Concussions and new devices to diagnose it.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can occur after an impact to your head or after a whiplash injury. It results in temporary loss of normal brain function. We have heard a lot about athletes getting concussions, but it can happen to anyone and are actually pretty common. Some signs of concussion are:

  • Loss of memory
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • problems with vision
  • nausea/vomiting
  • balance problems
  • Among others

The standard treatment for concussion is rest. Maybe some acetaminophen and cognitive therapy, is all depending on the severity of the concussion.

It’s a serious matter but thankfully there is technology helping doctors diagnose them better. We have the standard and most common diagnostic imaging like CT scans and MRIs to make sure there’s no bruising or bleeding in your brain, plus a good health history and neurological examination. Now newer technology that might be less expensive for the patient and more comfortable for them as well are been tried. Here a link with the list from the FDA: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/neurological-devices/medical-devices-assessing-head-injury

Here I present some of them (info from the websites of those companies):

Brainscope® is a medical neurotechnology company that focus in the assessment of brain injury, including concussion.  One of their cool and innovative products is “Brainscope one” is a non-invasive, handheld platform that allows physicians to assess head injures. The device is FDA-cleared and is based off of EEG technology. BrainScope One is painless and can be used on patients aged 18-85 years old within three days of a head injury. It measure and interprets brain activity and neurocognitive function to help physicians make clinical diagnoses. https://brainscope.com

The “Infrascanner” from Infrascan, enables clinicians to effectively, conveniently, and accurately detect intracranial bleeding in patients with head trauma. InfraScan, Inc. is a medical device company that invented and distributes hand-held diagnostic devices for head injury and stroke assessment based on Near-Infrared (NIR) technology. https://infrascanner.com/about/

Another company that works with the diagnosis of Concussions is ImPACT. Post-injury testing is comprised of computerized assessments that measure reaction time, memory capacity, speed of mental processing, and executive functioning scores for memory (visual and verbal), reaction, and speed. They also provide baseline testing (before an injury). They claim to be used by healthcare system, educational, and sports organizations to help assess and manage concussions.https://impactconcussion.com

The company Oculogica offers “The EyeBOX “. In under 4 minutes, Oculogica’s proprietary technology collects and analyzes over 100,000 data points to generate an objective assessment. Its technology is based on research relating cranial nerve function to eye movements, not subjective patient symptoms. http://www.oculogica.com

There are more devices and new test/technology.

Pic: Jesse Orrico, Unsplash

ACL surgery

The knee is the largest joint in the body and sadly is easy to injured. The knee has 4 major ligaments, the most common injured one is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It is located toward the front of the knee. The ACL is often stretched and/or torn during a sudden twisting motion (when the feet stay planted one way, but the knees turn the other way). Skiing, soccer, basketball, and football are sports that have a higher risk of ACL injuries. It has been said that between 100 000 and 300 000 ACL reconstructions are performed every year in the United States.

ACL controls rotation and forward movements. Often people hear or feel a “pop” in the knee when an ACL injury occurs. The knee may swell, feel unstable and become too painful to bear weight. Depending on the severity, treatment may include rest and rehabilitation exercises or surgery to replace the torn ligament followed by rehabilitation. ACL reconstruction surgery uses a graft to replace the ligament. The most common grafts are autografts using part of your own body, such as hamstring tendon. Other types of grafts might be used like allografts (from a cadaver), xenografts (from different species) or synthetic ones. There are other types of surgery like: open surgery, techniques like intra vs extra articular reconstruction among others, single vs double bundle. Orthopedic surgeons have several factors to take into account when choosing the appropriate graft for ACL reconstruction. Consult with our Dr which one will be the best option for you.

Like we mentioned, Arthroscopic surgery is the most common form of surgery for the repair. Done by making small incisions in the knee and inserting instruments for surgery through these incisions. The goals of reconstructive surgery are to restore stability and to maintain full active ROM. The functional stability provided by the normal ACL is both in resisting anteroposterior translation as well as rotational subluxation. Also consult with your surgeon your rehab options. Therapy is typically broken down into stages (or phases) of activity, with goals for each stage. It takes time to heal properly, don’t get frustrated neither, nor tried doing too much too fast or even too little. This is very basic info, get inform before any procedure and look at your options.

