Tag Archives: technology

Medical Technology Allows Med Students to Perform Virtual Surgery

Medical cadavers are a freaky thought for many, but for decades, they were the only available method of surgery practice for med students. However, rapidly advancing medical technology has come up with an alternative: virtual surgery on a 3D digital model of the human body. Cool! It is a hotly debated subject in the medical community, as virtual surgery has clear drawbacks, but it presents itself as a viable complementary alternative for med students. Let’s take a closer look:

How Does Virtual Surgery Work?

To view a VR hologram of a cadaver, the medical student wears 3D active shutter glasses that utilize liquid crystal technology that is synchronized with the image projector. The amazing anatomically accurate 3D models were developed for the Visible Human Project, whereby participating scientists and technological developers created over 5000 TIFF images taken of a person’s cadaver (externally and internally). They used one male cadaver and one female that were preserved for medical science purposes since the 1990s. Students can hone in on any one the digital cadaver’s organs and use surgical tools to simulate cutting into it. Some VR surgery rooms have multiple motion sensor cameras that tap into the 3D glasses that allow the student to walk around the body, viewing it from different angles in the round. This makes the experience even more like reality.

Some of The Pros Of Digital Surgery For Medical Students

VR can provide med students amazing tools that were never before available to help train them for surgery. Some of the many pros of digital surgery include:

  • Students can access a cadaver at any time to practice surgery techniques or interactively learn about anatomy.
  • Virtual surgery can build the students’ confidence by giving them a platform on which to continuously learn and perfect their knowledge of the human body.
  • It can help the student develop and hone psychomotor skills.
  • It can help build teamwork skills as several students can view and “work on” the digital cadaver at once.
  • It can reduce the number of cadavers that must be obtained and kept on hand for medical training.

Will Technology Make Medical Cadavers a Thing of the Past?

Some medical professionals and professors believe virtual surgery has too many limitations and doesn’t provide the hands-on nitty-gritty experience needed to educate them on real-life surgery. However, many disagree with this viewpoint, believing technology is the future for medical science and training. In an interview about this subject in Forbes magazine, New York’s Dr. Robert Glatter wrote, “VR can open up an entirely new world of possibilities to experience the tense, real-world clinical situations which require rapid thinking and quick analysis for management of critically ill patients”.

Digital Surgery Can Help Supplement Traditional Training

We examined some of the pros of digital surgery for medical students, however it does have drawbacks. Clearly it cannot completely provide the hands-on training that performing surgery on an actual medical cadaver would. It is important students still have access to cadavers for some parts of their education, but digital surgery can provide top-tier supplemental practice and training for them as well. The benefits that digital surgery can provide for students cannot be refuted, however, a mix of both would likely provide the best overall training experience.

Boy, isn’t medical technology astounding? Thanks for visiting DocChat!

10 Health-Related Numbers You Should Know

We live in a world of constant information streaming. We see hundreds of facts, suggestions, tips and ideas daily; it can be hard to know how much of it to take to heart. Well, the following list of health guidelines would be a good start. Let’s check them out:

  1. 200 mg/dL – Is the ideal total blood cholesterol level (or lower) for adults. Your LDL (bad) cholesterol level alone should be less than 100 mg/dL.
  2. 35 inches – is the largest a woman’s waist size should be in order to keep her risk of heart attack or other life-threatening diseases down. A man’s waist size should be under 40 inches in order for him to avoid weight-related illnesses like heart disease.
  3. 7-9 hours – is the ideal amount of sleep we should be getting per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
  4. 150 minutes – Is the amount of cardiovascular exercise adults should undergo weekly to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes. This number does not factor in strength training, which should also be completed several times weekly.
  5. 420 minutes – Is the amount of exercise children should get weekly. Growing children need more exercise. The CDC recommends 60 minutes of daily exercise for children and teenagers.
  6. 56 grams – Is the amount of protein the average (sedentary) man should consume daily. Women should aim for about 46 grams.
  7. 6-10 – Is the average number of colds children get each year. It is important to instill good hygiene habits and in your child and teach them prevention tips so they can avoid colds easier at school.
  8. 84.3 years – is the average life expectancy for a man. A woman’s life expectancy is 86.6. In order to live up to (or exceed!) these impressive numbers, be sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and get plenty of exercise!
  9. 50 million – Is the approximate number of Americans living with allergies. (If you’re one of those 50 million, check out our tips on allergy-proofing your home to get some relief)!
  10. 10 hours and 39 minutes – Is the average amount of time Americans spends looking at screens daily, according to a recent in-depth study. The American Academy of Pediatricians (APP) recently put forth a recommendation of less than 2 hours of daily screen time for children over 2 years of age and adults alike. While many of us won’t cut down that much, we have to admit, over 10 hours daily is certainly an excessive amount of time to be glued to screens and newsfeeds instead of doing more productive activities!

