All posts by Jamie A



Brain prosthetics are a newer concept in neurotechnology. Currently we have cochlear and retinal imlplants which aid in restoring sensory function. On the horizon, brain prosthetics may one day be advanced enough to help in epilepsy, depression, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and amputations (Varrasi 2014). Recent discoveries have been made in the use of thin, flexible polymer that would hold itself in the human brain without posing too many adverse risks. This article shows the possibilities of future advancement in neural regulation and treatment. Brain prosthetics still have years of development to improve and enhance safety, but the prospects are promising in improving quality of life of those with neurologic deficits.


Drug Survey

I knew my parents are on a myriad of drugs so I decided to ask them which medications they are taking and what they are for. My mom is on famotidine, which she knew for for her acid reflux, as well as her “other pills” for her stomach flare ups (sucralfate). She knows which bottles are for what, but she was not sure of the names of the medications. She also shared she takes extra strength ibuprofen when she is having stomach flare ups. I educated her on the side effects of ibuprofen including stomach ulcers and bleeding, and that ibuprofen isn’t the best medication for her pain.

When I talked to my dad about his medications, he said he was on “carvedilol and my lasix for my high blood pressure. And my thyroid medication” (he has primary hypothyroidism). He is pretty familiar with the names of each medication and what they are for. He has had high blood pressure for years and was actually diagnosed with heart failure in 2004, which he reversed with lifestyle changes and medication. He has been taking some of these medications for over 10 years which is how he has been accustomed to his heart medications. He is aware of the side effects of lasix including polyuria.  I took him to his last doctor’s appointment and reminded him that he had a new cholesterol medication, pravastatin. He said “that’s because my cholesterol was high in my last bloodwork.” Overall he knows why he is on each medication but is unsure of some of the doses and side effects.

I educated him on some of the possible side effects of carvedilol such as dizziness or tiredness, and that he should let his doctor know if he experiences major side affects of lasix such as muscle cramps or tinnitus.


Respiratory Technology

While I was researching newer respiratory technology, I found an interesting article on a bluetooth-enabled device used during respiratory muscle training (RMT) that monitors lung capacity, adherence, and breathing remotely from the patient’s home. The patients can perform the RMT breathing exercises at home on the “Orbita” and the information will be delivered to the physician’s hands via a mobile app (Breather+). The company shared that their goal is “to improve outcomes and reduce re-admission risks by supporting complete and timely patient data and secure care coordination.” The article states the benefits of RMT including strengthening the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, and abdomen, improves flow of air through vocal folds, enhances respiratory support and swallowing ability, improves airway clearance, decreases shortness of breath, and improves overall quality of life of those with chronic respiratory diseases.


What is MI/CPR?

This week I asked my family and friends what they perceive Cardiopulmonary Arrest, MI, and CPR to be.

I asked one of my friends what “cardiopulmonary arrest” is, and she knew that it is “when your heart stops.”

I asked my mom what she thinks happens during CPR. She said she had previously taken a CPR class and knew that “it’s when you’re getting air to the brain and manually pumping the blood.” Her response was pretty accurate – you’re getting oxygen to the brain by doing chest compression/keeping blood flow.

I think responses from family and friends vary from person to person. Some have family and friends that aren’t familiar with health/medicine while others are surrounded by people who require some basic knowledge of cardiac health and CPR for their job or personal reasons/curiosity. My mom works at a school, which is how she knew the basics of cardiac arrest/CPR.

Many people have the ability to research these topics on the internet. This is useful to those who aren’t in the medical field. The more people who are aware of this information, the better (signs and symptoms, what to do in an emergency, etc.).



Heart Protein Patch

Through researching new technology in cardiac health, something that caught my attention was called a “protein patch.” It is a surgical intervention that consists of placing a collagen patch with the protein Follistatin-like 1 (FSTL1) on scarred heart tissue in patients with a history of MI to stimulate damaged/dead heart tissue to regenerate. It has been successful in trials with mice and pigs, so it will be attempted in human trials soon. In pig trials, the patch restored heart function (specifically the amount of blood pumped out of the left ventricle) from 30% to 40%. This procedure could greatly improve the life of patients who have suffered a heart attack with ischemia.




In my attempt to disconnect, I did not achieve the full 24 hours. I made it about 9 hours, then found myself succumbing to the comfort of wandering various social media on my phone while on break at work. I remembered my goal, looked up, and saw two of my colleagues also starting into their phones. I smiled because it is interesting how so many interactions silently occur between two people on different ends of a screen. The need to make plans in person has been replaced by the convenience of social media. Most people in America rely heavily on technology for daily tasks and interactions. Office communication occurs almost solely through e-mail, assignments are submitted electronically, and information is shared through media in countless forms.

During the time that I was disconnected, I had longer conversations than usual and smiled at more people. Conversations were longer because I was focused on the conversation and not awkwardly looking at my phone every few minutes. Looking around different locations at times it was hard to find someone without a phone or laptop in hand. If someone is alone in a shop, restaurant, the library, etc., it is socially acceptable to hide behind a phone or laptop to avoid social interaction. Most people would almost find it odd if someone he/she didn’t know tried to strike up a conversation while waiting in line.

I think that if the entirety of one’s interactions occur through e-mail, texting, or social media, it is perhaps a social issue. However, when technology is used as an adjunct to IRL communication, it enhances communication. As a side-note, being available 24/7 to everyone you know via texting or social media can be exhausting. I think it is important to have a set time everyday when communication is solely in-person, and the phone is put away for a few hours. Along with this, there should be certain places where being on a cell-phone is prohibited or at least frowned upon, including any dinner table, restaurants, social gatherings, and walking on the sidewalk (which I am guilty of). This way people would be more mentally present, because I noticed that 50-75% of people are on their phones in these places, including me. It is something that I am trying to get better at, because at the moment I’m not sure I would survive without my phone.


GI Education

There are many applications available to download on tablets and phones for nurses and other healthcare providers to educate their patients. In my research of the topic, I found a few apps that seem to be quite beneficial. These include the MedScape app, Human Anatomy Apps, and TouchSurgery.

MedScape offers explanations of the drugs and conditions, including the pathophysiology of the disease. You can select conditions such as hemorrhoids and the app will provide information about the causes & treatment of hemorrhoids. In another area of the app, the procedure for removal of rectal hemorroids is explained with pictures.

The Human Anatomy Apps offer diagrams of organ systems which is useful as a reference & aiding explanation of the patient’s condition. There are 3-D diagrams of organ systems which aid in educating patients.

In the TouchSurgery app, it offers a background of the condition and symptoms, and allows you to virtually navigate the surgery. One surgery included in the app is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. It provides a very detailed demonstration of the procedure, which patients may want to view.

These apps can be useful in education patients of the anatomy and physiology of the GI tract as well as basic pathophysiology & treatment of their condition. They can help the nurse educate and stress the importance of medication regimens and treatment rationales, as well as explaining to the patient and their family about home-care.

The setbacks to these apps is that they aren’t peer-reviewed and there isn’t a clear way to tell that they are medically accurate.