The dangers of connectivity: Are digital technology and the obsession with mobile devices and apps responsible for human cognitive decline?
Collaboration between traditional Chinese medicine and the West could offer opportunities to improve healthcare and lower primary care costs
Tackling development challenges such as climate change and ageing demographics requires an understanding of the many different factors contributing to the problem. Global solutions are not always the answer – local approaches combined with systems thinking can prove more effective, writes veteran management consultant Arun Maira, Chairman of HelpAge International, a global NGO aimed at helping the elderly lead dignified lives.
A worldwide sleep deprivation epidemic resulting from disruption of our biological clocks will lead to health and social-economic challenges – threatening human survival. Nowhere is this a bigger crisis than in the Asia-Pacific region, where a lack of sleep has been equated with climate change or a nuclear holocaust in terms of negative consequences. Urgent policy intervention, with political will and commitment, is required to tip the scales, Christopher H Lim and Vincent Mack of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore argue.
In a fast-paced high-growth economy – picture any big city in Asia – urban professionals are under pressure to “get back to work” even when they feel ill. The resulting demand for “fast-fix” remedies could lead to over-prescription and societal ills. Opioid abuse that is plaguing the United States and other Western countries could well become a major problem in Asia. Governments and pharmaceutical companies in the region should continue to focus on driving innovation in the development of treatments and resist the temptation to pursue the easy profits of the lifestyle-drug approach, Kathryn Ibata-Arens from DePaul University writes.
With more than 1 billion active users, Instagram has become one of the fastest growing social media brands. But as the platform grows more popular, so too its links with poor mental health become more apparent. The Asia-Pacific region, a social media growth hotspot, is already seeing increasing levels of anxiety and depression – but it is also taking measures to deal with the problem.
Air pollution has countless victims—nearly nine out of ten people across the globe breathe polluted air, according to the World Health Organization. New research suggests that it even reaches the unborn, moving from a mother’s lungs to the placenta and fetus. Not only does it cause health and economic ill-effects, but it also impacts human cognition.
The 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami have caused ordinary Japanese to reevaluate their trust in the food supply. Skeptical of government assurances, consumers turned to private actors, who stepped up their regulatory efforts to fill the trust gap.
In reaction to a seemingly never-ending torrent of food safety scandals, an alternative food movement is growing in China.
The Dongjiang River, which supplies fresh water to almost 40 million people, is being threatened by pollution. But as new technology parks increasingly replace pig farms and other decaying industries, there could be an opportunity to invent more sustainable solutions—for Guangdong province, Hong Kong, and the world.
It is well known that air pollution is harmful to human health. What is much less known is how it specifically affects people over the long term. China’s Huai River policy, which dispensed free coal to northern China for winter heating, has inadvertently revealed to us that air pollution literally shaves years off our lives. But China has made considerable progress in confronting this pollution.
Many of the earliest of the great civilizations on Earth were centered on life-giving rivers, such as the Yangtze and the Euphrates, the Nile and the Indus. Rivers remain crucial to modern societies, but pollution is choking the life out of them. For humanity’s sake, governments must act to counter this. The good news is that they already have the tools.
Mired in demographic crises, East Asia is looking to new reproductive technologies as a solution. But its restrictive, reluctant embrace of these technologies runs counter to evolving social attitudes.
Technology is transforming epidemiology. However, algorithms, satellites, and drones offer no easy solution. Ethical and political issues need to be considered to ensure that everyone reaps the benefits of these new technologies.
Extensive and intensive agriculture is being questioned in various parts of the world for its environmental and social costs. But in China, a series of food safety scandals have led the Chinese dairy industry to move towards large integrated farms run by a handful of mega-producers.
Since the practice of cloning farm animals is under-regulated in countries like Argentina, Brazil, and the US, European supermarkets may be selling meat and dairy products produced from clones, despite EU banning. With better regulation at both national and global levels, more accurate data could be produced to enhance transparency and traceability.