Technology xxxxx!

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I was going to post a blog on Aphasia Awareness and how we are making headway:

It’s Aphasia Awareness Month! Spread the Word!

Did you know millions of Americans have aphasia?! Many individuals have never heard of the communication disorder. Help us change this during Aphasia Awareness Month! Join LingraphicaAphasiaAccess, and the National Aphasia Association and answer the question, what one word would you use to describe aphasia and why? Share your answer as part of our “Finding Words: Stories of Aphasia” campaign. Follow the three steps below to participate:

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As a practice, I write some of my own stuff (it is pretty clear when I do THAT) and then I look at other things that I think readers care about.

But today, TECHNOLOGY is frustrating!

I got most of my “warm” calling done so I decided to take 15 minutes and post the Aphasia write up.  That is when my computer had problems.

At first, I just thought my connection slowed down.  As I patiently waited for my website to load, I decided to go onto another site and see if they had problems.  It loaded right away.  Thinking it was a fluke, I went to ANOTHER site…and it quickly loaded.

I decided to re-start my computer (this is what tech support always asks you to do). After the reboot, the same thing happened!  I decided to write this post in Pages, while I STILL waited for my site to load.  After more than 30 minutes, it was finally WORKING again!

You would think something was wrong…but it was just a technical difficulty.  How many time do we let technology mess us up?  I was once considered a tech guru…willing to find the problem and fix it….even if it took most of the day.  Now, I am like the rest of them…frustrated!

As I think back, why am I so frustrated?  Really, every things is just fine. We have our twist and turns, but everything ALWAYS works out.

Now, I feel better because things ALWAYS work out; It never fails.

How is your life going ….and do you let the little things bother you?

Doctors may miss this!

By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Most people often fail to recognize symptoms of vascular disease. Unfortunately, so do their doctors.

“The knowledge gap between heart disease and vascular disease among the public and health care providers is quite dramatic,” said American Heart Association President Mark Creager, a cardiovascular disease specialist.

Hoping to bridge that gap, a group of leading experts on vascular disease met Thursday in a Boston summit to discuss the broad series of common illnesses that alter the function of arteries and veins. They discussed ways to boost awareness and knowledge of these common vascular diseases among patients and doctors, as well as within the broader health care community.

“There have been such tremendous advances in biology and technology. There are a lot of novel therapies in place to prevent and treat vascular diseases. You’re all aware of this, but the public in general and many health care providers are not,” Creager told the group as he opened up the conference. “We need to find a way to improve this public awareness and make sure we’re educating the public, patients and health care providers, and also making sure the actions they’re taking are ending up improving quality of life and reducing the mortality of our patients.”

William Hiatt, a University of Colorado School of Medicine professor, described vascular diseases and disorders as “a bit of a stepchild to coronary disease and stroke” but expressed optimism that “now we’re sort of coming into our own.”

“Primary care physicians have a lot on their plate today,” said Creager, “They’re dealing with so many medical issues that sometimes it’s hard for them to recognize when a patient is at risk for vascular disease or already has it, and they should. If they’re not sensitive to it or focusing on it, they’re going to miss the signs.”

Most doctors get little training about vascular disease, especially compared to other topics they are taught in school, said Creager, director of the Heart and Vascular Center at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

“As a result, they have a less sophisticated understanding of vascular diseases, how to diagnose them, what the implications are and how to treat them,” he said.

That delay in diagnosis, and treatment, can have devastating consequences. Among those speaking at the summit will be patients and their family members who will recount personal tragedies about what can happen when physicians fail to recognize symptoms, Creager said.

Those with limited understanding about vascular disease sometimes see it as a condition that only affects certain limbs – like a blood clot in the leg – but vascular disease is rarely restricted to one area of the body.

“Plaque build-up in their legs, the problem that causes peripheral artery disease, typically affects arteries all over, including those in the heart and those that go to the brain,” Creager said. “So if someone has peripheral artery disease, they’re at significant risk for a heart attack or stroke if they don’t start addressing the problem.”

He added: “A clot in the vein of the leg may travel through the heart to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, which might be fatal.”

The summit, which will convene leading cardiologists, vascular specialists, cardiologists, clinical scientists, patients and health organizations, will be the first for the AHA, although other organizations, such as the Vascular Disease Foundation,  have worked on similar awareness campaigns in the past.

The AHA’s summit will limit its scope to peripheral artery disease, aortic and peripheral aneurysms, and venous disease, primarily venous thromboembolism.

Peripheral artery disease is now recognized as one of the most common and dangerous of all cardiovascular diseases. It affects 8 million people in the country, with risk factors that include smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Venous thromboembolism affects about 900,000 people, and it kills 60,000-100,000 people in the United States each year.

“All of us as health professionals, supported by the American Heart Association, have to do a much better job in informing every adult about the very high prevalence and truly dangerous short-term adverse outcomes of the common vascular diseases,” said Alan T. Hirsch, a vascular medicine specialist and cardiologist at the University of Minnesota, who will address public awareness gaps and opportunities at the AHA summit.

