Double the Trouble- Transplants Saving Lives

13 09 2012

There are many reasons why people live out their lives missing one or more of their limbs. Sometimes a serious accident occurs where it is just impossible to save. Other times it is a disease or an injury that eliminates the possibility of re-attaching that part of the body. In the case of Katy Hayes, a flesh-eating bacteria was the cause of the amputation of not just one arm or one leg, but all four limbs. 

Hayes is only 44 and resides in Texas. As a mother of three children and a career in massage therapy, she relies heavily on the use of her hands and feet. After the bacteria got a hold of her, she found herself a quadruple amputee. Living life without any arms or legs may seem unbearable, but there is hope on the horizon. Hayes was recently approved to be the first person in the United States to get not just one, but a double arm transplant.

The infection started two years ago, and doctors said she would probably not survive the ordeal. Fortunately, enough nerve and muscle was saved and the transplant is possible due to the fact that the amputation occurred about mid-bicep. If successful, the surgery will allow her to bend her elbows and lift herself out of a wheelchair. Image

Because so little has been done on research and surgeries in this field, there’s no way of determining a statistical probability that this will succeed. One similar procedure occurred in Germany, however the results were not disclosed. Being formally approved, the surgery is planned to happen soon and attempt to return to her the independence that she once had. 

There may not be many statistics on double arm transplants, but there are quite a few on amputation in general. The top four causes of amputation in the United States are congenital, cancer, trauma, and dysvascular.Flesh-eating bacteria, which is not one of the most common causes by far, is a rare infection of the deeper layers of the skin. It spreads quite rapidly and release toxins which cause destruction of the tissue. It is a serious threat, because as you can see it does so much harm to humans. 

Hayes’ surgery is being planned and we plan to follow it every step of the way. We here at Advantec support many of our clients who work in the medical fields. One of our clients, AMBUCS, even helps to create bicycles for children that enable the use of peddling with their hands so those with disabilities can enjoy the same physical joys as those without them. Many clients also work in the assisted living and personal care industries, helping people with disabilities to overcome challenges and live the life they always dreamed of. 

For more information on Katy Hayes’ case, visit her family blog. For more information on Advantec Software and how we can help YOUR organization, visit us at www.findsocialservicesoftware.com!

 

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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!





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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