Tag Archives: PWD-TECH

HIV, CF, CMT, and HD in CR

The presence of organizations in the Czech Republic that cares for its citizens with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cystic fibrosis (CF), Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), and Huntington’s Disease (HD) could only mean that the mentioned diseases are prevalent there and, therefore, should be controlled.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system. Without it, our bodies would have trouble fighting off diseases. It could lead to dementia, anxiety and depression, and seizure, among others.

As such, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation donated $140 million dollars to search for its cure. It would be similar to a pump in the form of an implant.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder that can damage the cells in the body that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. It can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, musculoskeletal system, genitourinary system, and the reproductive system. The disease is caused by a defect in a single gene, which scientists refer to as CFTR.

Recently, though, researchers at the Case Western Reserve University have found a way to replace the gene that causes CF with a new imaging technique.

It is called the tri-modal imaging device that consists of an x-ray, the first modality that can tell about the structure; and the gamma emission and the optical, the other two modalities that can both give information function.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) is caused by mutations in genes that produce proteins involved in the structure and function of either the peripheral nerve axon or the myelin sheath. Once it degenerates, the motor nerves could result in muscle weakness and atrophy in the extremities (arms, legs, hands, or feet) while the sensory nerves could bring about a reduced ability to feel heat, cold, and pain.

Last October 24, 2016, though, scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Stanford University reported that they have designed small compounds with a potential to correct the mitochondrial dysfunction in CMT. “This mitochondrial protein has never been targeted before,” the senior author Gerald W. Dorn II, MD, the Philip and Sima K. Needleman Professor of Medicine was quoted saying in a report.

A progressive brain disorder, Huntington’s Disease causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and loss of thinking ability (cognition). It usually happens in a person’s thirties or forties (adult-onset Huntington disease) or during childhood or adolescence (juvenile Huntington’s disease) and affects an individual’s walking, speaking, and swallowing.

Fortunately, an electric wheelchair was invented by Dr. Yodchanan Wongsawat from the Center for Biomedical and Robotics Technology Faculty of Engineering at Mahidol University in Thailand. It has an automated navigation system that can adapt on whether the hands of the user are still functional. If it is, a patient could use their hands. If it is not, the modes can be operated by one’s chin or eye.

The wheelchair can also detect obstacles on the floor with its Rotating Laser Scanner, map location with its Laser Scanner, describe commands with its 7’’ LCD screen, and acquire data with its Mini-PC.

Another device, the Eye Gaze System, can generate speech by simply looking at control keys or cells displayed on a screen. It could empower people with Huntington’s disease—particularly those in later stage—since they usually have poor muscle coordination, mental decline, and behavioral symptoms.

“Congress acknowledged that society’s accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.” ~William J. Brennan, Jr.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the AP Archive

Chronic Illnesses in Netherlands

In 2002, chronic diseases accounted for 88% of all deaths in the Netherlands.

Back then, overweight and obesity has been the culprit. It was even projected that the prevalence of these health conditions would increase in both men and women over the next 10 years.

But overweight and obesity continued to “soar” in the Netherlands; one in 10 people in the country suffered from the aforementioned diseases in 2012. Type 2 Diabetes1, high blood pressure2, degenerative joint disease, and cardiovascular disease3 were still developed; and anxiety, depression and poor mental health grew more common.

Through advances in technology, however, chronic diseases in the Netherlands could now be controlled. Diabetes could be kept in check through various smartphone applications such as the BG Monitor Diabetes, which can keep a photo log of meals; Diabetes in Check, which can scan barcodes on packaged foods to immediately get their nutrition information; and Diabetic Connect, which make connectivity to the larger diabetes community possible.

Speaking of connectivity, mySugr Diabetes Logbook can track meals necessary for HbA1c reading. Insulin dosages and blood sugar measurements could also be logged in Glucose Buddy and OnTrack Diabetes. Children with this chronic illness could benefit, too, from the “simple and intuitive” interface of the BlueLoop as well as with the games and fun illustrations of Carb Counting with Lenny.

High blood pressure, on the other hand, could be regulated by the sound therapy HIRREMTM (high resolution, relational, resonance-based electroencephalic mirroring) using audible tones to reflect the brain’s pattern of electrical frequencies. Also labeled Brainwave OptimizationTM, the non-invasive neurotechnology can correct neural imbalances of the hemispheres in the brain.

Degenerative joint disease cannot be cured; the pain can only be eased and the swelling reduced. Joints with end-stage disease, however, can be remedied with either arthrodesis (fusion of the joint) or prosthetic joint replacement. UW-Madison researchers have also though of inhibiting the activity of cathepsin K and cathepsin S (TRAP) to nurse the disease somehow.

Incidences of cardiovascular disease can also be lessened with CADence™. It is quick, noninvasive, no-needle, and a zero-radiation test to “look” for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) risk factors in patients by the sound of blood flow in the coronary arteries.

Anxiety could already be confronted with virtual reality nowadays, too. Depression could be treated with Deep TMS [Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation]4 and poor mental health could be improved with telemental health services.

