Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New Year’s Resolution: Add to your Neuro-diagnostic Skills and Knowledge

With the end of the year approaching, some neurodiagnostic technologists are due to renew an ABRET credential:  R.EEG T, R. EP T, CLTM, CNIM’s may be expiring and require a specific number of CEUs to maintain your credential.  All ABRET credentials will now be valid for 5 years and require 30 CEUs at the five year mark to recertify.  To find out exactly when your credential expires and how to file your CEUs with ABRET, please go to their website, www.abret.org and click on “For Certificants”. You can also look up your own credentials under “For Employers” if you do not know what year you obtained an ABRET credential.

If you have not yet taken an ABRET exam but plan to do so as a career goal, it is never too early to begin preparation for the exam and start studying.  It is important to note that for the R. EEG T. Exam, pathway #4, which applies to on-the-job trained techs who do not have a minimum of an Assoicate’s Degree, will expire at the end of 2017.  To be able to continue with that pathway you must pass Part I of the ABRET EEG exam by the end of 2017.   At this time, I do not have information about future pathways that might replace the current Pathway #4.  ABRET will keep us informed via their website.

Whether you have a neurodiagnostic credential, are planning to take a credentialing exam, are new to the field or have been involved in neurodiagnostics for many years, continuing education is a vital key to staying current in the field.  Please consider giving yourself the gift of education.  It is really less of a luxury than many material items that you might consider purchasing for yourself.  ASET has a full curriculum of on-line courses for each major neurodiagnostic modality.  To view the courses, please go to the "Shop" button on our home page and shop for "on-line courses".

It is important to note: this free resource for updating your knowledge of your areas of practice:
The American Clinical Neurophysiology Society published updated guidelines in 2016.
  The next issue of ASET’s Journal, “The Neurodiagnostic Journal” will reprint these guidelines, so if you are an ASET member you will soon receive your copy in the mail.  For non-members you can read all of the guidelines directly on the ACNS website, www.acns.org.  It is really important to be familiar with the guidelines when performing neurodiagnostic studies, and of course, also important for studying for exams.

ASET has an exciting year of educational opportunities in 2017!  Our spring seminar course will be held on the campus of the University of Alabama in Birmingham on April 22-23, and we will offer the ASET EEG Boot Camp, for two days of intensive study and workshops on EEG topics appropriate for exam prep. 

The fall 2017 ASET Seminar will take place on Oct. 28 & 29th, and will include the EEG Boot Camp and an Advanced EEG/LTM course running concurrently, and our host is the Yale New Haven Medical Center in Connecticut.  I realize that there is a huge need for education in New York state and the metropolitan area.  The train service from NY to New Haven is very convenient and I hope that you can attend.

In December, we will host the one-day LTM course at the AES meeting in Washington D.C.  This will be the third time we have sponsored a course at this conference, and each year attendance grows. We’ll post more information on exact date, time and topics early in 2017.

Not to be missed is the 2017 ASET annual conference!   We’ll be in Tucson, AZ at a lovely mountain-side resort, La Paloma.  There are several pools and dining options, nearby attractions and activities for the family, and an unbelievable room rate of $90 per night!

If you can’t travel for education this year, don’t despair!   Our webinar program is very interesting!

The webinar program is now on our website:  ASET webinars

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Neurodiagnostic Continuing Education Credits for ASET 2016 Annual Conference Plenary Session Recordings

Plenary sessions are defined as presentations that are on the program for all conference participants to attend, as opposed to breakout sessions when several presentations run concurrently.  The ASET 2016 Annual Conference hosted a total of four plenary sessions.  If you did not have the opportunity to attend our conference this year, you can now view these highlights of our meeting!  These presentations were recorded and are now available in the ASET on-line store!
The Lewis Kull Memorial Keynote Address:  “The Story of Music and Memory” by Robin Lombardo. This presentation is based on the documentary movie, “Alive Inside” which was the most awarded docu-drama of 2014, including a Sundance Film Festival Award.  This inspirational topic reveals the amazing improvement in Alzheimer’s patients when they are able to listen to music that has meaning for them.  An organization has been created to enable as many patients as possible to have access to an I-Pod and recorded music.  She explains the neurophysiology of music in the brain, and the many areas of the brain that are involved in processing music and the relationship to memory.  You will see video clips that show the remarkable change in the patients listening to music and hear their stories.  If you perform tests on dementia patients you can benefit from incorporating this technique in the lab environment.  You may also know a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, or will in the future!   Statistics reveal that 1 in 9 Americans over 65 have been diagnosed with this disease.
What attendees said about the Keynote Address:

“It was fascinating to learn about how music can trigger brain functions that have been otherwise lost in dementia patients!”

