From Despair To Victory- Rwanda Inspires Millions

4 09 2012

As many of our readers are probably well aware of, the Paralympics are underway! Teams from all over the globe will compete in a multitude of sports, hoping to bring home a medal for their country. Among one of those teams is the team from Rwanda, a country that is still known for the 1994 genocide that took place there.

A slaughter of almost one million people that happened in a period of eight months during a civil war. Today, the country is still rebuilding from that tragic event. While emotional wounds are healing and government is getting back up on its feet, hundreds of thousands of citizens remain who are now amputees. Those who have survived the violence but are forever reminded of what happened. In day to day life, no one talks of the genocide anymore, and these victims walk the streets unseen and unheard. 

If you ask any member of the Rwanda volleyball team, they can recount the same horrible events. One player, Emile Vuningoma, started playing in 2009. He said he wasn’t necessarily comfortable with sitting volleyball at first, but it was a good game for people with disabilities. Born with his disability, his parents did not have enough money to pay for the medical treatment that may have saved his leg. He says that playing for this team has given him a sense of purpose that many disabled people in Rwanda have yet to find.

A player who was directly affected by the genocide is the team’s captain, a man by the name of Dominique Bizimana. He told reporters that he was young when the genocide occurred and a mine exploded that took his leg when he was only sixteen years old. He played volleyball before the accident as well, but after he lost his leg he was determined not to give up. He then began playing for the sitting volleyball team and is enjoying every moment of it. 

 

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The paralympics are a great way to inspire and motivate those with disabilities to break down the barriers that are separating them from their dreams. We here at Advantec work with companies who work hard to stir the same motivation in their clients! For more information on the paralympics, visit CNN’s Page. As always, for more information on how any business can benefit from our custom-tailored software, visit the Advantec Website.





Ancient Girl Brought To Life!

31 08 2012

Recently, a team of scientists has sequenced the genome of a very rare specimen. That specimen is an archaic Siberian girl! Using genome sequencing 31 times over, and using a new method that amplifies single strands of DNA, they have produced a near-complete genome of the girl! The genome was so complete that researchers can compare it to a living person’s. Just by looking at this genome, the researchers were able to establish that the girl had brown eyes, brown hair, and dark skin. Exactly how big of a feat is this? Considering the girl lived in Siberia’s Denisova Cave…over 50,000 years ago.

So what does this mean for modern science? Well DNA makes up all of who we are, and is also linked to diseases, illnesses, and defects. Using the genome from this girl, researchers have been working on producing a near-complete catalog of the small number of genetic changes that make us different from the people of this time. It provides much insight into our own DNA, and human evolution in general. 

Using some of the DNA obtained from other specimens, such as the Neandertals, comparison was made and has revealed much about the ancestry, migration habits, and interbreeding that took place 50,000 years ago. This may sound pretty simple, but it is not! To get a genome this complete, a very long and complex process took place. The process involved sequencing with single strands of DNA instead of double strands. Binding special molecules to the ends of the single strand, the DNA was held in place using enzymes that copied its sequence. The result was 20 times more DNA extracted than by previous procedures. 99.9% of the sequence was able to be used.

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Fun fact: Cultures who also contain some inherited Denisovan genes come from New Guinea and China!

Here is how it is already making an impact on the medical industry. The near complete catalog of the genome enabled researchers to see differences between our ancestors and ourselves. 111,812 nucleotides  have changed in modern humans in the past 100,000 years. Of those nucleotides included eight that were directly associated with the nervous system. These are associated with the growth of axons and dendrites, and most importantly a gene implicated in autism. We could be on the break of something huge here!

At Advantec, we will support anyone or anything who helps our clients! Many of our clients work in the medical industry, and we would be overwhelmed with joy to see new research help to cure their patients! This may be a few decades out, but hey why not get our hopes up? We have learned more as a race in the past century than we have for 400,000 years. 

For more information about this amazing new finding, check out CNN’s Article. And, as always, for more information about Advantec Software and what we can do for your business, visit us at Advantec’s Website!





Aging With Grace- The ‘Super Agers’ Phenomena!

30 08 2012

With many of our clients in the health care industry, we here at Advantec have come to know a lot about the struggles that many of their patients face. A major problem is that the older we get, our cognitive skills decline and our brain matter changes. Neurodegenerative diseases seem to take hold of many of us at a certain age, such as Alzheimers.

Despite the once-thought inevitable loss of our minds with the increase of our age, there appears to be a new phenomena. A group of 80 year-olds is making scientific waves because of an uncanny ability to age gracefully in a cognitive sense! With their age, their brains seem to somehow be immune to the typical declines in memory and thinking.

In a study published this Thursday, doctors had found something remarkable in the brains of these individuals. The area of brain housing is the most dense concentration of cells. This is also known as the outer layer of the brain, the cortex. In the ‘Super Agers’ this area was extremely thick compared to others their age. One of the primary functions of the cortex is memory. The thickness of the cortex was comparable with people in their fifties and sixties, which is quite amazing! That’s a twenty or thirty year difference!