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” -Muhammad Ali

 

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of EU CHRODIS

1Type 2 diabetes causes cells to change, making them resistant to the hormone insulin. Blood sugar cannot be taken up by the cells then, resulting in high blood sugar and for the cells to gradually fail.

2Having a large body size increases blood pressure. Excess fat may also damage the body’s kidneys.

3Excess weight may cause the heart to “work harder” to be able to send blood to all the cells in the body.

4Not unlike the technology in a magnetic resonance imaging, TMS works through a mounted helmet that generates an electrical pulse, too. But the patients cycle through two-second pulses followed by 20 seconds of rest for each sequence—called a “Train”—in this method, and is repeated for about 20 minutes. It should be done daily for about six weeks, followed by a three week tapering off period.

Ambulatory Disability in Puerto Rico

About 12% are living with an ambulatory disability in Puerto Rico.

Ambulatory disability refers to a disability in which a person has an unsteady gait. Moving from one place to another ­without the aid of a wheelchair is impossible because of paralysis or loss of function of the legs.

There are devices nowadays, though, that can help in maintaining upright ambulation and providing stability, reducing lower-limb loading, and generating movement. They can “act” as muscles, joints, pelvis, and legs.

One such walking aid is the cane. It is held in the hand and transmits loads to the floor through a shaft.

Another one is the crutch. It also transmits loads to the ground through a shaft but it has two points the arm can have contact with: at the hand and either below the elbow or below the armpit. As such, “significantly greater loads” can be exerted in comparison with a cane.

The global market today, however, has combined the capacities of a crutch and a cane. One’s body weight can already be supported through some bands that encircle the upper arms and handles for the patient to hold and rest their hands onto.

Mobility Walkers

A walker (otherwise known as a Zimmer frame) is the most stable walking aid around. It is comprised of a freestanding metal framework with three or more fixed rubber ferrules, making it an excellent option for patients with poor balance and/or less upper body strength.

Four years ago, a “walker cane hybrid” was designed to bridge the gap between a cane and a walker. It has two legs and can be used with either one or two hands—at the front and at the side—providing greater lateral support.

Recently, however, another technology has begun to be trialed in Spain, Italy, and England. It’s called the “FriWalk” (“Friendly Robot Walker”) and uses cameras and special pressure-sensitive insoles to measure the mood, gait and stability of users. The insoles are worn inside the shoes and can process 15 to 20 frames-per-second on a “virtual walkway.” They are custom-made and pressure-sensitive, enabling doctors and health workers to both monitor recovery from injury and watch out for potential health issues in the future.

It has navigational aids and social alerts as well.  It can act as a personal trainer (just like the Apple Watch or the Fitbit); literally warn about the obstacles and dangers those with less-than-perfect vision or unsteady on their feet cannot see on their own; and send out notifications about nearby events and activities outdoors.

“Mistakes are a fact of life. It’s the response to the error that counts.” ~ Nikki Giovanni

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Mobility Stirling

Cardiovascular diseases in Serbia

Cardiovascular diseases happen when the heart does not receive enough blood supply—through the coronary arteries—to contract and pump. It is one of the “national health priority areas” in Serbia according to the report of The European Journal of Public Health aside from cancer and mental health.

There’s a possibility that this could be predicted and prevented through mobile technology, though. Patients just have to be monitored through the Health eHeart Study where physicians could develop “robust and accurate models” based on the occurrence of heart disease in people who don’t yet have heart disease. How to slow down the progression of heart disease in people who already have it will also be observed.

The Health eHeart Study is, in effect, “precision medicine.” Participants just have to submit data via a secure online survey. Smartphone technology can also be used to measure a participant’s heart rate, blood pressure and pulse rate. The collated information would be sent back to researchers who can make recommendations to help prevent or treat heart disease.

“I learned at a very young age to appreciate every single day, and I don’t think it’s a gift everyone is given,” Heidi Dohse

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of John Leslie

Sensory Impairments in Austria

Out of the 8, 441, 872 Austrians, about 8,600 are totally blind, 13,200 are almost blind, 400,000 are hearing-impaired, and 28,300 people are speech-impeded.

This 450, 100 persons with disabilities (PWDs), though, cannot just fit in Austria “because of a dearth of communication facilities.”

Visual impairment is the impairment of the sense of sight. Speech disorder is characterized by stuttering and lisps, while hearing impairment is a hearing loss that prevents a person from totally receiving sounds through the ear.

Vision could be strengthened through the use of software programs that can read text on a computer screen with a speech synthesizer. This is the screen reader, which is the interface between the computer’s operating system, its applications, and the user. The user just has to press different combinations of keys on the computer keyboard to instruct the speech synthesizer what to say. It could also allow users to locate text displayed in a certain color, read pre-designated parts of the screen on demand, read highlighted text, identify the active choice in a menu, use the spell checker in a word processor, and read the cells of a spreadsheet.

