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The Doctor's Channel

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Do You Want A Smarter Prosthetic Leg?

Researchers at North Carolina State University’s Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Engineering Lab are testing and reprogramming robotic prosthesis software to better adapt to everyday situations. Human joints and muscles behave differently when carrying different loads and while oriented in different positions, so today’s “smart” prosthetics should be able to do the same. Click here to read more about this research from NC State. New North Carolina State University research into wearable robotics shows how amputees wearing these devices adapted when presented with a real-world challenge: carrying a weighted backpack. The results could assist device manufacturers and clinicians expand the utility of these important devices, and could help researchers develop smarter controllers that adapt to real-world demands. Andrea Brandt, a Ph.D. student in the NC State and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, wanted to chart a new course of study on powered devices used to help lower-limb amputees walk. While multiple studies on the efficacy of these devices on level ground have been published, there is a paucity of work that tests these devices in more challenging real-world situations, like bearing additional weight when people carry a load – groceries or a backpack, for example. Earlier this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs developed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency LUKE arm system, for two veterans looking for prosthetic limbs.: US military veterans Fred Downs and Nardi McCauley lost their arms during service to...

Five Medical Student New Year’s Resolutions

Now that 2017 is almost at its end, and the new year is waiting for us, it is the time to sit and reflect on what we have done the past year and what we want to do differently the coming year. For most of us, new year’s resolutions are all about losing weight, adopting more healthy eating habits and exercising, the case for medical students is different. Medical students lead a unique life and thus their new year’s resolutions ought to be different from others too. If you haven’t yet decided about what your new year’s resolutions are going to be for the coming year, here are some the medical student New Year’s resolutions. 1.    Make a Sleep Schedule One thing that tends to get affected the most when you are in the medical school is your sleep cycle. Early morning lectures and late night study sessions lead to irregular sleeping hours. The cycle leaves you tired and you are unable to concentrate, which is the basic thing you need to do when in medical school. As your new year’s resolution for 2018, you should try to sleep well, and most importantly at normal hours. Your mind and body needs rest. Thus, make a resolution that you will make a sleep schedule and try to stick by it. 2.    Preview the Materials before Class We all have made...

How to Make the Most out of Working During Christmas and The Holidays

The holidays are a time when people make happy memories with their loved ones and give presents. However, it is not always fun and games for the brave souls who work in the medical field. Medical emergencies don’t take the day off and neither do the doctors, nurses and other health care providers who can manage them. Most are on active duty during the holidays even when others have the day off. Across the country, thousands of HCPs will be spending Christmas in health care facilities. Those who do return home will be on call for emergencies which they have to drop everything to attend to. For these professionals, finding balance between their career obligations and family can be the biggest stressor of the year for them. So how do they do it? Here are some ways HCPs across the country are making their holiday season as jolly as they can without ignoring their duties. Bringing festive cheer to work Just because they don’t have to be home for the holidays doesn’t mean they cannot bring the holiday cheer with them. It is not uncommon to see hospitals and clinics decorated for Christmas with decked out halls twinkling with lights. Each employee brings their own ideas to the table not only for themselves, but also for the patients who are nursing their own ailments in the hospital. This speaks...

Learn How Scientists are Decoding the Most Complex Object in the Universe: The Brain

Researchers from University College London (UCL) are working on a project with the lofty goal of analyzing the entirety of a brain’s neuronal activity in real time. Most estimates place the number of neurons in the average brain somewhere between 70 and 100 billion. Trying to record all of the relevant activity in one brain as it occurs will be difficult enough, but beyond that, the UCL team is planning to employ considerable processing power towards deciphering the meaning of each firing synapse. NeuroPixels, as the prototype probes are being called, are the width of a human hair and can monitor hundreds of neurons at once over multiple regions of the brain while simultaneously digitizing the signal on-board and sending the information to a database. Developed in collaboration with a consortium of leading non-profit organizations in neuroscience, these super-sensitive electrode sensors are already being studied in mice models, and are expected to be available for purchase by research labs in mid-2018. The researchers are already in the process of developing the next generations of these sensors. Click here to read more about this technology on the UCL News Outlet. Rafael Yuste, MD, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience at Columbia University, discusses the research goals of the brain activity map project. He explains the purpose of this ground breaking research is to develop tools that will allow scientists of the future to measure the activity of every neuron in the brain. The Brain Activity...

