It was a regular spring noon; Julie in her 30s, was doing the laundry in the backyard as no domestic help was available due to fear of COVID-19.
Suddenly she started feeling numbness in her hands. Her body felt hot. She was gasping for breath & blacked out for almost 5 minutes. Joe, her husband, immediately called up the family doctor.
After talking for a while, the doctor made a shocking revelation– “Julie is a chronic case of depression.” Joe’s heart skipped a beat. How was this even possible? After all, they were living a healthy lifestyle by exercising daily and keeping themselves busy.
She did get some short panic attacks last month but then who cares to take anxiety seriously until it knocks you down unexpectedly.
The doctor prescribed some anti-depressants. He tried to analyse the cause of anxiety. Julie was spending most of her day consuming updates on the pandemic on television and social media.
Without even realizing, the uncertainty and stress of the Coronavirus started taking a serious mental toll on her. She was a social butterfly! The isolation forced by quarantine and the feeling of being cut off from parents, friends, relatives began to have an unpleasant effect on her mental health. Making arrangements for grocery and medicines during the lockdown became a challenge. Deep inside, she was constantly fearing what will happen if her own family became a victim of Coronavirus.
Can you relate to Julie’s story? Almost every family has been through this during COVID pandemic.
So how do you even know that your mental health isn’t in a good state?
Someone can be perfectly healthy and yet feel as though there is something wrong with them.
Mental health awareness is important, even more, in today’s depressing times. If you are experiencing these symptoms, be wary my friend, could be a red flag!
1. An awkward fear
2. Numbness in body
3. Low mood
5. Emotional exhaustion
6. Mood swings
7. Unreasonable anger
Julie focused more on exercising. There were a few routine workouts that she did. But she used to binge eat & that was a problem.
Ultimately you are what you eat and laughter is brightest where food is best. For sure she learnt that she needs to change what food she is gorging on mindlessly with special focus on mental health.
So here we are sharing some quintessential ways to boost your mental soundness. But, first things first.
What you should avoid at all costs?
1. Processed food – Start eliminating anything that is white or processed or carbonated in your meals. White sauce, pasta, fast food, gluten food, cold drinks – Strike these off your menu.
2. Sugar – Processed sugar is sweet poison. If you consume it moderately and don’t have any blood sugar problems, you are blessed. But if you over-consume or have a history of increased blood sugar levels, it will further trigger an imbalance in brain chemicals and increase the risk of developing a long term mental disorder. You may have abrupt mood swings. Trust me, it will completely zap your brainpower!
Anxiety loves sugar. To satisfy your sweet tooth, replace sugar with sweet potatoes, jaggery, honey, dates, coconut sugar, juices sans extra sugar.
What you should have at all costs?
Foods: Some super-foods deliver serious nutritional value for mental health and should have a permanent place in your kitchen or refrigerator:
1. Berries – Are full of antioxidants. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries boost your mental health in magical ways. Antioxidants repair cells that get damaged by pollutants. Berries also improve concentration.
2. Walnuts – Walnuts look like a brain & that’s nature’s way of telling us they are good for mental health. They are full of antioxidants and help in the growth of brain cells. Include them in your diet, daily.
3. Whole Grains – Oats, Quinoa and Barley are some of the whole grains rich in vitamin B that reduce inflammation of the brain. They also promote flow of blood to the brain. Your brain is happy when blood can flow to it easily! 🙂
4. Beans – Beans stabilize blood sugar levels & also provide energy to the brain. Add some lentils and black beans to your meal. Beans are the secret to your brain’s energy!
5. Oily fish – Is also called the ‘brain food’. It has omega 3 fatty acid that contributes to optimal brain health and reduces anxiety. In case you ain’t fond of seafood, you can go for fish oil supplements.
Other powerful ways, that you just shouldn’t ignore, to fight depression
Food is just a part of your overall mental wellness plan. Shaking & moving your body a bit, ensures your muscles & nerves don’t shrink and your brain is conditioned well.