More info: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Anterior_Cruciate_Ligament_(ACL)_Reconstruction

Here a simple animation so you can have and idea. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/acl-reconstruction-animation/

Pic: Anna Auza, Unsplash

Diabetes:Type 1- new treatment?

Diabetes Type 1 is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. It is an autoimmune disease and so far no cure have been found. It can be very serious if left untreated, it can have complications and affect major organs in your body, including heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys.

It was known as the “juvenile diabetes”but not only kids can get it, there have been adult onset as well. To maintain it under control you need to manage your glucose, your doctor, endocrinologist, nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, will work with you to guide you on how to do it. Proper diet, exercise, Insulin and monitoring are usually the treatment and prevention of it getting worse.

Now new technology might be use to treat this. Scientists at the University of Geneva & the Geneva University Hospitals have discovered a new strategy! They have created a more robust super-islets of Langerhans (pancreatic islets or islets of Langerhans, are the regions of the pancreas that contain its endocrine:hormone-producing,cells) Once transplanted, more of them engraft. Then these super islets start producing insulin much more rapidly. The Super grafts not only improve the success of cell transplants but also offer new perspectives for other types of transplants. Pancreatic islet transplantation it is still an experimental treatment for type 1 diabetes, but if it works how they predict can be beneficial and crucial for a lot of patients. Hopefully it does!

More info: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191106183107.htm

Article published: Journal Nature Communications.

Pic: Martin Lopez, Pexels.com

Canine Osteoarthritis

We probably have heard a lot about Osteoarthritis (OA), but mostly in humans. Sadly this degenerative disease can also affect our furry friends. OA, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is defined as the progressive and permanent long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. It can thicken the joint capsule, form “new” bone around the joint (osteophytosis) and ultimately leading to pain and limb dysfunction. OS is the most common form of arthritis in dogs, affecting approximately a quarter of the population. Majority of OA in a dog occur secondarily to developmental orthopedic disease, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patella (knee cap) dislocation, among others. However , OA can occur with no obvious primary causes and can be related to genetic and age. Other factors that can contribute to OA include bodyweight, gender, breed (German Shepards, Labs…) exercise, and diet.

Some of the signs that your dog might have OA are:

  • Stiffness, lameness, or difficulty getting up, going up/downstairs
  • Weight gain
  • Reluctance to run, jump, or play
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability or changes in behavior
  • Pain when petted or touched
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Difficult positions (trouble urinating, sitting…)

Please be observant of your pet’s behaviour and go to the Vet. OA is a progressive disease and is no known cure. Preventing is the best option : diet, exercise, animal chiropractic and even the use of protective joint supplements, like Glucosamine & Chondroitin.

Animal chiropractors examine and treat areas of biomechanics and the functional nervous system in your pet, it focuses on the preservation and health of the nerves/muscles/bones=neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Animal chiropractors take pos graduate studies in accordance with the AVCA-American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, and take continue education classes. Its a great alternative care for your pets, it DOESN’T substitute your Veterinarian. Along with your Vet, chiropractors can help your furry one feel better and have a happier, healthier life. Always consult with your Vet.

Drones as 1st responders.

 Drones have had numerous uses in the military, defense, tactical, however their use is expanding to personal/recreational, commercial, scientific, agricultural, and other applications, such as surveillance, product deliveries and photography. When I first saw a drone it was used by a friend to take aerial commercial photography. Little I knew at the time that they were used in many industries, like agriculture. According to Wikipedia: “An agricultural drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle applied to farming in order to help increase crop production and monitor crop growth.” That is great!

Well today I was reading an article in the website: healthline.com and saw : “Aerial EMT? Drones May Become First Responders.” Apparently after several try outs, Drones arrived faster than ambulances to an emergency situation, mostly due because they, well fly, and avoid traffic etc. But what will the drone “do”once it gets to the emergency? In the scenario you may be able to use your phone, to get instructions from medical professionals to administer the medication and/or use the equipment provided by the drone and technically be like an EMT until the professionals get there. This technology is not looking to replace first responders, neither will be used in every emergency scenario, but can be useful in different situations that maybe a couple of minutes will be crucial to maintain the person alive until the paramedics get there. The testing conducted by Dr Hanna and his team found that “On average, drones were faster, with a travel velocity of 6.54 mph, compared with 5.04 mph of an ambulance. Unsurprisingly, they also arrived faster to the scene, with an average time to first response of 6.48 minutes compared to 9.54 minutes of an ambulance — arriving about 30 percent faster to emergency situations.” For more info here is the link of the internet article: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/untitled-4#How-a-drone-could-save-a-life

Yes, like most things it can have its pros and cons, like, ok it arrives faster but what if the person receiving the instruction is to nervous or can’t understand what needs to be done, then its really not an advantage. Even so it can represent a solution in many cases until the “real”help arrives and of course they are still doing trials and seeing how to improve the technology. Either way I think, it is a good initiative. Good way to use the technology.