People are unfamiliar with the immense human risk and negative community impact associated with vascular diseases, he explained.

“There are lots of risks that are actively promoted to the public, and that consume most of our limited attention, such as Ebola, West Nile virus, or even Lyme disease,” he said. “These diseases seem to be core to major news stories, but they are, in reality not the true risk that affects nearly every American family. Vascular diseases are pandemic and kill daily in every city and town.  This risk, and the opportunity to lower this risk, is the story that must be told.”

A good campaign starts by “creating simple, easy-to-understand, and compelling messages for the public” and ensuring that they are understood among all cultural groups, he said.

“An effective national vascular disease public awareness platform also requires continuous outreach to all health professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, and a range of other clinicians to assure that the vascular science that underpins effective vascular disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment are used to achieve measurable public health goals,” he said. “An informed public and an informed health professional work force obviously can make substantial improvements over short time frames. But, this action plan starts with providing accurate and actionable information.”

That’s where the AHA can provide a heavy lift.

“Look at what we’ve done for awareness of heart disease in women. We really raised the flag there,” Creager said, pointing to improvements in how women understand how heart disease presents differently among genders. “And the American Stroke Association is raising awareness for the risk factors of stroke, and what to do if symptoms stroke occur. That’s why we’re doing this for vascular disease, because the American Heart Association is so well positioned to make a difference.

“It will have impact, on the public, on the health care providers, on entire systems of care. That’s why we’re having the summit.”

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Wearable technology to aid stroke recovery?

WATERLOO — The Advanced Aging Research Centre at the University of Waterloo partnered with a startup called Pervasive Dynamics to develop wearable technologies that will help people recover from strokes, falls and accidents.

Muhammad Khan, the founder of Pervasive Dynamics, makes customized devices that are worn on the body to monitor movements, breathing, pulse, stress and a raft of other signs.

For nearly 20 years Khan studied computer science and computer systems engineering. While doing his master’s degree in England he worked on improving electrocardiographs or ECGs. During his doctoral studies he focused on telematics, or the wireless transmission of data.

“After that, I thought if we could combine medical science with telematics it could open up a whole new area,” Khan said.

After finishing a master’s in business entrepreneurship and technology at the University of Waterloo, he moved his startup into the Accelerator Centre in the David Johnston Research and Technology Park.

The timing was excellent.

In a nearby building called Tech Town, the Advanced Aging Research Centre was setting up with the help of a $1.3-million grant. The grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research was for the development of a variety of diagnostic and measurement tools.

One of the lead researchers there is Bill McIlroy, a neurophysiologist who teaches in the department of kinesiology. McIlroy’s research is about helping people fully recover their balance and mobility after suffering strokes.

When he heard about the wearable sensors developed by Khan, the two started working together. And Wednesday a formal partnership between the startup and the research centre was announced to develop and test wearable technologies for the applied health sector.

Up to now, wearable technologies focused on fitness, diets and exercise, or sounding an alert for incoming emails.

Now, Khan and McIlroy’s research will take the technology into one of the fastest-growing areas of applied health — rehabilitation for people who had strokes. About 50,000 elderly Canadians have strokes every year.

“I would say it is an emerging and important priority for our work,” McIlroy said.

The technology will also be used to help elderly people recover from falls, which cost the health care system $2 billion a year.

These figures are expected to increase. By 2030 about 25 per cent of Canadians, or eight million people, will be more than 65 years of age.

Khan’s device has sensors on each leg, the chest and wrists. The sensors provide detailed information on heart rates, the speed and direction of limbs, stress and breathing. The data is sent to the clinician’s office, where it can be assessed in real time.

McIlroy said that will allow clinicians to extend their assessments into homes, 24 hours a day, rather than just the 30 minutes a day in a stroke rehabilitation program.

“Historically that was pretty hard to do,” McIlroy said.

Therapists and clinicians are interested in the symmetry of walking. A person should not favour one arm or leg while walking. But stroke victims often do, and that can lead to long-term damage to muscles and bones, permanently impairing their mobility.

“The symmetry of walking, you can observe it visually, but you can also record it with these wearable devices,” McIlroy said. “So we try to train them to improve their walking symmetry over time.”

Khan hopes his sensors and monitors can be used by the public and health-care workers to reduce the impact of an aging population on the health-care system. Prototyping will occur in the Advanced Aging Research Centre.

“Their researchers will design the requirements — what should the system produce?” Khan said. “And we build the devices to fill those requirements.”

It will take about two more years of work in the research and development lab at the Advanced Aging Research Centre before the devices are ready for the market.

“That will give us a footprint and space to advance these technologies a bit more rapidly,” McIlroy said of the centre. “The tech experts and the clinicians are in the same space, working on the projects together.”

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