1. Make a daily exercise routine: Depending on your fitness levels, start exercising daily. Begin with short bursts of exercise like walking, skipping, stretching, yoga, burpees or something you can do while sitting on the sofa or chair or bed. It’s that simple!
For anxiety, HIIT or high-intensity interval training is the BEST! When you exercise, endorphins are released that boost your mood. Tweak your routine, the moment it gets monotonous. Take up some cool fitness challenges with your buddies if exercises bore you.
2. Practise meditation – Whether it is allopathy, ayurveda or homoeopathy, each one of these swears by meditation to calm down a hyperactive mind. Those who meditate regularly have better chances of recovering from any disease. It helps to manage negative emotions & makes you feel relaxed. Mindful meditation is becoming very popular these days. Start your meditation routine with 5 minutes and gradually increase the time. Nothing can be as easy as breathing in and breathing out, trust us!
3. Give up on your drinking habits: People turn to alcohol to improve their mood and they get an instant ‘high’ after gulping a peg or two. In reality, alcohol intoxicates your mind. People soon get stuck in the cycle of addiction. Drink water instead! Squeeze half a lemon or add a spoonful of apple cider vinegar to it and just see the wonders it does to your body.
4. Watch comedy shows: A good laugh reduces stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine, creating a relaxed environment for the mind. It also improves oxygen flow and releases tension in the muscles. FRIENDS, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Two and a half men, The Kapil Sharma show, there are plenty of them to cheer you up. Stand up comedy shows are instant mood lifters.. Once you start watching, I swear your brain will begin discoing & forget that it has 100 billion neurons to take care of.
5. Sleep: Last but not the least; don’t forget the power of sleep. It’s nature’s panacea and more powerful than any drug in the world. At least 7 hours of sleep a day is necessary for your body to nourish. So keep calm and get your share of beauty sleep, every single day!
Relax! Eat well, sleep well, exercise regularly and try to avoid seeking to much information on COVID-19 updates.
On a more serious note
If you are really losing your enthusiasm for life or getting thoughts of harming yourself or others, see a psychiatrist without delay. If any of your fellas are going through this phase, never leave them alone. Talk about their past accomplishments and share success stories with them. Make them wanted and let them know how their absence might affect their loved ones negatively. More than anything, teach them self-love. Nothing matters more than their own mental health.
Believe in yourself! Depression is not a stigma. Talk it out. It’s only when you don’t talk about it, stigma wins.
So, be a fitnessista. Take charge of your mental health, starting today!
An ‘Alexa’ for Doctors? Why Not? Said This Techie
He is the mastermind behind the clinical voice assistant tool. And he has a vision of having healthcare professionals with no burnouts.
We’re sure that most of you are aware of the first three voice assistants and are using those in your day-to-day life.
Now, you might be wondering what this fourth one is?!
Well, you will get to know about that in no time but before that; do you know,
A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine states that physicians spend 27% of their time consulting patients?
And do you know where do physicians spend 49.2% of their remaining time?
It is in doing paperwork! And it also includes the use of the EHR (Electric Health Record) system.
The primary reasons behind physicians’ burnout could be:
- No help available for doctors and physicians to do paperwork
- Clinics and hospitals are reluctant to invest in clerical and administrative support
Well, it is! It is totally related to our talks.
There is a technology that can assist the doctors in the monotonous documentation work; saves the precious time of the patients’ as well as their own.
And that technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Leveraging this same technology, a US-based startup founded by Punit Soni has developed a clinical voice assistant named Suki.
It is aiming to help doctors and physicians with documentation work, and create more time for doctors to treat their patients, which is indeed their primary job.
A brilliant move of technology into the healthcare system, don’t you think?
Also read: Top Impactful Crypto Projects in 2021
The Beginning of Suki
The co-founder of Suki, Punit, is a techie guy who has served as lead project manager for 8 years in Google, and chief product officer in Flipkart.
He was mainly into the development of mobile applications and games.
So, how did this nerdy techie get introduced into the healthcare system?
It was when he shadowed the doctors in a clinic.
When he was in the clinic, there was a stressful situation wherein many patients were getting treated, and many intense works were taking place.
