Is Coronavirus an impending doom? Videos of civilians dropping dead in Wuhan and footages of hospital personnel there dressed in something that looks like spacesuit are going viral, and it seems like humanity counts its last months on the planet. But is it that bad? Fortunately, no, the situation is not that bad. In just a few weeks, everything will go back to normal, and all this chaos triggered by the outbreak will be remembered by an impeccable feat of Chinese authorities- building a thousand beds fully equipped hospital in only seven days.
That being said, let’s take a closer look at the Coronavirus, the disease it causes, treatments, precautionary measures, and what you can do to protect yourself against it.
The source of all the info in the article: World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What is Coronavirus?
The virus responsible for the outbreak in Wuhan belongs to a large group of Coronaviruses. All viruses in the group share some characteristics- for example, the structure of their RNA, genome structure, set of replication enzymes, etc. Those „highly technical“ characteristics of Coronaviruses fall into the realm of microbiology, and we won’t further discuss them in this article- they’re not crucial for the talk.
The infections caused by Coronaviruses
Coronaviruses have been around for a long time, causing mild respiratory infections in humans and gastrointestinal diseases in animals. In nature, the reservoir of infection is animals, and people get infected by sharing the same environment with them. That’s how the Wuhan outbreak started. Between humans, the disease is spread by an airborne route.
In the past, Coronaviruses were to blame for a mild common cold- the outbreaks would pop here and there, causing nothing more than a runny nose or flu-like symptoms.
In 2003 the attention of the public was drawn to the unusually aggressive respiratory virus that caused severe lung damage in some patients (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS). The SARS virus belongs to the group of Coronaviruses. This was the first time a member of the group causes such severe respiratory infection in humans. What was the death rate of SARS? The rate varied a lot among different age groups, ranging from under 1% in persons 24 years of age or younger, to 15% in persons 44 to 64 years old. Altogether, the death rate of SARS was estimated at 10%.
The Coronavirus everybody is buzzing about these days seems to be substantially less lethal than the SARS virus. It’s too early to tell, but judging by the numbers available so far, it appears that the death rate is at about 2%. A more detailed epidemiological insight into the viruses „death profile“ is not available yet.
The symptoms of Coronavirus infection
As mentioned, Coronaviruses cause respiratory infections in humans. The symptoms are unspecific and include runny nose, sore throat, cough, breathing difficulties, shiver, fever, fatigue, or malaise. In other words, judging by the symptoms, one could not make a distinction between Coronavirus infection and common cold or flu.
Compared with other seasonal respiratory infections, the virus tends to cause complications such as pneumonia or kidney failure more often. People with chronic diseases such as diabetes or pulmonary diseases are at higher risk of complications.
The footages of people dropping dead on the streets of Wuhan are a hoax.
Treatments for the Coronavirus
Like for almost all viruses out there, the treatment is symptomatic. This means that it is focused on preventing complications, supporting the patient’s immune system as much as possible, and keeping an eye on those at higher risk of complications. In other words, Coronavirus infection is treated like a common cold or flu.
In patients with a severe form of the disease, doctors might reach out for antibiotics as a precaution of bacterial infection on a terrain of viral pneumonia, for example.
What can you do to protect yourself against Coronavirus?
Prevention is key.
Proper personal hygiene. Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub. This kills microorganisms on your hands and reduces the risk of infection.
Social distancing is another tactic. At public places, maintain at least 1 meter distance from other people. The infections are transmitted by small droplets when someone sneezes- being too close to the person increases chances of you breathing in the droplets containing the virus. Public transportation, shopping malls, train stations, and similar places should be avoided whenever possible.
Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth. The virus invades its host through the mucous membranes of the body. It is extremely sensitive to external conditions, but once it reaches its receptors on epithelial cells, it quickly replicates and continues to invade the host.
If you have symptoms of flu or a common cold, ask for medical help. Most people who get infected recover quickly and thoroughly. However, some get complications that are challenging to treat. This is why it is essential to seek medical help early- just so that doctors could timely diagnose a severe form of a disease and start appropriate treatment.
Masks- yes or no? A mask can help in preventing the spread of the infection. However, when it comes to Coronavirus (and other viral infections), its effectiveness is limited. The mask should be worn correctly and replaced with a new one every 2 hours. Earlier research mask effectiveness showed that they are not as nearly as important as the preventive measures listed above. While wearing a mask does reduce the risk of infection, the level of protection it provides is controversial.
What makes Coronavirus a threat to the world?
The importance of the infection lies in the fact that it has the potential to affect large percentage of population in short period (particularly working population) that way significantly slowing down the entire economy. While the death rate among those infected by the virus in Wuhan is not negligible, it is far below that of the SARS outbreak in 2003. Also, the situation is not new to public health experts- humanity faces the threat of pandemic viruses every ten years or so. From time to time, conditions for the perfect storm align, and the outbreak that has the potential to spread across the entire globe bursts. That’s the risk of living in a modern world in which one person may be in the far East and 24 hours later walking around Manhattan or Toronto.
The abnormal cervical cells symptoms are considered unspecific. This means that neither a physician nor a patient can rely solely on the symptoms when concluding how severe the condition in the background may be. However, although unspecific, they help navigate the medical investigation in the right direction and make an accurate diagnosis.
We have to underline that regular checkups, no matter the symptoms, are the only way for a safe follow-up and timely detection of potentially malignant pathologies. Thus, the most important symptom for appointing a gynecologist examination is the fact that more than one year has passed since the last one.
That being said, let’s take a look at the common abnormal cervical cells symptoms some women experience and the conditions that might lie in the background.
