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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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Things that you need to consider before having a lumbar disk replacement surgery

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lumbar disk spinal chord

In the world are many people who have difficult or problem with their spine. For that reason, is very common to see people having a lumbar disk replacement surgery recovery, after having had an intervention in the operating room to improve their health conditions. This kind of surgery usually doesn’t represent a risk for patients, but sometimes is necessary to know aspects that need to be considered before having this surgery.

A surgery is needed?

Spine problems can generate pain and make people have an unhealthy posture. This makes necessary to solve any problem associated with it to have a great life condition and to avoid any risk associated with spine diseases. Unfortunately there are many people who, for one reason or another, need an intervention in the operating room, due to the wear on their spine

Is a solution to many spine problems that could be generating difficulties or pain to patients. Recovery from lumbar disc replacement surgery requires that the patient receive rehabilitation for a few months for optimal results. This surgery has a fast recovery and doesn’t represent any risk of having it. It is a way to ensure the recovery of the spine; even about 80% of people can return to sports.Therefore, it’s normal that professionals recommend it as the first way to cure any disease related to the spine.

Despite all this, there are some indications or information that people need to know before having a lumbar disk replacement surgery. This will make the patient be more confident about this surgery and will make them to pass all this process with no difficulty. 

Here you will find full information about some things that need to be present before having this type of surgery. This will be essential to have the best process and have a fast surgery recovery.

What kind of things are necessary to consider before having a lumbar disk replacement surgery?

The degeneration of the parts of the spine can cause many health problems that, in the long run, they can bring serious health diseases. Therefore, having a lumbar disk replacement will be beneficial to patients. Despite this, is recommended to consider some aspects before decide or not to have this type of surgery.

Some main aspects that you need to think about before having this type of surgeries, are:

  • Find the best center: it’s necessary to consider many spine centers that can do this surgery with no problem. Also, is recommended to compare all options to determine which will be the best for your needs. This will help you in the surgery recovery and to avoid any possible risk.
  • Collect any information about the surgery: it’s indispensable to collect all the information about this surgery. For example, any risk, costs, recovery plan and the knowing about if this replacement will fix any health problem or disease.
  • Determine the quality of the artificial lumbar disc: it’s necessary to know the quality of the object that will be used on the surgery. This will understand any possible risk using this artificial product and will let you know if is the best option at this moment.
  • Ask for not intrusive solutions: if you have any problem with the lumbar disk or the spine, it’s recommended to have a not intrusive treatment, instead of having a surgery or disk replacement. Therefore, try to only have surgery at the last option. 
  • Find a plan of recovery and prevention: have a lumbar disk replacement has its problems and risk. Therefore, always it’s recommended to follow some recommendations and plans to keep your spine healthy. All this can be determined by a professional in this area, which will give you the correct information and indications about the after surgery treatment. 
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Treatment of Bunions and Claw Toes

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Bunions have some obvious signs, such as a deviation of the big toe and a bony protuberance in the joint. Claw toes are the result of anatomical imbalances, which cause the deformity. Do you know what is the best treatment for bunions and claw toes? Keep on reading and take notes! 

Bunions and Claw toes Facts

When suffering with bunions it is common to have joint swelling and pain, caused by the deviation of the first toe towards the second toe, accompanying the bone prominence on the outside of the foot. Further deformities may also develop, such as hammer or claw toes. Bunions and claw toe deformities do not appear from one moment to another; the deformity develops gradually throughout life, although in some cases it can evolve fast.

Are bunions and claw toes common all over the world? No, because bunions occur almost exclusively in people who wear shoes. So it may be strange to find similar cases in populations that walk barefoot. 

The bunion deformity, or hallux valgus, can be classified in different ways. The Manchester scale is the most common one, it classifies bunions into four grades of deformity. Grade 1 is when the person does not have any deformity, grade 2 is a mild form, grade 3 corresponds to a moderated one, and grade 4 corresponds to the most severe form.  

Why does the deformity develop? The enlargement of this deformity is caused by a combination of factors. The most common one is the continuous friction and pressure of the shoe on the bone protrusion. Although, other factors can affect its growth, such as the foot type, abnormal shortening of the first metatarsal bone, trauma, hypermobility, inflammatory diseases and footwear with narrow toebox and heels. 

How to Deal With Bunions

Did you know bunions are also transmitted from one generation to the next? In some cases a generation is skipped. According to Coughlin & Jones (2007), up to 83% of patients who suffer hallux valgus have a family history. This alteration in the foot structure could be due to  the bone, soft tissue, or both. Which does not mean that all inherited alterations will develop bunions.

On one hand, women are seven-to-nine times more likely to suffer from bunions than men. It increases if they have a low body mass index and wear high heels habitually. On the other hand, men with flat feet and high body mass index are more likely to have them. 

Treating bunions is recommended because with time the deformity can affect the other toes, and unfortunately, they cannot be resolved or corrected without surgery. There are silicone separators which can align the big toe slightly, and orthotics which can be used to stabilize the joint of the first toe. But there is no way to fully correct the problem.

