Health R&D: Portugal among the best

A recent report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) places Portugal on the 8th place in the ranking of countries with the highest percentage of GDP spent on Health and medical science research and development (R&D).

Champalimaud Foundation

The report claims that Health R&D ensures the availability of appropriate health technologies, which is crucial for the protection and promotion of health. A few examples of Portuguese expertise:

  1. The most influential pathologist in the world

In 2015, Portuguese Manuel Sobrinho Simões was considered the most influential pathologist in the world. You can read more here.

  1. Champalimaud Foundation

The Champalimaud Foundation is a worldwide reference for oncology. It counts on experts and researchers coming from all over the world. In 2012, the Centre was named the best place worldwide (outside the USA) to do postdoctoral work, by the international journal, The Scientist. One the of the branches of the Foundation, the Center fort he Unknown is directed by Professor Zvi Fuks, a precursor of innovative radiotherapy techniques like the Single Dose Image Guided Radiotherapy (SD-IGRT).   Click to learn more about Champalimaud Foundation.

  1. Internationally awarded researchers (only a few among many!)

  • João Gonçalves got the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation Award to develop a new HIV therapy
  • Ester Coutinho was awarded by the British Academy of Medical Sciences for her work on neurodevelopment in children;
  • Rita Guerreiro won the Fondazione Gino Galletti Neuroscience Prize 2015, which praised her work related to Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Miguel Seabra is Seeds of Science awardee, for his work on one of the types of blindness.

Portugal offers a welcoming and highly professional environment for your medical experience abroad. Contact us via email info@medicalport.org or call us on +351 211 379 718 if you are looking for medical treatments abroad and learn how we can help you to reach the best hospitals and clinics.

Sources: WHO – World Health Statistics 

 

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World Hepatitis Day 2017

Hepatitis is a liver inflammation caused by a virus. Since 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) brings awareness to this disease every 28th of July. The motto for this year is: “to eliminate hepatitis.”

Image Credits: World Health Organization

There are five hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E. Treating hepatitis can be a simple process (or it can be untreatable), depending on the type of hepatitis, its stage of development and the damage already done to the liver. In the worst case scenarios, acute or chronic hepatitis can lead to more serious problems such as cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure.

According to a report from the WHO, viruses B and C are responsible for 96% of hepatitis-related deaths. In 2015, there were nearly 325 million cases of hepatitis worldwide, but treatment only reaches a small percentage of individuals, especially in low income countries. In the same year, hepatitis caused the death of 1.3 million people.

Hepatitis viruses have different incubation periods and show no symptoms for long periods of time, but a simple blood test can detect the virus. Learn more about the virus and how they can spread.

Prevention is the key, so check your health regularly. Contact Medical Port if you want to arrange a medical check-up during a visit to Portugal! 

 

Read more: http://www.who.int/campaigns/hepatitis-day/2017/en/

 

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31st May: World No Tobacco Day

Tobacco contributes to 16% of non-communicable diseases and tobacco-related diseases kill more than 7 million every year.

Today commemorates the World No Tobacco Day, a date that aims to raise awareness of the hazardous effects of tobacco, not only for health, but as well for the environment, and for life quality in general. As the World Health Organisation Director-General Dr Margaret Chan says: “Tobacco threatens us all. Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air.”

Tobacco is a huge burden on health. On average, smokers lose 15 years of life and almost half of tobacco users will die of tobacco – related causes. Second hand smoke, the smoke produced by cigarettes and smokers than can be inhaled by other people contributes to the death of nearly 1 million people every year.

Tobacco has also a strong impact on economy, by reducing economic productivity and placing a burden on healthcare expenditure. According to the WHO, every year over US$ 1.4 trillion are spent by households and governments worldwide because of tobacco.

Quitting smoking can be a challenge, but it certainly will improve the lives of smokers and their families and friends. If you are living in Portugal and you want to stop smoking, contact us. Medical Port has partnered with a clinic that offers a comprehensive program to quit smoking, involving a multidisciplinary approach covering from psychological support to nutrition and medical follow up.

Source: World Health Organisation (WHO)

 

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World Immunization Week 2017 – Vaccines are successful

During the “World Immunization Week” the World Health Organization (WHO) raises awareness to the use of vaccines as an effective tool protect against diseases.

Vaccines are seen as one of the most successful and cost-effective ways to prevent diseases and save lives. Every year, between 2 and 3 million deaths are avoided because of vaccination and another 1.5 million could be avoided, according to estimations by the WHO.

 

MD Margaret Chan, WHO’s Director-General, says “nearly 1 in 5 children – worldwide are still missing routine immunizations for preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.” Increasing access to vaccines is part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations.

