Yale New Haven Health Appoints Katherine Heilpern as President Amidst Leadership Transition and Ongoing Developments

Amid its efforts to acquire three hospitals from Prospect medical and recent criticism over closing a daycare facility, Yale New Haven Health system declared Katherine Heilpern as the new president of Yale New Haven Hospital last week. Heilpern, formerly the chief operating officer of the Weill Cornell Division at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and chair of the emergency medicine department at Emory University School of Medicine, is set to assume her new role on March 11. Concurrently, Pamela Sutton-Wallace SPH ’97, previously the interim president of YNHH, will ascend to lead the entire system.

Heilpern, expressing her perspective, stated, “I’ve had leadership positions that have served on both sides of the academic healthcare coin… [which] gives me the opportunity to really understand life at the frontline, and the care that’s being delivered by the providers and how it feels on the side of patients and families.”

Arjun Venkatesh, the chair of emergency medicine, sees Heilpern’s appointment as a significant shift in YNHH’s leadership, especially since she will be one of the few women heading a hospital of its size, which is among the largest in the United States.

Regarding the ongoing developments, Heilpern mentioned that she is unaware of the controversy surrounding daycare closures and views the acquisitions as beyond her current role.

Despite concerns about the expansion, several YNHH officers express confidence in Heilpern and her ability to lead. Venkatesh believes her background as an emergency physician will provide a valuable perspective, emphasizing the importance of clinical experience in hospital leadership.

Alan Friedman, the chief medical officer, believes Heilpern’s clinical acumen will enhance patient care, emphasizing the need for high-quality, safe care. Venkatesh further highlights that Heilpern’s experience may help address overcrowding issues and other systemic challenges.

In an interview, Heilpern outlined her goal of delivering more accessible care and developing an efficient care continuum. She also aims to foster collaboration between various schools within the system to ensure quality care delivery.

With over 5000 medical personnel and nearly 15,000 staff members, Yale New Haven Hospital remains a significant healthcare institution amidst these changes.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

AAPI Holds Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness CME

“Lifestyle medicine is the simplest yet most powerful approach to true health and healing,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) while setting the context for the Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness Webinar organized on November 19th, 2022. “We understand that well-being is more than the absence of disease. It’s our hope that by attending this very important webinar today, we all will experience the transformative power of using everyday choices and habits to achieve peak performance and well-being.”

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, AAPI’s CME Chair, while welcoming the nearly 200 AAPI members who attended the webinar, introduced Dr. Koushik Reddy, who is passionate and deeply committed to the idea of health promotion and disease prevention, using lifestyle and nutrition-related tools, and, Dr. Param Dedhia, a dedicated internal and integrative medicine practitioner, who is a board-certified Integrative Medicine Physician, Internal Medicine Doctor, Obesity Medicine Expert, and Sleep Medicine Specialist, who led the discussions today on Lifestyle Medicine and Wellness.

“I Have a Carrot and a Stent, You Pick!,” Dr. Koushik R. Reddy, director of interventional cardiology at the James A Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, FL, challenged a record over 200 Physicians who had joined the webinar on weekend morning.  Dr. Kaushik Reddy emphasized the importance of a fundamental diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle approaches in the primordial and primary prevention of many NCDs that can easily be prevented through simple day-to-day choices.

Dr. Koushik Reddy argued that our healthcare system is really a disease management system, but we still have some agency. He shared with AAPI members several pillars he believes will help each of us have a happy, long healthy life. In his address, he said, he is deeply committed to the idea of health promotion and disease prevention, using lifestyle and nutrition-related tools. It is with this passion and commitment, he boldly challenges his patients with – “I have a carrot and a stent, you pick!”

Picture : TheUNN

Dr. Reddy said Lifestyle medicine-certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, whole-person, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse such conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine—a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connections—also provides effective prevention for these conditions. Dr. Reddy discussed the flaws and opportunities inherent in our healthcare system as it relates to heart health. He spoke about the power of plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine, and how he incorporates those principles into his current practice.