Minimal Invasive Surgery Technique 

The best way to correct bunions and claw toes is by performing minimal invasive surgery. This operation is accomplished by medical specialists and podiatrists with extensive experience in this field. 

The minimal invasive surgery technique has been used for about 40 years. These are some of its advantages:

  • Avoids complications that may arise from general anaesthetics.
  • Ambulatory surgery: this allows patients to come and leave walking unaided from the clinic.
  • Great long term results.
  • A faster recovery due to a minimal incision, which leaves little post-operative pain.
  • Better scar healing and low risk of infection.
  • No screws or implants are required.

Consult a foot specialist on time, such as Dr. I. San Román Sirvent or Dr. José Manuel San Román Pérez, who are specialists in minimal incision surgery at Clínica San Román. You will have a complete exam of the foot performed. X-rays will establish the degree of bunion deformity and other problems that may have developed.

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Cryotherapy, the hidden beauty secret of celebrities to burn 600 calories in 3 minutes

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exercise sports woman

Cold and ice have been used as a treatment for physical ailments for a long time. In ancient Greece, famous physicians like Hippocrates use ice for anesthetic purposes as to reduce inflammation.

Nowadays, is used as a fundamental therapeutic treatment of physical complaints such as sprains, dislocations, contractures, spams, pulled muscles and swollen tissues.

As well, to manage diverse pathologies symptoms as fibromyalgia, psoriasis, chronic pains, among others.

Cryotherapy benefits have gone way beyond of what we can imagine. Not only is a pain management treatment but has become a top model treatment of celebrities and supermodels.

Film stars, high performance athletes and celebrities like Tom Cruise, Jennifer Aniston, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kim Kardashian are a few example of the many followers of this therapy that recommend it in their social media by showing their experience after each session because of it multiple benefits

What is cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is the exposure of the skin surface of the body to very low temperatures (between -110ºC and -196ºC) by using a cryotherapy cabin which uses “vaporized” liquid nitrogen.

Because nitrogen has a very low temperature without applying extra cold, it can easily achieve the extreme temperature required for this treatment.

At a room temperature, liquid nitrogen can easily pass from a liquid state to a gaseous state. This is the reason of nitrogen use in this kind of treatments and this is why it is said that uses nitrogen “vaporized”.

When exposing the body to very low temperatures because of liquid nitrogen evaporation, the body responds at different levels involving the circulatory system, muscles and the neuroendocrine system. This happens because the brain receives a cold shock caused by a drastic reduction of body’s temperature. The hypothalamus releases series of substances in our body to combat an imminent hypothermia situation. Among these substances we can find dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, which increases blood flow, lipolysis and the production of free radicals catalytic enzymes, while reducing the production of inflammatory cytokines.

Cryotherapy benefits

One of the main benefit of cryotherapy -and the reason why it is so popular, is the burn of calories. The extreme cold application causes a decrease in body’s temperature, and to compensate this situation the body generates energy by burning localized fat deposits –such as the fat in the belly, therefore a loss of weight occurs togheter with a swelling in the lower abdomen. This same process works for all the body fat deposits. It also reduces, considerably, the annoying cellulite giving an appearance of youth to the body. Additionaly, cryotherapy builds up tissues tone and prevents flaccidity, allowing the body to remain firm and giving the skin a smoothly and healthy look.

Among other benefits, cryotherapy has been proven to be a non-invasive treatment helping to manage and alleviate symptoms of chronic skin diseases such as psoriasis, neurodermatitis, dermatitis, seborrheic complex syndrome, eczema, erythematosis and scleroderma. This due to the peripheral vasodilatation that occurs because of the decreasing in body’s temperature, carring a large amount of oxygen to the body and increasing the blood flow.

Experts explain that there are several and diverse cryotherapy benefits:

  • It helps fight migraine and insomnia.
  • It improves blood circulation and inhibits varicose veins.
  • It reduces inflammation, stress, anxiety and fatigue.
  • It accelerates metabolism generating a boost of energy.
  • It increases the caloric expenditure -between 500 and 800 kilocalories in the next few hours after a 3-minute session.

Finally, research show that cryotherapy helps in recovery processes and chronic pain issues, and it is also recommended for diseases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, or multiple sclerosis.

Is cryotherapy dangerous?

Like any other medical-aesthetic treatment, if handled properly there is no risk for our health and integrity.

Provided temperatures reached by liquid nitrogen are very low, it could cause burns when used incorrectly. This is why the skin is only exposed for a very short period of time on the skin -from 2 minutes to 4 minutes, and always in a controlled environment under medical supervision.

As a general rule, cryotherapy is a safe treatment for everybody. However there are exceptional cases where the use of cryotherapy is not recommended:

  • People with heart problems and serious health problems, because the sudden decrease in temperature could have a negative effect on the health of people suffering from heart problems.
  • People with little resistance to cold, as they would suffer excessively during the session due to the low threshold of pain towards the cold.
  • Pregnant women and children. This due to negative effects this treatment could have on fetus of a pregnant women and in children it is not advised because of they are still developing their bodies.
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