The Roles As a Caregiver for an Alzheimer’s Patient

January 18, 2018

Critical Care

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There are many challenges that come with caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these challenges are widely known because of their portrayal in mainstream movies and television, but there are many challenges that mainstream media seldom shows. It’s vital that any caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient be aware of these often unexplored realities of the disease so that they will be better prepared for dealing with them when the time comes.

Being the Voice of Reason

The first thing that springs to many people’s minds when they think of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. While memory loss is a significant indicator of the disease, there are many other symptoms that accompany it, including difficulty focusing, frequent confusion, and delusions. Patients not only lose their ability to retain and make new memories: they also forget the most basic information that so many people take for granted, such as their names, their environments, the date, and their loved ones. This can cause them to become agitated and fearful.

A caregiver needs to respond quickly to the patient when they become upset, assure them that they are in a safe place, and answer their questions to relieve them of their uncertainty and confusion. This can become tedious because the caregiver will find themselves answering the same questions multiple times, but it is important to keep calm so as not to compound the patient’s distress.

Being a Constant Monitor

People with Alzheimer’s are not mentally able to take care of even their most basic needs. They can forget things like eating, taking medication, and safety precautions. A caregiver will need to feed regularly the patient, administer their medication, and constantly keep their eye on them to make sure that they aren’t doing something that might result in them getting hurt. They also need to frequently check to see if the patient has lost control of their bladder and bowels, since patients often forget how to go to the bathroom.

Being a Parental Figure

Patients with Alzheimer’s can resort to child-like behavior because they have lost the concepts of accountability, responsibility, and mature communication. If they don’t want to do something such as taking their medication, they can resort to name-calling, verbal threats, hostility, physical force, and other displays of aggression. It is the responsibility of the caregiver to not give in to their childish antics. They have to remain firm and calm because the patient is incapable of doing so. It might seem inappropriate or condescending for a first-time caregiver to speak to an elderly person like a parent would a child–specially if the patient is their parent–but it’s necessary if the patient refuses to accept care.

Damage to the Dental Crown – How Porcelain Crowns Help Fix the Problem

January 18, 2018

Critical Care

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Dental crowns can be both natural and artificial. Of course the artificial dental crowns are installed after the loss of the natural one. If you revisit the structure of the tooth- a bit of biology class here- the tooth is made of three main parts: the root, the neck and the crown. The crown is the part that everyone gets to see. It is the one that gets chipped and discolored. It is the one that is damage by acids and sweets. It is the one that chews; bites and tears the food. The crown does a lot of work and is subjected to a whole lot of forces and environments that can easily damage it. It is therefore very normal for the crown’s protective layer called the enamel to wear out with time.

What happens when the crown is damaged?

Often problems relating to the teeth develop as a result of dental crowns being damaged. The crown is the one that protects and strengthens the structure of the tooth. Therefore, without the crown people start suffering issues such as tooth sensitivity. Now this is a major problem all over the world. Tooth sensitivity does not allow you to live a comfortable life as you would like to. When you take something hot or cold you experience a sharp pain in the tooth.

A damaged tooth crown also opens your tooth (the live part of the tooth) to infections. The mouth is home to colonies upon colonies of different species of bacteria. These, if given an opportunity, can cause infections in the mouth. Therefore, a dental crown is very important in a bid to protect the tooth from damage by these oral bacteria.

The appearance of the tooth is also destroyed when the crown is damaged. You might not feel the pain that comes as a result of tooth sensitivity as abovementioned. You might not have an issue with infection or tooth decay but the appearance of the tooth may be affected. This is where the custom-made porcelain crowns come in to save the day.

Why porcelain is used for dental crowning

Porcelain is a very strong material to start with. The forces that your teeth are subjected to are incredibly high. It is therefore not a surprise that the enamel is worn off with time. There are other types of dental crowns but porcelain crowns come highly favored for this specific purpose- they are strong. They are able to last for a really long time when they are applied properly.

Another reason why porcelain crowns are recommended is because they resemble the natural teeth. When you have them applied, no one will ever notice that you have artificial dental crowns. Unless of course you tell them that they are artificial. It is worth closing by mentioning that porcelain crowns do not last forever. Like other dental restorations, a porcelain crown might need replacing at some point in time.

