prominent anti-vaccine activist and independent candidate has qualified for the upcoming election.

At a campaign event in Salt Lake City, Kennedy, surrounded by volunteers, disclosed the submission of his candidacy in Utah earlier that day. Campaign spokesperson Stefanie Spear affirmed that Utah is the first state where Kennedy’s campaign has submitted signatures and achieved ballot access, with expectations that Arizona might follow suit.

Kennedy seized the opportunity to critique the formidable barriers faced by candidates without major party backing, emphasizing that stringent requirements in certain states create almost insurmountable challenges to challenge the political “chokehold” exerted by Republicans and Democrats in U.S. politics. He asserted, “This process is forcing us to build our army now, and we’re going to have a better army on the street and in the trenches in November 2024.”

The scion of the renowned Democratic Kennedy family, an environmental lawyer by profession, diverged from the party last fall to embark on an independent White House bid. As the son of former senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and a nephew of Democratic President John F. Kennedy, Kennedy brings a unique political lineage to the race.

Kennedy gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic for his endorsement of public health conspiracy theories, amassing a dedicated following of individuals who question the scientific consensus on vaccine safety and effectiveness.

Successfully gaining ballot access in Utah, Kennedy’s candidacy rekindles discussions about the potential spoiler role that an independent candidate could play for the eventual Democratic and Republican nominees. While it remains unlikely for an independent or third-party candidate to secure the presidency, they have the potential to divert support from major candidates, influencing the outcome.

Concerns about Kennedy acting as a spoiler have arisen among allies of both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who are the probable nominees for their respective parties. Both Biden and Trump face challenges in popularity, increasing the prospect that third-party support could sway the results in the 2024 elections.

In an era of escalating political polarization, Kennedy positions himself in the middle, aligning with influential figures on the far right while highlighting his environmentalist background.

The extent of Kennedy’s ballot access across states remains uncertain, as each state establishes its own unique requirements. The process of collecting signatures and navigating legal obstacles can be financially burdensome for candidates lacking support from major parties.

American Values 2024, a super PAC backing Kennedy, has committed to investing up to $15 million to assist him in securing ballot access in crucial states. Kennedy’s success in Utah was facilitated by a legal triumph in a lawsuit filed last month, challenging the state’s candidate filing deadline.

Complicating matters, Kennedy’s anti-vaccine organization is currently entangled in a lawsuit against several news organizations, including The Associated Press, alleging violations of antitrust laws for taking action to identify misinformation about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines. Although Kennedy distanced himself from the group upon announcing his presidential bid, he is still listed as one of its attorneys in the ongoing lawsuit. The AP and other news entities have sought the dismissal of the lawsuit.

AAPI Confers Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Ramdas Pai, Chair of MAHE During GHS in Manipal

(Manipal, Karnataka — January 6, 2024) During the 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit 2024 by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) being held in Manipal, Karnataka, Dr. Ramdas Pai, Chancellor of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his visionary leadership and dedication to quality education in the nation.

His son Ranjan Pai, an educationist and healthcare baron, who manages the Manipal Group, along with his mother Mrs. Vasanthi Pai, received the award from Dr. Aarti Krishna, Deputy Chair of non-Residents Indian Forum, Karnataka, who was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of the GHS – Manipal on January 5, 2024. AAPI’s 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2024 being held at the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal in Karnataka from January 4th to 6th, 2023.

AAPI 2024 Collage 7In her remarks, Mrs. Vasanthi Pai said, “Dr Ramdas M Pai has always set a high bar for the institutions he has set up. She shared with the audience the high regards and appreciation Dr. Pai has for AAPI and its valuable services in promoting healthcare and exchange of knowledge and advocacy of policy initiatives in the US.

Recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Pai was honored with the prestigious awards such as Padma Bhushan from the Government of India, ‘Datuk’ Award from the Government of Melaka, Malaysia and the Golden Peacock Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution in the field of education and healthcare.

In her address, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said, “I extend my warmest greetings to each and every one of you attending this prestigious 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit in New Delhi and Manipal. As the president of AAPI, I’m honored to welcome a diverse gathering of experts, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and advocates dedicate dedicated to advancing global health. I want to thank was speakers and sponsors for their contributions.”

GHS is being organized by AAPI in collaboration with AIIMS, Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, the Indian Medical Association, and the Government of the State of Karnataka and the Global Association of Indian Medical Students (GAIMS),

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS 2024 said, “With the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, AAPI has rightly chosen to focus on the Future of Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence during the GHS 2024, and is being organized in collaboration with AIIMs, and University of Manipal, which are in the league of the best academic centers. With the invention of Artificial Intelligence, we want to explore its impact on Medicine and Healthcare in the 21st century.”

In her keynote address, Dr. Aarti Krishna extended her felicitations to AAPI and all the participants at the Global Healthcare Summit in Manipal. She appreciated the special focus being given to the future of healthcare and artificial intelligence, as well as holding a special segment for women. She recalled her long association with AAPI and its leaders during her tenure in Washington DC where she had interacted with several AAPI leaders. She highlighted how “Karnataka has been in the forefront and now the is the foremost state of India in the healthcare sector and has taken numerous and tremendous strides to raise high quality health care to the people of the state. In fact, it has become the hub of healthcare for Indians all over India. I’m confident that initiatives taken up during the GHS 2924 will be mutually beneficial to all.”

AAPI 2024 Collage 8Dr. Krishna said, “AAPI has been a pioneering institution in the United States to support and nurture the Indian American physicians, the pursuit of excellence in professionalism patient care, teaching and research. They steadfastly pursue collective advocacy for furthering the costs of medicine, medical profession, and knowledge of ethics and legislative and regulatory changes in the profession. I’m delighted that AAPI has partnered with India to share the knowledge and progress in both our countries in the field as well as contributing to the health sector in India.”

In a message sent by the honorable Chief Minister of Karnataka Shree Siddaramaiah, he extended his heartfelt greetings to all the participants who are attending the GHS conference in Karnataka. “Karnataka takes immense pride in being at the forefront of health care, and hosting this conference is a testament to our commitment to advancing the field as we bring together minds that have dedicated themselves to the noble cost of healthcare, I am confident that this conference will serve as a dynamic platform for brainstorming and exchanging ideas.”

Lt. Gen. Dr. Venkatesh, Chair of GHS, India described the great achievements of Manipal Academy as one of the most pioneering institutes in the world, among the top six universities in the country, which effectively means that it is number one, multidisciplinary private university in the country. “I think this is a testament to our commitments, more importantly, as the world is grappling with environmental issues, and global warming, we focus on sustainability, targeting our commitment to unwavering support for environment. And today, we are ranked as the number one university in terms of environmental friendliness, and being a green campus,”

Dr. H S Ballal, MAHE Pro Vice Chancellor in his address said, “I’m very happy that AAPI is hosting a scientific conference here in Manipal, today and tomorrow. Congratulations to the more than 100 delegates with their families from the US, who are participating in this conference. Your presence contributes to the richness and diversity to our vibrant community and we are very delighted to have you here.”

The 2 days long sessions in Manipal is packed with top end CMEs delivered by several prominent physicians and academicians who are participating at the GHS and are leading and chairing various academic sessions that are being organized during the summit.

AAPI 2024 Collage 10The awesome hospitality and warmth of the local organizing committee, cultural extravaganza depicting the cultural traditions of southern India, delicious Karnataka special cusine, served on banana leaves and the visits to the local education centers, Temples and cultural sites are added attractions that made the Summit in Manipal unique.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS 2024 expressed his gratitude to all who have been instrum ental in organizing the highly successful GHS in Manipal, particularly Dr. Subra Bghat, Dr. Annapurna Bhat, Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Dr. Ballal, Dr. Venkatesh, Dr. Rohit Singh, Dr, Sharat Kumar, Dr. Raj Alappan, Dr. Bantwal S. Baliga, Dr. Unnikrishnan, and Dr, Padmaraj Hegde.

India is making tremendous progress in the healthcare sector and is building modern medical facilities throughout the country. Physicians of Indian origin have earned a name for themselves in the medical field and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub. With a rise in population, there is an urgent need to create additional health infrastructure, which entails a higher level of investment in the Indian healthcare market in the coming years.

It’s in this context, the groundbreaking AAPI Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) from January 1-6th, 2024 in Delhi and Manipal, Karnataka, being organized with participation from some of the world’s most well known physicians, and industry leaders becomes very critical and significant. This international healthcare summit is a progressive transformation from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007.

Providing a forum for innovative opportunities for learning, networking and giving back to our motherland that have now enabled us to plan ahead and prepare for an outstanding event with very prominent and talented physicians and surgeons from abroad, in addition to the hundreds of physicians from India, who are very passionate about serving their homeland, mother India. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org/

AAPI Signs MoU with AIIMS for Collaboration in Research, Student Exchange, and Academics

(New Delhi, India – January 5th, 2024) The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi for collaboration in the areas of Research, Education and Student Exchange for a period of five years during the ongoing 17th edition of AAPI’s Annual Global Healthcare Summit in New Delhi and Manipal Karnataka.

MOU 2The collaboration between the AIIMS and AAPI signed at AIIMS in the presence of representatives from AAPI and AIIMS on January 3rd, 2024, marks a significant initiative to advance research, academia, and the exchange of knowledge, ultimately aiming to enhance patient care in India and has been hailed as a major step forward.

On behalf of AAPI, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of AAPI signed the MoU, while Dr, M. Srinivasan, Director of AIIMS signed the MoU on behalf of AIIMS marking a new beginning in global collaboration in exchange of knowledge and medical students. Others who were present at the Signing Ceremony included, Dr. Rakesh Garg, Additional Professor in Onco-Anesthesia and Palliative Medicine at Delhi-AIIMS, Dr. Shubham Anand, Chair of GAIMS,  Dr. Ajeeth Kothari and Dr. Gautam Samadder, both past Presidents of AAPI, Dr. Sumul Raval, Secretary of AAPI, Dr. Bhavani Srinivasan, Chair of AAPI Publications, Dr. Inderpal Chabra, President of AAPI QLI, and Dr. Avinash Gupta, a senior leader of AAPI and President of Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) in NY/NJ/CT.

“The meeting today is a great beginning to facilitate collaborative efforts between India and the United States,” said Dr. Samadder. “The MoU between AAPI and AIIMS, India’s most premier Medical Education Institute has been signed for the purpose of furthering cooperation in education, student exchange, and research activities, affirming our intent to promote such academic collaborations and participate in various academic endeavors.”

In his address, Dr, Srinivasan said, “It is my pleasure that we are onboard with AAPI for its 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit. AIIMS New Delhi was established in 1956 to accomplish the trinity of mission, advanced medical education, cutting edge research, and quality patient care. I am certain that this collaboration will act as a platform for exchange of ideas and collaboration across the domains for cutting edge research and breakthrough in medical education. We look forward to meeting professionals, researchers, and experts in the field of healthcare and research from across the globe.”

The MOU envisages fulfilling of the objectives including that AAPI will offer administrative support to AIIMS by cooperation between AAPI and AIIMS and aims at revamping or initiating new fellowship programs at AIMS.

Under the Internship programs at AAPI, undergraduate and post graduate and PhD level students from AIIMS may visit universities/hospitals where AAPI members hold key positions for a period of two to eight weeks to attend Observership programs, specifically designed and offered or as a part of ongoing research at AAPI.

MOU 3Under the Joint Supervision Program, Doctoral level students from either side can be co supervised by faculty members from both the organizations.  AAPI members may permit its members to visit AIIMS for short durations, ranging from one week to one year to teach at AIIMS.

AAPI may invite faculty members from AIIMS to visit AAPI as visiting faculty members as per their designations for research and academic activities at institutions or hospitals where members hold key positions, for limited durations, on mutually agreeable terms.

Through the development and organization of short-term training and certificate courses by AAPI and enabling AIIMS faculty staff or students to take part in ongoing continuing education programs and courses of AAPI.

AAPI and AIIMs will collaborate for the development of new areas of research and extension of technical cooperation the new RP members for infrastructure development, management and upgradation of library and Teaching Research Laboratories

Dr. Rakesh Garg emphasized the importance of evidence-based medicine in the field of medical science. Dr. Garg highlighted the importance of understanding the motivations, findings, and limitations of ongoing studies, allowing for improvements in existing setups and delivering benefits to the broader community and population. He emphasized the efficiency gained through shared knowledge in research and clinical practices.

Featured & Cover MOU 1Dr. Sumul N. Raval, current Secretary of AAPI highlighted importance of the MoU said that this is the most successful outcomes from the GHS 2024 for the purpose of “learning from each other’s experiences, sharing vital insights and collaboration on future endeavors, mutual exchange of ideas, sharing of best practices that are critical for advancing medical education and assuring high standards for protecting public health will positively shape the medical education.”

AAPI hopes the excellence gained through long term vision, insight and hard work with both organizations and exchange of ideas and challenges will benefit the medical education system in India and help tens of thousands of medical graduates coming from India to have recognition in the US, said Dr. Samadder.

Since its inception over four decades ago, AAPI has been in the forefront advocating for medical school education reform and for the medical graduates from India to be treated on par with their counterparts in India. India is already leading the global pharmaceutical industry, and rebooting medical education will help India enter the league of leaders in healthcare around the world.

“The signing of MoU with AAIMS today is a great start, and I look forward to AAPI continuing to lead such efforts in the coming years benefiting the medical fraternity,” said Dr. Samadder. For more information on AAPI and its many initiatives, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI’s 17th Annual Global Healthcare Summit in New Delhi Concludes with Call to Bridge the Digital Gap In Healthcare Delivery

New Delhi (January 4, 2023): The 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) came to a close with a call and commitment to help bridge the Digital Gap in Healthcare delivery system in India with the effective utilization of modern technology.

The flagship conference with the theme, “Cutting Edge in Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence” held at the pioneering All India Medical Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Le Meriden Hotel was attended by over a hundred delegates from around the world and over 250 physicians and medical students from several Medical Schools and Hospitals from across India was held in New Delhi from January 1st to 3rd, 2024.

AAPI 2024 Collage 5In her welcome address, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said, “I extend my warmest greetings to each and every one of you attending this prestigious 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit in New Delhi and Manipal. For the first time it is being held in two cities, in collaboration with prestigious institutions, such as AIIMS, New Delhi and MAHE in Manipal. As the president of AAPI, I’m honored to welcome a diverse gathering of experts, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and advocates dedicate dedicated to advancing global health. I want to thank was speakers and sponsors for their contributions.”

For the first time ever, AAPI is hosting the annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) in two cities in India, giving delegates, who are coming from the United States to participate and gain a unique perspective and experience India from the North to the South ,

AAPI’s 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2024 was held at the at the Le Meridien Hotel from January 1-3rd and will be held at the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, MAHE in Karnataka from January 4th to 6th, 2023. The GHS was inaugurated at the prestigious Le Meridien Hotel in New Delhi with a memorable New Year’s Day Eve celebration on December 31st, 2023.

GHS is being organized by AAPI in collaboration with AAIMS, Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, the Indian Medical Association, and the Government of the State of Karnataka and the Global Association of Indian Medical Students (GAIMS),

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS 2024 said, “With the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, AAPI has rightly chosen to focus on the future of Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence during the GHS 2024, and is being organized in collaboration with AIIMs, and University of Manipal, which are in the league of the best academic centers. With the invention of Artificial Intelligence, we want to explore its impact on Medicine and Healthcare in the 21st century.

The annual event of AAPI, GHS has contributed to ushering in new ways of providing healthcare to India’s 1.4 billion people, who live in the congested urban centers and in the rural/remote regions of the country. The 17th annual GHS will build on past initiatives and add several new programs, Dr. Samadder added.

AAPI, which has been leading efforts to help streamline medical education in India to meet the global standards, assembled a galaxy of medical regulatory organization leaders from India, the United Kingdom and the United States during the GHS on January 2, 2024.

Leaders of National Board of Examination in Medical Science (NBEMS) India, National Board of Examination in Medical Science (NBME) USA, and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) were among the panelists that discussed and educated the aspiring medical students from some of the premium Medical Schools in India who had keenly participated at the panel discussion.
Dr. Lokesh Edara, BOT-Chair Elect, Dr. Sumul N. Raval, current Secretary of AAPI, and Dr. Shubam Anand, Chairman of Global Association of Indian Medical Students (GAIMS) led and coordinated the initiatives.

Dr. Peter Katsufrakis, President and CEO, NBME,USA, Dr Humayun Chaudhry, President and CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards, Jeffrey D. Carter, MD (Missouri) Chair of the FSMB, Dr. Sarvam TerKonda (Past Chair, FSMB USA), Ms. Katie Templeton JD (Chair-Elect, FSMB,USA), and Prof. Hasmukh Shah, Recruitment and Training in UK were some of the others from the Medical education field, who were part of the distinguished panelists. Dr. Abhijat Sheth represented NMBE – India. FSMB was represented by Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, President and CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards. Dr. Sheth presented the NBEMS mission and PG NEET examination, FMGE examination and more than 50 specialties for postgraduate and super specialties courses they are conducting and graduating.

AAPI Collage 2 (3)During GHS AAPI entered into a groundbreaking partnership with CLIRNET, India’s leading digital healthcare platform with the objective of running a Mentorship & Observership program jointly. While announcing the new initiative Dr. Samadder emphasized the imperative for healthcare professionals to stay at the forefront of innovation. She also highlighted that the collaboration between AAPI and CLIRNET marks a significant milestone in advancing clinical training in India.

AAPI in collaboration with WHEELS Foundation has announced a $10,000 award towards the Project – Kanya: Sanitary Napkin Machine. The announcement was made during a joint panel discussion held as part of the GHS on ‘Menstrual Health’ (under the banner of ‘Kanya Conference’). The Kanya Challenge Award seeks to catalyze groundbreaking advancements in menstrual hygiene for Indian women through the development and commercialization of absorbent materials made from indigenous Indian resources.

The Panel Session was led by Dr. Anajana Samadder, Dr. Sumul Rawal, Secretary, AAPI, Anitha Thampi (of MCup), Jayadeep Mandal: Aakar Innovations & Aakar Social Ventures, Prof Virendra Kumar Vijay (of IIT-Delhi’s UBA Program) speaking on UBA supporting Saukhyam: Dr. Meenakshi Bharat, a Gynecologist and Fertility specialist who is a green campaigner, an advocate for Clean India. Prof Satish Agnihotri: Professor, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA), IIT Bombay with messages from Dr. Raj Shah, Dr. Vriti Khurana and Ratan Agarwal.

In his keynote address, Dr. Anupam Sibal, Chair of GHS – Delhi highlighted the enormous accomplishments of India and Indian Americans across many spectrums. He pointed to the advances in Medical Education in India, particularly since its independence, “In the past seven to eight decades, we’ve made considerable progress in higher education, and this is just a snapshot of the area. We have 149 institutes of national importance, more than 1000 universities and more than 50,000 colleges. fourth highest number of doctoral graduates in the world, the fourth highest research output in the world. We produce 6.5 million graduates every year 1.5 million engineers, 300,000 MBAs and 100,000 graduates.:

In his address, M. Srinivasan, Director of AIIMS said, “It is my pleasure that we are onboard with AAPI for its 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit. AIIMS New Delhi was established in 1956 to accomplish the trinity of mission, advanced medical education, cutting edge research, and quality patient care. I am certain that this conference will act as a platform for exchange of ideas and collaboration across the domains for cutting edge research and breakthrough in medical education. We look forward to meeting professionals, researchers and experts in the field of healthcare and research from across the globe.”

Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair of AAPI BOT said, “AAPI’s GHS is yet another way of continuing with our constant commitment towards making quality healthcare affordable and accessible to all the people of India. In addition, GHS 2024 focusses on promoting Healthcare Technology including Artificial Intelligence in the Healthcare arena.”

Several prominent physicians and academicians are participating at the GHS and are leading the keynote addresses and are chairing various academic sessions that are being organized during the summit. Latest Advances, CME, ELS, Discussions on Research Methodology, and Scientific Writing by Academic Experts are part of the summit.

AAPI Collage 4The CEO Forum addressed by eminent panelists that included, Air Marshal Sadhana Nair, Saurav Kasera, Sreeprasad Guduppa, Sudharshan Jain, Shenoy Robinson, Karthikeyan, IPS, and Suresh Samuel, in their eloquent addresses spoke on Equity, Ethics, and how to adapt to the changing landscape in the healthcare arena and make a positive and lasting impact, benefitting the physicians, industries and the larger population.

Physician Burnout and mitigating mental health issues among physicians was the major theme during the evening session, moderated by Dr. Shubham Anand, Dr. Inderpal Chadda, and Dr. Chanchal Pal. Distinguished panelists included: Dr. Sreenivasan, Director of AIIMS; Dr. Suresh Kumar, Director of LNJP Hospital; Dr. Subhash Giri, Director of LHMC; Dr. Ishwar Singh, Director of Indira Gandhi Hospital; Dr. Vinay Kumar, President, RDA, AIIMS; and Dr. Rohan Krishnan, Chairman, FAIMAR.

Dr. Bhavani Sreenivasan, Chair of AAPI Publications eloquently moderated the Women’s Forum on “Breaking Barriers and Shaping the Future of Women.” Air Marshal Dr. Sadhana Nair, Dr. Anita Ratnam, Dr. Damayante Karkare, Dr. Madhushree Katwal and Mrs. Geetha Athreya shared with the audience, quoting from their personal experiences about how they overcame challenges in life and became role models in their own way.

GHS was packed with day long workshops on various relevant topics, Trainings, Research Contest, Scientific Workshops and Panel Discussions on how modern technology is being used in the vast medical field. On New Years Day, participants went on a pilgrimage to Rishikesh, the holy shrine under the foothills of the Himalayas, seeking blessings from the Almighty.

Dr. Sumul Raval, Secretary of AAPI said, “Harnessing the power of Indian Doctors worldwide, the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit platform has evolved with the support of prominent global and Indian medical associations. AAPI’s mission is to make a positive and meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India.”

Healthcare in India is one of the largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment. India is making significant improvements in its healthcare infrastructure and is building modern medical facilities throughout India. Doctors of Indian origin have made tremendous progress in the 21st century and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub.

The Global Healthcare Summit has come a long way from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007. Since then, AAPI has organized 16 Indo – US/Global Healthcare Summits and developed strategic alliances with various organizations.

Highlighting the importance of the flagship annual GHS, Dr. Samadder said, “This summit serves as a powerful platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and the forging of meaningful partnerships. The work we do today paves the way for a healthcare landscape that is more efficient, accessible and affordable toward all individuals. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org/

AAPI & WHEELS Global Announce $10,000 Award for Menstrual Health Project During Global Healthcare Summit in New Delhi

(New Delhi, India – January 3m 2024) Inspired by the physicians and engineers of Indian origin in the United States, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in collaboration with WHEELS Global Foundation has announced a $10,000 award towards the Project – Kanya: Sanitary Napkin Machine, during APPI’s 17th annual Global Health Summit held at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on January 3rd, 2024.

The announcement was made during a joint panel discussion held as part of the GHS on ‘Menstrual Health’ (under the banner of ‘Kanya Conference’). The Kanya Challenge Award seeks to catalyze groundbreaking advancements in menstrual hygiene for Indian women through the development and commercialization of absorbent materials made from indigenous Indian resources.

“To accelerate the journey to a fully affordable, safe, accessible, and domestically self-reliant solution, AAPI & WHEELS are jointly announcing a $10,000 Award with the objective of using the funds to accelerate affordability and access – which when achieved gets us national scale penetration, said Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of AAPI.

The Kanya Challenge Award, Transforming Menstrual Hygiene through Indigenous Innovation will be given to the entity submitting “the best plan, using the funds, to achieve material acceleration of affordability and access of an environment-friendly imports-avoiding solution, with the submissions deadline marked for March 31st, 2024.”

WHEELS and AAPI teams will have a joint panel of experts to select the winning entry for the announcement at the appropriate forum soon after. The Project – Kanya is aimed at developing a high-performance, eco-friendly absorbent material for feminine hygiene products using locally sourced Indian materials; and, commercializing the product, achieving sales and use by 100,000 consumers with at least 50% satisfaction (based on surveys by 10% of users).

The Panel Session was led by Dr. Inderpal Chhabra, Dr. Anajana Samadder, President, AAPI, Dr. Sumul Rawal, Secretary, AAPI, Anitha Thampi (of MCup), Jayadeep Mandal: Aakar Innovations & Aakar Social Ventures, Prof Virendra Kumar Vijay (of IIT-Delhi’s UBA Program) speaking on UBA supporting Saukhyam: Dr. Meenakshi Bharat, a Gynecologist and Fertility specialist who is a green campaigner, an advocate for Clean India. Prof Satish Agnihotri: Professor, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA), IIT Bombay with messages from Dr. Raj Shah, Dr. Vriti Khurana Founder, Kanya Project and Ratan Agarwal, President of Wheels Global Foundation.

The panel discussion focused on the five compelling solutions we are bringing to the target beneficiaries – to not only address the unmet need for 46m rural girls and women but do it with environmentally friendly (sustainable) solutions that also eliminate India’s import bill.

The panel discussion focused on the innovations by NOBA Initiative for Menstrual Health, M-Cup by Anitha Thampi (IIT-B CTARA graduate) – supported by Prof Satish Agnihotri (IIT-B) and Prof Kannan’s Spoken Tutorials solution (to make it easy to communicate value-proposition to rural residents); Anandi Pads by Jayadeep Mandal, supported by WHEELS’ Yogesh and Arjun Malhotra, Saukhyam founded by IIT-Delhi alum Praveen Bist and Anju Bist – providing Banana fiber-based solution, and, Aashraya Seth providing a low-cost dispenser (Rs. 2,500) for schools along with education curriculum and reusable cloth-based pads.

“Kanya project” was first started by a 14-year-old girl Vriti in 2013, after she had visited a village in Telangana, deeply disturbed and saddened by the lack of support for young girls like herself. She raised funds in the US, collaborating with an Indian company “Aakaar” and had the first self-sustaining “sanitary napkin manufacturing machine” installed in Burgula, Telangana, India in 2018. Today, there are multiple companies that are working towards the same goals and we at WHEELS Global Foundation would like to take the issue of “Period Poverty” forward. (https://twitter.com/WHEELSGF/status/988154191460827136)

UNICEF reports that “in countries where menstrual hygiene is taboo, girls in puberty are typically absent for 20% of the school year”. Most girls drop out at around 11 to 12 years old and miss school not simply because they fear being teased by their classmates if they show stains from their period, but also because they are not educated about their periods, and their need for safe and clean facilities is not prioritized.

WHEELS’ objective is to drive a portfolio of solutions to address the problem at a national scale in the next 3-5 years so there is a right-fit solution to each segment – meeting affordability, accessibility, sustainability, and self-reliance for the country.

Physicians of Indian Origin in the United States are reputed to be leading health care providers, holding crucial positions in various hospitals and health care facilities around the nation and the world. Known to be a leading ethnic medical organization that represents nearly 100,000 physicians and fellows of Indian Origin in the US, and being their voice and providing a forum to its members to collectively work together to meet their diverse needs, AAPI members are proud to contribute to the wellbeing of their motherland India, and their adopted land, the United States. The convention is forum to network, share knowledge and thoughts, and thus, enrich one another, and rededicate for the health and wellbeing of all the peoples of the world. For more details, please visit: www.appiusa.org and wheelsglobal.org

AAPI’s Global Healthcare Summit Begins at AIIMS in New Delhi

New Delhi (January 2, 2023): The 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) began focusing on the theme, “Cutting Edge in Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence” at the pioneering All India Medical Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on January 2nd, 2023.

In her welcome address, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said, “I extend my warmest greetings to each and every one of you attending this prestigious 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit in New Delhi and Manipal. For the first time it is being held in two cities, in collaboration with prestigious institutions, such as AIIMS, New Delhi and MAHE in Manipal. As the president of AAPI, I’m honored to welcome a diverse gathering of experts, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and advocates dedicate dedicated to advancing global health. I want to thank was speakers and sponsors for their contributions.”

For the first time ever, AAPI has planned to have the annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) in two cities in India, giving delegates, who are coming from the United States to participate in GHS and gain a unique perspective and experience India from the North and the South ,

AAPI’s 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2024 being held at the at the Le Meridien Hotel from January 1-3rd and at the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, MAHE in Karnataka from January 4th to 6th, 2023. The GHS was inaugurated at the prestigious Le Meridien Hotel in New Delhi with a memorable New Year’s Day Eve celebration on December 31st, 2023.

GHS is being organied by AAPI in collaboration with AAIMS, Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, the Indian Medical Association, and the Government of the State of Karnataka and the Global Association of Indian Medical Students (GAIMS),

AAPI Collage 1The annual event of AAPI, GHS has contributed to ushering in new ways of providing healthcare to India’s 1.4 billion people, who live in the congested urban centers and in the rural/remote regions of the country. The 17th annual GHS will build on the past initiatives and add several new programs, Dr. Samadder added.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS 2024 said, “With the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, AAPI has rightly chosen to focus on the future of Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence during the GHS 2024, and is being organized in collaboration with AIIMs, and University of Manipal, which are in the league of the best academic centers. With the invention of Artificial Intelligence, we want to explore its impact on Medicine and Healthcare in the 21st century.

In his keynote address, Dr. Anupam Sibal, Chair of GHS – Delhi highlighted the enormous accomplishments of India and Indian Americans across many spectrums. He pointed to the advances in Medical Education in India, particularly since its independence, “In the past seven to eight decades, we’ve made considerable progress in higher education, and this is just a snapshot of the area. We have 149 institutes of national importance, more than 1000 universities and more than 50,000 colleges. fourth highest number of doctoral graduates in the world, the fourth highest research output in the world. We produce 6.5 million graduates every year 1.5 million engineers, 300,000 MBAs and 100,000 graduates.:

In his address, M. Srinivasan, Director of AIIMS said, “It is my pleasure that we are onboard with AAPI for its 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit. AIIMS New Delhi was established in 1956 to accomplish the trinity of mission, advanced medical education, cutting edge research, and quality patient care. I am certain that this conference will act as a platform for exchange of ideas and collaboration across the domains for cutting edge research and breakthrough in medical education. We look forward to meeting professionals, researchers and experts in the field of healthcare and research from across the globe.”

AAPI Collage 3Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair of AAPI BOT said, “AAPI’s GHS is yet another way of continuing with our constant commitment towards making quality healthcare affordable and accessible to all the people of India. In addition, GHS 2024 focusses on promoting Healthcare Technology including Artificial Intelligence in the Healthcare arena.”

Several prominent physicians and academicians are participating at the GHS and are leading the keynote addresses and are chairing various academic sessions that are being organized during the summit. Latest Advances, CME, ELS, Discussions on Research Methodology, and Scientific Writing by Academic Experts are part of the summit.

The CEO Forum addressed by eminent panelists that included, Air Marshal Sadhana Nair, Saurav Kasera, Sreeprasad Guduppa, Sudharshan Jain, Shenoy Robinson, Karthikeyan, IPS, and Suresh Samuel, in their eloquent addresses spoke on Equity, Ethics, and how to adapt to the changing landscape in the healthcare arena and make a positive and lasting impact, benefitting the physicians, industries and the larger population.

Physician Burnout and mitigating mental health issues among physicians was the major theme during the evening session, moderated by Dr. Shubham Anand, Dr. Inderpal Chadda, and Dr. Chanchal Pal. Distinguished panelists included: Dr. Sreenivasan, Director of AIIMS; Dr. Suresh Kumar, Director of LNJP Hospital; Dr. Subhash Giri, Director of LHMC; Dr. Ishwar Singh, Director of Indira Gandhi Hospital; Dr. Vinay Kumar, President, RDA, AIIMS; and Dr. Rohan Krishnan, Chairman, FAIMAR.

Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Vice President of AAPI, said, “It is these learning opportunities and collaborative relationships that have now enabled AAPI and participating organizations to be part of an outstanding event attended by nearly 100 prominent and experienced physicians and surgeons of Indian origin from around the world, who are very passionate about serving their homeland, Mother India.”

Dr. Sumul Raval, Secretary of AAPI said, “Harnessing the power of Indian Doctors worldwide, the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit platform has evolved with the support of prominent global and Indian medical associations. AAPI’s mission is to make a positive and meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India.”

AAPI Collage 4“AAPI GHS offers an opportunity to meet directly with these physicians who are leaders in their fields and play an integral part in the decision-making process regarding new products and services,” Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, Treasurer of AAPI said.

Healthcare in India is one of the largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment. India is making significant improvements in its healthcare infrastructure and is building modern medical facilities throughout India. Doctors of Indian origin have made tremendous progress in the 21st century and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub.

The Global Healthcare Summit has come a long way from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007. Since then, AAPI has organized 16 Indo – US/Global Healthcare Summits and developed strategic alliances with various organizations.

Highlighting the importance of the flagship annual GHS, Dr. Samadder said, “This summit serves as a powerful platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and the forging of meaningful partnerships. The work we do today paves the way for a healthcare landscape that is more efficient, accessible and affordable toward all individuals. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org/

AAPI Brings Together Leaders In Medical Education Regulatory Boards From India, USA & UK During GHS 2024

India, home to one of the oldest medicinal systems in the world has made remarkable progress in medical education in the recent past. As the world is evolving to meet the ever-changing needs, medical education in India is moving forward with the objective of enabling every medical graduate and postgraduate to be the best in the world. Several changes are being made for graduates from Indian schools to be at par and for easy mobilization around the world, with the goal of making India the medical education hub for the world.

AAPI Global edIn this context, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), which has been leading efforts to help streamline medical education in India to meet the global standards, assembled a galaxy of medical regulatory organization leaders from India, the United Kingdom and the United States during the 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit in New Delhi, India on January 2, 2024.

Leaders of National Board of Examination in Medical Science (NBEMS) India, National Board of Examination in Medical Science (NBME) USA, and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) were among the panelists that discussed and educated the aspiring medical students from some of the premium Medical Schools in India who had keenly participated at the panel discussion.

Dr. Lokesh Edara, BOT-Chair Elect and Dr. Sumul N. Raval, current Secretary of AAPI led and coordinated the initiative. During a prior meeting with AAPI leaders last year, they had invited AAPI leaders and those from other US regulatory bodies at the meeting to visit his office in New Delhi during their current visit to India. AAPI leaders invited the leadership of these regulatory groups to the AAPI annual convention in Philadelphia in July 2023 and to the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit meeting in New Delhi in January 2024.

Describing the initiative as “a historic mile stone and a testament to the commitment of AAPI towards Global Medical Education,” Dr. Lokesh Edara said, “AAPI is providing amazing opportunity to connect the medical education and licensing boards of USA (NBME, FSMB) and from India (NMC, NBEMS, AIIMS) to learn from one other’s experiences, sharing vital insights and collaboration on future endeavors, mutual exchange of ideas, sharing of best practices that are critical for advancing medical education and enhancing examination process, assuring high standards for protecting public health will positively shape the medical education.”

20240102 153214AAPI Global Medical Education has led this effort taking the delegation to the Indian National Board of Examinations in medical science NBEMS (nbe.edu.in) which conducts examination for the 1.8 million students and UG entrance examination across India and conduct the PG NNET entrance examination for 200,000 students annually. AAPI has been able to connect their visits to the National Medical Commission (NMC – nmc.org.in) that monitors ll700+ medical collges,100,000 MBBS admisisions,60,000 post graduate admissions and their education. During panel discussions lasting more than 3 hours of their experiences and their challenges.

The Indian delegation consisted of Dr. B.N. Gangadhar, Chairman, National Medical Commission; Dr. Aruna V. Vanikar, President, Undergraduate Medical Education Board, Dr Vijay Oza, President, Postgraduate Medical Education Board.

NBEMS (INDIA) was represented by Dr Abhijat Sheth, President of NBEMS, Dr Minu Bajpai, Executive Director of NBEMS; Dr Rakesh Sharma, member Director of NBEMS. NBEMS India also has more than 14000 PG seats in many specialties.

FSMB delegates included: Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, President CEO of FSMB, Dr Jeffery Crater, Chair Board of directors FSMB, Kate Lynn Templeton, Chair-Elect Board of directors FSMB, and Dr Sarvam Terkonda, past Chair Board of directors FSMB.

