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Will we have cured all diseases? Will hospital staff all be robots? It’s easy to come up with wild theories as to what the future of healthcare may look like. Whilst we cannot predict everything, recent social and scientific research alongside the latest technologies may be able to give us an idea of hospitals could look like in 50 years’ time. Here are a few speculations currently being made by today’s healthcare experts.

More ageing patients

The number of centenarians (people aged over 100 years) has risen dramatically in the last twenty years. This is largely down to our growing ability to treat acute conditions before they become chronic. 1 in 12 people are thought to be aged over 80 by the year 2039. This is a huge concern for the medical sector, as although we are managing to fight diseases at a quicker rate, the human body has not yet evolved to work effectively over the age of 80. And so, as a result, a large percentage of the population will need full time care. Will this be the job of hospitals and will new wards have to be opened specifically for the elderly? Or will this aging population require a new hospital of their own.

Different kinds of hospital

Not only will the aging population rise – the entire population is going to continue to boom. Hospital infrastructure will not only have trouble coping – hospitals in urban areas may physically reach a point where they can no longer expand. One theory is that there will become a greater number of different types of hospital. Specific hospitals will specialise in A&E, whilst ‘community hospitals’ will provide longer planned care. There may also be ‘local hospitals’ for short-stay treatments – the natural step up from GP referral. This could keep hospitals more organised and more efficient.

Digital changes

The digital transformation of healthcare is thought to be huge. One area that has been suggested is the incorporation of the Internet of Things onto (or into) our bodies. Initially those that are sick and eventually all of us may have monitors attached to our bodies that tell us when we are ill or require medical assistance. We will all be able to monitor out stats on our smartphones and then take action when required. This could help us to catch illnesses earlier in the bud, although it has also raised a number of dangers including causing health paranoia and potentially being a security threat (a hacker might be able to access your body monitors and your private health details could be held under ransom, with threats to release them online if you don’t pay).

Such technology will also give patients more power, which may have positives and negatives. Both doctors and patients will be able to prove their illness through raw data available to both of them. After treatments, patients may then be presented with the option for doctors to continue monitoring their stats afterwards. This could reduce the time patients are spent in hospital, as patients may no longer need to be kept in a bed to be monitored. It’s a moot point as to whether eventually we will all give our private health details over hospitals so that we are monitored 24/7. Instead of us deciding whether we need medical care, we could be prompted by the healthcare system before we even know ourselves. Would this be too intrusive? Or would we be willing to give up the responsibility of our own health to others?

Turning wards into pods

Modern hospitals are largely designed around the staff. Open wards allow doctors and nurses to monitor all the beds around them. However, such wards can have their weaknesses. They can be loud, they can spread illness quicker and they can make privacy of the patient more difficult. One solution may be to start giving every patient their own pod. This would create more of a sense of calm for the patient. Monitors in each room could allow staff to see who is most in need of help at all times – this could be viewed on a tablet carried by every doctor and nurse. Already some newer wards have started incorporating this design and it is thought that more will follow suit in the future.

AI surgery

Already, virtual reality is being used to practice complex operations. Previously, the only way surgeons could have ever got hands-on practice was through models or by scrubbing in for real. VR has allowed a realistic but safe way of surgeons to practice such procedures. Mistakes do not have real-life repercussions, allowing surgeons to keep practicing these complex operations so that when they do them for real, the success rate is higher.

VR is being greatly researched into in the medical field in order to replicate more complex and more realistic procedures. Meanwhile, some surgery is being entirely carried out by AI. It is thought that it will be a long time before robots will ever be able to complete all forms of surgery – with so many individual factors at play, some operations may always need some form of human interaction, if only to make complex decisions involving risks.

More superbugs

We may be on the cusp of defeating heart disease and cancer, but scientists believe it is unlikely we will ever cure all diseases. Superbugs such as MRSA have already proved resistant to antibiotics and a growing number of these are expected to develop. Defeating these will involve ongoing medical research – which will in turn require extra funds. Such medication will have to be privately paid for and could only be available to a rich few unless funds are able to be found from elsewhere that make this medication less expensive to supply.