Accurate Diagnosis & Patient Comfort at the Core of Innovation in ECG/EKG, EEG, and MRI Technologies

January 18, 2018

Critical Care

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Over the past decade, researchers have made several undeniable breakthroughs in curing diseases that were once thought to be deadly and incurable. And this feat can be attributed to significant improvements in diseases diagnosis and testing.

In recent years, newer as well as safer methods of disease testing have been developed to avoid incorrect diagnosis among patients and to ensure they do not have to undergo any additional harm. Development of the latest diagnostic tests and procedures – such as electrocardiogram (ECG), electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – enables physicians to make accurate decisions about their patients.

Thanks to constant innovation and dedication of healthcare companies and research organizations, diagnostic testing has helped achieve tangible improvements in not just the survival of patients but also in their overall health and quality of life.

Portable and Wearable ECG/EKG Monitors a Prominent Innovation in Cardiovascular Health

The electrocardiogram (ECG) has played a crucial role in understanding cardiovascular diseases. Its wide scope of application encompasses clinical diagnosis and prognosis of cardiovascular diseases, biomedical recognition, health assessment, fatigue study, and others. Ongoing research in the technology is mainly focused on accuracy of ECG diagnosis and application, big data mining for ECG, and improved ECG instrumentation.

Remote ECG monitoring systems are fast becoming commonplace medical devices for remote as well as long-term physiological monitoring. These devices are not just targeted for elderly and frail patients but also for healthy individuals merely looking to monitor overall wellbeing.

Wearable technology is one of the most prominent innovations in the field and continues to be used in everyday clinical practice.

Qardio, Inc., a global digital health company, launched a revolutionary wearable ECG monitor in January 2017. The QardioCore is reportedly the first wearable medical ECG/EKG monitor that lets users monitor heart health without any patches or wires. This innovation is a far cry from conventional ECG monitors used in hospitals, which are known to be bulky and burdensome. By contrast, this wearable device is designed for monitoring anywhere and anytime.

Looking to capitalize on the growing trend of remote patient monitoring, especially to maintain heart health, medical device companies are working on devising new and innovative methods of tracking patient health. One such example is startup AliveCor’s Heart Monitor. The monitor comprises a case that can be simply attached to the back an Android device or an iPhone, while the test is administered and results are revealed through the company’s mobile app AliveECG. This gives new meaning to the concept of having health at your fingertips.

Increased Focus on making EEG Technology Minimally Invasive

Generation after generation, scientists and researchers have tried to understand the human brain. The 18th century pseudoscience of “bumpology”, which believed that the shape of a person’s skull lent insights into their mental state and personality, was discredited as a science 50 years after its introduction. It was nearly a century later that studying the electrical activity inside a living brain came to be the go-to technique to understand various neurological conditions.

Although the technique, called electroencephalography (EEG), was rather invasive initially, contemporary research and modern technology have enabled the development of non-invasive methods to study brain function, pathology, and behavior.

In recent years, the many intrinsic advantages of EEG have allowed the technique to expand its application scope to include diagnosis of conditions such as epilepsy, seizures, dizziness, head injuries, brain tumors, headaches, and sleep disorders. After a groundbreaking move away from analog to digital recordings, automated and integrated computer-EEG systems have opened doors to adaptable and accessible research methodologies. These systems have also become relatively portable and cheap.

Capitalizing on recent technological innovations, Maryland-based BrainScope raised U$16 million in August 2017 to be dedicated toward research and development of mobile, non-invasive devices to assess traumatic brain injury. In September 2016, the company launched “Ahead 300”, the third version of its commercial product BrainScope One. It comprises an EEG headset and a handheld display equipment to help clinicians conduct 4 tests to determine the existence of a traumatic brain injury. These tests – two cognitive performance and two sensor-based tests – have the potential to allow the device to eliminate one third of unnecessary CT scans.

For several developing regions and countries, access to costly diagnostic technologies such as EEG means overcoming a number of geographic and economic constraints. However, penetration of the Internet and proliferation of smartphone usage has brought these countries closer to gaining access to advanced technologies. The Bhutan Epilepsy Project, for instance, has been tackling the aforementioned challenges by using a smartphone-based EEG. Developed by the Technical University of Denmark, the device and overall setup amounts to less than US$500, is highly portable, and is easy to use.

