Summing up health

PTI | ByDr KK Aggarwal
Jan 04, 2005 03:08 PM IST

Medical Tourism became the hottest subject in Asia. The leading country was India.

There were many advances in the year 2004 from new avenues for medical tourism to many celebrities falling sick and hence creating health awareness. Let’s look at what happened in the Health sector this year.

HT Image
HT Image

Medical Tourism became the hottest subject in Asia. The leading country was India. Over 10 new hospitals were opened with five star facilities with a focus on Non-Resident Indian patients. With the thaw in Indo-Pak relations, many of them offered free treatment to Pakistani patients with heart diseases.

Many celebrities with health problems made headlines during the year. Everybody wanted to know what was wrong with Sachin's elbow and why he had to wait for over three months before playing any match, why did Clinton get his heart bypass surgery done when he had no symptoms, what is Alzheimer's disease, why did it happen to one of the most intellectual people of the world, the former US President Ronald Reagan, who died in June this year, and what is a heart palpitation operation, called ablation, which Prime British Prime Minister Tony Blair had to undergo this year.

At the year end the Union Indian Health Ministry made a new effort by organising a week-long health awareness camp for the parliamentarians. I think this should be done in every country. Charity should begin at home.

Top health researches
Many health researches were made during this year. Revised 2004 guidelines state that in "very-high-risk" patients the bad LDL cholesterol should be lowered to 70 mg per cent or less. On average most people have 130 mg per cent.

In September, Merck USA withdrew its blockbuster "super aspirin" Roffecoxib, a painkiller, off the market after a study showed that it doubled heart attack and stroke risk in people who took it longer than 18 months. Now, the drug has been banned in India.

A study discovered that taking regular walks may be good for mind. Results from Harvard's Nurses' Health Study suggests that regular physical activity, including walking, lowers the risk for cognitive impairment by 20 per cent for women in their 70s.

South Korean scientists have announced that they have created 30 cloned human embryos and harvested embryonic stem cells from one of them. This breakthrough would make a steady supply of stem cells available.

The latest generation of cancer drugs also became available this year. The drug attacks only tumour cells as opposed to traditional cancer drugs, which attack all dividing cells.

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