NBME had the following members at the Panel: Dr. Peter Katsufrakis President CEO of FSMB and Dr. Reena Karani, Chair Board of directors NBME (USA).

Jeffrey D. Carter, MD (Missouri) Chair of the FSMB is a distinguished medical professional, and was elected to the FSMB Board of Directors in 2017. Dr. Sarvam TerKonda (Past Chair, FSMB USA) is a highly regarded plastic surgeon based in Jacksonville, Florida.

Ms. Katie Templeton JD (Chair-elect, FSMB,USA), and Prof. Hasmukh Shah, Recruitment and Training in UK were some of the others from the Medical education field, who were part of the distinguished panelists.

Dr. Sheth presented the NBEMS mission and PG NEET examination, FMGE examination and more than 50 specialties for postgraduate and super specialties courses they are conducting and graduating. Dr. Katsufrakis provided an update on the NBME history and current examination-system.

Se, Edara urged Dr. Sheth to increase family medicine PG seats and nationalized formative assessment tests in theory part for all postgraduates and for post-graduate exit theory examination suggested computerized online test. Nationwide E-Learning systems for higher transfer of Knowledge in medical education.

Feature and Cover AAPI Brings Together Leaders In Medical Education Regulatory Boards From India USA & UK During GHS 2024Dr. Raval said, “In order for us to meet the unprecedented demand and to bring up the quality of education, the Indian medical education system is changing rapidly. The meeting today was a great beginning to facilitate collaborative efforts between India and the United States.”

Medical education has many challenges in the transfer of knowledge and quality. India is introducing the NEXT examination, which is the licensing examination similar to USML in the US, while the UKMLE is starting in the UK in 2024 in the place of PLAB examination. NMC has applied for WFME Recognition status, which is mandatory to apply for USMLE examination.

NBEMS is responsible for NEET PG Entrance Test, which is taken up by more than 200,000 students annually. 694 Medical schools in India with106,083 MBBs admissions per year selected from 2.1 million applicants through the UG NEET examination across India in 3 hours. The current government policy has been to have one medical college in every district to meet the growing needs of India,

FSMB federation of state medical boards leadership (fsmb.org) and NBME National board of examination USA (nbme.org) leadership is visiting India for the first time in 30 years.

“Overview National Board of Examinations” was the main theme discussed during the meeting. AAPI hopes the excellence gained through long term vision, insight and hard work with both organizations and exchange of ideas and challenges will benefit the medical education system in India and help tens of thousands of medical graduates coming from India to have recognition in the US.

AAPI educationExpressing appreciation for Dr. Edara and Dr. Raval for taking the lead in facilitating interaction and dialogue between the Medical Education Boards of India and the United States, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of AAPI said, “Since its inception over four decades ago, AAPI has been in the forefront advocating for medical school education reform and for the medical graduates from India to be treated on par with their counterparts in India. India is already leading the global pharmaceutical industry, and rebooting medical education will help India enter the league of leaders in healthcare around the world. The meeting today was a great start, and I look forward to AAPI continuing to lead such efforts in the coming years benefitting the medical fraternity.” For more information on AAPI and its many initiatives, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI Partners With CLIRNET to Unveil Transformative Mentorship & Observership Model During  the 17th Global Healthcare Summit

●      The initiative will provide Indian doctors with the opportunity to learn from experienced AAPI physicians and apply for observerships in the USA in various medical specialties

●      CLIRNET and AAPI will facilitate interactive sessions, webinars, and forums, fostering collaborative learning and the exchange of medical knowledge

●      The initiative extends beyond general medicine, focusing on various specialties to advance medical research and address healthcare challenges

New Delhi, India (January 2nd, 2023)  In continuing its efforts to collaborate with and expands its numerous initiatives, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) that represents a conglomeration of more than 80,000 practicing physicians in the United States, and  serving as the platform for more than 40,000 medical students, residents and fellows of Indian origin, has entered into a ground breaking partnership with CLIRNET, India’s leading digital healthcare platform with the objective of running a Mentorship & Observership program jointly.

While announcing the new initiative at the 17th Global Healthcare Summit, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of AAPI, emphasized the imperative for healthcare professionals to stay at the forefront of innovation. She also highlighted that the collaboration between AAPI and CLIRNET marks a significant milestone in advancing clinical training in India.

Saurav Kasera, Co-Founder of CLIRNET said, “We’re excited to partner with AAPI in this groundbreaking venture. This collaboration is more than just sharing knowledge; it’s about forging a future where Indian healthcare professionals are equipped with global expertise, ultimately elevating patient care and medical standards in India.”

The 17th annual GHS themed ‘Cutting Edge in Healthcare & Artificial Intelligence,’ is being held in collaboration with the Global Association of Indian Medical Students and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi from January 1st t0 7th in New Delhi and Manipal, India.

20240102 144200The GHS began here at AAIS this morning with an eloquent address by Dr. Anupam Sibel, GHS Chair – New Delhi, who spoke on India becoming Vishavaguru in almost all areas of international standing, including in healthcare, technology, finance and scientific research, The scientific sessions moderated and presented by world renowned physicians of Indian origin are being attended by Fellows, Residents and Medical students at AIIMS and the dozens of delegates from the United States.

The Mentorship & Observership Model aims to provide valuable inputs and expertise from AAPI medical experts in USA to young and emerging healthcare professionals in India. Mentorship, a crucial component of medical training, is an important component in enhancing career development, professional satisfaction, and overall well-being of trainees. The program will also offer doctors in India the opportunity to apply for observerships with AAPI physicians in the USA across various medical specialties.

As per the agreement, experienced AAPI physicians will facilitate interactive sessions, webinars, and forums, encouraging collaborative learning and the exchange of clinical knowledge. AAPI is committed to training approximately 200,000 physicians in the coming year, focusing on general medicine and various specialties addressing evolving healthcare needs.

The intent of the initiative is to involve 60% of AAPI practitioners in training programs to contribute their expertise to shape the next generation of healthcare professionals.

The Mentorship & Observership Model represents a paradigm shift in clinical education and global collaboration. This initiative is poised to significantly contribute to the professional growth of healthcare practitioners across India including the remotest of places, fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation in the healthcare sector.

CLIRNET stands as the world’s largest UGC (user-generated content) platform for doctors. The platform activities led by eminent institutions & physicians, spanning a multitude of specialties, have garnered active participation from lacs of doctors, establishing CLIRNET as a premier hub for knowledge dissemination, UGC and professional collaboration.

Physicians of Indian Origin in the United States are reputed to be leading health care providers, holding crucial positions in various hospitals and health care facilities around the nation and the world. Known to be a leading ethnic medical organization that represents nearly 100,000 physicians and fellows of Indian Origin in the US and being their voice and providing a forum to its members to collectively work together to meet their diverse needs, AAPI members are proud to contribute to the wellbeing of their motherland India, and their adopted land, the United States.

Founded in 1982, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin represents a conglomeration of more than 80,000 practicing physicians in the United States and over 40,000 medical students, residents and fellows of Indian origin in this country, who serve 1 in every 7 people in the USA. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

New Study Unveils the Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Emotions: Positive Moods Take a Hit, Revealing a Nuanced Connection

In the realm of understanding the impact of sleep on our emotions, a profound analysis spanning over 50 years of data has illuminated the intricate relationship between sleep deprivation and our emotional well-being. This groundbreaking study, the first of its scale since 1996, unravels the complexities of how our nocturnal habits intertwine with our feelings.

Reflecting on the evolution of research in this field, Jo Bower, a lecturer and researcher at the University of East Anglia, notes the substantial growth since 1996. With an abundance of data at their disposal, researchers like Bower can now discern the effects of various types of sleep deprivation, such as staying up late, insufficient sleep duration, and intermittent awakenings during the night.

Published on December 21 by the American Psychological Association, Bower’s study, conducted in collaboration with colleagues from institutions in Texas, Colorado, and Montana, delves into the impact of these sleep patterns on emotional states. Examining data from 154 studies involving 5,715 participants, the team meticulously analyzed reported outcomes. The predominant and consistent effect observed across all types of sleep loss was a decline in positive emotions coupled with an increase in emotional numbness and anxiety.

Bower elucidates, “We looked at everything that they reported in those studies, and what was strongest and most consistent was an impact on positive moods.” Contrary to popular intuition, individuals experiencing sleep loss were more inclined to express diminished happiness, excitement, and contentment than heightened anger or anxiety. This revelation challenges common perceptions as people often associate sleep deprivation with heightened irritability or sadness.

The study highlighted a pervasive emotional numbing and a loss of pleasure in many participants, even in cases of mild sleep deprivation, such as staying awake just an hour or two later than usual. Notably, the negative impact on emotions was accentuated when participants lost Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, suggesting that distinct neural processes during different stages of the sleep cycle could influence daytime emotions in varying ways.

Quoting Bower, “We thought that was really interesting because, intuitively, if you talk to someone [who hasn’t slept], they’ll quite often say they’re more grumpy or they’re more sad or they’re more irritable, but actually, the evidence suggests that it’s these positive emotions that suffer.”

This comprehensive exploration into the intricate dance between sleep patterns and emotional well-being underscores the profound implications of sleep on our daily lives. As we navigate the demands of modern life, understanding the delicate balance between a good night’s sleep and our emotional resilience becomes increasingly crucial.

Unlocking Immune Resilience: A Holistic Guide to Strengthening Defenses Amidst the Ongoing Pandemic Challenges

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a heightened focus on maintaining robust immune systems. Many individuals have turned to home remedies and various medications, often marketed as immune-boosting solutions. This surge in interest has given rise to an entire industry dedicated to chewables, pills, and powders claiming to fortify our immune defenses. From the popular haldi ka doodh (turmeric milk) to salt gargling, several pseudo-scientific approaches gained traction.

As attention shifts back to the ongoing threat posed by the newest variant, JN.1, concerns about our susceptibility to illness have resurfaced. While vaccines and universal masking strategies take center stage in the battle against Covid-19, Shweta Gupta, unit head of dietetics at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, emphasizes the importance of incorporating immune-building practices into our daily routines.

Recognizing that there is no foolproof method to prevent Covid-19, experts suggest a combination of lifestyle changes and healthy habits to naturally enhance the immune system. Shweta Gupta advocates for a nutrient-rich diet, emphasizing the consumption of foods rich in vitamin C (found in citrus fruits like seasonal oranges, malta, and guava), vitamin D (abundant in fatty fish and fortified dairy), and zinc (found in nuts, seeds, and legumes). Dr. Gupta advises against relying on immunity-boosting drinks, urging individuals to opt for colorful fruits and vegetables that are loaded with antioxidants, potentially shielding immune cells.

Furthermore, Dr. Mahua Kapoor Dasgupta, director of medical affairs in infectious diseases at HaystackAnalytics, stresses the importance of obtaining these essential nutrients from food rather than supplements. She highlights that supplements often lack the full spectrum of nutrients and enzymes found in whole foods.

Protein intake is highlighted as crucial for supporting white blood cells, integral to the immune system’s defense against infections. Dr. Gupta recommends ensuring an adequate intake of protein from sources such as dals, legumes, milk, eggs, chicken, and fish. With Indian diets typically rich in carbohydrates, extra attention to incorporating proteins is advised.

Gut health is identified as another key element in immune system support. Dr. Gupta suggests consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and other fermented items to foster a healthy gut microbiome, which is closely linked to immune function.

Hydration is emphasized as a fundamental aspect of immune health. Dr. Dasgupta underscores the role of water in facilitating the circulation of blood and lymph, both essential for carrying immune cells crucial in defending against pathogens and maintaining overall health. It is recommended to consume around 2-3 liters of water daily, considering external and internal factors such as diet and season.

Moderate exercise is proposed as a means of enhancing immune function by reducing inflammation and promoting the healthy turnover of immune cells. Dr. Divya Singh, a senior surgeon at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and director of Maaiya Social Front Foundation, advises engaging in activities like brisk walking or swimming, aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Adequate sleep emerges as a vital yet often overlooked factor in immune health. Dr. Singh stresses the importance of adults getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, with teens and younger children requiring 8–10 hours and up to 14 hours, respectively. Establishing good sleep hygiene practices, including limiting screen time before bed and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, is recommended.

The impact of stress on immune health is acknowledged, with chronic stress potentially weakening the immune response by reducing the number of natural killer cells or lymphocytes in the body. Stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing, are suggested by Dr. Gupta to mitigate the negative effects of stress on the immune system.

Maintaining a balanced lifestyle and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are highlighted as crucial components of immune health. Recognizing the potential negative impact of these lifestyle choices on the immune system, individuals are encouraged to adopt practices that contribute to overall well-being.

While there is no guaranteed method to prevent Covid-19, a holistic approach encompassing lifestyle adjustments and healthy habits can play a significant role in enhancing the immune system. The advice from experts emphasizes the importance of a nutrient-rich diet, protein intake, gut health, hydration, moderate exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and a balanced lifestyle in fortifying the body’s defenses against infections and illnesses. As we navigate the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, incorporating these practices into our daily lives may contribute to a resilient and robust immune system.

New COVID Variant In India

Everyone is advised to wear a mask because the new COVID-Omicron XBB variant of the coronavirus is different, deadly and not easy to detect properly:-
   Symptoms of the new virus COVID-Omicron XBB are as follows:-
     1. No cough.
     2. No fever.
     There will just be a lot :-
     3. Joint pain.
     4. Headache.
     5. Neck pain.
     6. Upper back pain.
     7. Pneumonia.
     8. Generally no appetite.
   Of course, COVID-Omicron XBB is 5 times more virulent and has a higher death rate than the Delta variant.
   The condition takes a shorter time to reach extreme severity, sometimes without obvious symptoms.
    Let’s be more careful!
   This type of virus does not reside in the nasopharyngeal area and directly affects the lungs, namely the “window”, in a relatively short time.
   Several patients diagnosed with Covid Omicron XBB were finally classified as having no fever, no pain, but X-ray results showed mild chest pneumonia.
   Nasal swab tests frequently provide negative results for COVID-Omicron XBB, and cases of nasopharyngeal tests providing false negative results are increasing.
   This means that the virus can spread in the community and directly infect the lungs, causing viral pneumonia which can cause acute respiratory stress.
   This explains why Covid-Omicron XBB is very contagious, very virulent and deadly.
   Please note, avoid crowded places, keep a distance of 1.5 m even in open spaces, wear a two-layer mask, use a suitable mask, and wash your hands frequently if everyone is asymptomatic (not coughing or sneezing).
   Covid Omicron *”WAVE”* is more deadly than the first wave of Covid-19. So we have to be very careful and take all kinds of coronavirus precautions.
   Also maintain vigilant communication with your friends and family.
   Don’t keep this information to yourself, share it with as many other relatives and friends as possible, especially your own family and friends.
 Karnataka on alert as Covid cases surge in Kerala

Winter Wellness: Expert Tips for a Healthy and Happy Season

As the days grow colder and shorter, and the New Year’s resolution deadline looms, it’s the perfect time to focus on staying healthy this winter. We’ve gathered insights from experts, offering a mix of conventional and unique tips to keep you in top shape, from lip care to winter-friendly yoga.

  1. Protect Your Pout

The winter chill can wreak havoc on your lips, the thinnest skin on your body. Dermatologist Sarvenaz Zand recommends choosing petroleum-based balms with minimal ingredients or opting for those with beeswax and shea butter. While sunscreen-infused lip balms are great for summer, skip them in winter to avoid irritating sensitive lips. Zand suggests applying lip balm twice daily and, for severe chapping, trying an over-the-counter ointment with hydrocortisone.

“For those who prefer to avoid petroleum, I love the ones with beeswax and shea butter,” says Sarvenaz Zand, a dermatologist in Mill Valley, Calif. “Remember to use your lip balm twice a day.”

  1. Prioritize Social Connection

Amid the lingering threat of the coronavirus and year-end responsibilities, it’s essential to resist isolation for the sake of your heart and brain health. Consider organizing potlucks, starting a book club, or simply spending time outdoors with friends. Psychologist Tamar Mendelson emphasizes the importance of reaching out to those facing holiday blues, especially adolescents experiencing increased depression and anxiety. Acts of altruism not only benefit others but can also enhance your own well-being.

“Altruism won’t just help your targets; a growing body of research suggests it can make you happier and maybe even healthier as well.”

  1. Embrace Snowga

Combat winter lethargy by embracing “snowga” – yoga in the snow. While unconventional, this activity offers a unique way to stay active during the colder months. Dress warmly in full snow gear, including gloves, scarves, and boots, and avoid pushing your limits in the cold. Remember to incorporate indoor stretching after your snowga session to keep your body flexible.

“You don’t want to do this barefoot. Skip the thin leggings for your full snow regalia, with gloves, scarves, and boots.”

  1. Pamper Your Pet and Dust Off Allergies

Winter can make furry pets dust magnets, so veterinarians recommend washing them at least once a month. To minimize indoor allergies and asthma risks, conduct a dust inventory, change HVAC filters, and wash bedding weekly in hot water. Additionally, consider using special mite-proof cases for pillows. Maintaining a clean living environment contributes to overall health and well-being.

“Furry pets are dust magnets. In the winter, they may also track in snow and mud.”

 

  1. Savor the Moment with Mindful Moments

Practice “hygge” by indulging in mindful moments, such as a hot-chocolate meditation. Take 20 minutes to enjoy a warm beverage, focusing on its aroma and taste. Mindfulness teachers suggest imagining the experience if actual consumption is not appealing. Hydration is crucial during winter, so be sure to drink enough water and consider using a humidifier to maintain skin and respiratory health in dry indoor environments.

“If you want to go full-tilt hygge, cocoon your way into a pair of flannel PJs and slippers and settle down for a hot-chocolate meditation.”

  1. Stay Healthy, Keep Germs at Bay

Guard against winter ailments by getting a flu shot and maintaining good hand hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a handy online demonstration on proper handwashing techniques. Moisturize after washing to prevent dry, cracked skin. Ensure adequate vitamin D intake through diet or supplements, as it plays a crucial role in fighting infections. Consult your doctor before adding curcumin, found in turmeric, to your winter immune-boosting regimen.

“Remember, of course, to apply moisturizer after you wash. Dry, cracked skin makes it easier for germs to get inside your body.”

  1. Prioritize Winter Footwear Safety

Take precautions to avoid falls, particularly for those over 65, as winter increases the risk of slips and falls. Choose footwear with rubber soles, waterproofing, and insulation. Consider slip-on cleats for snowy days, ensuring your footwear accommodates thick socks. If fashion-forward footwear is a must, bring them in a bag and change upon reaching your destination to minimize the risk of falls.

“The CDC warns that millions of people over 65, in particular, fall every year, with risks that rise significantly in winter.”

These expert tips cover a spectrum of winter wellness strategies to help you navigate the season with health and happiness. From caring for your lips to embracing unique winter activities and maintaining social connections, these practices aim to make your winter a season of well-being.

First Time Ever AAPI Plans Global Healthcare Summit In Two Cities In India

Chicago, IL, December 11, 2023: “For the first time ever the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has planned to have the annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) in two Cities IN India, giving delegates, who are coming to India to participate in GHS a unique perspective and experience from the North and the South India,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) announced here today.

The flagship annual event of AAPI, the Global Healthcare Summit has contributed to ushering in new ways ofFirst Time Ever AAPI Plans Global Healthcare Summit In Two Cities In India 2 providing healthcare to India’s 1.4 Billion people, who live in the congested urban centers and in the rural/remote regions of the country. The 17th annual GHS will build on the past initiatives and add several new programs, Dr. Samadder added.

“The registration for AAPI’s 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit 2024 at the prestigious Le Meridien Hotel from January 1-3rd and at the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Mahe in Karnataka from January 4th to 6th, 2023 is filling up fast,” said Dr. Samadder. The CMEs and other related events will be held at the pioneering All India al Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on the January 2nd.

Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair of AAPI BOT said, “AAPI’s GHS is yet another way of continuing with our constant commitment towards making quality healthcare affordable and accessible to all the people of India. In addition, GHS 2024 will also focus on promoting Healthcare Technology including Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare.”

First Time Ever AAPI Plans Global Healthcare Summit In Two Cities In India 3While elaborating on the themes and areas that are going to be covered during the Summit, Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS 2024 said, “Future of Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence” will be the theme for the GHS 2024, which is organized by AAPI in collaboration with Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, the Indian Medical Association, and the Government of the State of Karnataka.”

The GHS will be inaugurated at the Le Meridien Hotel in New Delhi with a memorable New Year’s Day Eve celebration on December 31st, 2023.

Several prominent physicians and academicians have been invited and have been accepted to be the keynote speakers and chairs of various academic sessions planned and organized during the summit. Latest Advances, CME, ELS, Discussions on Research Methodology, and Scientific Writing by Academic Experts will be part of the summit.

The focus this year will be on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality as well as Medical Jeopardy and Research Poster presentations by medical students. In addition, there will be panel discussions by International Medical Education experts and National Medical Council Board officials and mentoring of Young Professionals.

Advocacy to dismantle the stigma of mental illness and Suicide Prevention will be the highlight of the program. Chronic Disease Reversal and Prevention, Rural Health Initiatives will continue to be promoted and other Global Health Issues including Climate Change and its impact on health will be discussed.

The CEO Forum will focus on Equity, Ethics, and Physician Burnout issues. The Women’s Forum will deliberate on Gender Bias and Leadership. Dr. Manoj Jain, Chair of CETI – Collaboration to Eliminate TB in India supported by CDC and USAID will discuss their ongoing long-term TB Elimination Projects in India. Comprehensive details and outcomes of TB Elimination Projects in India will be presented to the GHS delegates.

Other activities will include CPR Training for Police personnel; a Walkathon on combating mental health stigma and prevention of Childhood Obesity and several other initiatives will be announced, including treatment modalities for non-communicable medical diseases.

Dr. Anupam Seibel, GHS Chair – New Delhi says, “With physicians from the United States, the Summit is expected to be attended by nearly 400 delegates from India, the US and other parts of the world. AAPI Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) will have many new initiatives and also will be carrying the torch of ongoing projects undertaken by AAPI’s past leaders.”

Lt. Gen. Dr. M.D. Venkatesh, Co-Chair of GHS – India says, “Many of the physicians who will attend this convention have excelled in different specialties and subspecialties and occupy high positions as faculty members of medical schools, heads of departments, and executives of hospitals and pharma companies.

According to GHS Convenor – USA, Dr. Subramanya Bhatt, “The preliminary program is in place, the major attractions include cutting-edge CMEs with renowned speakers, CEO Forum, Innovation Forum, an Entrepreneur Forum, Women’s Forum, and Product Theaters to highlight the newest advances in patient care and medical technology.”

“Alumni meetings for networking, an AAPI-India Strategic Engagement Forum to showcase the AAPI initiatives in India, TB Eradication in India, and recognition of AAPI Award winners will make this Summit unique,” added Dr. Rohit Singh, GHS Convenor – India.

According to CME Chair – USA Dr. Banbwal Suresh Balinga and CME Chair -India, Dr. Dr. Padmaraj Hegde, the focus of GHS 2024 will be on Mental health, Infant and Maternal Mortality, Medical Jeopardy, and Research Poster presentations by medical students with panel discussions by International Medical Education experts and National Medical Council Board officials will help mentoring of young professionals.

GHS Scientific Chair Dr. Rajendran Alappan said, “In our efforts to realize the core mission of AAPI, which is to share the best from leading experts from around the world, to collaborate on clinical challenges, the GHS in Delhi and Manipal will have clinical tracks that are of vital to healthcare in India.”

Dr. Sumul Raval, Secretary of AAPI says, “GHS 2024 is aimed at exploring possibilities for greater collaboration and cooperation between the physicians and health care providers in India with those of Indian origin and major health-care providers abroad.”

Healthcare in India is one of the largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment. India is making significant improvements in its healthcare infrastructure and is building modern medical facilities throughout India. Doctors of Indian origin have made tremendous progress in the 21st century and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub.

Dr. Anjana Samadder said, “We are collaborating with senior leaders from leading healthcare organizations including pharmaceuticals, device and medical equipment manufacturers and major medical teaching institutions, hospitals and the Ministries of Health, External/Overseas Affairs and regulatory bodies to attend and coordinate with AAPI with an ultimate goal to providing accessible and affordable high-quality healthcare to all people of India.”

The Global Healthcare Summit has come a long way from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007. Since then, AAPI has organized 16 Indo – US/Global Healthcare Summits and developed strategic alliances with various organizations.

Dr. Samadder said, AAPI is hopeful that several international healthcare industry partners are looking for opportunities to participate at this event for greater collaboration on Research & Development and philanthropic engagements.

Dr. Samadder expressed gratitude to all the Chairs and members of various Committees who are working hard to put together a great Summit and to enable members to return home with memories that will last a lifetime.

“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will meet and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in New Delhi and Manipal!” said Dr. Samadder. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org/  To register for the Global Healthcare Summit 2023, please visit: https://summit.aapiusa.org

Nurturing Connections: The Power of Creative Expression in Combating Loneliness

Loneliness affects approximately one in four adults globally, with repercussions ranging from an increased risk of heart attacks to dementia and premature death. However, loneliness is not a new or rare phenomenon; rather, it is nearly universal. The key lies in how individuals respond to these feelings of isolation. Dr. Jeremy Nobel, a primary care physician and author of the recently published book Project UnLonely, emphasizes the importance of human connection in addressing loneliness.

“Just like thirst is a signal you need hydration, loneliness is a signal that you need human connection,” notes Dr. Nobel. His book, Project UnLonely, serves as a guide, advocating for creative expression as a means to communicate and establish connections. Vulnerability to loneliness can stem from various factors, including trauma, illness, or being part of a marginalized group. The prevalent American mindset of individualism and independence may also contribute to social disconnection.

The evolving societal norms over the past century have provided individuals with greater freedom to shape their own identities. While this presents opportunities, it also poses challenges, as determining one’s identity and sense of belonging can be disorienting. Dr. Nobel remarks, “It’s both a set of opportunities and a set of challenges.” The absence of a prescribed way to “belong” can make finding connections challenging, leading many to hesitate in expressing themselves or communicating openly.

Dr. Nobel, a poet himself, has experienced the healing power of creative expression firsthand. His early work with active-duty service members and veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan focused on using artistic expression and mindfulness activities to help them cope with post-traumatic stress. As a believer in the medicinal benefits of creative expression, he founded the Foundation for Art & Healing two decades ago.

Project UnLonely now collaborates with community-based organizations to develop evidence-based creative expression programs, spanning various forms such as music, painting, drawing, and culinary arts. Dr. Nobel emphasizes that the options are endless, including activities like knitting, crocheting, quilting, and even gardening.

Research supports the idea that engaging in art, or even appreciating the work of others, reduces stress hormone levels and increases feel-good hormones like dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. Dr. Nobel explains, “So what the arts do is they relax you and put you in a good mood,” creating an inviting atmosphere for connection.

Project UnLonely encourages individuals to take steps toward fostering connections:

1.Be Curious:Pay attention to your interests and motivations. Knowing yourself is the first step to bonding with others. Dr. Nobel suggests, “Connecting authentically with other people is best done if you have some kind of authentic connection with yourself.”

  1. Make Something:** Creative expression doesn’t require artistic prowess. Dr. Nobel recommends simple acts like doodling, dancing, cooking, or engaging in textile arts. Making something tangible becomes an artifact expressing your thoughts and feelings to others.

3.Take a Risk by Having Conversations:Share something about yourself, even if it’s not a deep secret. Taking a risk is the first step to authentic connection. Sharing something you’ve made, like a doodle or dance move, can act as a catalyst for more profound conversations.

  1. Find a Group that Matches Your Interests:Whether through volunteering or joining a group with shared interests, connecting with like-minded individuals is crucial. Dr. Nobel shares examples, such as an online group fascinated by brown bears in Alaska, which led to a unique connection during Fat Bear Week.
  2. Recognize Other People’s Loneliness:Loneliness can be a cycle, and reaching out to others experiencing loneliness is vital. Dr. Nobel advises, “If you see someone who’s experiencing loneliness, tolerate the risk of asking them how they’re doing.” Sharing your own experiences of loneliness can create a meaningful connection.

Project UnLonely and Dr. Jeremy Nobel advocate for the transformative power of creative expression in combating loneliness. By encouraging individuals to explore their interests, make tangible artifacts, take risks in conversations, join groups, and recognize others’ loneliness, the initiative aims to create a supportive and connected community, addressing the global issue of social isolation.

Psychologists Report Escalating Mental Health Struggles for Patients, Prolonged Waitlists, and Provider Burnout Amid Lingering Pandemic Impact

In a study released this week by the American Psychological Association (APA), psychologists nationwide have highlighted the persistent challenges faced by their patients, revealing that symptoms are escalating, necessitating extended treatment periods for the third consecutive year. The annual survey, initiated by the APA in 2020 to assess the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on practicing psychologists, emphasizes the growing demand for mental health services.

According to the survey, a majority of psychologists have noted a surge in individuals seeking mental health care in the current year, exacerbating the already lengthy waitlists. An alarming 56% of respondents indicated that they had no available slots for new patients. For those managing waitlists, the average waiting period extended beyond three months, and nearly 40% acknowledged an expansion of their waitlists over the past year.

Psychologist Vaile Wright, the Senior Director of Health Care Innovation at the APA, expressed concern about the unsustainable situation, stating, “We continue to see incredibly high demand for mental health services and an incredibly limited supply. This is not a sustainable solution to addressing the mental health crisis in this country.”

The survey findings also shed light on a notable increase in the number of individuals seeking assistance for specific mental health issues, particularly anxiety disorders, depression, trauma, and stress-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbances, and addiction. Over half of the psychologists observed a lengthening of the duration for which patients required treatment.

Wright attributes these lingering mental health challenges to the enduring impact of the pandemic. She explains, “I think there are a variety of ways that individuals experienced trauma during the pandemic,” citing the loss of loved ones, associated grief, personal sickness, and the consequences of hospitalizations. Additionally, pandemic-induced changes to personal lives, encompassing alterations in social interactions, employment circumstances, and the ability to care for loved ones, have contributed to heightened stress levels.

The repercussions of these stressors often manifest after the initial traumas and stresses have subsided. Wright notes, “It’s when things actually start to quiet down that the impacts of all that we’ve gone through, all that stress, actually start to hit us.”

Furthermore, mental health care providers themselves have grappled with significant stress since the pandemic’s onset. Adapting rapidly to virtual platforms and coping with increased care demands have added to the strain. Psychologist Mary Alvord, founder of Alvord, Baker & Associates, a private practice in Chevy Chase and Rockville, Md., acknowledges the challenges, stating, “It’s been just very difficult the last number of years, first pivoting to virtual and now pivoting back to accommodation of in-person and hybrid.”

Alvord notes changes in patient preferences, with children increasingly requesting in-person sessions, while adults prefer virtual meetings after one or two initial in-person appointments.

The survey exposed the toll on mental health care providers, with 36% of psychologists admitting to feeling burned out. Although slightly lower than the 2021 peak of 41%, the report underscores the substantial number of practitioners struggling to meet the demands of their profession. However, a positive aspect revealed in the survey is that two-thirds of psychologists actively practice self-care to combat work pressures and burnout, with nearly half relying on peer support to enhance their well-being.

While not part of the survey, Alvord attests to the significance of peer support in managing stress. “We have peer consult groups throughout the week, and this is where we really support one another,” she reveals. Personally, she emphasizes physical activity, walking 3 to 5 miles a day, as a crucial means of stress relief.

FDA Approves Groundbreaking Gene-Editing Therapies for Sickle Cell Disease

In a historic decision, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval for the first-ever gene-editing treatment aimed at mitigating human illness. This groundbreaking development encompasses two gene therapies specifically designed for individuals aged 12 and above grappling with the most severe manifestation of sickle cell disease, an agonizing blood disorder that has long been overlooked in medical research.

Dr. Nicole Verdun, the director of the Office of Therapeutic Products within the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “Sickle cell disease is a rare, debilitating and life-threatening blood disorder with significant unmet need, and we are excited to advance the field, especially for individuals whose lives have been severely disrupted by the disease by approving two cell-based gene therapies today.”

The approval marks significant milestones in both sickle cell treatment and the swiftly advancing domain of gene editing, generating anticipation for addressing numerous diseases. Dr. Verdun emphasized the potential of gene therapy, stating, “Gene therapy holds the promise of delivering more targeted and effective treatments, especially for individuals with rare diseases where the current treatment options are limited.”

Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, a key figure in the discovery of the CRISPR gene-editing technique employed in one of the sickle cell treatments, conveyed her excitement, stating, “I’m elated, excited, in awe. It’s an exciting day and the beginning of a new day in medicine.”

The CRISPR treatment, developed collaboratively by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics, involves extracting cells from the patient’s bone marrow, editing a gene using CRISPR, and then reintroducing billions of modified cells back into the patient. This process prompts the production of fetal hemoglobin, restoring normal red blood cell function. While not a definitive cure, the therapy, named Casgevy, is designed as a one-time treatment expected to alleviate symptoms for a lifetime.

According to data presented to the FDA, the CRISPR treatment resolved severe pain crises for 96.7% of subjects for at least 18 months, demonstrating promising results. Another gene therapy, Lyfgenia, developed by bluebird bio inc., received FDA approval for sickle cell treatment without utilizing CRISPR. Instead, Lyfgenia employs a conventional gene therapy approach using a virus to transport a gene into cells.

However, the approval’s celebratory tone is tempered by concerns about accessibility and cost. Both treatments are priced significantly, with Casgevy at $2.2 million and Lyfgenia at $3.1 million wholesale. Additionally, the complex and labor-intensive procedures involved may pose challenges for many hospitals, limiting accessibility for patients.

“We have a lot more work to do,” cautioned Doudna, emphasizing the need to make gene-editing treatments widely available.

 

Sickle cell disease, caused by a genetic defect leading to abnormal hemoglobin production, results in misshapen red blood cells that cause severe pain and organ damage. Primarily affecting individuals of African, Middle Eastern, and Indian descent, sickle cell is a rare yet prevalent genetic disorder.

While bone marrow transplants offer a potential cure for some patients, the majority struggle to find suitable donors. Approximately 20,000 severe cases in the U.S. could potentially benefit from the CRISPR treatment.

Dr. Lewis Hsu, a pediatric hematologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, expressed excitement, stating, “This is something that we’ve been waiting for in the sickle cell community for basically 70 years. This is a very big deal.”

The approval holds personal significance for Victoria Gray, a sickle cell patient from Forest, Miss., who became the first person to receive the CRISPR treatment in the U.S. in 2019. Reflecting on the approval, Gray said, “I’m ecstatic. It’s a blessing that they approved this therapy. It’s a new beginning for people with sickle cell disease.” She described the treatment as transformative, allowing her to lead a more energetic life, work full time, and spend quality time with her children.

Despite these positive outcomes, concerns persist regarding the technical complexity and lengthy hospitalization required for the treatments. The intricate procedures involve multiple hospital visits, bone marrow transplants, and extended hospital stays, potentially deterring patients due to physical and logistical challenges.

Melissa Creary, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan studying sickle cell, acknowledged the promise of technology but cautioned about potential disparities, stating, “I am excited about the promise that this technology has for those living with sickle cell disease. But as this technology comes to market, it’s going to be really interesting to see the ways in which profit overtake social justice.”

The geographical and financial challenges of accessing treatment also raise concerns. Many countries lack the necessary medical infrastructure for these advanced treatments, and even in the U.S., availability may be limited.

Doudna, leading a center at Berkeley focused on simplifying gene-editing treatments, and the National Institutes of Health are actively working to address these challenges. Biotech companies are collaborating with insurers to explore coverage options. Advocates argue that the high upfront costs may be justified by the long-term savings from avoiding lifelong sickle cell complications.

Amid these developments, concerns about potential “off-target” effects and unintended consequences of gene editing persist. The FDA has issued a warning about Lyfgenia, which employs a more conventional gene therapy approach, potentially increasing the risk of blood cancer.

The companies involved plan to monitor patients for 15 years to assess the treatment’s longevity, effectiveness, and potential long-term complications. CRISPR-based treatments also show promise in addressing other conditions, such as amyloidosis and familial hypercholesterolemia.

