Convergence in the physical and virtual worlds offers huge potential for medical care

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Issue 118: 21 June 2022
Every week, HEADlines brings you the latest news, stories and commentaries
in education and healthcare. This week, get insights on the latest developments in healthcare.
Three ways the metaverse will shape healthcare
Metaverse, the latest hype in town, holds great potential to revolutionalise gaming, entertainment, commerce and social networking. What may be less obvious, is how metaverse is going to transform healthcare and that it is already doing so. 
For the uninitiated, the metaverse is a 3D immersive environment that amalgamates technologies like the internet, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain, to radically change how we interact between the physical and virtual worlds. 
What would this look like in a healthcare setting? 
  1. Telehealth & virtual hospitals - Traditional telemedicine services will be extended to the next level of immersion, allowing doctors to virtually examine patients through VR. Virtual hospitals will take away geographical boundaries, enabling 'in-person' healthcare access to patients in the most remote areas. 
  2. Digital twins - A 'digital twin' is a digital replica of the physical object, based on real-world data. Having a digital replica of a person opens up the opportunity for experimental treatments, procedures, or medication to be first tested on the 'digital twin', in order to find the best possible outcome for the patient. 
  3. Blockchain for health data security - As more patient data get digitalised, medical records will have to be safeguarded and mobilised in a secure way to protect privacy. The decentralised and cryptographic nature of blockchain makes it an ideal solution for medical data security. 

At many levels, the technologies behind metaverse are already being used in medical settings, for instance, VR and AR are already used in medical training and surgical procedures. However, it will likely take another decade for metaverse to fully mature and be used actively in hospitals and medical practices.
Healthcare in the Spotlight

After six months of experimental immunotherapy treatment, tumours vanished in all 14 patients diagnosed with early-stage rectal cancer.

The newly developed blood test measures the activation of T-cells, which are the cornerstone of the immune system's long-term memory against the virus.

If the FDA authorises the shot, it will be the fourth COVID vaccine available for use in adults in the United States.

Stigma and misperceptions about Alzheimer’s disease can negatively impact social interaction between friends and family members and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to specially roasted coffee, the shop offers TCM treatments and ice cream infused with TCM ingredients. It has found favor among young customers who appreciate healthy food.

A study found that robot-delivered mechanotherapy decreased muscle damage, boosted muscle repair, and reduced inflammation in mice with severe skeletal leg muscle injury.

Changes in the global climate mean such outbreaks are likely to become more common and widespread in the coming years.

The greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change also pollute our air, costing millions of lives each year.

A review article shows how dangerous climate-related threats are to children's well-being.
Source: Yahoo! News

Singapore recently released guidelines on how much physical activity and sleep are required for maintaining good health and well-being. Find out how you can yield better health outcomes at any age by referencing this guide.

That's all for the week!
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