Thursday, 30 November 2017

American Healthcare Remains To Be Undefined

There are many things that remain a mystery to us even with the passing of time. And to us citizens of America, nothing is more perplexing than the state of our healthcare delivery system. Ever since President Trump assumed office, he openly attacked the Obama’s Affordable Care Act or Obamacare and vowed to get rid of it while he is in office and that is exactly what he has been doing for the past months. He has been known to pressure Republican legislators both in the upper and lower house to repeal Obamacare as soon as possible but that still has not happened until now.

Well, it’s true that nation-building and simply running a nation is entirely dependent on who’s on power. In this case, it’s a total newbie to politics who is focused on rebuilding America’s greatness and with a strong sense of American spirit. Sounds good, right, but not really. His somehow racist mindset is rubbing off on his actions and he is barely making any progress in realizing the platforms he promised during the last election. And as such, he has compromised a lot of things that Americans hold dear – education, healthcare, and the arts, among others. Until today, nothing has yet been set in stone regarding the US healthcare system and it is making many people worry.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) acknowledged Monday that Congress's next steps on healthcare are unclear after Republicans failed to repeal ObamaCare. 

"Obviously we had a setback on the effort to make dramatic changes on ObamaCare. The way forward now is somewhat murky," the Senate GOP leader said at a Chamber of Commerce event in Kentucky with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. 

A GOP push to pass a "skinny repeal" of ObamaCare failed in a dramatic 49-51 vote before the August recess. A broader repeal proposal and a measure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act simultaneously also failed to get enough votes to pass in the Senate.


Since Obamacare is still the recognized healthcare law in the US, it has put Republicans in a dilemma as to what else can they still do to realize their goals and appease the demands of the sitting president. Add to that the challenge in stabilizing the insurance market remains to be a cause of worry among legislators who are torn as to whether or not to repeal Obamacare for real. It is true that the Affordable Care Act has its fair share of flaws but totally overhauling the system without implementing realistic and considerate reforms will eventually make the people suffer and the system collapse.

McConnell told the audience Monday that he would wait to see the legislation that Alexander comes up with, but cautioned that the idea of providing further subsidies to insurance companies absent broader reforms was "pretty controversial."

Before leaving Washington for recess in August, McConnell indicated that the Senate would leave behind its campaign to replace Obamacare and turn to tax reform.

Nevertheless, one version of legislation to change Obamacare ended up just one vote shy of passage, and McConnell could bring another bill up at any time.

When Congress returns in September, it will face the pressing business of raising the federal debt ceiling and passing legislation to fund the government.


For sure, Republicans (including President Trump himself) has long been frustrated as to the way the Obamacare repeal is going. It has been months already but they’re still empty-handed. But then, is the issue here having them realize their own healthcare plans for the country or the welfare of the majority of the American people? Let us not forget who is on the losing end of all this as politicians fight one another for their own vested interests.

Health is a serious issue especially if you have experienced a near-death experience yourself. And given just how expensive health care is these days and insurance companies further reduce their coverage, Americans struggle with their health and finances while politicians keep on ignoring their pleas leaving everyone wondering when will all this madness stop.

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Saturday, 25 November 2017

Children Don’t Get The Mental Health Support They Need

Children are precious to us especially if you are a parent to one. It is why seeing your own sweat and blood suffer from some inner demons seem unbearable for any parent. But that is the reality a lot of kids now face. As the population balloons, it isn’t a guarantee that they’ll have the support they need as they brave each new day in their life. Bullying has worsened because it has now taken a new platform – digital. And kids these days often have their own smart gadgets and access to Internet 24/7 that exposes them to a different type of danger.

It becomes even doubly harder for the youth to cope to all these clutter in our modern world because aside from busy parents and guardians that are no longer able to fulfill their obligation of rearing and guiding a child, kids end up confused and easily swayed by negative people. Mental health issues take different forms and it is difficult to spot one especially that kids these days lead more solitary lives – lost in their own little virtual bubble. It should challenge adults, though, to reach out to their children and make them feel that help is just readily available whenever they need one and that they should not hesitate in asking whenever they feel down or broken.

