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VTNE approach - Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) Updated: 2024

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Exam Code: VTNE Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) approach January 2024 by Killexams.com team

VTNE Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)

Practice Domains No. of Items % of Items

Domain 1. Pharmacy and Pharmacology 18 12%

Domain 2. Surgical Nursing 17 11%

Domain 3. Dentistry 12 8%

Domain 4. Laboratory Procedures 17 12%

Domain 5. Animal Care and Nursing 30 20%

Domain 6. Diagnostic Imaging 11 7%

Domain 7. Anesthesia 22 15%

Domain 8. Emergency Medicine/Critical Care 12 8%

Domain 9. Pain Management/Analgesia 11 7%

Total 150 100%



Domain 1 Pharmacy and Pharmacology (18 items, 12%)

TASK 1A Utilize knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as it applies to the use of pharmacological and biological agents.

TASK 1B Prepare medications in compliance with veterinarian's orders.

TASK 1C Educate the client regarding pharmacological and biological agents administered or dispensed to ensure the safety of the patient/client and efficacy of the products.

TASK 1D Calculate fluid therapy rate.

TASK 1E Calculate medications based on the appropriate dosage in compliance with veterinarian's orders.

TASK 1F Dispense medications in compliance with veterinary orders.

TASK 1G Maintain controlled drug inventory and related log books.

TASK 1H Recognize classifications of drugs, their mechanisms, and clinically relevant side effects.

TASK 1I Store, handle, and safely dispose of pharmacological and biological agents.



Domain 2 Surgical Nursing (17 items, 11%)

TASK 2A Utilize knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as it applies to surgical nursing.

TASK 2B Prepare the surgical environment, equipment, instruments, and supplies to meet the needs of the surgical team and patient.

TASK 2C Prepare patient for surgical procedure.

TASK 2D Function as a sterile surgical technician to ensure patient safety and procedural efficiency.

TASK 2E Function as a circulating (non-sterile) surgical technician to ensure patient safety and procedural efficiency.

TASK 2F Clean instruments by the appropriate method (e.g., manual, soak, or ultrasonic).

TASK 2G Maintain aseptic conditions in surgical suite and during surgical procedures.

TASK 2H Maintain the surgical environment, equipment, instruments, and supplies to meet the needs of the surgical team and patient.

TASK 2I Sterilize equipment and supplies by the appropriate method (e.g., steam, gas).



Domain 3 Dentistry (12 items, 8%)

TASK 3A Utilize knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as it applies to dentistry.

TASK 3B Prepare the environment, equipment, instruments, and supplies for dental procedures.

TASK 3C Perform routine dental prophylaxis (e.g., manual and machine cleaning, polishing).

TASK 3D Educate the client regarding dental health, including prophylactic and post-treatment care.

TASK 3E Maintain the environment, equipment, instruments, and supplies for dental procedures.

TASK 3F Perform oral examination and documentation.

TASK 3G Produce diagnostic dental images and/or radiographs.



Domain 4 Laboratory Procedures (17 items, 12%)

TASK 4A Utilize knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as it applies to laboratory procedures.

TASK 4B Prepare specimens and documentation for in-house or outside laboratory evaluation.

TASK 4C Perform laboratory tests and procedures (including but not limited to microbiology, serology, cytology, hematology, urinalysis, and parasitology).

TASK 4D Maintain laboratory equipment and related supplies to ensure quality of test results and safety of operation.

TASK 4E Maintain specimens for in-house or outside laboratory evaluation.



Domain 5 Animal Care and Nursing (30 items, 20%)

TASK 5A Utilize knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as it applies to patient care and nursing.

TASK 5B Document initial and ongoing evaluations of physical, behavioral, nutritional, clinical procedures, and mentation status of patients to provide optimal patient/client safety and health.

TASK 5C Perform patient nursing procedures (including but not limited to restraint, catheterization, wound management and bandaging) in the implementation of prescribed treatments.

TASK 5D Perform clinical diagnostic procedures (including but not limited to blood pressure measurement, electrocardiography, and oximetry) to aid in diagnosis and prognosis.

TASK 5E Educate clients and the public about animal care (including but not limited to behavior, nutrition, pre- and post-operative care, preventative care, zoonosis) to promote and maintain the health of animals and the safety of clients/public.



Domain 5 Animal Care and Nursing (30 items, 20%)

TASK 5F Provide a safe, sanitary, and comfortable environment for patients to ensure optimal healthcare and client/personnel safety.

TASK 5G Maintain diagnostic equipment and related supplies to ensure quality of test results and safety of operation.

TASK 5H Administer medications via the appropriate routes (e.g., aural, intravenous, subcutaneous).

TASK 5I Collect specimens for in-house or outside laboratory evaluation.

TASK 5J Collect patient information (e.g., signalment, medical history, primary complaint).

TASK 5K Adherence to appropriate disposal protocols of hazardous materials.

TASK 5L Maintain therapeutic treatments (including but not limited to catheters, wound management and bandages).

TASK 5M Manage hospitalized patients (e.g., appetite, TPR, nutritional needs, medication, mentation).

TASK 5N Perform physical rehabilitation as directed.

TASK 5O Provide assistance with the euthanasia process (e.g., disposal, consent, counseling).

TASK 5P Recognize behavioral characteristics of patients.

TASK 5Q Utilize devices and equipment to restrain large animals (e.g., horses, cattle, goats, swine) for treatment per patient safety protocols.

TASK 5R Utilize devices and equipment to restrain small animals (e.g., dogs, cats, birds) for treatment per patient safety protocols.



Domain 6 Diagnostic Imaging (11 items, 7%)

TASK 6A Utilize knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology as it applies to diagnostic images.

TASK 6B Produce diagnostic images and/or radiographs (excluding dental) following protocols for quality and operator/patient safety.

TASK 6C Maintain imaging/radiograph equipment and related materials to ensure quality of results and equipment, operator, and patient safety.



Domain 7 Anesthesia (22 items, 15%)

TASK 7A Utilize knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as it applies to anesthesia.