Nabothian cysts 1, 2
Nabothian cysts are common and benign conditions on the cervix and are often seen as multiple cystic lesions. Their size varies, from only a few millimeters in diameter to a few centimeters (in literature, there have been reports of giant nabothian cysts with a diameter of 10 or even more centimeters, but those are quite unusual). Typically, they are asymptomatic, but they may present as a sense of fullness or pain (especially in case of larger cysts), although rarely. They usually occur after childbirth or minor trauma. Although benign, the Nabothian cysts sometimes may appear as malignant lesions, and in such cases further medical examination (MRI) is necessary to resolve the dilemma. If symptomatic, they can be surgically removed.
Cervical Ectropion 2, 3
The condition is also known as cervical ectopy or erosion, and it is actually a benign condition. It occurs when the epithelium of the cervix inside protrudes to its vaginal portion (normally, the epithelial cells of the inside differ from those in the vaginal portion in a sense that they are less resistant to mechanical trauma). The ectropion appears as a reddish patch on the cervix (seen during the pelvic examination). It is commonly seen in adolescents, pregnant women and among those who use oral contraceptive pills (as a means to prevent pregnancy or to treat polycystic ovaries syndrome). The typical symptom is clean to yellowish vaginal discharge without odor. Also, some patients experience spotting, postcoital bleeding or painful intercourse.
Cervical Polyps 2, 4
Cervical polyps are commonly seen in women after the age of 20 who have had at least one child. There are two main types of these polyps:
If they grow inside the cervical canal, they are called endocervical (more common than the other type, usually seen in premenopausal women).
If they grow from the outer surface of the cervix, they are called ectocervical (more common in postmenopausal women)
Cervical polyps do not usually appear in the period of preadolescence. They look like greyish-white, reddish-purple, or cherry-red and manifest themselves as round buds on thin stems, 1-2 centimeters in diameter.
The polyps are typically asymptomatic, but in some patients can cause heavier blood loss during the menstrual bleeding, bleeding or spotting after intercourse/ between the periods or vaginal discharge (which may be foul-smelling, giving that polyps in some patients develop on a terrain of chronic infection). They are usually diagnosed on routine pelvic examination.
It is still unclear why do they occur, but the research evidence suggests that chronic infection plays certain role in their pathogenesis.
Although the lesions are benign, they certainly need a follow-up. In some cases but rarely they are mistaken to be rare forms of malignancies or become malignant themselves (the chances for malignant alteration are estimated at 1:1000).
Cervicitis 1, 2, 5
Cervicitis relates to inflammation of the cervix, no matter its cause. It can be acute or chronic, infectious, or non-infectious. Chlamydia, gonococcus, trichomonas vaginalis, HPV, and Herpes are the most frequent infective agents that cause it. Different pathological entities act differently and carry various long term health risks. It is essential to point out that chronic inflammatory conditions can lead to several irreversible health issues, including cancer, in the long term (this “rule” applies not only to the area of the cervix but to the entire body as well). The typical symptom of cervicitis is a vaginal discharge (patients often report odor), pain (or painful coitus) or spotting (or postcoital bleeding). Quite often, the inflammation is asymptomatic and is discovered during a routine pelvic examination. Some infective agents can cause infertility, and some can cause miscarriage or severe congenital malformations. Giving the fact that the health risk connected to infective cervicitis is high and it is often asymptomatic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends screening of all sexually active women.
Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) and cervical cancer 6
The condition occurs as a consequence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (not necessarily). But what exactly is the cervical intraepithelial neoplasia? This term is used to describe subtle changes seen in cells of cervix as they transform from healthy cells to cancerous ones. The process is slow and takes 10 to 20 years to go from CIN 1 to cervical cancer. There are three different shades of CIN 1, 2, and 3. The grading system concerns the depth to which the changed cells have reached, so CIN 1 means less than one-third of the cervical epithelium is changed, CIN 2 one to two thirds and CIN 3 more than two thirds. When it comes to grading CIN, its thickness is not the only parameter in decision making. The microscopic appearance of the cells and some biochemical markers plays a role as well.
There are more than 100 strains of HPV, and not all are equally cancerous. Types 16 and 18 are responsible for 75-80% of all cases of cervical cancer worldwide.
The symptoms of CIN are unspecific. Some patients are asymptomatic; others present with abnormal vaginal discharge or pelvic pain.
The abnormal cervical cells symptoms are unspecific. Without a routine pelvic exam in combination with other diagnostic tools (pap-smear, ultrasound, etc.), it is impossible to establish an accurate diagnosis. Also, abnormal cervical cells may be asymptomatic. This is why it is so important to do the annual checkups and follow screening guidelines (health professionals are regularly updated with these guidelines).
Generally speaking, the abnormal cervical cells symptoms include changes in the appearance or volume of the vaginal discharge, pain in the pelvic area (that may be in relation to intercourse, or occur without obvious explanation) and bleeding (abnormal bleeding of any intensity and volume).
El-Agwany A. S. (2018). Large Multilocular Cystic Lesions in the Uterine Cervix: Differential Diagnosis and Significance. Journal of medical ultrasound, 26(3), 153–156.
Casey, P. M., Long, M. E., &Marnach, M. L. (2011). Abnormal cervical appearance: what to do, when to worry?. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 86(2), 147–151.
Mitchell, L., King, M., Brillhart, H., & Goldstein, A. (2017). Cervical Ectropion May Be a Cause of Desquamative Inflammatory Vaginitis. Sexual medicine, 5(3), e212–e214.
Cervical polyps in postmenopausal women: is there a difference in risk? Schnatz PF, Ricci S, O’Sullivan DM Menopause. 2009 May-Jun; 16(3):524-8.
Young C, Argáez C. Management and Treatment of Cervicitis: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2017 Sep 21.
The field of Orthopedics surgery is related to the complications and treatment of the musculoskeletal system in a human body. This field focuses on the complications arising in bones, muscles, joints, and ligaments in a human body. Surgeons adopt both surgical and non-surgical methods in treating fractures, injuries and spine problems.
You can go to an Orthopedist to diagnose any problem related to joints, muscles or bones. They can advise you on how to prevent the same and can provide treatment if it’s the best course to take. Athletes, bodybuilders and sports person also tend to develop complications related to muscles and spine which can be treated by orthopedic surgery.