“This is only the beginning,” remarked CRISPR researcher Doudna, underscoring the ongoing evolution of gene-editing technologies.

Alarming Rise Of Heart-Related Out-Of-Hospital Deaths In India: Time For Immediate Action

A recent Newspaper report from Gujarat highlighted the increasing incidence of heart-attack-related deaths in India. 1,052 persons died due to heart-related conditions in the past 6 months. Most of the victims are in the 11-25 age group. Sudden injuries of the chest sustained in sports such as Cricket (“Commotio Cordis”) are lethal if not managed immediately with on-the-spot Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) by any nearby bystander.

As announced by the State education minister, the decision to provide CPR training to nearly two lakhs of schoolteachers and college professors is commendable as it might save thousands of lives annually that would otherwise could be lost with no emergency intervention.

According to Chicago-based Indo-US Resuscitation Training Expert Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, the simple technique of hands-only (compressions-only) CPR is easy to learn. Many organizations, such as the American Heart Association and American Red Cross, have in-person training programs in addition to CPR promotional videos.  CPR training is mandatory for high schools in most of the states in USA currently.

Alarming Rise Of Heart Related Out Of Hospital Deaths In IndiaDr. Murthy, an Honorary Advisor to the Government of Odisha (Health and Family Welfare), recommends that all the State Governments in India initiate statewide Community, Police, and High-school CPR programs to “Save Lives” in Sudden Cardiac Arrests due to any cause. Odisha was the first state in India to implement statewide CPR programs among Odisha communities. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Mr. Naveen Patnaik, officially launched the governmental “Saving Lives with Bystander CPR Training” project on February 1,2023 at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. The project’s key players include service-oriented Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations, Odisha, and Sri Jagannatha Service Foundation. The ongoing community programs have trained so far, a few thousands of community members and students, including 1000 police personnel. Dr. Murthy hopes to see all the states in India initiate community CPR training programs in the near future with support from their respective state governments and non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Murthy, who has been actively involved with community CPR programs in the USA and India for about two decades, stresses the critical need to train the public in   “AEDs”(Automated External Defibrillators) also along with hands-only CPR to save many more lives than with Hands-only CPR alone before the arrival of EMS (Emergency Medical Services). He recommends public access to AEDs in places such as health clubs, shopping malls, train and bus stations, and at all community, religious, and sports events.

Dr. Murthy, an Associate Professor (Adjunct) in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, is establishing a state-of-the-art Community CPR Training Center with multi-organizational support at the National India Hub in Schaumburg, Illinois. In addition to training communities, the center will initiate “Training the Trainers in CPR” program in High Schools and plan evidence-based research in Resuscitation Medicine involving Medical Students and Residents at the Hub.

Hands-only CPR and early Access to AED (Automated External Defibrillator) can save many lives in Sudden Cardiac arrests

Youth Heartbreak: Gujarat Launches Massive CPR Training Initiative as 1,052 Young Lives Lost to Heart Attacks in Six Months

In the past half-year, Gujarat has witnessed a tragic toll of 1,052 lives claimed by heart attacks, a revelation shared by State Education Minister Kuber Dindor on Friday. Shockingly, 80% of the victims fall within the 11-25 age bracket, a demographic that typically evades the specter of heart-related issues. Dindor, during a media address in Gandhinagar, underscored the urgency of the situation, emphasizing that these young individuals, despite lacking obesity concerns, succumbed to cardiac events. Disturbingly, the 108 ambulance service fields an alarming average of 173 cardiac emergency calls daily.

Expressing concern over the palpable fear gripping youngsters due to the prevalence of heart attacks in their peer group, Minister Dindor urged teachers to partake in a vital initiative. This initiative, spearheaded by the State Education Department, seeks to equip nearly two lakh school and college educators with the skills needed for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a critical intervention that can be life-saving during such medical emergencies.

Dindor lamented the unfortunate incidents where individuals met their demise due to heart attacks while engaging in seemingly innocuous activities like playing cricket or participating in garba, a traditional dance form synonymous with Navratri festivities. In response to this distressing trend, he called upon educators to actively engage in CPR training camps, highlighting the potential for them to become lifesavers.

To address this pressing need, the Education Department’s initiative entails organizing CPR training camps across 37 medical colleges between December 3 and 17. The ambitious goal is to train nearly two lakh school and college teachers during this period. A cadre of 2,500 medical experts and doctors will be on hand to impart essential knowledge and skills at these training camps. Participants in the program will also receive certificates acknowledging their completion of the training.

Minister Dindor emphasized the precedence of such training, citing instances where Bharatiya Janata Party workers and police personnel in the state had previously undergone similar programs. The scale of this initiative reflects a proactive response to the alarming surge in heart attacks among the youth, underscoring the gravity of the situation and the need for a collective effort to mitigate its impact.

Closing the Gap: Navigating the Tension Between Lifespan and Healthspan in Pursuit of a Healthier Future

In 2014, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist, gained notoriety for his essay titled “Why I Hope to Die at 75,” asserting that pursuing maximum human lifespan isn’t worthwhile if it results in additional decades marred by disease and poor health. Almost a decade later, Emanuel maintains his stance, expressing his intent to forego most life-extending medical care at the age of 75, emphasizing the quality of life over mere longevity. The disparity between the average life expectancy in the U.S. (77.5 years) and the years lived in full health (66.1 years) remains, highlighting the distinction between “lifespan” and “healthspan.”

Tim Peterson, CEO of Healthspan Technologies, underscores the importance of focusing on “healthspan,” stating that living to 100 is commendable but less so if the last decades are plagued by poor health. The COVID-19 pandemic and increased rates of suicide and drug overdoses led to a temporary decline in U.S. life expectancy, which rebounded in 2022. Despite this, the substantial increase in life expectancy over the past century, from 59.6 years in 1922 to 77.5 years in 2022, is not mirrored in healthspan improvements.

Persistent challenges in healthspan result from high rates of age-related chronic conditions such as cancer, dementia, and heart disease. Lifestyle factors, including insufficient sleep, exercise, and poor nutrition, contribute to diminished well-being. This issue isn’t exclusive to the U.S., as global life expectancy reaches 73.4 years, while healthy lifespan lags behind at 63.7 years, as per the World Health Organization’s 2019 estimates.

Dr. Andre Terzic, a regenerative medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic, acknowledges the prolonged life but emphasizes the potential trade-off—extended life without necessarily enhanced health. Bridging the gap between lifespan and healthspan becomes a lofty goal for researchers, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. The United Nations designates 2021-2030 as “the decade of healthy aging,” with the American Heart Association striving to increase U.S. healthy life expectancy by at least two years during the same period.

Numerous startups offer consumer-focused solutions, including DNA tests providing personalized recommendations for nutrition and exercise. Some caution against these approaches, stating they might be ahead of the scientific understanding. Concurrently, companies are developing therapies to counter the effects of aging, aiming to extend healthspan.

In a 2021 paper, Dr. Terzic and colleagues propose strategies for closing the healthspan gap, from global tobacco cessation to drugs eliminating damaged cells accumulated during aging. Other avenues involve gene therapy and restoring protective caps on DNA strands. Encouraging developments, such as cancer immunotherapy and genetic testing, suggest progress in the medical field. New diabetes drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro, along with potential longevity-enhancing effects of metformin and rapamycin, provide additional optimism, though some individuals adopt these drugs off-label ahead of conclusive scientific evidence.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently acknowledged a drug potentially extending canine lifespans, signaling a willingness to consider drugs targeting aging itself rather than accompanying diseases. This development holds significance for humans, indicating a shift in approach.

Emanuel aligns with the goal of expanding healthspan but proposes a different focus. Instead of prioritizing new aging-reversal drugs, he advocates addressing prevalent health issues like hypertension, diabetes, and maternal and infant mortality, particularly in underserved populations. The 2022 data reveals lower life expectancies for Black and American Indian/Alaska Native individuals, underscoring health disparities.

Emanuel emphasizes the role of behaviors in lifelong health, citing the importance of a nutritious diet, sufficient sleep, exercise, and social support. He contends that promoting these habits universally and maximizing existing medical treatments takes precedence over the “pipe dream” of a future where aging is optional.

Novavax’s Enhanced COVID-19 Vaccine Gains WHO Emergency-Use Approval for Ages 12 and Up, Marking a Milestone in Global Immunization Efforts

Novavax has secured emergency-use authorization from the World Health Organization (WHO) for its updated COVID-19 vaccine, extending its eligibility to individuals aged 12 and older. This approval, granted on Tuesday, follows the previous authorization the vaccine received in the United States just last month. The enhanced Novavax shot is designed to combat a variant stemming from the XBB lineage of the coronavirus, which held global prominence earlier this year.

The World Health Organization’s emergency use listing serves the crucial purpose of expediting regulatory approvals for the importation and administration of these vaccines by member states. This streamlined process is fundamental in ensuring a swift and efficient response to the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for more expedited deployment of the Novavax vaccine.

Novavax faced setbacks during the initial stages of the pandemic, missing out on the vaccine success experienced by mRNA counterparts. Manufacturing issues hampered the company’s ability to file for regulatory approval during the peak of the pandemic. As a result, its original COVID-19 vaccine obtained authorization in the United States in July 2022, a considerable delay compared to the earlier approvals granted to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

In contrast to the mRNA-based vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna, Novavax’s updated shot employs a more conventional protein-based technology. This marks a departure from the innovative mRNA approach that has characterized many of the widely used COVID-19 vaccines.

The market responded positively to Novavax’s recent developments, with shares of the Maryland-based vaccine maker experiencing a 1.8% rise to $5.6 in premarket trading. This increase reflects the optimism surrounding the expanded authorization and the potential impact of Novavax’s vaccine on a broader age range.

In reflecting on the journey of Novavax, the challenges it faced in manufacturing, and the subsequent delay in regulatory approval, the company has now taken a significant step forward with the WHO’s emergency-use authorization. This approval not only validates the safety and efficacy of the updated Novavax vaccine but also facilitates a more efficient global response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

As we delve into the details of Novavax’s updated vaccine, it is crucial to highlight the technology behind it. While Pfizer and Moderna relied on mRNA-based approaches, Novavax has opted for a more traditional protein-based technology. This choice comes with its own set of advantages and considerations, contributing to the diversity of strategies employed in the fight against COVID-19.

The importance of WHO’s emergency use listing cannot be overstated, particularly in the context of a global health crisis. By streamlining the regulatory processes for member states, the WHO enables a more rapid deployment of vaccines, thereby enhancing the collective effort to curb the spread of the virus. Novavax’s inclusion in this list underscores its role as a valuable tool in the global vaccination strategy.

Novavax’s updated vaccine receiving emergency-use authorization from the World Health Organization signifies a pivotal moment in the ongoing battle against COVID-19. The extended eligibility to individuals aged 12 and older expands the reach of this vaccine, while the more traditional protein-based technology adds a distinctive element to the array of vaccination strategies. As the world grapples with the challenges of the pandemic, such developments underscore the resilience of scientific innovation and global collaboration in the pursuit of public health

Legislation To Address Health Care Workforce Shortages, Prioritize Merit-Based Immigration Introduced

U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced legislation to address health care workforce shortages by recapturing previously authorized Green Cards that simply went unused. The senators’ bill introduced on November 7th, 2023, also establishes merit-based immigration policies.

“Legal immigration is a critical part of our workforce,” said Rounds. “As the health care worker shortage continues to impact South Dakota and other rural states, we are in need of qualified, hard-working nurses and physicians to fill positions in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. I’m pleased to join Senator Cramer on this legislation that would increase our ability to provide timely, quality health care to South Dakotans.”

“In rural states like North Dakota, highly skilled immigrant doctors and nurses play a critical role in our healthcare workforce, sometimes providing the only specialty care available in the area,” said Cramer. “Our open borders and per-country caps are nonsensical and chaotic. It’s long-past time our immigration policies reflected a skills-based approach, welcoming hard-working immigrants who help fill the labor and service gaps in the U.S.”

Legislation To Address Health Care Workforce Shortages Prioritize Merit Based Immigration Introduced (Getty Images)
Picture: Getty Images

The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would make a limited number of Green Cards available to qualified immigrant nurses and physicians to address critical health care workforce shortages. The bill would also allow the “recapture” of Green Cards already authorized by Congress but unused in previous years, allotting up to 25,000 immigrant visas for nurses and up to 15,000 immigrant visas for physicians. This bill does not authorize any new visas.

This legislation would require employers to attest that immigrants from overseas who receive these visas will not displace an American worker. Additionally, it would necessitate eligible immigrant medical professionals to meet licensing requirements, pay filing fees and clear rigorous national security and criminal history background checks before they can receive recaptured Green Cards.

The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act is supported by the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations, Sanford Health and Avera Health.

“The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) fully supports any effort to strengthen the healthcare workforce as staffing shortages continue to be the number one problem for our members across the continuum of care, from hospitals to nursing homes,” said Tammy Hatting, Chief Operating Officer of SDAHO.

“We need to streamline and expedite the hiring and placement of qualified immigrants in our healthcare facilities, and we are thankful to our South Dakota Senator, Mike Rounds, for cosponsoring this very important bill.”

“Sanford Health is grateful for the support from Senator Rounds as a sponsor of the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act,” said Corey Brown, System Vice President, Government Affairs of Sanford Health. “Workforce is a critical challenge in healthcare, especially in rural areas. Recapturing unused VISAs is a commonsense measure that allows us to employ internationally educated nurses and physicians who are an integral and important part of our workforce.”

“Maintaining a highly skilled workforce is vital to providing care across our rural footprint, which covers 72 thousand square miles” said Kim Jensen, Chief Human Resources Officer of Avera Health. “Often there are not enough nurses and physicians available to recruit to fill our workforce needs. The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act would help fill critical positions and offer meaningful work experiences for those who want to practice in the United States.”

Both bills advocate for the establishment of merit-based immigration policies.  The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, spearheaded by Senators Kevin Cramer and Dick Durbin, is designed to alleviate healthcare workforce shortages by providing a set number of green cards for qualified immigrant doctors and nurses. The legislation proposes the “recapture” of green cards previously authorized by Congress but left unused in past years.

Specifically, the bill allocates up to 25,000 immigrant visas for nurses and up to 15,000 immigrant visas for physicians, addressing critical gaps in the healthcare workforce. The Act, if enacted, would impose requirements to ensure that immigrants receiving these visas do not displace American workers.

Employers would be obligated to attest to this condition. Moreover, eligible immigrant medical professionals seeking recaptured green cards would need to meet licensing requirements, pay filing fees, and successfully undergo rigorous national security and criminal history background checks.

The Act addresses the challenges faced by many prospective employment-based immigrants who, due to per-country caps, endure lengthy waits for visa availability. Often, these individuals live and work in the U.S. on temporary visas while awaiting permanent residency. The legislation aims to alleviate the backlog, particularly for those who face extended waiting periods, by phasing out the per-country limit on employment-based immigrant visas.

Manipal Hospitals Launch Training Program With BAPIO

Manipal Hospitals, a prominent healthcare provider in India, has  announced its collaboration with the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and the British Training Academy (BTA). The partnership was formalized through the signing of an agreement by Dr. Manish Rai, hospital director of Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road and professor Parag Singhal, chief executive officer of BAPIO UK.

Manipal Hospitals has partnered with BAPIO- training academy to establish avenues for young pediatricians in India to access high-quality training in super-specialty fields. The program involves a comprehensive one-year pediatric post-graduation and super-specialty training within Manipal Hospitals.

The program involves a comprehensive one-year pediatric post-graduation and super-specialty training within Manipal Hospitals. Furthermore, it offers participants the opportunity to enhance their skills through additional training in various hospitals in the UK over three subsequent years.

The selected doctors for the program will receive a general medicine council license, enabling them to practice in the UK. They will undergo training under the guidance of highly experienced and skilled faculty members from both Indo-UK sources, representing Manipal Hospitals and BAPIO, respectively.

Both BAPIO and BTA are affiliated with the UK’s National Health Service and actively collaborate to support the recruitment and retention of medical staff, advocate for diversity and equality, and facilitate knowledge exchange through research and innovation.

Singhal, CEO of BAPIO UK, said, “We are deeply honored for this opportunity to collaborate with one of the leading Healthcare hospitals in India with state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled expert doctors.”

“With this association, the focus of BAPIO and BTA is to provide the doctors of the Indian Subcontinent with unique opportunities to facilitate a two-way flow of knowledge and expertise between overseas colleagues and the NHS, thereby building strong Indo-UK relationships. We look forward to creating new avenues for academic collaboration, innovation, and clinical excellence, benefiting patients and healthcare professionals,” he added.

Scientists Uncover Primate-Specific Gene Cluster with Potential Cancer Insights: A Breakthrough in Human Genome Biology

In a groundbreaking discovery, researchers led by Ali Shilatifard, Ph.D., the Robert Francis Furchgott Professor and chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, have identified a novel repeat gene cluster sequence exclusively expressed in both humans and non-human primates. This significant finding, outlined in a study featured in Science Advances, marks a pivotal moment in human genome biology, offering far-reaching implications for future investigations into transcriptional regulation, human evolution, and the exploration of repetitive DNA sequences.

Shilatifard, also the director of the Simpson Querrey Institute for Epigenetics and a professor of Pediatrics, expressed the magnitude of this breakthrough, stating, “This is an unbelievable discovery of the first elongation factor that is repeated within the human genome and is very primate-specific.”

The evolution of genome sequencing technologies over the past two decades has facilitated in-depth exploration of the genetic landscape within various regions of the human genome. Previously elusive large sections, often composed of repetitive DNA sequences referred to as genetic “dark matter,” have become identifiable through recent advancements in long-read DNA sequencing.

During the investigation of a cancer-inhibitor compound in human cell lines, Shilatifard’s team serendipitously uncovered a cluster of previously uncharacterized genes responsible for encoding the Elongin A3 (ELOA3) protein. This protein, closely linked to the previously studied ELOA protein, plays a crucial role in regulating RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) transcription, a fundamental process in gene expression.

Marc Morgan, Ph.D., former Associate Research Professor in Shilatifard’s laboratory and co-lead author of the study, emphasized the uniqueness of the ELOA3 gene cluster. Unlike the conventional scenario where a single human protein is encoded by a single gene, the ELOA3 cluster features multiple genes located in the same genetic locus encoding identical proteins, presenting an intriguing subject for investigation.

Collaborating with Evan Eichler, Ph.D., professor of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, the researchers found that the ELOA3 gene cluster is exclusive to humans and non-human primates. Furthermore, the number of ELOA3 gene repeats varies among individuals and across primate species, suggesting a dynamic element in its evolutionary history.

Shilatifard highlighted the variability in repeat units among individuals, stating, “You may have 52 copies, I may have 27 copies, somebody else may have 32 copies. We don’t know why, but we know that there are different repeat units in every individual, and this repeat unit is highly conserved among primates.”

The research team proposed that the ELOA3 gene cluster has undergone concerted evolution and gene homogenization within the examined primate species, a conclusion drawn from observations of its consistency among primates.

Utilizing protein biochemistry techniques, the researchers demonstrated that ELOA3 forms a distinct protein complex from the ELOA protein, employing unique biochemical mechanisms to regulate RNAPII transcription. This discovery not only advances our understanding of human genome biology but also provides insights that could lead to targeted drug design in cancer.

Saeid Mohammad Parast, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Shilatifard laboratory and co-lead author, emphasized the significance of ELOA3 in understanding gene expression variability, stating, “The dynamic nature of the ELOA3 repeat cluster could be a reflection of its unique role in regulating gene expression variability among individuals.”

The researchers’ future endeavors include determining the expression patterns of ELOA3 in the genomes of humans and non-human primates, exploring its potential role in developmental disorders and diseases, including cancer. Morgan emphasized the evolutionary conservation of this gene cluster among primates, suggesting it could unveil unique gene regulatory mechanisms specific to the human evolutionary lineage.

Unlocking Longevity: The Blueprint for a Happier and Healthier Life

For two decades, I’ve embarked on a global journey exploring the enigmatic Blue Zones—regions where inhabitants enjoy remarkably prolonged lives: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California.

In my extensive dialogues with 263 centenarians, a set of principles emerged, forming what I term the “Power 9.” These non-negotiables serve as the backbone for those who have mastered the art of longevity. Let’s delve into these transformative guidelines.

1.Move Naturally

The longevity elites don’t engage in rigorous workouts; instead, they inhabit environments that seamlessly encourage physical activity. Whether it’s tending to gardens or relishing in joyous walks to work or social gatherings, constant movement is embedded in their daily lives.

“The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving.”

2.Purpose

Referred to as “ikigai” in Okinawa and “plan de vida” in Nicoya, a sense of purpose beyond mere employment pervades the lives of these individuals. Research underscores that having a clear purpose can extend one’s lifespan by up to seven years.

“Residents in every Blue Zone I visited had something to live for beyond just work. Research even shows that knowing your sense of purpose can add up to seven years to your life.”

3.Downshift

Acknowledging stress as a potential harbinger of age-related ailments, Blue Zone residents adopt routines to alleviate stress. From Okinawans remembering ancestors to Ikarians indulging in a nap, these practices counteract chronic inflammation.

“But they have routines that shed stress: Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap, and Sardinians have happy hour.”

4.The 80% Rule

Guided by the ancient Confucian mantra “hara hachi bu,” Blue Zone dwellers practice mindful eating, stopping when their stomachs are 80% full. Meals are smaller in the late afternoon or early evening, with no further intake for the rest of the day.

“Hara hachi bu” — the 2,500-year-old Confucian mantra that Okinawans say before meals — reminds people to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full.”

5.Plant Slant

Central to Blue Zone diets are beans—fava, black, soy, and lentils—while meat consumption is limited to about five times per month, in small three to four-ounce servings.

6.Wine at 5 p.m.

Moderate and regular alcohol consumption, even among some Adventists, is a common thread. The key lies in enjoying one to two glasses per day with companions or meals.

“People in Blue Zones, even some Adventists, drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive nondrinkers.”

7.Belong

A striking majority of the centenarians I interviewed belonged to faith-based communities, irrespective of denomination. Regular attendance at faith-based services has been linked to an increase of four to 14 years in life expectancy.

“All but five of the 263 centenarians I talked to belonged to a faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month can add four to 14 years of life expectancy.”

8.Put Loved Ones First

In Blue Zones, centenarians maintain close proximity to aging relatives, reducing disease and mortality rates for their offspring. Committing to a life partner and showering children with time and love are additional longevity-boosting practices.

“Centenarians in the Blue Zones keep aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home, which studies show can lower the disease and mortality rates of their children.”

9.Find the Right Tribe

The world’s longest-lived individuals consciously select or are born into social circles that promote healthy habits. In Okinawa, this takes the form of “moais”—groups of five friends committed to a lifelong bond.

“The world’s longest-lived people choose (or were born into) social circles that support healthy behaviors. Okinawans create “moais” — groups of five friends that commit to each other for life.”

While adherence to these principles doesn’t guarantee a century of life, it certainly enhances the likelihood of a more joyful and prolonged existence.

Navigating Holiday Spirits: The Impact of Alcohol Consumption, Choosing Healthier Options, and Embracing Small-Batch Mezcal

Recent medical studies indicate that while 70% of Americans consume alcohol, these numbers surge during specific seasons, particularly around holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. As the festive season approaches, it’s crucial to consider the implications of alcohol consumption.

Holidays, especially Thanksgiving Day, exhibit noteworthy changes in sleep quality associated with increased alcohol use. Adult behavioral shifts during public holidays continue to be under examination. Although not groundbreaking, it’s essential to recognize that alcohol, even in moderate amounts, is not conducive to good health. Registered Dietitian Megan DeChatelets emphasizes the impact of drink choices on negative physical effects.

In Megan DeChatelets’ words, “It’s the first question I ask my patients: What do they drink and how often?” Ms. DeChatelets, a registered dietitian consultant for Hilma, a natural remedy brand, highlights the importance of opting for beverages with a single ingredient, drawing parallels with food choices. Despite the perception that tequila is a safer choice, the Tequila Regulatory Council allows additives in tequila labeled “100% agave,” outraging purists who prefer additives-free options.

Unlike tequila, mezcal’s additives must be labeled, including unique ingredients like pechuga added during distillation. Ms. DeChatelets emphasizes the importance of pure ingredients, aligning with her dietary practice of advocating for clean labels. To mitigate the impact of alcohol, especially during the holidays, Ms. DeChatelets recommends Hilma’s Stomach Recover + Hydrate supplement.

Christina Miller, lead certified Ayurvedic practitioner, suggests neat mezcal for clients unwilling to give up alcohol, emphasizing sustainability in dietary choices. Supporting small-batch brands and smaller manufacturers is advised to maintain label and product purity, according to Ms. Miller.

Highlighted mezcal brands include Dos Perros Mezcal, favored in Hollywood circles and found in exclusive members clubs and high-end retailers. Olvido Divino 30-Year Mezcal is an extreme rarity with batch provenance paperwork, albeit at a high price. For those daring enough to try pechuga mezcal, Siete Misterios is recommended as a small-batch luxury brand.

As the holiday season approaches, it’s essential to be mindful of alcohol consumption trends, make informed drink choices, and consider alternatives like mezcal with transparent labeling and pure ingredients. Supporting small-batch brands ensures a commitment to label and product purity, aligning with a growing awareness of the impact of alcohol on health during festive occasions.

Dr. Bellamkonda Kishore: A Renaissance Man’s Journey Of Passion And Purpose

In a recent interview with Dr. Bellamkonda Kishore, an accomplished figure in academic research and education leading to entrepreneurship, NRI Pulse gained insights into his remarkable journey, his philosophy on life, and his advice for aspiring researchers, entrepreneurs, and individuals looking to make a positive impact on society.

Sandy, Utah-based Dr. Kishore is a physician-turned-scientist with an M.D. and a Ph.D. in kidney pathophysiology. He has forged an illustrious career in academic research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. His expertise in cell biology, molecular and transport physiology, and pharmacology of the kidney laid the foundation for innovative discoveries in purinergic signaling – a relatively new field with a vast potential for the development of novel drugs. Dr. Kishore earned a prestigious Executive MBA degree from the University of Utah, which seamlessly facilitated his transition to entrepreneurship.

As the Co-Founder, President, CEO & CSO of ePurines, Inc., a startup in the University of Utah Research Park, Dr. Kishore leads the charge in bringing purinergic signaling-based therapies for various disease conditions to the market. Inducted as a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors, and a Fellow of several esteemed societies, Dr. Kishore has left an indelible mark on the medical landscape.

Beyond academia, he is a dedicated community servant and has received accolades, including the Nelson Mandela Leadership Award from the NRI Welfare Society in India, and honors from the AAPI, NATA, and TANA in the United States. Dr. Kishore is also an accomplished writer and composer of poems in English and Telugu. He published two motivational books. He is a gifted artist and photographer with prizes to his credit since his college days. Dr. Kishore is also an avid singer of devotional songs and leads Bhajans.

Dr. Kishore’s journey is a testament to the power of unwavering passion, focus on meaningful work, and living a purpose-oriented life. His wisdom and work serve as a valuable guide for those looking to make a positive impact on society.

Dr. Kishore, can you share highlights from your academic and research journey?

I did not start my career with a preconceived idea of what I wanted to achieve. I had a passion for science and creative hands-on activities from a young age. My focus was always on the work itself, not on achieving a specific goal. As I continued working diligently, opportunities unfolded, and I progressed step by step. The key was to focus on my work, find meaning and value in what I do, and have confidence and faith that my work has a greater purpose. The rest of the things kept falling in their place in due course. I had passion, perseverance, and patience (3Ps) to let my life unfold by itself.

What motivated you to move from academia to entrepreneurship?

Initially, my career was deeply rooted in academic research, with no intention of founding a company. I was primarily interested in understanding disease mechanisms, publishing papers, and obtaining research grants. However, when I moved to Utah in 2001, I had a chance encounter with a researcher-turned-entrepreneur who encouraged me to think about innovation and the development of intellectual property. This led me to keep an eye on and explore the commercialization potential of my research findings. Chance favors the prepared mind. Supported by the University of Utah’s Technology Commercialization Center, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs Technology Transfer Program, by 2018 I ended up with nine discoveries with patents issued or pending. Then, the pressure to commercialize intellectual property mounted on me, and eventually, I took the risk and co-founded ePurines.

Moving from a respectable professor position in the University of Utah Health, and a secure Principal Investigator position in the VA Medical Center, to starting a company was a significant transition in my life.  Fortunately, this transition came at a point when my children were grown up and are independent. I had more freedom, which made the risk manageable. But I retained a faculty role at the university as an Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine, while establishing the company in the Research Park. Thus, I didn’t completely sever ties with academia.

What is the goal of ePurines, and where do you see the company in the next five to ten years?

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, cancers, and chronic kidney diseases account for 41 million deaths (71% of all deaths) globally and are expected to reach 52 million deaths by the year 2030.  NCDs are not only responsible for human suffering but cause huge economic burdens on nations. Obesity is the mother of most NCDs. ePurines is developing novel purinergic-signaling based solutions for obesity and NCDs, with a primary focus on diseases of the kidney, liver, heart, and lung. The vision and mission of ePurines are to design and develop drugs that are not only effective but also accessible to people worldwide, not just in affluent countries. ePurines, a spin-out from the University of Utah and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is driven by a vision and mission to serve humanity, with profits as a byproduct of our efforts. The products of ePurines will reach emerging markets as well as developing countries, i.e., the bottom of the pyramid, where people suffer the most due to NCDs due to a lack of mature healthcare systems.

Can you tell us more about your co-founder, Dr. Simon Robson, and your collaboration in the field of purinergic signaling?

My long-term collaborator and Co-Founder, Prof. Simon Robson, M.D., Ph.D., is an internationally known academic physician in gastroenterology, liver diseases, and transplantation in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. We have been collaborating for over two decades, researching purinergic signaling, which plays a crucial role in various organs, including the kidney and liver. The language of purinergic signaling is universal – like coding in computer software – allowing us to apply our research across different areas of medicine. This is the beauty of understanding the human body at a fundamental molecular signaling level. Thus, our collaboration has led to multiple publications, grants, and the discovery of innovative technologies that can treat various diseases.

You have received various awards for your community service. What do these recognitions mean to you?

Community service has always been an integral part of my life, beginning even before my medical school days. It offers me a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and purpose in life that can’t be matched by anything else. The recognition and awards I’ve received were never my primary goal, but they highlight the importance of giving back to society. I believe in working with full dedication and commitment, which has led to my involvement in various organizations and projects.

You mentioned the importance of purpose-oriented living. Could you elaborate on this philosophy?

Living with a sense of purpose is crucial. Life is not just about succeeding, making money, and building wealth, or having a comfortable life. When we set a clear purpose and pursue it relentlessly, we face challenges that push us to improve and develop self-discipline, and thus transform into better humans. A passionate purpose-oriented life will take us to far regions where an ambitious success-driven life cannot even dare to peep in. The result of such a passionate purpose-oriented life is immense inner happiness and a sense of accomplishment. A purpose-oriented life also expands our consciousness and helps to expand the collective consciousness in the community we work.

Dr Bellamkonda Kishore A Renaissance Man’s Journey Of Passion And Purpose

What advice do you have for those aspiring to be researchers, entrepreneurs, or individuals looking to make a positive impact in society?

Research and entrepreneurship demand a mindset willing to take risks, like designing a new model of airplane. It’s about creativity and treading unexplored paths, not just following established paths. We should encourage children to think creatively from an early age and not just focus on education and career alone. Beyond personal success, contributing to the community is vital. Become a role model, motivate others, and work towards expanding consciousness. As Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, the founder of Arvind Eye Care System aptly said “Intelligence and capability are not enough. There must also be the joy of doing something beautiful.”

Any final thoughts or messages you’d like to share with our readers?

My journey from academia to entrepreneurship has been filled with many challenges, learning, unlearning and relearning experiences. The path of entrepreneurship can be lonely, but it’s essential to have a strong network of support and mentors and/or peers to chisel and sculpt us when needed. When involved in community service, remember that full commitment and dedication can lead to significant positive impacts, which increases your value in the community.

Regarding ePurines, our aim is to make a difference in the world of non-communicable diseases and provide accessible solutions all over the world that improve people’s lives. We are focused on serving humanity, and our mission is at the forefront of everything we do. LinkedIn Profile of Dr. Kishore:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/bkishore369/

(Courtesy: Dr. Bellamkonda Kishore: A renaissance man’s journey of passion and purpose | NRI Pulse)

The Physician Shortage Crisis Is Here—And So Are Bipartisan Fixes

As doctors know all too painfully well, the current physician shortage is already limiting access to care for millions of people across the country. And it’s about to get much worse if changes aren’t made now, AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, told news media gathered for his recent address to the National Press Club in Washington.

“The physician shortage that we have long feared—and warned was on the horizon—is here. It’s an urgent crisis hitting every corner of this country—urban, rural—with the most direct impact hitting families with high needs and limited means,” said Dr. Ehrenfeld, an anesthesiologist.

“Imagine walking into an emergency room in your moment of crisis, in desperate need of a physician’s care, and finding no one there to take care of you. That’s what we are up against.”

Physicians, Dr. Ehrenfeld said, know exactly how America finds itself in this crisis mode. Among the factors contributing to burnout that is leading physicians to retire early, cut back hours or leave medicine all together, are:

Administrative hassles that burden physicians daily and make them feel powerless to make meaningful changes.

The Physician Shortage Crisis Is Here 2Consolidation that gives more power to the country’s largest hospital, health systems and insurers that leaves patients and physicians with less autonomy and fewer choices.

Falling Medicare payment rates—when adjusted for inflation, a 26% drop since 2001.

“Sadly, every day we wait, the size of this public health crisis grows,” said Dr. Ehrenfeld, who is a senior associate dean, tenured professor of anesthesiology and director of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Here’s what needs to change

Legislative solutions to many of the problems that Dr. Ehrenfeld outlined are already pending before Congress—and they even have strong bipartisan support.

“There isn’t much that our two major political parties see eye to eye on right now, but on these issues they do,” Dr. Ehrenfeld said in his remarks. “We just need the will—and the urgency—to get it done. We need leaders in Congress to step forward and make this happen.”

In his National Press Club address and a companion AMA Leadership Viewpints column, Dr. Ehrenfeld outlined some key steps that the nation must take to begin addressing the complex physician shortage problem, many of which are drawn from the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.

Give doctors the financial support they need to care for patients. Congress needs to pass the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act, which would give physicians an annual payment update to account for practice cost inflations as reflected in the Medicare Economic Index. It’s a benefit others already get.

Reduce administrative burdens, including the overused and inefficient prior authorization process. The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act would expand prior authorization reforms that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized, and the Biden administration can improve the landscape if it finalizes proposed regulations. State legislatures also have the power to reform.

Expand residency training options, provide greater student loan support and create smoother pathways for foreign-trained physicians. The Conrad State 30 and the Physician Access Reauthorization Act, the Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, and the Physician Shortage GME Cap Flex Act would all help ease the physician shortage. Ensure that physicians aren’t punished for taking care of their own mental health needs. State medical boards, hospitals and health systems need to remove questions about past diagnoses and counseling and focus on whether a current health condition exists that, left untreated, would affect patient safety.

“Our nation’s physician shortage is not a problem to set aside and deal with tomorrow. It is an urgent problem we need to address today,” Dr. Ehrenfeld concluded. “We must take action to create a stronger and more resilient physician workforce to care for an ever-changing nation.”

India Ranks Second In Global Estimates Of Diabetes

It is estimated that 422 million people live with diabetes across the world and India with 101 million diabetics ranks second.

India also has 315 million people with high blood pressure. According to healthcare professionals, the culture of eating out, industrialisation, migrating to urban areas and other relevant factors make Indians more susceptible to diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is caused when pancreas does not produce enough insulin or body cannot use the insulin it produces. It can be treated and prevented by diet, exercise and medications.

Every year, World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14 to mark the people who suffer from diabetes and prevent the delay of deaths caused by the disease.

India Ranks Second In Global Estimates Of Diabetes (Nagaland Post)
Picture: Nagaland Post

This year, the theme is ‘Access to Diabetic Care’, which means providing required care for diabetic patients to support and manage their complications. It is also a day when increase in awareness, healthy practices and new medical treatments to cure diabetes are brought to light.

