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It’s Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. With Type I and Type II diabetes affecting more than 30 million Americans, and Type II diabetes making up over 90% of diagnosed cases, it’s safe to say that this chronic health condition is a medical crisis for folks in our country. However, because it is so common and not as immediately life-threatening as cancer, diabetes does not get the attention it deserves. We want to shed some light on the various ways in which abnormal blood sugar levels can degrade just about every part of the body.
The Circulatory System
Multiple studies have confirmed that elevated blood sugar can damage large and small blood vessels throughout the body. This may be referred to as macrovascular disease or microvascular disease. Complications of diabetes-related blood vessel damage include stroke, heart attack, vein disease, and more. Because the blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body, circulatory issues secondary to diabetes may cause nerve, kidney, and eye problems. More recent research even points to diabetes as a potential contributing factor to erectile dysfunction.
The Cardiovascular System
The cardiovascular system is affected when excess sugar in the blood causes blood vessels to become more rigid. The loss of elasticity in the blood vessels leads to the accumulation of fatty deposits, which narrows the blood vessels and arteries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults with diabetes have a 200 to 400% higher risk for heart disease and stroke as do people with normal blood sugar levels.
The Nervous System
It is well-known that uncontrolled diabetes creates a risk for nerve damage, or neuropathy. This, like many other conditions, relates to the degradation of healthy blood vessels secondary to diabetes. The Centers […]

The Role of Gamification in Modern Day Medical Training

Gaming and medicine are not two concepts we would normally put together. However, so much has changed in the methodology of medical training over the years that we are now in the era of virtual reality and online systems. Gamification is the term which describes the process of harvesting characteristics of traditional games and applying them to a non-game setting. This concept is increasing in popularity among medical schools as a way to increase student engagement beyond lectures and textbooks. Here, we look at three ways in which gamification is currently being utilized.
Healthy Competition
Several years ago, a professor at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine developed a multiple-choice quiz game that could be played online. This game let students test their clinical knowledge of internal medicine and even earn “badges” for quizzing themselves daily. Since this early use of gaming in medicine, the quiz-technique has expanded into other areas of medicine, including obstetrics and gynecology and emergency medicine. Students play independently or in teams, and can play against one another or a “digital opponent.”
Virtual Reality Emergency Situations
Students at Stanford University School of Medicine may be exposed to a mass casualty experience thanks to a virtual reality “game.” This experience offers the student user 10 points within the storyline at which they choose a triage category and determine the appropriate intervention for their patient. Points are earned based on their response to their selected triage category.
Escaping as a Team
Escape rooms have sprouted up all over the country, offering people the opportunity to complete tasks and solve puzzles to find their way to freedom – all in the name of fun, of course. Recently, a group of residents and a faculty member at Thomas […]

Where Virtual Reality Fits in Modern Medicine

Virtual reality represents the massive potential of innovative technology; so significant, in fact, that we have come to rely on virtual reality more than we may even imagine. In recent years, the medical field has been inundated with the positive aspects of virtual reality in our work and our patients’ lives. It may be assumed that, as a medical training organization dedicated to the continued use of human specimens, we have our misgivings about the integration of virtual reality into medicine. Not so. Here, we discuss a few of the areas in which VR is changing lives for the better.
Virtual Reality in the Healthcare Industry
Pain Management
There seems to be a prevalence of chronic pain and other instances in which pain management is paramount these days. In particular, virtual reality has proven beneficial for burn victims. In this instance, VR is used as a form of distraction therapy during wound care and physical therapy sessions. According to reports, patients playing entertaining VR games during these sessions are able to tolerate their treatment exceptionally well thanks to the blocking of pain pathways in the brain.
Stroke Recovery
It is well-understood that stroke and traumatic brain injury patients are under a time-crunch in terms of rehabilitation. The sooner that this begins, the more likely the patient is to regain the functions that were impaired by their injury or event. Innovative use of virtual reality is helping patients discover new ways to move fingers and limbs. Ultimately, the experience with VR leads patients to greater optimism and resiliency, through which the nervous system is better able to recover.
Exposure Therapy
For individuals being treated for anxiety, PTSD, and phobias, virtual reality holds particular value. Using VR, therapists can create triggering scenarios in […]

Mobile App Provides Assistance in Emergency Situations

Medical professionals are nearly always “on,” even when off the clock. The instances of physicians acting in a volunteer role are high, and this presents unique challenges that may affect the outcome of urgent medical support. Here, we discuss how a new mobile app is improving the way care is provided in unexpected situations.

It is safe to say that, even with the extensive training they receive, most healthcare professionals are not familiar with the protocols and the resources available to achieve emergency stabilization in settings such as air travel. According to one study, which was presented at the annual meeting of The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, physicians who used technology during practice simulations of in-flight medical emergencies performed with greater confidence and efficacy.