TASK 7B Assist in the development of the anesthetic plan to ensure patient safety and procedural efficacy.

TASK 7C Implement the anesthetic plan (including but not limited to administration of medication and monitoring) to facilitate diagnostic, therapeutic, or surgical procedures.

TASK 7D Prepare anesthetic equipment and related materials to ensure operator and patient safety



Domain 7 Anesthesia (22 items, 15%)

TASK 7E Educate the client about anesthetics and anesthesia to ensure the safety of the patient/client and efficacy of the product(s) or procedure(s).

TASK 7F Maintain anesthetic equipment and related materials to ensure reliable operation.

TASK 7G Maintain a patent airway using endotracheal intubation.

TASK 7H Monitor patients during all stages of anesthesia (pre-, peri-, and post-).

TASK 7I Obtain patient related information in the development of an appropriate anesthetic plan.

TASK 7J Respond appropriately to changes in patient status during all stages of anesthesia.



Domain 8 Emergency Medicine/Critical Care (12 items, 8%)

TASK 8A Utilize knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as it applies to emergency medicine and critical care.

TASK 8B Perform triage of a patient presenting with emergency/critical conditions (including but not limited to shock, acute illness, acute trauma, and toxicity).

TASK 8C Perform emergency nursing procedures (including but not limited to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), control acute blood loss, and fracture stabilization) in the implementation of prescribed treatments.

TASK 8D Perform critical care nursing procedures (including but not limited to blood component therapy, fluid resuscitation, and ongoing oxygen therapy) in the implementation of prescribed treatments.

TASK 8E Perform ongoing evaluations of physical, behavioral, nutritional, and mentation status of patients in emergency and critical conditions.



Domain 9 Pain Management/Analgesia (11 items, 7%)

TASK 9A Utilize knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as it applies to pain management and analgesia.

TASK 9B Assess need for analgesia in patient.

TASK 9C Educate client regarding patient pain assessment and management to ensure the safety of the patient/client, and efficacy of the product(s) or procedure(s).

TASK 9D Assist in the development and implementation of the pain management plan to optimize patient comfort and/or healing.

1. Anatomy

2. Normal physiology

3. Pathophysiology

4. Common animal diseases

5. Medical terminology

6. Toxicology

7. Applied mathematics (including but not limited to metric system/weights, measures/percentage solutions, dosage calculations)

8. Drug classification

9. Routes of administration of pharmacological and biological agents

10. Legal requirements and procedures for acquiring, preparing, storing, dispensing, documenting and disposing of pharmacological and biological agents

11. Safe handling practices for pharmacological and biological agents

12. Pharmacokinetics (drug absorption, metabolism, excretion), normal and abnormal drug reactions, indications, contraindications, side effects, and interactions

13. Fluid balance and therapy, including calculation

14. Aseptic techniques

15. Patient preparation and positioning techniques (including but not limited to diagnostic imaging, surgery, medical procedures)

16. Surgical procedures

17. Surgical equipment, instruments, and supplies

18. Sterilization techniques and quality assurance for equipment, instruments, and supplies

19. Safety considerations related to surgical equipment, instruments, and supplies

20. Wound closure (including suture materials and patterns, staples, and tissue adhesives)

21. Dental procedures (including but not limited to cleaning, floating, charting, preventive procedures, dental imaging)

22. Dental equipment, instruments, and supplies

23. Safety considerations related to dental procedures

24. trial collection, preparation, analysis, storing, and shipping techniques

25. Laboratory diagnostic principles, procedures, and methodologies (including but not limited to microbiology, serology, cytology, hematology, urinalysis, and parasitology)

26. Quality assurance in the laboratory (including but not limited to maintenance of equipment, verification of test results, calibration, and controls)

27. Normal and abnormal laboratory and diagnostic test results

28. Animal assessment and monitoring techniques, excluding anesthetic monitoring

29. Principles of animal behavior

30. Clinical diagnostic procedures

31. Nutrition

32. Safe animal handling and restraint techniques

33. Animal husbandry

34. Animal nursing procedures and rehabilitation therapies

35. Animal first aid, triage, and emergency/critical care techniques

36. Public health (including but not limited to infection control, zoonosis and epidemiology)

37. Environmental health and safety procedures (including but not limited to handling and disposing

of hazardous material, personal safety, evacuation procedures, safety plans, equipment, and instrumentation)

38. Disease control and prevention techniques (including but not limited to quarantine, isolation, vaccination, wellness care, and herd health)

39. Facility cleaning and disinfection techniques

40. Diagnostic imaging equipment and procedures (including but not limited to radiography, ultrasonography, and contrast studies)

41. Quality assurance and safety for diagnostic imaging

42. Pre- and post-anesthetic assessment and care

43. Anesthetic induction, maintenance, monitoring, and recovery including stages of anesthesia and troubleshooting

44. Pre-anesthetic and anesthetic medications reactions, indications, contraindications, side effects, and interactions

45. Pain assessment and analgesic administration techniques

46. Procedures for care, maintenance, and use of diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical, dental, monitoring, and anesthetic equipment and supplies

47. Professional ethics (including but not limited to the Veterinary Technician Code of Ethics)

48. Techniques for communicating with the veterinary medical team and client

49. Record keeping
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VTNE
Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE)
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Answer: D
Question: 8
What patient parameters can be checked to determine depth of anesthesia?
A. Eye position
B. Jaw muscle tone
C. Palpebral reflex
D. All of the above
Answer: D
Question: 9
A young Shih Tzu presents to the clinic with what appears to be a "popped" out eye. The correct
ophthalmologic term is:
A. Enophthalmos.
B. Buphthalmus.
C. Proptosis.
D. Glaucoma.
Answer: C
Question: 10
The normal reddish/brown vaginal discharge that occurs immediately following parturition is
called:
A. Lochia.
B. Meconium.
C. Estrus.
D. None of the above.
Answer: A
3
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Medical Examination approach - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/VTNE Search results Medical Examination approach - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/VTNE https://killexams.com/exam_list/Medical 12 Reasons to Become a Medical Scribe Before Med School No result found, try new keyword!You will gain invaluable hands-on experience that will help when applying to med school and in the clinical classroom. Thu, 20 Apr 2023 01:21:28 -0500 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ An Exploratory Look At Whether Generative AI Can Pass An Official Mental Health Counseling Licensing exam That Professionals Take

In today’s column, I will be closely looking at whether generative AI could potentially pass an official mental health counseling licensing exam. This is part of my ongoing in-depth series about generative AI or large language models (LLMs) that are or can be anticipated to be used for mental health guidance or advisement.

