26 Apr

Getting responsible for our own health


Is it too big a challenge?

We are experiencing a transition from our health model. The system as it was designed in the 1950s no longer works. But there are ways to break the deadlock.

We are facing great changes. The first concerns what we could call the enlightened patient or augmented patient, the second focuses on new health technologies, connected health or e-health, and the third on epigenetics, the science that demonstrates how human behavior affects gene expression. These three elements create a new possibility of measurable prevention and making people responsible for their health, which the pharmaceutical industry is beginning to understand.

Enlightened patients

Enlightened patients are people who are increasingly connected to social networks and who can find information about their health on search engines. They discuss together, exchange and are more and more informed and concerned. Many doctors today assure that they appreciate dealing with patients who ask them the right questions, even if they can go as far as contradicting their prescriptions.

Digital plays a decisive role in the evolution of health models. The health applications available on smartphones are increasing exponentially today. The tools are not only portable, but also wearable. Like watches, for example, which measure a certain number of parameters on the skin, making it possible to visualize the results or the alerts on a personalized health dashboard, the screen of your smartphone for example, results that you can download elsewhere or send to your doctor.

Towards new models of health through subscriptions

Our behaviors will change and especially the relationship with our doctor. The latter will increasingly become a life counselor and not just a prescriber of prescription drugs.

To maintain good health, five behaviors must be respected: exercise, nutrition, stress management, pleasure, social and professional harmony. These five behaviors influence the expression of our genes and cause some to slow down, inhibit, or express themselves even more. We can somehow become the conductors of our own body, keep it in good health and slow down aging.

Prevention is not deprivation, it is a pleasure to do good!

The pharmaceutical industry has already become aware of this development. Some Big Pharma companies are already moving towards health maintenance programs. Even today, these companies live on the margins made by pharmacy sales of drugs prescribed by doctors and reimbursed by health insurance. However, we are starting to see that pharmaceutical groups associate with insurance companies and offer pharma-insurances: that is to say subscriptions to programs that ensure good health. This is what I call the health maintenance program or abbreviated PMS.

In this way some believe that the pharmaceutical industry will make more profits by subscriptions than by margins made on drugs sold in pharmacies. Besides, we can check on the Internet that the most successful companies are those that have many customers subscribed to their service and their products. Whether it’s music, subscriptions to renewable energy production systems, transportation, or housing.

It is in these new health models, possibly by subscription, that what is called 4P medicine comes into play, which means: Personalized, Predictive, Preventive, and Participative medicine. It is not only a question of curing when one is sick, but above all of not getting sick.

But these new practices risk creating a form of uberization of health. Companies have created the disintermediation of traditional structures by offering more personalized services and products, more quickly, in the face of systems that are too heavy, too expensive, too complex. Thanks to digital, we can reconcile supply and demand. These disintermediation companies, like GAFA, are disruptors who reverse the classic and traditional model that we know. In health too. This risk exists.

The doctor of tomorrow can be assisted by digital or AI tools.

Predictive medicine thanks to AI

With artificial intelligence (AI), which some now prefer to call auxiliary intelligence, we can increase human intelligence. No doctor can read and assimilate all the scientific reviews, all the studies, suitable for treating a pathology. On the other hand, who can correlate all the information already published to make predictions or improve diagnoses? Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence program, does it in minutes.

Google is developing an AI usage support program, Kubeflow. The doctor of tomorrow can be assisted by digital or AI tools, to devote more time to his patients. Many are already experimenting with it, since you can download Watson on your smartphone.

The most important question for the future is the role that individuals will play in the prevention of their health, thanks to an improved knowledge of the fundamental principles of nutrition, of the fight against pollutants that we inflict on ourselves like cigarettes, or which are present in the environment due to a lack of efficient waste management systems.

The ministries of health of many countries realize today that the biggest savings on the health insurance system will be made thanks to the participation of people in improving their health capital and the permanent investment in this capital thanks to the basic rules of good living that are nutrition, exercise, or stress management. Hence the importance of education and especially of co-education in families and schools to make young people understand the fundamental bases of balanced nutrition and permanent reinvestment in their health capital.

We can already see that the major magazines, in addition to specialized magazines, and even the daily newspapers devote more and more important spaces to the explanation of these fundamental principles of balanced nutrition and moderate exercise. These trends will only get stronger in the future, given the economic challenges represented by healthcare systems around the world and the transition to more economic and more democratic models.