Hospitals meanwhile will have to better designed to control infections. By this token, the idea of less open wards and more individual pods could prove a must.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Health

7 Secrets to Setting Realistic Goals this Summer

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Summer is a great time of year to get motivated. The sunny weather is often inspiration enough and helps you start to feel more positive about your goals. Even though you might be taking a break from your studies or work, or planning a relaxing vacation, you can use the time to reflect on your plans for the future. Learning how to set realistic goals is the first step towards achieving them. Why not spend a bit of time outdoors in the park with your day planner and get a head start this year? Here are seven tips to get you going.

Seek inspiration in new places

Setting goals is challenging if you’re not feeling inspired. Lucky for you, it’s the perfect time of year to embrace the outdoors and seek motivation and inspiration in new places. Traveling is one of the best ways to get inspired. Even if you’re not going abroad this year you can explore hidden gems near you. Try seeing your hometown through the eyes of a tourist or getting lost in areas of natural beauty. You’ll return feeling relaxed and rejuvenated and ready to take on any challenge.

Spend more time outdoors

Spend plenty of time outdoors this summer. Getting in touch with nature can be very motivating and there are several health benefits of being outdoors. It’ll help you gain a fresh perspective and improve your mood. You’ll also get physical exercise which will give you the energy boost you need. You could even try out a new outdoor hobby or sport this year. Enjoy a healthy dose of vitamin D and get yourself in a more positive mindset.

Practice meditation

Meditation involves many useful techniques to help you focus. In order to prioritize and set realistic goals, you need to clear your mind of cluttering thoughts and improve your concentration. If you’re new to meditation you could try listening to a guided meditation. This will teach you the necessary skills you need to practice meditation on your own. You can then do this anytime and anywhere, even outdoors. Here is a guided meditation for goal setting.

Set measurable goals

Now that you’ve got yourself in the right mindset to make a proper plan you can get focused. It’s important to set measurable goals, whether they’re related to your studies, work, or health and fitness. This will help you track your progress and stay motivated. You could try following the SMART goals model. This states that all goals should be measurable and time bound, not to mention specific and relevant to you at the moment. If your goal is to look for jobs, for example, set yourself a certain number of applications per week. Break your goals down into tasks and set a deadline for each.

Be mindful of your health

Be mindful of both your mental and physical health this summer. Stress can get in the way of setting goals and can have a negative effect on your overall well-being. If you are feeling stressed or anxious try to get the root of the problem. If it’s health related you could try speaking to a doctor online about any number of issues from mental to sexual health. You can even order an HIV test kit or other prescriptions. Be proactive about your health and this will give you the peace of mind you need to stay motivated.

Keep your brain active

Even though it’s summer vacation and the weather is nice, it’s important to keep your mind sharp. There are plenty of fun activities you can try even if you’re taking a break from work or studying. Find some interesting new reads or even learn a new skill. You could take on a creative craft or DIY project this summer. There are also fun things you can do with friends such as geocaching or an escape room that will help you boost your problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Get out of your comfort zone

Try something different this summer and get out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s learning a new skill or doing an activity you wouldn’t normally, this can be a great way to boost your self-esteem. Getting out of your comfort soon will help give you the confidence you need to motivate yourself to set and achieve the right goals. You could even try volunteering in the local community. This can be very rewarding and inspiring and will help you gain perspective. Find the activity that works best for you.

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Chronic Pain: How To Regain Control Over Your Life Naturally

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Chronic pain is estimated to affect over 50 million Americans and is becoming an even more popular condition. Due to our lifestyles, posture, exercise level, and diet, an increasing number of people have started to suffer from chronic pain. In some cases, pain can be minimal and only represent a minor inconvenience. However, in some other cases, chronic pain can take over your life and be so overwhelming that it might prevent you from enjoying even the easiest daily tasks. Depending on the cause behind it, chronic pain can develop from mild to severe. Therefore, while there is no definitive cure, chronic pain needs to be addressed. Here are five non-invasive ways to find chronic pain relief naturally. 