Before I dive into today’s particular topic, I’d like to provide a quick background for you so that you’ll have a suitable context about the arising use of generative AI for mental health advisement purposes. I’ve mentioned this in prior columns and believe the contextual establishment is essential overall. If you are already familiar with the overarching background on this topic, you are welcome to skip down below to the next section of this discussion.

The use of generative AI for mental health treatment is a burgeoning area of tremendously significant societal ramifications. We are witnessing the adoption of generative AI for providing mental health advice on a widescale basis, yet little is known about whether this is beneficial to humankind or perhaps contrastingly destructively adverse for humanity.

Some would affirmatively assert that we are democratizing mental health treatment via the impending rush of low-cost always-available AI-based mental health apps. Others sharply decry that we are subjecting ourselves to a global wanton experiment in which we are the guinea pigs. Will these generative AI mental health apps steer people in ways that harm their mental health? Will people delude themselves into believing they are getting sound mental health advice, ergo foregoing treatment by human mental therapists, and become egregiously dependent on AI that at times has no demonstrative mental health improvement outcomes?

Hard questions are aplenty and not being given their due airing.

Furthermore, be forewarned that it is shockingly all too easy nowadays to craft a generative AI mental health app, and just about anyone anywhere can do so, including while sitting at home in their pajamas and not knowing any bona fide substance about what constitutes suitable mental health therapy. Via the use of what are referred to as establishing prompts, it is easy-peasy to make a generative AI app that purportedly gives mental health advice. No coding is required, and no software development skills are needed.

We sadly are faced with a free-for-all that bodes for bad tidings, mark my words.

I’ve been hammering away at this Topic and hope to raise awareness about where we are and where things are going when it comes to the advent of generative AI mental health advisement uses. If you’d like to get up-to-speed on my prior coverage of generative AI across a wide swath of the mental health sphere, you might consider for example these cogent analyses:

  • (1) Use of generative AI to perform mental health advisement, see the link here.
  • (2) Role-playing with generative AI and the mental health ramifications, see the link here.
  • (3) Generative AI is both a cure and a curse when it comes to the loneliness epidemic, see the link here.
  • (4) Mental health therapies struggle with the Dodo verdict for which generative AI might help, see the link here.
  • (5) Mental health apps are predicted to embrace multi-modal, e-wearables, and a slew of new AI advances, see the link here.
  • (6) AI for mental health got its start via ELIZA and PARRY, here’s how it compares to generative AI, see the link here.
  • (7) The latest online trend entails using generative AI as a rage-room catalyst, see the link here.
  • (8) Watching out for when generative AI is a mental manipulator of humans, see the link here.
  • (9) FTC aiming to crack down on outlandish claims regarding what AI can and cannot do, see the link here.
  • (10) Important AI lessons learned from the mental health eating-disorders chatbot Tessa that went awry and had to be shut down, see the link here.
  • (11) Generative AI that is devised to express humility might be a misguided approach including when used for mental health advisement, see the link here.
  • (12) Creatively judging those AI-powered mental health chatbots via the use of AI levels of autonomy, see the link here.
  • (13) Considering whether generative AI should be bold and brazen or meek and mild when proffering AI mental health advisement to humans, see the link here.
  • (14) Theory of Mind (ToM) is an important tool for mental health therapists and the question arises whether generative AI can do the same, see the link here.
  • And so on.

Here’s how I will approach today’s discussion.

First, I will introduce you to a pioneering research study that sought to assess whether generative AI could potentially pass an exam taken by medical school students as part of their pursuit of achieving their medical degree. The exam is known as the United States Medical Licensing exam (USMLE). This study received a great deal of headlines since it showcased that generative AI seems to do well on the arduous medical exams taken by budding doctors. Next, I will share with you some salient details about an exam for mental health professionals known as the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).

I’m guessing you might be wondering whether generative AI might be able to do well on that type of exam. Great question, thanks. I opted to use a popular generative AI app called ChatGPT to try out a half-dozen questions from the NCMHCE. Please note that this was merely an official trial set and not by any means the full exam.

Would you be surprised to know that the generative AI was able to successfully answer many of the sampled trial questions? I provide some important caveats and limitations about this mini experiment of sorts, and I want to emphasize this was principally done on an ad hoc basis and merely intended to be illustrative.

Here’s the deal.

Please do not jump the shark on this matter. Hold your horses. My mainstay aims here are simply to inspire others to do a deep dive on this and perform a fully comprehensive rigorous research study of an akin nature, perhaps modeled somewhat on the same approach taken by the study on the USMLE or similar such professional licensing domains.

Anyway, I believe you will find this interesting, engaging, and possibly whet your appetite to find out more on these topics. My discussion is yet another angle to considering where we are and where things are going pertaining to generative AI and the field of mental health therapy.

Please buckle up and prepare yourself for quite a ride.

Generative AI And Medical School Standardized Licensing Exam

Let’s talk about tests.

We generally assume that to practice medicine a test of some kind should be required to attest to the proficiency of the person that will be serving as a medical professional. I’d like to start by discussing perhaps one of the most famous such medical proficiency tests known as the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). This is the test typically expected of those attaining a medical degree in the United States.

The USMLE was devised to aid in standardizing upon one major medical examination test that would be acceptable across every state and ensure that MDs were meeting the same set of standards. The test is composed of three separate stages and is taken during medical school and also upon graduation from medical school.