Pic Jared Brashier, Unsplash

3-D-nanopatterned microfluidic chip:detect Cancer

Medical technology its so amazing nowadays! I recently read “Ultrasensitive detection of circulating exosomes with a 3D-nanopatterned microfluidic chip“an article published by nature Biomedical Engineer (Y. Zeng et al.from University of Kansas) This 3-D-nanopatterned microfluidic chip can successfully detect cancer markers in a drop of blood or in a component of the blood called plasma, that otherwise might be undetectable by standard microfluidic systems for biosensing.  Its been called: Lab on a chip.

They state that “Exosomes—a subtype of EVs secreted by mammalian cells with a typical size range of 30–150 nm—have been implicated in many biological processes, including the immune response, tumorigenesis and metastasis.” In tumor associated exosomes, in biofluids, can be very rare during the early stages of disease, that is one of the reasons some type of cancer like Ovarian Cancer are hard to detect in early stages. This novel device, 3-D nanoengineering tool with a herringbone pattern that “combs” for exosomes, push them to come into contact with the surface of the tool’s chip for analysis. Calling the process, “mass transfer.” The team found out that the chip can detect cancer even in a small drop of blood. To develop and test the device, Zeng teamed with tumor-biomarker expert and KU Cancer Center Deputy Director Andrew Godwin, also with graduate student Ashley Tetlow in Godwin’s Biomarker Discovery Lab. The collaborators tested the chip’s design using clinical samples from Ovarian Cancer patients, finding the chip could detect the presence of cancer. Well the article and technology is way more complicated and interesting than what I just wrote, but my point is that: it is amazing how advanced technology have come to the point that a micro chip can potentially save lives! To read the full article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41551-019-0356-9

Pic: Ibrahim Mora, Unsplash

Toxic Mold

Toxic Mold Syndrome (TMS) is associated with allergic reactions that mimic other diseases. Respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, watery eyes, and skin irritation are the predominant symptoms. You can also experience, extreme fatigue, joint pain, vertigo/dizziness, itchy eyes/skin, sore throat, weight changes, mood swings, depression, anxiety among others. Mold is also known to cause asthma and life-threatening primary and secondary infections in immune-compromised patients. Mold can cause uncontrolled inflammation and compromise the immune system integrity, it also can damage the hypothalamus in the brain and disrupt the endocrine system too. 

According to Dr. Shoemaker’s (expert in Biotoxicity including TMS), Biotoxin Illness (also called CIRS – Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) is defined as “an acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (a group of characteristic symptoms) acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes and mycobacteria as well as inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, hemolysins, proteinases, mannans and possibly spirocyclic drimanes; as well as volatile organic compounds“. As the illness progresses, you can develop auto-immunities, hormonal imbalances, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, as well as the cognitive issues brought on by swelling of the frontal lobes, the hippocampus, and the cerebellum in the brain. Scary!   Mold can grow also on numerous food such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices. To get rid of the mold 1st we need to target the source (house, food, cars…) eliminate it from there and of course detox our bodies of this toxicity. It is said that 80% of the population have been exposed to some type of mold, some of us react more than others. Old buildings (houses, churches, schools) usually have some mold hidden, or even in plain sight! If you think you have been exposed and are reacting to mold, consult your Doctor and get tested and treated. Most importantly find the responsible exposure place (work, house…) and get rid of the mold as soon as possible.

