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Monday, June 15, 2020 - 10:56

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The medical team of doctors at GlobeMed, the leading healthcare benefits management company in the Middle East, has conducted a literature review on the effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC) and their interference with the body hormones. The review was supervised by Dr. Elia Abdul Massih, Goodcare Clinics Director, and prepared by Dr. Karen Abou Jaoude, Population Health Specialist. It demonstrated that even at low levels of exposure, EDCs can induce adverse health effects, contributing significantly to the development of diseases such as cancers, asthma, diabetes, genital defects and obesity. Furthermore, the review established six easy ways to decrease exposure to these harmful chemicals.   

EDCs are exogenous chemicals or mixtures that can interfere with hormone actions in our bodies in a negative way. Hormones are messengers released from endocrine glands in the body necessary for our healthy survival. EDCs can be found in many everyday products, including some plastic bottles and containers, liners of metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, pesticides, natural estrogen and progesterone, plastic, hormonally active drugs and synthetic hormones. This array of products confirms that we are exposed daily to low doses of EDCs without even suspecting or realizing it. Some of these chemicals include but are not limited to:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA): used to make plastic products including food storage containers
  • Perchlorate: a by-product found in drinking water and fireworks
  • Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): used widely in industrial applications, such as firefighting foams and non-stick pan, paper, and textile coatings

EDCs can induce harmful effects by either changing the amount of hormones available or interfering with their corresponding receptors. This has resulted in the increasing prevalence of many endocrine diseases such as diabetes and obesity. For diseases to occur, there is always an interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Therefore, it is essential to try and control our environment by limiting exposure to such chemicals as much as possible.  In this vein, it is recommended to follow six simple steps to reduce contact with EDCs and diminish their harmful effects:

  1. Eat organic foods to avoid pesticides. Choose organically grown fruits and vegetables to limit pesticide exposure. Start with the “dirty dozen” which, if grown conventionally, harbor the most pesticides as they are sprayed directly. These include bell peppers, spinach, nectarines, grapes, peach, pear, celery, lettuce, potatoes, cherries, strawberries and apples.
  2. Avoid canned and processed food. Cans contain an array of bisphenols that act similarly to estrogen and oppose the hormone adiponectin, thus increasing the size of fat cells and contributing to doubling the risk of diabetes. Cans containing “BPA-free” labels are not safe either as they still contain a large number of bisphenols.  
  3. Avoid thermal paper receipts. Thesehave been linked to an increase in breast and prostate cancers, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive and brain development abnormalities. It is recommended not to accept receipts and go paperless instead, but if you must handle them, hold it from the non-glossy backside. After handling the receipt, wash your hands with soap and water within 4 minutes. If your job requires your ongoing handling of receipts, wear latex gloves. Lastly, do not use a hand sanitizer after touching a possible thermal receipt. Research has shown the BPA level went up by185% after using skin products such as sunscreens, moisturizer and sanitizers.
  4. Beware of plastics that contain phthalates and parabens, which have various effects. Be vigilant of the following labels:  

 

Releases EDCs over time.

Never testedfor safety.

Most toxic.

Linked to reproductive problems, diabetes, and cancers.

Degrade slowly, chemically non-reactive. Mostly a burden to the environment.

Never testedfor safety.

Release extremely toxic flame retardants over time

BPA mimics estrogen. Infertility and developmental damage.

Water or soda bottles, polyester fibers

Milk and detergent bottles and caps, food storage containers

Water pipes, insulation, clothing, toys, furniture, shower curtains

Snap on lids, disc drives, plastic wraps, laminates

Textiles, packaging, carpets,  lab and medical equipment, diapers

Packaging, foam, drink cups, DVD cases.

All the rest of plastics not included in the previous categories.

 

Do not microwave plastics even if they are labelled as microwave safe. Throw away scratched plastics as their protective layer would be lost. 

  1. Create a healthy home as flame-retardants and other organic pollutants found in electronic devices and furniture accumulate in your household as dust can interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Therefore, it is advised to open the windows regularly to filter the air in the house, vacuuming at least once per week and mopping the house with a wet mop.
  2. Avoid non-sticking cooking pansas they contain PFAS. These interfere with metabolism and have shown to induce rebound weight gain after a successful diet. An alternative would be to use cast iron or stainless steel cookware.

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are all around us, having drastic effects on our health and contributing significantly to the development of several non-communicable diseases. These six simple steps make it easier to take control of our health and limit our everyday exposure to such chemicals.

This study was prepared based on the following References:

Lee, Duk-Hee. "Evidence of the possible harm of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in humans: ongoing debates and key issues." Endocrinology and Metabolism 33.1 (2018): 44-52.

- Lee, Duk-Hee, et al. "Chlorinated persistent organic pollutants, obesity, and type 2 diabetes." Endocrine reviews 35.4 (2014): 557-601.

- Taylor, Kyla W., et al. "Evaluation of the association between persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and diabetes in epidemiological studies: a national toxicology program workshop review." Environmental health perspectives 121.7 (2013): 774-783.

