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No matter what doctors, nurses, technicians, and other hospital staff do – medical care will never be good enough. The decisions made can always be better, mistakes will be made, and people will die. Perfection is a dream for most people, but it can be a nightmare for many people in the medical field. What if this was done, would the patient still be alive? This problem should have been noticed earlier. The answer to this illness is unknown. And yet, doctors are at the epitomy of respected professions. Health care may be a gray area, but care is not. The responsibility of people in the medical is to do their best, not to be perfect. People will entrust their own lives to someone who’s best action is determined, not necessarily by what’s right or wrong, but more so by the situation itself.

I recently made a Sonic Sez health tip video about seizures and epilepsy. I put good amount of effort into the construction of this video, and I had a fair amount of previous knowledge about the subject which I used. I wanted to project that seizures are not only convulsions, and that many of the causes are unknown.  I had a number of special reasons to learn about seizures, and having read a few books about them I probably know more about seizures than any of the other topics I tackled. The effort I put into this was well worth it from an educational and amusement standpoint (I hand made the set for this video). And of course the video isn’t too serious. I think the intro is enticing for anyone who likes sonic, and I still used a silly saying at the end.

The words of Michael Savage led me to creating another sonic sez (says) video. This time I wanted to contribute to the awareness of Autism. Certainly difficult to understand, a lot of people have misconceptions about what autism is. There is no excuse for what Savage said and my video will hopefully inspire some people to learn about autism. It doesn’t have in-depth information, but I think it suffices for a video done on a whim. The definition I use in the video is from http://www.assew.org/what_is_autism.htm. I think i have a little more humor in this one simply because Savage set himself up to be cracked on.

This is the transcript from a presentation I gave about the connection between Homeland Security and the field:

            Good Afternoon, I’m speaking about a connection between Homeland Security and the field of medicine that is generally ignored. The two fields are often thought of as completely separate, although cooperative. My presentation is a basic overview on the subject.

 

The field of Homeland Security conjures thoughts about counter-terrorism, infrastructure protection, and intelligence analysis. The field of medicine brings about images of treating patients; surgery, diagnostics, cardiology, neurology and so on. But, the two are linked by a large number of factors that need to be acknowledged.

 

            The National Strategy for Homeland Security lists six critical mission areas, in this order. Health Care mostly fits under the Emergency Preparedness and Response category. However, it can be shown that, pending the circumstances, it can fit under the other categories as well.

 

            Emergency Preparedness & Response is most often associated with first responders. By the nature of their title, they are usually the first to arrive at an emergency situation. EMTs, and if the circumstances warrant it, hazmat units, are the first to provide medical care. Planning is a basic foundation of preparedness. In 2005, the Homeland Security Council published the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. The plan sets aside the department of health and Human Services as one of the lead agencies to implement the strategy. Also, in 2007, President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 to establish a national strategy for Public Health and Medical Preparedness. A few weeks ago, it was discovered that the water supply of Alamosa, Colorado was contaminated with Salmonella. The cause remains unknown. It is unlikely that it is an act of terrorism, but in an area with a population of about 10,000 almost 400 people have been treated for Salmonella. Jim Martin, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Hans Kallam director of the Colorado Division of Emergency Management worked together closely to solve the problem. The water system has been thoroughly cleaned, water bottles have been brought in with the aid of helpful companies, and an investigation as to the cause of the situation has begun.

 

The Medical field holds high stakes in the planning for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear incidents. After an incident of this kind, health care would be a high priority and capability would be stretched to its limit. Bioterrorism does have a small history in the United States including an incident of salmonella poisoning intended to affect an election and the Anthrax attacks. In the case of an attack today, the Department of Health and Human Services is charged with deploying medical personnel and equipment to aid other agencies. The Department of Homeland Security works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Department of Veterans Affairs to detect biological and chemical attacks.

 

The relationship between Homeland Security and Health Care is a two-way street. Healthcare serves the purpose of Homeland Security and Homeland Security also serves the purpose of Healthcare. As a critical infrastructure sector, public health is important to the daily functions of the U.S. Public health services need security and an insurance of continuity of operations.

 

The area of intelligence and warning is important for taking preemptive, preventive, and protective measures. The field of medicine can be involved here through medical surveillance. David Siegrist from the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies describes medical surveillance as the prospective statistical analysis of health-related data for rapid detection of anomalies that indicate the outbreak of disease in a population. This information can be used to detect a natural epidemic or act of terrorism. It can be useful for medical response and for the capture of a perpetrator. The shooting last year at Virginia Tech has highlighted a need to work more closely with the mental health system and to improve mental illness interventions. It is always helpful to know who is a threat to the security of the nation or the safety of citizens. Any actions in this area must maintain patient confidentiality. This is not necessarily an important term in Homeland Security but it is very important to the area of health care. Trust between a health care provider and a patient has become one of the bases of the U.S. health system, and patient confidentiality should be respected by Homeland Security and other fields that begin to work with mental health organizations.

