Fitness tracking

As a Medical Doctor who loves to stay healthy, I have  been exercising fairly regularly, or so I thought! To objectively document my moves I did try out four different wearable devices that were supposed to help give me the data I needed, [mainly my heart rate and the number of steps I walked]. Imagine my surprise when all of them turned our to be almost useless!

Heart rate tracking has to be 24 X 7 for it to be of any real use to a medical professional or even anybody who is seriously interested in monitoring their health. And most of the devices that claim to track your heart beat do so only when asked to or when you press a button! That probably explains their cheap prices too. Anything cheaper than 3000 Indian rupees or around 40 US $ most likely will be a waste of your money if you are looking for serious round the clock fitness tracking at the time of writing this.

So I did some serious research on the best wearable device for me and honed in on the one you see in this picture below!

 

 

This is a device that fits the bill perfectly for me.

Here are the plus points after over a week of constant use:

It is super comfortable to wear, so that you hardly notice it is there on your wrist.

It is water proof and shower proof

The charge easily lasts a week.

The heart rate monitoring works 24X7 and is very accurate

The app is also easy to use and gives quite detailed analysis of your day and week.

It even tells me how many stairs I have climbed and descended.

It tells me the amount and quality of my sleep.

It reminds me to move with a vibratory alert  if it detects that I have been sitting at one place for too long.

You can set your personal goals and see how you have performed daily and weekly etc.

You can even link to other apps that monitor your dietary intake.

Here are some of my reports as it looks on my phone app:

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I am glad to see that my results are quite good for my age! Bit at the same time I used to think that I exercise enough and take enough steps but this device was like a reality check! I realised that on the days I miss my club I was really not exercising or walking enough!

Screenshot_20180723-223624This shows that for most of the days in the past week I barely reached my own goals for steps taken! Point taken!

Thank you Garmin for this device, the Vivo HR and I would highly recommend it for anyone out there who would like to keep track of their health and activities. By the way they have a HR + which has GPS too, but as I did not need GPS tracking for my exercise I selected the HR.

Wishing you the best of health!

 

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Passion meets Purpose

Whatever you are passionate about, you do. If you enjoy cave diving, it becomes your passion. You enjoy travel, it becomes your passion.

You talk about it, think about it, plan on how to do it….you understand it, tight?

What about purpose? People are born with an inbuilt need to find purpose in their lives. The eternal question that we all ask ourselves, why am I here in the first place?

And we all instinctively realise that true purpose is tied to something outside ourselves, to something greater that our self.

Why do I say that? Read on to find out.

A wise man said: Blessed are you, if you find your passion and your purpose meeting together, aligning and building up one another.

There are some professions where this happens more than others.

For example, those who are passionate about healing and find themselves in healthcare. They find purpose i their lives daily. How blessed are they indeed.

But you may ask, what about cave diving? What purpose would it serve?

Recently a few boys got trapped in a cave in Thailand and the whole world was watching how the rescue operations were underway. It was very risky. The cave was submerged, underground and the boys were hundreds of meters away from the accessible entrances.

The world’s best cave diver had this to say after the rescue mission

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Passion and Purpose. I hope you are passionate about your purpose in life. God bless!

 

 

 

The land of new beginnings

Hayastan. What a land!

As it is believed, all people who inhabit this earth today are descended from Noah and his three sons, who along with their wives were the only survivors of the great flood which happened over five thousand years ago.

The ark in which Noah and his family were kept safe landed in the mountains of the Ararat range.

After it was safe for them to go out Noah and his family left the ark and the very first steps they took was in the land presently called Armenia, or Hayastan by locals.

History tells us that their first stop after that was the place in present day Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. From there they continued to present day Iraq, and started multiplying. As recorded in the Bible, after the tower of Babel, people dispersed and settled all over the world.

The reason this account is so vital is that it shows that all humans are related. We are all brothers and sisters with one great great great grandfather, Noah.

We visited this beautiful land is Armenia and find that the people here are friendly, pretty and hopeful for a future where the Prince of Peace will bring peace through all who are called by His name.

Lunch at the art of Noah’s church in Ararat

At the church in Khor Virap where St. Gregory was incarcerated in the 3rd Century

Indians meet their distant cousin sisters in Armenia

At present Armenia as a nation has neighbours who are jealous of it and try to destroy it.