-  Kusminski, Christine M., et al. "MitoNEET-driven alterations in adipocyte mitochondrial activity reveal a crucial adaptive process that preserves insulin sensitivity in obesity." Nature medicine 18.10 (2012): 1539.

- Curtis, Sandra. “Is BPA on Thermal Paper A Health Risk?” Plastic Pollution Coalition, Plastic Pollution Coalition, 23 Dec. 2016, www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/blog/2016/12/23/is-bpa-on-thermal-paper-a-health-hazard.

- Vandenberg, Laura, et al. “Let's Talk EDCs.” Endocrine Society, Endocrine Society, 2019, www.endocrine.org/topics/edc/talking-edcs.

- Trasande, Leonardo. “Avoiding Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: 5 Tips.” Medscape, Medscape, 7 Feb. 2020, www.medscape.com/viewarticle/924846.

This study is a general guideline intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. It is prepared based on information and data available in the references above. GlobeMed neither undertakes nor guarantees that such information is complete and error-free. GlobeMed will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising therefrom.

 

 

Monday, December 19, 2016 - 11:31

At GlobeMed, we believe that education contributes to the betterment of our society. It is one of the key components that can make or break any society. This belief has pushed education to the forefront of GlobeMed’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.

GlobeMed efforts were crowned lately with the launching of the Health Analysis Information program which aims to develop the competencies of analysts in turning information from databases into valuable data for better informed business decisions, and the establishment of the GlobeMed Scholarship Fund in partnership with Saint Joseph University (USJ), one of the most prominent universities in Lebanon.

As testament to these efforts, we are proud to receive a great testimonial from the Rector of USJ, Professor Salim Daccache who said “The Saint- Joseph University of Beirut and ISSP are proud to associate their names with that of GlobeMed, thanks to its reputation, innovation, and leadership. In an era where data sets in all fields and is growing rapidly, there is no better time to collaborate with you to provide your know-how and expertise for a fuller education in healthcare”. Professor Daccache added “Through your initiative, you display education as the key to success and no matter the circumstances, no one should be denied education”, concluding that GlobeMed initiative shows the “true meaning of solidarity by supporting the students”.

The strong relationship between GlobeMed and USJ goes back to the beginning of 1990s. GlobeMed partnered with Saint Joseph University 18 years ago to launch the Clinical Coding program, which has seen the graduation of hundreds of professionals from insurance companies and other private and public health programs.

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 13:02

GlobeMed tops the list of the latest TPA companies rating in the MENA region published in the prestigious Al Bayan Magazine, November issue, 2019 and attached for your reference.

The rating is based on the number of adherents and countries of operations. GlobeMed has topped the rating with 23,170,000 adherents* and 12 countries of Operations. This rating reflects our continuous drive to provide superior customer service, standing tall in embracing technology to better serve our clients and their insured members. Over the past three decades, our vision has pushed us with the pride to serve and the promise to continue to shape the future of the healthcare industry.

We share this milestone today with our partners in success, our clients, and thank them for their trust and support over the years.

*Including servicing the private sector & the Saudi nationals under the Ministry of Health in the private healthcare sector

“CARE HAS NEVER BEEN CLOSER”

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 12:55

 

BEIRUT – GlobeMed Group celebrated its 25th Anniversary on May 26, 2016 at The Villa, Dbayeh under the slogan “Care has never been closer”. The prestigious gala dinner was attended by H.E Minister of Labor Sejaan Azzi, GlobeMed Group Chairman and CEO Mr. Mounir Kharma, board members H.E Minister of Tourism Michel Pharaon, and Mr. Roger Nasnas, in addition to distinguished guests including business partners from the insurance and healthcare sectors, presidents of Lebanese orders and syndicates, shareholders and board members of the GlobeMed Group companies and their General Managers, as well as prominent local and regional media. 

 

GlobeMed celebrated 25 years of commitment to taking care of healthcare, commemorating a journey of excellence in the health insurance industry. The event was not only an anniversary celebration, but also a platform to showcase the group’s achievements over the past years. GlobeMed has been consistently reaching important milestones in the health insurance market in the Middle East and Africa region, once again asserting its position as the leading healthcare benefits management group with 12 operations in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq and Nigeriawith a teamexceeding 1000 employees.

 

GlobeMed has been providing state-of-the art solutions and services, reshaping the future of healthcare in the region with care management and technological advancements. In acknowledgement of the group’s excellence and professionalism, the sector’s specialists had honored GlobeMed with the Medical Administrator of the Year 2014 and Third Party Administrator (TPA) of the year 2015 awards.

 

“This event is intended to recognize and honor all those that contributed, over the years, to make GlobeMed a market leader, a position we intend to keep,” said GlobeMed Group’s CEO and Chairman, Mr. Mounir Kharma. “From the sentimental past, we derived experience and self-satisfaction.We now need to focus on the coming 25 years with the same courage to lead and the pride to serve.”

