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Making Dental Procedures Less Stressful! September 23, 2011

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“Smile!” is cheerfully requested when taking pictures but sometimes we don’t smile at picture-taking because we don’t care, have a headache, are rushed, or are not photogenic.  People rarely admit that they don’t smile at pictures because they are embarrassed of their smile.  It’s not like your life depends on it, or is it?  Well, because you were embarrassed to smile, you were unable to connect with the love of your life.  You fail to smile at the job interview so you didn’t get your dream job. Your offer for the beautiful home was rejected because the homeowner felt no connection with you.  Now here you are alone, no job, and homeless because of the absence of a simple smile!  These are exaggerated scenarios of course, yet they are things that we have to consider.

Dental health is very important yet it is often ignored or feared.  Some studies have shown that at least 96% of American had or will have some sort of dental work done. Perhaps we tend to postpone dental care because we are afraid of the shots, drilling, infections, or just pure embarrassment.  These fears can be easily overcome with proper explanation of dental procedures and with the help of visual aids.  This summer I visited El Salvador with my family and my sister had some dental work done while we were there.  The lack of X-rays and of imaging devices in general made my sister very nervous and apprehensive about the dental work needed.  Doctors in El Salvador tend not to explain in very details each procedure to their patient.  My sister on the other hand, was asking every detail of the procedure, the doctor’s experience and the use of visual aids.  I had to ask the orthodontist to set a pre-procedure appointment so that he could go over my sister’s oral treatment needed; he seemed surprised at our request.  It is frightening and scary that in other countries, people who are of higher authority on their field of expertise expect others to accept theories or opinions without questioning.  At the end because of lack of time and medical necessity my sister had the dental work, depending only on the doctor’s experience and the use of basic X-rays, which took a few days to obtain.  A lot of stress would had been avoided if we had a better dental care system and access to better scanning or 3D imaging devices, as we do here in the US.

In the US going to the orthodontist for dental work is not pleasant, but it is no longer frightening as it once was.  Doctors have a lot of new technology available for buying or leasing that ensures the efficacy of the treatment.  There are 3D scanning machines that provide a full view of your facial/jaws bone structure.  This machine rotates around the patient’s head taking images and creates a 3D view.  Doctors can detect right from the beginning if a patient have had some type of bone fracture or injury on the face or jaws.  These machines not only help to prevent possible complications, because of lack of details from the patient, but also help in making more precise dental replacements.  Sometimes just a very small bite measurement deviation can result in improper replacements or future pains and complications.  The good news is that doctors don’t need to do these procedures with just sight – hand coordination.  These scanning machines are capable of making precise 3D images of the patient’s denture.  These results are then sent to the lab where crowns, teeth, and bridges are made with accurate measurements.  The actual scraping and drilling is now being done by lasers, making it possible for a treatment to be completed on the same day.
Short video of the Planmeca Promax 3D imaging machine
 

The use of laser on dental work is much too expensive for an average person, but the use of the 3D imaging machines is affordable.  There is always some sort of risk in any medical procedure, but the employment of 3D scanning system on dental works makes the experience less stressful.  I am hopeful that all these advancement in medical technology will reach more parts of the world, making it accessible to traveler as well as natives.

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3D Medical Scanning Machines September 16, 2011

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Images of scan results will help to undertand Dr's theories

