Last Updated September 20, 2017 | Healthcare Asia - Medical and Healthcare news in Asia |

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Thailand sets out to becoming Asia’s healthcare hub

Thailand sets out to becoming Asia’s healthcare hub

September 13, 2017

Curving the niche via digitalisation in healthcare Following Europe’s Industrie 4.0, Thailand comes up with its own Thailand 4.0, a value-based economic model driven by innovation, technology, and high-value trade and services. The implementation will be done in four phases and spanning 20 years. The piecemeal goal will integrate innovations such as digital and smart [...]

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Research

Daily physical activity linked to lower risk of CVD, mortality

Daily physical activity linked to lower risk of CVD, mortality

Just doing 30 minutes of physical activity – which can include house-cleaning or walking to work – for five days a week can prevent one in 12 global deaths, researchers confirmed. “Being highly active (750 minutes a week) is associated with an even greater reduction,” according to a study. The study, which tracked 130,000 people [...]

DNA in human embryos altered for the first time

DNA in human embryos altered for the first time

DNA in human embryos has been altered for the first time in the UK by a team at the Francis Crick Institute as they try to understand what happens after a sperm fertilizes an egg. Understanding that stage in the fertilization process could lead to ways of improving IVF or explain why some women miscarry. [...]

Sanofi, US NIH engineer antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains

Sanofi, US NIH engineer antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains

Scientists at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi have collaborated and engineered a new antibody that is effective in attacking 99% of HIV strains. It is built to attack three critical parts of the virus – making it harder for HIV to resist its effects. Our bodies struggle [...]

Poor sleep linked to higher risk of chronic pain, worse physical health

Poor sleep linked to higher risk of chronic pain, worse physical health

A study from the UK suggests that people who sleep poorly may have a higher risk of developing a chronic pain condition and may have worse physical health compared to those who have adequate sleep. A general decline in both the quantity and quality of hours slept led to a two- to three-fold increase in [...]

Expected increase in drug spending in 2018 to affect US employers

Expected increase in drug spending in 2018 to affect US employers

Employers in the US are getting ready for increased health care spending in 2018 as spending on new drugs for the treatment of diseases such as cancer, hepatitis C and multiple sclerosis is expected to rise more than 7%, consultancy firm Mercer said. Between 40 and 50 new specialty drugs are set to hit the [...]

Technology & Devices

ITE staff develop new mechanism to simplify kidney stone removal

ITE staff develop new mechanism to simplify kidney stone removal

An innovative device that can simplify the process of removing large or complex kidney stones has been developed by a team of staff from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE)in collaboration with the National University Hospital (NUH), the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Invivo Medical. The mechanism, called a Percutaneous-Access-to-Kidney-Assist Device (PAKAD), can reduce [...]

Medical “pen” identifies cancerous tissue in 10 seconds

Medical “pen” identifies cancerous tissue in 10 seconds

A new handheld medical device can identify cancer in tissue in just 10 seconds, which could make surgery to remove a tumor quicker, safer and more precise, according to scientists at the University of Texas in the US. Tests suggest that the medical “pen”, called MasSpec Pen, is accurate 96% of the time. It takes [...]

745,000 Abbott pacemakers confirmed to have cyber-security issues

745,000 Abbott pacemakers confirmed to have cyber-security issues

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that 465,000 pacemakers, manufactured by global healthcare company Abbott, have cyber-security issues. There were a further 280,000 devices elsewhere that are affected, the company said. The cyber-security flaws could theoretically be used to cause the devices to pace too quickly or run down their batteries. However, [...]

New smartphone app could detect pancreatic cancer with just a selfie

New smartphone app could detect pancreatic cancer with just a selfie

Doctors may be able to detect pancreatic cancer and other diseases earlier in people with just a snap of a smartphone selfie using a mobile app developed by researchers at the University of Washington in the US. BiliScreen uses a smartphone camera, computer vision algorithms and machine learning tools to detect increased bilirubin levels in [...]

