Neural Experts and Their State of the Arts Developments

Posted on 02 June, 2014 in Conferences

conferences 1Every group, groups of neurologists and neural experts conduct conferences and symposiums that allow them to track the needs of their field and the developments that already took place. This is where the latest medical inventions were born, discussed and polished. For 2014, a huge conference at Dallas Texas invites all neuro experts of all kind and it’s considered one of the biggest conferences for such field. For the past years, they’ve already launched various ideas in improving the medical assistance science can provide to the public and recently, they’ve made yet another thorough discussion on the same issues and more.

Neural prosthetics and interface technology

Neural interferences or commonly called interference technology is the general term for studies and systems operating in the junction of the nervous system and either or both internal or external device. In a nutshell, this is the kind of system used on the medical realm wherein doctors and medical professionals utilize devices either on the internal or external system of a patient to cure or at least lessen his condition which is mainly related to the nervous system, if not focused on it. One of the best examples would be the neural prosthesis or the artificial extensions attached to the body to help restore the nervous system function. This is sometimes referred to as neuroprosthesis.

Neural stimulation & plasticity

Another issue that has and continues to evolve would be the neural stimulation or what others call SCS or Spinal Cord Stimulation. This is a fairly advanced treatment in which people with chronic pain are subjected for. Oftentimes, people think chronic pain is just a typical pain that will soon go away. It can be caused by stress or over fatigue and extra hours of sleep would heal it. Apparently, this is a different kind of pain and sometimes, what we may assume as ordinary is already a sign that a bigger problem is taking place in our nervous system. With neural stimulation and neural plasticity, we are given the chance to get our lives back and manage the destructive pain in our systems.

Functional electrical stimulation & deep brain stimulation

Finally, one of the highlights of most neural conferences would be about the FES treatment or the functional electrical stimulation. This is often used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, one of the most common nervous system diseases today. Generally the FES is the process wherein electric pulses are applied to the paralyzed part of the body, usually the muscles. This has been proven effective in reliving the muscles and allowing the body part to slowly move again. DBS or deep brain stimulation, on the other hand, is a surgical treatment composed of 3 parts. The idea of DBS is to help the patient take control of his motor skills and since the brain is responsible for this, it’s also the brain that’s targeted during treatments.

Our world of medical science is already quite advanced but it’s still not enough. Luckily, our experts are not tired of generating state-of-the-art treatments, procedures and cures to patients of neural dilemmas. Not only that, we also have a growing amount of people who continue thorough research about it.


Treatments and Advancements Tackled on Symposiums

Posted on 08 May, 2014 in Conferences

conferences 2Today’s modernization is not only advantageous in terms of everyday living but also in terms of developing new and advanced treatments for various medical conditions. The nervous system is one of the commonly attacked human body system. Some diseases start right at it and other start from other systems but in no time affects the nervous system as well. on that note, most medical experts, medical engineers, scientists and other professionals in this field are always up on their feet, trying to determine treatments, cure or at least something that would ease their patients’ pain. With the help of technology, developing such advancements became possible, though not easy.

Spina Bifida

Also known as Neural tube defect, the spina bifica is a birth problem that takes place when the child’s spine – it’s bones, specifically – don’t form correctly around the spinal cord. Most forms of spina bifida are mild and don’t require treatment at all since it barely affects the life of the patient. However, there are also serve cases that call for medication. Surgical procedures are needed only for the most serve cases, and this is where a tube called shunt is placed in the patient’s body ad it works as its drainage, flushing away fluids into the belly.

Auditory prosthesis

In terms of treatments, one of the most common yet also most fastly evolving would be the auditory prosthesis. This is a kind of device that is used to treat hearing problems of the patient, or others call hearing aid. However, there’s a big difference between hearing aid and auditory prosthesis. The latter is composed of many other procedures that have its own focus for instance, there’s the AMI or auditory midbrain implant where stimulation is penetrated through the brain, specifically the inferior colliculus. There are also other auditory prostheses that work by utilizing electric currents to stimulate the hearing neurons of the patient.