“Very moving and encouraging presentation. Great to hear the advances being made with medicine that touches the soul.”

“She was a great speaker! She made me laugh and cry. I loved the topic. I will incorporate with my great aunt.”

“Very informative and interesting presentation. I learned a lot about how music can help people with dementia retrieve memories and engage in a way that they hadn't previously been able to for some time. I will definitely use what I learned to help some people in my life as well as patients that I may come into contact with.”
The Ellen Grass Lecture:  “It’s Never Too Late to Make a Difference with Neurodiagnostics” by Nikesh Ardeshna, M.D.  This inspirational presentation will help you understand just how valuable our services are within the field of health care!  Most of us can recount at least one patient whose life we changed when a test or monitoring session we conducted revealed findings that led to an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment to improve the patient’s health.  Dr. Ardeshna shares several case histories with EEG findings to illustrate how patients may live with an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed medical condition until EEG monitoring provided the much needed clue to determine proper treatment.

What attendees said about Dr. Ardeshna’s talk:

“Interesting and engaging, material was extremely relevant”

“Very interesting and informative. Love the examples of the more difficult cases that can be misdiagnosed.”

“All three case studies were very interesting and helps to remind us all about perseverance to aide patients have better health.”

The Kathleen Mears Memorial Lecture:  “Go For the Gold:  Essential Skills for Technologists” by Jerry Morris, R NCS T, CNCT, MS, FASET by Jerry Morris, R. NCS T, CNCT, FASET, MS.

This is a very motivational presentation!  Jerry encourages us all to do our very best, in everything we do for our professional and personal lives.  Using the analogy of the dedication it takes to win an Olympic medal, he provides insight into the ways we can change our perspective, think positively and set goals for career development.  This presentation will re-energize you and boost your confidence, and refresh your interest in your work!

What attendees said about Jerry’s talk:

“Excellent presentation about the strategy on how to be confident, communicative to be success in the career.”

“Good information presented. A good reminder about what makes a person succeed.”

“So wonderful! This was so important to me since I am not yet a registered technologist and although I am very motivated in achieving that, it's hard not to be extra 'pumped up' after this presentation. Again Jerry rocks- the talk was inspiring!”

The 2016 Symposium:  “Urgent!  Licensure Lifeboat to Protect Neurodiagnostic Technology Scope of Practice”- Panelists: Marisha Hamid, Kathryn Hansen, Scott Blodgett and Craig Schweitzer
Present and imminent threats to our Scope of Practice abound.  Neurodiagnostic Technologists have lost their jobs to non-credentialed and inexperienced replacements as hospitals and clinics struggle to cut cost. Without a license to protect our scope of practice, others will take ownership of duties traditionally performed by Neurodiagnostic Technologists.. Having a license specific to neurodiagnostics is the best way to protect our jobs and ensure quality testing for our patients. To protect our scope of practice and the patients we serve we need to come together and support the enactment of legislation requiring a professional license to perform neurodiagnostic procedures.  You will hear from fellow neurodiagnostic technologists who have been on the front lines of this effort. They will review the progress we have made so far, and share with you their experiences and provide you with information on how you can help protect your job and patients.

What attendees said about the Symposium:

“Very well done to emphasize the need for licensure and how to begin the process in your state!”

“Understanding the newest politics being introduced is fantastic and seeing the evolution of the field change with current times is inspiring.”

“Amazing! I had no idea how important, imperative really, state licensure truly is... thank you!”

“Informative to the future of the security of our profession.  The call to action was heard and the urgency was felt.”
The three lectures each offer 1 CEU, that is one contact hour, as the lectures are each 1 hour long.  The cost to purchase the recorded lecture is $25 for ASET members and $40 for non-members.  You must pass the short quiz for each lecture in order to obtain the CEUs.  If you would like to feature one of these sessions for an educational staff meeting, the entire group may acquire CEUs for participating.  Individuals will each need to purchase just the CEU quiz for the presentation and complete it with a passing grade.  There are no more than 10 multiple choice questions in the quizzes. We are offering the Symposium recording free of charge, without CEUs.
This was the first year that we tried recording the plenary sessions.  Our goal was to make the highlights of the ASET annual conference available to members and technologists around the country who were not able to come to the conference.  I hope you enjoy hearing these wonderful presentations, and that after viewing these recordings you will be tempted to come to the full conference.

