There are three areas of research studies in the health and medical realm that interest me at a personal level. They are Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Colorectal Cancer, and Myocardial Infarction. All interest me for differing reasons as will be illustrated throughout the context of this discussion. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a set of inherited muscle diseases that cause on going muscle degeneration and weakness, that ends in death. This disease affects children.
Research that has just been published on the ninth of this June in Science Translation Medicine, has demonstrated that novel gene transfer system has the promise to furnish an efficient therapeutic treatment for SMA patients. Unfortunately, it has no known cure and requires on going medical care. Professor Azzouz who is in the University of Sheffield’s department of neuroscience, state he is elated at by the result after many years of attempts to attack this raving disease.
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These findings put science a little closer to favorable gene therapy treatments for SMA patients. This is of interest to me personally because my cousin’s son inherited this disease from my cousin and her husband. Her son was given an estimate of eighteen months to live when he was born, and he will be four years old this fall. He presently is in and out of the hospital at least once, if not more, per month. He has a tracheotomy and is unable to lift his own body due to the effects of SMA on the muscles of his body.
The second area of research and study in the health and medicine field that is of personal interest is research in colorectal cancer. This interests me due to the fact that my mother was diagnosed at age forty seven. She had initially went into an emergency room in California for rectal bleeding. The emergency room doctor referred her to have a colonoscopy, after which she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She completed chemotherapy, and had subsequent CT scans to determine that the cancer was gone. My mother’s story is not the same as that of every patient that develops colon cancer.
A patient I rendered care to during my military assignment in Alaska had gone to his doctor for what turned out to be a rectal abscess. The doctor completed further studies and testing and diagnostic studies on this particular patient, and he had colon cancer. This patient was admitted and discharged multiple times over the course of six months for medical problems stemming from his cancer. Ultimately, cancer took his life, and it was the first patient to ever die when I was on shift in my nine years of being a medical technician.
Research studies into both the causes that could be prevented, and cures for colon cancer help to ensure that people that are being provided the best preventive, diagnostic, and curative treatment that is available. The final area that interests me is myocardial infarction. Long term survival rate and the quality of life for patients after having a myocardial infarction is of great interest to me. I am assigned to the Emergency Department at Nellis Air Force Base, where our population is primarily active duty military, retired military, and the dependents of both active duty and retired personnel.
In the emergency department, we often see patients come in with ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, and many other variations of electrocardiogram rhythms that equate to a myocardial infarction. I presently am enroute to my deployed location for the duration of the year, and this past Saturday, I stopped by work to accomplish some administrative tasks. During the short time I was in at work, a twenty-eight year old female was brought into the emergency department via the department ambulance. Her mother-in-law had dialed 9-1-1 and was doing CPR on her since she had “passed out, and had no pulse”.
The doctor that took care of this patient had immediately intubated this patient once she was on the emergency exam bed and once the nurse established that the EKG rhythm was abnormal, the doctor had directed that the patient be shocked. Amongst the chaos, the doctor remained calm, and directed the appropriate medicines to be administered via the intravenous catheters that had been placed amidst the CPR that was continued prior to the defibrillator shocks. This continued for another approximate twenty minutes before the patient’s heart rhythm went into asystole (flat-line).
At that point, all that could be done is continuing of CPR, and further medicine, along with reassessing any interventions that would potentially save this young woman’s life. Due to her young age, the emergency department staff was determined to bring a beat back to her heart. After another ten minutes had passed, her heart had began to beat of it’s own accord. She was transferred out to a higher level of care facility. The last that was informed was she had no EEG rhythm, in other words she was brain dead. It is for reasons like this that the research and study of myocardial infarction interests me.