New device developed to measure systolic blood pressure more accurately

New device developed to measure systolic blood pressure more accurately

Researchers from the Jerusalem College of Technology and the ShaareZedek Medical Center in Israel have developed a new device using a technique called photoplethysmography  to more accurately measure systolic blood pressure. An estimated 1 in 3 US adults have high blood pressure. Blood pressure levels are often assessed by using automatic blood pressure devices. But [...]

Pharmaceutical

WHO calls on SEA nations to cooperate to make drugs, treatment accessible

WHO calls on SEA nations to cooperate to make drugs, treatment accessible

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on Southeast Asian countries to work together to make medical treatment and drugs more affordable for the citizens. The countries were asked to take bold action ensuring citizens access to safe efficacious, quality and affordable medical products. The WHO also wants more emphasis to be given on leveraging [...]

Novartis makes history with US approval of first “living drug” cancer therapy

Novartis makes history with US approval of first “living drug” cancer therapy

Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis made history as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its tailor-made “living drug” therapy against cancer. Dubbed “CAR-T”, the treatment is the first to redesign a patient’s own immune system so it attacks cancer. The drug is tailor-made to each patient, unlike conventional therapies such as surgery or [...]

Drug combination found to be highly effective against heart diseases

Drug combination found to be highly effective against heart diseases

Scientists in a major international study has found that the combination of two drugs – rivaroxaban and aspirin – is more effective in preventing further heart complications in people with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) as compared to only aspirin or only rivaroxaban. Rivaroxaban, often known by the brand name Xarelto, is an anticoagulant, aspirin is an [...]

Scientists use plants in new polio vaccine breakthrough

Scientists use plants in new polio vaccine breakthrough

The world may have taken a step towards a polio-free future as researchers make a breakthrough in vaccine development against the disease. An international consortium of scientists at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK was able to produce a new poliovirus vaccine by growing virus-like particles (VLPs), which are non-pathogenic mimics of the virus, [...]

Hepatitis drugs are becoming more affordable

Hepatitis drugs are becoming more affordable

Drugs therapies to cure hepatitis C and treat hepatitis B are becoming more affordable as prices are dropping dramatically, giving hope to 325 million people living with the viral liver disease that can be fatal, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. A generic antiviral drug for hepatitis C, which can be cured in three months, [...]

Wellness and Complementary Therapies

New meningitis test gives results in under an hour for speedy diagnosis

New meningitis test gives results in under an hour for speedy diagnosis

A new meningitis test could speed up the diagnosis of the disease and save lives as it gives results in just under 60 minutes. The new test will be implemented in an accident & emergency (A&E) department in a hospital in northern Ireland. Meningitis – an infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and [...]

Brisk walking helps middle-aged people stay healthy

Brisk walking helps middle-aged people stay healthy

Middle-aged people, those between the ages 40 and 60, are being urged to start doing regular brisk walks to help them stay healthy and reduce the risk of early death. Even 10 minutes of brisk walking each day could have a major impact and lower the risk of early death by 15%, according to officials [...]

Low-calorie diet helps maintain good metabolism, slow down aging

Low-calorie diet helps maintain good metabolism, slow down aging

The body’s circadian rhythm, or biological clock, is directly linked to the process of aging and is also based on efficient metabolism of energy within cells. Paolo Sassone-Corsi, director of the Center for Epigenetics & Metabolism at the University of California, Irvine in the US, and colleagues have also discovered that a low-calorie diet helps [...]

Modified plastic films prevent contamination in food, biomedical industries

Modified plastic films prevent contamination in food, biomedical industries

Plastic films that have been specially designed and integrated with “N-halamines”, special chemical groups, within the polymer matrix of the plastic can prevent bacterial contamination in the food and biomedical industries, according to a recently published research. The plastic films work by killing bacteria in biofilms, and preventing bacteria from forming biofilms in the first [...]