Screen readers are currently available for use with personal computers running Linux, Windows, Mac, IOS, and Android. They can be for free or cost as much as $1,200. Each, however, incorporates a different command structure, and most support a variety of speech synthesizers.

Aside from screen readers, there is also the screen magnification system, which—just like a magnifying glass—enlarges text and graphics on a computer screen; video magnifier or closed-circuit television system (CCTV), which does the same thing as the screen magnification system but under a camera; optical character recognition (OCR) software, which transforms print into alternative formats; and Braille printers, which embosses through the use of solenoids that control embossing pins.

Speech, on the other hand, could be reinforced by an array of computer software packages such as the First Words, which is a program that uses graphic presentations combined with synthesized speech to teach high-frequency nouns. The website Enabling Devices also contains a list (with illustrations!) of innovative assistive technology for speech-impaired or non-verbal individuals.

Hearing could be improved, too, with the MotionSavvy UNI, “the world’s first two-way communication software for the deaf” that can translate American Sign Language (ASL) into speech, and speech into text. There’s also the Solar Ear, designed with the 360 million people with a disabling hearing loss that live in low- to- middle-income countries in mind.

Solar Ear is a solar-powered hearing aid battery that lasts for two to three years. It also costs a fraction of what traditional batteries cost. Another device, ISEEWHATYOUSAY, can capture spoken language on a smartphone, converts it into text, and sends the text via Bluetooth to a remote user’s device.

“A person who is severely impaired never knows his hidden sources of strength until he is treated like a normal human being and encouraged to shape his own life.” ~Hellen Keller

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Jonathan Cowper

ID in Poland

The only certainty is that there had been 130,000 adults with intellectual disabilities in Poland 13 years ago.

And only those with legal disability status—those aged 16 or over—and living in households are included in the figure. Those living in institutions are not counted.

In Poland, the rights of its citizens with intellectual disabilities are guaranteed in its constitution. The country has ratified “most important international human rights instruments,” too, with the exception of the revised European Social Charter and Protocol No. 12 to the ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights].

Still, it has no anti-discrimination legislation that applies specifically to education. Only that the education system is regulated by the Act on the Education System that enables every children and young people with disabilities in Poland to study at any type of school or to individual teaching, curricula and classes.

The assessment procedures for placing PWDs under guardianship are also not sufficient; the courts usually impose plenary, rather than partial, guardianship for people with intellectual disabilities. The PWDs in Poland have no legal support if ever their guardians violate their rights.

There are computer software and devices nowadays that could alleviate the situation, however. Aside from touch screens, interactive whiteboards, and hand-held tablets, generic and tailor-made Apps have already been developed for on-the-merging tablets, most particularly the iPad, to cater to almost every facet of learning, therapy, communication and engagement. These tools and strategies are collectively called AAC [Augmentative and Alternative Communication].

AAC can help students with communication impairments to express themselves. Its ultimate goal is functional communication, self-advocacy and independence.

“Providing real access to education and employment for people with intellectual disabilities is critical to ensuring that they can live and work in the community as equal citizens.” ~Open Society Foundation

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Respect For People with Intellectual Disabilities

Hearing Vietnam

An advanced customized sound therapy and expert clinical care will be provided to tinnitus sufferers in the entire United States of America!

Through a corporate partnership of Tinnitus Treatment Solutions (TTS) and Your Hearing Network (YHN), patients will be provided “quick, efficient, and high-quality tinnitus care from clinical experts”. TTS is an independent professional organization that facilitates screening and treatment of tinnitus patients using modern tele-audiology tools; while YHN is a managed care organization that provides referrals to its members to access care reimbursement opportunities.

Together, TTS and YHN will feature Tinnitus SoundSupport™, a hearing aid brand among the Oticon Ti series. The partnership will benefit those who were diagnosed with tinnitus, fitting them with tinnitus-featured, specialized hearing aids to relieve tinnitus symptoms.

Tinnitus is a “common service-connected disability of returning veterans”.1 It is the “perception of sound in the absence of an acoustic stimulus”.2 The ringing or buzzing in the ears with no external source could only be heard in one ear, both ears, in between the ears, or with no exact location pinpointed.

Most Vietnamese had served in the U.S. Armed Forces in 1957. As such, this innovation will really help if it would be available to them. Dr. Rilana F. Cima, research coordinator at the Adelante Zorggroep, had developed a three-month treatment combining cognitive behavior therapy and exposure therapy to overcome the patient’s negative reaction.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, on the other hand, uses a sound generator. There’s also a treatment that “pairs listening to tones with small bursts of stimulation to the vagus nerve in the neck” developed by the Microtransponder, Inc. Other approaches include transcranial magnetic stimulation, cochlear implants with background stimuli, feedback to teach the brain to ignore tinnitus, medications to “quiet” tinnitus, antioxidant treatment, Internet-based sound therapy, and psychoanalysis.

“Hearing loss is a terrible thing because it cannot be repaired.” ~ Pete Townshend

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of KRDsonic

1 according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

2 Merck Manual