Here’s some additional detail as noted on the USMLE website:

  • “In the United States and its territories, the individual medical licensing authorities (‘state medical boards’) of the various jurisdictions grant a license to practice medicine. Each medical licensing authority sets its own rules and regulations and requires passing an examination that demonstrates qualification for licensure. Results of the USMLE are reported to these authorities for use in granting the initial license to practice medicine. The USMLE provides them with a common evaluation system for applicants for initial medical licensure.”
  • “USMLE was created in response to the need for one path to medical licensure for allopathic physicians in the United States. Before USMLE, multiple examinations (the NBME Parts examination and the Federation Licensing Examination [FLEX]) offered paths to medical licensure. It was desirable to create one examination system accepted in every state, to ensure that all licensed MDs had passed the same assessment standards – no matter in which school or which country they had trained.”
  • “The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the U.S. The USMLE assesses a physician's ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills, that are important in health and disease and that constitute the basis of safe and effective patient care.”

Humans take the USMLE to showcase their proficiency in medicine. When you encounter a medical doctor, you are likely to assume they probably took the test and passed it. On an intuitive basis we realize that having to pass such an arduous test is impressive and helps to provide us comfort that the person knows their stuff when it comes to the medical field.

Shift gears.

Can generative AI potentially also be proficient enough to pass the USMLE?

That’s an interesting and some would say important question worthy of considering.

First, some quick background about generative AI.

Realize that generative AI is not sentient and only consists of mathematical and computational pattern matching. The way that generative AI works is that a great deal of data is initially fed into a pattern-matching algorithm that tries to identify patterns in the words that humans use. Most of the modern-day generative AI apps were data trained by scanning data such as text essays and narratives that were found on the Internet. Doing this was a means of getting the pattern-matching to statistically figure out which words we use and when we tend to use those words. Generative AI is built upon the use of a large language model (LLM), which entails a large-scale data structure to hold the pattern-matching facets and the use of a vast amount of data to undertake the setup data training.

There are numerous generative AI apps available nowadays, including GPT-4, Bard, Gemini, Claude, ChatGPT, etc. The one that is seemingly the most popular would be ChatGPT by AI maker OpenAI. In November 2022, OpenAI’s ChatGPT was made available to the public at large and the response was astounding in terms of how people rushed to make use of the newly released AI app. There are an estimated one hundred million active weekly users at this time.

Using generative AI is relatively simple.

You log into a generative AI app and enter questions or comments as prompts. The generative AI app takes your prompting and uses the already devised pattern matching based on the original data training to try and respond to your prompts. You can interact or carry on a dialogue that appears to be nearly fluent. The nature of the prompts that you use can be a make-or-break when it comes to getting something worthwhile out of using generative AI and I’ve discussed at length the use of state-of-the-art prompt engineering techniques to best leverage generative AI, see the link here.

Shortly after ChatGPT was made publicly available, many AI researchers began to test the AI app by administering various well-known standardized tests to see how the AI app would do. In February 2023, a research study was posted that indicated ChatGPT had performed surprisingly well on the USMLE. The study was entitled “Performance of ChatGPT on USMLE: Potential for AI-Assisted Medical Education Using Large Language Models” by Tiffany H. Kung, Morgan Cheatham, ChatGPT, Arielle Medenilla, Czarina Sillos, Lorie De Leon, Camille Elepaño, Maria Madriaga, Rimel Aggabao, Giezel Diaz-Candido, James Maningo, Victor Tseng, PLOS Digital Health, and posted on February 9, 2023.

Here is what the research paper stated overall (excerpts):

  • “We evaluated the performance of a large language model called ChatGPT on the United States Medical Licensing exam (USMLE), which consists of three exams: Step 1, Step 2CK, and Step 3. ChatGPT performed at or near the passing threshold for all three exams without any specialized training or reinforcement. Additionally, ChatGPT demonstrated a high level of concordance and insight in its explanations.”
  • “USMLE questions are textually and conceptually dense; text vignettes contain multimodal clinical data (i.e., history, physical examination, laboratory values, and study results) often used to generate ambiguous scenarios with closely-related differential diagnoses.”

Consider mindfully those above-noted remarks from the AI research effort.

ChatGPT was able to score either at or near the passing threshold for the three staged USMLE. Thus, an arduous medical proficiency exam that we expect human medical doctors to pass was nearly passed by a generative AI app. Some would decry this result as misleading in the sense that the generative AI was doing this without real “knowledge” akin to what humans seem to possess. The concern is that generative AI is nothing more than a so-called stochastic parrot that mimics human wording and fails to “understand” or “comprehend” what is going on.

Nonetheless, the aspect that generative AI could accomplish such a feat is unto itself impressive, even if done via smoke and mirrors as some suggest. The result is additionally surprising because the researchers used ChatGPT out of the box, as it were, namely the generic version of ChatGPT. Another approach would be to add additional data training on the medical field to ChatGPT, but that’s not what they did in this experiment. A generic data-trained generative AI was able to do well on a highly specialized medical domain exam. For more about how generic generative AI can be fine-tuned to specific domains, see my coverage at the link here.

Let’s consider a few other detailed aspects about the notable research result and then I’ll move to my next Topic of discussion.

The research paper noted these salient details (excerpted):

  • “The data analyzed in this study were obtained from USMLE trial question sets which are publicly available.”
  • “376 publicly-available test questions were obtained from the June 2022 trial exam release on the official USMLE website. Random spot checking was performed to ensure that none of the answers, explanations, or related content were indexed on Google prior to January 1, 2022, representing the last date accessible to the ChatGPT training dataset. All trial test questions were screened, and questions containing visual assets such as clinical images, medical photography, and graphs were removed. After filtering, 305 USMLE items (Step 1: 93, Step 2CK: 99, Step 3: 113) were advanced to encoding.”
  • “In this present study, ChatGPT performed at >50% accuracy across all examinations, exceeding 60% in most analyses. The USMLE pass threshold, while varying by year, is approximately 60%.”
  • “Therefore, ChatGPT is now comfortably within the passing range. Being the first experiment to reach this benchmark, we believe this is a surprising and impressive result. Moreover, we provided no prompting or training to the AI, minimized grounding bias by expunging the AI session before inputting each question variant, and avoided chain-of-thought biasing by requesting forced justification only as the final input.”