According to Praveen Kumar Kulkarni, Senior Consultant and Internal Medicine Specialist, KIMS Hospitals, Hyderabad, “Diabetes is a major case of kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. Diabetes may occur suddenly and can damage eyes, blood vessels, kidneys and nerves. It can also cause permanent vision loss by damaging the blood vessels in the eyes.

“Globally, it is estimated that 422 million people live with diabetes. The figures have doubled over the past decade which results in risk factors such as overweight or obesity. Though insulin was discovered over 100 years ago, it’s access to people that require them is scarce. When people are educated about this disease, they can avoid certain lifestyle patterns that might result in this disease.”

G Sandeep Reddy, Consultant Endocrinologist, Kamineni Hospitals, said the symptoms of diabetes may occur suddenly.

“Usually, in type 2 diabetes, the symptoms are mild and will take a longer time to notice. These include: feeling thirsty, needing to urinate, blurred vision, weight loss and feeling tired. In type 1 diabetes, it is characterized by insulin deficiency and it requires daily administration of insulin to track the severity of the disease. There were 9 million people with type 1 diabetes in 2017, it’s means to prevent are still unknown.

“But Type 2 diabetes is different, it affects how your body used sugar for energy which stops the body from using insulin and leads to high level of blood sugar if not treated. Type 2 diabetes is preventable, recognizing the early signs can prevent the worst effects.”

According to Parveen Sultana, Consultant General Physician, Century Hospital, “There is also a gestational diabetes that occurs mostly during pregnancy. Women with this type of diabetes are at an increased risk of complications during birth. The child can also have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future. Gestational diabetes can be identified through prenatal screening rather than reporting symptoms. Lifestyle changes are the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes.

“Keeping healthy body weight, exercising regularly for 30 minutes, eating healthy diet, avoiding sugars and tobacco. Early diagnosis is done though testing the blood glucose level. People with type 2 diabetes use certain injections such as metformin, inhibitors and sulfonylureas. Using foot care to treat ulcers, screening kidneys and eyes can help maintain health.”

Speaking about the treatment options for diabetes, Lingaiah Miryala, Consultant General Physician & Diabetologist, Amor Hospital, mentioned that early diagnosis is important to prevent the effects of type 2 diabetes.

“Regular check-ups, blood tests can help recognize traces of diabetes in the body. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be mild, but they increase over time and may take several years to get noticed. The symptoms here are similar to type 1 diabetes but often less marked.

“As a result, the disease may be several years onset, but can be diagnosed only at a later stage. More than 90% of people have type 2 diabetes, it is also called non-insulin diabetes that is most observed in adults. But nowadays, young people are also having increased cases of diabetes,” Miryala said. (IANS)

Sleep Duration Affects Diabetes Risk in Women, Study Reveals

A recent study conducted by researchers at Columbia University has highlighted the potential connection between inadequate sleep and an increased risk of diabetes in women, particularly in postmenopausal individuals. The findings emphasize the importance of sufficient sleep in maintaining optimal health, shedding light on the impact of even a mild sleep deficit over a six-week period.

Lead researcher Marie-Pierre St-Onge, director of the Center of Excellence for Sleep and Circadian Research at Columbia University, explained the significance of the study, stating, “Throughout their lifespan, women face many changes in their sleep habits due to childbearing, child-rearing, and menopause. And more women than men have the perception they aren’t getting enough sleep.”

The study enrolled 38 healthy women, 11 of whom had undergone menopause. All participants consistently slept for at least seven hours each night, falling within the recommended range of seven to nine hours for optimal health. However, a substantial portion of the American population fails to meet this guideline.

In a randomized order, the women participated in two phases of the study. In one phase, they maintained their regular sleep duration, while in the other phase, they delayed bedtime by an hour and a half, resulting in a total sleep duration of around six hours. Each phase spanned six weeks.

The results of the study indicated that reducing sleep by just 90 minutes over six weeks led to a notable increase in insulin resistance, particularly among women accustomed to adequate sleep. Fasting insulin levels rose by over 12% overall and 15% among premenopausal women. Insulin resistance increased by nearly 15% overall and exceeded 20% in postmenopausal women.

Surprisingly, the study found that the impact of sleep loss on insulin resistance was not associated with an increase in belly fat, a known driver of insulin resistance. St-Onge remarked on this, stating, “The fact that we saw these results independent of any changes in body fat, which is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes, speaks to the impact of mild sleep reduction on insulin-producing cells and metabolism.”

Although average blood sugar levels remained stable for all participants during the study, the researchers cautioned that changes in insulin resistance could lead to long-term increases in blood sugar levels.

The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care on Nov. 13, marks the first instance where a mild sleep deficit maintained for six weeks has been shown to elevate the risk of diabetes. This novel insight prompts further investigation into the potential benefits of improved sleep on blood sugar control and glucose metabolism.

St-Onge and her team are now set to explore whether enhancing sleep quality can positively influence blood sugar control and glucose metabolism. This avenue of research could provide valuable insights into preventive measures against diabetes and the role of adequate sleep in overall metabolic health.

The study underscores the importance of recognizing sleep as a crucial factor in maintaining women’s health, particularly in the context of diabetes risk. The findings advocate for prioritizing sufficient sleep, especially considering the challenges women face in various life stages that can disrupt their sleep patterns. As research continues, a clearer understanding of the intricate relationship between sleep duration, metabolic health, and disease risk is likely to emerge, paving the way for targeted interventions and improved public health awareness.

Gender Disparities in U.S. Life Expectancy: A Deep Dive into the Latest Research

Recent research published on November 13 in JAMA Internal Medicine reveals a concerning trend in U.S. life expectancy, highlighting a growing gender disparity. As of 2021, women in the United States are projected to outlive men by approximately six years, according to the study. This revelation comes amid a broader decline in overall life expectancy, which currently hovers around 76 years. The study sheds light on the contributing factors and emphasizes the need for targeted interventions to address the root causes behind this growing divide.

Gender-Based Life Expectancy Gap:

The gender-based life expectancy gap in the U.S. has reached its widest point since 1996, with women surpassing men in longevity. In 2021, U.S. men had a life expectancy of 73.5 years, in contrast to 79.3 years for women. Historically, women have tended to live longer than men, influenced by both biological and behavioral factors. Hormonal differences and healthier lifestyle choices, such as more frequent doctor visits and lower rates of smoking and excessive drinking among women, have contributed to this trend.

Pre-existing Trend and Acceleration:

The widening gender gap did not emerge solely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; rather, it began before the pandemic and accelerated from 2019 to 2021. The authors of the study highlight that deaths from COVID-19 and unintentional injuries, including accidental drug overdoses, were the primary drivers behind this acceleration. However, differential rates of homicide, heart disease, and suicides also played a role in this disturbing trend.

Causes of Widening Gap:

The report identifies specific causes contributing to the widening gender-based life expectancy gap. Notably, deaths from COVID-19 and unintentional injuries, categorized to include drug overdoses, were major contributors. Men were disproportionately affected by these causes, as established by existing data that highlights higher mortality rates among men compared to women. In 2021, heart disease, COVID-19, and unintentional injuries ranked among the top five causes of death, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

The Role of Behavioral and Biological Factors:

While the study emphasizes the impact of external factors such as the pandemic and unintentional injuries, it also underscores the enduring influence of behavioral and biological differences. Men’s higher susceptibility to deaths from homicide, heart disease, and suicide compared to women contributes significantly to the widening gender gap. Recognizing and addressing these factors is crucial for developing effective strategies to mitigate the disparities.

Factors Mitigating the Gender Gap:

The authors acknowledge that certain factors helped mitigate the gender gap, preventing it from widening even further. Increases in maternal mortality and decreases in cancer deaths among men had a balancing effect. These findings highlight the complexity of the forces at play and underscore the need for a nuanced understanding of the multiple factors influencing life expectancy.

Implications for Public Health:

The research underscores the ongoing importance of addressing the impact of COVID-19 on life expectancy. Limiting the spread of the virus remains a critical priority. Additionally, the study emphasizes the need for comprehensive strategies to improve national mental health and prevent drug overdoses and suicides, often labeled as “deaths of despair” by experts. These interventions are crucial for addressing the root causes of the widening gender-based life expectancy gap.

The latest research on U.S. life expectancy reveals a disconcerting trend, with women projected to live significantly longer than men. While external factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and unintentional injuries contribute to this widening gap, behavioral and biological differences also play a crucial role. Understanding the multifaceted nature of these influences is essential for developing targeted interventions to address the root causes and promote a more equitable and healthier society. As the findings highlight, a comprehensive approach that addresses both pandemic-related challenges and longstanding health disparities is imperative for improving overall life expectancy and well-being in the United States.

The Costly Impact of Climate Change: Insights from the Fifth National Climate Assessment

In its latest iteration, the National Climate Assessment (NCA) delivers a comprehensive evaluation of climate change in the United States, emphasizing its expensive, deadly, and preventable consequences. The fifth edition, released every five years, offers a sweeping analysis, incorporating social sciences like history, sociology, philosophy, and Indigenous studies to provide a holistic understanding of the issue.

The assessment highlights the disproportionate impact on various demographics, stressing the urgency of addressing climate change to build a more resilient and just nation. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, an author of the assessment, underscores this point, stating, “Climate change affects us all, but it doesn’t affect us all equally.”

One notable addition to this edition is standalone chapters on climate change’s economic toll, social factors driving it, and the nation’s responses. This broader perspective aims to add context and relevance to the scientific findings and draw attention to the specific vulnerabilities of poor people, marginalized communities, older Americans, and outdoor workers.

Michael Burger, the director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, highlights the assessment’s influence in legal and policy circles, shaping decisions ranging from court cases on wildfire damage responsibility to local choices about building flood barriers. The report’s translation into Spanish further emphasizes its importance, making the information accessible to a wider audience.

The NCA is a collaborative effort involving hundreds of scientists from various institutions who reviewed cutting-edge research and contextualized it with decades of foundational climate studies. This edition arrives against the backdrop of a year marked by dramatic and deadly climate-driven disasters, including wildfires, floods, and heatwaves that claimed hundreds of lives in 2023.

Climate Change Makes Life More Expensive

The assessment identifies climate-driven weather disasters, such as heatwaves, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires, as major contributors to increasing expenses in various aspects of life. These disasters wreak havoc on homes, businesses, and crops, leading to supply shortages and financial distress for families and municipal governments. The report estimates that weather-related disasters cause approximately $150 billion in direct losses annually in the U.S., a figure expected to rise as the Earth continues to heat up.

Solomon Hsiang, a climate economist at the University of California, Berkeley, emphasizes the economic challenges faced by lower-income individuals in adapting to climate change. The report cites healthcare costs for illnesses related to extreme heat and respiratory issues from wildfire smoke as less obvious but significant expenses. The economic harm escalates with rising temperatures, with the assessment warning that twice as much planetary warming leads to more than twice the economic damage.

“The research indicates that people who are lower income have more trouble adapting [to climate change], because adaptation comes at a cost,” says Hsiang.

Climate Change Makes People Sick and Often Kills Them

The health costs of climate change have transitioned from theoretical to personal for many Americans over the past five years. Extreme weather, particularly heatwaves, has become more intense and prolonged, causing hundreds of deaths in unprepared areas. The assessment emphasizes the risks beyond heat, including the health impacts of wildfire smoke and disruptions to healthcare caused by hurricanes.

The most vulnerable populations, including poor communities, communities of color, women, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups, bear the brunt of these disasters. The report points out that temperatures in historically redlined neighborhoods can be nearly 15 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than wealthier areas, putting residents at significantly higher risk of heat exposure.

Mary Hayden, the lead author of the chapter on human health, notes that living through climate disasters can have lasting emotional scars, impacting mental, spiritual, and community well-being. The report highlights the enduring trauma in communities like Paradise, California, five years after the devastating 2018 Camp Fire. It also raises concerns about the growing emotional toll on children and young people, whose anxiety about the future of the planet is affecting various aspects of their lives.

Climate change isn’t just altering landscapes and ecosystems; it’s also reshaping the sacred places and cultural practices that anchor communities across the United States. From fishing communities grappling with the collapse of iconic industries to Indigenous traditions disrupted by shifting climate realities, the impacts are profound.

Threats to Special Places and Practices

Fishing communities, particularly the Northeast’s lobster fishery, face economic downturns as marine heatwaves devastate regional seas. The decline in snowpack and rising temperatures disrupt cherished recreational activities such as skiing and ice fishing, impacting the lifestyles of many.

Indigenous communities, deeply connected to their environments, are forced to adapt to new climate realities that disrupt traditional food-gathering practices. In Palau, sea level rise has upset a monthly tradition of catching fish at a low tide, altering the historically-used places for fishing. Coastal communities are grappling with sea level rise, challenging their very existence and unraveling social fabric developed over generations.

Elizabeth Marino, lead author of the chapter on social transformations, emphasizes the resilience of communities closely tied to their environments. She states, “There is quite a lot of wisdom in place to adapt to and even mitigate climate change.” Despite the challenges, there is hope in the ability of these communities to develop solutions that align with their way of life.

The Role of Adaptation and Resilience

The fifth assessment underscores the urgency of addressing climate challenges to limit planetary warming to the goals set by the international Paris Agreement. Immediate, substantial cuts to fossil fuel emissions are required, with the report acknowledging the difficulty of achieving the more ambitious target of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

While the report paints a stark picture of the challenges ahead, it also highlights ongoing efforts to adapt to the new reality and prevent worse outcomes. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist involved in the assessment, emphasizes the importance of individual actions, stating, “Everything we do matters. Every 10th of a degree of warming we avoid, there’s a benefit to that.”

Opportunities for Positive Change

  1. Jason West, the lead author on the chapter on air quality, points out that addressing fossil fuel-driven climate change can lead to healthier lives. Reducing emissions not only mitigates climate change but also decreases harmful air pollution, benefiting human health. This perspective reflects a shift in the report, acknowledging the historical injustices embedded in the fossil fuel-powered society built over generations.

Candis Callison, a sociologist and author of the report, notes this subtle shift in perspective. Climate change, she suggests, offers an opportunity to address past inequities and injustices. The report acknowledges the profound impact of pollution-producing facilities on communities of color and the exclusion of tribal communities from decisions about land and water use for energy extraction. Callison sees climate change as a catalyst for rectifying these historical wrongs and responding to the impacts in a more equitable way.

The fifth National Climate Assessment not only outlines the threats posed by climate change to sacred places and practices but also highlights the resilience of communities and the potential for positive change. By emphasizing the role of adaptation, individual actions, and addressing historical injustices, the assessment points towards a future where climate action can lead to a more just and sustainable society.

The Impact of Daily “Micro-Acts” of Joy on Emotional Well-being

It’s 8 a.m., and your in-box is filling up. You spot an email about a colleague’s promotion. Do you scroll past or take a moment to give props? Or, you’re in line at the coffee shop, where it’s easy to tune everyone out. But, today, you decide to pick up the tab for the person behind you.

How might a small act like this influence your mood later today, tonight, or throughout this week?

An analysis released Tuesday from scientists behind a research initiative called the BIG JOY Project finds that people who commit daily “micro-acts” of joy experience about a 25% increase in emotional well-being over the course of a week.

“We’re really excited,” says Emiliana Simon-Thomas, a BIG JOY project leader, and science director of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. “There are statistically significant, measurable changes [including] greater well-being, better coping, less stress, more satisfaction with relationships.”

The BIG JOY Project is a collaboration between UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and other research institutions. So far, the researchers have preliminary results from over 70,000 participants in more than 200 countries. “What we’re really focused on is understanding impact and the potential for change in people’s lives,” Simon-Thomas. Overall, the new analysis shows micro-acts led to increased feelings of hope, optimism, as well as moments of fun or silliness.

This project did not begin as a typical research study, but rather a ‘citizen-science’ project which is still open to anyone who wants to participate. Here’s how it works. Participants take an on-line survey to answer questions about their emotions, stress, and their social tendencies. Then, every day for seven consecutive days, they agree to try small, happiness-boosting activities, what the researchers have dubbed “micro-acts” of joy.

All of the recommended micro-acts have been linked to emotional well-being in prior published studies. Examples include making a gratitude list or journal, or engaging in acts of kindness such as visiting a sick neighbor or doing a nice gesture for a friend – or a stranger. Some micro-acts involve celebrating another person’s joy, or engaging in self-reflection, meditation, or taking the time to identify the silver lining in a bad situation, known as positive reframing.

Each day, people answer questions about what they did and how they felt afterward. At the end of the week, they take another survey to gauge how their emotions and sense of well-being have changed.

A sense of agency

When people intentionally plan out a daily micro-act, it may help them feel as if they have a bit of control over their emotions, explains researcher Elissa Epel, a BIG JOY collaborator, and a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. “So there’s this feeling of agency,” Epel says, and that could be one explanation for the improvements in well-being seen in the survey.

For instance, participants were asked how much they agreed with the statement: “I have felt able to impact, influence, or play an active role in how happy I generally feel.” The participants’ level of agreement with this statement increased by about 27%, over the course of the week.

Since all participants chose to be part of the project, it’s likely they were hoping for a benefit. But it’s not clear if everyone — even people who don’t believe small acts can be beneficial – would see the same results. “We haven’t randomly assigned a group of people to do the seven day [program],” Simon-Thomas says, so without control group data, the results are all preliminary. The researchers plan to run some controlled studies and publish results in the future.

A tool for spreading well-being

At a time when global conflicts, political divide, and societal problems may seem insurmountable, some may question whether small acts of joy can help make a difference? The answer, the researchers say, stems from the ideas of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who both spoke about how it’s possible to feel joy even in the midst of suffering, and to use that feeling to help do good.

The BIG JOY project began as a collaboration with documentary filmmakers who produced a 2021 film called Mission: Joy, which aimed to illuminate this message. “They really wanted to spread the wisdom that we have more control over our happiness than we know,” Epel says.

Epel has spent decades studying how stress affects the body, and she says it’s been surprising to see the benefits of micro-acts of joy. “These very short practices are clearly having a positive residue,” Epel says. She’s come to think of the micro-acts as “tools at our fingertips” that we can use in the moment to relieve feelings of stress, anxiety and worry.

Of course, it’s important to point out what micro-acts cannot accomplish. They are not a replacement for therapy or medications used for serious mental health challenges, including depression. And, the researchers point out, it’s also not appropriate to think micro-acts can help overhaul the struggles of someone whose basic needs are not met. “It would be embarrassing and shameful to be like, hey, you don’t have enough to eat, why don’t you try Big Joy,” Simon-Thomas says.

But she says, the hope is that the joy that emanates from micro-acts may help spur some people to get involved in the greater good — whether it’s in your community, your workplace, your school, or an organization you admire. “What we’re hoping is that when people finish Big Joy they have that sense that, oh, my happiness is contingent in part on how generous and invested I am in common humanity,” Simon-Thomas says.

Starting a new practice

At a time when random acts of kindness could be viewed as bumper sticker cliché, researchers say it’s important to continue to nail down potential benefits through rigorous studies.

“I appreciate the skepticism,” says Judith Moskowitz, a social scientist at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, who is not involved in the new Big Joy analysis. The body of research on positive psychology has to date produced mixed results. And Moskowitz says the ongoing research creates an opportunity to better understand the effects of these small steps.

Moskowitz’s own research has shown a series of small steps (similar to those used in the Big Joy project) can help people cope during bad situations. For instance, she found caregivers caring for a sick loved one were able to tamp down anxiety after going through a 5-week course.

“So many of the things that are causing us stress and sadness are out of our control,” Moskowitz says. “So these micro moments can give you something to hold on to,” she explains, and help you stay engaged.

“Decades of research have shown that even in the context of really stressful events or sickness, there is absolutely the capacity to experience moments of positive emotion as well,” she says.

Rather than thinking of joy as something that happens to you, it may make sense to think of it as a skill that you can get better at through practice, says Simon-Thomas. “If you want to stay physically fit, you have to keep exercising,” Simon-Thomas says, and the same likely goes for well-being, she says.

Just as the benefits of exercise wear off, so too do the effects of these micro-acts.

“I feel optimistic. I feel more relaxed. I feel more supported in the world when I engage in these micro practices myself,” says Simon-Thomas. “I just believe that humans can change for the better,” she says.

One way to get started with the Big Joy concept is to plan out the moment of your micro-act each day. Maybe build it into your daily dog-walking routine; that’s a good time to make a mental gratitude list or look for an opportunity to chat with a neighbor.

“Part of this is intention setting,” Simon-Thomas says. “If you have a map to where you’re going to go, you’re much more likely to go there,” she says.

AMA President Urges Urgent Action on Physician Shortage: Proposes Five-Step Solution to Address Crisis

AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, addressed the National Press Club on October 25, 2023, discussing the pressing issue of the physician shortage in the U.S. He shed light on the impact of this crisis on doctors, patients, and the healthcare system, presenting a comprehensive five-step solution to tackle the problem.

Ehrenfeld began by emphasizing the under-addressed crisis of physician burnout, sharing personal anecdotes that illustrated the severity of the issue. He highlighted the tragic suicide of a friend and colleague, an ER physician, who struggled under the weight of the pandemic. Another example was a physician who left her position due to political pressures, reflecting a broader trend of doctors leaving communities due to legislative challenges.

The AMA President emphasized the current physician shortage, affecting over 83 million people in the U.S. who live in areas without sufficient access to primary care physicians. The shortage extends to specialized care, with examples such as the lack of OBGYNs in parts of Idaho and Mississippi. He stressed that the problem is already limiting access to care for millions and is poised to worsen.

Ehrenfeld provided alarming statistics regarding physician burnout during the pandemic, citing a survey indicating that two in three doctors experienced burnout, the highest level recorded by the AMA. He highlighted the intention of one in five physicians to leave medicine within the next two years, coupled with one in three planning to reduce their working hours. The demographic challenge was underscored, noting that nearly half of practicing physicians are over age 55, and it takes a decade or more to educate and train new physicians.

The AMA President outlined the reasons behind the physician shortage, as stated by physicians themselves. These include administrative burdens, attacks on science, government intrusion into healthcare decisions, healthcare consolidation, widening health disparities, and the challenges faced by foreign-trained physicians.

The financial aspect was a focal point, particularly the shrinking Medicare reimbursement rate for physicians. Adjusted for inflation, the payment rate has dropped by 26 percent since 2001, presenting a significant financial challenge for physicians. Ehrenfeld stressed the need for immediate attention from Congress to prevent further payment reductions.

The impact on patients was highlighted, with the closure of physician offices, reduction in hours, and limitations on new Medicare patients, all adversely affecting patient care. The consequences, especially for older adults, were emphasized, noting instances where patients had to wait longer for appointments or travel further for essential care due to physicians limiting their practices.

The AMA President presented a five-step solution to address the physician shortage:

  1. Financial Support:Advocated for the passage of the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act, H.R. 2474, to provide physicians with annual payment updates to account for practice cost inflations.
  2. Reducing Administrative Burdens:Urged the adoption of the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act to address the inefficient prior authorization process.
  3. Expanding Residency Training:Called for the passage of three bipartisan bills supporting residency training options, greater student loan support, and smoother pathways for foreign-trained physicians.
  4. Criminalizing Health Care:Opposed efforts to criminalize health care, citing the negative impact of recent decisions affecting abortion and gender-affirming care.
  5. Mental Health Support:Advocated for legislative fixes to address burnout, along with urging states and physician employers to audit licensing and credentialing applications to remove stigmatizing questions about mental health.

Ehrenfeld emphasized the urgency of these solutions, citing bipartisan support in Congress and growing momentum in states for additional safeguards. He stressed the need for immediate action, asserting that delaying action would only exacerbate the size of the public health crisis.

The AMA President called for leaders in Congress to step forward and address the urgent problem of the physician shortage, emphasizing that both major political parties have common ground on these issues. He reiterated that the public health crisis is growing daily, necessitating swift action to create a more resilient physician workforce and ensure that everyone in America has access to necessary healthcare.

Thank you.

FDA Approves Zepbound, a Potent Weight Loss Drug – A Game-Changer in the Fight Against Obesity

The recent decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to greenlight the weight loss drug tirzepatide has introduced a robust addition to the rapidly expanding array of obesity medications. The drug, set to be marketed under the name Zepbound, shares its active compound with the diabetes medication Mounjaro, which has been utilized off-label for weight loss since its initial approval in May 2022. This FDA approval may pave the way for broader insurance coverage and increased prescriptions.

Zepbound represents the second drug in a novel class of obesity medications sanctioned for weight loss, following Wegovy. According to Dr. Scott Hagan, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington, Zepbound is likely the most effective treatment for obesity, rivaling bariatric surgery. However, the availability of Mounjaro, which shares the same compound, has been limited since its market introduction in the previous year.

Dr. Andrew Kraftson, a clinical associate professor at Michigan Medicine, likened the situation to the demand surge witnessed with another medication, Ozempic. He anticipates a similar clamor for Zepbound among patients due to the heightened interest in weight loss medications.

The FDA has specified that Zepbound is approved for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, categorizing them as having obesity. Alternatively, individuals with a BMI of 27 or more, coupled with certain weight-related conditions like high blood pressure, are also eligible. Regulators recommend using the drug in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Manufactured by Eli Lilly, Zepbound is the brand name for tirzepatide when employed for weight loss. When prescribed for diabetes, it goes by the name Mounjaro. Similar to semaglutide, the compound found in Ozempic and Wegovy, tirzepatide works by slowing down stomach emptying, leading to a quicker and prolonged feeling of fullness. Additionally, these drugs target the brain area that regulates appetite, reducing cravings. Tirzepatide, mimicking two hormones compared to semaglutide’s one, is believed to be more effective in inducing weight loss. In a 72-week clinical trial funded by Eli Lilly, participants with obesity taking the highest dose of tirzepatide experienced an average weight loss of around 18 percent.

For individuals already using Ozempic or Wegovy, the efficacy of these medications can vary from person to person. Dr. Janice Jin Hwang from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine emphasizes that factors like other health outcomes should be considered, especially for those at risk of heart failure or liver disease. The risks and benefits of switching medications need careful evaluation, as some individuals may experience excessive weight loss, particularly older people prone to muscle mass reduction.

The issue of insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs remains a variable, with different plans potentially covering Zepbound for those meeting the FDA’s criteria. Eli Lilly expects Zepbound to be available in the U.S. by the year-end, with a list price of $1,059.87.

As with any medication, tirzepatide is associated with side effects, primarily gastrointestinal issues according to an Eli Lilly-funded study. The highest dose of tirzepatide resulted in approximately one-third of participants experiencing nausea and one-fifth reporting diarrhea. Other reported side effects included abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, headache, dizziness, burping, hair loss, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, as outlined in the FDA approval. However, due to the novelty of tirzepatide, its long-term effects are not yet fully understood, and individuals using such drugs for weight loss are generally advised to continue them indefinitely.

Renowned Physician, Dr. Joseph Chalil, Shares His Remarkable Journey on “The Supreet Singh Show”

In the vast and ever-expanding world of podcasting, “The Supreet Singh Show” has just dropped its second episode, promising to keep the flames of inspiration and knowledge burning. This time, the spotlight shines on Dr. Joseph M. Chalil, the Chief Medical Officer at Novo Integrated Sciences, Whose journey from humble beginnings to global recognition is truly remarkable.

As is widely recognized, the host of the show – Mr. Supreet Singh is a multifaceted entrepreneur. Beyond his accomplished role as a certified broadcaster in Vancouver, he also serves as the Founder and CEO of the acclaimed pharmaceutical company- PCHPL (Psychocare Health Pvt. Ltd). Supreet Singh has also garnered multiple awards and recognition. His background in the medical industry facilitated an instant connection with Dr. Chalil.

During this riveting episode, Supreet Singh delves into the life and career of Dr. Chalil, leaving no stone unturned in unpacking the remarkable journey that has made him a prominent figure in the medical world. The episode is a captivating fusion of Dr. Chalil’s profound medical knowledge and Supreet Singh’s interviewing skills.

The episode explores various intriguing topics, from the future of healthcare to the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare systems. Listeners can expect to gain valuable insights into the challenges and triumphs of a medical career, as well as broader themes of dedication, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence.

“The Supreet Singh Show” is rapidly establishing itself as a platform for uncovering the transformative journeys and life stories of individuals who have left an indelible mark in their respective fields. Each episode introduces the audience to a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, ensuring that there is something for everyone to connect with and draw inspiration from.

This podcast is available on various platforms such as Spotify and YouTube, providing a diverse range of audiences the opportunity to engage with these impactful conversations. It fosters a sense of community where shared learning and growth become the cornerstones of the show’s message.

Listeners are encouraged to tune in to be inspired by the remarkable journey of Dr. Joseph Chalil and to explore the depths of knowledge and inspiration that “The Supreet Singh Show” has to offer.

FDA Proposes Banning Brominated Vegetable Oil from US Food Products

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has put forward a proposal to discontinue the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) as an additive in food products across the nation. This move is in response to concerns about its safety and follows California’s recent ban on BVO, making it the first state in the US to do so. It’s worth noting that BVO is already prohibited in Europe and Japan.

James Jones, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for human foods, stated, “The agency concluded that the intended use of BVO in food is no longer considered safe after the results of studies conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health … found the potential for adverse health effects in humans.”

Brominated vegetable oil is a substance created by modifying vegetable oil with bromine, a pungent, deep red chemical. It is typically used as an emulsifier in citrus-flavored beverages to prevent the separation of flavoring. Bromine is also commonly found in flame retardants.

While BVO is still used in some products, especially in sodas, the number of items containing this additive has decreased over the years due to previous restrictions by the FDA. In the 1970s, the FDA reevaluated BVO and determined that it was no longer “Generally Recognized as Safe,” leading to increased regulation of its use.

Furthermore, market pressure and consumer awareness played a significant role in companies voluntarily removing BVO from their products. A petition in 2012 with over 200,000 signatures highlighted the health concerns associated with this ingredient.

Health Risks Associated with Brominated Vegetable Oil

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization focused on consumer health and environmental issues, has identified several health risks linked to BVO. These include damage to the nervous system, headaches, irritation of the skin and mucous membranes, fatigue, loss of muscle coordination, and memory problems. BVO can also accumulate in the body over time.

While the studies that prompted the FDA’s decision were conducted on animals, they revealed negative health effects at levels that closely approximate real-world human exposure. One of the observed harms includes toxic effects on the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing hormones critical for regulating blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and metabolism.

The proposal by the FDA to ban BVO is currently open for public comment until January 17, 2024, and it will undergo a review process before a final decision is made. In the meantime, consumers who wish to avoid BVO in their food products are advised to carefully check ingredient lists before making purchases.

Scott Faber, the senior vice president for government affairs at the EWG, expressed his support for the FDA’s move, stating, “Today’s announcement will ensure everyone has access to products that don’t contain BVO.” James Jones of the FDA emphasized that this proposed ban is a result of the agency’s commitment to monitoring emerging evidence and taking regulatory action when safety concerns arise.

Centre Proposes Inclusion of Traditional Medicine in WHO’s List

In a bid to gain global recognition for India’s traditional medicine, the Indian government has made a formal request for the inclusion of Ayurveda and related systems in the 11th revision of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD). This move is aimed at establishing a standardized language that can be utilized by healthcare professionals worldwide.

Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, the Secretary of the Ministry of Ayush, emphasized the significance of this proposal, underscoring that it would play a crucial role in effectively regulating and integrating traditional medicine into the existing healthcare system. He shared his thoughts in an interview with The Hindu.

The envisioned inclusion of the second module for Ayurveda in ICD-11 is anticipated to streamline research and evaluation processes, ultimately establishing its efficacy within the global healthcare framework. This development follows the successful integration of Module-1, covering traditional medicine conditions originating from ancient China, into ICD-11.

The digitization of ICD-11 is an essential aspect of this effort, and the proposed integration of Ayurveda is seen as a major stride towards achieving various goals. It is expected to lead to better insurance coverage, improved reporting of adverse events, and the alignment of traditional medicine practices with global healthcare standards.
The Ministry of Ayush is actively involved in the development of Module-2, drawing upon the knowledge and experiences gained through the National Ayush Morbidity and Standardized Terminologies Electronic portal and the Ayush Health Information Management System.

This initiative is not just limited to the inclusion of Ayurveda in a global classification system; it is expected to have far-reaching implications. It is poised to facilitate the integration of traditional medicine into mainstream health information systems, bridging the gap between traditional and modern healthcare practices. Additionally, it aligns with the objective of achieving universal health coverage, a vision endorsed by the World Health Organization.

The proposed inclusion of Ayurveda and related traditional systems in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is a significant step in promoting these age-old healthcare practices on a global scale. This initiative, led by the Indian government, is aimed at providing a common language for healthcare professionals worldwide to better understand and integrate traditional Indian medicine.

Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, the Secretary of the Ministry of Ayush, highlighted the importance of this move. He emphasized that it would not only support the effective regulation of traditional medicine but also facilitate its integration into the existing healthcare system. This integration is crucial for ensuring that traditional Indian medicine, including Ayurveda, can coexist harmoniously with modern healthcare practices.

The proposed inclusion of the second module for Ayurveda in ICD-11 is expected to have several positive outcomes. It will streamline research and evaluation processes, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness of Ayurveda and related systems in the context of global healthcare.

ICD-11 has already successfully included Module-1, which covers traditional medicine conditions originating from ancient China. With the digital transformation of ICD-11, the integration of Ayurveda is a significant step forward. It is anticipated to lead to better insurance coverage for traditional Indian medicine, improved reporting of adverse events, and the alignment of traditional healthcare practices with global healthcare standards.

The Ministry of Ayush is actively involved in the development of Module-2, drawing upon the experiences and knowledge gained through the National Ayush Morbidity and Standardized Terminologies Electronic portal and the Ayush Health Information Management System. This involvement demonstrates the government’s commitment to ensuring that Ayurveda and related systems are well-represented in the global healthcare classification system.

Furthermore, this move goes beyond the mere inclusion of Ayurveda in a classification system. It is expected to promote the seamless integration of traditional Indian medicine into mainstream health information systems. This integration will bridge the gap between traditional and modern healthcare practices, creating a more holistic approach to healthcare.

In line with the vision of the World Health Organization, this initiative aligns with the objective of achieving universal health coverage. By recognizing and standardizing traditional Indian medicine, it takes a step closer to making healthcare accessible to all. This is a noteworthy development that has the potential to positively impact the global healthcare landscape.

Indian Nurses Association of New York Holds Health Screening and Education in Long Island

The health screening and education booths of Indian Nurses Association of New York (INANY) at the Senior Health Expo in Rockville Center, Long Island was a major attraction for the local
communities in the area. They included blood pressure monitoring, body mass index measurement, blood sugar check, physical and mental health screening, diabetes education, heart- related education and other health maintenance education and guidance. The Senior Health Expo was organized by the first Indian American second term New York State Senator of Long Island
Kevin Thomas. The event was targeted at the seniors in the region to give access to information and resources for maintaining and bettering their health.

INANY, the organization that stands as the voice of Indian nurses living in New York, has been engaged with New York State Senator to extend healthcare services to the underserved communities in his constituency for the last three years. INANY was also a recipient of a $10,000 grant in partnership with Coalition of Asian American Children and Families to address the surge anti-Asian hate incidents after the COVID-19 pandemic began. The nurses conducted an awareness and bystander intervention training program in senior centers, professional forums, social gatherings and as part of a nursing continuing education conference. The training program comprises various strategies that could be used by a witness or bystander of an anti-Asian hate incident to comfortably intervene to help the victim, without compromising safety or fear. Dr.Anna George, the president of INANY pointed out that the strategies are evidence based and have been adopted by various universities and healthcare organizations such as Northwell Health.

INANY also utilized this opportunity to provide innovative and accessible infection control education for frontline healthcare workers to protect their patients. This initiative was part of National Association of Indian Nurses of North America (NAINA) instituting a grant from American Nurses Association.

The nurse-volunteers who attended at the Health Expo comprised of nurses working at bedside, nurse practitioners from cardiac catheter lab, and university professors who shared their expertise to educate on reducing risks of life threatening illnesses and conditions. They also did depression screening and talked about need for seeking help or reaching out to resources when someone from own family or others suffers from mental health conditions or substance abuse. They also counselled about the stigma attached to mental illness.