The Growing Need of More Orthopedists
It is true that orthopedists are few in numbers. This increases the misery of patients around the globe to find qualified orthopedists for their treatment. There is a huge waiting list for patients as it’s pretty hard to get a consultation with an orthopedist. This is for a simple reason that demand exceeds supply. There are countless patients but a limited number of doctors. So there is a need to promote this field of medical science with students to pick this as their career.
Orthopedic Advancements in Cuba
This is worth mentioning that Cuba has a countless number of Orthopedists who are keen on treating patients. So, this can be your next possible destination to cure your musculoskeletal disease. Most of Americans and Canadians go to Cuba to treat their problems as Cuba has become very popular in the field of Orthopedics.
The use of latest technology and medical equipment has also played a major role in the advancement of orthopedics in Cuba. Technology advancements have made it easier to handle patients without performing large incisions in their body. Orthopedic patients can be treated with much less intrusion which will help them to heal relatively faster. This resulted in very low pain infliction patients and less amount of blood loss. Orthopedists can now have a 3D (before 2D) look of the spine which increases the chances of a successful surgery.
In Addition, Cuba Offers the Following Surgical and Treatment Procedures
CubaHeal is adamant in providing the patient with all the logistical support such processing treatment requests, gaining treatment approval, and booking and visa granting support. Furthermore, our Cuban field team carries translation and personal support services and tasks for the patient and to eliminate all social boundaries and to ensure proper treatment can be availed by anyone at anytime in Cuba.
Cancer is clearly the deadliest disease known worldwide as it is the second leading cause of deaths globally with an estimated prevalence of one in three people developing cancer during their lifetime .
The term Cancer defines a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body; the pathological mechanism of cancer is the transformation of normal healthy cells that become abnormal and proliferate excessively. These disordered cells eventually form a mass called malignant tumor. Cancer cells tend to invade nearby tissues and become detached from the tumor. They then migrate through the blood vessels and lymphatics to form another tumor (metastasis).
The most commonly diagnosed cancers in the world are lung, breast and colorectal cancer AND The most common deaths are caused by lung cancer, stomach and liver cancer.
The definitive cure for cancer still does not exist nowadays and we can also say that the cancer response will never come from a single miracle pill , but complete remission has been achieved in many cases in response to various treatments.
treatment of cancer requires having a diagnosis of certainty and knowing the type of cancer; evaluation of local and regional extension and the presence or absence of metastases with assessment of the general condition of the patient (age, cardiac and renal function, presence of other diseases).
The classic cancer therapies include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy that aim to remove cancer cells surgically and destroy them by toxic chemicals that are also toxic to normal cells as well, these classic therapies rarely succeed to eradicate every single cancer cell, so even if few cancerous cells survive the therapy, they can proliferate again and produce a relapse of the disease few months or years later
Cancer treatment definetly changed over the last decades with the emerging of new strategies based on better understanding of cancer cell biology , these new therapies include : antibodies ,viral therapy and antiangiogenic drugs that stop tumors from growing new blood vessels
one leading research in the treatment of lung cancer, which is one of the deadliest cancers, is the CimaVax-EGF: a vaccine used to treat patients with lung cancer and as a preventive measure for people at high risk of suffering from this disease. At present, this drug is available in the country’s hospital network, and it has been registered in several countries.
With Trials organized in the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Serbia that showed increased a chance of survival.
CIMAvax is based on a unique mechanism because it starves cancer cells : It does not target the cancer cells directly, but is expected to work against these cancers by denying the cancers the growth stimulus they require.
In addition, Cuban scientists have just completed their research on two other promising cancer drugs: Racotumomab and VSSP. The first acts on a molecule present in all cancer cells, which means that this drug may one day be effective against leukemia and tumors of the lung, breast, prostate and colon, while the VSSP, designed to Originally as a compound to activate the immune response to vaccines, it also seems to stimulate the immune response to cancer.
Nimotuzumab is also used to treat many types of head and neck cancers, including those that form on the mucous surfaces of the mouth, nose, brain and nasopharynx. This drug can bind epidermal growth factor receptors in cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a key target in the development of cancer therapeutics, it is a signaling protein that normally controls cell division. In some cancers, this receptor is altered to cause uncontrolled cell division, a hallmark of cancer, nimotuzumab works by blocking that receptor and eventually it stops the uncontrolled cell division.
Cuban Approach to Cancer Treatment:
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Cuba. This is partly due to longer life expectancy but also to the adoption of unhealthy lifestyles. Too many people abuse alcohol, have an unbalanced diet and consume tobacco
To cope with this situation, Cuba has followed the recommendations of the World Health Organization and has put in place a comprehensive national plan that guarantees access to all levels of health services – prevention, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care. The plan builds on a strong primary care system that allows physicians to see their patients regularly and detect health problems early. Patients suspected of having cancer are referred to specialized centers for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
To support this approach, the government has invested heavily in biotechnology. In recent years, Cuban scientists have made tremendous progress in finding new treatments for cancer and new tools to improve diagnosis and prevention.
Early detection of cancer remains the ultimate treatment option: Screening in both healthy and high-risk populations offers the opportunity to detect cancer early and with an increased opportunity for treatment and curative intent
Screening for the identification of cancer or precancerous lesions at an early stage of its development greatly increases the chances of successful treatment. It is based on screening, but also on the education of patients with early diagnosis, when it comes to early detection of cancer awareness is the most important factor, some early signs of cancer include lumps, sores that fail to heal, abnormal bleeding, persistent
indigestion, and chronic hoarseness. Certain types of cancer are accessible to simple tests that identify, in a healthy population, subjects who have cancer but do not yet have symptoms. This is particularly the case with breast, colorectal and cervical cancers.