I’d like to bring your attention to a few points made in those excerpts.

Notice that the experiment consisted of identifying a trial of publicly available questions associated with the exam. The idea is to usually feed samples of questions and not necessarily an entire test per se. It is important to consider how a trial was chosen and whether the trial is suitably representative of what the full test might contain. Fair is fair.

Another fairness consideration is that there is always a chance that the generative AI might have been initially data-trained on the very same questions. If those questions were found when the startup data training took place, you could say it is absurd to feed the same questions into the generative AI. The answers will likely already be known simply due to having seen the questions and their answers beforehand.

If you select questions that arose after the cutoff date of the generative AI app’s data training, you are somewhat comfortable that the content wasn’t encountered already. But even that is readily questioned since the questions might have appeared in other guises. Some exams modify old questions and reuse them in later versions of the exam. There is a chance that a new question is close enough to an older question that perhaps this gives the generative AI a leg up on answering the new question.

My point is that you need to carefully consider how these experiments are conducted. Overall, make sure to look at what trial was chosen and how appropriate it is. What are the odds that the generative AI has previously encountered the same or similar questions? As much as feasible, the goal is to set a fair and square playing field to see whether the generative AI can genuinely answer questions that have not previously been used as part of the data training effort.

You now have a semblance of what takes place when trying to assess generative AI about being able to pass exams such as the pervasive USMLE in the medical domain.

Let’s continue our exploration.

Generative AI And Mental Health Therapy exam Taking

The research study that explored the use of generative AI such as ChatGPT on the USMLE can serve as a role model for similar kinds of studies. The conception is to identify publicly available trial questions, administer the questions to the generative AI, and see how well or poorly the generative AI scores on answering the questions. As much as possible, try to keep the playing field level and fair.

I decided to try this quickly for the field of mental health therapy or mental health counseling.

There is a well-known exam known as the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). trial questions are publicly posted online. I selected some of the trial questions and fed them into ChatGPT. I opted to use ChatGPT due to its immense popularity and it has generally been the default choice of similar research studies.

I might note that a more advanced generative AI such as GPT-4 by OpenAI or others would likely do a better job than ChatGPT. In that manner, you could interpret the ChatGPT usage as the floor and that we might expect heightened results by using a more advanced generative AI app. There isn’t an ironclad certain that a more advanced generative AI will do better. The odds though are in that direction.

We also have to be watchful for in a sense polluting an experiment by perchance using questions that have already been seen by the generative AI during the initial data-training. Furthermore, if the generative AI is hooked up to the Internet, the AI might simply go out and find the questions and their answers, similar to a search engine, rather than trying to directly answer the questions. ChatGPT in that sense is a handy choice because the free version does not readily allow for Internet access to perform its activities and the data training was last cut off in January 2022 (at the time of writing of this discussion).

Let’s dive into the ad hoc experiment by first establishing the nature of the mental health therapy or mental health counseling exam.

The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is devised and administered via an organization known as the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. Here is what the website for the organization says (excerpts):

  • “The National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. and Affiliates (NBCC) is the premier credentialing body for counselors, ensuring that counselors who become nationally certified have achieved the highest standard of practice through education, examination, supervision, experience, and ethical guidelines.”
  • “Established as a not-for-profit, independent certification organization in 1982, NBCC’s original and primary purposes have broadened, and its divisions and affiliates have taken on additional responsibilities to advance the counseling profession and enhance mental health worldwide.”
  • “Today, there are over 69,000 National Certified Counselors (NCCs) in more than 40 countries.”

The gist is that this is a well-known and widely accepted organization, and the exam is likewise well-known and widely accepted. I bring this up in case you read a study that used generative AI on some relatively unknown exam or less than a stellar reputational exam, in which case, you would want to gauge the result of the study as partially on the rigor and standing of the test being given at the get-go.

Here is what the website about the NCMHCE says about the exam (excerpts):

  • “The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is designed to assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities determined to be important for providing effective counseling services. The NCMHCE is a requirement for counselor licensure in many states. It is one of two examination options for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) certification and also fulfills the examination requirement for the Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC) specialty certification.”
  • “The NCMHCE measures an individual’s ability to apply and evaluate knowledge in core counselor skills and competencies and to practice competently as a professional counselor. Specifically, it assesses an entry-level clinical mental health counselor’s ability to apply knowledge of theoretical and skill-based tenets to clinical case studies. The case studies are designed to capture a candidate’s ability to identify, analyze, diagnose, and develop plans for treatment of clinical concerns.”
  • “Candidates for the NCMHCE must have a graduate-level degree or higher from a counseling program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or administered by an institutionally accredited college or university. The counseling degree program must contain courses in eight requirement areas.”

Observe some key points mentioned in those excerpts.

First, the exam is used to assess entry-level clinical mental health counselors. You might say that this is handy for my ad hoc experiment since I want to focus on the keystone threshold needed to be considered suitably knowledgeable for proceeding to perform mental health therapy with real clients or patients. Other exams might be used to assess more advanced skill levels, but I’m aiming here to start with the usual starting point. I’m sure that other researchers are or will try to do the same for more advanced instances.

Second, note that candidates who want to sit for the exam must have a graduate-level degree or higher from an accredited counseling program or as administered by an accredited college or university. This sets the bar higher than perhaps allowing an undergraduate to take the exam or maybe wantonly opening the exam to anyone who wants to take it. We can presume that the test is likely to ask questions of a hard nature. That’s good since we would want to make sure we deliver something challenging to generative AI rather than some easy-peasy questions or materials. We might also note that of course, generative AI would not qualify to officially take the exam since it has not met all the criteria to do so.

