Tag Archives: Health

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More and better data for greater health

Data is the currency of today’s digital economy. Collected, analysed and moved across the globe, personal data has acquired enormous economic significance, with the value of European citizens’ personal data on track to reach €1 trillion per year by 2020. If we want to better understand, manage, and prevent chronic diseases, then more and better data is vital. In particular, policy makers need data to inform their healthcare decisions and initiatives. Read more [...]

Sweet tooth: countering one of our most lethal addictions

Sugar is one of the next targets of health policy makers in Europe. It features as one of the ingredients in the latest food reformulation roadmap, just published by the European Commission. This ingredient has crept up in European diets unprecedented levels. As a result it could have serious consequences for the heath of European citizens, reflected in the increase of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Today, sugar has become very political. And the debate rages on between those concerned for public health and those in favour of preserving consumer choice, avoiding nanny states interventions and protecting the food industry's market share. Read more [...]

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Diabetes prevention requires multiple concerted strategies

Diabetes is one of the largest global health emergencies of the 21st century. On a global scale, there are an estimated 415 million people aged 20-79 with diabetes. These include 193 million who are undiagnosed. A further 318 million adults with impaired glucose tolerance are also at high risk of developing the disease. In 2015 alone, diabetes and its related complications will have caused 5 million deathsand cost 12% of the global healthcare spend. How can we slow, stop, or reverse the diabetes epidemic? Read more [...]

June Andrews: policy support for dementia needs to be adequate

A better management of chronic illnesses such as dementia can be done by harnessing technological solutions. But this kind of innovative support cannot be used unless it respects the rights of people affected by the disease. In contrast, those close to dementia patients have a responsibility to adopt preventive steps to manage the disease. But this can only happen once governments implement adequate level of support. In this exclusive EuroScientist interview, June Andrews, director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling, in Scotland, UK, analyses the potential and the drawbacks of innovation for the 50 million people worldwide affected by this condition. Read more [...]

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Chronic diseases: citizens’ rights and responsibilities

Despite advances in our understanding of management and prevention, chronic diseases are still on the rise. By 2030, estimates point that an additional 52 million people will die from chronic diseases. Public healthcare systems are under strain, and their budgets are getting smaller. How can we reverse the chronic disease epidemic? First and foremost, citizens can help themselves. Some governments in Europe have already tried to encourage healthier lifestyle choices. Is promoting healthy lifestyles authoritarian? Or is a government that fails to do so guilty of neglect? Read more [...]

Chronic disease prevention using wearable technology: not that simple

Since the last decade, wearable technology moved from developers’ drawing boards to stores, with barely a whisper of disquiet about data privacy. Yet, the implications for data privacy should not be underestimated. There is growing interest in the potential of wearables to mitigate, treat or prevent chronic conditions which put a strain on health economies--ranging from chronic back pain or physical stress injuries to mental health issues like work-related stress. EuroScientist investigates how the latest regulatory framework could secure people's privacy as they strive to prevent chronic conditions through wearable technology. Read more [...]

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Innovation has a role to play in chronic diseases prevention

Thanks to advances in technology, the ubiquitous smartphone is not just a way to connect with friends. It also becomes a kind of “doctor in our pocket”. Health apps, wearable sensors and fitness trackers are all contributing towards ‘more and better data’ for monitoring everything from caloric intake to steps taken on a daily basis. If we want to better understand, manage, and prevent chronic diseases, then new technologies and innovations like these are vital. Read more [...]

Trans-fats: health time bomb by regulatory omission

Although several European countries, starting with Denmark, have started a battle against trans-fats in process food, the European Commission is dragging its feet to regulate on the matter. As food-related matters are about to take centre stage during Christmas and other end-of-the-year celebrations, EuroScientist looks at what is happening behind the scenes. As more and more stakeholders in the food sector are gradually signing up to reducing the use of partially hydrogenated plant oils in their products, the delays in taking regulatory action appear to be attributable to more than mere bureaucratic inertia. Read more [...]

From Mindful Nation to Mindful Europe

Mindfulness is credited with helping people undergo an inner transformation, which could help bring about change in the world. In an opinion piece, former British MP, Chris Ruane, talks about the recommendation of a new UK report, called Mindful Nation, to ensure that the mental health benefits of mindfulness can be brought to areas as diverse as education, health, criminal justice and the work place. He also shares his vision on how this practice could be extended at EU-wide level, with further adoption by MPs and MEPs across the political sprectrum. Read more [...]

Nerves of steel: carte blanche to Europe’s atmospheric polluters

In this investigative piece of pan-European journalism, EuroScientist focuses on a case study showing how an evidence-based approach could inform policies that are better suited to protect EU citizens. In this article, we focus on the case of the steel industry. It appears to have managed to render ineffective in protecting the health of EU citizens a 2010 Directive regulating industrial emissions, due to come into force in 2016. The piece reveals how decision-making mechanisms have ultimately been dampened down by many lobbying and political compromises. As a result, industry has been left to decide which tests are to be implemented to control harmful emissions, without the obligation of implementing what available evidence considers the most effective technology. Read more [...]