Wednesday January 29, 2020

UN: Geneva Can Improve the Health of Citizens Using Digital Technology

Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people's health

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health, citizens, digital technology
FILE - A doctor uses a smartphone to take a photo of a child with facial deformity before surgery at the Vietnam Cuba hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its first guidelines on digital health intervention.

The U.N. agency said governments can improve the health of their citizens by using digital technology to make health systems more efficient and responsive to their patients. The United Nations said 51 percent of the world’s population has access to broadband internet service.

Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health.

health
Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health. Pixabay

She told VOA the technology enables people, even in the remotest settings, to leapfrog into the development of a more effective, inclusive health system. With the use of mobile phones, computers and laptops, she said it is possible to bypass the intervening stages many countries have had to go through.

“So, a health worker in Congo can directly start using a mobile phone if the government is able to provide one to the health worker and get away from filling 30 paper registers, which occupy about one-third of front-line health workers time,” she added.

New recommendations

The new guidelines include 10 recommendations on how governments can use digital technology for maximum impact on their health systems.

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The new guidelines include 10 recommendations on how governments can use digital technology for maximum impact on their health systems. Pixabay

A WHO scientist specializing in digital innovations and research, Garrett Mehl, said the recommendations deal with issues such as birth notification.

ALSO READ: Diabetes During Pregnancy Spikes up the Risk in Kids Later

“Knowing that a baby has been born is critical to knowing how to provide vaccinations; knowing that the mother needs different post-natal care visits,” he said. “But without knowing that there was a birth that has happened, it is difficult to trigger those events in the health system.”

The guidelines also address privacy concerns.They have recommendations for ensuring that sensitive data, such as issues of sexual and reproductive health, are protected and not put at risk. (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s how Consuming High Fibre Diet Leads to Bloating

People who consume high fibre diets may experience bloating

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high fibre diets bloating
People who eat high fibre diets are more likely to experience bloating if their high fibre diet is protein-rich. Pixabay

People who eat high fibre diets are more likely to experience bloating if their high fibre diet is protein-rich as compared to carbohydrate-rich, according to a new study.

For the study, published in the journal Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, the researchers from Johns Hopkins University analysed data from a clinical trial of high fibre diets.

“It’s possible that in this study, the protein-rich version of the diet caused more bloating because it caused more of a healthy shift in the composition of the microbiome,” said study co-senior author Noel Mueller from Johns Hopkins University in the US.

high fibre diets bloating
“It’s possible that in this study, the protein-rich version of the diet caused more bloating because it caused more of a healthy shift in the composition of the microbiome. Pixabay

“Notably, the protein in these diets was mostly from vegetable sources such as beans, legumes, and nuts,” Mueller added.

High-fibre diets are believed to cause bloating by boosting certain populations of healthful fibre-digesting gut bacteria species, which produce gas as a byproduct.

The findings thus also hint at a role for “macronutrients” such as carbs and proteins in modifying the gut bacteria population–the microbiome.

In the study, the researchers examined a dietary clinical trial that was conducted in 2003 and 2005 in Boston.

Known as the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial to Prevent Heart Disease (OmniHeart), it included 164 participants who had above-normal blood pressure.

They were assigned to three different diets over consecutive six-week periods separated by two-week “washout” intervals during which participants returned to regular eating habits.

high fibre diets bloating
High-fibre diets are believed to cause bloating by boosting certain populations of healthful fibre-digesting gut bacteria species, which produce gas as a byproduct. Pixabay

The diets were all considered high-fibre, low-sodium “DASH” diets, and had the same number of calories, but varied in their macronutrient emphases: a carbohydrate-rich version was, by calories, 58 per cent carbohydrate, 15 per cent protein, and 27 per cent fat; a plant-protein-rich version was 48 per cent carbs, 25 per cent protein, 27 per cent fat; and a fat-rich version was 48 per cent carbohydrate, 15 per cent protein, and 37 per cent fat.

The primary results of the OmniHeart trial, published in 2005, suggested that the plant-protein-rich and fat-rich diets were the most effective in reducing blood pressure and improving measures of blood cholesterol.

In their new analysis of this data, they examined how participants’ reports of bloating–which were among the secondary data collected in that trial–varied as participants ate the three OmniHeart diets.

A key finding was that the prevalence of bloating went from 18 per cent before the diets to 24, 33, and 30 per cent, respectively, on the carb-, protein-, and fat-rich diets–indicating that these high fibre diets did indeed appear to increase bloating.

Also Read- Eating Walnuts May Help Slow Cognitive Decline: Study

The researchers also analysed the relative changes among the diets, and linked the protein-rich diet to a significantly greater chance of bloating–roughly 40 percent greater–in comparison with the carb-rich diet.

The results suggest that substituting high quality carb calories, such as whole grain, for protein calories might reduce bloating for those on high fiber diets, making such diets more tolerable. (IANS)