The Armenian genocide took place from 1915 when over two million people residing in western Armenia where killed and many forcibly converted to Islam by the Young Turk party. That was when western Armenia including Mount Ararat were given to Turkey.

Azerbaijan, again a part of Eastern Armenia was signed off by Stalin to settlers there who again went about destroying Christian monuments.

Inspite of such immature actions, Armenians continue to work hard, and their diaspora in various countries continue to help rebuild the nation as the new Prime Minister starts his mission following the Velvet revolution that took place in May,2018, a few weeks before we are scheduled to visit.

The country is beautiful and has many places worth visiting. It’s strategically placed between Europe and Asia and has many common features.

I wish this country all the best for the future.

When a 7 year old homeschooler publishes a book….

This is an account of a seven year old boy and his journey of writing and ultimately publishing a book, sent to me by his mother.

So …
When our son said he wants to write a book, we were like – OK go ahead!
At that time we didn’t really think that he will really be so serious about it…
 
The process started with him asking me to buy a big giant sketch book for him … and then he started putting down his thoughts on scribble pad and then asking me for spellings and then writing in extremely good n neat handwriting on the sketch book… every thought was accompanied with a drawing/sketch
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The process begins

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Neatly written notes

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Writer at work

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The universe

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A dinosaur

and then after a month he told me – Aai, the book is ready!
This happened last year in December!
 
and then I said that’s wonderful … and to tell you all frankly … we kinda forgot about it … as in never really thought we will publish it.
 
Then he heard about my books getting published and launched and he came up to me and asked – why can’t we publish his book …
 
Then the actual work started …
 
And voilà !
We introduced him to the world of Amazon Self Publishing and he himself carried out the entire operations of Amazon Self Publishing and Published it!!!
 
Obviously there was constant guidance from us but to do this entire process by himself with so much of perseverance and enthusiasm … made us really proud!
 
I don’t know how good or bad the book is! I don’t know if it is worth making into a book!
 
I just know that if a 7 year old actually thinks on this line it is commendable.
I just know that if such a 7 year old gets the required guidance and support then he is more confident to do better things in life!
 
Look at this book as a simple piece of creativity and a lot of hard work and passion!!! And then go ahead on Kindle and purchase that e-version …
 
If you require a print copy by coming weekend it should be available…
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Thank you once again for such a wonderful support and thanks a ton for showering so much love!
 
 
#Swashikshan
 
I found this account very fascinating, and hats off to young Agastya on this wonderful adventure. Of course the age of the earth is a hugely debatable issue. I personally lean towards a much more realistic age than what is popularly propagated.
Never the less, there is no denying the fact that if a seven year old homeschooler can publish a book, the sky is truly the limit for them. 

From Homeschool to Full Scholarship US College University

I am sharing here the experience of a family that home schooled their kids in India from 2009 to 2018: 

Their oldest child has gained admittance into several extremely selective universities in the US though he has been homeschooled from standard 4 until now (nearly entirely in India; they did just one year in the US).  

Here goes:

As you may know, there are as many ways to do home education as there are parenting styles.  We fall somewhere in between homeschooling and unschooling.  That is, we use eclectic materials in a relaxed manner dependent on the child’s interests, but also have required subjects, though far fewer requirements than most traditional homeschoolers, especially in the lower grades.  We encourage lots of free time for personal exploration.  Our second grader finishes her required work in about half an hour, and our 5th grader in about two hours.  The rest of the day they are free to do their own projects.  Our high schoolers, on the other hand, have several hours of work each day, though the type of work is highly dependent on their individual interests.

 

Or oldest is finishing 12th standard and will be attending Cornell University in New York as an engineering student.  He also gained admission to the Engineering programs at University of Michigan and Georgia Institute of Technology, received the highest merit scholarship at University of Maryland College Park Engineering, and received a full-ride (full cost of attendance) scholarship at University of Central Florida – all with a home-made transcript, applying as a homeschooler.