Taylor Darling, the New York assembly woman from district 18 who observed services of INANY nurses at the Expo said that she was thoroughly impressed and delighted with what INANY did for the health of the community. She talked about the stressors in nursing related to staff shortage, safe staffing issues, faculty shortage and acuity at work and thanked the nurses for their compassion and altruism. Senator Kevin Thomas expressed his gratitude for the services INANY provided to the people of his district and for the dedication of Indian nurses for what they do every day in healthcare facilities.

INANY president Dr. Anna George, Annie Sabu Aleyamma Appukuttan, Grace Alexaner, Nisha Jayan, Grace Geevarghese, Rupinder Kaur, Paul Panakal, Shiney Xavier, Paul Panakal, and Jaya
Vathappally dedicated the day for their voluntary services at the Expo.

USIBC Hosts India-US Health Delegations In Washington

The US India Business Council (USIBC) hosted the health delegations from the governments of India and the United States on October 13. The reception and dinner took place on the sidelines of the U.S.-India Health Dialogue, which was held at the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

India-US Health Summit underscored the shared dedication of both nations to elevate healthcare outcomes, with a focus that extends beyond their respective populations to impact people on a
global scale.

The delegation included prominent figures such as Secretary Sudhansh Pant, the Union Health Secretary of India, Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Secretary of the Department of Health Research and director-
general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr. Atul Goel, director general of Health Services, and Atul Gawande, the USAID assistant administrator for Global Health.

The event underscored the shared dedication of both nations to elevate healthcare outcomes, with a focus that extends beyond their respective populations to impact people on a global scale.
According to the USIBC, the collaboration goes beyond mere cooperation between two countries; it signifies a united endeavour to harness their collective strength, expertise, and resources to address pressing global health issues.

The recent COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the transformative power of such collaborations.Whether through the sharing of medical resources, vaccines, or joint efforts in research and development, both nations have joined forces to combat this formidable virus, USIBC said in a LinkedIn post.

Hackensack Meridian Health, NJ Opens Brand-New, Expanded Carrier Behavioral Health

Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive healthcare network, has officially opened the brand-new, expanded Carrier Behavioral Health at Raritan Bay Medical Centerin the Garden State last week. This is part of Hackensack Meridian Health’s $24 million investment into the community.

“Raritan Bay Medical Center has provided high quality, compassionate care to the Perth Amboy community for more than a century.  The need for Behavioral Health services in our communities is greater than ever.  This investment will serve our patients now and into the future,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.

“We are excited to officially open our expanded 81 bed center of excellence to the public”, said Patricia Carroll, FACHE, president, chief hospital executive, Raritan Bay and Old Bridge Medical Center’s. “With the growing need for Behavioral Health services around the state, this will be a new soothing and healing environment for our patients, and the communities we serve.”

Over the summer, Carrier Behavioral Health at Raritan Bay Medical Center expanded its reach by offering Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), an option for people with  treatment resistant depression and other psychiatric disorders that have not been satisfactorily treated by medications and other therapies.

“The expansion of this facility will provide more world-class care for the community,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “Access to in-patient mental health and behavioral services is a priority for our state and I’m so pleased to see more of that need met here at Raritan Bay with the expertise of Carrier.”

“New Jersey Human Services has long supported the goal of compassionate care close to home, recognizing how important it is for people experiencing a crisis to connect with support quickly
and safely,” said Department of Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “The State budget investment in this project is an example of the Murphy Administration’s commitment to
increasing access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment, and this expansion will help so many more residents of Perth Amboy and Middlesex County get excellent care in their
own backyard.”

“My colleagues and I on the Board of County Commissioners strongly believe that the nationwide behavioral health crisis is one of the defining issues of our time, and we are committed to facing it head-on,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios. “The wellbeing of our County residents is crucial, and this 81-bed inpatient unit will make a tremendous difference for those who are struggling with behavioral health issues and substance use disorders.”

“We’re thrilled to open this new unit at Raritan Bay! Combining Carrier Clinic’s unprecedented expertise with Raritan Bay Medical Center’s expanded behavioral health services, programs and
facility, make this an incredible partnership for the needs of our patients,”  said Don Parker, president, Behavioral Health Care Transformation Service, Hackensack Meridian Health.  Carrier Behavioral Health at Raritan Bay Medical Center is a regional hub of the nationally recognized Hackensack Meridian Carrier Clinic. The Behavioral Health program at Raritan Bay Medical Center is the first in the Hackensack Meridian Health network to receive the Carrier Behavioral Health designation. The Medical Center’s behavioral health services include  specialized programs and units for adults, older adults, neuromodulation (ECT) services and care for individuals with  both mental health and substance use disorder diagnoses (referred to as dual-diagnoses).

In addition to the new Carrier Behavioral Health at Raritan Bay Medical Center, Raritan Bay is a full service, acute care hospital that has many different inpatient and outpatient units, ranging
from the Emergency Department, Maternity, ICU, Cardiac, Long Term Acute Care Hospital, Bariatrics, Center for Wound Healing, radiology, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, etc.

Dr. Sampat Shivangi Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award By Indo-American Press Club

Dr. Sampat Shivangi, a physician, an influential Indian American community leader, and a veteran leader of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award during the 9th annual Gala and Awards ceremony organized by the Indo-American Press Club on Sunday, October 8th, 2023 at the Stamford Hilton, CT.

The award ceremony was part of the oth annual International Media Conference organized from October 7th to 9th, 2023 by the University, which brought together media personnel from around the world, who shared their insightful thoughts and expertise on various topics related to Media and Freedom of the Press.

In his response for being chosen for the award, Dr. Shivangi said, “I am truly honored to receive this prestigious award from IAPC award, which is a forum bringing together members of the ethnic media under one umbrella, providing education, and resources and work towards media freedom.”

A conservative lifelong member of the Republican Party, Dr. Shivangi is the founding member of the Republican Indian Council and the Republican Indian National Council. Dr. Shivangi is the National President of Indian American Forum for Political Education, one of the oldest Indian American Associations. Over the past three decades, he has lobbied for several Bills in the US Congress on behalf of India through his enormous contacts with US Senators and Congressmen.
A close friend to the Bush family, he was instrumental in lobbying for the first Diwali celebration in the White House and for President George W. Bush to make his trip to India. He had accompanied President Bill Clinton during his historic visit to India. Dr. Shivangi is Dr. Shivangi has worked enthusiastically in promoting India Civil Nuclear Treaty and recently the US India Defense Treaty that was passed in US Congress and signed by President Obama.
Dr. Shivangi has actively involved in several philanthropic activities, serving with Blind foundation of MS, Diabetic, Cancer and Heart Associations of America. Dr. Shivangi has number of philanthropic work in India including Primary & middle schools, Cultural Center, IMA Centers that he opened and helped to obtains the first ever US Congressional grant to AAPI to study Diabetes Mellitus amongst Indian Americans.
Dr. Sampat Shivangi was awarded the highest civilian honor, the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Sanman award in 2016 in Bengaluru by the Hon. President of India, Shri Pranap Mukhejee. He was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York in 2008. He is married to Dr. Udaya S. Shivangi, MD, and the couple are blessed with two daughters: Priya S. Shivangi, MS (NYU); Pooja S. Shivangi who is an Attorney at Law.
Others who were bestowed with Lifetime Achievement Awards during the Gala included;
• Padma Shri H.R. SHAH (Media & Arts), Chairman & CEO of TV Asia Group.
• MEERA GANDHI (Philanthropist). She is the founder of the Giving Back Foundation and a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2015).
• SHAJAN SKARIAH (Excellence in Journalism). He is a promoter and editor of the online portal “Marunadan Malayali”.
• RENU ABRAHAM VARUGHESE (Excellence in Elder Care). She is an Associate Professor at the School of Health and Natural Sciences, Mercy University, NY.
• VINAY MAHAJAN, President of ITServe Alliance, and the President & CEO of NAM Info Inc, a software services firm dealing in software consulting and ongoing software development projects.

IAPC was formed to unite the Indian diaspora media fraternity across North America under one umbrella to work together, support one another, and provide a unified voice in front of the mainstream media and the larger community. Every year IAPC hosts media conferences bringing together renowned journalists and media professionals from various countries around the world, and hosts workshops and seminars. For information regarding IAPC, please visit: www.indoamericanpressclub.org

A New Pathway for Diagnosis and Treatment Of Covid

In a groundbreaking study published in the journal Cell, a team of scientists has proposed a novel explanation for some cases of long Covid, shedding light on a potential biological pathway underlying the condition. The research, conducted by experts at the University of Pennsylvania, points to depleted serotonin levels as a key factor in the manifestation of certain long Covid symptoms, including memory problems and neurological and cognitive issues. This discovery has significant implications for the diagnosis and treatment of long Covid, a condition that presents in various forms and often eludes conventional diagnostic tools.

The study suggests that the reduction in serotonin levels may be triggered by residual viral remnants lingering in the gut. This revelation has the potential to open doors to innovative treatments, including medications designed to boost serotonin production. Additionally, the researchers propose that their outlined biological pathway could serve as a common link between various theories surrounding the causes of long Covid, such as the persistence of viral remnants, inflammation, increased blood clotting, and autonomic nervous system dysfunction.

As Christoph Thaiss, a lead author of the study and an assistant professor of microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, states, “All these different hypotheses might be connected through the serotonin pathway.” He also highlights the possibility that therapies targeting the serotonin pathway could benefit at least a subset of individuals with long Covid.

Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University, commends the study, describing it as “an excellent study that identifies lower levels of circulating serotonin as a mechanism for long Covid.” She notes that her team and colleagues at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have recently conducted a study that identified other biological changes associated with some cases of long Covid, including hormone cortisol levels. These findings suggest that there might be specific subtypes of long Covid or different biological markers at different stages of the condition.

The research involved the analysis of blood samples from 58 patients who had been experiencing long Covid symptoms for a duration ranging from three months to 22 months post-infection. These results were compared to blood samples from 30 individuals with no post-Covid symptoms and 60 patients in the early, acute stage of a coronavirus infection.

Maayan Levy, a lead author of the study and an assistant professor of microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine, highlights that serotonin levels and other metabolites were altered immediately following a coronavirus infection, a pattern observed with other viral infections. However, in individuals with long Covid, serotonin was the only significant molecule that did not return to pre-infection levels.

The researchers delved deeper into their investigation by analyzing stool samples from some long Covid patients, where they discovered the presence of residual viral particles. Through a combination of patient data and studies on mice and miniature models of the human gut, where serotonin production primarily occurs, the team identified a potential pathway contributing to certain long Covid cases.

The proposed mechanism revolves around viral remnants prompting the immune system to produce interferons, which are proteins that fight infection. Interferons induce inflammation, reducing the body’s ability to absorb tryptophan, an amino acid crucial for serotonin production in the gut. Moreover, blood clots that can develop following a coronavirus infection may impair the circulation of serotonin in the body. Depleted serotonin levels are believed to disrupt the vagus nerve system, which transmits signals between the body and the brain. As serotonin plays a role in short-term memory, this disruption could potentially lead to the memory problems and cognitive issues often experienced by individuals with long Covid.

While the study presents a promising breakthrough, there are some caveats to consider. The sample size was relatively small, necessitating the confirmation of these findings through additional research. Moreover, participants in other long Covid studies, which included individuals with milder symptoms, did not consistently exhibit depleted serotonin levels. This variation might suggest that serotonin depletion occurs primarily in individuals with more severe and complex long Covid symptoms.

In the quest to identify biomarkers for long Covid, which are measurable biological changes that aid in diagnosing the condition, this study has put forth three potential indicators: the presence of viral remnants in stool, reduced serotonin levels, and elevated interferon levels. Most experts believe that there won’t be a single biomarker for the condition; instead, several indicators may emerge, varying based on the type of symptoms and other factors.

The need for effective long Covid treatments is substantial, and clinical trials testing various treatment approaches are currently underway. Dr. Levy and Dr. Thaiss have announced their intention to launch a clinical trial to evaluate fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor often marketed as Prozac, and potentially tryptophan. They hope that supplementing serotonin or preventing its degradation could help restore vagal signals and improve memory and cognition in individuals with long Covid. This research paves the way for novel diagnostic methods and potential therapies to address the multifaceted challenges of long Covid.

World Thrombosis Day To Create Awareness On Blood Clots

Blood clots are one of the most preventable causes of death among hospitalized patients. About 400,000 in the US and 10 million people around the world are diagnosed with blood clots every year. In the US alone the cost related to blood clots is close to $10 Billion. Prolonged immobility due to sickness, hospitalization, surgery, or travel is the most common cause of venous blood clots. Obesity, smoking, pregnancy, birth control pills, cancer can increase the risk further.

World Thrombosis Day, founded by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), is a global initiative held annually on October 13th with the mission is to raise awareness about thrombosis, that is about blood clots, a condition often underestimated and misunderstood.

“October 13th is World Thrombosis Day, aimed at increasing awareness of blood clots which are one of the most common preventable cause of death, especially in hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Satheesh Kathula, MD, FACP, DipABLM, Clinical Professor of Medicine; Hematologist and Oncologist, and President Elect, AAPI. “I was honored to be invited as a chief guest for an event promoting awareness of blood clots in Austin, Texas last week.”

Blood is in fluid state because we have perfect balance of factors promoting and preventing blood clots. If there is imbalance it will result in blood clots.

About 10 million people are diagnosed with blood clots every year in the world. About 400,000 cases are diagnosed every year in the United States and the cost related to blood in the US healthcare system is close to $10 billion every year. 1 in 4 deaths are felt to be due to clotting of blood.

Type of blood clots:

Blood clots can form  either in the arteries or veins due to different set of risk factors and lead to different type of damage to the organs. Venous clots are more common due to passive flow and the most common cause of death due to venous clots is pulmonary embolism (clots traveling to lungs). 60% of venous clots are due to hospitalization.

Risk factors:

If there is endothelial (inner lining of the blood vessels) damage, inflammation or venous stasis ( pooling of the blood). Any of these can lead to disturbance in the smooth flow of blood resulting in blood clots.

Prolonged immobility due to being sick or hospitalization, surgery, travel is one of the most common cause of blood clots. Obesity, smoking, pregnancy, being on birth control pills, cancer will increase the risk further. Some people are born  with (hereditary) risk factors such as factor V Leiden and prothrombin gene mutations, protein C, S, and anti-thrombin III deficiency.

Treatment:

Blood clots are treated with blood thinners which are available widely in the form of IV, injections or pills.

Prevention:

Blood clots are highly preventable cause of morbidity and death. Early and frequent ambulation of hospital patients is of paramount importance. People who travel either by road or air should get up and walk every 2 hours or so. Loosing weight, if one is obese; quitting smoking are highly encouraged. Those who are at high risk should receive prophylactic blood thinners as a preventive measure, especially when they are hospitalized, undergoing surgery or become pregnant.

“As a hematologist treating patients with blood clots for over 22 years and as a life style medicine promoter, my message on this day is to MOVE.. MOVE and MOVE!” says, Dr. Kathula, who has dedicated nearly a quarter century of his life in preventing and treating Thrombosis.

Google Announces New Generative AI Search Capabilities For Doctors

Google Cloud unveiled new AI-driven search capabilities designed to assist healthcare professionals in swiftly retrieving accurate clinical information from various medical records. The healthcare sector houses extensive valuable data, but its scattered storage across multiple systems and formats can be an obstacle for clinicians. Google Cloud’s innovative search tool enables doctors to extract data from clinical notes, scanned documents, and electronic health records, consolidating it into a single accessible location. This innovation is expected to significantly save time and enhance efficiency for healthcare workers.

Lisa O’Malley, Senior Director of Product Management for Cloud AI at Google Cloud, highlighted the advantages of this technology, saying, “While it should save time to be able to do that search, it should also prevent frustration on behalf of clinicians and [make] sure that they get to an answer easier.”

With these new capabilities, healthcare professionals can bypass the cumbersome process of sifting through separate notes, faxes, and electronic health records to obtain patient histories. Instead, they can perform specific searches like “What medications has this patient taken in the last 12 months?” and access the relevant information seamlessly.

Furthermore, Google’s search features have broader applications, including accurate billing code assignment and assessing patient eligibility for clinical trials. To address concerns about data accuracy, the technology can trace and link information back to its original source within an organization’s internal data, mitigating doubts about AI-generated responses.

These search capabilities are particularly valuable in the context of the healthcare industry, where staffing shortages and excessive administrative work are prevalent. A 2016 study sponsored by the American Medical Association revealed that for every hour physicians spent with patients, they dedicated an additional two hours to administrative tasks. This study also indicated that physicians spent an extra one to two hours on clerical work outside of their regular working hours, commonly referred to as “pajama time.” Additionally, a January 2022 survey by Medscape reported that 53% of physicians experienced burnout, up from 42% in 2018.

Google aims to alleviate these burdens by reducing the time clinicians spend searching through records and databases. Lisa O’Malley expressed the company’s commitment to benefiting patients by making healthcare processes more efficient, stating, “Anything that Google can do by applying our search technologies, our health-care technologies and research capabilities to make the journey of the clinicians and health-care providers and payers more quick, more efficient, saving them cost, I think ultimately benefits us as patients.”

The new search functionalities will be accessible to health and life sciences organizations through Google’s Vertex AI Search platform, an extension of the existing Healthcare API and Healthcare Data Engine products. Aashima Gupta, Global Director of Health Care Strategy and Solutions at Google Cloud, emphasized the importance of seamlessly integrating these capabilities into clinicians’ workflows, ensuring they do not disrupt established routines.

Recognizing the healthcare industry’s historical reluctance to embrace new technology, Google has prioritized providing solutions that are user-friendly and unobtrusive to healthcare workers. Gupta stressed that they are cautious not to introduce friction into healthcare professionals’ daily workflows while empowering them with technology.

While customers can sign up for early access to Vertex AI Search for healthcare and life sciences, Google Cloud has already conducted tests with healthcare organizations such as Mayo Clinic, Hackensack Meridian Health, and Highmark Health.

Mayo Clinic, for example, is initially employing the Vertex AI Search tools for administrative purposes rather than clinical care. Cris Ross, Mayo’s Chief Information Officer, emphasized the organization’s cautious approach, stating that they will only integrate these tools into patient care when they are confident of their readiness.

Picture: AliTech

In the future, Mayo Clinic envisions leveraging Vertex AI Search to assist nurses in summarizing lengthy surgical notes, managing complex medical histories, and rapidly answering specific patient-related queries. However, the organization is taking a gradual approach to assess where Google’s AI solutions can be most beneficial.

Richard Clarke, Chief Analytics Officer at Highmark Health, reported a positive initial response to the search tools within the organization, with more than 200 use-case ideas in the backlog. However, similar to Mayo Clinic, Highmark Health recognizes the challenge of prioritizing and scaling the technology while building trust among employees.

Despite these promising early signs, Google Cloud remains cautious in its deployment strategy, focusing on small-scale implementation with dedicated support. The aim is to ensure that the technology aligns with the unique needs and workflows of healthcare providers.

It’s important to note that Google Cloud does not access customer data for training models, and the service complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to safeguard patient data.

Aashima Gupta, Global Director of Health Care Strategy and Solutions at Google Cloud, expressed excitement about the potential of Google’s tools to create a more comprehensive and cohesive healthcare experience. She highlighted the role of AI in connecting the dots from a patient’s perspective, making practical use cases in healthcare more feasible.

Google Cloud’s introduction of AI-driven search capabilities has the potential to streamline healthcare workflows, reduce administrative burdens on clinicians, and enhance the overall patient experience. By making it easier for healthcare professionals to access and utilize critical clinical information, Google aims to contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare industry while respecting established workflows and data security standards.

Alcohol’s Impact on Your Brain and Heart

Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption has long been associated with better heart health, but the exact reasons behind this connection have remained a mystery. Despite the well-known health risks associated with alcohol, including a higher risk of cancer and neurological aging, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have shed light on one potential explanation. Their recent study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reveals that alcohol may reduce stress signals in the brain, resulting in less strain on the heart.

To unravel this phenomenon, scientists delved into data from over 50,000 individuals from the Mass General Brigham Biobank, a comprehensive research database. Their findings confirmed that light-to-moderate drinking was indeed linked to a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Importantly, the extensive scale of this study enabled them to rule out external factors such as socioeconomic status, physical activity, and genetics that often complicate smaller-scale research. It became evident that something unique was at play, a discovery further illuminated by examining participants’ brain scans.

These brain scans revealed that alcohol could have enduring effects on stress levels within the brain, subsequently relieving the heart from excessive burdens, even days after the last drink. The brain’s stress network is akin to a tug-of-war, with the amygdala, responsible for emotions, on one side, and the prefrontal cortex, governing executive functions, on the other. During stressful situations, the amygdala sends distress signals, while the prefrontal cortex can inhibit the amplification of this alarm throughout the body, including the heart.

Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, a study author and co-director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, noted that alcohol is known to alleviate the amygdala’s alarm response. However, the researchers posed a unique question: does it exert long-term effects on these systems? Analyzing brain scans from over 1,000 study participants, they discovered that light-to-moderate drinkers experienced sustained reductions in amygdala activity, with prefrontal cortex activity remaining unaffected when alcohol was not in their systems. While the data did not allow researchers to determine whether this effect on the amygdala would diminish if individuals ceased drinking altogether, this dampening of amygdala activity was associated with a notable 22% decrease in cardiovascular disease risk.

Moreover, when the researchers specifically examined light-to-moderate drinkers with a history of anxiety, characterized by an overactive stress network, they observed a doubling of the effect. Dr. Tawakol explained, “Rather than the 22% reduction, people with prior anxiety had a 40% reduction in heart disease.” However, he emphasized, “I know that a lot of people will hear that and say, ‘Well, I’m anxious. That’s why I drink—I guess there’s a benefit.’ But there is no safe quantity of alcohol.”

While these findings are intriguing, Dr. Tawakol highlighted that there are alternative, safer ways to tap into this stress-reducing pathway. Exercise, for instance, is currently being studied by Tawakol and has been shown to increase prefrontal cortex activity, achieving similar stress-reduction benefits. Adequate sleep, too, operates along similar lines. Dr. Tawakol’s ultimate objective, however, is to identify pharmacological interventions that can safely diminish amygdala activity. He stressed the need to move beyond conventional recommendations like “get more sleep and exercise” in light of this newfound pathway that, when targeted, can double the reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.

Facing the Diabetes Dilemma: Can Yoga Be the Unexplored Solution to Our Silent Epidemic?

It’s early in the evening. You’ve just wrapped up a big dinner, feeling stuffed to the brim, but something’s off. You can’t quite pinpoint it, then it hits you – you skipped dessert, that classic ‘sweet tooth’ craving. You swing open the fridge, its light revealing frozen pizzas and leftover takeout, and then you spot it – that box of pastries your cousin dropped off a few days ago, what a lifesaver. You take it out and keep it on the table. Just as you’re about to indulge in the world of brownies and cheesecakes, an old magazine beneath the box catches your attention. Before you can take a bite, there’s an article on Diabetes staring right back at you, its headline blaring, ‘According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 422 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, and this number is anticipated to rise.’ You recall chatting with your cousin about their 48-year-old neighbor who recently passed from complications related to high sugar levels. You can’t help but think of the irony as you place the pastries back, untouched and pristine, into the fridge. With a heavy sigh, you shut the fridge door, leaving those tempting treats behind

Please excuse my earlier attempt at humor; there’s truly nothing humorous about diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 37.3 million Americans, which is 11.3% of the US population, have diabetes. Out of this number, 28.7 million have been diagnosed, while an alarming 8.5 million remain undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. Notably, Type 2 diabetes accounts for a staggering 90.9% or 21 million of all diabetes cases in the US. The financial toll is significant as well. In 2017, the CDC estimated the total cost of diagnosed diabetes to be $327 billion, comprising $237 billion in direct medical expenses and another $90 billion due to reduced productivity.

Let’s delve into how this impacts Indian-Americans. Statistics indicate that Indian-Americans are more susceptible to diabetes compared to other groups. The diabetes prevalence rate among Indian-Americans stands at 15.7%, a figure that notably surpasses the national average. Furthermore, Indian-Americans tend to develop type 2 diabetes at a younger age compared to other ethnicities. The latest statistics on the economic cost of diabetes for Indian Americans are from the American Diabetes Association’s 2022 Diabetes Care in Indian Americans report. The report found that the total cost of diabetes for Indian Americans was estimated to be $36.4 billion in 2022. This includes the cost of medical care, lost productivity, and premature death.

Diabetes is a “slow poison.” It is a disease associated with other conditions like high blood pressure leading to heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness, and other ailments. Diabetes is not curable, but it can be managed. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand how you can live a decent lifestyle by enjoying sweets in moderation and at the same time get your Diabetes controlled. Unfortunately, there is no drug known to mankind that can cure Diabetes. While a significant armamentarium of medications can help control your blood sugar, some come at the cost of having side effects. Many effective diabetic drugs have fallen into disrepute because they do not protect the heart. The present dictates to pharmaceutical manufacturers is only to discover medicines that have proven protection for the heart. The simple reason being a diabetic mostly dies due to heart disease or its complications.

It is essential to understand that medications, even when taken appropriately, do not cure or treat diabetes mellitus. This disease is called a lifestyle disease, and its treatment requires extensive lifestyle changes, with medications secondary to it. Millions of people have successfully been able to keep their Diabetes absolutely in control after engaging in radical lifestyle changes. Though it sounds complicated and impossible, it will disrupt your regular work and almost certainly entail giving up your profession. Fortunately, such fears are uncalled for because all you need to do is practice yoga for half an hour 4/5 days a week, including 10 minutes of mindfulness and meditation. You might be thinking that it is a long prescription. It is not.

Yoga is a practical and effective lifestyle modification that involves Asanas (Postures), Dharana (Mindfulness), and Dhyana (Meditation). Whether you believe it or not, at least seven of the eight components of yoga are essential to induce a lifestyle change. Yoga space has been unfortunately polluted by half-baked experts who need clinical training. Whether yoga works or not in Diabetes is not based on my personal experience. I would then be no different from the “erudite” neighborhood yoga practitioner or Guru who believes their experience is all that is required to prove that it works. Unfortunately, clinical medicine, including yoga therapy, is a scientific proposition propelled by research. Modern medicine agrees with yogic principles that stress exacerbates Diabetes. When stressed, your body releases hormones that can cause blood sugar to increase and blood pressure and heart rate.

Picture: USA Today

The therapeutic benefits of yoga, especially concerning diabetes, have been increasingly recognized in scientific literature. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in both PLOS ONE and the Journal of Diabetes Research highlighted yoga as a comprehensive and alternative approach to preventing type 2 diabetes. These studies specifically noted improvements in fasting blood glucose, low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure among pre-diabetic individuals following yoga intervention. Furthermore, an article in the Asana – International Yoga Journal emphasized yoga’s efficacy in not only maintaining overall health but also in preventing the progression from a pre-diabetic state to Type 2 Diabetes and averting further complications in those already diagnosed. Another study in MDPI underscored yoga’s potential as an alternative exercise for type 2 diabetes patients, given its comparable benefits to other exercises in enhancing muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness, and its added advantage when combined with standard management.

Regular walks, combined with specific yoga poses like Dhanurasana and multiple twisting poses, can be helpful for people with Diabetes, as it helps burn off the excess sugar that has built up in their bodies and stimulate insulin production. In addition, Surya Namaskara, or Sun Salutation, is a sequence of 12 powerful yoga asanas, which is another effective way to reign in your rising blood sugar level. However, it can be modified by doing a faster variation that consumes more calories.

Last but not least, ‘you are what you eat’ might be quite literal for people with Diabetes. Indulging your sweet tooth urges might make you sweeter, literally, by increasing the blood sugar level in your body. This, unfortunately, has multifarious unseen ramifications, including blocking blood vessels leading to heart attack, stroke, or even amputations! People who have Diabetes should be aware of how essential it is, in addition to their yoga practice, to maintain a disciplined approach to their Ahara (diet). Yoga is effective in bringing blood sugar levels under control, particularly when combined with dietary modifications. If you have Diabetes, the most important thing you can do for your health is to pay close attention to what you put in your body, basically your diet. A diet that includes plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits, and raw veggies is low in calories and fat and contributes to an alkaline diet of high-quality natural foods. Avoid overeating by eating modest, frequent meals.

Yoga’s many health benefits include aiding in the management of Diabetes without leading to its dangerous complications. Yes, you can indulge in sweets, cakes, and chocolate occasionally, but remember that the central teachings of yoga are self-control and discipline, as well as avoiding overindulgence. So, when you practice yoga regularly and follow its principles, it is your best insurance to lead a healthy and long life.

The American Academy for Yoga in Medicine is hosting a webinar on Diabetes Management on November 4th, featuring expert physicians discussing how Yoga can be advantageous for individuals dealing with diabetes, or for anyone aiming to prevent its onset. It’s not merely about physical flexibility; it’s about fostering a balanced lifestyle and nurturing your overall well-being. Your path to a balanced, healthier life can start with this insightful session.

(The author is a Cardiologist, Meditator, and Yogi based in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He is the Founder and Chairman of the American Academy for Yoga in Medicine. He is the Editor in Chief; The Principle and Practice of Yoga in Cardiovascular Medicine. [email protected])

Covid Vaccine Inventors To Receive Nobel Prize

Three years after the first mRNA-based vaccines became available, to prevent COVID-19, the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded to two scientists who made those vaccines possible. Katalin Kariko and Dr. Drew Weissman were recognized for their work modifying the genetic material mRNA to make it more useful in treatments like vaccines.

Picture: USA Today

When they met at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1990s, Kariko had been a longtime champion of mRNA technology, but struggled to convince the rest of the scientific community of its promise since RNA was notoriously unstable and had not produced any meaningful treatments. Weissman was working on developing an HIV vaccine, and thought an mRNA approach might be worth a try. The rest is now Nobel history.

Here are some of the highlights of their journey:

  • mRNA theoretically held a lot of promise in being able to treat genetic and infectious diseases, but also tended to aggravate the immune system, creating a dangerous inflammatory reaction.
  • Kariko and Weissman spent decades figuring out that changing the mRNA code slightly would make it less prone to stimulating this aggressive inflammatory response.
  • Their discovery made the COVID-19 vaccines possible, and is now being

The winners

  • Hungarian scientist Katalin Kariko and her US colleague Drew Weissman, who met for the first time while waiting in the queue for a photocopier before making mRNA molecule discoveries, paving the way for Covid-19 vaccines, won the 2023 Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday.

The discovery

  • The discoveries by the two Nobel Prize scientists were critical for developing effective mRNA vaccines against Covid-19 during the pandemic that began in early 2020.
  • Through their groundbreaking findings, which have fundamentally changed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with our immune system, they contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times.

The research

  • Kariko, 68, and Weissman, 64, longstanding colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, have already won a slew of awards for their research.
  • In recognising the duo this year, the Nobel committee broke with its usual practice of honouring decades-old research, aimed at ensuring it has stood the test of time.
  • While the prizewinning research dates back to 2005, the first vaccines to use the mRNA technology came out just three years ago and is now being used to develop other treatments for diseases and illnesses such as cancer, influenza and heart failure.

Prize money

  • The pair will receive their prize, consisting of a diploma, a gold medal and a $1 million cheque, from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of scientist Alfred Nobel who instituted the prizes in his last will and testament.

Last year’s winner

  • Last year’s medicine prize went to Swede Svante Paabo for sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal and other past winners include Alexander Fleming, who shared the 1945 prize for the discovery of penicillin.

Johnson & Johnson Not To Enforce Patents On TB Drug

U.S.-based pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has made a significant announcement, declaring that it will not exercise patent rights for Sirturo, its brand name for bedaquiline, in 134 low- and middle-income nations. This decision comes in response to global pressure urging the company to refrain from pursuing additional patents for its groundbreaking tuberculosis drug. Notably, the Indian Patent Office rejected J&J’s application for a secondary patent related to the fumarate salt of bedaquiline.

Bedaquiline represents a groundbreaking development in tuberculosis (TB) treatment, being the first drug for TB to receive global approval in more than four decades. It stands out for its reduced toxicity and enhanced effectiveness compared to conventional TB treatments.

Picture: PREPP

The commitment to not enforcing bedaquiline patents in specific regions is seen as a significant step toward ensuring broader access to affordable generic versions of the drug for individuals in low- and middle-income countries, particularly those suffering from drug-resistant TB. The announcement has been met with praise from the Access Campaign, a part of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international medical humanitarian organization.

The Access Campaign applauds this development, attributing it to the persistent efforts of TB activists, civil society, and countries prioritizing public health above corporate interests. They also highlight that after the rejection of J&J’s attempt to extend its monopoly in India, national TB treatment programs in Ukraine and Belarus have also requested the company to relinquish its secondary patents within their borders.

Furthermore, the South African Competition Commission’s recent investigation is noted as having exerted considerable pressure on J&J, likely contributing to the company’s decision.

Looking ahead, the Access Campaign now urges Japanese pharmaceutical giant Otsuka to follow suit and publicly commit to not enforcing secondary patents in low- and middle-income countries for another critical TB drug, Delamanid. Notably, Otsuka’s primary patent for Delamanid is set to expire shortly in India and several other nations. Delamanid plays a vital role in combination with bedaquiline, particularly in the treatment of pediatric TB cases.

In response to these developments, at least three Indian pharmaceutical companies, namely Lupin, Natco, and Macleods, have expressed their preparations to introduce generic versions of bedaquiline. This move is expected to further enhance the availability of affordable TB treatment options.

Global Wellness and Ayurvedic Products Company Sri Sri Tattva Announces In-Store and Website Launch in the United States

(Newswire.com) –Sri Sri Tattva, a leading provider of premium health and wellness products, announced the in-store launch of its products in the United States. As part of a nationwide roll-out, the organic and natural Ayurvedic products are now available in stores in Dallas, Texas, including at all India Bazaar locations. The products are also now available online at SriSriTattva.com.

With a portfolio of over 350 products, all stores will carry a wide range of premium health products that include herbs, foods, drinks and cosmetics, including Sudanta, the fluoride-free toothpaste, Ojasvita, a herb-infused energy drink, and Chyawanprash. The India Bazaar West Plano location is hosting a launch party on September 28, open to the local communities.

“India has many ancient gifts to share with the world, from yoga to meditation, and now very prominently the science of Ayurveda is being recognized for its holistic healing. There is an increasing need for individuals to embrace a lifestyle that builds and strengthens immunity in order to enjoy a strong body, mind and spirit. Our products blend modern science with the ancient science and wisdom of Ayurveda to deliver pure and effective products,” says Ajay Tejasvi, President of Sri Sri Tattva. “We invite the local community to experience the goodness of all our Ayurvedic products.”

The Sri Sri Tattva Launch Party at India Bazaar West Plano will begin at 5 p.m. CST, September 28, and will offer free sample products, prizes and live musical performances. With a 360-degree approach to health, Sri Sri Tattva Ayurvedic practitioners (Vaidyas) will also be available for consultations to offer a complete health and wellness experience for the whole family.

About Sri Sri Tattva:

Sri Sri Tattva is a global health and wellness company with over 350 Ayurvedic, natural and organic products now available in 50+ countries. A portion of all proceeds goes to The Art of Living Foundation, whose wide-scale humanitarian initiatives have positively impacted the lives of over 375 million people globally.

India Shows the Way in Expanding an Inclusive Medical Education

Ever since the first medical college was established in 1835 in Kolkata in India, the scope and breadth of health education in India has widened, especially in the past decade. From just 19 medical colleges and nearly 1,000 students in 1947, the number of medical schools in India has grown tremendously, having one of the largest number of medical colleges in the world.

Incorporating principles of diversity, inclusiveness, and expansion by adding new medical schools every year with specialized areas of Medicine, India’s model of medical education has now come to be a model for the rest of the world to emulate.

According to Dr. Lokesh Edara, who has been leading the efforts for AAPI’s Global Medical Education Initiatives and currently serving as the Chair of Board of Trustees of The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), ever since gaining Independence from the colonial British rule, India has expanded its medical education program with 19 medical schools to now having 706 medical colleges in 77 years.