In such a situation, the most distracted persons he could find were the doctors!
Because he found them immersed in the documentation work instead of treating the patients.
This was when he came up with the thought of creating a tool that can assist the healthcare professionals in doing the paperwork. And hence they could focus on their patients with more care and empathy.
And in 2016, Punit started his journey in the healthcare industry by launching Suki.
A Much-Needed Tool for Physicians
How does Suki work?
This clinical voice assistant records, transcribes, and organizes doctors’ conversations with their patients. And then, it completes the data entry that is required for EHR.
By taking care of this tedious documentation process, Suki has enhanced the relationship between a doctor and a patient.
As per a recent white paper published by Suki, this voice assistant has increased the time spent by the doctors with their patients by 12% by cutting down the note-taking time by 76%.
This is undoubtedly a win-win situation for both patients and doctors.
When a happy and stress-free physician spends more time with the patients, treatment would be more effective. And that would cause faster recovery.
And for the doctors, the application of voice assistant brings a financial benefit of $30,000 or more a year on average.
And hence, Suki, as a tool, has improved the healthcare system by :
- Structuring the format of the healthcare management
- Happier physicians with no burnout
- Increase in the profit of healthcare organization, and
- A better outcome for patients
In one of his interviews, Punit expressed that the feedback from the CIO (Chief Information Officer), CMIO (Chief Medical Informatics Officer), and administrators were critical for Suki.
But what mattered to him the most was how Suki would help physicians work professionally and make their lives easier.
He is undoubtedly the rarest technology professional who realized that physician burnout is the most critical public health crisis that had to be addressed.
The Challenges He Had to Face
The journey of Suki was not a cakewalk.
Punit, and his technology team, had little to no idea about how a day would be like in a physician’s life, or they couldn’t spare time to observe and study their workflow.
So, to get access to the data that would help him develop Suki, he took physicians onboard as his colleagues.
Was it an effortless task for him to recruit and keep physicians in his team?
No, not at all.
It became difficult for Punit to create a workspace that could be ideal for both physicians and techies.
But he knew that to make Suki a success, both technologists and physicians had to work hand in hand. Therefore, even though it was challenging to understand each other’s work culture, ethics, and process, it was all worth it in the end.
The next challenge ahead of him was getting permission from physicians to introduce Suki in clinics and hospitals.
But most of the physicians did not agree to use the tool that was built only for them.
Before Suki, the technology field had developed many tools for physicians but not keeping them in mind.
These tools, instead of easing their work, added more burden on them. They used these tools only because the system forced them to do so.
When Punit approached them with Suki, most of the physicians were hesitant. But he assured them, saying that, if they used it, from day 1, their time spent on paperwork would reduce by 50 – 70%.
And guess what?
Physicians and the healthcare system agreed to welcome Suki.
And hence, it got its entry into the healthcare industry.
Even after Suki’s successful launch, Punit had to address questions regarding his intention behind this tool.
“Are you going to replace doctors with Suki?”, many curious people couldn’t resist but ask him.
He replied with an explanation that Suki has no intention of replacing doctors. But only to assist them so that they could do their job of treating their patients in the best way possible.
How could anyone think of replacing our super strong-minded professional folks, isn’t it?
What’s New in Suki?
“It was a tough job to make Suki a reliable, seamless, perfect and consistent tool for healthcare, where one can not entertain mistakes,” says Punit.
He has plans of scaling up Suki and making it even more reliable and efficient.
In this direction, Suki has come up with a newly updated platform that incorporates data collected by Suki and teaches the AI to respond to the users faster and accurately.
And that is S3 or the Suki Speech Service platform. With this new upgrade, doctors can communicate with Suki casually, without confusing it.
Punit has a vision of making Suki an invisible and assistive tool to the healthcare professionals, and hopes that many technologies would show up to upgrade the healthcare industry.
We, at TBM, wish the team of Suki all the best for future endeavours. And hope that Suki would bring a smile on each physicians’ face because they deserve it.
An Entrepreneur Who Aims to Save Womanhood from Breast Cancer
Her personal loss made her realize the importance of breast health and make a world free of breast cancer deaths.