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What does this mean for the world? It means that the insight their brains could provide could help potentially find a cure for cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s. What does this mean for the medical industry? Lots of new research and potentially saving lives- and memories! What does it mean for us? It means we get to proudly support the industries that are helping the ‘non-super agers’ to regain their health! 

For more research about cognitive diseases, visit Local Health’s Website. As always, for more information about Advantec and the software we custom-tailor for people, visit Advantec’s Website!





MIcrosoft and Windows 8 Sharing YOUR information?

24 08 2012

As a company that writes software that holds the important data of numerous businesses, safety is a must. Since our software is run on PC’s, we are always on the lookout for anything that will threaten a computer’s security. With all the talk of companies sharing too much information, it was interesting to come across this next piece of information about Microsoft and Windows 8.

Here in the office I use a Windows XP operating system but at home I run WIndows 8, and I must say from the very start I was awfully impressed with its speed and functionality. The only issue is this one feature they have implemented. It is supposed to be helpful and safe, but it leaves behind a lot of holes in security!

So this new feature is called Windows Smart Screen, which by default is on. Its purpose is to filter every application you try to download from the internet to see whether it is safe or not. Let’s say you want to download a game, so you click the download button and the installer is opened. Here, Windows Smart Screen gathers information about the application and sends the data to Microsoft. If they reply saying the application isn’t signed with the proper certificate, the user gets an error that tries to stop them from completing the download.

That sounds all fine and dandy, right? Hey Microsoft is looking out for me! They’re trying to make sure I don’t download an app with a malicious virus attached, right? Maybe. The biggest problem is that Windows 8 is set up to IMMEDIATELY tell Microsoft about every application you download. Does this strike you as a privacy problem? Because it should! So now Microsoft has all this information about your downloads. They then become a prime candidate for being subpoenaed or receiving National Security Letters that are intended to monitor targeted users. So now, given the right legal documentation, someone can request to see all of your downloads in the past year. Even if you have nothing to hide, that’s still a huge invasion!

But wait, it gets worse! It may even be possible to intercept SmartScreen’s communications and learn about what each individual is downloading! Angry coworker, neighbor, boss, family member? All you need is one unpleasant person from someone’s past to get a little tech savvy and this person’s sensitive data could be compromised! One more fun little fact; the server is configured to support SSLV2. This is KNOWN TO BE INSECURE! In the past it has been susceptible to interception, so that’s what we are trusting our personal information with!

Interesting, right? So now let’s get to fixing the problem. 1. Open the control panel and select the System & Security link. 2.Select Action Center 3. Expand the security list and scroll down, looking for the Windows SmartScreen option. 4. Click the Change Settings link. 5. Change the radio button from the default option to the bottom option. NOW you’re ready to go!

There are many lessons to learn from in this day and age, one of which being “Don’t trust all default settings!” At Advantec, we are always looking for ways to improve our software and its security. For clients in important businesses, we want to provide the safest and most reliable software we possibly can!

For more information about Windows SmartScreen, see this link for a simple FAQ. If you want some more information on Advantec’s security, visit www.findsocialservicesoftware.com!





Alternative Medicine On The Rise- Lifeflower As A Stroke Treatment

24 08 2012

Alternative Medicine is a term that most people stay away from, associating it with illegitimacy and incapable of being able to cure legitimate medical problems. However, new studies are coming out each day that are proving the contrary. Anything from Lavendar, to Kava Root Extraction, to the new “Super Fruit Berries” have been reported to have some type of beneficial effects on the human body!

With most of our clients working in the Mental Health, Group Home, Assisted Living, and Personal Care industries, we here at Advantec try to keep up with the latest news pertaining to their fields. While looking up forms of alternative medicine to treat some of the more common diseases our clients assist with, we came across an article on Lifeflower, also known as Erigeron breviscapus.

Primarily used in China to treat disorders of the entire cardiovascular system, it is known today to help stroke patients regain function due to stroke-related paralysis. Still think it’s all a hoax? Well a study involving 18,000 patients in 21 different hospitals showed that Lifeflower helps to restore muscular control and overall function!

So who could this possibly help, right? Stroke not only affects the patients of many of our clients, but also about 500,000 people in the U.S. alone. Thirty percent of these result in death, and another great percentage leave the victims paralyzed due to oxygen loss in the brain. After being transformed from a plant to an injection, Lifeflower was given to stroke patients throughout the country, and has helped to restore thousands back to a healthy function!

 

 

For more information on Lifeflower, see this link. For more information on CSM Software, visit us at www.findsocialservicesoftware.com.





Absence of Evidence Is Not Evidence of Absence- Memory Disorders of the Modern Age

24 08 2012

The typical Memory Disorder comes in the form of Alzheimer’s Disease for the elderly, or banging your head hard enough for the accident-prone folk of the world. However, some new types of memory disorders are appearing recently. One man was unable to receive help from most doctors, because the disorder was unlike one that they encountered before. 