    There you have our top 10 health-related numbers you should be aware of! Thanks for visiting DocChat, stay happy and healthy!

Quiz – Are Your Sleeping Habits on Point?

In this modern age of high-stress careers and over-stimulating technology, we often don’t check in regularly enough about our sleep habits. Bad sleep habits can lead to sleep problems like insomnia if let unchecked. Try the following quiz to see where you fall on the sleep spectrum!

  1. Do you…

    a) Normally sleep between 6-8 hours nightly?
    b) Sleep on average less than 6 hours a night?

  2. Do you…

    a) Go to bed before 11 most nights and wake up fairly early?
    b) Find it hard to go to bed early and/or wake up early?

  3. Do you…

    a) Most often sleep without medication or supplements to help?
    b) Usually need sleeping pills in order to get to sleep?

  4. Do you…

    a) Sleep soundly through most nights?
    b) Do you wake up frequently or wake with the slightest sound?

  5. Do you…

    a) Generally stick to a sleeping and waking routine?
    b) Have random bedtimes and wake up different times each day?

  6. Do you…

    a) Try to get all your work done before a certain hour each day?
    b) Do you pull all-nighters for your job and oversleep on the weekends?

  7. Do you…

    a) Try to avoid caffeine or alcohol in the evening hours?
    b) Indulge in nightcaps frequently?

  8. Do you…

    a) Only use technology with special ‘night time’ screen settings, or try to avoid stimulating sights before bed?
    b) Commonly stare at screes or use technology before bed?

  9. Do you…

    a) Try to clear your mind of worries by meditating or doing a peaceful activity before bed?
    b) Go to bed with a full mind and often get poor sleeps because of anxiety?


If you answered mostly “a” for these questions, your sleep is on point! If you answered any ‘b’s, try to tweak those particular habits to get better sleeps.

If you answered more than a 3 ‘b’s, you need to seriously overhaul your sleeping patterns before you head into insomnia territory!

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon.

5 Amazing Medical Technology Advancements


Our country’s once skeptical and shaky faith in technologically-based medicine should only be strengthening as brilliant minds constantly collaborate on mystifying new medical technologies that will save more lives, cut down on human error and save time, money and other resources. Some of the latest advancements include:

  1. Patient-Lifting Robots

    Lifting patients is the single largest injury risk factor for nurses and ambulance drivers, seriously injuring thousands of healthcare workers annually. How to remedy these troublesome injuries, lost wages, lawsuits or subsequent patient injuries? Enter, Robot for Interactive Body Assistance (RIBA) which was developed by RIKEN to do exactly this dangerous human task of moving, shifting and lifting heavy patients. RIBA and similar robots greatly increase productivity of workers, freeing them to work on other things, keep patients safe from human error such as accidental dropping, as well as prevent healthcare workers’ terrible back and limb injuries – everybody wins!

  2. Antibacterial Lighting

    Yes, you heard us correctly, antiseptic lights that can actually kill bacteria in a room. Specially developed blue-violet LED lights have the potential to kill dangerous bacteria in hospitals to help decrease the high instance of life-threatening hospital-related patient infections.

  3. Telestroke 

    Mobile stroke units are in place to help provide continuing aftercare to remote stroke victims who can’t continually come in for check ups. Telestroke is an offshoot of telemedicine that allows the patient’s condition to be monitored even when they are not at the hospital or are on the way to the hospital (many ambulances are set up with mobile stroke units). Modern telemedicine has enabled many other types of remote patient monitoring as well.

  4. Bedsore Prevention Clothing

    According to a troubling recent study, over 75 hospital or nursing home patients die daily from bedsore complications. What a tragically simple and preventable way to die as these people are being treated for other conditions. Luckily, medical advancements are witnessing inventions like Project SMART, pants that send short, mild electrical currents to the patient’s underside every ten minutes to increase circulation to the area and give the muscles necessary intermittent movement that can prevent the formation of bedsores. Amazing!

  5. Food Scanning 

    Companies like Tellspec and Scio have developed (or improved upon) personal food scanning technology that can let the person know the true ingredients of a food item so they know what they are putting into their bodies. This will be a must-have for those with allergies or anyone who is health-conscious about specific ingredients.