The failure to find a specialist bed for a suicidal and vulnerable young woman leaving youth custody is at the heavy end of a much wider problem facing mental health services for young people (Senior judge warns of ‘blood on our hands’, 4 August).

First, there are territorial injustices in young people’s access to child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) when problems arise. This often results in long delays in receiving preventive services, sometimes to the point where they just give up hope and suffer in silence while their problems get worse.

Second, there is evidence some vulnerable young people moving on from Camhs at 18 are unable to access the adult mental health services they desperately need, often until a crisis occurs. This is a consequence not just of staff shortages but also differences between adult services and Camhs in their thresholds for services: whereas the former is based on meeting a strict clinical diagnosis, for the latter, the threshold is usually general “wellbeing”. This reflects a failure to have a seamless link between child and adult care services during young people’s transitions to adulthood.


Suicide remains to be a major issue that the youth has to deal with. Young people who feel lost and can no longer cope resorts to taking their own lives just to put an end to their misery. And despite all the initiative of both the public and private sector to lend a helping hand in guiding lost children, many still think of suicide as their only choice. If children feel this way, then where have we gone wrong? For sure, somewhere along the way, their parents and significant others have failed their kids leaving them with suicide as their only option in life.

At first, the idea that such a young child could benefit from mental health services might seem puzzling, even counterintuitive. How can we expect a preschooler, especially one under age 5, to “get on the couch” and discuss her problems with a therapist? Why would she be able to talk about her troubled childhood when she has barely lived it?

Yet early childhood mental health services do exist, and they are increasingly seen as a vital and effective part of supporting the emotional development of troubled children.

Mental health issues can emerge between birth and five due to triggers including domestic violence, violence in the community, constant stress in the home, homelessness, poverty — or a toxic combination of these elements. When young children struggle with their emotions, they frequently go into “fight or flight” mode, which can overwhelm parents and teachers. These signs are easy to misinterpret, and can result in kids who are simply reacting to anxiety and stress being labeled as “bad.”


Are parents and the people in their immediate environment failing in rearing kids who know how to cope with the limitations and challenges of living? Children are overexposed to violence on TV and on the web and even in their surroundings. Society makes it appear that violence is okay and they should just learn to live with it. Hence, they feel ashamed to tell other people about their problems or issues thinking that others would see them as weak and incompetent.

It is the same thing at school or at home, their feelings are ignored as their busy parents juggle multiple tasks at once. Then, these kids see things they are not supposed to see online that further messes up with their mind along with the increasing demands from them to perform better at school. But now that we are aware of this issue, let this remind us of our responsibility to pitch in and offer support to kids and make them feel they can tell us anything so they no longer have to think of suicide as the best choice they can ever make.

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Monday, 20 November 2017

Body Image Issues Among The Youth

We all know that physical appearance is not everything in this world yet we can’t entirely discredit its value. After all, face value is what we see first and not exactly what a person is thinking about. Over our lifetime, our body changes so are our body image. And our perception about the way our body looks, whether it is good or bad, also varies depending on our level of maturity. It is easier for adults to make peace with their outward flaws because they know better but not young kids and teens. At this point in their life, social acceptance means a lot to them and they aren’t mature enough to feel confident about themselves regardless of how they look.

The influence of one’s peers is very important to children because that is how they equate their value as a person. They may easily get offended or hurt by what other people say especially when it pertains to negative things regarding their body. And body image issues may lead to bullying that can have a big impact on a child’s life. Suicide is actually prevalent among this age group and it continues to rise alongside the many advancements in technology we now enjoy. Social media is a big factor and it happens to be the hottest playground for people of all ages. There’s just so much to do and almost everyone has SNS accounts where they can connect with people the world over.

