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How We Fulfill Our Responsibility WHAT GOOD AM I DOING FOR THE WORLD?
Believe it or not, sometimes I have time to watch TV. I know it sounds impossible between running two offices and being a father of four, but there are moments when I can sit down and watch something that isn’t an animated singing animal. Even when I’m watching TV, I like to be learning something, which is why I really appreciate the growing documentary section on Netflix. Recently, I watched the new Bill Gates documentary that made me ask, “What good am I doing for the world?” The first episode of “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates” covers how Gates has devoted tons of time and money to improving waste management conditions in developing countries. Many areas suffer from epidemics of illness due to poor sanitation or hygiene maintenance. You may remember stories about how Bill Gates was saving the world by “reinventing” the toilet. Those catchy headlines don’t get to the heart of how beneficial the work really is. By creating more effective public toilets that improve the water supply in poorer villages, the amount of sewage is reduced. There are fewer mosquitoes, the water is safer, and fewer children die of preventable diseases. That’s doing good for the world. Watching “Inside Bill’s Brain” reminded me of my greatest goal in life: I want to help people. More specifically, I want to try to improve the quality of life for people less fortunate than myself through food, medical aid, and other resources. I might not be the second-richest man in the world with a global charity foundation in my name, but I know I have the power to make a difference. We all do.
We can’t make the world a better place if we aren’t making it better for everyone. When I think about what I want out of life, making things better is at the top of that list. I got into medicine because I wanted to help people. It’s been a great career that has allowed me to give a lot to my family. I want to acknowledge my blessings by helping those who haven’t had the same opportunities I’ve received. I was raised with the belief that if we have the ability to help others, then we have a responsibility to help others. It’s important to me that I raise my kids to share in this belief. My wife and I aim to teach our children not just to recognize their own blessings but also to understand that not everyone enjoys the same kind of comfort. There are people in the world who need a little extra help. If we can offer that help and don’t, what kind of people are we? If I had all the money in the world and didn’t have to work anymore, there would be plenty of time for fun. I’d take my wife skiing in the Alps and go golfing in the Bahamas. But I ask you, what kind of impact would that have on the world? It wouldn’t mean much if I had a way to help people and I didn’t. At the end of the day, life would seem pretty empty without trying to do some good in the world.
“I was raised with the belief that if we have the ability to help others, then we have a responsibility to help others.”
–Dr. Harrison Linsky
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Yasyf Mohamedali Brings Patients and Doctors Together
Unlike many members of his family, Yasyf Mohamedali didn’t go to medical school. Even as a teenager, he was far more interested in technology and entrepreneurship. In fact, he launched his first business while in high school, reselling domain names for websites. While attending MIT, Mohamedali found a way to leave his mark on the medical field too. It all started with Joe Kahn, a Harvard student from South Africa who suffered from an undiagnosed medical condition. This unnamed illness caused the young student to have bouts of high fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. Worse still, Kahn was unable to get clear answers from doctors and was often sent from one specialist to the next without so much as a follow-up appointment. Kahn’s struggles navigating the health care system, despite having access to some of the best medical facilities in the United For most of human history, surgery was seen as a necessary torture. Prior to anesthesia, surgery was an agonizing experience for patients and surgeons alike. While surgeons suffered from emotional trauma, patients were likely to die from the shock of surgery. As surgery was often the only chance to save a patient, doctors and surgeons have tried many methods for making the experience less traumatic — to varying degrees of success. sedation dissociative method of anesthesia. Prior to surgery, the patient would be given powdered opium mixed with draft wine. When opium was unavailable, powdered mandrake and powdered corn poppy were popular alternatives. Roman surgeons also experimented with local anesthesia, smearing the operation site with a mixture of mephitic stone and henbane seeds. Powdered Mandrake (Ancient Rome) Roman anesthesiologists relied on the
States, made Mohamedali realize just how unique his own access to care had been.
Growing up as the son of two physicians in rural Canada, Mohamedali never struggled to get medical advice at a moment’s notice. “Whenever I got sick, I just called a doctor in my family,” he explained in a 2018 interviewwith the MIT Alumni Association. “I want people like Joe to have that kind of relationship with their care.” So, the two university students founded Karuna Health. This online platform helps doctors keep in contact with their patients, track their progress, and coordinate treatment with other care providers. Leveraging his experience in the tech field, Mohamedali designed Karuna to integrate digital medical records with patient- preferred means of communication, from SMS to WhatsApp — all without breaching the strict Hua Tuo’s Mafeisan (China, A.D. 200) If you needed surgery in the ancient world, China was where you wanted to be. In A.D. 200, the legendary Chinese physician Hua Tuo was performing surgeries using a mixture he called “mafeisan.” This ancient anesthesia could induce unconsciousness and partially block neuromuscular transmissions. Thanks to his mafeisan, Hua Tuo was performing successful appendectomies. Unfortunately, the formula was lost when Hua Tuo burned all his writings shortly before his death. Coca Leaves (South America, A.D. 1500) Skull surgery was all the rage in the Inca empire of South America. Trepanation was a common practice among the Incans, which meant they needed a reliable painkiller. Incan doctors chewed coca leaves mixed with vegetable ash and applied the cocaine solution to their patients’ wounds.