Is There an American Nurse Shortage?

America will need 1.1 million new nurses by 20221, but research from nursing recruitment experts Sunbelt Staffing has projected that without sweeping change, only 462,383 new nurses will be available, creating a shortage of just under 700,000. While there are currently 3.97 million active Registered Nurses2 in the country, by 2022 this number may have dropped to 3.89 million, due to a projected 500,0003 retirements from an aging workforce and an education system struggling to cope with demand. A 2016 survey by the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing4) revealed that nursing colleges turned away 64,065 qualified applicants from entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs. This could total 354,569 more rejections by 2022. Worryingly, the two most common primary reasons given by nursing colleges (for baccalaureate programs) for failed applications were insufficient clinical sites (37.5%) insufficient number of faculty (27.9%), suggesting funding is a huge problem. Some of the other reasons included: • Overall budget cuts – 9.7% • Insufficient classroom space – 7.5% • Insufficient enrolment capacity for specific programs: 4.6% 65,138 entry level nurses graduated from baccalaureate programs in US colleges last year, and while graduate numbers have been on the rise (on average there are 2,455 extra registered nurse graduates every year), at that rate there will still only be 442,383 new graduates in five years’ time, with the remaining 15,030 new nurses of our total made up...

QUIZ: The Link Between Medicine and Music

Aside from the health benefits of listening to your favorite tunes, there are plenty of links between medicine and music. There’s a long history of band names, song themes and product marketing drawing inspiration from medical terms – this quiz tests how much you’ve been paying attention. Are you a music trivia genius? A medical fact repository? A healthy mix of both? Let’s find out! Test your knowledge on music medicine! The Ultimate Medicinal Music Test Which rock duo recorded the bluesy indie hit “Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine”? What was Robert Palmer suffering from when he sang “Doctor, doctor, give me the news…”? Which dental anaesthetic did alt-rockers Eels think would sooth their soul in 1996? What was the name of the 2009 Marrow track released via a USB shaped like a pill container? Which Gregory Isaacs song shares its name with a popular cold & flu brand? Can you name the 80s band that took their name from the stimulant Dextroamphetamine? In 2017, Dexter Holland gained a PhD for his HIV research; which famous pop-punk band does he sing for? Which beloved rock star famously finished a full set after he fell from the stage and broke his leg in 2015? What percentage of different humans’ brains respond exactly the same way to musical stimulus? Diagnosis: One Hit Wonder Better luck next time. Either you’re not...

Using Geological Mapping to Sketch the Human Body

Jeroen Tromp, PhD, Associate Director of the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering, and Professor of Geosciences and Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University, has been leading a team of scientists in research that translates modern geological mapping technology to the imaging of the human body. The same computational algorithms Prof. Tromp’s team pioneered in the measurement of seismic waves are being applied to ultrasonic waves used in medical imaging. The algorithms compare wave models with actual wave measurement data and extrapolates a much-improved 3D model compared with current standards. This technique offers much more information than a standard ultrasound image, but without the additional cost and burden of MRI scans. Click here to read more about this research on Princeton Invention. This new technology transforms traditional ultrasound images into three-dimensional images that could improve the diagnosis of tumors, osteoporosis and other disorders. It combines recent advances in computational power with techniques originally developed for the study of earthquakes and subterranean structures. Now they are applying the same techniques to ultrasonic waves, which share many of the same characteristics. Today’s ultrasound imaging devices work by sending sound waves through the body and constructing an image from the waves that bounce off internal...