According to the Breast Cancer Statistics report, there were 1,62,468 new breast cancer cases and 87,090 deaths in 2018.
Every 4 minutes, an Indian woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and it accounts for 14% of cancers in Indian women.
These statistics prove that breast cancer has become common, and is affecting Indian women to a large extent.
To make women aware of their breast health, and detect breast cancer at an earlier stage, a Bangalore-based woman came forward with her innovation.
She is Dr Geetha Manjunath, who joined hands with her colleague Nidhi Mathur, to build an artificial intelligence-based healthcare startup known as Niramai Health Analytix.
Niramai aims to bridge the gap between demand and supply in quality healthcare, and owns 9 US patents and 1 Canadian patent.
This is not all. Dr Geetha’s Niramai is the only Indian company listed in the 2019 Cohort of AI 100 startups in the world.
A Tragedy that Led to a New Beginning
All was well in Dr Geetha’s life until news broke about her beloved cousin’s last stage breast cancer.
She was shocked. She couldn’t believe that her cousin had only a few months left in her hand.
Before she could come to terms with this loss, she had to face another tragedy, and this time it was her sister-in-law.
And the cause of the death?
Again, breast cancer.
She thought to herself, “Why couldn’t her cousin and sister-in-law detect this disease in the earlier stage?”
She decided to find out the answer.
As she was researching, she found out 4 reasons why Indian women don’t check their breast health.
- The present detection method, Mammography, is costly (3500/- per test)
- This detection method doesn’t work on women below 45 years of age
- It is inaccessible in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India
- The stigma or shyness attached to breast health problems among women
She also found out women visit the doctor only after realizing a lump in the breast (almost 25 mm in size!).
And this is the indication of stage 3 or stage 4 of breast cancer, after which none of the treatments would work.
And this is the reason for the 50 to 60% mortality rate in breast cancer!
Dr Geetha realized early detection is the key to breast cancer treatment.
And she also found that the current detection technology uses the X rays, increasing cancer risk in women upon continuous exposure.
So Dr Geetha decided to look for a radiation-free, pain-free, affordable and accessible solution.
This is how Niramai came into existence in 2016 to innovate an early detection method for breast cancer.
She Used Her Expertise to Bring the Change
Soon after realizing that more focus, learning and hard work is required for her innovation, she decided to quit her job at Xerox Research Centre.
A woman with determination to solve a prevailing problem, don’t you agree?
During her interaction with radiologists, she came across the concept of thermal imaging, which is radiation free.
She got fascinated and enquired about why this method has not been included in the detection process.
She found out, from many doctors and health care specialists, that thermal imaging is complicated to interpret and is error-prone.
So she decided to make this thermal imaging easier to interpret with artificial intelligence and machine learning.
You may be wondering how Dr Geetha is familiar with these technologies?
Fortunately, she has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) from IISc, Bangalore.
Thus, she developed software using these technologies that could analyze and interpret complex data patterns.
And hence, she came up with the new innovative detection method for breast cancer – Thermalatyx.
Innovation That Can Save Many Lives
“Innovation is seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking what nobody has thought”- Dr Albert Sunt -Gyorgyi.
Dr Geetha had a thought that nobody had imagined before, which led to the discovery of Thermalatyx.
In Thermolatyx method, a thermosensor is placed at a distance of 3 feet from a woman. It identifies 400,000 temperature values around the chest and measures the temperature variations.
And the software developed with AI and ML analyzes these temperature variations.
If a tumour is present, the temperature surrounding it would be high.
This high-temperature pattern could be because of the irregular cell division, higher metabolic rate, or higher blood flow rate at the tumour region.
These higher temperature patterns could be identified and analyzed by the software, and would help determine the likelihood of cancer formation or any other infections in the breasts.
Is it that simple? No, says Dr Geetha.
The higher temperature patterns could be because of many reasons.
She believed that to determine whether the higher temperature patterns are because of tumour formation or not, ML could play a significant role.