In the study by Jump Simulation in collaboration with the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, physicians used the airRx mobile app. This app is currently the only point-of-care technology designed to handle in-flight medical events. The app presents 23 of the most common emergency situations that occur, including the roles of the flight crew and medico-legal implications for health care professionals who volunteer to assist.

The study took place in a mockup setting in which patients, flight attendants, family members, and passengers were portrayed by actors. Participating physicians, who had no emergency training, were placed into two groups: one that had the availability of the airRx app, and one that had no external assistance. Physician volunteers were rated by trained observers who measured performance using a Critical Action Checklist. Additionally, physicians reported their sense of confidence before and after their simulations.

On both fronts, physicians who used the mobile app faired better than those who did not. The trained observers rated […]

Medical Education is Not a Once-and-Done Objective

To enter the medical field, a physician must complete years of education. The initial years of training are a lot – and they are only the beginning. The need for continued medical training has only increased through years of innovation. Surgeons and other medical personnel are continually presented with new products, techniques, and devices with which to improve patient outcomes. It takes time and effort to vet medical advances and then more time and effort to become familiar with the usage of modernized medicine.

Most states require healthcare providers to meet a certain number of hours of continuing medical education. Choosing relevant courses enables the provider to stay up-to-date on the protocols about which patients may inquire. Continued education also ensures that a provider is competitive and able to meet the varying needs of their patient-base.
What’s to Gain Through Continuing Education Courses
Cutting Edge Developments
As medicine continues to evolve, surgeons and other physicians need to at least be familiar with the latest developments that affect their patients. Techniques and devices are what shape medicine today, and bio skills courses present the opportunity for a healthcare provider to converse with savvy patients about the latest trends. The CME courses offered by Med Ed Labs involve hands-on cadaver training as well as demonstration and training on robotic surgical devices and more.
Skill Refinement
Ultimately, patients want to know that their healthcare providers have the necessary level of skill to successful guard their long-term health and wellness. With the constant changes that are taking place in medicine today, practitioners must reach the high end of the spectrum regarding knowledge, communication, and performance.
Professional Advancement
The primary objective of refining skills and staying at the forefront of medical technology is to provide the highest […]

We Can’t Overlook Robotics in Surgical Success

The da Vinci robotic surgical platform was first introduced to medicine in 2000. At that time, the robotic device was approved for the performance of laparoscopic surgeries. Now, nearly two decades later, we see the use of robotics used far more expansively than ever before. A large percentage of the minimally-invasive surgical procedures that are performed today involve either the da Vinci or another robotic platform. Because robotics is not going away, it is vital that physicians become acquainted with the merits of robotic surgery and well-versed in communicating the details of robotic surgery with their patients.
Robotics as the Surgical Assistant
Platforms like the da Vinci do not take over the role of the surgeon; they act as a highly-trained assistant. Through robotics, surgeons can increase their efficiency by using smaller surgical instruments without affecting precision. Most robotic surgeries are performed by two surgeons; one in the direct presence of the patient and the other at the platform console, observing the surgical field and maneuvering robotic arms using computer controls.

One of the most significant ways that robotics assist surgeons is by reducing fatigue. This is possible because the surgeon operating robotic arms is seated for the duration of the procedure. Also, the cameras involved in robotic surgeries magnify the surgical field up to ten-times – and in 3D high definition.
Robotics Benefit Patients, Too
Robotic surgical devices have been developed for mutual gain. A surgeon who is not affected by fatigue is a better-performing surgeon. The availability of small surgical tools and robotic hands significantly reduces the need for long incisions and more “open” surgical technique. Smaller incisions are the cornerstone of minimally-invasive surgeries and the basis of faster, more comfortable recovery.
Uses of Robotics in Modern Medicine
Robotics […]

How Cadaver Training Serves Medical Science and Development

The study of human cadaver tissues has served medicine well over the years. We routinely offer courses and supply adequate facilities for cadaver training revolving around cosmetic, orthopedic, and internal medicine procedures. Additionally, research indicates that cadaver labs provide valuable insights to companies interested in the development of medical devices.

Information is integral to development. With human cadaver training, it is possible to discern quite a lot about a procedure or device, including details such as:

Optimal placement of a device in actual human anatomy
Accurate spatial relationships between a device and its accessories and anatomical structures
Dimensional compatibility between new technology and human anatomy

Advanced Benefits to Further Innovation
Cadaver labs aren’t all about the tissue, as one may expect. This learning environment may also incorporate imaging equipment, surgical and interventional supplies, and other equipment that facilitates the fullest extent of observation possible. The implementation of appropriate mechanisms allows manufacturers to observe essential details relating to tissue/device interface, including how loading conditions will affect device performance.

Cadaver training improves development by alleviating guesswork:

Clinical testing performed on animal models is insufficient due to the significant anatomical differences that exist between animals and humans.
Animal models are not an accurate representation of the physiological disease states that exist in human anatomy.
Posture differences in animals (quadrupeds) and humans (bipeds) can affect device demonstration.