Images of scan results will help to undertand Dr's theories

“Is it in 3D?” is often the reply when someone is asked to the movies. “Woo! Nice new TV!  Is it 3D capable?” people ask when they come to our homes and see a big screen TV.  Our society is surrounded by enjoyable and most of the time efficient technology.  Electronic gadgets and home equipment have to be enhanced with 3D capability in order to be considered part of our shopping list.  Visits to our doctors are sometimes considered ineffective or poor care if the patient is not subjected to some sort of scanning machine.  But why wouldn’t it, right?  Even animals are subject to 3D scanning nowdays.  A veterinarian on an episode of Animal Cop was incapable of determining the severity of the injuries on a rescued dog, until she performed a CAT scan.  I smiled at the idea of doing something “cat” to a dog.
Most of the time body scans ranging from $400.00 to $4,500.00 are a very efficient way of testing for irregularities in our bodies without invasive procedures. Doctors are not usually questioned on their request for a scan because the idea of generating a 3D image of our bodies for medical necessity compensate the price, striping, cold table, noise and temporary isolation involved with the use of scanning machines.  Before I even consider mentioning the programming languages C/C++ ,  Java and others and electromagnetism employed in the developing of these scanning machines, let me explore some popular uses of these scanning machines.  On future postings I will go into more detail about 3D software development and its interaction with hardware. The three most common uses in the US are CAT, MRI and Nuclear scanning.
Computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan machines produce X-rays images of a body scanning it from hundreds of different angles. A computer then takes all these images and puts together a 3-D image of the body.  X-rays are basically images of light shot trough the body and an image of the skeleton structure is shown at the other end.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, are similar designs as the CATs but they use electromagnetic fields and radio waves to generate 2D or 3D images of soft tissue.  Think of this magnet as a beam gun, with which you shoot a part of the body and your tissues respond to that light.  But in this case of course, we are using extremely strong magnetic fields.  Body tissues respond normally or abnormally to this field and that information recorded by differences in colors represented on the images.  If tissue or a whole organ responds abnormally to the field, the doctor is immediately warned that something might be wrong with that organ.
Nuclear imaging, PET & SPECT, uses radioactive substances to captured images of our bodies.  Positron Emission Tomography (PET) uses radioactive substances that decay  quickly in order to reduce the damage to body tissues.  On the other hand, Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) uses radioactive substances that decay slower, and are less expensive and more commonly used.  A patient injected with a radioactive substance emits strong energy movements inside their bodies called gamma rays.  These rays are interpreted as electrical signals by a specialized scanning machine and eventually transform into images with a computer. These scans are effective when checking for brain irregularities and other organs as well. From the images doctors can detect no activity that could mean Alzheimer’s disease or super activity that could be a tumor, without having to do any physical incision.   SPECT is very effective in checking the blood flow to determine blood blockage and heart abnormalities and functionality of other organs.
Capsule Endoscopy is also a new imaging technology that uses a small camera in shape of a pill to transmit images through Bluetooth enabled technology.   In this procedures patient swallow a small camera that travels through the digestive system to explore part of the body that regular Endoscopy, which uses a long wire with a camera at the end, cannot reach.  Once patients swallow this pill, it is magnetically guided through specific parts of the body.
Capsule Endoscopy-PillCam

The satisfaction of finding out the health status of our body without any surgery is tremendously appreciated.  However, this wonderful 3D scanning technology can be extremely dangerous when proper procedures are not followed.  Metals become extremely dangerous around these machines, so people are asked to get rid of any metal to prevent them from becoming projectiles.  Patients with metals implants can suffer tissue damage or the implants can be irrevocably damaged. In Nuclear Imaging patient are exposed and injected with low levels of radioactive substances.  Pregnant women are strongly advised against any type of scanning for fear of causing any damage to the unborn child.  The capsule in Endoscopy can get stuck inside the body prompting for surgical extraction.  However the benefits of obtaining precise images of tissues, organs and the entire body may outweigh the risks of the scanning procedure.
For the ultimate in vanity, wouldn’t you like to see a 3D view of yourself in the morning just before heading out the door? I am waiting for the day when normal mirrors have been replaced by 3D imagers allowing you a full view of your clothing and overall appearance just before you step out of the door.   Life would be good when you can lift your head up high and say, “Step aside people, I just saw myself, and I am looking good from every angle!”

3 Blogs- Education, Fun and Boxing Granny September 12, 2011

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“Su corazon se paro” His heart stopped! That was all my grandfather understood about heart disease when his son passed away.  “I want a 3D game”, cried the 6 year old boy, to his already confused grandmother at the game shop.  “A video that would show proper rotation of the earth and its location within our galaxy would be helpful in helping my kids with their science homework”, said my sister, mostly referring to programs she had watched on the Science channel. We had to show my mother a 3D video of a mammogram in order to convince her to go for a checkup.  Sharing information and knowledge with older generations is crucial.
See how happy and funny grandma can be playing a 3D Game, Wii.

3D can be created from live models, scanning machines and sketching

The basic ingredients behind 3D imaging for beginners are patience, enthusiasm, and basic computer literacy.  Anyone can start sketching and drawing either with pen and paper or with a computer program.  The Pigeon:impossible blogis a good place to read about misconceptions that new developers might have.  how much money you would spend on software and computer hardware? Need class to learn 3D or art skills?  The author from this blog recommends using Google SketchUp which is free and has lots for free video tutorials. The DAZ3D is another free software with some pre-sketched images to use.  As the author emphasizes, there is no right or wrong way to start working with a 3D image, just start moving and clicking with the mouse and let your hand and imagination do the rest.  WANT to TRY the beginning movements of a 3D environment from ambiera.com? Click links and then use the mouse or arrow keys, you will need your latest version of your browser. For a basic Room/box: or for a man walking
In the 21st Century there is still a big percentage of the population that cannot read or write and that makes them very vulnerable when it come to knowledge of  diseases and their treatments.  But we are born with basic senses which include sight and hearing, and that we can use to share knowledge.  Let’s take HIV for example, here in the US and other more developed countries, information, prevention and treating is more accessible and people are more educated about HIV, regardless of their behavior.     There is treatment for Post Exposure to HIV, called PEP, that is after a person has been exposed or comes in contact with fluids from a person with HIV.  This type of treatment is to help stop the replication of the HIV virus in a non-HIV person.  This treatment has to start within 72 hours of the exposure, and it is usually one pill per day for 28 days. The site, aids.gov, explain current statistics and treatment of HIV/Aids.  The blog thebody.com provides the basics for HIV treat starting from the 1990s. For questions or concern about your own HIV risks you can ask questions on this health board blog.  There are a lot of sites and blogs about HIV, just search on Google or wordpress.com.  I chose these blogs because they provide information,  pictures and interaction related to HIV.  Here is a clip that explain how this treatment works, ignore all the technical words and focus on the process.
In less developed countries how we explain our relatives about HIV prevention and treatment, when because of lack of education, economic means or religious beliefs they have never even used contraceptives.  When I visit El Salvador, I bring a variety of video clips on my lap top to show it to relatives or I even teach young relatives how to write a simple program that prints, “Hello World”. This is my initial small way of starting the sharing of information.