The official exam website provides an NCMHCE Sample Case Study that indicates the case study is considered updated as of March 2023. I selected six trial questions from this trial set. I want to loudly emphasize that this is an ad hoc selection and I do so merely to be illustrative of what might be done on a more rigorous basis.

Though the date says March 2023, there of course is a chance that these questions and their answers have been around before that date, for which ChatGPT might have seen before the January 2022 cutoff date. I tried to do various probing into ChatGPT to see if the content had already been prior encountered. By and large, it doesn’t seem to be, but that’s not known for sure, and a deeper analysis would need to be undertaken to ascertain this. For the moment, let’s go with the flow and assume that the trial questions weren’t previously seen by ChatGPT during its data training.

The six sampled trial questions cover these six respective topics:

  • Q1. Establish a therapeutic alliance.
  • Q2. Identify strengths that Excellerate the likelihood of goal attainment.
  • Q3. Discuss limits of confidentiality.
  • Q4. Determine a diagnosis.
  • Q5. Assess the presenting problem and level of distress.
  • Q6. Establish short- and long-term counseling goals consistent with the client’s diagnosis.

Keep that in mind as I walk you through what ChatGPT provided as answers to the posed questions.

The test is essentially based on case studies. For these six sampled trial questions, a case study was provided in the publicly posted material. The case study was fed into ChatGPT for this analysis. Rather than displaying for you the entirety of the case study, I will do a quick recap to bring you up to speed.

In this instance, the case study entails a divorced female of age 35 who is first undertaking a mental health counseling session with a mental health therapist who has some background about the client or patient but otherwise, this is the first meeting of the two. The client or patient has already been provisionally diagnosed as having a major depressive disorder.

Additional background is given about the client or patient. For example, after her divorce, she began staying in bed quite a lot and moved back in with her mother. She got fired from her job. She has had financial difficulties. Most days, she feels sad, empty, and anxious. She has joint legal custody with her ex-husband of their two children, respectively aged 10 and 12. And so on.

That outlines the nature of the underlying case study.

Questions And The Answers Generated By The Generative AI

I am going to walk you through each of the six multiple-choice questions and also showcase the answers that were generated by ChatGPT so that you can follow along step-by-step.

My initiating prompt asks ChatGPT to provide answers plus explain why each chosen answer was considered the correct answer by ChatGPT. Asking for an explanation is not necessary, but I thought getting explanations might be interesting to see.

There is also a bit of prompting strategy involved, namely that by asking for an explanation the chances are that a generative AI app might be more extensive in trying to solve a given question or problem, see my discussion at the link here. You could suggest that I was aiding the generative AI by giving an establishing prompt that would urge it to do a better job than otherwise. Whenever you look at research studies doing just about anything with generative AI, make sure to find out what prompts they used. This is a significant factor related to the performance of the generative AI. Studies that fail to showcase their prompts are unfortunately doing a bit of a disservice by not revealing how they got the generative AI to undertake things.

The sampled trial questions are based on the case study, and I’ve placed them in quotes to indicate they came from the case study. In some instances, the wording is slightly reworded merely and strictly for purposes of feeding them into ChatGPT.

I am purposely not going to speculate or comment on the answers that are given by ChatGPT. I will simply note whether ChatGPT selected the correct multiple-choice selection as stipulated in the trial set. I’m guessing that mental health therapists and mental health counselors will undoubtedly find the explanations of special interest and will indubitably get them extensively mulling over what ChatGPT had to say.

Here is my establishing prompt and the answer provided by ChatGPT:

  • My prompt: “I am going to ask you a series of questions about the case study. The questions are multiple-choice. You are to select an answer of either A, B, C, or D from the choices provided for each question. I want you to carefully read each question and then indicate which answer is the best answer of the choices provided. You are to also explain why the answer you’ve chosen is the best answer. Are you ready to answer the first question?”
  • ChatGPT generated a response: “Yes, I'm ready. Please proceed with the first question.”

Okay, we are good to go.

Here’s the first question:

“Q1. What would be the best way for a mental therapist to at initial intake seek to establish a therapeutic relationship with this person?”

“A. Reflect on what is irrational about the woman’s self-evaluations.”

“B. Advise her about how to manage her painful experiences.”

“C. Summarize her emotions and her desire for change.”

“D. Explore how she could Excellerate her role in relationships.”

  • ChatGPT generated response:

“Answer to Q1 is C. Summarize her emotions and her desire for change.”

“Explanation: Establishing a therapeutic relationship involves demonstrating empathy, understanding, and acknowledging the client's emotions. Summarizing her emotions and desire for change (Option C) helps validate her experiences and shows that the therapist is actively listening and comprehending her situation. This approach helps build rapport and sets the foundation for a collaborative therapeutic relationship. It also allows the client to feel heard and understood, creating a safe space for further exploration and intervention.”

End of ChatGPT response

ChatGPT selected answer C, which is considered the correct answer as per the trial set.

The explanation indicates the presumed basis. I could have also asked ChatGPT to explain why the other answers weren’t as good as the selected answer. That would have gotten quite wordy and didn’t seem needed for this ad hoc analysis. A deeper study might want to consider getting a lengthier reply with a more elaborate explanation.

We move to the second question:

“Q2. What information should a mental health therapist explore to help the client remember her strengths?”

“A. The client’s disclosure about her previous level of functioning.”

“B. The client’s recollections of past mistakes.

“C. The client’s feelings about her mother paying for counseling.”

“D. The client’s use of cognitive distortions.”

  • ChatGPT generated response:

“Answer to Q2 is A. The client’s disclosure about her previous level of functioning.”

“Exploring the client's disclosure about her previous level of functioning (Option A) would be most relevant to identify and highlight her strengths. Understanding her past achievements, abilities, and positive aspects of her life before the onset of depressive symptoms can help the therapist and the client focus on resources that can be tapped into for recovery. This approach emphasizes a strengths-based perspective and encourages the client to recognize her capabilities, fostering a more positive outlook on her current situation.”