Type 1 diabetes immunotherapy proven safe in first trial

Type 1 diabetes immunotherapy proven safe in first trial

A pioneering immunotherapy against type 1 diabetes that has been designed to retrain the body’s immune system and slow the advance of the disease has been shown to be safe in its first trial. Tested on 27 patients in the UK, the immunotherapy also showed signs of slowing the disease, but this needs confirming in [...]

Community health

Only a fifth of the UN health goals are likely to be met, global review says

Only a fifth of the UN health goals are likely to be met, global review says

A global health review has revealed that not a single country, out of the almost 200 that were reviewed, were on track to meet the UN goal of eliminating new tuberculosis infections by 2030. They also found that less than 5% of countries were likely to reach the UN goal of reducing suicides, road deaths [...]

Congo’s cholera epidemic kills more than 500 people

Congo’s cholera epidemic kills more than 500 people

The current cholera epidemic that is sweeping the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa has now claimed over 500 lives, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Outbreaks of the water-borne disease occur regularly in Congo, mainly due to poor sanitation and a lack of access to clean drinking water. But this year’s epidemic, [...]

Fears rise over malaria’s possible comeback in Italy after decades

Fears rise over malaria’s possible comeback in Italy after decades

A four-year-old girl in Italy has died of malaria, raising fears over the comeback of the mosquito-borne disease decades after it has been eliminated in the country. Sonia Zago developed a high fever after returning home from a vacation in Bibione, a seaside town on the Adriatic coast near Venice. As her condition worsened, she [...]

NUS president Tan ChorhChuan is Singapore’s first Chief Health Scientist

NUS president Tan ChorhChuan is Singapore’s first Chief Health Scientist

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has chosen National University of Singapore (NUS) president Tan Chorh Chuan to be the country’s first Chief Health Scientist beginning January 1 next year. He will concurrently serve as executive director of the new Office for Healthcare Transformation, MOH said in a press release. “As the founding executive director, Professor [...]

Singapore to improve training, salary of clinical research coordinators

Singapore to improve training, salary of clinical research coordinators

As clinical research takes on an increasing and more vital role in the search for healthcare solutions that are specifically tailored for the needs of Singapore’s population, its Health Ministry is putting in S$35 million to fund training programs and salary increases of clinical research coordinators (CRCs). Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport [...]

Health alert

Mental disorders, poor diet rank as greatest causes of ill health globally

Mental disorders, poor diet rank as greatest causes of ill health globally

Mental health disorders and poor diets are among the greatest causes of ill health globally, while heart disease and tobacco are ranked along with violence and conflict as the world’s biggest killers in 2016, according to a large international study. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study found that while life expectancy is increasing, so [...]

Thailand bans infant formula milk, baby food ads to encourage breastfeeding

Thailand bans infant formula milk, baby food ads to encourage breastfeeding

Thailand has passed a new law that bans manufacturers, importers and distributors from advertising and marketing infant formula milk or powdered milk and other food products for toddlers. Department chief Dr. Wachira Pengchan said that the law is meant to ensure that baby food marketing is appropriate and that it meets international standards to prevent [...]

Chronic lung diseases due to smoking, pollution killed 3.6 mn in 2015

Chronic lung diseases due to smoking, pollution killed 3.6 mn in 2015

Around 3.6 million people all over the world were killed by two of the most common chronic lung diseases in 2015, according to a study. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), caused mainly by smoking and pollution, was responsible for 3.2 million deaths, while 400,000 people died from asthma. COPD is a group of lung conditions [...]

First skin-to-skin contact between mother, infant can prevent newborn death

First skin-to-skin contact between mother, infant can prevent newborn death

In the Western Pacific Region, a newborn dies every two minutes because of inappropriate clinical practices at the time of birth and during the first few days of life. However, newborn mortalitycan easily be prevented through Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC), a set of simple, cost-effective interventions that can save newborn lives and give them [...]