Cuba is at the forefront of orthopedic surgery, continuously evolving, creating new surgical techniques, designing medical devices, and improving patient’s quality of life. Hospitals in Cuba adhere to a strict conduit of hygiene, while also providing patient-center medical care. Due to the high standards of professionalism and efficiency that hospitals and medical staff uphold. Cuba attracts over 25 000 medical tourists each year.
Cuba has brought numerous innovations in the field of Orthopedics and Traumatology over the years, from which the entire world has benefited. Cuba has contributed to numerous advancements in joint replacement surgical techniques, As well as the development of more durable and efficient joint replacement prosthesis.
Total Hip Replacement Surgery
The primary indication for total hip replacement surgery is to relieve pain caused by severe osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis and avascular necrosis of the femoral head. Secondary indications include correction of significant deformities and post-traumatic reconstruction. Joint replacement is considered when the pain is disabling and significant or in cases in which joint dysfunction is causing significant reduction in the patient’s quality of life.
The surgery implies removing the damaged joint and replacing it with an artificial prosthesis. The artificial hip joint replacement has traditionally been made with cemented polyethylene cup implants.
However, Cuba has advanced to using “cementless” prostheses. These particular prostheses have microscopic pores which allow bony ingrowth from the normal femur into the prosthesis stem. This “cementless” hip is felt to have a longer duration and is considered especially for younger patients. The prosthesis can also be customized acording to the patient’s needs and anatomy.
Cuba has pioneered the surgical technique for cementless hip replacement surgery that is currently being used world-wide. Although many varieties of these specialized prostheses now exist; the most used model in Cuba is a prosthesis made of metal and polyethylene covered with hydroxyapatite , which is the main mineral component of bone , obtained naturally from coral and also synthetically in the laboratory. It is produced at the National Scientific Research Center, part of the west Havana scientific complex.
Advances in hip replacement surgery have also allowed for a „minimal invasive” surgery technique to be developed. The classical hip replacement surgery technique implies making an 10 to 25 cm cut along the side of the hip. In the minimally-invasive approach, doctors make one to two cuts from 5 to 13 cm long. The same procedure is performed through these small incisions as with standard hip replacement surgery. The aim of the minimal invasive approach is to limit soft-tissue and bone dissection.
Specialized instruments and trained assistants are essential for the success of this technique. The instruments are designed to keep the assistant’s hands out of the operative field while generating less tension on the soft tissues. Robotic or computer guidance can be used to virtually visualize the minimally exposed anatomy.
The use of small incisions, coupled with minimal tissue damage has been shown to lessen blood loss, ease pain following surgery, shorten hospital stays, reduce scar appearance, and speed healing. Moreover, 97% of patients attained standard physical therapy goals (transferring in and out of bed from standing, rising from a chair to standing, moving from standing to sitting, walking 100 feet, and negotiating a full flight of stairs) within 1 day of surgery.
While the technique is certainly an advancement in hip replacement surgery; it is difficult and requires highly trained medical team. Smaller incisions mean poor visibility of the area. Surgeons need to have excellent understanding of the anatomy of the region and have access to specialized hands-on training by operating on cadavers and by visiting experienced surgeons.
Specialized instruments and trained assistants are also essential for the success of this technique. The instruments are designed to keep the assistant’s hands out of the operative field while generating less tension on the soft tissues.
Total Knee replacement surgery
The primary indication for total knee replacement surgery is relief of significant, disabling pain caused by severe arthritis. Generally, it is indicated in older patients with more modest activities. It is also clearly indicated in younger patients who have limited function because of systemic arthritis with multiple joint involvement.
Significant advances have occurred in the type and quality of the metals, polyethylene, and, more recently, ceramics used in the prosthesis manufacturing process, leading to improved longevity. As with most techniques in modern medicine, more and more patients are receiving the benefits of total knee arthroplasty. In Cuba, an average of 140 total and revision knee replacement surgeries per 100.000 population are performed annualy.
For total knee replacement surgery Cuba now uses the KALISTE prosthesis model, manufactured by the French company FHorthopedic. Kalisté Total Knee System is a tricompartmental resurfacing prosthesis that allows the surgeons to begin the knee replacement surgery with either the tibial stage or the femoral stage. This prosthesis can be customized to the patient’s anatomy and has been designed to admit posterior cruciate ligaments PCLretaining or posterior stabilized PS Knee prosthesis.
The use of this knee replacement prosthesis coupled with the excellent surgical techniques that Cuban surgeons employ have led to excellent success rates. Statistics show that 91% of patients that have undergone the technique attained standard physical therapy goals within 2 day of surgery.
In addition to providing excellent medical care, Cuba has extremely affordable prices for various orthopedic surgeries, including total hip and knee replacement. A standard that should be upheld all over the world as medical care is a right, and not a privilege.
Professor Ricardo A. Gonzales MD Ph.D. DSc founded back in 1976 Cuba’s first health facility for substance abuse treatment at the Eduardo B. Ordaz Psychiatric Hospital in Havana. During his carrier of 40 years, he founded 17 similar facilities throughout Cuba making the hospital in Havana a national reference center for substance abuse treatment. The Cuban approach to drug abuse is open for international patients as well. The legendary soccer player, Diego Maradona is certainly, the most well-known patient of Cuban program.
What’s a Cuban approach?
The program lasts for 97 days (14 weeks) and during that time, the patient goes through the process of detoxification and rehabilitation. All the details are worked out- the therapy is carried out in a natural environment, overseen by a team of highly trained professionals (multidisciplinary approach to the treatment is must!). Upon the conclusion, the re-evaluation and follow up visit are scheduled.
The facilities that accommodate patients are secured and reserved only for patients on a drug abuse treatment. The treatment principle applied relies on “therapeutic communities” where patients get a chance to talk and encourage each other, share their hopes, dreams, and frustrations, which altogether contributes to the recovery.