If these recordings do well in our on-line store we will continue to record specific sessions during future ASET conferences. 
Here is a link to the annual conference recordings on our website: Presentations
Here is a link to the separate quiz for the presentations for groups viewing, to obtain CEUs: Quizzes

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Neurological Complications of Lyme Disease

I have a personal interest in Lyme Disease.  I live in Maine where the incidence of this deer tick-borne disease has become significant, amongst the highest in the country!  My first scary encounter with Lyme Disease occurred about ten years ago, when my beautiful, four-year old yellow lab pup was found to be in acute kidney failure.  This was the result of a complication of the Lyme Disease that started two years earlier but was inadequately treated with antibiotics (too short a course of antibiotics to be effective).  The vets did not hold out much hope for her.  But I took her to Angel Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, and a vigorous treatment plan worked!  Her kidney function improved enough for her to live to the ripe old age of eleven!  Below is a picture of my beloved Lily, my "First Mate" on my boat!

 About six years ago, I became friends with a couple of lovely, artistic women who opened their own gallery in town, one doing jewelry, the other nature paintings.  This very talented painter had been struggling with complications of undetected Lyme disease for a few years.  I watched helplessly as her condition worsened.  The neurological symptoms increased, mostly motor system dysfunction.  An MRI of her brain revealed white matter lesions.  She needed a cane to walk and her fine motor skills were so diminished that she could no longer hold a paint brush!  She had seizure-like tremors that lasted minutes at a time.  The antibiotics prescribed were so strong that the effect was almost like chemotherapy.  And the worst of it was that her medical insurance did not cover treatment!    That is not uncommon with Lyme disease patients! 
So, because I have observed these severe cases, it has become my personal quest to inform others of this under-recognized, under-reported, under-treated disease!  Lyme disease has been reported in all 50 states!  It is probably even less well recognized in states where it is not common, so patients my go untreated and misdiagnosed!   One of my goals was to find a Lyme disease expert who would be willing to give a talk on the Neurological Complications of Lyme Disease for the ASET annual conference.  This year seemed like the right year to do that!  Our annual conference is in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania is a state with a high deer population and increasing incidence of Lyme disease.
I networked with an international Lyme disease organization and they helped me find Dr. Joseph Annibali, from Reston, Virginia. He graciously agreed to come to our conference and give a talk!  He is an expert speaker who has been interviewed on CNN and many other radio and T.V. shows and I am thrilled to have him on this year’s ASET Annual Conference program!
His talk is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20, at 9:00 a.m. in our “Trends in Neurodiagnostics” course.  The title of his presentation is “The Lyme Disease Epidemic and the Impact on the Brain”.  I think every technologist should hear this presentation!  Many patients with neurological complications of late stage Lyme disease seek help but go misdiagnosed.  They may be referred for Neurodiagnostic testing because of their symptoms.  You may be the one to recognize the possibility of this diagnosis!  So, if you are attending, please come to this lecture!  It is really important to spread the word about Lyme Disease!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Epilepsy 911: A Special Event at the 2016 ASET Annual Conference

This is a first time ever, community service event, hosted by ASET, to take place in conjunction with the ASET 2016 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.  We are offering a 4 hour educational session for Emergency Service Personnel: EMTs and First Responders, on the topic of urgent care for epilepsy patients.  Neurodiagnostic technologists are also invited to attend, and CEUs will be offered to both EMTs and technologists.

Because Neurodiagnostic Techs really care about their patients and because we work so closely with epilepsy patients, we understand many of the challenges they face.  We know how important it is for the urgent intervention of seizures to be conducted correctly.  Bystanders, family and the first responders have to recognize the event as a seizure, and begin appropriate treatment.  It is not always easy to recognize a seizure that includes atypical symptoms, or pediatric seizures such as infantile spasms.  Appropriate treatment must be started quickly.  Complications and co-morbidities can become life-threatening.  Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy is not well known, even in the medical community!  We, as technolgists, often do the first EEG in the E.R. and  monitor bedside EEG for epilepsy patients who are in a compromised state following severe seizures, so we really want to see every patient get the best care possible as soon as possible.

We have invited the EMTs in the Pittsburgh area, and nearby West Virginia, to come to this session on Wed. Aug. 17th, from 1:00-5:00 p.m., the day before the ASET annual conference begins.
We have four very interesting and informational presentations scheduled, and expert speakers lined up.
For technologists: you can register for this event via the ASET meeting registration form.
For EMTs: please contact me at faye@aset.org to register for this event.

