Friday, October 9, 2015

BrainScope Concussion Assessment Device

As the field of concussion assessment grows, another mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) assessment device, called BrainScope, is making headway in the market. BrainScope has recently raised about $2.5 million for its mobile device. Its primary product is called the Ahead 200, which is a small, mobile EEG that links with a smartphone to run its diagnostic software.

The use of EEGs in concussion assessment has historically not been viewed as a viable option, but EEGs do provide a reliable precursor to determining whether or not the subject needs a subsequent CT scan in order to truly diagnose TBI. With its mobile capabilities, the Ahead 200 has an exciting future as an on-field mTBI assessment tool, but without the ability to sufficiently diagnose mTBI on its own, it remains an incomplete option as an mTBI assessment tool.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

New Sideline Concussion Test Designed at GT/Emory

Cool, my research project made the news!! This WSB-TV report highlights my summer research study, and what the implications of DETECT device eventually hitting the market as an on-field concussion assessment tool.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Analytics in Medicine

In an ever-changing world where data analytics have now become a driving factor in most industries, many are trying to apply such ideology to healthcare. James Kobielus describes how, under the idea of 'precision medicine,' the ideal treatment of the same illness may vary from patient to patient. Every person is unique, and thus small differences in molecular physiology should be accounted for.
By using analytics to approach patient treatment options, every illness is personalized to the individual. To personalize medicine, it is important to locate and understand the purpose of biomarkers associated with each illness. Then it is important to build a computer model of each system of the human body. Running the simulation specific to each patient can then yield precise treatment options.

Precision medicine sounds great in theory, but effectively applying its concepts requires in-depth research of the human body for many specific pathologies. The field of precision medicine is promising; even President Obama gave it his endorsement.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Finding a Relationship between Accelerated Shortening of Telomeres and Cancer Diagnosis

Telomeres are protective caps at the end of chromosomes which shorten as we all age. It is widely theorized that the rapid shortening of telomeres increases the number of errors during DNA replication, which leads to higher rates of cancer. Now thanks to research at Harvard and Northwestern University a precise way of predicting a future cancer diagnosis using the rate at which an individual's telomeres are shortening.

Research indicates that telomeres age rapidly in those who will develop cancer. The telomeres stop shortening four years before the cancer is actually developed. This is a great advancement in the field of predictive medicine because if the right tests are put in place, a various number of cancers can be caught much earlier than it would now with current diagnosis methods.

The use of genetic tests such as these raises some issues regarding the cost of healthcare. Insurance premiums would increase drastically for those who are at high risk of developing cancer in the future. However, if there was a way to prevent cancer in those who are found to be genetically predisposed, then it would alleviate the increase in insurance premiums.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Using Big Data to Reduce Hospital Readmissions and Improve Patient Outcomes

With the movement to increase the availability of healthcare in the United States, a major hurdle for the next generation is to decrease its overall cost. The folks at Ascension Health have approached this issue by looking to decrease the number of hospital readmissions through big data analytics.

By personalizing treatment plans and anticipating common issues that may arise for each individual patient's risk factors and diagnoses, hospital readmission numbers can be drastically decreased. As research continues and more data is gathered, personalized medicine can achieve more precise predictions of patient outcomes. Proper patient assessment and treatments will be given more often if medicine is specified to the individual.

With the emergence of big data in the realm of healthcare not only will patient outcomes be improved, but also overall healthcare costs will decrease due the efficiency of more personalized patient care.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Biomarkers for Concussion Diagnosis

The subjectivity of concussion diagnosis is a major hurdle in assessing the extent of traumatic brain injury. Researchers at Brown University have determined a more quantifiable means of concussion diagnosis through the use of biomarkers.

The researchers have focused on detecting proteins that are released from dying brain cells, and they have found four potential proteins for biomarker use. They hope to develop a microfluidic chip for commercial use, since the current method for biomarker measurement is with standard assays.

The researchers state that the microfluidic chip will provide accurate results in about two hours, which is not convenient for return to play guidelines for on-field related traumatic brain injury. For comparison, the ImPACT concussion test, the most widely used cognitive concussion protocol, is a 45 minute test, which is still considered lengthy in terms RTP guidelines during competition. Rapid and reliable concussion diagnosis remains a big issue in the field of sports medicine.