Technology That Redefines Our World

Nursing Home Quality Ranking

There are many resources for families considering long-term care facilities for their elderly members. Families for care constructed an interactive website called “Nursing Home Report Cards.” The website ranks the quality of the nursing facilities by state. The rankings mirror report card scores. A map of the United States is displayed and when the cursor is dragged over a specific state its grade will appear. The ranking methodology of the organization takes many factors into account. The grade depends on how many hours a registered nurse visits the facility daily, how many nursing home abuse reports are filed, how much time staff spends with patients, and other factors. When all of the factors are ranked, the states with scores of 41 or above are considered to be failing nursing home residents.

A general trend on the map is consistently low, to failing, grades for nursing home facilities in the South and Southwest. Texas ranks as the worst state for long-term elderly care with an overall ranking of 51 total points. Louisiana follows with providing patients very little access to attention from a registered nurse. In contrast, New Hampshire and Rhode Island received superior scores for care. In addition to providing excellent care to patients, the facilities in these New England states tended to be the most hygienic and structurally up-to-code.

Families can feel confident about their elderly members staying in a round-the-clock-care facility in states that boast good ratings. However, doing the research and staying informed about these conditions are important, especially in states that don’t provide acceptable care. Other options like hired in-home care or visiting nurse practitioners might be a better option for families that want to ensure quality care.

Accutane Controversy

Though Accutane has proved to be extremely powerful in ridding people of skin inflammation and cystic acne, it has created quite a bit of controversy since its 1982 introduction to the United States pharmaceutical market. As a first-generation retinoid, Accutane belongs to pregnancy category X, the most high-risk class of pharmaceuticals for pregnant women. The medication has been proven to cause physical and mental birth defects in fetuses and newborn infants.

In addition to pregnancy concerns, researchers are also concerned about the use of parabens as a preservative in Accutane. Cosmetic companies have long since used parabens as preservatives in makeup, lotions, and hair care products. Parabens are inexpensive and greatly increase the shelf life of products. Despite these advantages, recent studies have found that parabens disrupt the endocrine system. Parabens are also studied as a potential carcinogenic agent, promoting the growth of unusual cells. Researchers have found that parabens can imitate the hormone estrogen, causing an estrogen surplus in the female endocrine system. The disturbance of an estrogen overabundance makes women more prone to breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers. Because of these potential risks, parabens were banned from cosmetics in the European Union.

Recently, Accutane has been linked to persistent gastroenterological complications. Previous users of Accutane have reported severe cases of ulcerative colitis, ulcerative proctitis, and Chrohn’s Disease. As a result of these Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, some people have parts of their large intestine and colon removed. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases cause discomfort, inconvenience, and sometimes prevent people from being able to resume their normal activities. According to a study presented at the College of American Gastroenterology, people who have taken Accutane are over four times more likely to develop an inflammatory bowel condition than people who have not taken Accutane.

Accutane lawsuits demanding fair compensation for the damage it has caused to the health of innocent users have been cropping up since the public began gaining awareness of the drug’s risks became widely known. If you have experienced unintended Acutane side effects, get in touch with a personal injury attorney to learn more about your options.

Medical Device to Prevent Heart Attack

Medical Device to Prevent Heart Attack

Mar 25, 2013

A new device currently being designed in Switzerland looks like it may hold enormous potential for the future of medical care. A research team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne is currently in the process of refining a tiny 14-millimeter robot instrument which would be implanted in an individual’s bloodstream and monitor a wide range of different elements of their blood composition. At present, the device is intended to measure the presence of up to five different types of compounds, though future improvements could increase that number.

The reason this appears so promising for the future of medical care is that one of the molecules which could be traced by the device, troponin, is released by the body several hours before a heart attack occurs. As soon as the device detects this molecule, it could send an alert to the individual’s smartphone, through Bluetooth capabilities, which would let them know that a heart attack is imminent.

There are a wide range of different reasons why this could prove amazingly effective in preventing fatalities from heart attacks. For one, it could allow individuals to get medical attention before the attack occurs, which could help to prevent most of the worst consequences of a cardiac event. Furthermore, it could help to prevent medical mistakes like doctors failing to diagnose a heart attack, which remains a serious problem today.

While the technology isn’t available to the public yet, one more feature stands out in showing its revolutionary potential: estimated costs for the device are less than one dollar.

MRI Fingerprinting

MRI Fingerprinting

Jan 30, 2013

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been an invaluable tool in improvements of medical diagnostics. However, the fundamental approach to the use of MRI has, for the last 50 years, been largely static. All that may soon change with the development of what its creators call Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting (MRF).

Traditional MRI diagnoses are typically restricted to exploring a single problem (cancerous material in lung tissue, for example). However, MRF diagnoses would, if properly calibrated, potentially be able to test the full range of tissues in the human body simultaneously, vastly increasing the amount of diagnostic data available to physicians and increasing the likelihood of detecting diseases earlier and more frequently. As a result, patient care could be significantly improved.

Failure to diagnose diseases such as cancer and other progressive conditions is an unfortunately common example of medical malpractice, so the potential that MRF presents for doctors and patients alike represents an exciting development in medical technology.