The WHO explains that besides providing defenses against for multiple diseases, immunization is “a point of contact for health care at the beginning of life and offers every child the chance at a healthy life from the start.” To learn more about pediatric care, you can visit our website or contact us.

One of the greatest successes of vaccines is the fight against polio, since there has been a decrease of 99% of cases since 1988. In 2016, only 27 cases were reported worldwide. Nowadays, only 3 countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) remain polio-endemic. Another important achievement is the progress made in reducing measles cases, from 2.6 million, in 1980, to 134 000, in 2015.

Read more about vaccines and immunization week in our previous blog post.

 

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World Immunization Week 2017 – Vaccines Work

Every year, the last week of April aims to raise awareness for immunization. This year topic is “Vaccines Work”.

Vaccines work by acting as “fake” pathogens that carry diseases, prompting a response from the immune system. This way, the body will be ready to act faster if faced with the real disease pathogen in the future. By helping to prevent diseases in the first place, vaccines also limit the antibiotic resistance.

During this action week, the World Health Organization (WHO) aims to raise awareness for the importance of the use of vaccines and clarify some myths regarding them. The five key messages raised by the WHO are:

  1. Vaccines are safe and effective, because they undergo rigorous tests before being given to the population
  2. Vaccines prevent deadly diseases, like measles and mumps. Those who are not vaccinated are more vulnerable to such things
  3. Vaccines provide better immunity than natural infections, because there is less risk involved
  4. Combined vaccines are safe and beneficial and there is no risk associated with receiving multiple vaccines at the same time
  5. If we stop vaccination diseases will return. When less people get vaccinated, even previously eradicated diseases can return (as the recent outbreak of measles in some European countries).

Make sure you and your family are protected against diseases! If you are living in Portugal and away from your country healthcare system, we will help you finding the adequate healthcare you need. Contact us!

 

Sources: WHO, Historyofvaccines.org

 

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March 24th: World Tuberculosis Day

World Tuberculosis day aims to raise awareness to the epidemic of tuberculosis, a disease that in 2015 affected more than 10 millions people worldwide. The theme for this year is “Unite to End TB”.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that affects mostly the lungs, though it is possible to affect other parts of the body. While it is considered a serious condition, it can be treated with antibiotics. This date commemorates the day, back in 1882, when Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of the virus that causes tuberculosis.

According to the WHO, tuberculosis is often overlooked because is hard to be diagnosed. Symptoms can include cough that lasts longer than 3 weeks (with phlegm that can have blood), weight loss, night sweats, fever, fatigue and loss of appetite.

TB occurs in every part of the world but the majority of cases are concentrated in Asia (61%) and Africa (26%). In countries with a few registered cases, TB affects mostly vulnerable individuals in social risk, like people with alcohol and drug problems or homeless people. TB affects particularly people who are infected with the HIV virus, as both infections speed up each other’s progression.

As in most health conditions, an early and proper diagnosis is the key to a better, faster recovery. Delaying treatment can lead to long-term health issues.

Source: WHO, CDC, StopTB, NHS

 

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Parkinson’s: Rehabilitation and Learning Camp in Portugal

“You need motivation, I think that’s what the staff here are very good at, they are very good at motivating you without making you feel like it’s a bootcamp.”

We have already talked about how exercise can be a boost for people living with Parkinson’s . Campus Neurológico Sénior (CNS), in Portugal, offers a multi-strategy rehabilitation program for Parkinsons Disease patients and caregivers.  To learn more about what this program can offer, watch the video of Mary Deane, a Parkinson’s patient who stayed one week at the CNS.

The program involves professionals from different fields like physiotherapists, speech therapists, nutritionists and neuropsychologists. During the stay at the CNS, patients and caregivers do multiple physical activities such as boxe and dance adapted to Parkinson’s, nordic walking and hydrotherapy, among others, as well as exercises involving speech and balance. Besides the training component, there is also a strong educational side to help Parkinson’s patients and caregivers to cope better with the condition.

This program is coordinated by Professor Joaquim Ferreira, chair of the European section of the Movement Disorder Society. To learn more visit: www.medicalport.org/parkinsons

 

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Parkinson’s Disease: How exercise can help

Exercise has multiple benefits for everybody. But for people suffering from Parkinson’s, a movement disorder, it can have even greater importance. A recent article by the New York Times emphasizes the power of exercise for Parkinsons Disease patients.