So there you have it, some of the many wonderful technological advancements in the field of medicine. With all these amazingly helpful gadgets that aid healthcare staff and even save lives, we should all be avid cheerleaders for telemedicine and other modern medical technologies! Thanks for visiting DocChat, keep an eye out for more information about new medical technologies in the future.

Tele-ICU – Revolutionizing Critical Care for Remote Patients

Tele-ICU has existed for decades, but is only getting the recognition it deserves recently. It allows under-resourced rural hospitals without the appropriate specialists to handle critical care patients by teleconferencing with specialists thousands of miles away each step of the way, and also allows other hospitals to monitor remote ICU patients using audio visual technology.

Nurses Sing Tele-ICU Praises

In a survey that questioned 1200 American ICU nurses on the effectiveness on tele-ICU technology, 79% reported that tele-ICU helped improve patient care. Moreover, 63% said it enables quicker work performance and 75% said it allowed them to do their jobs more effectively.

Tele-ICU Monitored Closely From A Distance

With approximately 200 participating hospitals in the US, and thousands of nurses working to help facilitate it, medical technology is enabling the critical care of over 6000 remote patients. Tele-ICU allows health providers to electronically review vital signs, test results and oversee medication administration of remote patients, allowing them to also communicate medication changes or care changes to the on-site caretakers technologically. This system may be even more secure in some ways than traditional ICU units, as distant doctors can closely monitor patient safety round-the-clock and quickly detect any abnormalities or instabilities in the vitals.

Room For Growth

Tele-ICU is a field that is still progressing however, and depends on the understanding and willingness of attending nurses and doctors to participate in order to work properly, though it is clear that without this technology, thousands of patients would be suffering or worse.

The Bottom Line

Telemedicine continues to facilitate more revolutionary and progressive healthcare options as time goes on, improving upon current methods and allowing care to the previously out-of-reach. Tele-ICU will continue to grow and advance, saving lives and helping doctors and nurses reach the next level of care.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll be back again soon.

Our Most Sedentary Generation

Ever notice there are never as many children outside playing kickball and tag than there were ten years ago? Many playgrounds are ghost towns nowadays compared to the bustling microcosms they once were. Unfortunately, more children lead sedentary lives today than any generation before.

Inactive Children Outnumber The Active

According to a government census study, only 1 in three children are physically active on a daily basis. Children are meant to be active, as their bodies grow faster than those of adults. Children also consume more calories per body-size than adults in order to grow at a healthy rate, so they have extra energy that needs expending. Every child should get at least one hour of activity a day, whether that means playing outside, jumping on a trampoline or participating in an extra curricular sport.

Childhood Obesity

The World Health Organization states that as of 2013, 42 million children were considered overweight or obese. Even with government effort concentrated on curtailing childhood obesity over the last several years, the number of obese and overweight children are still too high.

Technology Stifles Activity

On average, children and teens ages 8-18 spend over 7 hours a day using or viewing technology. With so many kids opting for the TV or iPad over playing sports or neighbourhood games, it is no wonder activity levels have been steadily declining while obesity rates have been on the rise over the last 40 years. Between school, meals, homework and hours of dedicated technology use, there is little time left over for playing outdoors or exercising.

Hindered Social Skills

According to a study conducted by UCLA psychologists to measure sixth graders’ recognition of facial expressions, children who didn’t use technology in the preceding 5 days performed exceedingly better at identifying the correct emotions than those who used it every day. Furthermore, recent research suggests tweens and teens who use social media frequently put more effort into establishing surface-level ‘online’ friendships than real ones which appears to impact face-to-face social skills. Recent research done on video games in particular showed that average use of non-violent games didn’t have much impact on social skills, but excessive playing of violent video games was correlated with feelings of isolation, anger, and impaired social interactions.

Inactive Children Become Sedentary Adults

Less than 5% of American adults participate in the recommended 30 minutes of exercise daily, and less than 1 in 3 reach the weekly recommended amount of exercise. Sedentary lifestyles come with significant risks. Not everyone who is sedentary has a weight problem, but inactivity can be a precursor to cardiovascular disease no matter your size. Studies show that routine exercise promotes heart and brain health, mental health and overall wellbeing. If you are obese and inactive your risks for developing health complications are higher than someone who is inactive but of normal weight. Diseases that are directly correlated to obesity include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer among many others. So children who develop the habit of living inactively early on are likely to continue their unhealthy lifestyles, increasing their risk of developing inactivity or obesity related health conditions later in life.

Thus concludes our look at children and inactivity, stay tuned for our article on exercise ideas for the whole family next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!