Picture : Fast Voice Media

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has taken medical education to newer heights. India created in a span of nine years, 317 new medical schools. Dr. Edara says, in 2014, there were 387 medical colleges having a total of 51,348 MBBs seats in the country. In 2023, the number of medical schools has expanded to 706 colleges with a total of 108,898 medical seats across the nation.

When it comes to the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India had seven AIIMS in 2014. Today, the number of AIIMS has increased to 22. “The Indian model of AIIMS funded by the federal government should be a model to the rest of the world,” Dr. Edara said.

Another area, where the Indian model is significant for the rest of the world to emulate is its inclusiveness and encouraging of minority communities in the nation. India is the only country that has its constitution facilitating the establishment of minority institutions. India is home to the people of several minority religions, resulting in 2 medical schools for the Sikhs, 2 Christian medical schools, 2 Jain medical institutes, one Buddhist medical school and as many as 26 Muslim institutions, in addition to 6 Linguistic minority medical colleges.

Indian laws also provide reservation to students from minority and backward communities, with more than 50% of medical schools’ seats reserved for admission. “This is one of the best examples of diversity and inclusiveness in education in the world,” Dr. Edara said.

The presence of growing number of specialty education in Medicine, catering to the diverse, rural, urban and complex needs of the patients in each medical school is where India again leads the world. The MCI/NMC in India has mandated that there be departments catering to the specialty areas, catering to the special needs of each patient.

AAPI has been spearheading medical education advocacy programs for India, Dr. Edara pointed out. “The uniqueness of medical education in India is that Indian medical colleges have been mandated and they have as many as 23 specialized departments of medicine. NMC, NBEMS are also models in India for the rest of world for generating specialties of physicians.

Picture : TheUNN

Advancing medical education from High School onwards, many states in India have mandatory anatomy, physiology and biochemistry deportments, making them as essential subjects for students admitted from 12th Grade onwards. And for para medical departments, there are similar programs along with medicine, surgery, OBGYN and pediatrics.

Today, India boasts of more medical graduates with specialties in comparison with the rest of the world due to the establishment of clinically mandatory departments in medical colleges. For instance, in ophthalmology, India has 1927 seats vs the United States having 509 seats, which is 374% higher than that of the US. In the field of MS ENT/Otolaryngology, India has 1417 seats, while the US has 373 seats, an increase of 380% in India.

Seats for Orthopedics in India is 2847, while the US has 899 seats, with 222% greater number of seats in India. In Anesthesiology, India has 429 colleges with 4687 seats, while the US has 1746 seats, which is 268% more seats in India. There are as many as 2544 seats in India vs US having 1274 seats for post graduate studies in Hematology, which is 266% higher in India than USA.

With 1408 seats in India as against 528 seats in the US for Radio Diagnosis, which is 200% higher in India than in the US. Radiation Therapy/Oncology seats are 239% higher in India than the US with 457 seats in India vs 191 admissions in the US. There are as many as 1360 Psychiatry seats in India to the 2164 seats in the United States annually. In the field of Pulmonary/TB & Respiratory, the US has 1172 seats while India has 1045 MD seats today.

India is planning to create one Post Graduate seat to each MBBS graduate passing out from medical schools. AAPI has been advocating for post graduate seats in family medicine with at least 20 % of all Post graduate seats as India has 25 million newborn babies every year, urging the Government of India to increase neonatologists, Dr. Edara pointed out.

NBEMS has created more postgraduation and super specialty physician programs at private and government run hospitals helping the capacity building across India. This model of medical colleges is unique to India not only for producing more specialists, but they are also delivering much needed specialty services across India both at medical colleges and in private practice.

AAPI has been advocating for formative assessment of postgraduates and changing to high quality computer based high order assessment for MBBS and postgraduates. “I request eLearning platform to MBBS, postgraduate, super specialty, nursing and para medical education for higher transfer of knowledge and the help protect public health,” Dr. Edara said.

India is aliso a model in expanding medical colleges and health delivery. India is concentrating on its challenges to address National Eligibility Test (NEXT) similar to USMLE of USA and UKMLE of UK. AAPI has successfully advocated that NMC made emergency medicine department mandatory in all medical schools with post graduate programs.

In addition, AAPI has been advocating for the implementation of multiple-choice theory assessment option for Post Graduate Final Theory Examinations by NMC has bridged the assessment gap for Indian students aspiring to compete with students from the rest of the world. This approach also helps high level of transfer of knowledge.

According to a JAMA published article in August 2020, the projected estimates of African medical graduates in closed Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU)medical schools were established between 1868 and 1904 surrounding the 1910 Flexner report, consequences associated with the closure of historically Black medical schools.

If the 5 closed historically Black medical schools had remained open, the steady expansion and rapid expansion models indicated that these schools might have collectively provided training to an additional 27, 773 graduates and 35,315 graduates, respectively, between their year of closure and 2019.

Quoting from a study by researchers from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the AAMC that was published in JAMA Network Open that linked a higher prevalence of Black doctors to longer life expectancy and lower mortality in Black population, Michael Dill, the director of workforce studies at the Association of American Medical Colleges and one of the study’s co-authors said, “This is adding to the case for a more diverse physician workforce. What else could you ask for?”

It is enocuraging to note that the United States and  AAMC have been addressing  disparity un the recent past. As a result, the number of Black or African American matriculants increased by 9%. Black or African American students made up 10% of matriculants in 2022-23, up from 9.5% in 2020-21. First-year Black or African American men increased by 5%.

Matriculants who are Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin increased by 4%. Individuals from this group made up 12% of total matriculants. American Indian or Alaska Native matriculants declined by 9%, comprising 1% of matriculants.

“The increases in first-year enrollees from historically underrepresented groups reflect the efforts of the nation’s medical schools to increase diversity and further address the nation’s public health needs,” said Geoffrey Young, PhD, AAMC, senior director. “The AAMC is focused on diversifying the physician workforce, including American Indian and Alaska Native students, to ensure the next generation of physicians reflects the communities they serve.”

Recommendations

Modeling India, the rest of the world can address minority medical schools. The United States has addressed diversity by establishing minority medical schools. However, given the ratio, the United States can afford and fund minority medical schools from  4 to another 15 schools.  There were 10 HUCU minority medical schools in 1920, due to quality issues, there are only 3 minority medical schools continuing to function, namely, Howard, More House, Meharry, producing 14% of medical students from the minority community.

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) is a private, nonprofit, community-founded, student-centered University, committed to cultivating diverse health professionals,  who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for the underserved populations through outstanding education, clinical service, and community engagement. Minority students represent over 67 percent of its total enrollment.

There ar some enocuraging sings recently. African American student enrollment is more than double the national average (32 percent CDU compared to 14 percent nationally). Also, Hispanic student enrollment is above the national average (17 percent CDU compared to 14 percent nationally).

While India with its annual GDP of 3 trillion Dollars is able to invest in establishing 317 new medical schools in less than 10 years, adding 40,000 new medical seats to these colleges, the United States with an economy of 33 trillion Dollars should be able to invest far greater in the education, especially for the minority communities.

The USA can add at least one minority school for each state, beginning with at least 15 more new minority medical schools in the states with a sizable number of minority population. The United States can multiply the model to most states similar to the model India has.

Federal funding of 2 billion dollars per medical school, in addition to philanthropic contributions will go a long way in enhancing the participation of minority communities, including African American, Hispanic and Native Americans in the much-needed medical education, and contribute towards adding more minority and HBCU medical schools creating a minimum of 1,500 or more minority physicians per year to the main pool of physicians’ community and provide needed health care in the community.

Similarly, establishing medical schools for Native American Indians can address this gap in giving representation to this population. Out of the estimated 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) in the U.S., there are only about 3,400 are physicians, just 0.4% of the physician workforce, according to a 2018 AMA Council on Medical Education report, “Study of Declining Native American Medical Student Enrollment.

In addition, the United States must work towards capacity building in Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners from the Minority communities in bridging the wide gap that is present today.

The India model of minority medical schools and capacity building can be followed across world. The India model of mandatory departments can help build specialists, catering to the country’s needs. India’s model of one medical college every district can help access to high quality health care in the rural and remote areas of the country.

World Heart Day, September 29
Heart Disease Among Indian Diaspora

An Interview with Indo-US Resuscitation Advocate: Vemuri S Murthy, MD
Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death and disability among people of Indian origin. The CVD epidemic in Indians is characterized by a higher relative risk burden, an earlier age of onset, higher case fatality and higher premature deaths. For decades, researchers have been trying to understand the reason for this increased burden and propensity of CVD among Indians.
September 29th every year is marked as the “World Heart Day.” Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, in an exclusive interview with our readers, talks about the factors causing Cardiovascular Diseases, the ways to prevent it, and the available treatment modalities.
Picture : TheUNN

Odisha is the first Indian State to officially launch a statewide CPR training project (community, police, and high school/college students), which was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar on February 2, 2023, supported by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations, Odisha, and Sri Jagannatha Service Foundation,

Dr. Murthy is an Associate Professor (Adjunct) in Emergency Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is an Honorary Advisor (CPR) to the Government of Odisha (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) and a Visiting Professor to Indian Medical Institutions such as AIIMS (Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh).

A longtime American Heart Association (AHA) International Training Center Faculty and Advisor, Dr. Murthy has been involved with teaching and training Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support courses and Community Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) initiatives for more than two decades in India and USA. He has also been involved with Indian Cardiac Arrest Research Projects affiliating with Indian Resuscitation experts.

Q. Good morning, Dr. Murthy. We are happy to have you with us today to discuss the number one Global Killer “Cardiovascular Disease” with a focus on Indians and Indian diaspora on the occasion of the “World Heart Day” on September 29.

A. Thank you! As you may be aware, “World Heart Day” is a global, multi-country, multi-lingual celebration day that was initiated by the World Heart Federation (WHF) in 1999 in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness of Heart Disease and reminding everybody “to take care of their Hearts.” The theme for World Heart Day 2023 is “Use Heart for Every Heart”.

Q. Can you elaborate on the impact of Heart Disease in the World and India?

A. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a disease of the Heart and the Blood Vessels leading to Heart Attack, Stroke, and Heart Failure, resulting in the deaths of about 20.5 million people annually in the world. 80% of these deaths are preventable.

According to the Cardiological Society of India (CSI), 36% of deaths in India are due to heart disease. The incidence of heart disease among Indians is 50-400% higher than other ethnic groups. About 50% of heart attacks occur in Indian men under the age of 50 years. 25% occur under 40 years. Indians (as South Asian Ethnic group) are more susceptible to heart disease than any other ethnic counterparts. More than 4200 sudden cardiac arrests occur per one lakh of the population in India annually, heart disease being the major contributor. 30-40% of these deaths occur between 35-64 years of age.

Q. What is the difference between a “Heart Attack” and a “Cardiac Arrest”?

A “Heart Attack” is due to obstruction of blood flow (block) in the Heart’s blood vessels (coronary arteries). The heart muscle starts dying quickly after a heart attack. A heart attack can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death. Sudden Cardiac Arrest, SCA, (stoppage of the Heart) is Heart’s electrical activity failure due to several causes, primarily a heart attack.

Q. What are the other causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Besides a heart attack, sudden stoppage of the Heart can happen due to congenital abnormalities of the Heart, such as “Cardiomyopathies” (involving the heart muscle), valves and blood vessels of the Heart, infections of the Heart and electrolyte abnormalities (esp. Potassium and Sodium), drug overdose (Narcotics like Fentanyl, Cocaine and recreational street drugs), and sudden “injury or blow” to the chest (Commotio Cordis).

Commotio Cordis needs a special mention here. It’s due to sudden impact injury to the chest seen commonly in sports such as Cricket, Baseball, and Hockey. I can quote several anecdotes about Commotio Cordis (Sudden Cardiac Arrests) that were managed immediately on the spot with Bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) with complete recovery. It’s sad to see anybody of any age dying due to Sudden Cardiac Arrests due to lack of immediate “simple” help through “Bystander Hands-only or Compressions-only CPR.”

Q. How do you recognize a “Heart Attack”?

A. A “Classical” Heart Attack seen in the majority of people (especially men) is experienced as chest pain (mild, moderate, or severe) or discomfort (pressure or squeezing sensation) that radiates to the left shoulder, arm, back of chest, jaw/teeth. It may or may not be associated with sweating, nausea, dizziness, heartburn, or shortness of breath. Rarely, during “Silent Heart Attacks,” none of these symptoms may exist or are minimally experienced.

Heart attacks in women need special attention. Most women experience “shortness of breath” instead of chest pain, which is common in men. This is an important evidenced-based information in light of the known fact that women’s heart attacks are under-addressed, under-diagnosed, and under-treated globally.

Q. How do you know if somebody is in Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

A. Firstly, any person of any age can have “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” anywhere and at any time.

From a layperson’s perspective, a person collapses suddenly, becomes unconscious with minimal or no breathing, and has no pulse. Prior symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, vomiting, etc. may or may not be present.

Q. What happens if nothing is done immediately?

A. If no immediate emergency bystander help is available, the person will die in a few minutes. Our body needs oxygen all the time. In cardiac arrest, there is no blood supply and oxygen to any of the organs. The brain is most susceptible to lack of oxygen and starts “dying” in a few minutes much ahead of other organs. In most cases, the brain is “irreversibly damaged” in about 10 minutes or less without oxygen. The proportion of brain damage depends on the delay in commencing the CPR to restart the Heart and reestablish blood supply to the brain.

Q. What is Bystander CPR? What is the science behind it?

In most Adults, there will be some amount of oxygen left in the body for about 4-5 minutes after cardiac arrest for survival with or without brain damage. With regard to “Bystander Hands-only or Compressions-only CPR”, there is enough evidence-based information to support the fact that only chest compressions (100-120 per minute in the center of chest) performed by bystander in the initial few minutes of cardiac arrest will be as effective as “Conventional CPR” performed with both compressions and breaths (30 compressions and two breaths sequence). Beyond 4-5 minutes or so, “breathing for the victim” is vital in addition to chest compressions. In infants, children, and persons with heart and lung conditions, drug overdose, and drowning, “Conventional” or “Compressions plus Breaths” CPR is needed for survival. Without immediate CPR, 90% of the victims die. Bystander CPR increases the chances of the victim’s survival two to three times. Using an electrical device called “Automated External Defibrillator” (AED) soon with CPR will increase survival rates of the victims significantly.

Q. How to get trained in CPR?

A. The lifesaving Bystander CPR technique and using an AED are easy to learn. Taking a “CPR Training” class from any authorized organization is necessary. There are also videos available to teach the basics of Hands-only CPR. It is also essential to follow Governmental “Good Samaritan Laws” for liability protection while providing any emergency help.

Q. Are there any specific precautions for Bystander CPR during COVID-19 era?

A. Certainly! CPR is an aerosol (droplet)-generating procedure. Safety precautions must be taken for personal protection. Cover your and victim’s mouth and nose with any readily available face cover, cloth/mask before starting CPR. Thorough handwashing with soap and water should be done after providing CPR help. From the currently available information, the chances of getting infection while performing CPR are very minimal or insignificant.

Q. What are your thoughts on the progress and advances in the arena of Resuscitation in India in recent years?

Having been involved with Indian Resuscitation Medicine teaching, training, and research for some time, I am happy that India is making significant advances on several fronts of Resuscitation Medicine.

First, the academic curriculum in Indian Medical Colleges includes “Mandated Resuscitation” training for Medical Students, Residents, and Nurses. The training faculty has been providing Resuscitation Training in Governmental and Private Medical colleges. Some of the Institutions are also utilizing advanced simulation technology.

The Indian Government (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) recently introduced comprehensive “Provider Course for Training Doctors in Trauma and Non-trauma” viz. mandatory “National Emergency Life Support” Courses for graduating Medical Students, Residents (Physicians) and Nurses. This is a commendable initiative for Indian Medical Educational System as the course curriculum, tailored to India, was developed by the experienced Indian Experts.

Community, Paramedic, High School and Police CPR trainings have peaked in recent years, thanks to the efforts of Indian Institutions such as EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute), Indian Resuscitation Council (IRC) and many other Indian Organizations. IRC became an official member of the ILCOR (International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation) recently. Medical Institutional affiliations such as the AIIMS -American Heart Association (“Nation of Lifesavers in India” Project) are making rapid progress. Odisha is the first Indian State to officially launch a statewide CPR training project (community, police and high school/college students) which was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar on February 2,2023.

Indian Medical Institutions and Hospitals are focusing more and more on “Prevention of Cardiac Disease” in addition to improving cardiac care quality services. “Emergency Cardiac Care-Enhancing Outcomes” projects exemplified by “HeartRescue India (HRI) ” (collaboration of the University of Illinois Health, Chicago, USA, M.S. Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India, and Medtronic Inc.) are making good progress.

Q. Why Indians or Indian diaspora are more prone to Heart Disease?

A great question! Several evidence-based studies, past and recent, from India, USA and other countries point to various contributing factors such as high BP, tobacco abuse in any form, diet high in carbohydrates, fats, and salt, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, lack of adequate exercise, stress and lifestyle, and genetic predisposition. They all contribute to the acceleration of plaques or “blocks” in the Heart’s blood vessels. Research also suggests that Indians have smaller sized heart blood vessels with narrow lumina that are also prone to high calcium deposits. In addition, genetic variations or abnormalities also play a significant role in about 6% of the Indians and their diaspora. One recent Indo-US collaborative study (Warangal Area Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Registry, WACAR) gave some insight into the epidemiology of Cardiac Arrests in India.

Q. As an advocate of “Healthy Hearts”, what preventive strategies do you recommend?

A. Awareness, early detection, and timely interventions are the keys to enhancing cardiac health and quality of life. The basics are stopping tobacco use, regular physical activity, healthy diet, maintaining an average weight, controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose, adequate sleep, and stress control through meditation/yoga. They should be tailored to individual needs as advised by their Physicians.

Meditation has several benefits. It’s scientifically proven that Meditation/Yoga pacifies parts of the brain related to stress. Recent research showed that eight weeks of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training programs increase the thickness of Hippocampus (gray matter concentration), the part of the brain responsible for memory and regulating emotions.

Q. What are your concluding comments?

Raising community awareness of Heart Disease, implementing Preventive “Healthy Heart” programs with health screenings and promoting Community CPR programs by the Government and Non-Governmental Organizations are the initial steps to start combating Cardiovascular Disease, improve outcomes in “Heart Emergencies” and enhance overall “Heart Heath”!

Thank You!

(Disclaimer: The information provided in the article is meant for educational purpose only to raise awareness of Heart Disease and Sudden Cardiac Arrests. It does not endorse any specific organization and is not a professional advice. The readers need to seek professional medical advice before following any suggestion).

Illinois Leads The Way With Legislation To Aid International Medical Graduates

At a time when the State of Illinois is grappling with a significant shortage of physicians, the signing of two new legislations by Governor of Illinois, J B Pritzker, will be crucial in reducing barriers to licensing for internationally trained physicians. Currently, 12,000 residents of Illinois hold international medical degrees, and yet they face restrictions preventing them from utilizing their expertise to offer healthcare services.

The new legislation includes creation of a permanent alternative pathway to full licensure for International Medical Graduates (IMGs), marking a significant departure from other State approaches that focus on establishing restricted licenses. Additionally, the creation of the role of an ombudsman within the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) tasked with aiding IMGs in navigating the process of relicensing will further enable this process.

Thanking Governor Pritzker for the initiative, Trustee of Oak Brook, Illinois, and Past President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), Dr. Suresh Reddy told News India Times, “International graduates are well trained, and on par with American graduates. Allowing international graduates to work as healthcare workers in the United States after they complete the licensing exams is a huge step in healthcare delivery in US especially in areas of need.” Dr. Reddy who’s also the Past President of the Indian-American Medical Association, emphasized “It’s a win-win situation for all those who are involved.”

Calling it “a groundbreaking step to alleviate critical labor shortages in the healthcare sector”

Upwardly Global, a national organization dedicated to assisting immigrants and refugees in leveraging their international credentials to relaunch their professional careers within the United States commended Governor Pritzker’s legislations.

According to Upwardly Global, the announcement comes after more than a year of extensive work between Upwardly Global, Illinois State Rep. Theresa Mah, Ph.D. (D-Chi.), IDFPR, the Illinois State Medical Society, as well as both national and local advocacy groups. The collaborative effort has been focused on tackling the issue of untapped talent among IMGs within the State.

“Illinois is setting a new standard for the rest of the country when it comes to internationally trained medical professionals,” said President and CEO of Upwardly Global, Jina Krause-Vilmar, in a statement. “Upwardly Global is proud to have co-created this legislative win, which recognizes the value of internationally trained healthcare professionals who, despite their expertise, often remain on the sidelines during critical health crises.”

Founder and former President of AAPI, Dr. Navin Shah, told News India Times, “I welcome the move of Governor Pritzker which will be helpful for patients in the State of Illinois.

Already, 80,000 Indian doctors in the United States are doing well in training as well as in practice. Not only are they taking good care of patients but also training new doctors. This is a great step given the huge shortage of healthcare professionals in this country.”

Picture : Upwardly Global

In the 1980s, Dr. Shah worked to achieve equality for international doctors alongside US physicians. In 1987, along with the support of his colleagues he helped replace “Foreign” with “International” rebranding Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) as International Medical Graduates in the battle against discrimination.

“There is growing demand for healthcare workers across the nation. Between 2017 and 2021, states from Arizona to Virginia saw an increase in the number of online job postings for unique healthcare worker positions. Immigrants often punch above their weight, representing a larger share of workers in healthcare roles like physicians, surgeons, dental hygienists, and respiratory therapists than their share of the population,” pointed out a special report “The Growing Demand for Healthcare Workers: A State-by-State View” by the American Immigration Council.

The report which highlights the critical contribution of immigrants in alleviating significant workforce shortages within the state-level healthcare sector, underscored, “Although there is a growing need for healthcare workers, many immigrants who received specialized training abroad cannot practice in the State. In 2021, many immigrants with healthcare-related professional and doctorate degrees were working in a healthcare occupation that did not require one.”

Owner of Simply Smiles, in Ashburn, Virginia, Dr. Aman Sabharwal, told News India Times, “One of the biggest challenges we face in healthcare is access to care. For example, my home State of Virginia currently faces a shortage of dentists and hygienists, particularly in rural areas. I believe by streamlining the licensure process for internationally trained healthcare providers we can improve our access to care for all patients.” (News India Times)

Studies Suggest Covid-19 Variant BA.2.86 Less Immune-Evasive Than Feared

Amid fresh concerns of Covid-19 due to the new highly mutant Omicron sub variant BA.2.86, two new studies from the US have confirmed that it is less contagious as well as immune evasive.
This comes after two studies last week from China’s Peking University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden showed that the variant is less transmissible than XBB and EG variants.
The new study, led by researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US, reported on X, formerly Twitter, that their first data from their antibody neutralisation experiments suggest responses to BA.2.86 were lower than to BA.2.
However, they were comparable to or higher than the current circulating variants. Neutralising antibodies to all variants, including BA.2.86, increased following XBB infection.
The experiments were done on samples from 66 people, including 44 who had received the bivalent (two-strain) mRNA Covid booster, said Ninaad Lasrado, one of the researchers at the Barouch Lab at the Centre, on X.
He added that the findings fuel hopes that the new XBB.1.5 vaccines have the potential to induce cross-reactive neutralising antibodies against other recombinants and against BA.2.86.
According to Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at the Center, their results align with earlier experiments by labs in China and Sweden.
Taken together, the data suggests that BA.2.86 will not be as troublesome as experts had feared. In short, this one seems to be a “scariant”, he was quoted as saying to CNN.
But another variant, FL.1.5.1, which is causing an estimated 15 per cent of new Covid-19 infections in the US, may be a different story. This fast-growing descendant of the XBB recombinant variant has a constellation of mutations that have raised the eyebrows of variant trackers.
In lab testing, it was the most immune-evasive. “If there wasn’t so much hype about BA.2.86, that would actually be the focus of the paper,” Barouch said.
In the second study, researchers at the Columbia University used blood plasma from 61 adults: 17 who had gotten three monovalent vaccine doses and two bivalent vaccines, 25 who had recovered from a BA.2 breakthrough infection and 19 who’d recovered from an XBB breakthrough infection.
The results were substantially similar to the study at Barouch lab, the report said. Across the range of immune profiles, antibodies in the blood were able to recognise BA.2.86 just as capable as they were other circulating variants. People with the highest degree of immunity against BA.2.86 were those who’d recovered from recent XBB infections.
That was a surprise because of how many mutations BA.2.86 has. Scientists had predicted that based on what was known about those specific mutations, it might be highly immune-evasive, the report said. “The news is better than I was expecting, and makes me more encouraged that the new upcoming vaccine will have a real benefit against current dominant variant (EG.5) as well as BA.2.86,” Dr. Ashish Jha, former White House Covid-19 response coordinator, in a post on X.
BA.2.86, which descended from a Omicron variant, has so far been linked with 29 cases of Covid across four continents. The variant has been detected from both human and wastewater specimens. So far, it has not been found to cause more severe illness. But the limited number of cases means it’s too soon to know whether it causes more severe Covid-19 or is more transmissible than other variants. (IANS)

AAPI’s 17th Annual Global Healthcare Summit 2023 In New Delhi & Manipal

Chicago, IL, September 11, 2023: “The registration for AAPI’s 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit 2024 at the prestigious Taj Palace Hotel from January 1-3rd and at the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Mahe in Karnataka from January 4th to 6th, 2023
is filling up fast,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) announced here today.

While elaborating on the themes and areas that are going to be covered during the Summit, Dr. Sampat Shivangi, Chair of GHS 2024 said, “Future of Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence” will be the theme for the GHS 2024, which is organized by AAPI in collaboration with Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, the Indian Medical Association, and the Government of the State of Karnataka.”

Several prominent physicians and academicians have been invited and have been accepted to be the keynote speakers and chairs of various academic sessions planned and organized during the summit. Latest Advances, CME, ELS, Discussions on Research Methodology, and Scientific Writing by Academic Experts will be part of the summit.
Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair of AAPI BOT said, “AAPI’s GHS is yet another way of continuing with our constant commitment towards making quality healthcare affordable and accessible to all the people of India. In addition, GHS 2024 will also focus on promoting Healthcare Technology including Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare.”
The focus this year will be on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality as well as Medical Jeopardy and Research Poster presentations by medical students. In addition, there will be panel discussions by International Medical Education experts and National Medical Council Board officials and mentoring of Young Professionals.
Advocacy to dismantle the stigma of mental illness and Suicide Prevention will be the highlight of the program. Chronic Disease Reversal and Prevention, Rural Health Initiatives will continue to be promoted and other Global Health Issues including Climate Change and its impact on health will be discussed.

The CEO forum will focus on Equity, Ethics, and Physician Burnout issues. The Women’s Forum will deliberate on Gender Bias and Leadership. Dr. Manoj Jain, Chair of CETI – Collaboration to Eliminate TB in India supported by CDC and USAID will discuss their ongoing long-term TB Elimination Projects in India. Comprehensive details and outcomes of TB Elimination Projects in India will be presented to the GHS delegates.

Other activities will include CPR Training for Police personnel; a Walkathon on combating mental health stigma and prevention of Childhood Obesity and several other initiatives will be announced, including treatment modalities for non-communicable medical diseases.

Dr. Anupam Seibel, GHS Chair – New Delhi says, “With hundreds of physicians from the United States, the Summit is expected to be attended by nearly 400 delegates from around the world. AAPI Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) will have many new initiatives and also will be carrying the torch of ongoing projects undertaken by AAPI’s past leaders.”

Lt. Gen. Dr. M.D. Venkatesh, Co-Chair of GHS – India says, “Many of the physicians who will attend this convention have excelled in different specialties and subspecialties and occupy high positions as faculty members of medical schools, heads of departments, and executives of hospitals and pharma companies.

“AAPI GHS offers an opportunity to meet directly with these physicians who are leaders in their fields and play an integral part in the decision-making process regarding new products and services,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, President-Elect of AAPI said.

According to GHS Convenor – USA, Dr. Subramanya Bhatt, “The preliminary program is in place, the major attractions include cutting-edge CMEs with renowned speakers, CEO Forum, Innovation Forum, an Entrepreneur Forum, Women’s Forum, and Product Theaters to highlight the newest advances in patient care and medical technology.”
“Alumni meetings for networking, an AAPI-India Strategic Engagement Forum to showcase the AAPI initiatives in India, TB Eradication in India, and recognition of AAPI Award winners will make this Summit unique,” added Dr. Rohit Singh, GHS Convenor – India.

According to CME Chair – USA Dr. Banbwal Suresh Balinga and CME Chair -India, Dr. Dr. Padmaraj Hegde, while the focus of GHS 2024 will be on Mental health, Infant and Maternal Mortality, Medical Jeopardy, and Research Poster presentations by medical students with panel discussions by International Medical Education experts and National Medical Council Board officials will help mentoring of young professionals.
GHS Scientific Chair Dr. Rajendran Alappan said, “In our efforts to realize the core mission of AAPI, which is to share the best from leading experts from around the world, to collaborate on clinical challenges, the GHS in Delhi and Manipal will have clinical tracks that are of vital to healthcare in India.”
Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Vice President of AAPI, says, “It is these learning opportunities and collaborative relationships that have now enabled AAPI and participating organizations to plan and prepare for an outstanding event that is expected to have over 300 prominent and experienced physicians and surgeons of Indian origin from around the world, who are very passionate about serving their homeland, Mother India.”

Dr. Sumul Raval, Secretary of AAPI says, “GHS 2024 is aimed at exploring possibilities for greater collaboration and cooperation between the physicians and health care providers in India with those of Indian origin and major health-care providers abroad.”

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, Treasurer of AAPI, “Harnessing the power of Indian Doctors worldwide, the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit platform has evolved with the support of prominent global and Indian medical associations . AAPI’s mission is to make a positive and meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India.”
Healthcare in India is one of the largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment. India is making significant improvements in its healthcare infrastructure and is building modern medical facilities throughout India. Doctors of Indian origin have made tremendous progress in the 21st century and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub. With hundreds of physicians joining from the United States, the summit is expected to be attended by three hundred delegates from around the world. AAPI Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) will have many new initiatives and will be carrying the torch of ongoing projects undertaken by AAPI’s past leaders.

Dr. Sampath Shivangi said, “We are collaborating with senior leaders from leading healthcare organizations including pharmaceuticals, device and medical equipment manufacturers and major medical teaching institutions, hospitals and the Ministries of Health, External/Overseas Affairs and regulatory bodies to attend and coordinate with AAPI with an ultimate goal to providing accessible and affordable high-quality healthcare to all people of India.”

The Global Healthcare Summit has come a long way from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007. Since then, AAPI has organized 16 Indo – US/Global Healthcare Summits and developed strategic alliances with various organizations.
Dr. Samadder said, AAPI is hopeful that several international healthcare industry partners are looking for opportunities to participate at this event for greater collaboration on Research & Development and philanthropic engagements.
Dr. Samadder expressed gratitude to all the Chairs and members of various Committees who are working hard to put together a great Summit and to enable members to return home with memories that will last a lifetime.
“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will meet and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We look forward to seeing you in New Delhi and Manipal!” said Dr. Samadder. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org/ To register for the Global Healthcare Summit 2023, please visit: https://summit.aapiusa.org

Medicare Acknowledges Family Caregivers: New Initiatives To Support Essential Role

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency overseeing Medicare, has embraced a long-standing truth: families are the cornerstone of care for vulnerable older adults and individuals with disabilities. In a groundbreaking move, CMS has introduced measures to provide crucial assistance to family members involved in caregiving. While some of these proposals hold substantial promise, others are less robust. The pivotal change lies in Medicare’s decision to compensate medical professionals for offering vital guidance to families of individuals with specific medical conditions.

Medicare Advantage and similar managed care models have already incorporated certain forms of support. However, CMS previously maintained that fee-for-service Medicare could solely cover services directed towards beneficiaries, excluding family members in caregiving roles. This stance is now undergoing transformation.

Examining Each Initiative

  1. Caregiver Training

CMS’s initial step involves establishing a billing code to remunerate Medicare providers, which encompass physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and therapists, for training family caregivers. This new payment structure is projected to commence in the upcoming year, encompassing both individual and group training sessions.

The significance of this development cannot be overstated, as family members are often tasked with delivering complex care without adequate training. They are expected to comprehend tasks ranging from wound care to patient transfers without comprehensive instruction. The introduction of training programs is long overdue. However, a pertinent question arises: who will undertake this responsibility? Physicians often lack knowledge of these diverse skills and may lack the time or capability to educate others. Nurses and therapists are more likely to excel in this capacity.

It appears that the proposal envisions training taking place within medical facilities, akin to other Medicare Part B services. This, however, disregards the practical reality. Overburdened caregivers are unlikely to make the journey to medical offices or therapy centers for such training.

A more feasible approach would involve doctors outsourcing this training to community-based organizations, like senior centers or adult day care facilities. A challenge arises here, as these entities are generally not recognized as Medicare providers. Overcoming this hurdle would be crucial for the success of the initiative.

  1. Care Navigation

The second initiative focuses on Medicare compensating health-related social needs assessments and providing assistance with care navigation. This payment rule permits physicians to collaborate with non-medical entities, including community-based social service organizations and community health workers.

This model, however, is initially limited to specific “high-risk conditions.” It’s imperative that CMS adopts an expansive definition of these conditions to ensure the widest possible benefit from needs assessments and care navigation.

  1. Integrated Dementia Care

The third reform targets families caring for individuals with dementia. The Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience (GUIDE) program, slated to begin in a year, seeks to deliver comprehensive care coordination, caregiver education, support, and respite services over an eight-year period.

GUIDE represents a model of fully coordinated care that’s particularly suited to those with chronic conditions. Medicare’s previous reluctance to fund similar integrated care programs for dementia patients has been a stumbling block, but this initiative holds promise to change that.

While the dementia care model appears promising, a question arises: why restrict such a model solely to dementia patients? Medicare should contemplate implementing this approach for all serious chronic conditions.

Recognizing the Role of Family Caregivers

Despite numerous questions surrounding the implementation of these initiatives—such as payment rates, frequency of services, and defining family caregivers—the introduction of these changes by the Biden administration marks a significant leap forward. They have the potential to dismantle major obstacles to effective family caregiving and enable individuals with chronic conditions to age in their homes for a more extended period. Most importantly, these initiatives underscore the critical role of family caregivers in the healthcare ecosystem.

CMS’s decision to incorporate family caregivers into its reimbursement framework and acknowledge their vital contribution is a milestone. These initiatives hold the promise of not only transforming caregiving dynamics but also reinforcing the central role families play in supporting the health and well-being of their loved ones.

 

HMNI’s Gyroscopic Radiosurgery® For The Brain To Shorten Time From Diagnosis To Treatment

The Dr. Robert H. and Mary Ellen Harris ZAP-X Center for Noninvasive Neurosurgery, situated within the Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, is on the brink of introducing a groundbreaking advancement in medical technology. 

The center is poised to unveil the world’s inaugural ZAP-X® Gyroscopic Radiosurgery®, in conjunction with Synaptive’s noiseless brain MRI, specifically designed for treating brain tumors and various brain-related ailments, including trigeminal neuralgia and arteriovenous malformations (AVM). Marking a significant milestone, this academic medical institution will pioneer the utilization of ZAP-X, become the first hospital in the Northeastern United States to provide Synaptive’s head-only MRI, and hold the distinction of being the sole global facility to combine these innovative technologies. The integration of these two cutting-edge technologies promises to substantially reduce the time between diagnosis and treatment.

ZAP Surgical

Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, the CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, emphasized the organization’s commitment to enhancing patient care through the adoption of advanced technologies, stating, “Having the latest advancements in technology to treat our patients is part of how Hackensack Meridian Health keeps getting better.” He further acknowledged the significance of the introduction of ZAP-X Gyroscopic Radiosurgery and Synaptive MRI, not only in providing superior care to the communities within New Jersey but also in solidifying the network’s reputation as a leading healthcare provider.