Both the quality of life and the quantity of life, are inseparable components of a Good Lifestyle, he said. Pointing to how in 1920, the life expectancy was 42, and in 202o, it has nearly doubled to 78. While the quantity of life has increased tremendously, the quality of life has suffered greatly. “While we are living longer, we are also dying longer due to illnesses.”  Dr. Reddy pointed out that the United States is not among the healthy nations of the world because “We are failing the system.” In his efforts to spread the message, he said, “I am happy to work with AAPI and help spread the message of Lifestyle Medicine beyond AAPI and to back home in India.”

Dr. Reddy, after practicing interventional cardiology for ten years, changed his focus towards cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention, using lifestyle and nutrition-based strategies. He is a member of the American College of Cardiology’s working group on nutrition and lifestyle and is board certified in Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, and Lifestyle Medicine. He is closely involved with the department of Whole Health at the Tampa VA hospital. Working in partnership with the local Whole Health leadership, he established two preventive cardiology clinics. “HEAL – Healthy Eating and Living – Introductory Program. CALM – Comprehensive Approach to Lifestyle Medicine – 6 weeks of the multidisciplinary program.”

In his insightful address on “Sleep, The Master Lever Of Health,” Dr. Param Dedhia, who had his education at Johns Hopkins University and Canyon Ranch, which allowed him to bridge eastern and western philosophies, and connect traditional wisdom to modern science, is the Founder & Medical Director of Moveo Health, a personalized health program focused on longevity, shared at length some valuable lessons and words of wisdom on the importance of staying curious and honoring our health.

Referring to Sleep Medicine in the United States as only 40 years old, Dr. Dedhia stressed the importance of sleep in our daily lives and said, “Sleep is about restoring.” He said, “Sleep evolves through adulthood. So, we must evolve our lifestyles to promote sleep. According to him, “Most adults need 7-9 hours” of sleep daily. In his address, he pointed to the function & promise of sleep, which Restores, and Cools the brain and body. It helps regulate ion channels and optimizes physiological growth. Sleep is Anti-Inflammatory, as it helps reduce inflammatory markers. Sleep improves one’s mood, by soothing emotions & mental fatigue.
Sleep is “Actively cardio-protective and Enhances neuro-plasticity.” Another important function of Sleep is to help “Improve memory formation & consolidation.” Sleep “connects us physically, mentally & emotionally” and helps us “Replete energy stores.”

Dr. Dedhia, who continues to pursue his passion and be an advocate for people to live their best lives, quoting scientific studies and evidence-based research, Dr. Dedhia said, “Rx for optimal sleep & health are: (1) Quantity and (2) Quality, which are determined by ‘Daytime Lifestyle’ and ‘Nighttime Sleep,’ by creating ‘Night Time Rituals’ that last a lifetime.”

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, AAPI CME Chair, said, with the rapidly worsening trends in Chronic Lifestyle Related Non-communicable diseases across the world stemming from modern food and diet practices, inadequate physical activity, poor sleep, worsening stress, poor social relationships, and risky substances abuse – healthcare systems across the world are now inundated with premature and preventable mortality and morbidity from these NCDs. In this context, “Today’s webinar is filled with inspiring and informative talks and presentations by two great speakers that shed the light on the importance of lifestyle interventions as the primary mode of prevention.

In his vote of thanks, Dr, Pankaj Vu, Director of Lifestyle Medicine at Kaiser Permanente, while expressing gratitude to the internationally renowned speakers for their inspiring discussions on Lifestyle Medicine and for AAPI members for being part of this important session said, said, “In support of physician well-being and self-care, such sessions are being offered to the AAPI members, families and friends.”