During the first week, the team of specialists decides if the patient should stay in the program or not. In case of excessive aggression, if the patient changes his mind (patients are admitted under their own free will) or because of other medical or non-medical reasons, the team releases the patient with a recommendation about further treatment. The patients who get admitted (a vast majority of them), undergo a series of lab tests, X-ray, ECG, and other necessary medical examination procedures. After the initial assessment, a personalized therapeutic plan is made.
During the three months period, the patient is undergoing individualized physical and psychological rehabilitation program to achieve behavioral changes that will allow him a healthy (long-term sustainable) rehabilitation. Specifically, the patient learns about how to control withdrawal symptoms, how to cope with cravings, new healthy lifestyle, how to eliminate harmful behaviors and accept responsibilities and develop his or her intellectual and labor potential to its maximum.
The problem of drug abuse is complex and requires a team of many specialists- experienced internal medicine specialists, neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses- all to be trained specifically for the treatment of drug abuse.
Drug abuse in some cases leads to a vicious, never-ending cycle of psychiatric problems- the drug abuse damages the brain which leads to psychiatric conditions (paranoid psychosis or schizophrenia for example), which deepens the problem of drug abuse and makes it even harder to quit. The art of treatment is to recognize and put under control the “layers of the problem” that developed into autonomous psychiatric conditions over time and target the treatment specifically towards addiction (once the problem of addiction is solved, other aspects of patient’s psychological condition are resolved much easier).
A number of neurological conditions due to brain damage develops in abusers over time. Recognizing and putting those under control is also very important.
To put it in simple words- drug abuse treatment is like a walk through the minefield. To get on the other side of it you need a trained and experienced team behind, otherwise, it’s just a guessing game (with low chances for success).
What happens after the patient has been admitted to the program?
After admission, each patient gets introduced with the program (the first week, personalized treatment, methods, goals, and other relevant info). After introduction procedure, the patient signs a therapeutic contract. Also, the patient writes his or her personal history, with self-assessment- this document helps the team of specialists to design a treatment plan and later on, after the rehabilitation is over, will help the patient understand the extent of treatment intervention he went through.
Most often, on the day of admission, the patient is introduced to the community and attends all activities with others. In case of severe withdrawal symptoms, the patient may be under intense medical attention until his or her condition stabilizes. After stabilization, the patient is integrated into the community.
Long-term goals of rehabilitation
The goal is lifelong abstinence from drugs and rehabilitation of consciousness, personality, and behavior. The program helps the patient make lifestyle changes that will incur the risk of relapse- patients are encouraged to avoid places, activities, and people that are cues to drug use, to identify, understand and resolve inside conflicts that may be misinterpreted as cravings (or have lead to drug abuse earlier).
Drug addictiveness is a complex problem that affects not only one’s health, but his or her social relations, family, and all other aspects of everyday life. The Cuban program is optimized to cope with all of these aspects and prepare a patient for a new drug-free life.
Besides drugs, the Cuban program deals with other addictions as well
Drug abuse is just one of the problems when it comes to addictive behaviors and substance abuse. Alcohol, tobacco use, marijuana and opiates abuse are also problems the Cuban program successfully deals with. Of course, the approach is optimized for each of these programs.
Readers take away
The Cuban substance abuse treatment programs are developing since 1976. Professor Ricardo A. Gonzales, founding the father of substance abuse treatment on Cuba and internationally recognized expert is active even today as a consultant, but what’s even more important is his legacy to Cuba- a National Reference Center for Substance Abuse in Havana and 17 more facilities throughout Cuba that deal with the issue. Besides Cubans, these programs are available to international clients as well.
The rehabilitation process takes 3 months (sometimes more), and a rough price of the entire process with all expenses included is $26.000 (the price may differ at the point you read this article, for more info, contact the National Reference Center for Substance Abuse in Havana. During those three months, the patient is under constant attention of a team of experts.
The Cuban biotechnology industry is known worldwide. The human and veterinary vaccines, bio-products, drugs, diagnostic means and monoclonal antibodies created by brilliant scientists, in top-level facilities, place Cuba as one of the developing nations, together with India and Brazil, with more advances in this sector.
The Bio Cuba Pharma Business Group, one of the most economically powerful in the country, is responsible for leading the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. This organization has registered products and exports to more than 50 countries, has 1,800 patents abroad and its annual income exceeds 2,000 million dollars. Among the institutions attached to the huge Group, which employs more than 22,000 workers, are the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), the Center for the Production of Laboratory Animals (CENPALAB), the National Center for Biopreparations (BIOCEN), the Center of Immunoassay and the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM).
What are the medications, made in Cuba, with the most international prestige? Pan American World proposes to approach five creations, unique in the world, born of the brilliance and long years of research by Cuban scientists.
HEBERPROT-P, THE BEST TREATMENT FOR DIABETIC FOOT ULCERS
According to the World Health Organization, some 300 million people suffer from diabetes, and of these, between 15% and 35% may suffer amputation of one of their extremities. The Cuban drug Heberprot-P, the only one of its kind in the world, has been able to reduce amputations by diabetic foot ulcer in Cuban patients more than four times. Born from the creative genius of a team of scientists, led by Dr. Jorge Berlanga, at the CIGB, the drug is used in more than 20 countries.The treatment includes injection into the affected area of the person and accelerates the healing process of the skin, so that the wound would be closed in a period of approximately three months.
The chances of survival for people diagnosed with lung cancer at an advanced stage are very low; However, with CimaVax-EGF a new hope has appeared. This vaccine was created by researchers from the CIM who took 25 years to develop the product. The treatment slows down the growth of cancer cells and, therefore, prevents the disease from spreading throughout the body and thereby prolongs people’s lives. The scientists clarify that it is not a preventive vaccine, but therapeutic, although it has also been used in those with higher risks of suffering from the disease.
The CIM also developed the VAXIRA vaccine (known as Racotumomab) that works on a molecule found in all cancer cells. Scientists hope that, in the future, the drug may be effective against leukemia and other tumors that accompany lung, colon, prostate and breast cancers.