The innovative technology is set to become operational at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, NJ, with the generous support of Mary Ellen Harris and the Golden Dome Foundation. Shabbar Danish, M.D., the chair of neurosurgery at the Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, expressed excitement about bringing this advanced form of cranial radiosurgery to patients. Dr. Danish highlighted ZAP-X’s potential as a powerful tool in non-invasively treating brain tumors and other cranial conditions. He envisioned a future where this technology becomes an industry standard, significantly benefiting patients through effective, non-invasive, and timely treatment options.

ZAP-X represents just one of the many state-of-the-art tools available at Hackensack Meridian Health for combating both benign and metastatic tumors. While ZAP-X is tailored specifically for brain-related conditions, the network is adept at employing similar radiosurgery techniques, including CyberKnife, Gamma Knife, and proton therapy. Additionally, the Hackensack Meridian John Theurer Cancer Center (JTCC) is gearing up to introduce Scintix™ by Reflexion, an innovative therapy for patients primarily afflicted with metastatic cancer. 

This groundbreaking technology harnesses continuously updated data throughout treatment sessions to precisely deliver radiotherapy. This will be combined with precision medicine or customized treatments, offering new options for patients that were previously unavailable. JTCC is one of only seven institutions worldwide to adopt this technology and is poised to revolutionize radiation oncology in New Jersey.

The ZAP-X and Synaptive MRI equipment is currently being installed at the Dr. Robert H. and Mary Ellen Harris ZAP-X Center for Noninvasive Neurosurgery at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. The Neuroscience Institute is gearing up to commence patient treatments with this groundbreaking technology in the upcoming fall season.

For individuals seeking more information about ZAP-X and Synaptive MRI, as well as other available treatments, comprehensive details are available on the institution’s official website.

As for the Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute, it stands as the preeminent and most comprehensive Neuroscience Institute in New Jersey. Encompassing neurology and neurosurgery programs across three academic medical centers—Hackensack University Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, and JFK University Medical Center—the Neuroscience Institute’s prominence extends nationwide. 

The Institute has earned various accolades, including Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) being ranked #22 for neurology and neurosurgery by US News and World Report. All Neuroscience Institute centers have secured the prestigious Comprehensive Stroke Center designation from the Joint Commission. The Institute boasts specialized Centers of Excellence in ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, and Cranial Surgery. The Institute has garnered additional recognitions for excellence from Healthgrades, the Joint Commission, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. 

The Institute stands at the forefront of neurological technology with advanced features like High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, Quicktome brain mapping, and Surgical Theater augmented reality for brain surgery—exclusive offerings within New Jersey. Soon, the Neuroscience Institute will take another stride by offering Zap-X Radiosurgery with Synaptive MRI, enabling non-invasive treatment for brain tumors and other brain conditions within as little as a week from diagnosis, an unparalleled accomplishment on the global stage.

Connection Between Human Body And 5 Elements Of Nature

Various ancient philosophies across the world have categorized the structure of the Universe into five fundamental elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether (Space). These elements, often referred to as the “Panch Mahabhoot,” hold immense significance as they provide insights into the laws governing nature.

Each of these five elements symbolizes distinct states of matter present in the natural world. The “Earth” element signifies solid matter, “Water” embodies liquids, “Air” encompasses gases, “Fire” represents the transformative force within nature, and “Ether” acts as the foundation for elevated spiritual experiences.

Interestingly, the connection between the elements in the human body and those in nature is profound. All of creation consists of varying combinations of these five elements. The human body, too, is a manifestation of these elements in different proportions: 72% water, 12% earth, 6% air, 4% fire, and the remainder being Ether. Although the ratios of the first four elements generally remain constant, the proportion of Ether can be elevated. Each element plays a distinct role in forming different anatomical structures within the body.

The “Earth” element is responsible for solid structures such as bones, muscles, skin, teeth, hair, and tissues, providing the body with strength and form. “Water” gives rise to vital fluids like saliva, urine, blood, semen, and sweat. The “Fire” element governs hunger, thirst, sleep, visual perception, and skin complexion. “Air” is intricately linked with all types of bodily movement, including expansion, contraction, vibration, and restraint. Meanwhile, “Ether,” being the subtlest of the elements, is found in the body’s hollow spaces as forms of radiation such as radio frequencies, light, and cosmic rays.

The harmony of these elements is closely tied to the concept of “Prana” or vital force within the human body. Nature’s laws dictate the necessity of maintaining a balance among these elements.

Imbalances among the five elements can give rise to various diseases. The root cause of chronic illnesses often lies in the impurity or disproportionate presence of one element or a disharmony between different elements within the body.

  1. Water Element Imbalance: This is evident through symptoms like excessive mucus, cold, sinusitis, glandular swelling, tissue edema, and variations in blood viscosity.
  2. Earth Element Imbalance: Such an imbalance manifests as general bodily weakness, calcium loss from bones, obesity, cholesterol irregularities, fluctuating weight, muscular disorders, and more.
  3. Fire Element Imbalance: Imbalance of this element leads to conditions like fever, skin inflammations, abnormal body temperature, profuse sweating, hyper-acidity, sluggish digestion, toxin accumulation, and diabetes.
  4. Air Element Imbalance: Disorders linked to this element include dry skin, blood pressure anomalies, respiratory problems, persistent dry cough, bloating, constipation, lethargy, insomnia, muscle spasms, and depression.
  5. Space Element Imbalance: Disruptions in the balance of this element manifest as thyroid issues, throat ailments, speech disorders, epilepsy, mental disturbances, and ear-related problems.

Yoga’s Remedial Role

The practice of yoga serves as a potent means to purify the elements, restore equilibrium, and promote overall well-being. Techniques designed for purifying the five elements are collectively termed “Bhuta Shuddhi.” These practices aim to tap into the latent potentials harbored within each element. Furthermore, yoga offers methodologies to master these elements, known as “Bhuta Siddhi.”

As we delve into these ancient wisdoms, it becomes evident that our physical constitution is intricately intertwined with the very elements that shape the world around us. Embracing this connection and striving to maintain a harmonious equilibrium within ourselves allows us to unlock our inner potential and lead healthier, more balanced lives.

Doctors Warn Against Popular Weight Loss Drugs Due to Anesthesia Complications

Healthcare professionals are urging caution regarding the use of well-known weight loss medications, including Ozempic and Wegovy, due to potential life-threatening complications linked to anesthesia. Anesthesiologists have noted that patients who are prescribed drugs containing semaglutide, the active ingredient in these medications, might still have undigested food in their stomachs even after extended periods of fasting. This increases the risk of pulmonary aspiration during anesthesia administration. Consequently, medical experts are advocating for the discontinuation of these medications for up to three weeks before undergoing surgery or procedures requiring anesthesia.

While the American Society of Anesthesiologists suggests that patients should avoid these drugs on the day of surgery and cease weekly injections for at least a week prior to sedation procedures, some anesthesiologists argue for a more extended discontinuation period. They propose that discontinuing the drugs for a three-week duration would eliminate roughly 88% of the drug from the body, leading to more emptied stomachs after fasting and safer administration of anesthesia. This recommendation was recently detailed in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia.

Picture: The UNN

Furthermore, concerns have arisen regarding other potential adverse effects associated with medications like Ozempic. A lawsuit filed this month alleges that the manufacturers of Ozempic and Mounjaro, namely Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, respectively, did not adequately caution patients about the possibility of severe stomach problems as a side effect. Additionally, studies conducted on rodents have indicated a potential risk of thyroid tumors and cancer linked to the use of Ozempic.

Compounding the worries, there is evidence indicating that most individuals who discontinue these medications tend to regain the weight they had initially lost within a span of three to five years, and in certain cases, they might even put on more weight than they initially shed. There are apprehensions concerning the nature of the weight loss as well. Reports have surfaced suggesting that patients might experience significant loss of muscle mass along with fat reduction. This aspect raises inquiries about the broader impact on body composition.

Despite these reservations, the utilization of weight loss medications such as Ozempic and Wegovy is on the upswing, with projections suggesting that the market value of obesity-related pills could climb to as much as $200 billion in the approaching years. It is imperative that individuals contemplating the use of these medications are well-informed about the potential risks and consult extensively with their healthcare providers before arriving at any decisions.

Innovative Stem Cell Technique Shows Promise in Restoring Vision for Single-Eye Injuries

During the summer of 2020, Nick Kharufeh experienced a life-altering accident that left him blind in his left eye. A malfunctioning firework struck him in the face during an Independence Day party in California. Kharufeh, who had aspirations of becoming a pilot, found his dreams shattered by the severe damage caused to his eye. Traditional treatments proved ineffective, and Kharufeh’s life took a drastic turn as he grappled with the loss of his vision.

However, a glimmer of hope emerged a few months later when Kharufeh’s mother stumbled upon a groundbreaking experimental trial being conducted in Boston. Researchers were developing a restorative technique tailored specifically for individuals like Kharufeh, who had sustained single-eye injuries that conventional treatments could not address adequately.

Conventionally, a cornea transplant can restore functionality and vision to a damaged eye. However, this method is only effective if the patient still possesses a healthy reserve of limbal stem cells around the cornea. These specialized adult cells maintain the clear surface layer of the eye, preventing it from becoming uneven, opaque, and painful. Unfortunately, Kharufeh’s situation had led to the growth of white tissue over his eye, causing it to painfully fuse with his eyelid following the accident.

Picture: MDPI

Kharufeh’s journey led him to relocate from California to Boston in order to participate in the trial. Faced with bleak prospects from his doctors in California, he embraced the trial with the mindset that even though the worst outcome might be continued blindness, there was also a chance that his vision could be restored.

Fast forward three years from his accident, and Kharufeh’s story represents a beacon of hope. The initial findings of the trial, published on August 18 in Science Advances, showcased positive outcomes for him and several other trial participants.

In this revolutionary technique spearheaded by Dr. Ula Jurkunas, a corneal surgeon at Mass Eye and Ear, stem cells are extracted from a patient’s healthy eye through a minute biopsy. The collected sample is then divided into smaller fragments, and enzymes are employed to separate the stem cells from their underlying tissue. Over a span of approximately two weeks, these cells develop into a sheet, which is subsequently transplanted into the injured eye. This process effectively restores the natural functionality of the cornea.

The Science Advances paper highlights the successful vision improvements experienced by two patients following the stem cell transplant. Furthermore, two additional patients regained enough functionality to be eligible for cornea transplants.

The focus of the paper revolves around the first five participants of the trial. Notably, one participant did not witness success with the stem-cell harvesting and grafting technique. Kharufeh, having advanced to the subsequent phase of the trial, underwent the same procedure and will be included in forthcoming publications.

While various researchers globally have explored different avenues of using stem cells to restore vision, Dr.Jurkunas’ technique stands out. Though similar therapies have gained approval in Europe, and some doctors in the U.S. perform limbal stem cell transplants, these methods often involve larger biopsies that pose risks to the patient’s healthy eye or donor cells that could be rejected. Dr.Jurkunas’ trial represents an exciting milestone by demonstrating successful results using a small quantity of the patient’s own cells. Despite its promising outcomes, the approach remains experimental. Dr.Jurkunas and her team are refining the method and collaborating with U.S. regulators to design comprehensive studies. Ensuring the reproducibility of the technique in other surgical settings is also vital, a task that involves collaboration with colleagues from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the JAEB Center for Health Research.

The paper’s described procedure caters to a specific group of patients: those who retain one healthy eye from which stem cells can be harvested, yet possess an injury severe enough to preclude a cornea transplant. Approximately 1,000 individuals in the U.S. fit this description annually. Dr.Jurkunas, however, sees this approach as a stepping stone toward the development of future cell-based therapies.

The procedure has already been huge for Kharufeh, whose left-eye vision is now blurry but functional, with the potential for even more dramatic improvement with further corrective surgery. “I can completely navigate my apartment or walk across the street with just my bad eye now,” he says.

Kharufeh has put aside his dream of becoming a pilot, but with his eyesight improving and fewer follow-up appointments required at the hospital, he’s even thinking of going back to school to get his master’s degree in marketing.“It’s so cool,” he says, “to see out of my left eye.”

The innovative stem cell technique pioneered by Dr. Ula Jurkunas holds great promise for restoring vision in cases of single-eye injuries that defy traditional treatments. With early positive results showcased in the Science Advances paper, this breakthrough offers hope to individuals like Nick Kharufeh, who can now envision a future with restored vision and renewed possibilities.

Forget 10,000 Steps. Here’s How Much Science Says You Actually Need to Walk

Walking only 4,000 stages each day — not exactly 50% of the 10,000 steps frequently suggested for keeping a functioning way of life — might be sufficient to assist with expanding your life, as per another exploration audit distributed in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Picture : Well Good

That focal point shouldn’t discourage anybody from going for a more extended walk; the scientists observed that greater development is better, with 1,000 extra advances each day connected with a generally 15% lower chance of sudden passing. However, it joins a developing collection of examination that proposes exercises needn’t bother with to be all that difficult or extended to work on your wellbeing. All that from strolling to housework to moving can add to prosperity, studies have shown.

To arrive at the new discoveries, a group of specialists investigated 17 recently distributed papers on strolling and wellbeing, as steps taken each day is a regularly concentrated on proportion of active work. In total, those reviews included in excess of 225,000 grown-ups from various nations with a typical age of 64, some of whom were in commonly great wellbeing and some of whom had risk factors for cardiovascular illness. By and large, they were followed for a long time.

In the wake of examining the information from those reviews, the specialists established that mortality risk logically declines as individuals walk more. They didn’t find a place where extra movement quits seeming useful, as far as possible up to 20,000 steps each day.

In any case, with regards to past research, they likewise presumed that it doesn’t take countless day to day moves toward further develop wellbeing. (What could be compared to around two miles). The edge was even lower — around 2,500 steps each day — while checking out explicitly at the gamble of kicking the bucket from cardiovascular sickness.

These patterns remained genuinely consistent across various geographic areas, as well as while looking at people, the analysts found. There were, in any case, a few distinctions among individuals of various ages. Grown-ups more established than 60 saw about a 42% drop in mortality risk when they strolled somewhere in the range of 6,000 and 10,000 steps each day, while those more youthful than 60 saw a generally 49% decrease when they strolled somewhere in the range of 7,000 and 13,000 steps each day.

There are a few provisos to the discoveries. As far as one might be concerned, observational examination of this nature can uncover designs, yet it can’t authoritatively demonstrate circumstances and logical results. The scientists likewise couldn’t Ecocompletely represent members’ financial situations with in general ways of life, and that implies day to day advances were only one piece of a bigger riddle. It’s conceivable, for instance, that individuals who were most dynamic likewise had various other sound propensities that could add to a more drawn out life expectancy.

Regardless, the new exploration joins a lot of different investigations — and U.S. government active work rules — in a similar end: greater development is quite often better, yet a limited quantity is likewise not all that great, but not terrible either than nothing.

Research On Asian Americans And Pacific Islanders Is Being Stifled

Distributing research and getting awards is profoundly cutthroat, and companion commentators and funders reject paper and award proposition for some reasons. In any case, analysts who concentrate on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people group can confront another boundary: guardians who minimize social disparities that influence AAPIs and excuse concentrating on them.

For example, the Midwest Longitudinal Investigation of Asian American Families, the biggest investigation of its sort, dives into emotional wellness challenges among in excess of 800 Asian American families in metropolitan Chicago. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) this year dismissed an award proposition to grow the review, which started in 2014. Three analysts offered expansive remarks that reduced enemy of Asian bigotry or that the battles of Asian Americans were “not generally so terrible with respect to Blacks and Latinos,” says David Takeuchi, co-investigator of the study and a professor of sociology and social work at the University of Washington.

Picture : NBC

Tragically, these sorts of remarks are normal. Takeuchi presented a paper to a conspicuous social science diary when he was an alumni understudy in the last part of the 1980s. A friend commentator said his examination of low scholarly execution among 8,000 AAPI understudies in Hawaii was “truly entrancing.” However, the commentator likewise said something with the impact of: “‘ Really awful this is about Asian Americans. On the off chance that this had a Dark example, we could contemplate distributing it,'” says Takeuchi. ” I was deterred, so at no point ever presented the paper in the future for distribution.”

Might nearsighted guardians at any point hinder research on AAPIs? It appears to be probable, particularly taking into account information shows an obvious hole in financing for research on AAPIs. A recent report in JAMA Organization Open found that clinical examination zeroed in on AAPIs and financed by the NIH contained simply 0.17 percent of its all out financial plan, in view of 529 tasks somewhere in the range of 1992 and 2018.

What’s more, simply 0.01 percent of articles from 1966 to 2000 in MEDLINE, the National Library of Medicine’s database, referenced AAPIs, as per a 2003 paper.

Without subsidizing, there are less assets for research, in this way making an endless loop of overlooking AAPIs from persuasive academic work. There is likewise a chilling impact on scientists who need to concentrate on AAPI issues however verifiably realize there may be more obstructions to subsidizing and distributing their work.

In any event, when scientists can examine information on AAPIs, they face barriers from cavalier scholastic friend analysts.

“We face separation as specialists. We hear that Asian Americans don’t count, they don’t have wellbeing inconsistencies,” says Stella Yi,assistant professor at N.Y.U. School of Medicine.. ” In any event, when we have information, individuals actually return with these cliché figures of speech about sound Asians: judo, soy sauce. It’s insane.”

The lacuna reaches out past wellbeing research. Sociologists of Asian descent were 74% more outlandish than white sociologists to get government financing, including from NIH and National Science Foundation (NSF).

Also, Asians are not considered an underrepresented minority bunch by NIH and NSF so Asian agents are not qualified for supplements pointed toward expanding variety in research, says XinQi Dong, professor at Rutgers College.

Without subsidizing and research, critical social issues among AAPI connected with everything from wellbeing incongruities and psychological sickness to neediness and wrongdoing are not even recognized, significantly less examined and tended to. “We have all caught wind of, and by and by experienced or saw, surveys that have been blurred by the model minority generalization: ‘ Asians are doing perfect, we don’t have to concentrate on them,'” says Tiffany Howl, professor and chair of the psychology department chair at Fordham University.

They stay undetectable in spite of the fact that Asians in the U.S. have dislodged Blacks as the racial gathering with the best pay disparity in the nation, as per Pew Research. Social imbalances among almost 20 million AAPIs, the quickest developing racial or ethnic gathering in the U.S., are dismissed. All things considered, calling for consideration and examination on AAPIs shouldn’t detract from assets for Blacks, Latinos, Native and other minimized networks out of luck. Rather, endeavors to decrease social disparities should likewise incorporate AAPIs.

AAPIs who are low-pay, restricted English-speakers, workers, older and undocumented are particularly defenseless against social issues yet experience peacefully. Overlooking them in examination could add to their eradication in press inclusion, strategy and generosity — as well as the other way around.

Consider that AAPIs were the focal point of media stories on racial and monetary imbalance under 4% of the time in an examination of nearly 380 articles from 2019, as per a report from Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). Regardless of whether exploration incorporate information about AAPI disparity, media articles overlooked it 37% of the time.

It has taken a flood in enemy of Asian prejudice and brutality during the pandemic for some to perceive that AAPIs really do encounter extremism and social imbalance. In any case, poor, older Asians gathering jars in New York and San Francisco don’t make it into titles — until they are beaten into a state of unconsciousness on a bustling road. Low-pay Asian salon laborers remain unnoticed — until they are killed, as in the Atlanta spa shootings this Walk.

A contributor to the issue is that regardless of whether information on AAPIs are gathered, the data gets lumped together. This conglomeration veils profound incongruities. The box experienced by weak AAPIs are concealed by the pinnacles of top level salary Asians. The different, rough scene of AAPI people group becomes smoothed.

At the point when AAPI information are disaggregated, the outcomes can strike. Rate of liver malignant growth is multiple times and multiple times higher for Laotian people, individually, contrasted and non-Hispanic white grown-ups.

In excess of 34% of Cambodian, Laotian and Hmong understudies don’t finish secondary school, contrasted and 13 percent of the overall U.S. populace. Wrongdoing research with disaggregated AAPI information is uncommon, yet one review showed youth capture rates were most noteworthy for individuals of Samoan identity, trailed by Dark, Laotian and Vietnamese individuals, in Alameda Region in the San Francisco Cove Region.

In New York City, an investigation of Chinese workers showed high paces of diabetes and pre-diabetes at 38%. Filipinos in California had higher predominance of stoutness, hypertension, diabetes, or asthma. A similar report showed that Japanese had 40% higher chances of being corpulent or overweight that whites. South Asians are multiple times bound to have coronary illness or diabetes than the overall US populace. Additional astounding information about Asian abberations remain to a great extent covered up and neglected.

It’s a disappointing chicken-and-egg situation. Nearsighted guards persuaded that AAPIs don’t encounter wellbeing and social issues reject endeavors to concentrate on these issues, which renders disparities imperceptible. The incongruity is that guardians, who are specialists in general wellbeing, medication, sociology and different fields, add to foundational prejudice through their predispositions and inclinations.

Absence of consideration can convert into a major hole in friendly administrations for AAPIs out of luck. In New York City, around 22% of Asian Americans live in destitution, as per an administration report. Asians contained almost 15% of New York City’s populace, yet 1.4 percent of city-based organization contracts were granted to Asian American social administrations suppliers north of 13 years, as per a 2015 report from Asian American Federation.

Across the U.S., just 0.20 percent of establishment subsidizing for work in the U.S. is assigned for AAPI people group, as per an AAPIP report. All in all, for each $100 granted by establishments, simply 20 pennies go to AAPIs.

In Spring, NIH reported its Join drive to end underlying prejudice in wellbeing research. Counting AAPIs should be important for endeavors at NIH, as well as at other plan setting establishments. More staff and award analysts with aptitude on AAPIs ought to be selected and given enemy of inclination preparing. They can likewise just be liberal that social disparities exist among AAPIs. What’s more, they can go on an outing to food banks and overpowered social help organizations that serve great many low-pay AAPIs consistently.

The need is self-evident — if by some stroke of good luck guards decide to look and tune in. It’s a tragedy that it takes a mass shooting and bigoted assaults to make AAPIs deserving of consideration lastly difficult to overlook.

Dr. V. K. Raju And  HIs Eye Foundation Prevents and Treats Blindness

Dr. Vadrevu K. Raju, a world-renowned ophthalmologist, who has lived abroad (in England and the USA) longer than in India, has visited India more than 200 times since 1977. Each visit was a working vacation to combat avoidable blindness among Indians, especially children.  He founded “Eye Foundation of America” in 1979, which is active in India and 30 other developing countries across the globe.

Dr. Raju who was recently appointed to the Faculty of Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University, is a man with a vision: creating a world without avoidable blindness. Dr. Raju earned his medical degree from Andhra University and completed an ophthalmology residency and fellowship at the Royal Eye Group of Hospitals in London.

Dr. V.K. Raju, who was born in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India is a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at West Virginia University, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Director of the International Ocular Surface Society, Director of the Ocular Surface Research and Education Foundation, Chairman of Goutami Eye Institute in Rajahmundry and is the President and Founder of the Eye Foundation of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to realizing a world without childhood blindness.

In 1977, Dr. Raju began traveling home to India to offer his services as an ophthalmologist to those who could not afford, or access, desperately needed eye care. Since 1979, the Eye Foundation of America has expanded its reach to over 25 countries, screened millions of patients, and provided hundreds of thousands of surgeries. As Dr. Raju points out, prevention is more beneficial than disease management, and lifestyle changes can be preventive. His organization’s programs, which aim at prevention through education and lifestyle modifications, include the 100,000 Lives (diabetes prevention) campaign in India and the WV Kids Farmer’s Market Program in West Virginia.

These preventive services and medical and surgical interventions were delivered in the form of eye camps in the early days, and the EFA was initially founded to allow for easier transfer of state-of-the-art equipment and medicine from the United States to India. As the Foundation matured, it became so much more. The EFA is now a global organization responsible for treating millions of patients, performing hundreds of thousands of surgeries, and training hundreds of eye care professionals to join in the global fight against preventable blindness.

One focus of current outreach efforts is in the prevention of diabetes and its health consequences. Diabetes-related complications typically strike during the prime of life and include the development of cataracts at an earlier age than normal, a two-fold increased risk of glaucoma, and small blood vessel damage (i.e., diabetic retinopathy). Retinopathy can cause blindness; however, early detection and treatment can prevent blindness in up to 90% of cases. The International Diabetes Foundation estimates that 20% of the diabetic world population resides in India, approximately 61.3 million diabetics.

The Eye Foundation of America is entering a new phase in its mission of ending avoidable blindness by collaborating with the Rotary International, GAPIO (Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin), and AAPI (American Association of Physicians of India Origin). In collaboration with these 3 organizations, preventive services and medical and surgical interventions were delivered in the form of eye camps in the early days, and the EFA was initially founded to allow for easier transfer of state-of-the-art equipment and medicine from the United States to India. As the Foundation matured, it became so much more.

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in premature infants can cause blindness; however, early detection and treatment can prevent blindness in up to 90% cases. The EFA is now a global organization responsible for treating millions of patients, performing hundreds of thousands of surgeries, and training hundreds of eye care professionals to join in the global fight against preventable blindness.

Dr. Raju has received numerous awards, including the AMA Foundation Nathan Davis Excellence in Medicine International Award, Four Time Awardee by The American Academy of Ophthalmology, Martin Luther King Jr Achievement Award from WVU, Distinguished Community Service Award from AAPI (American Association of Physicians from India), Pride of the Pride Award from Lions International District 29, Vaidya Ratna (conferred by Shankaracharya of Kanchi), Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Ophthalmologists of Indian Origin, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the WV State Medical Association. Dr. VK Raju was among the class of 2017 inductees into the University of Toledo Global Medical Missions Hall of Fame, the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North America Telegu Society. Dr. Raju was awarded with the Excellence in Medicine Award by GOPIO – Virginia in 2021.

Dr. Raju has published several books, seventeen chapters, and over 100 publications in scientific journals. Through his recently released book, “The Tragedy of Childhood Blindness in India,”  Dr. Raju while expressing his gratefulness to Mother India for giving him the best medical education almost for free, attempts to discuss in the voluminous historical and philosophical material in the book, and connects the readers with present-day India.

 The most recent EFA publication is a short self-help book inspired by the voices of many great leaders. “How to Live Like Gandhi” can be purchased at eyefoundationofamerica.org. All proceeds go to combatting avoidable blindness.

For the past four decades, Dr. Raju and the EFA have been actively and tirelessly on a crusade to eliminate avoidable blindness in areas plagued by poverty and poor access to medical care. The EFA’s mission is to eliminate avoidable blindness under the guiding principles of service, teaching, and research.

 This is accomplished through eye camps and brick-and-mortar hospitals in developing countries, training of medical personnel to serve the needy, and educating the population at large on preventative eye care and healthy lifestyle choices. With adequate education, patients are empowered to take charge of their lives and their own health and prevent further deleterious consequences of their poor lifestyle choices, while sharing this knowledge with their friends and families.

 The public is educated on eye care and injury prevention, and local teachers are taught how to screen for early eye problems in children. Patients, their families, and the greater community benefit from preventative medical care, free procedures, and access to education.

 When education and preventative measures are insufficient, medical and surgical interventions are performed. With the aim of permanently providing world-class state-of-the art services to populations with poor access to health care, the EFA helped to build 2 hospitals in rural India: the Srikiran Eye Institute and the Goutami Eye Institute.

 With all of Dr. Raju’s momentous achievements, he has also ensured that his life’s work and vision are self-sustaining. Dr. Raju has passed on his knowledge, plans, and vision to the future leaders of this movement: Dr. Leela Raju, Dr. Raju’s daughter and fellow ophthalmologist, is the EFA’s Secretary and Coordinator for Education and actively participates in its mission. Her father’s humanity and passion stimulates whatever she undertakes, Leela says. “This is not a job for him; it has never been a job,” she says. “He does his work with passion and he enjoys it. His enthusiasm and passion are infectious.”

 The Goutami Eye Institute has a wing dedicated exclusively to children, and the EFA has future plans to build another service and research eye hospital in India where no child will be denied treatment and children from around the world can come to receive services. Dr. Raju and the EFA are also committed to finding new cures for age-old eye disease in children.

The EFA has served approximately 2.5 million patients and performed 340,000+ vision-saving surgeries, with 30,000+ surgeries performed on children alone.

 Over 40 years of noble work bringing vision to millions in India started unexpectedly for Dr. Raju. While living in London, Dr. V.K. Raju traveled home to India on vacation, where a farmer asked him to examine his eyes. Dr. Raju complied, but without any instruments. In 1977, Dr. Raju returned to rural India with personnel and equipment, and offered his first eye camp near his hometown in 1977. This was the inception of the foundation’s work, beginning with the West Virginia Ophthalmology Foundation. The West Virginia Ophthalmology Foundation subsequently became the EFA in 1992.

  “I feel so incredibly thankful for my personal and professional gifts, and I make great efforts to share those gifts with those in need of my services,” says Dr. Raju, and he generously gives freely of his own time, money, and medical expertise to help the less fortunate for the past several decades. Never too tired to give his best for preventing, caring, and sustaining the vision for the visually impaired, Dr. Raju says, “Our work is only just beginning.”

WHO Summit On Traditional Medicine In Gujarat Attended by 75 Nations

The first-ever global summit on traditional medicine organized by The World Health Organization (WHO) held in Gujarat, India on August 17-18, 2023 had participation from over 75 nations. The Ministry of Ayush, Government of India co-hosted the summit, which explored the role of traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine in addressing pressing health challenges and driving progress in global health and sustainable development.

It was held alongside the G20 health ministerial meeting, to mobilize political commitment and evidence-based action on traditional medicine, which is a first port of call for millions of people worldwide to address their health and well-being needs. Technical discussions on research, evidence and learning; policy, data, and regulation; innovation and digital health; and biodiversity, equity and indigenous knowledge took place at the summit.

Speaking at the inauguration, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said, “One of the great strengths of traditional medicine is the understanding of the intimate links between the health of humans and our environment. That’s why WHO is committed to supporting countries to unlock the potential of traditional medicine, through the Global Traditional Medicine Centre in Jamnagar.”

Picture : TOI

Stressing that traditional medicine was “as old as humanity itself”, the WHO chief urged countries to examine how best to incorporate traditional and complementary medicine into their health systems through the Gujarat Declaration, the outcome document of the summit, which was adopted at the summit’s conclusion.

India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, in his address, highlighted the role of the Global centre of traditional medicine in Gujarat in leading the way towards a more prominent role of traditional medicine in mainstream healthcare.

“The pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries are both showing significant interest in traditional medicine and more than 170 countries around the world are utilizing it,” he said adding that the summit provides an ideal platform for international collaboration and the exchange of ideas to promote best practices in the sector.

An experiential Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) Exhibition Zone was the highlight of the summit. It featured an exhibition of traditional medicine systems from WHO’s six regions. The theme of the exhibition was ‘Ayush for Planetary Health and Well-being’. The Zone welcomed visitors with a display of medicinal plants including those used in Ayurveda.

The exhibition also had interactive kiosks, which allowed visitors to access comprehensive information about Ayush, including the location of all Ayush hospitals and a digital library with research papers related to the field. A virtual reality experience of Ayush Healthcare services was available, where visitors could engage in an immersive experience, featuring an AI-based Ayurveda Pulse diagnosis, body constitution analysis, and even a live Yoga demonstration.

For centuries, traditional and complementary medicine has been an integral resource for health in households and communities. It has been at the frontiers of medicine and science laying the foundation for conventional medical texts. Around 40% of pharmaceutical products today have a natural product basis, and landmark drugs derive from traditional medicine, including aspirin, artemisinin, and childhood cancer treatments.

New research, including on genomics and artificial intelligence are entering the field, and there are growing industries for herbal medicines, natural products, health, wellness and related travel. Currently, 170 Member States reported to WHO on the use of traditional medicine and have requested evidence and data to inform policies, standards and regulation for its safe, cost-effective and equitable use.

In response to this increased global interest and demand, WHO, with the support of the Government of India, established in March 2022 the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine as a knowledge hub with a mission to catalyse ancient wisdom and modern science for the health and well-being of people and the planet. The WHO Traditional Medicine Centre scales up WHO’s existing capacity in traditional medicine and supplements the core WHO functions of governance, norms and country support carried out across the six regional Offices and Headquarters.

The Centre focuses on partnership, evidence, data, biodiversity and innovation to optimize the contribution of traditional medicine to global health, universal health coverage, and sustainable development, and is also guided by respect for local heritages, resources and rights.

AAPI’s New Leadership with Dr. Anajana Samadder as President is Committed to Advancing AAPI’s Mission for a Brighter Future

“We are committed to your well-being and committed to advancing AAPI’s mission for a brighter future,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, the new President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) told AAPI delegates during her Inaugural Presidential Address on July 8th, 2023 in Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Anjana Samadder, the only 5th woman president of AAPI in its 41 years long history, will have a dynamic and diverse team comprising of Dr. Satheesh Kathula as the President-Elect; Dr. Amit Chakrabarty as the Vice President; Dr. Sumul Raval as the Secretary; Dr. Sreeni Ganagasani as the Treasurer; Dr. Lokesh Edara, as the Chair, Board of Trustees; and, Dr. Ravi Kolli will continue to guide AAPI as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.

“I’m very honored and consider myself fortunate to be bestowed with the responsibility of leading the over four-decades-old strong organization with the cooperation and collaboration of an excellent team of dedicated, hardworking, and loyal officers and executive committee members who are with me to take AAPI to newer heights,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, a Gastroenterology Specialist in Columbus, OH,  affiliated with Mount Carmel West and Mount Carmel East and a winner of the Gastrointestinal Surgery Excellence Award, said.

As the President, Dr. Samadder wants “to foster improved access to healthcare, promote diversity and inclusion, and amplify the collective voice of our community.” Her vision for AAPI is “to help build an ethically strong, morally straight, and fiscally responsible organization. It is also vitally important to bring much-needed diversity to keep AAPI thriving.”

Over the years, Dr. Samadder has shown great leadership qualities, which she proved during her tenure as the local chapter President (Central Ohio), Regional Director (Ohio and Michigan), and as the AAPI National Treasurer and Vice President. She has also served diligently in different capacities within AAPI including being the National Coordinator for AAPI Annual Convention, 2018 in Columbus.

Dr. Samadder promised that she is committed to “carry on the existing good work that has been started by our prior AAPI leaders. In addition, I would like to address healthcare practice issues facing our members both in private practice and in academia. I want to get AAPI represented in US National Health Care Committee by organizing strong lobbying efforts. I will be open to suggestions from members in order to make our organization one of the strongest ethnic organizations in the US.”

Dr. Lokesh Edara – Chair BOT

Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair of the AAPI Board of Trustees for the year, 2023-24, says, “As the BOT Chair, I will continue to work towards strengthening the goals and mission of AAPI and to help make AAPI a healthcare leader in the US and globally and work in the best interests of our Physicians and our community here in the US and serve our motherland, India. We will work together to promote our values of professionalism, collegiality, and excellence in patient care and enhance AAPI’s reputation as a premier professional organization offering educational programs and advocacy.”

 

Dr. Satheesh Kathula – President Elect

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, President-Elect of AAPI and a board-certified hematologist and oncologist from Dayton, Ohio, practicing Medicine for nearly two decades assures that, “I will sincerely work for the betterment of our beloved organization, AAPI.” Dr. Kathula, who graduated from Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India in 1992, is a clinical professor of medicine at Wright State University-Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Kathula is a Diplomate of American Board of Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Kathula plans to pursue Global Healthcare Leaders Program at Harvard University. He has authored several papers and articles in journals and is in the process of writing a book.

Dr. Kathula has been serving AAPI for the past 14 years in various capacities. He has served AAPI as the Regional Director, Board of Trustees, Treasurer, Secretary, and Vice President of AAPI. He has served as the President and founding member of the Association of Indian Physicians from Ohio; President, the Miami Valley Association of Physicians of Indian Origin; President, ATMGUSA; and has worked with the Ohio State Medical Association on various issues. He has been actively involved in community service locally, nationally, and internationally for the last two decades. He was awarded the “Man of the Year-2018, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

As the President-Elect, who is an integral part of the AAPI executive committee, board of trustees, and the governing body, Dr. Kathula says, he “will attend as many meetings as possible for the betterment of our beloved organization.” The President-Elect is also the chair of the Bylaws committee. Bylaws are extremely important for the proper functioning of any organization. “We plan to make some changes to the AAPI Bylaws this year, which are meaningful and necessary to improve AAPI. Also, I would like to work on election reforms. We want to make sure that members are not bombarded during election time with multiple messages, phone calls, etc.”

