Urgent Care – What Is It?

This is a health care service that is provided to those who have a medical condition or injury that requires medical attention. It is also less expensive to visit urgent care than going to the emergency room. Usually the medical care that is needed is within twenty-four hours after an injury has happened or you became sick. Urgent care is usually a clinic that is not attached to a hospital, but may be on the same grounds as the hospital. Many times patients who visit this type of clinic do have a regular physician but they cannot get in that day to see their physician or it is after hours at their physician. If their medical illness or medical condition is not serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room they can choose to go to urgent care instead.

These types of medical clinics began to emerge in the 1970s and many times health insurance companies strongly encouraged their clients to use this walk-in clinic whenever they needed medical care and either did not have a regular physician or could not get into see them. The reason that they encouraged their clients to use them were because of the reduced cost. The patients could also have their conditions treated before they reach emergency status and a trip to the emergency room was needed. One example is if your child had a sore throat and it was treated within twenty-four hours it was very manageable and could be treated with medicine for the sore throat and maybe an antibiotic along with rest. If it was ignored it could become very serious, especially if it was on a weekend, and might require a trip to the emergency room.

Many of these are walk-in clinics operate on a first-come-first-served basis so if it is crowded you may have a bit of a wait. Some may require you to make an appointment but guarantee that you will be seen within twenty-four hours. Depending on the level of the urgent care facility these clinics can offer a variety of medical services. If it becomes necessary the urgent care facility can send you to the hospital emergency room. Urgent care can also perform some basic medical testing, including medical imaging like ultrasounds and x-rays for the purpose of diagnosing what your problem is. After you have been seen at urgent care you will be advised to make a follow-up visit with your regular physician in the next couple of days or to come back if the condition becomes worse.

Stem Cells and the Aging Brain

Aging is a part and parcel of life, but as our body ages, our brains age too. Just like an aging body can be riddled with diseases and illnesses like arthritis, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, an aging brain too can be afflicted with sickness. The age-associated diseases that affect the brain are often clustered under the umbrella-term of ‘neurodegeneration’. Diseases like Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are some of the better known disorders that fall under this terminology.

Let us first understand what the term ‘neurodegeneration’ actually encompasses. The Oxford Dictionary defines neurodegeneration as the “Degeneration of the nervous system, especially of neurons in the brain”. According to the EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND), the nervous system of the human body comprises of neurons. In case they suffer damage, they do not possess the ability to repair, replace or reproduce themselves. This inability results in neurodegenerative diseases.

Previously, neurodegenerative diseases were believed to be incurable. However, with the gigantic steps towards advancement that medical science has taken in the recent years, scientists have been able to devise procedures that help in assisting individuals suffering from neurodegenerative disease. Stem cell therapy is among these advanced procedures that have recently shown positive results.

These cells are mother or master cells that have the ability to differentiate into other types of specialized cells through the process of mitosis. They can repair internal tissue damage by developing into a cell with a specialized function like a blood cell or brain cell. They also possess the ability to renew themselves.

Utilizing these type of cells to treat medical disorders and diseases is known as stem cell therapy. Transplantation of stem cells is the most common procedure used in this cell therapy. In cases of brain degeneration, stem cells are transplanted into the patient. These cells then become progenitor cells that work within the brain to maintain the neuron functions. Research has been conducted on animal models for diseases like Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis, which have provided optimistic outcomes.

In a symposium organized by EuroStemCell, Magdalena Götz, PhD, Helmholtz Zentrum München, spoke about the radial glial cells which are present in the neural stem cells and described them as “they look like glia, they smell like glia but they are actually the neural stem cells.” She further explained the development of brain cells and the possibility of guiding neural stem cells to locate and repair the injury site inside the brain, while also regenerating neurons.

Stem cell research is the future of neurology. With several clinical studies being conducted year after year, the use of the cells in this therapy in treating neurological disorders is constantly expanding. In India, the guidelines established by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting clinical studies have been revolutionised leading to extensive research being done in the field of stem cell therapy.

How to Save a Life: CPR

Perhaps you might be new to CPR, or were certified years ago; currency in saving lives from cardiac arrests is not a status that is merely a certification or knowledge showpiece. Keeping abreast of the latest updates and techniques in this lifesaving technique has never been more important in an era of rapid information dissemination; anyone out there now has a better opportunity to be a literal lifesaver, and it logically follows that timely interventions should have a higher probability of happening.

However, statistics aren’t that optimistic. The 2015 Heart and Stroke statistics by American Heart Association (AHA) revealed that heart disease remains the number one global cause of death with 17.3 million deaths each year, with an expected value of more than 23.6 million by 2030 through health data collected from more than 190 countries. Over 383,000 people in America alone on average suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and they don’t seem to be visibly sick on the outside along with no risk factors being recorded. It has also been reported that victims of cardiac arrest who had CPR administered to them (inclusive of bystander CPR and paramedic defibrillation) within the first 3 to 5 minutes of collapse had drastically increased survival rates by up to 25%.

So, should you learn, or re-learn CPR? Here are some summarized pointers on why you certainly should:

It’s easier now than ever to learn CPR.

Days going through courses in a classroom as the only way to get certified are long gone. Other than instructors with flexible timings, you can also learn through online programs offering high-quality instruction online nowadays based on standardised guidelines, with hands-on components and an in-person assessment of your skills. This definitely gives you more flexibility on how and when you wish to go through CPR courses.

Employees greatly appreciate it.

Other than adding another feather in your cap through this certification, it plays a practical role in boosting your employability in industries that requires this as a core skill, such as lifeguard, firefighters, teachers, personal trainers and so on. Even for industries where this isn’t required as a core, you never know when your skills could save a colleague’s life.

You can teach this skill to another person.

Other than being easy to learn and teach it, one of the best ways CPR saves lives is through increasing the number of people knowing how to use it. The more the individuals that know CPR, the better the chances of anyone out there being able to receive timely death-defying aid. It’s fast and easy to share a video demonstrating CPR to anyone around you, and doing so not only generates interest, but also indirectly saves a possible cardiac arrest case in the future.

Being able to save anyone’s life.

It is known that for every minute that an AED is unavailable, the victim has a 10% less chance of survival. Other than saving a stranger’s life, what other reason can be more compelling than being able to save a loved one? As 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes, with only 46% of these victims so far getting immediate help before professional help arriving, you would definitely want to prevent your loved one from becoming part of this statistic.