Constant Innovation in MRI Hardware and Software

Perhaps one of the most common and widely-used diagnostic/medical imaging technique, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been highly valued for its versatility. MRI has a wide range of applications in the field of medical diagnosis, ranging from neuroimaging, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal to angiography, liver, and gastrointestinal. And even though the effect of this imaging technique on the improved health outcome of a patient is uncertain, its role in the diagnosis and treatment of various disorders is irrefutable. Based on recent developments, GE Healthcare has been among the front-runners in MRI technology.

Innovation in design is crucial in MR technology and this can add immense value to patient-friendly medical imaging. Take the 2011 Optima MR430s, for instance. This GE Healthcare innovation marked a major leap in MR imaging as it was designed for specific targeted anatomy, be it an arm or a leg, rather than traditional whole-body systems. Overcoming the challenges of immobilization and patient confinement, this innovative scanner has helped improve patient experience. For physicians, this has meant fewer demands on a full-body scanner, smarter investment options, relieving patient backlogs, and low total cost of ownership.

In the last couple of years, however, major advances in MRI technology have been on the software side. This has resulted in more simplified cardiac imaging workflows, faster contrast scans, and allowing MR scans of the lungs.

In September 2016, the US FDA granted approval to the MAGnetic resonance image Compilation, or MAGiC, software by GE Healthcare. This is reportedly a first-of-its-kind multi-contrast MRI technique that delivers eight contrast media in a one acquisition. This is done in a fraction of the time taken by traditional imaging, primarily by allowing users to flexibly manipulate MR images retrospectively. This has led to fewer rescans and therefore considerable time and cost savings.

Cardiac MRI has been a rather limited field owing to lengthy exam times, complexity, and high cost. RSNA 2015 saw GE Healthcare introduce a new MRI technology, one with the potential to simplify cardiac MR to a great extent. The ViosWorks cardiac MRI software helps create what the company calls a 7-D cardiac MRI exam.

Why Do You Need A Master Health Checkup?

January 18, 2018

Healthcare Systems

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The Yearly Master Health Checkup is a wide-ranging health checkup that is used to provide protection from several diseases. Overall, the Master Health checkup is a complete medical package that runs yearly.

There are three important factors to consider before you select a Master health checkup plan-

1. All tests should be targeted according to the age, gender, history of health issues, diet, lifestyle, and a number of other factors.
2. The frequency and number of these tests should be according to the international guidelines and can be determined by the available information. These tests should be performed at regular intervals.
3. Avoid any unnecessary tests that can cause any physical harm. This involves mental harm and radiation risks.

Prevention is better than cure

These tests not only detect the symptoms, but also protect you from all the physical pain that you will have to go through if the disease gets severe. If you address the issue early, most diseases can be cured and prevented. It also makes you more functional and energetic. Overall, it helps you maintain your health.

Because it’s affordable

Medical care is expensive. But, investing money on preventive health care will save you a lot of money in the future. It is better to spend some money on these preventive measures instead of spending a huge amount of money on treating serious illnesses later.

What to look for?

However, most of the providers fail on many such aspects. First of all, there is no guidance or regulation for the hospitals and diagnostic centers regarding these checkups. Second, a number of tests are no way related to better service. Health screening programs in the developed countries have a set of national guidelines that state the tests to be conducted, the targeted population and the frequency of these tests. Everything is conducted so randomly that it beats the point of the screening.

Avoid unnecessary tests

Some diagnostic centres include scans like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans in their plan which involves radiation. It has a great risk and should be avoided unless there is a requirement of the imaging. Most of the health checkup packages offer these scans even though they don’t have any benefit. This might not only be a waste of money but can also be risky. For example, for asymptomatic patients, routine chest x-rays are avoided because of the radiation risk. Also, in the paediatric wellness checks for children, chest x-rays have become a part.

Another group that is targeted with unnecessary checkups is women. The plans include tests like Mammography and Pap test which are meant for women in a particular age group. Doing these tests randomly can be misleading.

So, before you go for the checkup, make sure that you do it from a reputed diagnostic centre so that it can provide you with the best plan and does not involve any unnecessary tests. The hospitals of the centres must ensure that you are not going to be exposed to the radiation for unnecessary reasons.

One Day, Scientists Could Grow The Human Cardiovascular System From Stem Cells

January 18, 2018

Healthcare Systems

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At present, there are millions of people across the globe looking for heart transplants. But with a huge shortage of donor, most of these patients don’t survive. Growing transplantable hearts in the laboratory is actually a quite old dream within the entire medical community and recently a study published in the journal namely Circulation Research has moved things one step closer to the reality. As mentioned in that study, a team of researchers has become successful in growing a beating human heart in the laboratory from the stem cells.

