Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Bug in fMRI

Functional MRI (fMRI) scans have been used for years in trying to study and to diagnose Alzheimer's in living patients.  This goes back at least 16 years.  Thousands of scans have been collected and used in many studies looking for a prevention or treatment of the disease.  Unfortunately, a bug has been found in the software which helps interpret the scans which may cause those scans to now be unusable at worse and suspect at the least.

The software divides the brain into tiny units called voxels.  It looks for clusters of voxels showing activity.  The problem is that the sheer number of voxels turned out to be significantly more than the software could handle which results in false positives.

There are three different software packages involved and there's a 70% chance of at least one false positive.

The impact on patients who have been misdiagnosed is huge.

The impact on the studies relying on this data is huge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Checking In

Lyn has developed a new habit.

When she's out with her Community Access or respite providers, she will call Mom.  She will tell Mom about an accident she saw, provide a traffic report and encourage Mom to go a different way (even if Mom's not going anywhere) or to just check on what time she's to come home.  Mom describes her voice as unsure.  Mom recognizes Lyn's seeking assurance and comfort.

It's a small change but it is notable.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yard Sale

Dayhab had a yard sale this weekend and Lyn wanted to participate.  She went and had a great time.  She helped set up and even sold a few things, earning $7.  She was delighted.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

SIS 2016 Reschedule

The SIS review for Lyn was originally scheduled to happen this Thursday.  The person who will conduct the re-evaluation only needs to meet Lyn for a few minutes.  Lyn will be picked up by her Community Access staff a few minutes after the start of the session so that she can go enjoy herself without sitting through the session.  The evaluator wants to speak with individuals on Lyn's team who have known her for at least 3 months.  Lyn's case manager is not available and so they have decided to reschedule to early August.

I'm actually very happy they have rescheduled.  There was no way for me to participate this Thursday because I have to visit one of my clients.  However, I happen to have scheduled a day off that coincides with the reschedule date.  I've offered to participate via Skype.

I cannot imagine how difficult this whole process would be without the available technology that we use.  It has been a while since I've been able to participate in one of Lyn's meetings and I hope the evaluator is open to me being in the room virtually.

Monday, July 18, 2016


An exchange between Mom and Lyn.

L: Know what I've always been wanting?
M: No.  What?
L: Either a poster or a shirt.
M: Ok.  But what kind of poster or shirt?
L: Star Wars.
M. Really?  I didn't know you like Star Wars.
L: You don't know me a lot.  I've always loved Star Wars.

Mom says she still has a lot to learn about Lyn.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Freezer Incident

Recently, Mom stepped into her garage and discovered that at some point in the prior week her chest freezer had died.  It's been hot in New Mexico with temps above 100F.  She has no idea how long the freezer had been thawing other than long enough for all of its contents to be ruined.

She had to scoop out the contents and hope it didn't exceed the trash container's limit for the city to take.  Fortunately, it was collected.  The freezer was cleaned out and scrubbed down to minimize the smell before it was rolled to the curb for collection.

Lyn was returning home from Community Access when it was taken away.  She announced to Mom that "A big white truck with two men took the freezer.  There was writing on the truck but they got it."  Mom tried to let Lyn know that they were from the city and were supposed to take it.  Lyn wasn't convinced and informed Mom she didn't know what she was talking about.  Over the next two hours, Lyn repeated the conversation three more times.  At one point, Mom told her that it was good the freezer was gone and it would have even been fine if the men had stolen it.  Lyn did NOT like that thought at all.

Mom's got a new freezer and, once the temperature drops to more reasonable levels, she can start her holiday baking.  Her freezer is normally stocked with baked goods so that if she needs cookies or muffins she has then at hand.  Perhaps I can convince her to send me a loaf of Ethiopian Honey and Spice bread this year.  It is divine!