Pic: Annie Spratt, Unsplash

Tomato Bisque Recipe

Winter is coming!…or it is already here ha! In the cold days I love having some hearty healthy soup. I will share one of my favorites (you can pair it with an “adult” grilled cheese (not so paleo that unless you do the GF bread and cheese substitute, but then add bacon, ghee, tomatoes…yummy)

-4 tablespoons of grass-fed organic butter or ghee or avocado oil -1 medium white onion, finely chopped

-1 medium carrot, finely chopped

-1 celery rib, finely chopped

-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

-3 tablespoons chickpea or tapioca or coconut flour

-4 cups chicken broth or veggie broth

-Two 14 1/2-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained

-3 tablespoons tomato paste

-1/4 cup of can coconut milk or cashew milk

  • 1 teaspoon of coconut sugar, salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter/ghee/avocado oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, , about 3- 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour of your choice over the veggies and stir over low heat for 1 minute. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook the soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 15-18 minutes.  

Transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan, add the coconut or cashew milk and cook until the soup is just heated through. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter/ghee/avocado oil. Enjoy!!

  • I like to also add a little jalapeño if you like spicey food!!
  • Pic Heather Ford Unsplash

Back Braces

Back pain affects everyone no matter if you are young or older. Its one of the most common musculo-skeletal disabilities. Besides proper posture, getting adjusted, massage, exercising, another thing that can benefit either while you recuperate from the back pain or to avoid an injury are back braces.

There are different types of braces. Overall they are medical devices that are designed to support, immobilize and treat muscles, joints, and skeletal problems. Doctor do prescribe them however some basic ones can be bought in pharmacies or other stores. Back braces fall into two major categories: the hard, rigid types and the soft, elastic versions. The rigid design is used to treat more serious conditions like scoliosis, and these braces tend to restrict movement in patients by as much as 50%.  The soft or semi rigid, has elastic backing used to compress the abdominal cavity and the joints and muscles associated with that area.  The compression helps to stabilize and support muscles and allows for a forward motion of the spine. You probably have seen them on people doing more manual work, like movers or construction workers. There are more subcategories, like the braces used only for scoliosis or after a surgery etc However most of them bring about the same benefits.

Some benefits are:

  • Reduce muscle tension and low back pain
  • Spinal support
  • Improve posture to redistribute weight in the spine
  • Make transitional movements, like sitting to standing, more comfortable.
  • Provide a healthy healing environment for spinal structures
  • Assist in recovery after an injury, surgery
  • Increase function during daily activity

Consult with a doctor before using a back brace. A doctor’s evaluation will help determine whether a brace is likely to be beneficial, as well as the type of brace needed and how it should be worn and for how long.

Pic: Casper Nichols Unsplash

Ergonomics?

We all have heard about ergonomics, specially at our work space, but what is it exactly? It is the science of fitting a workplace to the user’s needs, ergonomics aims to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce discomfort. The use of technology, like computers, tablets etc has greatly increased the need for ergonomics. Desks, chairs, monitors, keyboards and lighting all need to be assessed when creating a workspace. We have seen standing desk, or even treadmill desks, aiming to improve the function and help the body instead of been sitting in the same position for 8 + hours. They intend to reduce work related micro injuries like the famous Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You can access the DCD webpage for more info:ERGONOMICS AND MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS.

To achieve best practice design, Ergonomists use the data and techniques of several disciplines:

  • anthropometry: body sizes, shapes; populations and variations
  • biomechanics: muscles, levers, forces, strength
  • environmental physics: noise, light, heat, cold, radiation, vibration body systems: hearing, vision, sensations
  • applied psychology: skill, learning, errors, differences
  • social psychology: groups, communication, learning, behaviours.

Ergonomics are not only for workspaces, but for now that is what I am writing here. According to OSHA: “Implementing ergonomic solutions can make employees more comfortable and increase productivity. Why is ergonomics important? Ergonomics is important because when you’re doing a job and your body is stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature, or repeated movement your musculoskeletal system is affected.

It will be great if you get a standing desk etc but if for now it is not possible there are other ways you can improve your work space. For example changing the mouse side (it takes some coordination if you do it with the left hand ha!) also changing monitor position once in a while, getting some lumbar support for your chair. Using books or some desk adapters to add height to your monitor, standing and doing some walking, maybe using a yoga ball (careful with balance, it also helps with abs) stretching a couple of times. There are plenty of exercises, videos and ideas in the internet you can browse. Also nowadays more places are bringing more ergonomics desk, chairs, keyboards and at reasonable prices (one of my coworkers found an awesome ergonomic keyboard at the Thrift Store…new!)

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