End of ChatGPT response

The answer indicated by ChatGPT is answer A, which is also the correct answer per the trial set. We are now two-for-two in terms of having gotten the questions right.

Next, let’s see what happens with the third question:

“Q3. How should a mental health therapist handle the client’s concern about confidentiality?”

“A. Explain that as a mental therapist, they will share progress updates with the mother but not provide any details.”

“B. Clarify what can and cannot be shared through informed consent.”

“C. Request the mother’s assent to the treatment and obtain the client’s consent.”

“D. Ask the client for a signed release that would include her mother as part of the treatment process.”

  • ChatGPT generated response:

“Answer to Q3 is B. Clarify what can and cannot be shared through informed consent.”

“The best approach is to clarify confidentiality issues through informed consent (Option B). The therapist should explain the limits of confidentiality, outlining what information can be shared and under what circumstances. This empowers the client to make an informed decision about what aspects of her treatment will remain confidential and what may need to be shared. It respects the client's autonomy and privacy while addressing concerns about the involvement of her mother in the therapy process.”

End of ChatGPT response

The answer indicated by ChatGPT is B, which is also the correct answer via the trial set. Three for three, so far.

Here’s the fourth question:

“Q4. From the perspective of the mental health therapist, what self-report from the client is a discernable criterion for the given diagnosis?”

“A. Her disagreements with her mother.”

“B. Her increased psychomotor agitation.”

“C. Her difficulty managing her children.”

“D. Her decreased pleasure in her activities.”

  • ChatGPT generated response:

“Answer to Q4 is D. Her decreased pleasure in her activities.”

“A discernible criterion for a major depressive disorder is often a pervasive and persistent decrease in pleasure or interest in previously enjoyed activities. This is commonly referred to as anhedonia. The client's report of not being able to remember the last time she enjoyed something and the cessation of an activity she used to find enjoyable (creating jewelry) aligns with this criterion. While other aspects, such as disagreements with her mother (Option A) or difficulty managing her children (Option C), may be related to her emotional state, the decreased pleasure in activities is a more specific indicator for depression.”

End of ChatGPT response

The answer indicated by ChatGPT is D, which is the correct answer according to the trial set. You will also note that this time the explanation opted to explain why the chosen answer was considered a better choice than some of the other proposed answers.

We are at four of four in terms of getting the correct answers.

Let’s see what occurs with the fifth question:

“Q5. What criteria were likely used to determine the severity specified for the client’s major depressive disorder?”

“A. The number of symptoms is not substantially in excess of those needed to make the diagnosis, yet functional impairment exists.”

“B. The intensity of the symptoms is distressing but manageable, and results in minor impairment of social or occupational functioning.”

“C. The intensity of symptoms is high and is accompanied by psychomotor agitation and mixed features associated with a major depressive episode.”

“D. The number of symptoms and their intensity are distressing and unmanageable and interfere with the client’s social and occupational functioning.”

  • ChatGPT generated response:

“Answer to Q5 is D. The number of symptoms and their intensity are distressing and unmanageable and interfere with the client’s social and occupational functioning.”

“The severity specified for major depressive disorder is often determined by the number and intensity of symptoms, as well as their impact on the client's social and occupational functioning. In this case, the client reports feeling sad, empty, and anxious most days, experiences tension every day, has difficulty getting out of bed, and has ceased engaging in previously enjoyed activities. Additionally, she has lost her job, faces financial difficulties, and expresses guilt about her interactions with her children. These factors suggest a significant impact on both social and occupational functioning, aligning with the criteria for a more severe form of major depressive disorder.”

End of ChatGPT response

ChatGPT indicates the answer should be D, but the trial set indicates the correct answer is A. This is the first miss by ChatGPT in this set of sampled trial questions.

I was curious whether ChatGPT could justify the answer D versus the answer A.

One thing to keep in mind is that some generative AI apps such as ChatGPT tend to immediately back down when you challenge them about an answer. The AI will indicate that it was wrong and switch to the answer that you say is the correct answer. In a sense, this is somewhat disconcerting because you would generally prefer the AI to moderately push back and support an answer that was chosen.

I am not saying this should be doggedly dogmatic. It certainly makes sense to have the AI back down if the user is telling the AI that the answer is wrong, though I think you can see how this might be a dangerous slope to slide upon. Just because a user says that something is wrong does not mean that it indeed is wrong. You can end up with the AI being too easily convinced of falsehoods simply because the user said they were truths. This is an ongoing issue of concern about generative AI, see my analysis at the link here.

All in all, rather than telling the AI that it was wrong, which would possibly get it to collapse like a deck of cards, I came to the matter politely and tangentially. I merely asked ChatGPT to compare the answer D with the answer A. I didn’t tip my hand that the answer A is considered the correct answer.

Here we go:

  • My prompt: “I'd like you to compare the answer D that you selected to the choice A. What makes answer D better than answer A?”
  • ChatGPT generated response:

“Let's compare options D and A:”

“D. The number of symptoms and their intensity are distressing and unmanageable and interfere with the client’s social and occupational functioning.”

“A. The number of symptoms is not substantially in excess of those needed to make the diagnosis, yet functional impairment exists.”

“The main distinction lies in the severity of functional impairment. Option D suggests that the number of symptoms and their intensity are distressing and unmanageable, leading to significant interference with social and occupational functioning. This aligns with a more severe form of major depressive disorder, where the impairment is substantial.”

“On the other hand, Option A acknowledges functional impairment but does not emphasize the distressing and unmanageable nature of the symptoms. It leaves room for interpretation that the impairment might be present but not to the extent that it is distressing or unmanageable.”

“In the context of major depressive disorder, severity is often determined not just by the presence of symptoms but also by the impact on daily functioning. Option D explicitly addresses the distress and interference with functioning, making it a more comprehensive and accurate description of a severe presentation of major depressive disorder.”

End of ChatGPT response

I’d bet that mental health professionals could readily debate the indication of ChatGPT about why one of the answers is construed as better than the other. Please do so at your leisure.

