New Information on Health Trends

Global research from Euromonitor International.

Earlier this year, we reported on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It was a United States study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). 

Now, we look at new information on health trends from Euromonitor International.

Digestive Health

Click here for the full article.

“Digestive health is one of consumers’ top health concerns. According to Euromonitor International, foods with digestive health as their prime positioning accrued sales of $70.5 billion in 2018 globally, making it the second-largest positioning platform behind general wellbeing.”

“The free-from movement is strongly related to digestive health. As the number of allergies and intolerances to gluten, dairy and lactose rise globally, consumers looking for relief from chronic digestive complaints are fueling the boom in free-from products. There is also a growing perception of gluten, lactose and dairy-free products as healthier, more natural and easier to digest, expanding the consumer base beyond those who are intolerant and allergic to the masses with further growth expected over the coming years.”

New Information on Health Trends

Vitamins and Supplements 

Click here for the full article.

“Constantly changing health trends and large amounts of easily available information on health and nutrition is blurring the lines of what types of products consumers are using to maintain their health. For example, consumers who previously relied on traditional beauty products to maintain their appearance are now looking at vitamins and supplements to enhance their appearance as part of their overall well-being.”

“As consumers are shifting focus to a more holistic approach to healthcare, brands and companies need to ensure that they are looking at their products and services with the same view. Therefore, it is important that brands and companies look beyond their immediate competitors and product categories as disruption within health and nutrition industries continues.”

New Information on Health Trends
Source: Euromonitor International’s 2019 Health and Nutrition Survey

 

How Effective Are Sleep Trackers?

Their accuracy is questioned.

I am one of tens of millions of people who wear fitness trackers. Last year, we wrote about wearables and health care.  For me, monitoring the quality of my sleep in a key reason why I wear it. But, in reality, how effective are sleep trackers? Not very, it seems.

Last month, Brian X. Chen wrote an article for  the NY Times entitled The Sad Truth About Sleep-Tracking Devices and Apps.” Here’s what he concluded:

“I wore an Apple Watch, since it is one of the most popular health-tracking devices. I also downloaded a top-rated app called AutoSleep, which uses the Apple Watch’s sensors to follow my movements and determine when I fell asleep and woke up. (The Apple Watch lacks a built-in sleep tracker.) Here’s what AutoSleep gathered on my sleep habits.”

How Effective Are Sleep Trackers?

“But the excitement ended there. Ultimately, the technology did not help me sleep more. It didn’t reveal anything that I didn’t already know, which is that I average about five and a half hours of slumber a night. And the data did not help me answer what I should do about my particular sleep problems. In fact, I’ve felt grumpier since I started these tests.”

“That mirrored conclusions of a recent study from Rush University Medical College and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Researchers noticed patients complaining about sleep data collected by apps and devices from Nike, Apple, Fitbit and others. In their study, they warned that sleep-tracking tech could provide inaccurate data and worsen insomnia by making people obsessed with achieving perfect slumber, a condition they called orthosomnia. It was one of the latest pieces of research supporting the idea that health apps don’t necessarily make people healthier.”

Click the image below to read more from Chen. Happy sleeping. 🙂

How Effective Are Sleep Trackers?
Image by Glenn Harvey

 

Do We Really Want Patient Portals?

Do you use patient portals. If no, why not?

A patient portal is a secure Web site where people can see test results, health trends, and more about themselves. Due to HIPAA laws, online medical information must require a login. To protect privacy. 

I personally am a big fan of patient portals. They provide me with a lot of medical data and easy appointment setting. And I know it’s private. How about YOU, do you want and use patient portals?

According to recent research for the EY US NextWave Health Survey:

“In the past, health businesses built small bits of an experience to ease particular points of frustration. These point solutions, however, haven’t radically changed the consumer or physician experience, and aren’t highly utilized. Take patient portals  as an example. Patients say they want them, and many provider groups have built them. But the vast majority of people (about 70%) haven’t used them either to make an appointment or to pay a bill. Consumers want to be at the center of their care journey, supported by tools that help them manage their health and their relationship with providers. The point solutions of today clearly aren’t delivering that or improving patient engagement.”

Click the image for a larger view.

Do We Really Want Patient Portals?
 

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care

Fresh research to help us live longer.

Earlier this month, we posted about Be Careful with Supplements. Nonetheless, some supplements may be valuable in cancer care. One of them seems to be Vitamin D.

A recent study by researchers at Michigan State found that:

“Vitamin D, if taken for at least three years, could help cancer patients live longer, say researchers. New findings suggest that the vitamin carries significant benefits other than just contributing to healthy bones. A paper on the work was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.”

“‘Vitamin D had a significant effect on lowering the risk of death among those with cancer, but unfortunately it didn’t show any proof that it could protect against getting cancer,’ says Tarek Haykal, a lead author of the study and an internal medicine resident physician at Michigan State University and Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.”