Dr Geetha says one has to teach the ML model to study and analyze the complex patterns, and that’s what she did.
She trained her ML model by using several cancerous and non-cancerous thermal images. Hence, her model could identify the temperature patterns associated with tumour formation.
And the outcome?
Every woman can receive an accurate and reliable breast health report.
Women whole-heartedly welcomed this detection method because it is safe, non-touch, radiation-free, low-cost and last but not least, is privacy-aware.
Not Only for India But for the World
Do you know what Niramai means?
It means to be free from illness or diseases in the Sanskrit language.
This is what Dr Geetha and her team hopes for womanhood and the entire world.
She believes that late detection of breast cancer is a global problem. She wants to reach every woman by making Thermalatyx available at hospitals, diagnostic centres, corporate offices, and rural areas.
Dr Geetha aims to expand Niramai to other Asian countries, the US and Europe.
She hopes that one day the same technology could be used to detect the other abnormalities.
TBM is proud of Dr Geetha and the Niramai team, trying to stop painful deaths due to breast cancer, which is easily curable if detected earlier.
Digital Detoxing Is No Longer a Concept but a Reality
Can you live without a mobile phone for a day?
Ever since the pandemic, a new buzzword has been playing around; “digital detox”.The sectors that were hit the worst, Tourism and Hospitality, were quick to pick up the trend, and tap on new-market gaps. They are promoting resorts that are technology-free, with new vacation packages, and day camps which makes people forget the digital world and live in the real world.
Individuals are getting dependent on the web and continually checking their digital devices when the notification chimes.
Some even blame digitality for separating us from reality. Because reality is way different than what is the perceived reality online.
Digital Marketer Sorav Jain addressed a very important question. He vouched that he practises digital detox and even ideated a challenge promoting a Digital Free Day. But can you afford to take a break when your entire business runs digitally?
Ah! How Innovation “Helped” Us
From the gas lines we use to cook food, the electricity that helps us light the night to the mobile phones that let us connect to someone miles away, technology is something that we see everywhere.
With the rapid digitization of content came the new drug, “social media”. A boon or a bane for the society? Well, the question is yet to be answered.
Social media lets us connect to the world. We can now see how humans act like apes just for the sake of publicity or the dance steps of a gorilla that we never saw in real life.
According to The Hindu, an average Indian spends about 2.4 hours daily using different social networking sites. The fact alone explains how innovation has destroyed the most important asset to mankind, Time.
The time that could have been spent doing recreational activities, is spent scrolling down Insta and Twitter feeds, reading people’s opinions, and getting depressed over how they don’t have the same opinion as us. As a result, giving rise to discontentment in lives.
Also read: Technology Induced Poverty
People Would Laugh If I Don’t Know What’s Popular
The one thing that makes everyone adopt the trends of social media is the fear that they would be alienated by others if they don’t do so.
A rise in prescription glasses, cases of depression, and failures in work and study life don’t become problems when we are *cool* among a group of individuals.
And who defines this coolness? The number of followers we have on our social media life.
Arjun, an IT worker, after working his ass off for his company, finally goes on a tour. Now while on the tour, he keeps on clicking pictures, keeps telling people that he’s doing this, doing that, and spends all that time on his mobile.
After 2 weeks he’s back to work, the people asking about his trip stop texting him, and he’s an ordinary worker again, who instead of being refreshed, feels all haggard.
He missed out on savoring the street food, he missed out on enjoying the surrounding scenery that could relieve him, he missed out on conversations he could have had with strangers, missed out on making friends he could have met just for the sake of keeping appearances.
What was so important that Arjun, after working so hard, could not give up his mobile phone? The answer’s simple FOMO i.e the Fear Of Missing Out.
This is what technology is doing to us. Rather than loving ourselves as who we are, we project ourselves as something others will love. The fake us, who become hated the moment we say something that’s not accepted by society, and these haters are the same who claimed to love the dignified, perfect “us”.
Mind You, The Shrinks Know What They’re Saying!
The psychologists we normally refer to as shrinks – because of course, we cannot accept that something is wrong with our mental health – unless we start blabbering noises in the air. We live in our bubble refusing to accept what they preach that anxiety arises due to the excessive use of gadgets.