 

May 24, 2007 a potential threat to the health and safety of United States citizens crossed the border from Canada to the U.S. Andrew Speaker, diagnosed with multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis was allowed freely into the U.S. despite an alert that he should be restrained and health officials should be notified. In this situation, border security had direct involvement with public health; failing in their responsibility to contact health officials could have put numerous people in danger of contracting TB. Fortunately no one is known to have contracted TB from Speaker and his diagnosis has been downgraded to a less resistant form.

 

            Domestic Counterterrorism is essentially a law enforcement field. However healthcare professionals can provide helpful skills and resources. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, offers training to protect workers from infection or contamination. Psychologists and Psychiatrists can be called on to help with interrogation. A new, controversial tool for interrogation and lie detection involves Neuroimaging. A medical technique that, in this case, uses Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Extensive research and testing has been, and continues to be done on effective countermeasures to biological, chemical, and radiological agents. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a sub Health and Human Services agency, has computer simulation models for response planning and training modules on bioterrorism.

            The connection between Homeland Security and the field of Medicine is expansive and essential. For the field of Homeland Security, securing the nation requires a partnership with the medical community; and for the field of medicine maintaining the health of citizens requires a partnership with Homeland Security.

 

          

While I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at UVA I wanted to do something to give the program more publicity. It is an excellent program for anyone hoping to enter med or dental school, but very few people know about it. Many of the applicants, including myself, only found out about it by searching the net. The program has more than high enough quality to be recommended by advisors and publicized through schools. I tried to get the local news channel to do a short piece about the program, but that fell through. I should have also tried the newspaper, but I didn’t get around to it. However, I recently realized that a blog entry might possibly reach as many people as any other method I had considered:

There is a committment to the medical field and a service to the health of people, in the present and in the future that constitutes duty beyond expectation. The Directors of the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at the University of Virginia have devoted many years, in some cases 2 decades, to the education of future doctors.  The attending undergraduate students have sacrificed six-weeks of the summer to gain knowledge for the benefit of others. They come from all around the country and all over the world to join for a shared cause. Every weekday a minimum of nine hours, and often more, are devoted for learning different subjects, preparing for medical school, experiencing different career opportunities, and focusing on serving people. But the story does not end there. Even though the students originate from aound the world, they were prepared to dedicate their time and energy to Charlottesville and the surrounding community. The feat performed by the students, the directors, the speakers, and other particpants deserve recognition.

The benefits of exercise are innumerable. Reseachers have discovered that, in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease, exercise helped minimize the progression of the disease. I was not surprised by the findings since exercise seems to keep the mind clear and sharp, but for physically fit Alzheimer’s patients to actually have less brain shrinkage is interesting. It appears that the increased flow of blood to the brain during exercise allows for a healthier brain by delivering more oxygen & nutrients. The connection between exercise and the function of the brain may also point to a future increase of dementia that corresponds with an increase in obesity (citation: WebMD, BBC)

What I Learned From My First Reading Session about Seizures

  • More than 2 million people in the U.S. have had seizures and/or been diagnosed with epilepsy
  • The term seizure is a symptom
  • If a seizure is not epileptic, or if a diagnosis is uncertain, it should be described as paroxysmal
  • There are about 32 types of seizures
  • aprox. 50% of seizures never have an identified cause; the other 50% are usually due to underlying diseases or injury of the brain
  • Seizures limited to one portion of the brain are called partial seizures
  • Most seizures last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes

For a fairly common ‘symptom’ very little is known about seizures. Understanding seizures better could improve the lifestyle of thousands of people. Equally important, it could decrease the amount of fear in people who suffer a seizure and are unsure of why it happened, if it will happen again, or when it could happen. Tests to search for underlying causes can also be quite time consuming and expensive, often including an EEG, CT scan, and an MRI. Each test can be very important in indentifying problems, but the quality of the tests do not seem to meet the needs of epilepsy/seizure patients since only 50% of the time a cause is identified.

This summer I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at the University of Virginia. As an aspiring doctor, the six weeks were more than worth the time and effort. During the program numerous doctors came to speak to our group of about seventy students on varying topics; everything from plastic surgery, urology, and optimology, to cardiology, radiology, and endocrinology. One of the lecturers, Dr. Cato Laurencin has been acknowledged as one of the top researchers in the world. We were also allowed to enter the anatomy lab where we saw a cadaver and an unfortunate collection of fetuses. In the autopsy area, we handled organs that were normal and damaged, included a human brain, heart, and lung. In smaller groups we toured different areas of the hospital, including the futuristic radiology area. Also, we had a chance to interview people at an elderly care center near Charlottesville. The people running the program were by far some of the most dedicated, caring indivivuals I had ever meet, and the culturally diverse participants were kind and talented. The most important part of the program, even more so than any of the great things I learned, is the friends that I made.

Autism has a rate of about 1 per every couple hundred births, and yet I had never known or seen anyone with a confirmed case until I volunteered at a pediatriac emergency ward. New research gives more hope for better treatments and better care. It has been determined that some of the genes involved in the expression of autism are stuck in the “off” position but not missing completely. This shows that working hard with individuals diagnosed with autism can be successful in helping them make improvements. According to the AP, It seems that the brain of a person with autism cannot properly create new connections. I’m not sure if it means actual physical-neurological connections or mental connections of events, learned material, etc.