Understand the Underlying Causes

Firstly, it is crucial to understand what are the causes behind your chronic pain. You might have been the victim of an accident, or you might have reported injuries that haven’t healed. Alternatively, an inactive lifestyle and bad posture can also lead to lower back, sciatica, and leg pain. 

In some cases, some chronic diseases such as cancer and arthritis might be the cause behind the pain. Before trying to find a solution for your pain, it is crucial to understand what is the underlying cause. This will help you avoid unnecessary painkillers and move towards a longer-lasting solution.  

Use Meditation and Breathing Techniques

One of the main factors that can worsen your chronic pain is stress. Indeed, stress causes damage to cells and leads to increased free radicals. In turn, these can worsen inflammation and prevent your body from healing. 

Breathing techniques and meditation are mindfulness practices that allow you to focus on your breath, repeat a mantra, or focus your attention inward. This can allow you to avoid additional stress and reduce inflammation.

Aim To Move Your Body Regularly

Regular exercise is essential to allow your body to release endorphins – the happiness hormone! These compounds are the ones responsible for the famous “runner’s high” and act as mood regulators. In turn, this can reduce stress levels and allow you to feel more balanced. Exercise is also essential to help you get rid of any extra weight you might be carrying. By doing so, you can lighten up your body, which takes pressure away from your muscles, joints, and bones. And of course, it can help you reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease. 

Consider a Plant-Based Lifestyle

Studies have proven that whole grain, plant-based lifestyle can reduce fatigue and chronic pain. Indeed, fruits and vegetables are famously filled with the antioxidants your body needs to reduce inflammation and the damaging effects of free radicals. Speaking to your nutritionist allows you to get started in the right way. 

Try Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been seen to help with certain kinds of chronic pain. If you are affected by severe chronic pain which is impacting your life, or you have an underlying condition such as arthritis or cancer, you might be able to obtain a medical marijuana card. You can learn all about Harvest House of Cannabis and how to apply for a medical card here. 

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Unconventional Ways to Boost Your Health

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With health tips and diets around every corner, it can be hard to know what the best course is going to be for your body. Between fad diets and finding the best workout gear, it can be overwhelming. Finding the specific rhythm to support what your body needs is going to be a lifelong journey, but there are things that you can do to get off to a good start.

Establish a Baseline

In order to know what specific health goals you need to have, you first need to establish a baseline. It is important to start with the basics and make sure that you are making generally healthy choices before you can start getting more specific.

Even though each person is different and will require different health goals, there are some things that are in common across all bodies. You need to be getting enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can mess with your health in surprising ways. You also need to be drinking enough water each day. Most people are not drinking enough water. Being dehydrated can cause you to overeat and to be fatigued during the day. You may be surprised to see how just changing your sleep and water intake patterns can give you an extra boost.

You should also make healthy eating choices and try to get some exercise. If you are just starting on your wellness journey, then you should take small steps. If you try to take on too much at once, you will likely not be able to sustain the change.

You can start by adding more vegetables to your meals instead of trying to change what you eat. Even if you continue to eat like normal, but add in more vegetables, you will eventually be able to change your diet more drastically. You can also try switching to only drinking water instead of any other kind of beverage with your meals. This will also help with your water intake.

For exercise, you don’t have to go running, even though that is probably what pops into your head first. You can start by just doing stretches before bed or going for a walk during your lunch break. Start where you are and then build on that.

Talk to Your Doctor

You should make sure that you go to your regular checkups with your doctor. If you have concerns about specific health issues, then discuss them with your doctor. If you are looking for advice in general, you can ask what their biggest concerns are and where your focus should be for improvements. They have insights into your health that can help you on your path to wellness.

Environment Changes

There may be changes you need to make to your environment in order to be functioning at one hundred percent. You should have your home tested for toxins and hazardous gases to make sure that you are not breathing in anything that may be harmful to you. You may also want to be asking questions like, What is the Safe Distance From Wifi Router? Or, does my electrical wiring need to be updated. Making these changes can improve your health if there is something happening that shouldn’t be happening. You may be surprised to find out how your health can change when these silent issues get resolved.

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