People are obsessed with their follower’s count, the number of likes their posts get, and the number of retweets. With the retweets, the obsession gives rise to anxiety which results in a fear of losing something we haven’t even obtained yet.
And it’s not even just the so-called *influencers*, to the reader, would you feel comfortable if your phone is left out at some feet away from you without a lock? Would you feel okay if you don’t check your phone when you get a notification?
The answer is there in your mind.
Forget The Blabber, Get To The Heart Of The Matter
Technology is both a blessing and a curse. It is the coin of transformation having both good and bad effects.
It has made data recording easier; it has helped make information available to many and more; it has created a number of work opportunities for people including me, the writer of this article.
Even the social media *influencers* have benefited as they can promote different brands who pay them for their reviews. Artists can sell their art through different platforms. Authors have been able to get their work known to people who don’t even read.
So yes, the fact that technology has helped us alleviate our lives is undeniable, but the fact that it harmed us in many ways remains.
Digital Detox is the New Rehab
In the beginning, it was already mentioned that instead of becoming a source of entertainment the digital devices have become a drug, an addiction that needs rehabilitation facilities to be free from it, and from this comes the idea of digital detoxing.
Digital detoxing isn’t a new concept; the process is very much prevalent in society. People go on technology free stations just to get rid of innovation-induced anxiety and enjoy life.
Indian parents are especially popular for taking their children’s digital devices so that the child can concentrate on academics. Now, we have no one to comment on that, but what we can talk about is whether completely getting rid of the devices is worth it?
Let’s go back to Arjun’s case from above and think about it from a different scenario. Arjun goes on his trip, without his phone. Enjoys life, makes real friends, savors food and even falls in love!
But, when he comes back there’s a surprise waiting for him. Waiting on his office desk is his life-time soulmate, his computer.
Refreshed from his trip, Arjun is in full energy and has decided to work even more efficiently and when he opens his laptop, he’s bombarded with a horde of emails asking him about various things, and an end amount of work that he won’t be able to finish in the upcoming days at all.
So, was it worth it? Was leaving his devices and cutting off the solution? Well no.
Let’s Play Safe!
Digital detox is definitely a cure to the anxiety that arises due to the use of technology. And as popularly said, “excess of anything is bad.”
So let’s agree to disagree with the companies providing technology-free vacation packages and rather than having the third parties detox our lives, let’s keep the responsibility on our shoulders.
Detaching from advanced devices resembles putting our heads in the sand. It keeps us from asking how innovations are transforming us and whether it is to improve things or not. It additionally prevents us from recovering these advancements and repurposing them for various objectives and values.
Digital Detoxing Is No Longer a Concept But a Reality
The widespread concept of digital detoxing, when accepted as reality changes the way of viewing things. Rather than completely detoxifying, minimizing the use of devices on a daily scale is the way to go for rehab.
- Deciding for specified time durations in the day during which the use of devices is strictly prohibited by oneself
- Going on walks daily
- Going grocery shopping rather than ordering everything online from home
- Reducing the use of social media and increasing the number of conversation we have with our family
- Limiting the use of technology access for our children
- Switching off our notifications or just switching off the internet routers
All are methods of digital detoxification, just on a scale that won’t make our devices’ notifications go on a rampage and also help in keeping the selfie-induced anxiety at bay.
Digital detox is a method to detoxify the mind from the issues such as missing out on useless things, getting fewer likes, or just the fear of our devices laying far away from us by distancing ourselves from the world of the internet for specific periods.
A concept turned into reality, it’s high time, my dear reader, you too shut off your device, switch off the internet, and have a deep conversation with your family, friends, pets, or just anyone around you. You can talk and discuss just how beautiful it is to be alive in the real world.
In fact, for the upcoming 6 months make a specific time zone when there’s no Instagram, no twitter, no WhatsApp, no Facebook. Don’t let your phone be the first and the last thing you see before going to bed. Do this, and you’ll slowly notice the change, the transformation you seek for.