As the leader of AAPI, who will take charge of AAPI next year in July, Dr. Kathula says, “My goals for AAPI have been very clear. I want to focus on education, communication, and legislation, involving the younger generation. Increasing the membership, creating benefits for members, and making AAPI financially stronger is also one of my objectives. I will work hand in hand with Dr. Anjana Samadder, president of AAPI, the entire executive committee, and board of trustees, to make AAPI stronger and more viable.”

A recipient of several Community Service/Awards, Dr. Kathula wants to “Make AAPI a mainstream organization and work on issues affecting physicians including physician shortage, burnout, and credentialing, while leveraging the strength of 100,000 doctors at legislative level.” Another area, he wants to work is to “Encourage and engage next generation/young physicians in AAPI activities. While working closely with other physician organizations such as AMA.”

Dr. Amit Chakrabarty – Vice President

“Since my membership to AAPI In 1997, for more than two decades I have been a dedicated foot soldier for the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin,” says Dr. Amit Chakrabarty the current Vice President and a Consultant Urologist, Poplar Bluff Urology, Past Chairman of Urologic Clinics of North Alabama P.C., and the Director of Center for Continence and Female Pelvic Health.

Dr. Amit Chakrabarty has been a dedicated foot soldier for AAPI, working tirelessly for AAPI consistently without any partisanship or regionalism, regardless of any AAPI aspirations. Dr. Chakrabarty has been the President of two AAPI subchapters, namely Alabama Association of Physicians of Indian Origin 2012-2014 and Indian Medical Council of St Louis 2018-2020 reviving them from obscurity and inactivity to make them one the most vibrant chapters of AAPI.  Under his leadership, Alabama AAPI produced 13 out of the last 15 Regional directors and the St Louis Chapter hosted the most productive and successful AAPI governing body within 3 years of its revival from 10 years of inactivity. He also serves as the Chairman, Board of Trustees, of Huntsville India Association and was the President, the Indian Cultural Association of Birmingham, and led an Indian Delegation to Japan at the International Youth Year in 1985. He has been an active committee member of the AAPI Charitable Foundation from 2008 to 2011 that helps to run free clinics in India and USA.

Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, who was honored with the National AAPI Distinguished Service Award 2018 and the President’s Award for Services in 2019 by the Indian American Urological Society, says, “I consider myself to be a leader and shine in the fact that I can get people motivated.  I lead by example which motivates people.  I am fun-loving and have always striven to brush off any obstacles that come in the way.”

Dr. Chakrabarty heads a personal international philanthropic organization “ApShiNi,”  which launched the “Help India Breathe” that provided thousands of co- ventilators and facilitated home transfer of more than 1500 much-needed oxygen concentrators to the suffering public in India during the Covid epidemic. On the lighter side Dr Chakrabarty is a singer and performer and used his own nationally known Geetanjali music group to perform pro bono for fundraising events.  He is the Founder and organizer of the most popular events at AAPI Convention – “AAPI’s Got Talent” & “Mehfil.

As the Vice President, the multi-talented professional says, “I understand that AAPI needs experienced leadership from someone who has been in AAPI leadership for over two decades.  I know what works and what does not.  This is a major contribution that I can make this year in guiding the leadership to progress in the right direction efficiently and effectively.  Experience ….the difference.”

Dr. Chakrabarty says, he will continue his efforts collaboratively with the AAPI leadership in addressing Physician burnout and Green Card Backlog; Forming a strong and well-funded AAPI-Political Action Committee for lobbying and getting political clout; Partnering in world-wide healthcare education; Being a part of the decision making process of WHO and UN healthcare policies, especially those dealing with issues affecting South East Asia; and, Invest heavily in Medical Student/Residents and Young Physician (MSR/YPS) section of AAPI and give them leadership roles in mainstream AAPI to attract more interest in our young members towards their parent organization. Without them there will be no AAPI in 20 years.”

Dr. Chakrabarty believes in accountability and transparency. “We need to streamline the membership database especially because we are moving towards an online voting system.  We need to provide the membership with the desire to belong.  We need to encourage the young physicians to participate and lead AAPI.”

Dr. Sumul Raval — Sectretary

Dr. Sumul N. Raval, Secretary of AAPI is a board-certified neurologist and world authority on brain tumors and is among the very few neuro-oncologists in private practice in the US. The founder and director of the David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center at Monmouth Medical Center – New Jersey’s first and most comprehensive facility specializing in brain tumors, Dr. Raval completed his neuro-oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

In addition, Dr. Raval is a humanitarian. “I believe quality of life is just as important as battling the disease,” he says. He listens to patients with compassion and inspires them to think positively. Dr. Raval was presented with the GBM Heroes Award (Glioblastoma Multiforme) during the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology, recognizing him for dedicating his life to helping patients with GBM and their families. “This is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime honor,” says Dr. Raval, noting that global recognition is especially rare for a doctor at a community hospital.

Dr. Raval “is one of the few neuro-oncologists who brings world-class care to families in their own backyard,” notes CURE, a renowned cancer magazine with nearly 1 million readers.

In addition, Dr. Raval is a staff Neuro-Oncologist at Jersey Shore University Medical Center since 2003 where he introduced the Neuro-Oncology field to Meridian Health. He also practices at Community Medical Center, where he serves as Secretory of the Medical Staff and Vice Chairman of the Department of Neurology.

A diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, he is president of Garden State Neurology & Neuro-Oncology, with offices located in West Long Branch and Toms River. He is immediate past president of Monmouth and Ocean Medical Society, Chapter of Medical Society of New Jersey. He was chosen by peers in new jersey for 10 years in row as Jersey Choice Top Doctors from 2013 to 2022. He also appeared on Cover page of New Jersey Monthly magazine in 2015. In 2008 he was awarded as 10th Annual Francis Black Humanitarian of the Year Award in Healthcare. He received numerous more awards over the years.

“I am committed to building upon their achievements and leading AAPI with integrity, transparency, and innovation,” says Dr. Raval. “As a physician of Indian origin, I am immensely proud of the rich heritage and legacy that we bring to the field of medicine in the United States. Our community has made remarkable contributions to the healthcare landscape, and AAPI has played a pivotal role in fostering professional growth, cultural exchange, and philanthropic endeavors. Together, we have made a positive impact on patient care and healthcare policy in America, and I am honored to continue this legacy as Secretary.”

During his term as Secretary, Dr. Raval pledges “to work tirelessly to advance the mission and vision of AAPI. I will focus on promoting diversity and inclusion in healthcare, advocating for the needs of our members, and fostering collaboration. I will also prioritize mentorship and professional development opportunities for our members, and strive to enhance our outreach to underserved communities.”

Dr. Sreeni R. Gangasani — Treausrer

Dr. Sreeni R. Gangasani, who has assumed charge as the Treasurer of AAPI is a Cardiologist in Lawrenceville, Georgia with board certifications in Cardiovascular disease, Echocardiography, Nuclear Cardiology, Heart failure, and transplantation.  He graduated with Gold Medals from Kurnool Medical College of University of Health Sciences.

A past president of the Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) and a past board of trustee member and the Vice Chair of AAPI BOT, Dr. Gangasani is a founding partner of Cardiovascular Group based in metro Atlanta. He was a past chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Northside Gwinnett Hospital and is the current Director of GAPI Volunteer Clinic, AAPI CME Chair, and BOT of GAPI. He served as the Chair of AAPI Conventions in Atlanta in 2019 and 2021, and Chair of AAPI Global Health Summit, 2019-20 in Hyderabad, India.  He has been a member of the Georgia Composite Medical Board and has been elected as the Vice Chair for the year 2023-24.

As the Treasurer of AAPI, Dr. Gangasani says, “I bring a strong financial acumen, expertise in budgeting and financial planning, and a commitment to transparency and accountability. With my strategic mindset and collaborative approach, I will effectively manage finances, maximize resources, and contribute to the organization’s overall success.” Dr. Gangasani says, he will implement efficient financial systems and processes that streamline expense tracking and reporting. By striving to increase revenue through strategic initiatives and sponsorships, he promises to “ensure a robust financial foundation for the organization’s programs and initiatives. Additionally, I will focus on maximizing cost savings and investments to support the association’s mission and enhance member benefits.”

As the Treasurer, Dr. Gangasani assures that “I will ensure sound financial management, budgeting, and transparency. I aim to support the organization’s goals, promote financial stability, and maximize resources to empower the Indian physician community and enhance healthcare for all.” In addition, Dr. Gangasani wanst to work collaboratively “to increase membership engagement through targeted outreach and networking events, diversify revenue streams through corporate partnerships and new initiatives, enhance financial transparency and reporting through streamlined processes, and expand mentorship programs through strategic collaborations. By working together, we will empower our members and advance healthcare for all.”

About AAPI

The growing influence of physicians of Indian heritage is evident, as increasingly physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in healthcare, academic, research, and administrative positions across the nation. We the physicians of Indian origin are proud of our great achievements and contributions to our motherland, India, our adopted land, the US, and in a very significant way to the transformation of Indo-US relations.

Serving 1 in every 7 patients in the US, AAPI members care for millions of patients every day, while several of them have risen to hold high-flying jobs, shaping the policies and programs, and inventions that shape the landscape of healthcare in the US and around the world.

“Since its inception in 1982, AAPI has been at the forefront, representing a conglomeration of more than 125,000 practicing physicians in the United States, seeking to be the united voice for the physicians of Indian origin,” Dr. Anjana Samadder said. “We will continue the noble mission and strengthen our efforts to make AAPI reach greater heights. “ For more details about AAPI, please visit: www.appiusa,org

MIT Expert Calls For A Total Overhaul Of The U.S. Health Insurance System

Alexander Hamilton played a crucial role in the development of the world’s first national, mandatory health insurance policy. This historical 1798 plan, financed by taxpayers and approved by Congress, aimed to provide coverage for sick and disabled seamen. Hamilton’s vision for this policy was driven by his concern for the well-being of humanity.

Fast forward to modern times, and the United States has made numerous attempts to offer medical care to those in need who cannot afford it. While the efforts trace back to Hamilton’s initiative, they have evolved over the years, encompassing policies that mandate emergency-room care for all and extend insurance to individuals with specific serious illnesses.

Despite these endeavors, no policy has been able to fully address the healthcare needs of the entire U.S. population. Presently, around 30 million American citizens still lack health insurance. Even for those who are insured, the costs frequently surpass the benefits provided by the plans. This has resulted in a staggering $140 billion in unpaid medical debt, surpassing all other forms of personal debt combined, with a significant portion being incurred by people with health insurance.

Picture : LinkedIn

In light of these challenges, MIT Professor Amy Finkelstein, in collaboration with economist Liran Einav of Stanford University, advocates for a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. health insurance system in their new book titled “We’ve Got You Covered: Rebooting American Health Care,” published by Portfolio. The authors propose a two-layered approach, involving one layer of free and automatic health insurance for everyone, coupled with another layer of private insurance for those seeking additional healthcare amenities.

Finkelstein, renowned for her empirical studies on health insurance and healthcare, acknowledges that the U.S. has always had a commitment to providing care to the ill, and now it is imperative to do so effectively and efficiently. She emphasizes that the current health care system is far from ideal and calls for a transformation.

The existing health care landscape in the U.S. comprises patchwork programs that fail to comprehensively cover the population. Approximately 150 million Americans depend on private employer-provided insurance, leaving them vulnerable to losing coverage if they change jobs. Conversely, those reliant on public health insurance, such as Medicaid, face the risk of losing eligibility if their household income exceeds the poverty line. Consequently, about one in four Americans below the age of 65 will experience periods without insurance within the next two years.

Interestingly, a significant number of these individuals are eligible for free or heavily discounted coverage, but they remain unenrolled due to a lack of information and complex signup procedures. Even Medicare, the primary public insurance program for seniors, imposes out-of-pocket expenses without a cap, leading a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries to spend a quarter of their income on healthcare.

While some reforms have improved coverage for certain groups, such as the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which enabled 10 million previously uninsured Americans to gain coverage, they did not resolve the issues of insurance loss or inadequate coverage that often results in considerable medical debt.

The authors argue that the U.S. has attempted to address health coverage problems through a series of piecemeal policies. One such approach involved creating disease-specific care subsidies, starting with the extension of Medicare in 1972 to cover individuals with end-stage kidney disease. Subsequent programs were implemented to cover patients with tuberculosis, breast and cervical cancer, sickle cell anemia, ALS, HIV/AIDS, and Covid-19.

However, Finkelstein and Einav express skepticism towards this approach due to its fragmented nature, which inevitably leaves gaps in coverage. They propose a more straightforward solution: universal inclusion of everyone into the healthcare system, thus eliminating the need for separate laws for different illnesses.

“When you think about covering all the gaps, that’s what universal basic coverage is,” Finkelstein says.

Land of the free

According to “We’ve Got You Covered,” the current approach to health insurance in the United States is not set in stone. The origins of employer-provided health care only trace back to the 1950s. The authors argue that the continuous implementation of policies to ensure basic care for all, such as open emergency rooms and subsidies for severe diseases, reflects the nation’s underlying expectation of providing humane care when it is most needed.

Finkelstein, one of the authors, points out that the existence of various healthcare measures is due to a social norm or unwritten contract in the United States. This norm dictates that society does not allow people to die on the streets due to lack of medical resources. Thus, when individuals face dire medical situations without resources, there is a collective compulsion to help them. From this perspective, both the issues faced by the insured and the uninsured result from failures to uphold these societal commitments rather than a lack of such commitments.

To address these problems, Finkelstein and Einav propose a solution: free, basic healthcare for everyone, without the hassles of sign-ups or charges for essential care. Additionally, people would not lose their insurance when leaving their jobs, and surpassing the poverty line would not mean losing public insurance coverage.

Under their proposal, there would still be a layer of private health insurance available for those who desire additional amenities in their medical care, like private hospital rooms or elective services. Essentially, people could pay for upgrades if they choose to.

While this system would not achieve absolute equality in healthcare, Finkelstein believes it would be an improvement over the current situation. The key, in his view, is to ensure that everyone receives essential basic coverage.

The book suggests that the U.S. can indeed afford such a system of free, basic, and automatic-enrollment health care. Currently, the country spends 18 percent of its GDP on healthcare, with half going to public healthcare and the other half to private care. Interestingly, European countries that offer universal coverage spend approximately 9 percent of their GDP on public health systems. Therefore, the book argues that the U.S. is already paying for universal coverage, though it has not achieved it yet, and could implement it at a similar cost to these other countries.

“We’ve Got You Covered” also opposes modest co-pays, despite studies showing that they reduce doctor visits. The authors believe that such co-pays conflict with the idea of universal coverage, which aims to provide essential medical care without financial barriers.

Until the impossible becomes inevitable

However, even if the Finkelstein-Einav health insurance system is logical and reasonable, is there any possibility of it becoming a reality?

“One thing that makes me, if not optimistic, then at least not unduly pessimistic, is that this is an argument that will and does appeal to people across the political spectrum,” Finkelstein contends

The book highlights that although expanding health insurance is typically linked with progressive politicians, it also showcases several conservatives who, even in the 21st century, have advocated for universal coverage.

Although the immediate implementation of a free basic care system may not be imminent, Finkelstein and Einav propose in their book “We’ve Got You Covered” that they are following the advice of economist Milton Friedman. They aim to develop ideas and keep them publicly discussed until what seems politically impossible eventually becomes politically unavoidable.

Meanwhile, Finkelstein and Einav strongly advise individuals to give greater consideration to the implicit assumption in U.S. health care policy that we ought to assist everyone, driven by the same rationale that motivated Hamilton’s desire to aid seamen – namely, to safeguard them from destitution and suffering in their lives.

New Research Paints Richer Picture Of Physician Earnings

University of Chicago researchers, led by health economist Joshua Gottlieb, PhD, have embarked on a project to better understand the earnings of physicians in the top 1 percent of income earners. Although physicians are among the most common high-income occupation, accurately measuring their earnings has proven challenging.

The researchers sought to address this issue by creating a comprehensive dataset that links administrative data on physicians to tax records from 2005 to 2017. This dataset allows them to measure physician earnings and explore the impact of healthcare policies on their incomes, labor supply, and talent distribution.

“Combining the administrative registry of U.S. physicians with tax data, Medicare billing records, and survey responses, we find that physicians’ annual earnings average $350,000 and comprise 8.6 percent of national healthcare spending,” the authors wrote in their working paper.

In their working paper titled “Who Values Human Capitalists’ Human Capital? The Earnings and Labor Supply of U.S. Physicians,” the team presents key findings derived from the new dataset:

  1. On average, a physician’s annual earnings amount to $350,000, representing 8.6 percent of the nation’s healthcare spending. In 2017, the average physician earned $243,400 in wages and $350,000 in total individual income. The median total individual income was $265,000 per year. Notably, more than 25 percent of physicians earned over $425,000, and the top 1 percent earned more than $1.7 million.
  2. Physician earnings vary significantly across different specialties. Primary care physicians have the lowest average income at $201,200, while procedural specialists and surgeons are the highest earners, making on average 2.3 times more than primary care physicians.
  3. Age plays a role in the variation of physician earnings, accounting for 14 percent of the difference. Physicians typically earn around $60,000 on average during their late 20s while still in training. This increases to an average of more than $185,000 in their early 30s and approximately $425,000 at age 50.
  4. Gender disparities persist among physicians, with female physicians earning 30 percent less than their male counterparts. This pay gap has significant long-term implications, potentially resulting in $900,000 to $2.5 million less in career earnings for women, depending on their medical specialty.
  5. The geographic location significantly impacts physicians’ income, with 70 percent of the income disparity across areas being attributed to local market factors rather than the individual characteristics of the physicians.
  6. Physicians in parts of the Great Plains enjoy the highest incomes, contrary to the broader economy, where high incomes are typically concentrated on the coasts.

The researchers then delved into the effects of government policies on physician earnings, using income tax, Medicare billing, and specialty choice data. They focused on two types of insurance policy changes: changes in coverage and changes in payment rates.

WP

Their analysis revealed that short-term reimbursement changes led to 25 percent of marginal Medicare reimbursement dollars flowing into physician earnings. For permanent changes in demand resulting from the public insurance expansions under the Affordable Care Act, the authors observed a 6 percent pass-through of public spending to physician incomes.

Furthermore, the study found that higher earnings in a particular medical specialty attract physicians with higher test scores while displacing those with lower scores and less choice. For instance, a 5 percent increase in primary care earnings, while keeping the number of available slots and earnings of other specialties constant, led to a 4.8 percent increase in the probability of top-five medical school graduates entering primary care.

“The upshot is that government payment rules play a key role in valuing and allocating one of society’s most expensive assets: physicians’ human capital,” the researchers conclude. “Taken together, the results here suggest that policies subsidizing surgery will increase surgeons’ incomes and allocate more top talent to surgical specialties, improving surgery for a generation. Subsidizing primary care will instead increase these physicians’ incomes and

The University of Chicago’s research provides valuable insights into physician earnings and the factors influencing them. By linking administrative data with tax records, the researchers have shed light on the complexities of physician income determination and the impact of healthcare policies on this essential group of high-income earners. Understanding these dynamics can aid in formulating policies to better support healthcare professionals and optimize talent allocation within the medical field.

Half Of Adults Have Interest In Weight Loss Drugs

In a new poll released last week, 45 percent of adults expressed some degree of interest in taking a prescription medication for weight loss if it was shown to be “safe and effective.”

Among the 1,022 adults who took part in the KFF survey, 18 percent said they were “very interested” in taking a weight loss drug, and 27 percent said they were “somewhat interested.”

Picture : YouGov

The poll also found that 70 percent had heard of the new class of weight-loss drugs that include Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro. While Wegovy has been approved for weight loss, Ozempic and Mounjaro are indicated for treating diabetes, and a prescription of those drugs for losing weight would be considered off-label use.

Interest in these drugs has partly been driven by pop culture, with many public figures alleged to have used them for rapid weight loss. Tesla CEO Elon Musk openly credited Wegovy for his change in weight last year.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 1 in 3 U.S. adults are overweight and more than 2 out of 5 have obesity.

Ozempic and Wegovy are both semaglutide, which mimics a hormone secreted in the gut in response to food. This hormone, GLP-1, causes the body to produce more insulin and suppresses appetite.

These drugs are not without their risks or side effects, however, particularly when it comes to their use in losing weight. A study from 2022 found that stopping semaglutide injections resulted in some rebound weight gain.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists recently warned that patients should discontinue taking these weight-loss drugs before undergoing surgeries that require sedation due to reports of complications, including a delay in stomach emptying or “stomach paralysis.”

Stomach paralysis is a phenomenon that occurs when the muscles don’t function correctly, resulting in a delay in the stomach contents being emptied. This can in turn result in heartburn, acid reflux or malnutrition.

Just this week, a lawsuit was filed by a Louisiana woman against Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, who manufacture Ozempic and Mounjaro respectively, alleging the companies downplayed the risks in taking the medications.

GAPIO, Representing 1.6 Million Physicians, Holds 11th Mid-Year Conference In UK

The Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, GAPIO, held its 11th midyear conference  July 22-23, 2023 in collaboration with the British Association of Physicians of India Origin, BAPIO. The global meeting was inaugurated by the High Commissioner of India to the UK Vikram Doraiswamy.

He urged advocacy for inclusive and affordable healthcare and applauded the contributions of India to meet global shortfalls of healthcare personnel, a press release from GAPIO said.

Picture : Desi Talk

Several eminent speakers and delegates from the USA, India, the UK, Africa and Europe attended the two-day meetings. The lead participant from India included Dr Bipin Batra, Dr Arun Gupta, Dr N K Ganguly, Dr Anupam Sibal, Dr Shuchin Bajaj and Dr Girish Tyagi. The theme of conference was “Global Trends in Healthcare Sustainability.” Sessions were held on important topics like the Digital Revolution, Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare, Ageing and Longevity, Women’s health as central for sustainability and strengthening primary care globally.

Professor Dr Bipin Batra delivered the keynote speech on Artificial Intelligence in Medical Education, and Dr Girish Tyagi spoke on Risk Assessment in Healthcare. Dr Anupam Sibal and Dr Shuchin Bajaj highlighted emergence of India as “Vishwaguru” in healthcare and entrepreneurship for doctors respectively.

Dr Ramesh Mehta, CBE; President, BAPIO and Past President of GAPIO, noted that Indian doctors worldwide have contributed immensely to health and wellbeing. Dr Mehta was instrumental in establishing GAPIO with support of Indian Diaspora of physicians from USA and Australia. Dr Parag Singhal, CEO of BAPIO Training Academy presented the model of skilling Indian healthcare towards sustainability of the National Health Service workforce.

Dr Payal Mehta, GP from BAPIO, London, highlighted the importance of yoga and holistic well-being in sustainable health care.

The next annual conference of GAPIO is scheduled to be held on March 16-17, 2024 in Lucknow.

India Introduces Ayush Visa For Foreign Nationals Seeking Treatment

The introduction of the Ayush visa is in line with government’s aim to promote India as a medical tourism destination in the world

The Ministry of Home Affairs officially announced a new category of Ayush (AY) visa for foreign nationals seeking treatment under Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (Ayush) or Indian systems of medicine. The new visa category was announced by the Prime Minister at the Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit (GAIIS) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in April 2022.

According to a government statement, the introduction of the Ayush visa is part of the “Heal in India” initiative, which is aimed at promoting the country as a medical value travel destination. The Ministry of Ayush and the Ministry of Health and family welfare are working together to develop a one-stop “Heal in India” portal to promote the country as a medical tourism destination of the world.​

Picture : InsuranceDekho

Commenting on its significance, Union Minister of Ayush and Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, said, “The creation of a new category of Ayush (AY) visa for foreign nationals seeking treatment under Indian systems of medicine is a significant step. It will boost the medical value of travel in India. This initiative will strengthen our endeavour to accomplish PM Modi’s vision for making Indian traditional medicine a global phenomenon. I also want to compliment Amit Shah, Union Home Minister for his efforts in creating a special Ayush Visa category.”

A new chapter 11A – Ayush Visa has been incorporated after Chapter 11 – medical visa of the manual, which deals with treatment under the Indian systems of medicine accordingly necessary amendments have been made in various chapters of the Visa Manual, 2019, the release said.

The Ayush ministry has been working on many fronts to promote the Ayush system of treatment nationally and globally. Recently, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and the Ministry of Tourism, was signed to work together for the promotion of medical value travel in Ayurveda and other traditional systems of medicine.

Odisha State Launches “Lifesaver CPR” Program To Enhance Outcomes In Sudden Cardiac Arrests

History was remade in Odisha State, India, on August 1, 2023, when the Honorable Governor Professor Ganeshi Lal inaugurated the Second Mass Community Bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training event at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology Convention Center in Bhubaneswar.

The statewide life-saving project was the vision of the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Mr. Naveen Patnaik, who inaugurated the project in February 2023 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The program is guided by the Indo-US Resuscitation Expert from Chicago, Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, Honorary Advisor (CPR), Government of Odisha (Health & Family Welfare) and Adjunct Faculty, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

About 1100 participants, mostly students from Kalinga Institute, were trained in Hands-only CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in 8 hours of intense training by Indian Resuscitation Trainers, led by Dr. Maheswar Parvat, Coordinator of Gandhi Alumni American Heart Association Training Center, Hyderabad, Telangana, helped by the volunteers of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations, Odisha and AIIMS (Bhubaneswar).

Dr. Vemuri Murthy, in an exclusive post-training event interview, outlined the importance of preventive strategies to combat the number one global killer viz, Heart Disease, more prevalent among South Asians, including Indians and the Indian diaspora. He stressed the need to raise community awareness about preventive strategies such as a healthy diet with less fats and carbohydrates, exercise, control of diabetes and high blood pressure, weight reduction, and reducing stress with holistic approaches such as Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation.

In his team meeting with the Honorable President of India, Mrs. Draupadi Murmu, led by Mr. Krishna Kishore Jasthi at the Odisha Raj Bhavan (Bhubaneswar) on July 27, 2023, Dr. Murthy highlighted the importance of Community CPR programs to improve survivals in Sudden Cardiac Arrests. The Honorable President extended her full support to the CPR programs. She also pointed out the high prevalence of Tuberculosis among Odisha Tribals and the importance of Tuberculosis eradication programs.

Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, an Indo-US resuscitation expert, faculty member at the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, has been appointed by the Government of Odisha as the State “Advisor on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation” Projects. He is the first ever to be appointed by the Odisha State Government as the Health Advisor from the United States and will be involved with comprehensive Resuscitation- involved State projects.

Heart disease is a major Global Public Health problem. People of Indian Origin are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their Western counterparts and have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age.

Dr. Murthy hopes the Life Saver Initiative of the Odisha State will also be implemented soon in the rest of the States in India.

Tirlok Malik Hosts Happy Life Yoga Workshop For Indian American Seniors

Happy Life Yoga, founded by the renowned EMMY Nominated Filmmaker Tirlok Malik, brought waves of laughter and joy to the hearts of Indian American seniors at a simultaneous in-person and online event in Queens, New York. Hosted by India Home in Jamaica Estate, the event was jointly organized by the Indo-American Senior Citizen Center, GOPIO Manhattan, NY chapters, and  The Indian Panorama.

Happy Life Yoga, unlike traditional yoga, doesn’t require mats or physical movements. It is a unique blend of Indian philosophy, Ayurveda, and Yoga, focusing on internal movements of joy, laughter, and happiness through conscious laughter, affirmations, gratitude, forgiveness, and simple breathing techniques. The workshop specially catered to senior citizens, providing them with practical tips and techniques to live happier and healthier lives.

“The power of laughter and joy can transform lives, and Happy Life Yoga is the door that leads to a joyful life,” said Tirlok Malik, the driving force behind this holistic approach. “Through our workshops and events, we want to inspire inner transformation and create a community of individuals across all age groups embracing happiness and self-empowerment.”

The event witnessed a packed house filled with roaring laughter and positive energy, as Tirlok Malik shared his expertise and insights. Having previously conducted workshops for frontline workers, corporates, and global communities worldwide, the Happy Life Yoga team has been making a significant impact on people’s lives.

“We are delighted to see the overwhelming response and enthusiasm from the senior citizen community,” said Neha Lohia, the Director of Happiness for Happy Life Yoga. “The journey towards a happier life begins with self-discovery, and that’s exactly what Happy Life Yoga offers. It was such a joy to see the unstoppable laughter in the room.”

The event was graced by brand partners Get Zage, a specialized service for the elderly in NYC, represented by Claudine and Jack Harplen. Team members who are also filmmakers like John Pina, and Bohan Chen were also present at this event helping with the audience interaction, and filming. The media and news friends from various publications and TV stations were also present to witness Tirlok Malik live in action and to cover the event.

Mukund Mehta, President India Home ,Jagdish Patel President Indo -American Senior Cittizen Center of New York ,Pankaj parikh,Vice President Indo-American Citizen of New York ,Ashok Sheth Vice president -Finance Indo -American Senior Citizen Centterr of New york and Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi Executive Dirrector India Home , all said Tirlok Malik’s presntaion of Happyy Life Yoga was extraordinary since seniors overwhelming enjoyed it .The Happy Life yoga workshop was unique in many ways . There were burst of laughters along with many useful tips to stay healthy and Happier for Seniors.

Happy Life Yoga has big plans for the future, including workshops for kids, educational institutes, global and NRI communities, and diverse groups of people both physically in New York and worldwide through online sessions. Their upcoming book and updated website will further contribute to spreading laughter and happiness across the globe through thier meaningful and much needed work.

“We invite everyone to join us on this transformative journey,” said Tirlok Malik. “Embrace Happy Life Yoga, and discover the power of living life to the fullest, with joy, purpose, and fulfillment. Oh and you dont need a mat, the only thing that will move is your belly, jawline and your internal state of mind with tons of laughter, that is my promise.”

About Happy Life Yoga: Happy Life Yoga is a holistic and practical approach to living a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life. Led by the esteemed EMMY Nominated Filmmaker Tirlok Malik, the organization aims to spread joy, laughter, and happiness through a unique blend of Indian philosophy, Ayurveda, and Yoga. Happy Life Yoga offers interactive workshops, engaging lectures, and uplifting events, empowering individuals to embrace happiness, health, and inner transformation. For more information about Happy Life Yoga and upcoming events, please visit www.happylifeyoga.org.

Unveiling Yoga’s Transformative Power in a Post-Pandemic World

Like few other ancient practices, yoga has shaped the world’s consciousness. Over a quarter of adults in the United States say they can’t function because they are so stressed. As indicated by the World Wellbeing Association, normal mental issues, for example, uneasiness and melancholy expense the world economy US$ 1 trillion yearly. This International Yoga Day, as we mark the second year since a major pandemic, it is high time that we delve deeper into the benefits of yoga for our post-pandemic world, which is dealing with significant shifts in work, wellness, and personal lives.

This Yoga Day is special because Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in New York to celebrate it at the UN Headquarters this year, where he proposed the idea of a dedicated yoga day in 2014.

While Yoga has become well known with an expected 300 million specialists around the world, 34 million in US alone, the famous origination of yoga is many times restricted to ‘asanas’, the actual stances that structure only one of the eight appendages of yoga as per Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Although the asanas can provide a workout comparable to that of a gym session, comparing yoga to a gym routine would be like comparing a single wave to the ocean.

Pranayama, or breath mindfulness, is another basic appendage that remains closely connected with asanas is in many cases disregarded in Western practices. Breathing methods can pivot crippling medical problems and as per Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscience teacher in Stanford College, changing how you inhale can end pressure in its tracks. He referred to a specific form of pranayama as a “psychological sigh,” which involves taking a shorter inhalation followed by a longer exhalation.

Whether as basic as a mental murmur or as perplexing as the ‘Wim Hof Technique’, which assisted its namesake with enduring outrageous cold and procure a few notices in the Guinness Book, are characteristically attached to our profound and actual prosperity. Yoga stands out because of the harmony between Asana and Pranayama, which gives us a mindful synchronicity that goes far beyond the mat.

Yama and Niyama, the initial two appendages, lay the moral and moral foundation for a yogic way of life. They create a mutually respectful agreement with the outside world, which results in mental clarity, emotional equilibrium, and spiritual awakening. Strangely, the pandemic has pushed us towards these standards. We have reduced our ecological footprint by working from home and commuting less, which is in line with “Ahimsa,” or nonviolence toward our planet. The thoughtfulness time, then again, mirrors ‘Svadhyaya’ or self-study. For sure, the pandemic has pushed us to ponder our lives, rethinking our connections, and reevaluating our work-life reconciliation.

The fifth appendage, Pratyahara, urges us to separate from the computerized over-burden and reconnect with ourselves. Initial five appendages structure the Bahiranga (outer) yoga, which, when dominated, can assist us with taking advantage of inert human potential.

The last three appendages — Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi — address Antaranga yoga, the inner part of yoga that takes advantage of the force of the brain. Here, we track down the underlying foundations of care — an idea now far reaching in the West. Care Based Pressure Decrease (MBSR) procedures, broadly perceived for their adequacy in managing pressure and injury, can be followed back to the standards tracked down in these appendages of yoga.

So, what does this all mean for the world after the pandemic? The comprehensive form of yoga provides a path as we shift our focus to health, well-being, and meaningful living. This isn’t just about adaptability or stress help, yet an excursion of self-change that starts with self-restraint, prompting internal harmony, poise, and euphoria.

Dharana and Dhyana can get us in contact with our inward presence, true serenity and inward joy and those manifest remotely as us having ‘chief presence’, which is progressively pursued in our work places. Yoga’s standards of concentration and discipline have even been applied effectively by Indian young people in bringing home the Scripps Spelling Honey bee titles a large number of years because of training that they get from North South Establishment.

Presently, envision the potential if we somehow happened to expand the utilization of these standards to more extensive life difficulties and open doors. An increase in productivity, creativity, and focus as well as a decrease in stress levels and a greater comprehension and acceptance of oneself and others could result from an expanded yoga practice.

As we celebrate Global Yoga Day this year, it merits thinking about how yoga, in its complete structure, has such a huge amount to propose in rethinking our reality. Its range stretches out past the Indian diaspora, who, with their developing presence across worldwide influential positions, have a one of a kind chance to share this all encompassing comprehension of yoga.

The principles and practices of yoga can help leaders establish businesses and communities that are harmonious and sustainable as the focus of leadership shifts from profit as the single bottom line to a triple bottom line that incorporates social and environmental considerations.

Moreover, it’s interesting to take note of the amount of this old insight lines up with the goals of contemporary developments. For instance, the developing accentuation on psychological wellness tracks down a friend in the yoga sutras. The Yama and Niyama tenets are in line with the focus on sustainable living. Careful practices, when thought about other option, are currently at the very front of standard wellbeing discussions. Yoga’s timeless relevance is demonstrated and its role in shaping our collective future is demonstrated in this synergy.

Yoga provides us with a framework for transformation—an opportunity to redefine our relationship with ourselves, others, and the world as a whole—as we navigate the complexities of our post-pandemic reality. Every small step on the yoga path can result in significant inner shifts, whether through mastering a challenging pose or simply observing our breath.

The force of yoga lies not simply in that frame of mind to assist us with contacting our toes yet in aiding us reach inside and contact our actual selves. To draw in with yoga at this level means to set out on an excursion of persistent learning and development, one that can prepare us to explore existence with versatility, elegance, and serenity.

As we keep on investigating the profundities of yoga, we should make sure to praise its extravagance and variety. Whether you’re rehearsing Ashtanga yoga in a New York studio, pondering by the Ganges, or performing Pranayama in your family room, you’re adding to a worldwide embroidery of change.

Thus, on this Worldwide Yoga Day, we should imagine a future where the comprehension of yoga rises above past the asanas. How about we endeavor to embrace its more profound insight in our regular routines. All things considered, a definitive objective of yoga, as portrayed in the Yoga Sutras, is to in any case the vacillations of the brain. In the midst of the variances of our impacting world, that feeling of quietness may very well be the securing force we want.

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