 

For home educators desiring to send students to the US for university, here are some guidelines:

 

  1. For US Universities, only what is done in 9th-12th grade will be part of the application for admission (and since you apply during 12th standard, the only completed courses will be those taken in 9th-11th.)
  2. Look up admission requirements at the universities you are interested in to make sure your student is taking the required courses.  For example, many universities require 4 years of math, 4 years of English, 3 years of science, 2 years of social studies, 2 years of foreign language, etc.  This will vary by university and by desired program of study.  Look this up before your child is in 9th so that you can roughly plan out their high school years (9th-12th).  Because you are homeschooling, you can be creative – for example, instead of 10th grade English, you can do 20th Century Literature and Composition or A Survey of Dystopian Fiction, or whatever your child is interested in.  A science class could be a year long study of black holes, if that was what fascinated your child that year (the course description should explain how this was done at a high school level.)
  3. Along with a transcript, you should provide course descriptions for each course, describing what textbooks or other resources were used.  You don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s helpful, especially if your student has taken advantage of home education to study and do some unique things!  
  4. Standardized tests are especially important for homeschoolers seeking admission to US universities.   Here in India you can sit for:  SAT or ACT (you need one of these, not both – you can take practice tests and see which one you do better in), SAT subject tests, and AP (Advanced Placement) tests in various subjects.  College Board (collegeboard.org) is where you sign up for SAT, SAT subject tests, and AP tests.  ACT (act.org) is a separate organization.  Most universities require either the SAT or ACT, and many require 2-3 SAT subject tests, especially if you are a homeschooler.  No university requires AP tests, but they are great for showing college-level learning. 
  5. Competitions may be another way of proving what your child has accomplished; they are great if you have a child who likes them.  Olympiads, math competitions, etc. all are great for homeschoolers.
  6. If your child is a US citizen, have him/her sit for the PSAT.  You can call around to International schools in your area to see where it is being given.  If your child does very well on the PSAT, they can become a National Merit Scholar and get a FULL RIDE (FULL COST OF ATTENDANCE) or FULL TUITION scholarship at many universities.  Our son’s full ride scholarship at the University of Central Florida was based on being National Merit.  UCF has a wonderful program for National Merit students, as does University of Alabama, University of Kentucky, and many others.
  7. There are many on-line high school courses that are asynchronous, so that the time difference is not an issue.  Our students have taken several classes through PA Homeschoolers as well as WriteAtHome, which offers online English classes.  There are MANY providers of asynchronous online classes that students can take from India.

If you have any questions do drop in a line and I will get back to you!

 

 

Block chain and Medicine

As a Medical Doctor I ask myself what are some potential uses of blockchains in healthcare?

Okay, so for those who must be wondering,

What is a blockchain?

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In general a blockchain is defined as a distributed system which records and stores transaction records.

Blockchain more specifically is defined as “…a shared, immutable record of peer-to-peer transactions built from linked transaction blocks and stored in a digital ledger.”

Blockchain is also similar to a database which stores information, however the main difference is that the data is located in a network of personal computers called nodes where there is no central entity such as a government or bank controlling the data.

How can blockchain be used in healthcare?

  • Drug Traceability where each transaction between drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacists and patients can be tracked to verify and secure drug product information important for tackling issues such as counterfeit drugs.
  • Improvement and authentication of health records and protocols on record sharing.
  • Smart contracts where certain rule-based methods are created for patient data access. Here, permissions can be granted to selected health organisations.
  • Clinical trials where altering or modifying data from clinical trials fraudulently can be eradicated.
  • Precision medicine where patients, researchers and providers can collaborate to develop individualised care.
  • Genomics research via access to genetic data secured on blockchain
  • Electronic health records (EHRs) 
  • Nationwide interoperability
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The future of Total Person Care

As a medical Doctor who is also interested in Total person care and treating each individual as equal and worthy of dignity and respect, blockchain technology gives me the technological possibility of actually implementing my values in practice.

I look forward to more developments in the field of Blockchain in healthcare. God bless.

How old is your hearing?

If you ever wondered how old your body really is, here is a great way to find out.

As you know the ear is a marvelous bio engineering marvel. As your age advances changes occur in the hearing parameters.

The rate at which our bodies age is a matter of intense interest to all, and we do many things to try to stay young!Figure3-copy

If you really want to know how your body has aged relative to your actual age, here is a simple way to test for sure how old your ears are, which will roughly indicate how old your physical body is. Do test and share!

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Click here to know how old your ears really are!