Let me state upfront a disclaimer that I am not a soothsayer or fengshui expert, but some healthcare trends which I can forsee this year were already ‘works in progress’ and therefore have a high chance of seeing the light of day in 2010.
1.Cutting Down The Salt - nothing new, you might say; but recent evidence in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that reducing salt intake to 1 rounded teaspoon daily would “prevent up to 120,000 heart disease cases, 66,000 strokes, and save 92,000 lives in the USA alone every single year.” So, there is a renewed push by health authorities to push for a reduction in the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods by 25 percent over the next five years.
2.A Renewed Anti-Smoking Campaign- while the dangers of smoking are widely accepted and smoke-prone countries like India and Turkey have banned smoking in public in 2009, the frontiers where smoking is banned in bars and restaurants will be pushed even further. Such a ban has been imposed this year, for instance, in North Carolina, the leading tobacco-producing state in the US and home of R J Reynolds. Pretty unthinkable a decade ago! Other countries have begun to raise the prices of smokes (quite ineffective, I must say) and even put vivid diseased organ pics on the packs.
3.A Ban on TransFats – eating foods containing transfats, such as french fries, doughnuts, pastries and cookies, causes the bad LDL cholesterol to go up and the good HDL cholesterol to go down, leading to an increased risk of stroke, heart attacks and diabetes. I think we can see a consumerist movement towards banning transfat coming up. In fact, in California, restaurants are banned from using transfats beginning this year.
4.Stem Cells Galore- the progress in using undifferentiated cells to morph into tissues and organs seemed to have spluttered the last decade. But this year should see the explosive use of this technique to repair damaged tissues and organs. Ranging from damaged joints to breast enlargement, the demand is set to rise with improved techniques, such as using one’s own cells (autologous method).
5.Surge in Rejuvenative Medicine- whereas people were content initially to just look good and resorted to cosmetic surgery to achieve this, now there is awareness to also feel good – hence the popularity of antiaging medicine with physical and mental enhancement techniques.
6.Ban on Texting while Driving – using mobile phones have been blamed for many traffic accidents, but the increasing popularity of sending texts may account for more accidents than talking on the mobile( well, at least your eyes are still on the road!). More states in the US (19 to date) have now started to ban texting while driving. This is likely to be the trend in many other countries as well.
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