31 Mar

What Global Harming Has in Store for Our Grandchildren


As this decade 2020 promises to be decisive in terms of climate, we invite you to imagine what the future could be like at the end of the 21st century. A distant future for you. But so present for your children and grandchildren. A present which, in a scenario of generalized awareness takes shape rather rapidly. But which, in a scenario of business as usual”, looks very dark.

Grandpa, I am 15 years old today. My life is just beginning. Yours was completed yesterday. Today, I am offered this incredible chance to write you this postcard. A postcard from the future, of your future, from my present. Of this world that you left me. A chance to maybe be able to change things. Because in 2020, Grandpa, the time when you too were 15, there was still time.

I would first like to tell you that it was the heat that won you over. The one who, without pity for us who provoked it, now breaks in successive waves every summer. The last, it is true, has been particularly extreme. The information has just fallen. A new temperature record has been broken here: 54.9 ° C. Can you just imagine, Grandpa, from the top of your indifferent fortnight?

54.9 °C! This is what your SUV that you will buy in less than ten years have done to the world. Your insatiable hunger for fresh meat too. And, you will soon find out, all these things thrown away barely bought. This latest trendy T-shirt that you’ve only worn three times. Or this smartphone paid for at a hefty price that had to be replaced six months later by its latest development. Evolution? Grandpa, do you really think that this is evolution?

The climate crisis is global. Wait, you haven’t heard everything yet, but yes! you heard it. The scientists had alerted you. The sea level has risen. More than a meter today since your time. And you know what, Grandpa? Millions of people have suffered from it. Children on the other side of the world that you care little about? I imagine it pretty well. But also European children.

Children who look like you. Whose parents may have been sitting next to you on the school benches. Children like me. Florida has become an island. Amsterdam has been wiped off the map. Bordeaux has more than ever its feet in the water. And these children today are desperately knocking on the doors of those who were luckier than them. For how much longer? How much longer will we be able to welcome these climate refugees that nobody wanted to hear about, even in your time, Grandpa? How much longer … will we be luckier than them?

Tomorrow we will move out. We are going to have to leave behind this beautiful house that your father had built. This strong and solid house, all in concrete. This house from another time. The one you loved so much. The last coastal flood was the reason for this attachment. You see, Grandpa, it’s not just polar bears in the arctic circle that are pushed far from home. It’s not just anonymous strangers. Your own family is now suffering the consequences of your disbelief.

And if you only knew … Your daughter, Grandpa, she died two years ago. She was not 40 years old. It is not an age to die like this in a society that is said to be advanced. But she died. Carried away by yet another hurricane, somewhere in the Antilles that she cherished. A hurricane of such power that it devastated the region, leaving behind only sadness and desolation. Your own daughter, Grandpa! You cried all the tears of your body.

Living on this Earth today is hell! Every year, appalling fires are started. In the Arctic, in the Amazon rainforest, or what’s left of it, in Australia. They only worsen an already catastrophic situation. All ecosystems suffer. The animals are massively disappearing. The air becomes unbreathable. Pollution is everywhere and all the dumpster rentals in the world will not be enough to remove all the garbage and waste created by humankind.. The world is coughing. The world is choking. And people are dying earlier than before. You were lucky, Grandpa, to live so old. I will certainly not have as many years as you have.

But it can still be resolved. Drink a glass of water. To eat an apple. It has become a luxury. We have exhausted the resources of our Earth. Of course, solutions have been found. Because the researchers never gave up. But these are just simple bandages placed on open wounds today. What more could they do without the support of the people? Without your membership, Grandpa? They could not prevent water from running out even in the southern regions of our Europe. Droughts of several years have hit the United States.

And the researchers could not prevent the catastrophic rise in food prices that followed either. Your faulty indolence has cost us dearly, Grandpa. It has claimed the lives of those affected by extreme poverty or new diseases. It also, more subtly, cost people’s happiness. Because while you continue to eat hamburgers on this overheated terrace that blows tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, I cry a world that will never return. From the height of my 15 years, I know it. Everyone knows it now: there is no plan B. No planet B.

My only hope today is you, Grandpa! So I beg you, stop doubting science. Stop waiting for others to make decisions. Stop blaming them. You can act, now. Take the things over control. Choose a different future. You just have to believe it. And get started.