The man, who chooses to remain anonymous, had been experiencing very strange symptoms. Usually with Alzheimer’s, one looses pieces of information slowly over a period of time. With concussions, one usually only loses the memory attached to a time frame on or near the incident. In this patient’s case, every piece of information he had gathered were vague memories that laid just outside of reach. He attributed it to an advanced case of déjà vu, but his sense of recognition seemed more advanced than that. It was as if he was reliving all of the past events, recognizing every new moment as an old one. The doctors were baffled, and had no idea how to treat him, until a younger and willing doctor came into the picture.

The young doctor’s name is Chris Moulin. Upon meeting the patient, Moulin noted that he was extremely friendly and sharp as a tack with the exception of any recent memories. He also noted that the patient would often fabricate details to fill in the missing pieces of his memory, making a true diagnosis slightly more challenging. 

Memory disorders are very fascinating to think about, because how exactly is it that our minds retain information so well? Do we understand our own thought processes well enough that we can find the exact step where the process gets halted and call it a memory disorder? It makes you think how exactly do you know when something is familiar? How do we tell memory from dreams? When we search our memories, how do we truly know we aren’t simply making it all up as we go along?

Medical associations have come up with a few simple ways to test and improve memory. One is to check our memories against sources such as books and video. Studies suggest that when we call up memories such as flashbacks or specific moments, our brains replay a compressed version of that memory, with details always subject to change. Some events get emphasized while some get dropped completely. 

Even stranger is the way that modern science is affecting research on this topic. In labs all over the world, scientists are discovering different ways to turn memories on and off. They even figured out how to transfer a recognition response from one brain to the other, what they are now calling “hybrid memories.” They define it as neural activity patterns that encode familiarity with new places and experiences. 

So are they saying that all of our memories are a hoax and that nothing we remember is actually real? No, not at all. We do need to consider that it may not always be the major memory glitch that causes the problem. Traumatic experiences or psychotherapy can distort memories just enough to inspire a false accusation. Every year, inaccurate eyewitness testimony continues to send innocent people to prison. 

So what’s the best thing to do? Take everything with a grain of salt, remain skeptical, and remember that absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence. If you remember the sights, sounds, and smells, chances are you’ve experienced that memory. You might not remember a particular detail, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

We here at Advantec are always keeping up with medical research that directly correlates to the industries that our clients work in. Some of our major clients are in the Personal Care, Assisted Care, Mental Health, and Group Home Industries. We are proud to support them and help their businesses run as planned, so more time can be spent with their clients and less time in the office!

If you want to test your own memory, go to the Selective Attention Test. It is a one minute video requiring no sound that will quickly challenge your memory!

For more information about Memory Disorders, see UCSF’s link! To learn more about Advantec’s software for Group Homes, Mental Health, Personal Care Services, and Assisted Care Services, visit Advantec’s Web Page!

 

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Assisted Living- How the ACA Affects YOU!

22 08 2012

As the software provider for many clients in the Assisted Care and Personal Care industries, we understand that matters that are important to you automatically become matters that are important to us, too! Take, for example, all of the health care reform acts currently being discussed. Many senior living companies, as well as our own, have been concerned about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It could change the way that the companies are run, and how they provide insurance to their employees. Many were concerned at first, however, they may not have realized that the act also comes with many positive aspects as well. The bill contains funding for innovative methods of providing care for senior living residents, and that could have a huge positive impact on the industry.

Health care providers can access these opportunities by getting involved in a number of initiatives and programs that seek to increase the supply of geriatricians, develop managed care models, and promote community-based and non-institutional care. Don’t believe us? Brookdale Senior Living, one of the largest providers of senior services, took advantage of the bill just last month. Through it, they received over $7,000,000! The money came from an ACA initiative that made nearly $1,000,000,000 available to a variety of health care innovators. 

This all happened when Congress passed the health care reform law back in 2010. One of the President’s major plans was to improve health care while saving money. Many provisions of this act strive to improve access to long term care and community based services that support seniors and people with disabilities. This is all great news for our clients!

The ACA launched the Health Care Innovative Awards not too long ago. Organizations were called upon to pitch projects that could improve the quality while reducing costs to the health care system. About 3,000 organizations applied with their programs, and about 100 of them were awarded with $900 million of grant money made available through the health care law- Brookdale being one of them! The one hundred recipients of the awards have projects that are estimated to save the health care system an estimated $1.9 BILLION over the next three years.

Besides the Awards Program, there are a number of programs introduced by ACA taht could benefit our clients in this industry.Most of them involve a transition strategy in which movement away from institutional settings is encouraged and movement towards a community based organization is recommended. 

Another intiative is to push to increase the amount of geriatricians. One primary concern is that the rate of senior citizens is growing at too fast of a pace for the rate of certified geriatricians to catch up, leaving a shortage of doctors. To help solve this program, the HHS is establishing a grant program to help those looking to go into that field of medicine assistance with tuition and fee assistance. 

 

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We will continue to look for and post any information that is applicable to the industries that our clients work in. Here at Advantec, we only want the best for our clients, and we will go to any length to do so. For more information on healthcare and this industry, visit http://www.alfa.org.

For more information on CSM software for the Personal Care, Assisted Living, Mental Health, and Group Home industries, visit us at http://www.findsocialservicesoftware.com. 

 

 








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