Cortical prosthesis

Technology didn’t only allow medical experts to develop and provide treatments but it also allowed patients to have a second chance. Another proof to that would be the cortical prosthesis, or the    kind of implants placed in the human body which is responsible for either restoring blindness, hearing or even treating dementia. This targets the cerebral cortex and it interfaces for other regions of such part to provide benefits and comfort to the patient. Visual and auditory prosthetics are starting to be common but cognitive implants are still struggling to be known and trusted most probably because of its risk. While all these three work on the brain itself, the cortical prosthesis is something far different and complex.

Microelectrode arrays

This unique medical treatment for people suffering from even one kind of nervous problem. This is mainly composed of shanks or multiple plates that, through the          neural signals help serve your nerves enough neurons and electronic circuitry. After all, electric plays a big part in controlling many nervous system problems. While this is a complicated and risky treatment, many people say it’s one of the best you can get if your age and health permits you to.


Basics on Nervous System Parts

Posted on 16 April, 2014 in System Facts

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system facts 1The nervous system is considered as the chief coordinating and controlling system in our body. It encompasses a huge part of our body, which means caring for our nervous system is a must for it is responsible for controlling most bodily activities we perform. What where is the nervous system anyway and how huge is it? Here are the basics and on its part and let’s all discover what this system covers.

Central nervous system

The brain, of course. But there’s more to our brain than doing the typical thinking and decision making. There’s more to it than letting our body do the actions it must do like blinking and breathing without us having to think about it. Most especially, there’s more to this body part that creates dreams. Our brain is composed of highly sensitive parts – usually small but play equally important roles. And when these small parts are attacked by virus or affected by any neural problems, we’d be in great danger.

The most common parts include the cerebrum, or the biggest part of our brain that is responsible for controlling voluntary muscles, thinking, and memory; the cerebellum or the one controlling our balance, coordination and movement; and last is the brain stem which is fairly small like the cerebellum and works as the conduction. There’s also the pituitary gland that controls our growth, and the hypothalamus that is the thermometer of the brain. If you feel too hot, this tiny part of the brain tells you to sweat.

Neurons

Neurons serve as the biggest part of the nervous system and it’s also oftentimes, the first one that’s attacked and affected by neural health problems. The neurons are the cells that carry messages in our body. It transmits the messages to our brain at a speed of 200 mph, allowing our brain to react fast. There are many kinds of neurons but the most common include sensory neurons, pseudopolare, and the multipolar neurons. The sensory neurons are responsible for carrying messages from our sense receptors, which means everything that we hear, see, smell and feel are transmitted to the brain by this kind of neurons. There’s also the pseudopolare or the spelling cells, and the multipolar neurons or the one that carry’s signals from the central nervous system to our muscles and glands.

Spinal cord

When a nervous system disease attacks the spine, there’s a great chance for the patient to experience tremendous changes, mainly because the sine is a highly sensitive body part. This is basically a tube of neurons that is connected to your brain stem, and all information pass through the spinal cord before being sent out to the other parts of the body. It’s more like a message highway of the body, where information like pain, temperature, and many others pass before they reach the brain. Furthermore, this is also the part of the nervous system that works as a shortcut for messages, in times of emergencies, allowing our brain to receive the message faster and allowing us to react faster too. There are also some messages that are being processed in the spine thus, when the spine malfunctions, many body parts tend to malfunction as well.


Spine And How Vulnerable It Is

Posted on 02 March, 2014 in System Facts

system facts 2When we hear the word spine or spinal cord, most of us assume it is the bone in the centermost part of our backs that is composed of smaller bones lined together. First off, the bones itself are not the spine. They’re called vertebrae and the spine or spinal cord is inside of the bone. This is similar to how the brain is covered with skull and therefore, the spinal cord, which is a tube where neurons pass, is covered with the vertebrae. But why is this body part so sensitive anyway? And how do we take good care of it?

Basic overview

To start with, the spine is the part of the nervous system that works by sending messages from the nerves to the brain, allowing our brain to react to it. When the neurons or the nerves sense something that’s considered emergency, the spine speeds up the sending of the message, allowing our brain to react at faster.

Injury concerns

When the spine is injured, the person may loss sensation and movement, if you ask where or which part, there’s no definite answer to that since it depends on where the spine injury occurred. This is mainly because the injury will block the transmission of messages to the brain, and your brain won’t be able to react. Automatically, the longer or the bigger the injury in our spine is, the more body parts we cannot move and the more drastic our loss of sensation will be. Our motor and reflex messages might also be affected. The severity of the spine injury, whether that’s big part of it or just small, also matters. In some cases, people that have injured a small part of their spine but injured it severely experience paralysis or some sort of it.

