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"Researchers in Gothenburg have been using 3D technology from the film industry to analyze the everyday movements of stroke patients. The results, which are reported in a doctoral thesis at the Sahlgrenska Academy, indicate that computerized motion analysis increases our knowledge of how stroke patients can improve their ability to move through rehabilitation."

More here.



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Are Today's Surgeons Unprepared?

Posted by Bob Armstrong on December 20, 2013 8:55 AM EST
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"Calculating the number of hours “lost” by cutting back on in-hospital time, surgical leaders estimated that young surgeons-to-be were now missing out on as much as a year’s worth of experience."

Yikes. We think we're fixing errors by limiting the number of hours a resident or doc can work. Actually, we're limiting the amount of experiential learning these folks can receive. If we can't go backwards on this, we have to change the way we're learning. I see a gigantic opportunity for healthcare simulation/simulators to help fill this apparent gap.

Read the whole article here:


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The title of this post comes from a recent study performed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academes portrays severe issues in the U.S. Healthcare system.  

From The New York Times today (13 January):

It is no secret that the United States spends a lot more on health care than any other country yet ranks far behind other advanced nations in keeping its citizens healthy. This has been well documented in studies of older people and of newborn infants. It is now shockingly clear that poor health is a much broader and deeper problem than past studies have suggested.

An authoritative report issued by the Institute of Medicine this week found that, on average, Americans experience higher rates of disease and injury and die sooner than people in other high-income countries. That is true at all ages between birth and 75 and for even well-off Americans who mistakenly think that top-tier medical care ensures that they will remain in good health. The study found that even upper-income Americans with health insurance and college educations appear to be sicker than their peers in other rich nations.

Here is a link to the synopsis of the report.  From the report, here are the nine areas where Americans as a group fare worse: 

  1. Infant mortality and low birth weight
  2. Injuries and homicides
  3. Adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
  4. HIV and AIDS
  5. Drug-related deaths
  6. Obesity and diabetes
  7. Heart disease
  8. Chronic lung disease
  9. Disability

Also, from the report:

The United States does enjoy a few health advantages when compared with peer countries, including lower cancer death rates and greater control of blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Americans who reach age 75 can expect to live longer than people in the peer countries. With these exceptions, however, other high-income countries outrank the United States on most measures of health.


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(1 person found this blog post useful.)

It's not every day that you come across someone who is combinining both health monitoring with distributed networking. James Meneghello at Australia's Murdoch University are working on a way to monitor a person's health via a smartphone, while also making use of other smartphones located in proximity to the primary user.  Think of it as health care data processing via a distributed nodal network.

From the article:

A Murdoch University PhD candidate envisions a future in which everyone wears a low-energy sensor to monitor their health – and he’s doing the computing work to make it a reality.

James Meneghello of Murdoch’s School of Information Technology recently returned from three months with DistriNet Research Group at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium working on leading-edge wireless sensor networking.

A lot has been done on using sensors to monitor health, but my work is the first that uses mobile phones collaboratively to detect and alert people to physical conditions like heart attacks," says Murdoch researcher James Meneghello. “Basically, if a person wearing a sensor has a problem with their heart, I want their phone to detect the anomaly and reach out to phones around it, using them to process the information, then pulling it back to warn the person that they’re about to have a heart attack."

The researchers say their technology can theoretically tell if diabetic neuropathy is occurring by monitoring variations in heart rate. Meneghello says the technology, if successful, could not only alleviate physical pain, but also spare a person from traveling very far to regularly see a physician.

Link to the article here.

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Where Does M&S Fit Into The Healthcare Industry?

Posted by Bob Armstrong on December 7, 2012 9:10 AM EST
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Short answer:  Pretty much everywhere.

In an effort to understand (or, to grok it, really) the myriad ways that modeling and simulation can be applied to support healthcare training, education, rehearsal, and analysis, I started "mapping" the industry areas.  Being one of those people who relies on visualization as an aid to comprehension, I personally found this approach to be very helpful.  

There are multiple ways to map out the industry - one other way would be to start with the types of modeling and simulation that can be applied -- discrete event sim, system dynamics, real-time simulation, and the like -- and map the industry against those types.  My goal was to portray the industry at a higher level, though, and not to drive down to the modeling and simulation application -- or even the application domain.

I'm hoping that this map will stir constructively critical thinking and comments.  Have at it.

 Click the thumbnail image to the left, or this link, to see the file.Medical Modeling & Simulation Domain-7Dec12.jpg

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Modeling Dynamic Regulatory Processes in Stroke

Posted by Bob Armstrong on December 1, 2012 4:50 PM EST
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I ran across this interesting paper (full and free access here) regarding building a dynamic model to represent the treatment of stroke victims following their immediate stabilization.  journal.pcbi.1002722.g008.png

Strokes are interesting things, namely because (in many cases) the impacts associated with stroke can be lessened or mitigated if the appropriate treatment is administered to the patient.

From the paper:

In this paper we describe an approach for in silico examination of responses of the blood transcriptome to neuroprotective agents and subsequent stroke through the development of dynamic models of the regulatory processes observed in the experimental gene expression data.

And, from 

The ability to examine strokes and other biological processes, through the use of computer simulations rather than after the fact on actual organisms, may significantly accelerate how quickly discoveries can be made in fighting diseases. The ability to model and simulate different treatments prior to administering them to a patient can help predict with more certainty which therapeutic approaches may be the most effective.

Access the paper here.


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