HIPAA privacy regulations. This way, users can make appointments, send automatic reminders for medication refills, and hear from patients at a moment’s notice. Karuna, which means “compassion” in Sanskrit, is poised to bring doctors and patients closer together and keep people from slipping through the cracks in the health care industry. According to Inc.com, the startup has already raised $1.3 million from investors. It looks like Mohamedali is well on his way to making health care more accessible for all.
HOLY GRAIL OF SURGERY
What DidWe Do Before Anesthesia?
Effective anesthesia was the holy grail of surgery, and the quest was finally achieved in 1846. When a dentist named Dr. William Morton demonstrated how he could use sulfuric ether to painlessly remove a patient’s tumor, he changed the world. Today, anesthesia is a vast field that continues to evolve. Needless to say, modern anesthesia is far more effective than wine and powdered mandrake.
Over the last few years, essential oils have become a staple of “alternative” medicine. It seems like everyone has an aunt who swears tea tree oil can clear up acne or that a little peppermint oil can fix a headache. Despite an astounding lack of scientific evidence to back up these claims, essential oils remain popular. One of the most prevalent essential oil remedies is lavender oil, said to help reduce anxiety. In 2019, researchers in Turkey put lavender oil to the test. They executed a single-blind, randomized, prospective study comprised of 90 patients (43 men and 47 women) scheduled to undergo orthognathic surgery. The surgeries included bilateral sagittal split, Le Fort I, and bimaxillary osteotomies. Patients were divided into three groups. Researchers noted that, “no significant differences were found between groups concerning gender, age, working status, educational background, and surgical operation to be performed.” Each group was exposed to different concentrations of lavender oil diffusions in 120 mL of water during a one-hour period before surgery. The first group was exposed to 0.1 mL of lavender
oil, the second group was exposed to 0.3 mL of oil, and the third group was exposed to no oil. Researchers used the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) to assess patient anxiety. The STAI-2 was used to assess trait anxiety scores, and the STAI-1 assessed state anxiety scores at the time of admittance (STAI-1-A) and after one hour, before operating room transfer (STAI-1-OR). When the demographic data and STAI scores were compared, no statistically significant difference was found between the groups. Researchers concluded, “The results of this study suggested that one hour of presurgical inhalation of 0.1 mL and 0.3 mL lavender oil diffusions in 120 mL of water did not have an anxiolytic effect on patients undergoing orthognathic surgery.” If patients struggle with presurgery anxiety, the results of this study recommend leaving the essential oil at home and talking to their doctor about more effective treatments for managing anxiety.
Turkish Study Examines Effect of Lavender Oil Inhalation on Reducing Presurgical Anxiety
Have a Laugh
How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut
● 2 lbs cabbage
• • •
● 4 tsp fine sea salt
● Lid with airlock
● Something to weigh down cabbage, ideally made of a nonreactive material like glass
1. Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Slice very thinly. 2. In a large bowl, combine cabbage and salt. Let stand for 20 minutes. 3. Squeeze cabbage to release juices. Let the cabbage continue to soak and release juices for another 20 minutes. 4. Transfer to a jar and press down cabbage until completely submerged in its juices. Weigh down cabbage. 5. Seal jar with airlock. Let cabbage sit at room temperature and away from sunlight for one month. Once fermented, transfer to the fridge. Sauerkraut will keep for six months to one year.
Inspired by NourishedKitchen.com
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INSIDE This Issue
Our Responsibility to Help Others
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Yasyf Mohamedali The Ancient Quest for Anesthesia
No More Essential Oils
How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut
Real Winter Wonderlands
Chill Out in These Frosty Destinations
Snow is magical and gorgeous — unless you have to commute in it. If you want to enjoy all the wonder that winter has to offer without the hassle, why not turn it into a vacation? Here are a few breathtaking, snow-covered destinations that any winter lover can enjoy. Bulguksa Temple, South Korea Above the city of Gyeongju, this ancient Buddhist temple has stood on the slopes of Tohamsan Mountain since the eighth century. Bulguksa, or “Temple of the Buddha Land,” is South Korea’s No. 1 UNESCOWorld Heritage Site, making it a popular attraction for domestic and international tourism. The crowds and school tours die down during the winter, however, which also happens to be when Bulguksa is at its most pristine. The iced-
over lotus ponds and snow-dusted pagodas add to the sense of tranquility this site naturally exudes.
The Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy If you want the feel of a ski trip to the Alps without the packed slopes and ritzy resorts, the Dolomites are just for you. Located in northeastern Italy, this stunning mountain range is home to some of the best skiing in Europe, as well as many historical sites. The secluded villages that dot the mountain valleys are an attraction in their own right, especially for the rustic cuisine you’ll find there. Don’t expect pasta though. This region is a melting pot of flavors from Austria, northern Italy, and the local Ladin people. Ricotta and sauerkraut pancakes, anyone? The Antarctic This is the one entry on this list that is best enjoyed during the summer months, which is December–February in the Southern Hemisphere, because that’s when the freezing temperatures of the southernmost continent are at their most hospitable. The Antarctic has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, with cruises taking adventure seekers through the vast, untouched beauty of this far-flung destination. Some tourists even enjoy kayaking or cross-country skiing through this icy paradise.
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