We can teach and learn from each other

I would never think of taking my grandma to a field and challenge her to a Soccer or Valley match, but my nephews do it all the time with their Wii or Xbox.  The medical field is also using these 3D gaming tools to get elderly or injured people to be active again. The blog  dfw.cbslocal.com shows how physical therapy in 3D environment is helping to make treatment less stressful and more enjoyable for senior.  This blog shows images and Videos about patient who had suffered strokes or join replacements using the 3D environment therapy.
So whether it is for fun, education, or just basic care for humanity, 3D technology is helping to close the gap between generations and educational backgrounds.

More specific details, outreach, medical advancements, and 3D try outs in future posts!

Introducing Carlos Hernandez August 28, 2011

Posted by carlosgreat in Uncategorized.
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Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

You can listen to Lady Gaga, while you read my blog :).

Why English 414 doesn't make sense!!!

Lets immerse in the world of 2D -> 3D -> nD programming software and technology to explore the amazing, resilient yet fragile human body.  We will see and learn through texts, pictures and videos about parts of the human body that doctors, scientists and people in general have only dream of exploring in the past.  It is my intention to learn and share my findings with my readers so that we can all make educated decisions when it comes to certain type of medical procedures, involving the heart, brain, lungs, stomach, mouth and other parts of our body.  This is not a medical blog, it is a fun blog that will present media that will capture your interest and make you smile while exploring forbidden parts of the human body.  I will also explore and write about how 3D technology can be use in almost every aspect of our life and in many work fields.  For example, teaching can be accomplished in 3D environment.  You may visit this link to learn more.  I will be providing information about 3D softwares that we can all afford.  We are students and broke, so no need to spend more money to get a 3D picture of ourself for our ralatives or honeys :).  Better yet, there are tricks where our own cumputer Operatin System can do it for us.  You might be asking yourself who am I and why exploring this area, well I am just another curious person that wants to pass English 414 and rub it in my friends that I know how to blog!!!!

What is in my heart, that I can't stop thinking about that person!!!

My name is Carlos Hernandez and I am a senior student at San Francisco State University.  My major is Computer Science in software engineering.  Ever since I saw the first computer on a class room back in grammar school my curiosity in finding out how all those programs worked was awoken.  Back then there were only a couple of computers per school and every student had about 5 minutes to play a game once a week.  I would treasure those short minutes playing Tetris or Hangman games and I would dream of one day having my own computer and see what was inside of it and how those programs were created.

I was born in El Salvador, Central America and because of limited economic means and the civil war that the country was going through in the 80s and early 90s, my parents could only provide us with basic necessities of life, therefore a computer was out of the question.  Eventually we moved to the United States and my family settled on the east coast in the state of New Jersey.  In New Jersey I learned how to use computers and started working at a Bank and eventually got a job with Merrill Lynch.  It was a great experience getting jobs, in which the work was done mainly with computers, but I was not satisfied on just being a computer user, I wanted to be a computer programmer or computer designer.  But because of forces out of my control I had to start working very early to support myself and couldn’t attend college right away.  Finally I moved to San Francisco a few years ago and my job schedule was very flexible and I decided to enroll in college and start working toward my Computer Science degree.

It is not surprising that my blog will be about software development, focusing on imaging software.  I have always been fascinated on how scanning machine’s software works.  I loved accompanying my sisters or friends to the hospitals when they were pregnant so that I get to see how those devices generated 2D or 3D images of their unborn babies.  I am very interested in learning how current and future imaging software deployment can improve our knowledge and care of the human body.  I would like in the near future to be part of a research team where I can contribute to develop software that would generate accurate 3D images of the inside of the human body in the hope of early detecting irregularities.  Specifically irregularities that can lead to life threatening diseases, such as cancers, heart problem, or brain diseases and make this technology more accessible to third world countries.  Since I have never taken any class or research in this area, blogging about it will be a wonderful opportunity to do research, learn about it, and share my findings with everyone who is kind enough to read my blog.