Health Life

New algorithm for personalized models of human cardiac electrophysiology

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Kazan Federal University, and George Washington University have proposed an algorithm for producing patient-specific mathematical models describing the electrical excitation of human heart cells. Published in PLOS One, the study looks at two possible approaches—one using experimental records of electrical activity and the other based on gene expression profiles.

Each heart contraction is caused by a preceding electrical excitation, the so-called action potential. The latter results from electrical currents through ion channels. The number of such channels forming ion currents varies with both pathological conditions and the individual properties of heart tissue in healthy patients. When the balance between various types of ion currents gets disrupted, this may lead to dangerous arrhythmias and death.

Since many factors are involved in excitation propagation, the studies investigating the underlying arrhythmia have relied on mathematical models over the past 50 years. Despite the effort behind developing these models, they are so far rarely used in the clinical practice, mainly because they describe a hypothesized average patient. The research reported in this story addresses the challenging task of applying such models to real individual patients.

The first approach discussed in the paper relies on experimental recordings of action potential and subsequent model optimization using dedicated computer algorithms. They employ evolutionary principles to find the parameters that make the model reproduce the experiment. Randomly generated models are subjected to selection, crossover, and mutation. Prior research by a number of scientific groups has identified the key challenge faced by this approach. Namely, it is hard to find the unique solution, because of the numerous distinct combinations of parameters that result in the same action potential waveform.

Study co-author Andrey Pikunov from the MIPT Laboratory of Human Physiology commented: “We have

Health article

MRSA Tests: MedlinePlus Medical Test

What are MRSA tests?

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is a type of staph bacteria. Many people have staph bacteria living on their skin or in their noses. These bacteria usually don’t cause any harm. But when staph enters the body through a cut, scrape, or other open wound, it can cause a skin infection. Most staph skin infections are minor and heal on their own or after treatment with antibiotics.

MRSA bacteria are different than other staph bacteria. In a normal staph infection, antibiotics will kill the disease-causing bacteria and prevent them from growing. In a MRSA infection, the antibiotics usually used to treat staph infections don’t work. The bacteria are not killed and continue to grow. When common antibiotics don’t work on bacterial infections, it’s known as antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance makes it very difficult to treat certain bacterial infections. Every year, nearly 3 million people in the United States are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and more than 35,000 people die from the infections.

In the past, MRSA infections mostly happened to hospital patients. Now, MRSA is becoming more common in healthy people. The infection can be spread from person to person or through contact with objects that are contaminated with the bacteria. It is not spread through the air like a cold or flu virus. But you can get a MRSA infection if you share personal items such as a towel or a razor. You may also get the infection if you have close, personal contact with someone who has an infected wound. This can happen when large groups of people are close together, such as in a college dorm, locker room, or military barracks.

A MRSA test looks for the MRSA bacteria in a sample from a wound, nostril, or other

Health Life

Study exposes disparities in health care access in rural Southern California

A mobile health clinic the researchers used. Credit: Center for Healthy Communities, UC Riverside

A University of California, Riverside, study that sought to determine barriers to health care among Spanish-speaking Latino farmworkers in rural communities has devised an innovative health care service delivery model that addresses many challenges these communities face.

The researchers, led by Ann Cheney, a medical anthropologist and assistant professor in the Department of Social Medicine, Population, and Public Health in the School of Medicine, advocate the use of mobile clinics, or MHCs, that bring services to patients in their community spaces. Cheney was assisted in the research by Dr. Monica Tulimiero, who graduated from the UCR School of Medicine earlier this year and is now a resident in at Ventura County Medical Center.

MHCs, the researchers argue, offer health care services at times outside of business hours, which suits farmworkers. The researchers also urge providers to immerse themselves and practice in patient communities to better understand their health care needs.

The study, published in The Journal of Rural Health, was conducted in inland Southern California’s eastern Coachella Valley, an agricultural region home to many undocumented and underinsured Latino immigrants. It also included focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews with patients.

In partnership with Health to Hope, a federally qualified health center, Cheney and her team implemented three MHCs in 2019 in locations close to patients’ homes and community spaces, making sure the clinics accommodated patients’ time constraints. The MHC included two exam rooms.

According to the researchers, traditional models of care—the kind that expect patients to access health care services at brick-and-mortar structures within defined clinic hours—work for patients with resources such as paid sick leave and job stability but are not practical for Latino farmworkers in .

Health article

Prothrombin Time Test and INR (PT/INR): MedlinePlus Medical Test

What happens during a PT/INR test?

The test may be done on a blood sample from a vein or a fingertip.

For a blood sample from a vein:

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

For a blood sample from a fingertip:

A fingertip test may be done in a provider’s office or in your home. If you are taking warfarin, your provider may recommend you test your blood regularly using an at-home PT/INR test kit. During this test, you or your provider will:

  • Use a small needle to puncture your fingertip
  • Collect a drop of blood and place it onto a test strip or other special instrument
  • Place the instrument or test strip into a device that calculates the results. At-home devices are small and lightweight.

If you are using an at-home test kit, you will need to review your results with your provider. Your provider will let you know how he or she would like to receive the results.

Source link