Singapore sees first diphtheria case in 25 years

Singapore sees first diphtheria case in 25 years

A Bangladeshi construction worker living in Singapore died on August 4 from diphtheria in what is believed to be the first case of the bacterial infection in the country in 25 years, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH). MOH said the last local case of infection was reported in 1992 while the last imported [...]

Other health News

Singapore first among188 countries in reaching UN health goals

Singapore first among188 countries in reaching UN health goals

September 18, 2017

Among 188 countries, Singapore ranked first in terms of progress towards achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations (UN). These health targets include goals for infant mortality rates, smoking, vaccination, universal health coverage and rates of diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria, among others. Researchers measured 37 health-related SDG indicators from [...]

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New drug treatment against non-severe malaria cases found to be effective

New drug treatment against non-severe malaria cases found to be effective

September 18, 2017

A new drug developed by researchers at Tulane University in the US is effective in treating non-severe cases of malaria. This comes as a significant development as public health experts warn that Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for most malaria cases, is developing resistance to widely used treatments. New medications are needed to build up [...]

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Antibodies could improve reprogramming of mature cells into stem cells

Antibodies could improve reprogramming of mature cells into stem cells

September 15, 2017

A new approach using antibodies could eventually help improve the “reprogramming” of ordinary adult cells into stem cells, according to scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the US. The results suggest that scientists could eventually be able to produce stem cells with fewer mutations and overall better properties. The TSRI scientists screened a [...]

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New technology to combine childhood vaccines in single jab

New technology to combine childhood vaccines in single jab

September 15, 2017

US researchers have developed a one-shot solution approach that could eventually allow for the delivery of every childhood vaccine in a single jab. The technology stores the vaccine in microscopic capsules that release the initial dose and then boosters at specific times. It has been shown to work in mouse studies. The researchers say the [...]

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Compound from olives, olive oil help increase insulin production

Compound from olives, olive oil help increase insulin production

September 13, 2017

Although the health benefits of olives and its associated natural products, like olive oil, have long been recognized, little was previously known about what specific compounds in the fruit contribute to its medical and nutritional benefits such as weight loss and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Now, a research team from Virginia Tech in the [...]

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Adults who sit most of the day may be more at risk of premature death

Adults who sit most of the day may be more at risk of premature death

September 13, 2017

Adults who sit for most of the day may have a higher risk of premature death than people who don’t sit a lot, regardless of exercise habits, according to a US study. Being active or moving at just one specific time of the day for exercise is simply not enough, said lead study author Keith [...]

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Australian clinical trials stop deadly skin cancer from spreading

Australian clinical trials stop deadly skin cancer from spreading

September 11, 2017

Two international clinical trials conducted by researchers at the Sydney-based Melanoma Institute Australia showed that a combination of new treatments can stop the spread of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The drug trials have proved successful in preventing the disease spreading in stage three patients whose tumors had been surgically removed. Until now, [...]

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Alcohol industry distorts info about drinking and cancer risk, scientists say

Alcohol industry distorts info about drinking and cancer risk, scientists say

September 8, 2017

The alcohol industry misleads people about the risks of developing cancer from drinking, often using denial, distortion and distraction tactics that are similar to those used by the tobacco industry, according to a study led by scientists at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet. Drinks industry organizations often [...]

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Australian researchers trial spiral drawing test to diagnose Parkinson’s

Australian researchers trial spiral drawing test to diagnose Parkinson’s

September 8, 2017

A test involving drawing a spiral on a piece of paper can be used to diagnose Parkinson’s disease early, and Australian researchers have trialed software based on that. The software can measure writing speed and pen pressure on the page, which are both useful for detecting the disease, which causes shaking and muscle rigidity. The [...]

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Zika virus can also kill deadly brain cancer stem cells

Zika virus can also kill deadly brain cancer stem cells

September 6, 2017

The Zika virus – which shocked the world in recent years as it infected and killed cells in the brains of fetuses, resulting in babies born with tiny and misshapen heads – may one day lead to an effective treatment for glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer. Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine [...]

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