After that, two teams of scientists have published another study mentioning that it is actually possible to create the main elements of the human cardiovascular system from the pluripotent stem cells. This knowledge is not only important for reproducing the entire cardiovascular system, but also for transplantable and developing tissues to care for the patients with vascular or cardiovascular diseases.

Developing replacement tissues from the stem cells is one of the major goals of biology. In case any damaged part of the body can be restored by the tissue, which genetically matches to the patient, then there is less scope for rejection. So, far, growing the cardiovascular system from stem cells is one of the most complex decisions.

Developing capillaries by using 3D printers:

The scientists of both the Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University are taking the help of 3D printers for developing functioning capillaries. Capillaries are actually thin and tiny blood vessels, which transport blood to the veins from arteries and also make it possible the exchange of nutrients, oxygen and other waste materials between the tissues and blood.

As circulated in the Biomaterials Science journal, the scientists mainly discovered two materials, which coax the endothelial cells obtained from the human stem cell to build up into the formation like capillaries. The scientists also discovered that attaching mesenchymal stem cells to this procedure advanced the scope of the endothelial cells to create tube-like formations that resemble capillaries. Gisele Calderon, the lead author on that study explained the primary findings in the interview with Phys.org.

They also mentioned that these cells are capable of forming the capillary kind of structures both in the semi-synthetic material known as GelMA or gelatin methacrylate and in a natural material known as the fibrin.

Developing functioning arteries:

In another study issued in the PNAS journal, the scientists from the University of Wisconsin Madison and the Morgridge Institute mentioned that they are capable of generating purposeful arterial endothelial cells that line up the interior parts of the human arteries.

To do this, the team used a lab technique known as the single-call RNA ordering to find all the important factors of signaling, which coax the human pluripotent stem cells for developing into the arterial endothelial cells. After that, the scientists took the help of Cas9/CRISPR gene editing technology for developing arterial “reporter cell lines” that lights up like the Christmas trees while candidate factors become successful to build up “reporter stem cells” to build up into the arterial endothelial cells.

By making use of this two-step theory, scientists managed to generate cells, which displayed most of the features and functions of the arterial endothelial cells available in the body. Additionally, while these cells were transplanted into mouse and has an illness heart attack, these cells aided to create new arteries while improving the rate of survival of that mice.

The Meaning Of Quality In Health Care

January 18, 2018

Healthcare Systems

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The process of receiving health care services at the correct time in the appropriate way and to get the best possible outcome is defined as quality health care.

Six attributes of health care quality

• Safety – Care should not harm any patient.
• Patient centered – Individual needs should be taken care of when providing care.
• Timely – Care should be provided exactly on time.
• Effective – Care must be based on evidence.
• Efficient – Wastage of time should be reduced.
• Equitable – Equal care should be provided to every patient.

What is quality health care?

The meaning of quality health care is not the same for all people. According to some patients, quality care is to consult a doctor, to get proper treatment from the staffs of a hospital and to have a physician who can spend much time with the patient. But all these things are secondary. Clinical quality of care is the most important thing because more lives can be saved by providing evidence-based and high quality care.

Does quality equal safety?

Yes, quality equals safety. The quality of care is to be improved by the health care providers because it can save more lives of the patients.

How is health care quality measured?

Outcome indicators and process indicators are the two ways of measuring quality of care. Timelines and baseline practices are measured by process indicators. Complication rates, mortality rates and infection rates are measured by outcome indicators.

These indicators can be looked at by the consumer to compare the hospitals. National accreditations, recognitions and state of the hospital should also be looked at by you to measure quality.

What are quality measures and quality indicators?

The process of converting the medical information of a patient into percentage or rate to analyze the quality of care provided by the hospitals to their patients is called a quality measure. You will be given information by quality measures about how the patients are provided care by the hospital. This quality information can be used by you to compare the quality care of different hospitals.

What role do nurses and doctors play?

A very important role is played by the doctors and nurses. Quality care should be provided by all the nurses and physicians, clinically and satisfactorily. All the staffs in a hospital such as the receptionist, scrub nurse, hospital administrator, physician and the X-ray technician are responsible in providing quality care to all the patients.