 

GlobeMed is the largest healthcare benefits management group in the Middle East and Africa, and the first organization to introduce a TPA model in the region. The companies within the group not only provide TPA services and solutions, delivered separately as unbundled solutions or as a complete package, they also offer actuarial, reinsurance support, international healthcare services, medical coding training, ambulatory benefits management services and pharmacy benefits management services as well as wellness and prevention programs focusing on patients’ needs.

Awareness and Insurance Cover Major Factors in Fighting the Disease

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 12:53

 

Colorectal cancer (CRC) awareness takes center stage during the month of March. CRC is preventable if detected early, however sadly enough it is still the third most common cancer worldwide after lung and breast cancer affecting both men and women. As prevalence rate is rapidly increasing in certain regions, in Lebanon it is the second most common cancer among women and fourth among men.

Stemming from its belief in making a difference through awareness, GlobeMed conducted a study on colorectal cancer patients among GlobeMed Lebanon insured members. The importance of the study, covering the period 2010-2015, lies in determining the prevalence of CRC among insured members, and their demographic characteristics, namely age, gender and medical history. The study revealed an increased number of patients choosing early detection; thus more lives are saved.

The study identified 19,395 screened cases as IN and OUT patients during 2010-2015. Of them, 1,862 IN patients performed colonoscopy during 2010, only for the screening rate to record an increase of 4,121 insured members in 2013 and 3,209 in 2015. Consequently, CRC was diagnosed in 1,513 (7.80%) patients, as IN and OUT patients, compared to 17,822 (92.20%) benign cases.

Knowing that the barriers to CRC screening are related to cost and lack of health insurance, GlobeMed Lebanon provided its clients’ insured members with full coverage of CRC management, encouraging more patients to detect it early. As part of a diverse set of strategies, GlobeMed was involved in awareness campaigns related to lifestyle factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer including:

·        Lack of regular physical activity

·        Low fruit and vegetable intake

·        A low-fiber and high-fat diet

·        Overweight and obesity

·        Alcohol consumption

·        Use of Tobacco

 

As for the demographic characteristics of the IN patients, out of 903 positive colorectal cancer cases, 54.60% were men and 45.40% were women while most of the cases ranged between 50 and 69 years old.

Moreover, the study was able to demonstrate important medical history traits in connection with CRC where 30.23% of the positive cases suffered from previous diseases in the digestive system, whereas 7.6% had previous benign neoplasms, 5.09% previous malignant neoplasms and I.99%had metabolic disorders. Upon admission to hospital and during the whole study period, the mortality maintained a low rate totaling to 0.55% and the majority of patients needed one day treatment.

The study affirmed that colorectal cancer is a preventable cancer if detected early. Therefore if you are 50 years old, screening is essential. And if you experience any of the following symptoms: blood in stool, changes in bowel habits, unexpected weight loss, lump in abdomen, don’t wait to get screened. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 12:27

 

It is no secret that good knees are an essential part of a healthy and active lifestyle. W.A.M, a 72 year old lady suffering from severe osteoarthritis since 6 years with severe pain, couldn’t lead a normal life anymore. Every simple activity turned into a struggle, from bending her knees to climbing the stairs.

Since Total Knee Replacement (TKR)surgery is reported to relieve pain and improve mobility, her doctor advised her to undergo the surgery. As a long time insured member serviced by GlobeMed Lebanon, she was confident that she could rely on the professionalism of GlobeMed team in the management of her case. She did the surgery and now she is back home to lead a healthy life, climbing the stairs and bending her knees and most importantly, she forgot all about the pain.

Knee replacements have emerged as a mainstream surgery.  In a study carried out by Dr. Helene Bekhazi, GlobeMed Lebanon Medical Director, on a selected population of insured members totaling 229,117 adherents during 2011-2014, 234 Total Knee Replacement surgeries were performed, with30% at University hospitals, compared to 152 within the period of 2005-2010 with 35% at University hospitals. The study shows an increase in demand within 3 years from 0.18% to 0.29%.

In 2012, GlobeMed Lebanon and its contracted insurance companies decided to raise the coverage of prostheses in particular from 2,000$ to 30,000$ which gave insured members better options and wider choices in choosing between the best prostheses. Consequently, this has left its positive marks on the outcomes of this surgery. Based on the study, most of TKR surgeries were performed on women above the age of 70 while men did the surgery above the age of 58. The average length of stay (LOS) was 7 days for both genders.

Dr. Bekhazi explained that the success of this surgery in Lebanon could be a major factor for this increase in demand. Another important factor is the outcomes rate: 0% mortality achieved during 2011-2014 compared to 0.6% during 2005-2010. In general, the total outcomes rate (infection, death, complication, and readmission) dropped from 12.5% during 2005-2010 to 11.6% during 2011-2014.

TKR operation is directly associated with complications such as anemia, infection, hemorrhage and hematoma. The study unveiled that infection rate dropped from staggering 4.0% to 2.6% during 2011-2014, while readmission maintained a steady rate with 1.3%.

As the market for TKR continues its growth in the years to come, the study performed by GlobeMed Lebanon shows the good results achieved reflecting positively on the insured members’ satisfaction and, most importantly, patients’ health.