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TOPIC: diabetes


Data, Selfies, Prevention: How AI Is Transforming Healthcare

From testing for COVID through WhatsApp to taking selfies to check heart risks, AI programs are being used in Argentina to complement early-stage diagnoses. The technologies are in their early stages but are able to detect what the human eye might miss.

BUENOS AIRES —The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year 138 million patients suffer from medical misdiagnoses that prove fatal in 2.6 million cases. In the United States, medical errors relating to misuse of pharmaceutical products or misdiagnosis were the third cause of deaths there in 2015.

All this proves that medicine is not infallible, and even specialists can go wrong. The daily performance of all doctors is subject to factors like stress, overwork or exhaustion (they sometimes work 24 hours straight). In this context, technological advances of recent years may bring some good news. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has brought innovations that boost diagnosis and even detect conditions invisible to the naked eye.

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Sick Children, Why The Cambodian Genocide Toll Is Still Rising

Decades after the Khmer Rouge, the legacy of their brutal regime claims a new generation of victims.

SIEM REAP Ros Mom wears socks even on hot days. No one is supposed to see her feet while she is sitting on the bed in her Quonset hut in a small village near Siem Reap, in northwestern Cambodia. Ros Mom lives not far from the ruins of Angkor Wat. But the money brought by 2 million tourists every year has little impact on the economy in the surrounding jungle. The streets around the temple are paved. But the path leading up to Ros Mom's hut is just dirt and sand.

A couple of months ago the mother of four developed an open sore on her left foot because she didn't have enough money to buy insulin to treat her Type-2 diabetes. The monthly prescription of the vital drug costs $25, Ros Mom explains as a squeaky old ventilator churns up the hot air under the corrugated iron of her hut. Only when the ulcer developed did she return to the clinic of the Cambodian Diabetes Society (CDA) to visit her doctor, Lim Keuky.

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French Newspaper Blames Brussels For Poor-Quality Sperm

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Libération, Oct. 8, 2015

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Duped Too Often By 'Healers,' Congo's Diabetics Embrace Real Medicine

MATADI — Diabetic patients in the Bas-Congo province, in the western region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, have had enough with traditional practitioners. They insist they won’t be conned again by those who claim they can cure everything from AIDS to hypertension and even diabetes, which some 1.5 million people suffer from in this country.

After months of drinking herbal teas that did nothing to improve their health, some people decided to return to more widely-practiced treatments. “When doctors first detected high levels of sugar in my blood, I was regularly given insulin, and it worked,” explains 60-year-old Gaston Nzuzi. But “after I saw a commercial on television singing the praises of a traditional practitioner from Kinshasa who claimed he could completely cure diabetes with medicinal plants, I went to see him,” he confesses.

For months, he was given solutions to drink. “Curiously, I started to lose weight and my balance was offset. I resolved to put an end to it, and I started to take my medication from before again,” the man says.

Many patients had the same experience and realized only later that they had been duped. “I’m tired of these large-scale scams,” says Marcel Vidi, a diabetic man who swore he would never see a healer again. As for Martine Sikila, there is still a distinct bitterness in her voice when she describes the treatment she underwent. “I had to drink my own urine every morning for three months to totally get rid of my diabetes,” she says. “But every test showed the blood sugar levels were unchanged.”

Denis Lemba, a physician in charge of responding to illnesses and epidemics at the provincial health division, says that because diabetes is a chronic illness, “these therapists might have products that help with blood sugar but they can't cure diabetes.” This, he says, is clearly demonstrated by the large number of diabetic patients who, after having seen many non-traditional practitioners, “eventually come back to us for a professional and responsible treatment.”

His colleague, Taty Mawanda, believes that going to a hospital “allows for better follow-up care as well as the creation of a better database for the province.” In 2012, 2,943 cases of diabetes were registered in the region, with 52 deaths. “These statistics cannot be found anywhere other than at the provincial health division,” Lemba says.

According to some doctors, the strict control of blood sugar levels is the founding principle of diabetes treatment. “For that, the patient must be educated and become sort of his own doctor,” Lemba explains.

The absence of proper treatment can cause serious complications, and diabetes is an illness that can remain undetected for a long time. Sometimes, five to 10 years can pass between the appearance of the first symptoms and diagnosis.

To make people turn away from hospitals, sham medics use local media on which they broadcast their messages on a loop. But the media watchdog was alerted and has struck back. It banned all broadcasting of commercials for “parallel medicine” in the province’s media.

Still, physician Louis Gomez, president of the Bas-Congo Medical Association, believes that much more work must be done to raise awareness about “how diabetes develops, the disease’s consequences and how patients must behave.” Without denying that medicinal plants can in some cases be useful, Gomez recommends that all patients first see a doctor.

Hector Pavon

It's Heritage Vs. Health In Argentina's Gastronomical Battle

BUENOS AIRES – Eating is no longer just the primitive act of satiating hunger. It is a process that includes production, consumption, and evaluation for preparation of the next gastronomical experience.

It’s a hedonistic experience with a concern for nutritional value, especially as the ”o” word – obesity – keeps cropping up. For most people, importance is put on eating things that are healthy, tasty, and new.

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food / travel

Heavy Coffee Drinking May Actually Be Good For You, Italian Study Finds



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