In his remarks, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, while referring to the importance of the Webinar, said, “It is well established that evidence-based clinical nutrition and lifestyle practices play a pivotal role in the prevention, treatment, and potential reversal of various common chronic diseases. However, this area of science is underappreciated at all levels of medical education and training. Most medical schools and residency programs do not offer any organized training in nutrition and lifestyle medicine. Given recent data on the rising cost and loss of quality of life secondary to preventable causes, there is an absolute need for a drastic reform of the US medical education system.” Fort more details on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Kids Ages 5-11 Are Now Eligible For Covid Vaccine

An FDA panel of independent advisers to the Food and Drug Administration is recommending that the agency issue an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 years old. The panel voted unanimously to recommend emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s Covid-19 on Tuesday, October 26th.

The FDA panel accepted Pfizer’s data indicating the vaccine is safe and 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in this age group. Members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee agreed the benefits of vaccinating younger children appeared to outweigh the risks, but some members appeared troubled about voting to vaccinate a large population of younger children based on studies of a few thousand.

“It is reassuring to me that we are giving a lower dose,” said Dr. Paul Offit, who directs the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Pfizer has cut its vaccine to one-third of the adult dose for the children under 12 and said clinical trials showed this lower dose protected children well against symptomatic infection. The hope is it will cause fewer side-effects. Accordingly, a dose of Pfizer for young children will contain one-third the amount of active ingredient compared to the adult dose. Children would receive a second dose 21 days or more after their first shot.

Children 5-11 years of age have accounted for approximately 9% of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. overall, and currently account for approximately 40% of all pediatric COVID-19 cases, says Dr. Doran Fink, clinical deputy director of the division of vaccines and related products for the FDA. Currently, the case rate among children ages 5 to 11 is “near the highest” of any age group, he says.

The committee’s recommendation comes as more than 1.9 million cases have been reported among children ages 5-11, with approximately 8,300 children hospitalized to date, according to the CDC. About one-third of these hospitalized children required treatment in the ICU. The rate of hospitalization is three times higher among children of color than among white children.

Unvaccinated children with COVID-19 can develop a serious complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C, as well as an inflammation of the heart muscle called myocarditis.

Myocarditis occurs naturally after infections with other viruses and it has also been seen as a rare side effect after vaccination with the two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, especially in young men. Myocarditis was a focus of the scientific presentations and discussion on the possible risks of the vaccine if authorized for young children.

Overall, the incidence of serious adverse events reported in Pfizer’s studies was less than 2 in 1,000, Ball said, and all were found to be unrelated to the vaccine. Less serious side effects occurred more often, including swollen lymph nodes in a few children and symptoms like pain at the injection site, fatigue and headache, she said.

Capt. Amanda Cohn, a physician and medical officer with the CDC and also a voting member of the FDA committee, said that the number of children in the Pfizer studies is similar to the number that has been used to approve other childhood vaccines. “I don’t want to minimize the risk,” Cohn told the committee during a debate over the vote. “At this moment, based on the totality of the evidence, the benefits do outweigh the risk,” she said.

The agency typically goes along with the advice of its expert panels, though it isn’t bound to do so. It will issue a decision within the next several days. If the FDA authorizes the vaccine for these younger children, as seems likely, another panel of experts advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would make its own recommendations and offer guidelines next week on its use among this age group.

The vaccine provides a broad defense against COVID-19 and “effectively neutralized the delta variant” in young kids, said Dr. William Gruber, senior vice president of vaccine clinical research and development at Pfizer, speaking during the committee hearing.

Gruber said the dose size was chosen to “strike the right balance” between providing strong immunity and limiting side effects. He said that the observed adverse effects seen in the company’s studies “did not suggest any safety concerns.” An FDA review supported that conclusion.

The FDA will now take the committee’s vote under consideration and is likely to extend EUA to the vaccine for younger children in the coming days. Then vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet next week, November 2-3, to discuss the decision and decide whether to recommend that US kids get the vaccine. The final word will lie with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and vaccination could begin next week if she gives the go-ahead.

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