Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Biomedical Engineering
Alondra M. Ortiz-Ortiz - University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus
Co-Author(s): Lourdes A. Medina, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Mayaguez, PR
This project investigates the Neurostimulator, a medical device used to mitigate chronic pain diseases, with the aim to identify the clinical needs of current users. Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. In 2011, at least 100 million Americans had chronic pain conditions. Amongst chronic pain diseases we can find CRPS, which stands for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Per 300 million Americans, 150,000-250,000 are suffering CRPS. CRPS is a chronic pain condition in which high levels of nerve impulse are sent to an affected extremity. It is a result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems. There are many treatments for this disease such as medication, physical therapy, corrective surgery, therapeutic nerve blocks, drug pumps and the Neurostimulator. Scientifics insure that the most effective treatment for this disease is the neurostimulation therapy. This therapy consists of providing pain relief by blocking the pain messages that the nervous system sends to the brain. Neurostimulator is the medical device in charge of sending the electrical impulses that reach the brain faster than the pain signals. Motivated by the personal experiences of one patient who has a Neurostimulator as a result of CPRS, the research intents to generalize on the patient’s hypothesis. The patient states that the device bothers when it rains and hypothesized that it is related to the change of temperature and the material. Attesting to this, a survey was designed in order to find the areas of opportunity for the medical device. The survey includes general questions about the patient’s experience with the disease and treatments followed. Neurostimulator specific questions are included to those patients who have opted for this alternative. The results from this study are expected to motivate the re-design of the Neurostimulator. Device re-design can include changing the material used to manufacture it, the weight, the size, along with the overall innovation and functionality.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This research project has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Puerto Rico Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (PR-LSAMP).
Faculty Advisor: Lourdes A. Medina, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: Since I am the patient who has the Neurostimulator and also the researcher, I generated the hypothesis and designed the survey to other patients with chronic pain condition that could experiment the same symptoms and bothers than me. I completed the IRB request and approval. Finally, I performed the data collection and the analysis of it. Currently, I am evaluating the possibility of incorporate a new technology to the Neurostimulator to make it capable to treat others chronic pain conditions such as the Fibromyalgia and discretize the function of it and the electrical impulses that it send.