Innovation in the area of medical devices is integral to the ongoing improvement in patient outcomes. Med Ed Labs understands the value of research and development in the betterment of the medical community as a whole. Our team has been conducting successful human cadaver labs around the country for several years. The use of cadaver labs can assist with procedure discussion, identification of disease states and […]

Human Tissue a Valuable Asset to Spinal Surgery Training

Hands-on learning has always been advantageous for medical personnel. Without it, the extent of familiarity and preparedness for surgical performance is not what it could be. Though advances in technology and protocols have been perceived as advantageous and indeed may be in some ways, clinical experience has confirmed that no simulation compares to the human cadaver when it comes to authenticity.

Because the field of medicine is in a continual state of growth, there is value in the development of new training methods for students as well as physicians seeking to advance their education. The use of human cadavers has become a debatable topic in recent years, with some arguing that virtual reality provides as much value to the surgeon in training. Research disagrees.

In a joint study, researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK and the University of Michigan observed the differences between electronic instruction and cadaver training using human models. At the conclusion of their study, researchers concluded that cadavers offer a more realistic model for the identification and understanding of anatomical structures. Of course they did, they were literal models with real tissue not simulated in form.

Spinal surgeries are some of the most complex and intricate to be performed, and many such surgical procedures are performed on an annual basis. It makes sense, then, that those tasked with the performance of surgeries such as cervical laminoplasty or lumbar laminectomy do what is necessary to be as highly qualified as possible.

Research studies involving medical students and surgeons involved in cadaver training have confirmed that the use of cadaver tissue increases competency and confidence in the operating room. Cadavers offer surgeons the opportunity to observe normal tissue as well as diseased tissue […]

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    Study Suggests the Value of Cadaver Labs in Orthopedic Training

Study Suggests the Value of Cadaver Labs in Orthopedic Training

Surgical simulation is a vital aspect of training residents in various specialties, including orthopedic surgery. This training provides exposure to surgical techniques, to the direct feedback of senior colleagues and peers. While simulation is valuable, the classic approach to surgical education is superseded by innovation in training modalities such as cadaver labs. According to research, the cadaver lab is a more objective tool than simulation, virtual reality, and animal models, and is attributed to the progression of surgical competency in orthopedic residents.

It is believed that sessions in a cadaver lab provide valuable surgical training that is only outdone by live surgery. Two procedures commonly performed in the cadaver lab include arthroscopy and arthroplasty, both of which require in-depth anatomical awareness not only of the structures of the knee joint but also of how they are manipulated during physical movement. Researchers have concluded that there is no way to accurately reproduce the complex aspects of joint replacements outside of the cadaver lab. Virtual reality simulation is included in this theory. But what about clinical practice?

In one recent study, researchers observed basic information regarding the use of cadaver laboratory practice in orthopedic surgery education. Researchers wanted to measure the value of cadaver training in the areas of implementation and trainee-interest. To do so, a survey was given to all orthopedic residents of the cadaver lab at the Italian Society of the Knee, Arthroscopy, Sports Traumatology, Cartilage and Orthopaedic Technology. Feedback was requested from just over 100 students who attended between 2013-2016.

According to data collected, 38 of 102 students returned their survey to researchers after the completion of their cadaver training. Of those 38 responses, 18 trainees focused their cadaver training on lower limb surgeries, and 20 […]

Simulation is No Match for Hands-On Cadaver Training

Several aspects of medicine have been improved with the advent of innovative new technologies and systems. One such advancement has been the use of virtual reality software and apps in the area of medial education. Because we have seen an increase in the sophistication and use of these apps, some say that virtual reality will at some point make hands-on bioskills training obsolete. Here, we discuss the value, as well as the limitations, of virtual reality in medical training.
Virtual Reality as a Reliable Instructor
The use of digital technologies is nothing new. Medical classrooms have incorporated a range of programs, including advanced medical imaging, 3D printing, multimedia, and even games, to disperse information to students and engage various abilities through interactive and effective methods. Virtual reality falls into the same category as these technologies; it is simply the latest and greatest to be developed, albeit one that has extensive capabilities in and outside of the classroom.

Some of the recent uses of virtual reality, thanks to the collaboration between universities and developers like Microsoft, have been the simulation of medical exams and VR apps that teach anatomy.
Several Tools Beat One Tool
Medicine is a practice of precision. We cannot rely on a singular modality or technology to teach us what we need to know. To do so could open the door for a decline in the level of patient care we provide. To maximize our potential as medical examiners, surgeons, and general physicians, our reliance should be on multiple educational tools, including cadaver training.

What cadavers bring to the table is the ability to observe the unique aspects of every human body. The anatomical variations are unique even between twins. To recreate these numerous variations from one person […]