CimaVax-EGF caught the attention of scientists from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York who continue to evaluate the possibility of taking this medication to the United States, which would be a milestone, because the Washington Blockade has prevented access to Cuban inventions.
POLICOSANOL (PPG), A NATURAL PRODUCT TO LOWER CHOLESTEROL
This drug, made from the wax of sugar cane, is used mainly to lower cholesterol, although the product also has other applications, since its antiplatelet, anti-ischemic and antithrombotic effects have been demonstrated; In addition, some take the medication because they consider that it invigorates the male genital tract. The PPG, being natural, has few contraindications, unlike what happens with other drugs on the international market for cholesterol.
Venezuela is one of the biggest consumers of PPG and Cuba also markets it in Serbia, Slovakia and Spain, among other nations.
VA-MENGOC-BC, VERY EFFECTIVE VACCINE AGAINST MENINGOCOCCI B AND C
During the 80s of the last century, Cuba suffered an outbreak of meningococcal disease. The scientists worked intensely to find a solution and the Finlay Institute of Havana created VA-MENGOC-BC, a bivalent vaccine composed of meningococcal B outer membrane vesicles and meningococcal C capsular polysaccharide. It is currently the only commercially available drug in the world that attacks meningococci B and C.
In Cuba, more than 60 million doses of the vaccine have already been applied. The drug has proven to be very effective and with a high safety profile, as recognized by the World Health Organization.
NEUROEPO, A MEDICATION TO SLOW THE PROGRESSION OF ALZHEIMER’S
Population aging is one of the biggest problems facing Cuba. Currently, Alzheimer’s is the sixth cause of death in the country, among people over 60 years of age and, by 2040, this disease could affect 2.7% of Cubans. Today, more than 35 million people in the world have Alzheimer’s and there is no medication that is able to cure or stop its progression. In this context, the CIM scientists created a drug, called NeuroEpo, that delays the expansion of this disease.
“It would be the first time it is used on people and we have to wait for the results. This compound does not prevent Alzheimer’s disease, nor does it eliminate it, but the preclinical results are encouraging in that it could help to change the course of the disease, that is, slow down the deterioration that the patient inevitably suffers. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease without regression, she will move forward. What we want is to help delay this degenerative process and improve the quality of life of that person, and of the family, “acknowledged CIM researcher Leslie Pérez Ruiz.
Cuban scientists are working on a clinical trial with Heberferon, which acts on renal carcinoma and in patients with malignant brain tumors.
Since you’re reading this article, the chances are, you are thinking about assisted living or nursing home care facility for the beloved elderly in the family. The decision is not easy- standards of care and prices across different facilities vary a lot. Also, no matter how cheap they claim to be, they’ll still put tremendous strain on your budget. Nevertheless, you would compromise on the price for the sake of higher quality of care. And finally, the decision comes with a sense of guilt. It’s normal, and it’s ok.
This article aims to give you a new idea, a different perspective, and solution that will put you at ease, so keep reading! The future is brighter than it might seem at the moment.
Today, about 2.5 million people in the US use services of assisted living and nursing homes. According to the statistic, the number of users by 2050 is going to triple. Longer life expectancy, growing population, improvements in healthcare quality, and availability did its thing- the population of elderly grows at a staggering rate. They need a kind of care that overgrows the capabilities of the family home surrounding. Some are dealing with physical disabilities that require expensive home modifications to maintain normal daily functioning. Others suffer conditions that require the use of specialized medical equipment and procedures. This is where assisted living and nursing homes come into play.
Assisted Living VS. Nursing Home Care- the Cuban way
Just like its name says- residents in assisted living need a helping hand in everyday activities. Someone to take care of their diet, personal hygiene, or maybe help them get into and out of a vehicle.
On the other hand, Nursing Home Care is for people whose health is severely impaired so they cannot take care of themselves or function normally without specialized healthcare.
The World Health Organization defines health as not only the absence of disease but a state of physical, social, and mental well-being. That is precisely what we do on Cuba- help our users to achieve an as healthy lifestyle as possible, giving the limitations of their health impairment.
The Cuban program offers these two major categories of care. However, there are many shades in between. Since no two humans are alike, flexible, and individually tailored integrative approach is what we offer. After the Initial Needs Assessment that includes consultations with doctors of various medical specialties and comprehensive medical examination, we make the program that fits the user’s needs the best way.
You can find more info about the whole procedure of admission at the end of this article.
Additional healthcare costs
Our assisted living and nursing home care facility provides medical services to a certain extent. If needed, our staff coordinates the appointment of the users to a closest hospital or outpatient clinic. The expenses of the hospital stay and medical treatments carried out there are not included in the price of our program. However, with the medical support we provide at the facility, such situations are rare and prices of medical treatments on Cuba is at least half the price compared to the US.
How much assisted living and nursing homes cost across the US – Why Cuba?
According to the American Seniors Housing Association, the median price for a one-bedroom apartment in the assisted living in 2017 was $48,000 annually, with a projection of 3% price increase over a five-year period. Depending on the part of the US, annual expenses of assisted living can go up to $72,000 (NY).
Nursing homes are even more expensive throughout the US – median monthly price for a private room is $8,121 with a projection of 13% price increase over a five-year period. Depending on the part of the US, monthly expenses of nursing home care can go up to $12,927 (NY).
The good news is – treatment costs and our program prices are just a fraction of the price throughout North America
Cuba has been internationally renowned for its high-quality medical care at affordable prices. According to the Association of Caribbean States, the number of people from North America seeking for medical help in Cuba skyrockets every year- from 3,500 foreign patients in 2001 to 20,000 in 2005. The trend of medical tourism in Cuba kept growing up to this day. The list of available interventions is quite long- from minor fixes such as dentistry to major surgical procedures such as hip replacement.