Puberty is a journey of changes and self-discovery for a growing child. It is also a time when you are likely to experience trouble communicating with your children, who would prefer to confide in their friends.
Social media also has an immense influence on your impressionable young tween, especially when it comes to their looks and plays a part in perpetuating unhealthy body images in young people’s minds. Parenting specialist at Focus on the Family, Sarah Chua said: “The direct link between media exposure to thin model images and immediate body image dissatisfaction is well documented (in research).”

Dr Alakananda Gudi, an associate consultant at Singapore General Hospital’s (SGH) Department of Psychiatry also noted: “Some of these (body images) reflected in the media are unattainable and unrealistic for the regular person in the street!


Most of the time, parents do not really know what’s in their children’s social media accounts or the people they are interacting with. Kids these days now have access to smartphones and WiFi making it easier for them to explore the web even without their parent’s consent. And as such, they are exposed to violence and biases that cloud their judgment and make them doubt even their own worth especially once others start to question their value as a person simply because of the way they look.

Teenagers are under more pressure than in any previous generation, England’s public health chief has claimed, as officials roll out a new syllabus to help children cope with the digital age.

Classes devoted to cyber-bullying, body shaming, and “fear of missing out” on line will be available in secondary schools from this term as part of revamped Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) package designed to “build resilience” among social media “natives”.


With that being said, it is difficult for most adults to grasp the amount of pressure young kids today feel because they lived and thrived in a generation that lacked these modern contrivances. It’s hard to relate to something you haven’t experienced yourself. That is basically it. So seeing kids putting more importance to their virtual life only goes to show just how much they have embraced technology and social media and how much it impacts their lives. The sad thing is that these platforms aren’t always the nicest or the safest place for young kids to play around with. The social expectations young kids see on social media trigger and fuel their body insecurities.

Body Image Issues Among The Youth See more on: MZ Blog


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Healthy Seniors Are Independent Seniors

We can’t help to stress over and over again that health is wealth because if you think about, you only have one body that will last you a lifetime. You die the moment it stops working but it does not happen without any warning signs. As you age, your body degenerates and gradually stop working as efficiently as it did in your youth. Over the years, you start to experience various body aches and pains or you may even get diagnosed with some chronic condition if you are unfortunate enough or perhaps you weren’t really taking good care of your body at all.

Once you reach your senior years, it is inevitable for your health to fail and you requiring special assistance because even doing simple activities of daily living have become unbearable for you. And we see this as the new norm these days with more and more of the elderly requiring carers. However, they can simply do away with all these hassles and still live independently if they are just healthy enough to at least look after themselves and their needs.

In order to age well and maintain independence, staying healthy is important.

A 2014 report on seniors healthy aging found at says that “Canadians are enjoying longer life spans and better health than ever before.”

The site suggests that if you are looking for ways to keep yourself healthy, strong and flexible there are five key areas to look at: healthy eating, injury prevention, oral health, physical activity and smoking cessation.

There are many other factors which can ensure that seniors age well including maintaining social connectedness, good hearing, moderate to low alcohol intake and lowering stress levels.

Staying healthy was the focus of the second annual North Shore Seniors’ Health Expo held at West Vancouver Seniors’ Activity Centre and West Vancouver Community Centre on Sept. 9.


Well, you can’t deny by now that healthy aging is the key to a quality and long life. Not all elderly require a carer’s assistance in doing things around the house or for them to be left in nursing homes if they can still very well feed and care for themselves. But you can only age healthily if you take care of your body throughout your lifetime starting from your youth. There is no shortcut. The consequences of our habits (good or bad) build up over time and contribute to cell degeneration. So, what can you do to ensure you live as an independent senior in the twilight of your life? Eat healthily and lead an active life. They may sound so cliché but nothing works as great as these two practices.

After making it through the maelstrom of middle age, many adults find themselves approaching older age wondering “what will give purpose to my life?” now that the kids have flown the nest and retirement is in the cards.

How they answer the question can have significant implications for their health.

