Monday, November 28, 2011

Your Brain: A User’s Guide

Time magazine has just re-issued a special edition of this publication, “Your Brain: A User’s Guide”.  It will be on display at your local newstand until Jan. 13th.   I picked up my copy at the local grocery store in rural Maine, so it should not be hard to find.  What a fabulous collection of articles about the brain!  Topics cover what we are just finding out about the brain’s functions, and what we have yet to discover!   Historical perspectives on neuroscience research are included, and new scientific findings.  There are articles on maturation of the brain, what is good about the aging brain, brain disorders, memory, additions and a great graphic article on the stages of sleep.  This does not read like a textbook at all, simply a series of facinating articles.  I highly recommend it!  It’s the kind of information that you can pick up and enjoy absorbing over a coffee break, or a late night read before going to bed.  This would also make a great resource for reading materials for students in neurodiagnostic training programs, especially if students are assigned to review articles.   FYI: You can also order a hardcover version of this book through for $21.94. 

I will be attending the American Epilepsy Society meeting in Baltimore, which begins on December 2nd.  I look forward to this educational opportunity for me!  As a provider of education in this field, it is essential that I obtain some continuing education myself, so that I will be able to organize programs that are on the cutting edge for ASET meeting attendees.  I am sure to have some new materials for a blog entry when I return to my office, so I will share the AES meeting highlights in a couple of weeks.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 11:11 a.m. Epilepsy Awareness

Well, first of all, I did not want to miss the opportunity to make use of this unique date and time!  So, I am using it as an eye catching title for this week’s blog entry.  Now that I have your attention…  November is national Epilepsy Awareness Month!

        I have been thinking about opportunities for community outreach within our profession.  Last Saturday, Nov. 5th, I attended the 50th Anniversary Meeting of NESET (the New England Society of Neurodiagnostic Technologists) in downtown Boston.  I had been involved in the planning of the program for this meeting for the past six months.  We decided to include a community service outreach as part of the program.  So, we titled the educational event “Epilepsy Awareness Day”, and included local first responders on our invitation list.  We chose topics that might be of interest to EMTs for the 4 morning lectures, and applied to the local EMT governance organization for CUEs for EMTs who attended.  We offered the morning program free of charge to EMTs.  We included presentations on seizure and non-epileptic event differentiation, SUDEP, and TBI/Post Traumatic Epilepsy.  We were pleased to see EMTs signing up for the session, and had positive feedback from them, regarding the interest and value of the program.  I encourage other regional societies to consider doing the same.  Typically, EMTs can accrue their CEUs in the local community, free of charge, so this was important to our EMT attendees.  We also felt that we were serving our epilepsy patients, by helping first responders understand some of the complications surrounding epilepsy.

ASET has also recently found an opportunity for community outreach.  We were contacted by staff at Dell’s Children’s Hospital in Texas.  There neurodiagnostic lab was working on a project to bring several technologist trainees up from the Caribbean to train at their facility, so that they can provide better neurodiagnostic services back on their home islands.  Funding for the project was provided by the North American Regional Commission, a representative of the International League Against Epilepsy.  Various organizations are involved, to cover educational costs, travel and housing, and physicians from the institution have volunteered their time to assist in the training and education of these technologists.  ASET is pleased to announce that we will play an active part in this outreach program, and will provide some of our on-line EEG courses, for their use, free of charge.

ASET has been involved in community outreach in the past.  At our 2008 annual conference in New Orleans, we hosted an “Epilepsy Awareness Day” to interface with local residents, many of whom lost their connections with their neurologists following Hurricane Katrina.  This was also a rewarding effort, and ASET will continue to seek opportunities to expand our horizons and help others.  I encourage you to do the same, on a personal level, as a volunteer, or donor to a meaningful charity, or as part of a community outreach through your local society.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You-Tube Videos to Promote Career Opportunities in Neurodiagnostics

I have heard many formal discussions and informal conversations about the problem we face in recruiting new technologists, finding potential students to choose this career, and enter our formal training programs. Every week, an H.R. person calls me and says “People in your specialty are impossible to find!  I cannot fill open positions!”   We have all experienced a situation where someone casually asks us “What do you do for a living?”  So, you launch into an explanation of your job title, and what you do every day.  You observe a puzzled look on your listener’s face.  Most people have never even HEARD of our work! 

We all agree that we need publicity!  If we had major funding, we could get a real T.V. ad out there about our profession, but since we don’t have finances to cover that level of expense,  we have put together what we can, for free!

Did you know that there is a free, downloadable Public Service Video about a career in neurodiagnostics right on the ASET website??  This is available to anyone, and is a great resource for anyone who is putting together materials for a career fair.  To access this file, please go to and click on the “On-line Education” button.  On the first page that comes up, you will see a list of free downloads.  There are four options for viewing or downloading the Career Video.  Please look for “ASET PSA” and choose the file you wish to download.

And now, even more exciting, there are a series of You-Tube videos to provide information about various career options in our field!  Dr. Kit, a college professor, has been organizing and collecting a series of short video presentations about all kinds of careers, which he posts on You Tube.  He offered us the opportunity to create informational videos to send to him.  Sara Batson, CNIM R. EEG/EP T. RPSGT; Chief Technologist of the Neurodiagnostics Lab at the Illinois Neurological Institute in Peoria, IL, graciously offered to use her facility, equipment and staff to record these videos.  She has videos on EPs and IONM under production, but some are ready now!  They are posted on You Tube and you can check them out at   Please share this link with your friends, and tell everyone you know that Neurodiagnostics is now on You Tube! Way to go, Sara, Thank You!