Generally speaking, the bigger the intervention, the higher the price discrepancy between Cuba and the US is. The prices are at least 50-80% lower than those in the US; for some procedures, patients pay 3-5 times less than in the US.
Can you rely on the Cuban healthcare system?
Numbers show that Cuba matches first-world health statistics. The primary healthcare in Cuba operates through more than 450 outpatient clinics, which makes it one of the most proactive healthcare systems in the world.
Back in 1985, Cuba pioneered the vaccine against meningitis B. Since then, the country’s scientists developed medical treatments of unmatched efficacy in the world of medicine. Hepatitis B, diabetic foot, psoriasis, vitiligo, and lung cancer are just some of the conditions whose prognosis and treatment outcomes improved thanks to Cuba.
In 2015 WHO recognized that Cuba is the first country in the world to eliminate HIV and syphilis transmission from mother to child.
Airplane tickets to Cuba – it’s easier to get here than you might think
Arriving in Cuba is not expensive- depending on where you’re located in North America the ticket price ranges from $200 to $450, and the flight time ranges from 1h30min (from Miami) to about 4h (from Toronto).
Our assisted living and nursing care home can organize pick off and drop out to the airport. We take care of our users and their families from the moment they touch the soil of Cuba until they leave (transportation, correspondence with authorities, and all other necessary logistic support).
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
If you have any questions or you need additional info about the program, feel free to reach out to us (link to contact form and links to the programs)
Medical Tourism In Cuba Is Becoming Increasingly Popular
Why are so many US and other nations becoming so interested in Cuba’s medical tourism? Well Cuba has well trained doctors and nurses and excellent health facilities and that these facilities are funded by their government. This type of funding is vital to the medical facilities to ensure excellent care to their patients.
Cuba’s medical facilities are well equipped for all kinds of medical treatments and their doctors and medical staff charge a fraction of the cost than a regular medical facility. This is another huge factor why medical tourism is becoming more popular in this island.
Another reason why Cuba’s Medical tourism is rising. Cuba’s doctors are well versed in all types of medical conditions that can arise which makes it even more desirable to come to Cuba for medical care. The only issue for US citizens is that the US has more rules that its citizens have to follow. For instance they can go and visit Cuba but they have to follow rules that the government provides. US citizens also may be audited as to their visit in Cuba so they have to keep a strict record of why they were there.
Other countries like Canada for instance don’t have this restriction like US citizens do, so they can go and receive medical treatment. Tourism in Cuba is becoming more popular among other countries because of their affordable medical care and if needed surgical care.
There are medical professionals in the US that are hoping that these regulations will be waived so that their patients can receive excellent care and treatment. So far the negotiations towards that are looking to become more favorable which will help Cuba be able to fund more of their doctors salaries to further help cuba’s health tourism.
There is a website that can help with the pricing of cuba’s medical tourism. Cuba offer all kinds of packages so that choosing the right one that fits within your budget is attainable and desirable. health tourism in Cuba helps with them being able to give their doctors and staff a more stable income and that in turns helps Cuba out immensely.
Cuba’s medical tourism is a great asset to those that are needing specific healthcare. Cuba’s doctors have a more hands on approach to help their patients achieve their long term goals, which is great let’s say for an addict to overcome their addictions. The medical tourism in the republic of Cuba is gaining more notoriety and popularity among other countries.
Is medical tourism a good thing for Cuba? The answer is yes. The more popular it is becoming the more of an asset medical tourism is to Cuba. The more money that Cuba gains for their doctors, nurses and medical centers the more funding they can get for their patients as well. Medical tourism is really good for Cuba. It will help achieve more revenue and prove that their medical care is exceptionally great for everyone.
Current Challenges in the Treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa
CubaHeal Research Department
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) represents a rare and severely debilitating group of disorders affecting vision that have a genetic background and are slowly progressive by nature (1). Despite the continuing efforts of the scientific community directed towards the understanding and treatment of the disease, RP still remains incurable. Management of RP was investigated in various preclinical models, as well as in numerous clinical trials on humans in the United States, however, the effective and safe solution to this problem was not yet found.
Retinitis pigmentosa causes a progressive and irreversible vision damage caused by deterioration of photosensitive cells (especially rods) in the retina (2). Early symptoms usually represent the loss of the peripheral visual field, followed by further vision narrowing, which may eventually result in complete blindness. Treatment options in the United States are currently quite limited. The management of RP mostly includes vitamin supplementation, aiming to hold off the progression of the degenerative process. However, even vitamin supplementation, besides its’ limited effectiveness, has its safety concerns. Vitamin A supplementation is not recommended in certain individuals since it may cause fertility issues and severe osteoporosis (3). Preventative measures, such as avoiding light exposure in the early phases of the disease did not prove to be highly effective.
When reviewing the current treatment options, it seems that RP still represents a challenging task. In order to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from this degenerative and progressive disorder, Cuban experts have developed a sophisticated and effective method for the management of RP.
Solution Offered by Cuban Experts
The main treatment objective is to limit the disease progression by improving the vascularization of the retina. The management of RP in Cuba practiced now, that is focused on eye vascularization, has been developed and improved for more than two decades. The milestone of therapy is to bring as much blood, oxygen, and nutrients as possible to the eye. This is being performed by encouraging the development of blood vessels. There have been some attempts in Russia to transplant the stem cells that would develop into the healthy retinal tissue, however, scientists were mostly frustrated by failure since the stem cells could not successfully engraft due to the lack of the healthy vascular supply (4). Cells remodeling was also attempted; however, this study was suspended due to the lack of efficacy. Cuba offers a sustainable treatment option that focuses on limiting or completely inhibiting the progression of degenerative vascular changes in the retina. There are several treatment approaches that are being applied to the overall management plan. They include eye surgery, ozone therapy, electrostimulation and drugs (5).