Causes of injuries

So what are the things that actually injure the spine? Most of such injuries are caused by diseases affecting the nervous system. There are so many of these diseases and some start as minor ones but when left unattended become life-threatening. There are also other diseases that cause speedy and dramatic change to our bodies and affecting out spine. Trauma may cause spine problems. This involves accidents like falling off a building, collision or car accident, and the like. Spine injuries caused by trauma usually involves serve damage of the vertebrae of the bone that covers and protects the spine. With that being said, these ruptured bones might cause the spine to be torn or punctured or may also cause bleeding.

Keeping it safe

What makes the spine vulnerable is its main function in the body. One small injury might cause severe problems already and that’s something all of us are trying to avoid. Keeping our spine safe simply means being extra careful. It’s advised to immediately consult your physician when you feel something might be wrong with your spine or any other parts of the body; you never know, this might affect the spine next.

Technology also plays an important role in keeping our spines back to its normal function. While injuries and diseases can’t be avoided all the time, there are many technological inventions that could help us – just ask your doctor about it.


Parkinson’s Disease: How Much Do You Know?

Posted on 21 February, 2014 in Neural Disorder

neural disorders 1Just like cancer and any other diseases, people are simply afraid of Parkinson’s disease. Sure, it’s just right to be afraid of it since it’s definitely one dangerous health condition. However, such fear also tends to lead us in wrong thoughts and makes us assume things that are far from reality. Fear tends to lead us in discouraging ourselves to know more about the disease, and that’s one wrong thing to do. So what’s with this Parkinson’s disease that makes so many people anxious about it?

General overview

Pakinson’s disease is mainly a progressive health disorder that affects our nervous system and our ability to move is the first to be disturbed. What makes this extra dangerous is that its development from mild to worse is gradual, silent and barely noticeable. Stiffness in some body parts and the slowing of movement are two of the most common signs of this disease. Sometimes, these signs are considered as mere side-effects of being extremely tired and exhausted but behind it is a more destructive disease.

Symptoms

As mentioned Parkinson’s have lucid symptoms that if not noticed at all, are considered side effects of other normal feelings like feeling tired or stressed out. But in some cases, there are more noticeable symptoms that occur such as difficulty in talking. Tremor or shaking is also a common symptom of it wherein the shaking is far from being controllable. This may start from the hands and fingers and oftentimes, are just small shakes and sometimes jerks that you cannot control. The thumb and forefinger are often subject to this. Slow movement or bradykinesia is also another symptom along with muscle stiffness, and problems on balancing.

Causes and risk factors

The main cause of Parkinson’s remain unclear, but medical experts know it is concentrated on the nervous system. Studies say it can possibly be your genes, since researchers have noticed specified genetic mutations and they believe this can possibly cause Parkinson’s. However, they find it uncommon unless the family has a lot of members with Parkinson’s. Scientists also say the environment might just play a part in causing this disease, especially that there are many unhealthy toxins everywhere.

When talking about risks, medical experts have a clearer view on that. They say men are more likely to develop such disease and that it originally occurs to people who are at their 50’s. Heredity may also play a part but this is still under scientific research.

Complications

Because Parkinson’s still has no cure until today, there’s great chance that it will progress and lead to other health problems. There are medications though, to lessen the destruction caused by the disease but still, complications cannot be avoided. One of which include thinking difficulties. Dementia and other cognitive problems are more likely to occur to people with Parkinson’s. Emotional changes and depression are also there, depending on how the patient is supported by people around him. Problems with swallowing, eating and sleeping are yet 3 more complications that if not attended to immediately, may cause lifelong problems to the patient.


Getting Familiar About Epilepsy

Posted on 14 January, 2014 in Neural Disorder

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neural disorders 2Epilepsy is by far the most common neurological disorder that continues to affect many. This condition involves the brain that makes people more exposed to having seizures. According to research, roughly 3 million Americans have epilepsy and to make things worse, it continues to multiply. According to the Centers for Disease Controls and Preventions, about 26 people in the US will acquire epilepsy sometime in his life. Epilepsy doesn’t pick race, age or gender – it simply attacks and occurs to whoever is unlucky to acquire it. Around the world, it is estimated that there are 65 million people with this kind of disorder.