Portrait of sporty female supporting her friend while doing physical exercise in sport gym
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Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease (PD), but there are ways to mitigate the suffering, promote a higher quality of life and autonomy. Exercise is one way of doing it. The New York Times quotes Marilyn Moffat, physical therapist at New York University: “The earlier people begin exercising after a Parkinson’s diagnosis, and the higher the intensity of exercise they achieve, the better they are”. She adds that activities such as cycling, boxing and dancing have proved to have benefits on Parkinson’s patients’ lives. The results are stronger muscles and overall physical health, improved breathing, diggestion and blood circulation and enhanced mental and cognitive health.

However, according to a study on Parkinson’s Rehabilitation, “only 63% of the PD patients were referred to physical therapy for problems with gait, posture, transfers and balance.” For problems related to arms and hand activities, only 9% were referred to therapy.”

Portugal hosts an innovative and multi-strategy rehabilitation program for PD, developed by the renowned Professor Joaquim Ferreira, chair of the European Section of the Movement Disorder Society. At Campus Neurológico Sénior, Parkinson’s patients and caregivers can learn to cope with the disease, through a program that includes two main components: exercising and education.

It combines multiple training programs such as LSTV BIG, LSTV LOUD, Hydrotherapy Bad Ragaz & Halliwick, Adapted Parkinson Boxing Aerobics and Dance Therapy for PD, which are adapted to the patients’ needs. If you wish to learn more about this program, contact us or visit our dedicated webpage: www.medicalport.org/parkinsons.

 

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Parents: help your kids reach full potential at school – part 2

Following the previous article we give you a few more tips to guarantee your children will have a prosperous school year. This time we talk about sports, grandparents and dyslexia. 

Sports

Designed by Freepik
Designed by Freepik

Sports are always a good choice as an extra curricular activity. According to a study from the University of Illinois, USA, the

better physical preparation, the better the intellectual development. Additionally, exercising has other benefits like fighting obesity, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, increasing memory and attention, strengthening the muscle, bones and articulations, increasing self-esteem, diminishing anxiety, improve sociability, tolerance and discipline, helping with sleep and promoting good eating habits.

Family relationships: grandparents

Did you know that according to a study from the Institute of Aging from Boston, USA, a close relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is associated with a lesser risk of depression for both?  Psychological health becomes better as there is a stronger mutual emotional support.

Another study suggests that children with a close relationship with their grandparents have less emotional and behavioral problems. Grandparents are also a source of learning for children. They pass on pass on historical, cultural and scientific knowledge and help in the language development

Dyslexia

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the world have dyslexia, a genetic language disturb that interferes with the way the brain processes the written language. It causes problems in reading, as the child will have troubles recognizing words previously read or known. Dyslexia is not a sign of lack of intellectual capacity or laziness. A child may simply need more time to process all the information. It can be overcome with specialized therapy and other resources like adequate learning materials.

If you think your child may be dealing with dyslexia, contact us and we will help you booking an appointment with an appropriate specialist.

Check the previous article to learn more on eating, sleeping and studying.  Read more on pediatrics.

Sources (in Portuguese):   Dyslexia      Grandparents       Sports

 

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Parents: help your kids reach full potential at school

Sleep, eating habits and motivation are essential for a productive school year. Start implementing good practices from the beginning. We give you some advice coming from our partner, Hospital Lusíadas.

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Sleep

A good night of sleep is essential. A disturbed sleep can result in difficulties in keeping focus, memory loss and tiredness. The ability to store information during a class will be reduced. Additionally, Teresa Moreno, neuropediatrician from Hospital Lusíadas Lisboa, explains that besides resting, sleep plays an important role in strengthening the immune system, in the hormones responsible for the growing, and even in the memory, to mention a few. Lack of sleep is harmful at every age, but even worse during childhood.

Electronic Devices

Studies indicate that devices like tablets, smartphones and such can be more harmful than tv. Children who have access to tablets or smartphones in the bedroom tend to sleep less 21 minutes every night than those who don’t.

Eating

Eating habits of children require a constant care. Meals should be organized according to preferences, school schedule and extra activities like sports. Planning meals ahead will help you make healthier choices.

Meals should include ingredients from the different food groups, with an emphasis on vegetables. Breaks between meals should be no longer than 3 hours. Snacks are important to keep the energy levels and help in the concentration, by giving a feeling of satiation. And don’t forget to include plenty of water in your kids lunchbox!

Studying and motivation

The studying area should be luminous, well ventilated, clean and without distractions or noises. A weekly studying plan is recommended. Parents should demonstrate interest in their kids’ studies and be part of it. They can ask the children to explain what they learned in a creative way, and what was the most interesting topic. Compliments and encouraging words should be used but must be sincere and related to the activity they are doing.

If your children are having trouble with motivation and focusing, contact us to arrange a consultation with within a prestigious psychology clinic

Sources (in Portuguese): Eating    Sleeping    Motivation

 

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