I believe that medicine’s potential is much more than the version we see in the world today. A doctor should be an educator with the goal of bringing patients to a place of deeper understanding of who they are in the world. To me, medicine is ultimately about self-empowerment through self-knowledge and growth.
Are we at a tipping point? Are we on the brink of something?
Civil war, you say? WW3, maybe? Annihilation? Extinction? Destruction?
Umm… That’s not what I was thinking. (What’s wrong with you?)
Yes, we face challenges of epic proportions, but what if we are facing precisely what we need for our development? What if it’s not broken? Then, all we need to do is get in the game and be the small part of the solution that we are capable of being.
Start now with a little smile. In the face of it all. It’ll help.
Who says the future isn’t bright?
I was more thinking about a tipping point in medicine. (Ohhh!) Technological advances continue to pick up steam. The way we do things is shifting. Many of our current approaches will be obsolete sooner or later. Evidence that sooner is nearby is everywhere.
Needle-free vaccines, 3D printing of organs, and ultrasonic surgeries are a few headlines. One of the most interesting developments I’ve seen lately is centered around the voice as a diagnostic avenue:
“Scientists found that characteristics of patients’ voices – or as medicine labels them, vocal biomarkers — reveal a lot about their health; and help in detecting serious diseases and health risks. For example, an Israeli company, Beyond Verbal deals with emotion analytics and provides voice analysis software. It has announced that its algorithms were successful in helping to detect the presence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in a group of patients. Another initiative, Sonde Health Inc., a Boston-based company develops a voice-based technology platform for monitoring and diagnosing mental and physical medical conditions, but we expect a lot more solutions to come in the future.”
Then there’s the brain-computer interface and the body-technology interface as a whole.
“Digital tattoos or electronic tattoos on the skin for days or even weeks have become possible [as diagnostic and treatment platforms]. Some researchers use gold nanorods, others graphene or various polymers with rubber backing to apply the tattoo on the skin. In the future, other skin techniques such as henna, tanning, and makeup will also be tested.
“These flexible, waterproof materials impervious to stretching and twisting coupled with tiny electrodes are able to record and transmit information about the wearer to smartphones or other connected devices. They could allow healthcare experts to monitor and diagnose critical health conditions such as heart arrhythmia, heart activities of premature babies, sleep disorders, and brain activities noninvasively. Moreover, by tracking vital signs 24 hours a day, without the need for a charger, it is especially suited for following patients with high risks of stroke, for example. Although we are not there yet, there are certain promising solutions on the market.”
This past week saw some data emerge describing screening colonoscopies as a less robust intervention than we thought. They aren’t obsolete by any stretch, but this data points to the future. It’s a fair prediction that our screening procedures in general will be much different over this coming generation.
When you reach forward it’s nice to balance it with the timeless, the tried-and-true of our past. The past is precedent, as you know well.
The Basics: Exercise
You know exercise can help your mood, your heart, and your brain, right? The way you exercise matters, researchers find. Something called neuromotor exercise or dual-task training is shown to improve working memory by 20%!
Dual-task training is moving in line with what we did evolutionarily. It’s to exercise while engaging in certain brain activities. To move and think is key. Hunters and trackers of old were very active in spatial navigation, for example. Always observing and picking up clues from the environment. Also, a varied terrain that called for dynamic, complex muscle and joint movements is the prototype.
Children’s games align: like taking special attention to where the feet lie when walking: don’t step on the cracks (or your mother will have to see an orthopedic surgeon). Playgrounds which demand attention-focussed, varied movements are optimal brain development sites, as it turns out.
A few takeaways for us who have outgrown the playground:
Walk regularly, outdoors on varied terrain.
Alter your routes, even your motorized commutes.
Benefit from activities with multitasking: aerobics, tennis, soccer, or dancing.
Actually, just dance more and you’ll be much healthier
Exercise is another reminder that what causes adversity or discomfort is at the exact same time the source of our greatest growth, health, and ultimately joy. The story of nutrition is one and the same, where we build strength by challenging our organism with something foreign and overcoming it.
Lots of struggle, isn’t it? It’s the struggle for us to experience ourselves. To strive for mastery of our own domain is a good thing. A world full of people working hard in that direction is a different world.