For most people, epilepsy and seizure are the same – they’re not. Seizure is a non-normal electric discharge in the brain and this result to a person losing consciousness. It may also result to a person having changes in his neurological functions. There are many kinds of seizures like the simple and complex focal seizures, the absence seizures, and the myoclonic seizures. Now epilepsy is a neurological disorder that occurs when a person has two or more seizures. When we say seizure it only refers to one. But when we say a person has epilepsy, automatically he has two or more different kinds of seizures, which we can assume he has a more complicate life than those with only one seizure.

There are many factors that can cause epilepsy, which is one of the reasons why it is so rampant. Stroke is one of the most common causes of it. There’s also trauma, which takes place when a person is involved in drastic accidents or the existence of tumor in certain parts of the body. However, there’s another cause of seizure and epilepsy that affects many people mainly outside of the US that can be avoided if only they practice proper hygiene. This refers to the infection neurocysticercosis, or the result of accidentally ingesting pork tapeworm eggs. In areas where hygiene is a problem or simply for people who don’t practice it well, they can acquire a seizure or two that is mainly causes by this kind of infection.

For most experts, the main problem with epilepsy is that it is considered a minor health problem. Once you got it you will have to live with it; but don’t worry, there are medications. This is not the case. Epilepsy is not benign. It can cause severe health conditions since it’s a type of neurological disorder or one that affects the nervous system. This health problem can cause death and according to recent researches, the number of people who suddenly die due to epilepsy continue to rise.

On the brighter side of things, you can lessen the problem by acquiring treatments for your epilepsy through the seizures that mainly caused it. Therapies are commonly done to people who suffer from certain types of epilepsy and there are also certain medications you can take. Medical scientists also developed devices and surgeries to lessen if not eliminate problems caused by seizures and epilepsy.


Fun Facts About the Nervous System

Posted on 20 December, 2013 in General

general 1The human body is full of wonders and even scientists are not yet done trying to discover them. In the nervous system alone, there are already so many things to know about and so much more to uncover.  First off, it’s a complex system in our body responsible for sending messages from the neurons or cells to the brain and lets the brain reacts to it. This is the system responsible for allowing us to move, think, sense things around us, and do many more things. It’s also responsible for doing things that are necessary and yet we don’t have to think of it like blinking and breathing. But aside from these basics, there are many other fun facts about the nervous system and here are some of it.

  • People think that the nervous system has 3 parts – the brain, spine or spinal cord and the neurons. Yes that is correct, but if we talk medically or scientifically, the nervous system is divided into 2 parts only – the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The prior is composed of the brain and the spine while the latter is composed of all the neurons in our body.
  • Did you know how many nerve cells or neurons we have in our body? Scientists also don’t know the answer for this. But what they know is that there are more nerve cells in the human body compared to the number of stars in the Milky Way. The Milky Way has about 300 billion stars and the human body has an estimated count of 10 trillion nerve cells. In the human brain alone, there are already 100 billion neurons. What’s more fun about this is that if we try to line up all our neurons, we’ll end up with approximately 600 miles long neurons.
  • What about our spine, do you know how many nerve cells it has? According to research, the spine alone has 13,500,000 neurons and to think, t’s only about 19 inches long. But when we grow older, our body loses about 1 gram of this precious cells every year.
  • To get our nervous system functioning well, we must consume enough potassium and sodium ions. It’s also best to have adequate amount of vitamin B1 in our body. So the next time you meet someone with health problems that affect their nervous system, you already know what food to bring them when you visit.
  • As mentioned, neurons are the message carriers in our body. The cells from our fingers travel a sensory message of feeling hot when we touch something hot. In our body, there are about 43 different pairs of nerves and all these are connected to the spine or the central nervous system. This makes the travelling or message faster. Out of these 43 pairs, 12 pairs of neurons are directly connected to the brain.

Our body is prone to all kinds of dangers and this is something we cannot avoid. But you don’t always have to stay on the negative side. There are so much more to learn about our body and so many ways to keep it safe.