Over the past two decades, dozens of studies have shown that seniors with a sense of purpose in life are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, disabilities, heart attacks or strokes, and more likely to live longer than people without this kind of underlying motivation.

Now, a new report in JAMA Psychiatry adds to this body of evidence by showing that older adults with a higher sense of purpose tend to retain strong hand grips and walking speeds — key indicators of how rapidly people are aging.


To live means to be free to do the things you want, something many seniors aren’t able to do so because of the various disabilities and ailments limiting their thinking and movements. Aside from physical health, living a life full of purpose also contributes greatly to a person’s overall well-being, thereby allowing them to age better than their counterparts. The bottom line remains that if they have a healthy body, seniors won’t easily be vulnerable to minor infections or conditions that can predispose them to more deadly and debilitating conditions like a heart attack, stroke, or even Alzheimer’s, which is common among the elderly.

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Friday, 10 November 2017

The Apple Event Of 2017

It is a no-brainer why a company event like the renowned “Apple Event” yesterday is much-anticipated by many and covered by the media in all parts of the globe. After all, we live in a digital world where most consumers are undeniably consumed by technology. Tech geeks will be well-fed by the brand that started smart technology and user-friendly interface all along, Apple, with its new products line up and the latest updates that are meant to make our lives better and easier. Steve Jobs may be long gone but his legacy lives on and the public patiently waits as to what the company is up to, especially those loyal Apple fanatics that live and breathe iOS.

If you are a tech consumer yourself, would you like to miss out on perhaps the biggest tech-related event of the year? It is not every month that we get to witness the launching of the best Apple products for all the world to see. Of course, it is not Steve Jobs doing the talking now but the products speak for themselves and despite the high price tag, many are still interested to learn about it first-hand from the makers themselves before the rest of the world gets their hands on these shiny, new iPhone models. And mind you, it’s not just one but three options to choose from.

The crowd at Apple’s new “spaceship” headquarters saw new smartphones — including a premium version priced at $999 — as the company commemorated its 10th anniversary of the iPhone.

Apple opened the event by asking the audience to cover their screens as a mark of respect as an audio clip of Steve Jobs played. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said it was fitting that Jobs opened the theater — named after him — where the event took place.

“His greatest expression of his appreciation for humanity would not be a singular product, but rather it would be Apple itself,” he said.


Apple has set the bar very high and they don’t disappoint their loyal users despite the passing of time. Many other Android brands have offered smartphone users the variety and cost-effectivity they are looking for but the appeal of a luxury brand like an iPhone never fades over time. It is the reason why people anticipate the launching of their new products year in and year out.

Apple's iPhone X is the company's biggest change to its flagship smartphone in years. It includes a borderless, OLED screen, wireless charging and facial recognition cameras. CEO Tim Cook said the new phone, which will be the firm's most expensive starting at $999, is intended to signal where its smartphones are headed in the future. Cook suggested the technology in the iPhone X was an indication of the company's philosophy going forward: simpler, cleaner and more intuitive to use.

The iPhone X (ten) was a major scene stealer during the Apple Event as many did not expect, thinking only about the likely launching of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Well, they also have something to offer aside from the smartphones in the form of the latest Apple TV and Apple Smartwatch that will also make tech-geeks drool with anticipation.

Apple is also launching two other new iPhones, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. These are essentially updated versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Both devices will include a new glass back and an enhanced screen that includes the True Tone technology found on the iPad, which adapts the color temperature to match the ambient light in whatever situation. One of the biggest changes to come to these phones is the new A11 Bionic processor, which includes two performance cores and four high efficiency cores. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will also be the first iPhones to support wireless charging.


Aside from really awesome new features like wireless charging, Animojis, and the bionic processor, the company also informed the public about the iOS 11, the latest mobile operating system that everyone can update to come September 19. All these changes are meant to improve the overall user experience among iOS users, which is what the company lives for and what Steve Jobs has always wanted when he was still living.

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