A very sophisticated and unique surgical technique is used to increase the blood flow within the part of the eye responsible for providing blood supply to the retina. When this technique is performed, retina remains adequately nourished and oxygenated. This allows normal retinal function and prevents further deterioration of vision. By stimulating the blood flow within the retina, visual acuity increases, and retina is encouraged to grow, and not deteriorate. The final result is stabilization of the disease and rapid improvement in both central and peripheral vision (6). Ophthalmologists from all over the world refer their patients to Cuba, for this surgery to be performed due to its’ efficacy and safety.
It has been recognized that ozone improves cell metabolism, boosts the cell energy levels and exhibits antioxidant properties (7). The ozone is either administered rectally or being injected into the bloodstream. Ozone provides detoxification effects by blocking the harmful lipid peroxidation that occurs in retinal cells affected with retinitis pigmentosa. The ozonotherapy also promotes the blood flow surrounding retina, thereby directly improving the retinal function. In order to ensure the best possible results, the patient should receive 14 cycles of treatment during the course of the whole therapy.
Electrical stimulation produces a micro-massage effect that stimulates micro-circulation and lymphatic drainage. These effects promote electro-ionic balance and provide an additive effect to the ozonotherapy (8). This method has demonstrated a high efficacy. Another benefit of this treatment modality includes reinforcing the process of the perception of visual stimuli within the brain. The electro-stimulation includes the application of pleasant therapeutic electrical currents on the head, neck, soles of the feet, and palms of the hands. For the complete and best possible effect, 10-15 treatment sessions are needed to be performed. During the full treatment course, drugs including immune-modulators, oxide-reductive substances, minerals, and vitamins are administered to boost the treatment effects.
Cuban scientists investigated the effects of ozone treatment on the visual field in participants that had retinitis pigmentosa. This was a controlled, randomized and double-blind study, with the study design that ensures a high level of evidence. 68 participants were enrolled in the trial. Half of the subjects received ozone treatment, while the other half received placebo. The study demonstrated that three times more subjects in the ozone group experienced a significant improvement in the visual field, compared to those who received placebo. Subjects with early stages of the disease experienced greater improvement with more long-lasting effects, which underlines the importance of early intervention. Subjects at early phases of the disease also experienced more stable and sustainable treatment effects. In conclusion, this study showed that ozone treatment had beneficial effects on patients with RP.
Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study also evaluated the effects of ozone treatment in patients with retinitis pigmentosa. This study had an even greater number of participants (168). This study also demonstrated the significant improvement in patients treated with ozone therapy compared to patients that received placebo. Interestingly, approximately a half of the patients that had treatment response also succeeded to maintain the response for the longer period of time (9).
A study that investigated the redox-balance in patients with RP receiving ozone treatment concluded that ozone therapy represents a safe therapeutic modality since no side effects related to treatment were observed during the course of the trial. Therefore, ozone therapy can be safely administered to patients with RP without any risk of side effects (10).
Treatment of RP still represents a challenging task in the western countries. Vitamin supplements and avoiding excessive light are just not sufficient enough to provide any benefit to patients suffering from this severely debilitating illness. Various treatment approaches including stem cells transplantation and remodeling of the retinal cells have failed to demonstrate effectiveness. Stem cells failed to engraft, and retinal cell remodeling was not possible both because of the vascularization impairment that occurs in this serious illness. Cuban researchers and medical experts decided to target exactly this disease characteristic by improving the blood flow in the eye, which allows retina to properly function. Improvement of eye circulation ensures the adequate oxygenation of retinal tissue and postpones or completely stops the degenerative processes within the retina. Clinical trials and plenty of satisfied patients worldwide guarantee treatment success. Thousands of international patients referred to Cuba for the treatment of RP have experienced benefits following treatment. Clinics in Cuba still represent the only hope for people suffering from this genetic disorder. Cuban experts have found a solution to postpone or completely stop the development of the negative effects on the quality of life of patients suffering from RP.
Baumgartner, W. (2000). Etiology, pathogenesis, and experimental treatment of retinitis pigmentosa. Medical Hypotheses, 54(5), 814-824. Medline Plus Encyclopedia. Retrieved on July 1st, 2018, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001029.htm Jayashree N Sahni et al. (2011). Therapeutic Challenges to Retinitis Pigmentosa: From Neuroprotection to Gene Therapy. Curr Genomics. 12(4): 276–284. Health Services International (Servimed) Inc. Retrieved on July 1st 2018, from http://www.healthservicecuba.com/retinitis-pigmentosa/ Centro Internacional de Retinosis Pigmentaria Camilio Cienfuegos de Cuba. Tratamiento cubano para la Retinosis Pigmentaria. Retrieved on July 1st, 2018, from http://www.infomed.sld.cu/instituciones/retinosis/quienesomos/quienesomos.html Garcia Layana, A. (2003). La cirugía de la retinosis pigmentaria en Cuba. Communication presented at Archivos de la Sociedad Española de Oftalmología, Madrid. Copello, M., Eguía, F., Menéndez, S., & Menéndez, N. (2003). Ozone Therapy in Patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Ozone: Science & Engineering, 25(3), 223-232. Berson, E., Remulla, J., Rosner, B., Sandberg, M., & Weigel-DiFranco, C. (1996). Evaluation of patients with retinitis pigmentosa receiving electric stimulation, ozonated blood, and ocular surgery in Cuba. Arch Ophthalmol, 114(5), 560-563. Pérez, L. J. (2004). Ozone therapy in retinitis pigmentosa. Communication presented at 4th International Symposia on Ozone Applications, Cuba. Menéndez, S., Hernández, F., & Copello, M. (2004). Ozone therapy and redox balance in patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Communication presented at 4th International Symposia on Ozone Applications.
CubaHeal Medical is a global organization specialized in facilitating medical treatments, medical education, in addition to patient and student care in the Republic of Cuba. CubaHeal is a loyal supporter of the Republic of Cuba, the Cuban people, the Cuban revolution, and the Cuban revolutionary leadership.