Kids and Their Body

Posted on 09 November, 2013 in General

general 2Children love to explore – that’s a fact; and it’s also something parents should cherish. Exploration means learning and knowing and a child who explores more gains more information. Now you might be freaked out when your child is playing with his body – he’s not. He is just exploring. If you find him saying AAAAAHH for as long as he could in front of the mirror, he might be checking his uvula or commonly known as “the little thing that hangs in the back of your throat.” If he’s picking is belly button, he might be wondering what is it, how it’s formed, and why its gives him a funny feeling. There are even some kids who tend to play when their genitals, especially the boys. But this is something you shouldn’t be worried about as a parent. Instead it is something you should guide them through.

Body exploration develops in kids as young as 2 years old and this is a great sign that they’re open to learning. As they grow and they’re already going to school, dinner time may suddenly turn into science discussions about how many times we blink, or how many strands of hair we have. Kids also tend to ask so many questions and parents are expected to answer. Pressure, right? Not so much. It’s not necessary for you to know all the answers to your child’s questions. After all, you’re not a physician or scientist, right? However, you should know how to answer properly. It’s not advisable to make up answers that are too far from reality. Instead, you can simply encourage him to look it up and you’ll help him.

According to experts and kid psychologists, parents should take advantage of the stage when their children ask so many questions especially about their body. It is said that it’s best if a child would first learn about his body than any other things. Parents are advised to explore human body with their children. Educational videos that teach about cells, body parts, body systems and everything in between are great substitutes for cartoons. It’s also wise to purchase items that are of great help in the process of learning like toys designed for this specific purpose.

Research say children tend to like to learn about their brain and how it tells the body to move. This falls under the nervous system and it would be great if you can teach your child to learn one body system at a time. Sure, these things and more and discussed in school, but there’s still a great difference is a child learns from his parents. Science and human anatomy is one complicated subject to tackle. It can be confusing and yet, it is equally interesting. Who would have thought that we have trillions of cells in out body? When such information and fun facts are shared between parents and children, psychologists claim it can help encourage a child to learn more. With that being said, it’s best if you spend quality time with your kids regularly; and not just quality time, but incorporate studying too.


So, You Want To Be A Neurologist…

Posted on 09 October, 2013 in Education & Career

education and career 1Have you ever dreamt of being a doctor when you were a child? Of course you did! Most children are guilty of wishing they would soon become a pilot, doctor, teacher, astronaut, and many more. But when you’re in your seniors and about to start college soon, and you find yourself having no other want but to become a doctor, a neurologist specifically, would you go for it? Many are afraid of doctorate course as much as they’re afraid of math and law. But generally speaking, neurology is one fun and interesting course that will keep you buckled up in a non-stop rollercoaster. The study of the human body specifically the nervous system is one amazing study you, my dear student, are going to have.

First off, you would want to earn a bachelor’s degree. While there’s no specific major required, it’s best if you focus on aspects related to neurology such as chemistry, biological science, pre-med, or physics. This way, you’re giving yourself a ticket to easier learning once you proceed. There are also some schools and universities that have admission requirements and one of these studies might be necessary so to be prepared, take courses that give you a better view of neurology, health and the human body.

Once you’re done with that, it’s time to complete a medical school program. In order to earn a degree on Doctor of Medicine, medical school is of course, necessary. There are many medical school programs for this and most of them require 4 years of more thorough study. Oftentimes, the first 2 years are simply about anatomy and basics on physiology. Two years of study about this is just a sign that in-depth knowledge is a must. There are also some universities that provide insights and ample lessons on ethics, immunology, and nutrition. Clinical training and clerkship are often necessary during the third and fourth years.

The moment you finish this added 4 years of medical program, ace the medical licensing exam and you’re up for your internship. Postgraduate trainings start through internship programs and a year of it is enough to give you a better view of reality and hoe neurologists really work. Neurology residency follows internship and this is usually for 3 years. This is when you attend lectures, and do rounds in hospitals. You might also deal with case studies, which help you gain more learning especially in neural issues that remain unsolved such multiple sclerosis.

Neurologists are advised to get certification from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology and other medical groups. This is of great help especially for your patients – to know that their neurologist is trusted and accredited by such prestigious medical groups. Apart from that, it’s also wise to stay updated about the latest discoveries and developments by attending symposiums and conferences.  This is not a must although it is necessary if you don’t want to stay behind. Most neurologists have their own symposiums but there are also conferences for all kinds of medical experts. Either which, it would be helpful for you career and performance as a medical professional.