“Researchers looked at data related to disease prevention from more than 79,000 patients in multiple studies that randomly compared the use of vitamin D to a placebo over at least a three-year period. Haykal and his team zeroed in on any information that involved cancer incidence and mortality. ‘The difference in the mortality rate between the vitamin D and placebo groups was statistically significant enough that it showed just how important it might be among the cancer population,’ Haykal says. While these findings show promise, Haykal cautions that the exact amount of the vitamin to take and what levels are needed in the blood are still unknown. He also says that it’s unclear how much longer vitamin D extends lifespan and why it has this result.”

Click on the image to read the full paper.

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care
 

Understanding Cognitive Aging

Further research on how we age.

Last week, we had a post on How Old Do YOU feel? “The study considered 92 diseases and conditions in 195 countries and territories.”

Let’s continue with that topic. In new research by Lee Ryan, et al., the authors discussed “Applying Precision Medicine to the Field of Cognitive Aging” in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience:

“The current ‘one size fits all’ approach to our cognitive aging population is not adequate to close the gap between cognitive health span and lifespan. In this review article, we present a novel model for understanding, preventing, and treating age-related cognitive impairment (ARCI) based on concepts borrowed from precision medicine. We will discuss how multiple risk factors can be classified into risk categories because of their interrelatedness in real life, the genetic variants that increase sensitivity to, or ameliorate, risk for ARCI, and the brain drivers or common mechanisms mediating brain aging. Rather than providing a definitive model of risk for ARCI and cognitive decline, the Precision Aging model is meant as a starting point to guide future research. To that end, after briefly discussing key risk categories, genetic risks, and brain drivers, we conclude with a discussion of steps that must be taken to move the field forward.”

Click the image to access the full article.

Understanding Cognitive Aging
 

How Old Do YOU feel?

To answer, think about the new age 65.

For me, this is really a two-part question. At age 70, I feel great both psychologically and mentally. I perceive myself as much younger than I am. On the other, how I feel physically is another story. The key for me is not to let my physical ailments overpower my psychological wellbeing. So, how old do YOU feel?

With the above in mind, consider the highlights of a very interesting article by Robert Roy Britt for Medium:

“By 2050, the percentage of the elderly is expected to double globally compared to today. As people live longer and an ever-higher percentage of the population is beyond their retirement years. This according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, conventional measures of longevity don’t reflect the quality of extended time on this Earth.”

“A new study looked at aging, health, and mortality by analyzing at what age people in a country actually feel like 65-year-olds, as defined by experiencing the health problems of the average 65-year old globally. The study considered 92 diseases and conditions in 195 countries and territories. The results are a window into both longevity and health status, revealing how well people age, or how poorly, the researchers report  in the journal Lancet Public Health.”

“The findings ‘show that increased life expectancy at older ages can either be an opportunity or a threat to the overall welfare of populations, depending on the aging-related health problems the population experiences regardless of chronological age.’ said Dr. Angela Y. Chang, lead author of the study from the Center for Health Trends and Forecasts at the University of Washington.”

In this study, the United States did not fare so well. For the top 10 countries cited in the chart below, people were all in their mid-70s before feeling 65. The U.S. ranked 54 at 68.5. Certainly, that is food for thought.

How Old Do YOU feel?
 

Do YOU Agree with This Scary Finding?

Does your appointment time matter?

Although doctors are human, like other service providers, we hope that they are always on top of their game. Especially when they see us!!! But new research offers some scary insights. Do YOU believe these insights?

As reported in an article in the JAMA Network Open, authored by Esther Y. HsiangShivan J. MehtaDylan S. Small; et al.:

Question: “Are breast and colorectal cancer screening rates associated with the time of day a patient visits the primary care clinician?”

Findings:  “In this quality improvement study analysis of 33 primary care practices including 19,254 patients eligible for breast cancer screening and 33, 468 patients eligible for colorectal cancer screening, both clinician ordering and patient completion of cancer screening tests decreased as the time of day progressed.”

Meaning:  Patients with primary care clinic appointment times later in the day were less likely to be ordered for and receive guideline recommended cancer screening.”

As summed up in a Futurity.org article on this study:

“Examining data from 2014 through 2016 across 33 Pennsylvania and New Jersey primary care practices, the researchers found that ordering rates had far-reaching effects.”

“Among eligible patients, primary care doctors ordered breast cancer screening more often for patients seen in the 8 A.M (64 percent) as compared to those with appointments at 5 P.M. (48 percent). Similarly, doctors ordered colon cancer screening tests more frequently for 8 A.M patients (37 percent) compared to those coming in later in the day (23 percent).

“When looking at the entire sample eligible for screenings at these practices, the researchers tracked whether the patients completed a screening within a year of their appointment. The data showed that the downward trend associated with the timing of the appointments carried over. Breast cancer screening — which included mammograms—stood at a 33 percent one-year completion rate for the entire eligible population who had their appointment in the 8 A.M. hour. But for those who had clinic visits at 5 P.M. or later, just 18 percent completed screenings. For colorectal cancer, 28 percent of the patients with appointments in the 8 A.M. hour completed screenings such as colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, and fecal occult blood tests. That number dropped to 18 percent for patients who saw the doctor at 5 P.M. or later”.

Click the image to read the full research article.

Do YOU Agree with This Scary Finding?