The full schedule and lecture descriptions follow:
Course schedule:
1:00 -2:00 p.m.    Recognizing and Classifying Seizures and non-Epileptic Events that Resemble Seizures
                               Maria Baldwin, M.D.
Delivery method:  Lecture to include videos of various seizures recorded in the Long Term Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, as well as non-epileptic events.  Handout: seizure classification and symptoms
Learning objectives:
·        list the major categories of seizures according to the International Classification of Seizures
·        recognize symptoms of all seizure types common to adult patients
·        differentiate seizures from non-epileptic events which may resemble seizures
·        consider factors that may have contributed to the seizure

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.   Pediatric and Neonatal Seizures – An Overview of Symptoms and Causes
                                Elia Pestana Knight, M.D.
Delivery method:  Lecture to include videos of pediatric and neonatal seizures and a description of seizure symptoms, and an overview of pediatric epilepsy syndromes.  Handout: pediatric epileptic syndromes, neonatal seizure symptoms
Learning objectives:
·        name the seizure disorders and epileptic syndromes that occur in childhood
·        recognize the subtle seizure symptoms of the neonate
·        recognize life-threatening events and contributing factors to seizures
3:00- 3:15 p.m.    Break
3:15 – 4:15 p.m.   Complications of Seizures: Status Epilepticus, Post-ictal state, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, Medical and Social Consequences – James Valeriano, M.D.
Delivery mechanism: Lecture to include definitions of complications, examples, case studies, and handout to include these definitions.
Learning objectives:
·        Define parameters of status epilepticus and recognize this life-threatening situation
·        Recognize features of the post-ictal state
·        List factors that contribute to SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy)
·        Name various co-morbidities that occur as a result of epilepsy
·        Develop an awareness of the social implications of epilepsy and how the patient and family may react to the occurrence of seizures, and that non-compliance with anti-convulsant drug regimen may contribute to breakthrough seizures and atypical seizures.

4:15-5:15 p.m.   Assessment of Seizures and Current Trends in Emergency Management of Seizures
                              Jayant N. Acharya, MD, DM, FANA
Delivery mechanism: lecture, video examples of seizure assessment, case studies, handout with tips for assessing and documenting seizure activity
Learning objectives:
·        List methods to assess patient alertness and ability to respond
·        Develop skills to document a wide variety of seizure symptoms through astute patient observation
·        Determine which standard treatment options are appropriate for age, seizure type and other contributing factors
·        Discuss future assessment techniques that may be offered in the pre-hospital environment, such as EEG monitoring with telemetry

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Music and the Brain and Alzheimer’s

From now until the ASET Annual Conference Begins on August 18th.  I will highlight some of the topics we will be discussing in my blog.  I think you will find this year’s ASET annual conference in Pittsburgh to be one of the best ever, and one of the most inspirational.  If you have not received your conference brochure yet, they are in the mail and you should receive one soon.  If you are not on our mailing list, you may view the full brochure at this link: ASET 2016 Conference Brochure
I am “over-the-top” excited about our Keynote Address this year.  The topic is “Music and Memory”. 

 This topic is based on the documentary movie from 2014 called “Alive Inside” about the positive effect of music on Alzheimer’s patients.  The movie is readily available via the internet, and providers like Netflix.  I highly recommend this uplifting film!  The creator of the film,   Dan Cohen, began the project to bring custom recorded music to Alzheimer’s patients, and began a program to donate iPods for patients.  The music that is most meaningful for the individual is the most effective, so family members are consulted when selecting the music for each patient.
Our speaker is Robin Lombardo, who works for the Music and Memory organization, which manages the iPod program and provides education about music and dementia for caregivers.  Robin is a certified dementia practitioner and a certified recreation therapist.  Her presentation will include an explanation of how many areas of the brain are involved when we listen to music.  She has some amazing video clips to demonstrate the remarkable response that even severely affected Alzheimer’s patients have when they can listen to songs from their past.
I feel that a Keynote address should inspire us and take us beyond our everyday work.  This talk will be inspirational and very pertinent to our lives.  Who does not know someone with Alzheimer’s?  Many of us perform tests for dementia patients.  No matter what area of neurodiagnostics you are in, from pediatrics to intraoperative neuro-monitoring, you won’t want to miss this presentation!

I look forward to seeing you all in Pittsburgh!