Moving to the sixth and final question, take a look at this one:

“Q6. From the perspective of the mental health therapist, what short-term goal would guide the treatment of the client’s presenting problem?’

“A. Spend one hour each day rewriting difficult childhood memories with her mother.”

“B. Return to her previous sleep schedule to be more present with her children.”

“C. Spend one hour each day journaling about her vision for her next marriage.”

“D. Return to full-time work in nursing to boost her self-image and mood.”

  • ChatGPT generated response:

“Answer is B. Return to her previous sleep schedule to be more present with her children.”

“The most appropriate short-term goal would be to address the immediate issue affecting her daily functioning, which is her disrupted sleep schedule. Returning to her previous sleep schedule (Option B) can have a positive impact on her mood, energy levels, and ability to engage with her children. This goal is specific, achievable, and directly addresses a key factor contributing to her distress. It also aligns with improving her overall well-being and functioning in the short term.”

End of ChatGPT response

The answer selected by ChatGPT is answer B, which is the correct answer according to the trial set.

Conclusion

Please do not try to calculate the percentage of times that ChatGPT was able to correctly answer the sampled sample. Doing so would be ridiculous as this was not a rigorous experiment but instead an ad hoc one and meant solely to get the juices flowing about examining how generative AI might do on these kinds of tests. That being said, I believe there is enough indication that performing a thorough study would be worthwhile. Had the generative AI got none of the answers correctly I would probably be leaning toward suggesting that a full-on study wasn’t likely worth the effort. This snippet suggests that doing more might be valuable.

There are flies in the ointment on these matters.

One argument about having generative AI take these various types of tests is that there isn’t any human soul or human connection that is also being assessed, see my discussion at the link here. In other words, just because a generative AI app can answer questions on a dry test does not mean that we would want the generative AI to interact with real people in real life and provide advice as to whatever domain or realm of expertise is being tested.

The argument is further amplified when considering the Topic of mental health. Some would assert that only another human can adequately counsel another human. An AI system is not human and does not have human experience under its belt. A counterviewpoint is that notwithstanding humanness, there is still a place for AI to aid humans, including in the sphere of mental health guidance or advice.

Let’s conclude this discussion for now by invoking a famous line.

The renowned American psychologist Carl Rogers purportedly said this: “In my early professional years, I was asking the question, how can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way, how can I provide a relationship that this person may use for their personal growth?”

Can generative AI form a relationship with humans and if so, do we want that to be how mental health is conveyed or advised?

More questions ostensibly need more answers; thus, the endeavor must continue.

Mon, 01 Jan 2024 09:36:00 -0600 Lance Eliot en text/html https://www.forbes.com/sites/lanceeliot/2024/01/01/an-exploratory-look-at-whether-generative-ai-can-pass-an-official-mental-health-counseling-licensing-exam-that-professionals-take/
Gallstones -- Approach to Medical Management

Oral Bile-Acid Treatment

Successful dissolution of gallstones by the oral administration of bile-acid mixtures was reported almost 70 years ago.[22] It was, however, only in the 1970s that this form of therapy was tested on a larger scale.[23,24,25] Initially, CDCA was used,[26] but due to a dose-dependent increase in aminotransferases, an increase in serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and the development of bile salt-induced diarrhea, the treatment raised concerns. Because the more hydrophilic UDCA appeared to be as effective in gallstone dissolution but was practically devoid of side effects, it rapidly replaced the use of CDCA.[27,28]

The idea behind oral administration of CDCA and UDCA was to enrich the bile with these bile acids and thereby decrease cholesterol supersaturation and dissolve the stones. In fact, total bile salt concentration in bile did not change appreciably, and the decrease in cholesterol saturation was achieved primarily by a decrease in biliary cholesterol concentration. While both bile acids do decrease biliary cholesterol secretion,[29] they do so by different mechanisms. CDCA decreases cholesterol synthesis by inhibiting hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity, whereas UDCA does not affect cholesterol synthesis but reduces intestinal cholesterol absorption.[30] CDCA also decreases hepatic bile-acid synthesis, but UDCA does not, and may even slightly increase it. There is also a difference between the 2 agents in terms of the physical chemical mechanism of gallstone dissolution: CDCA removes cholesterol from the stones by micellar solubilization, whereas UDCA does so primarily by formation of a liquid crystalline phase.[31,32]

In 1981, the National Cooperative Gallstone Study established the efficacy and safety of CDCA therapy.[26] Although gallstones could be dissolved by oral administration of CDCA, its efficacy was low. Less than half (40.8%) of patients responded to the highest dose tested (750 mg/day), and only 13.5% had complete dissolution of their stones within 2 years. Moreover, the response was slow. In over half, more than 9 months of treatment were needed for complete dissolution. Subsequently, the introduction of UDCA with a better safety profile and equal or better efficacy made bile salt litholysis more attractive.

The efficacy of CDCA is dose-dependent, but so are its side effects. Hence, a full dose of 15 mg/kg/day will induce diarrhea in up to 60% of patients, increase cholesterol levels in most patients, and cause hepatotoxicity in over 3%. In comparison, the recommended dose of UDCA (10-12 mg/kg/day) has essentially no side effects except occasional diarrhea. Therefore, monotherapy with CDCA cannot be recommended and has been completely replaced by UDCA therapy. Combination therapy with a reduced dose of both bile acids (5-8 mg/kg/day of each) has also been suggested, and may be as safe and efficient as full-dose UDCA monotherapy, as well as less costly.[33,34] UDCA monotherapy does, however, cause less diarrhea, and therefore it remains the treatment of choice today.

UDCA is usually given at a dose ranging between 8 and 15 mg/kg/day. Bedtime administration is preferable because it maintains hepatic bile-acid secretion rate overnight, thus reducing secretion of supersaturated bile and increasing the dissolution rate.[35,36] Dissolution is assessed by ultrasonography every 6 months. The expected dissolution rate is approximately a 1-mm decrease in stone diameter per month of treatment.[37] Treatment is usually continued for another 3 months after successful dissolution.

In up to 10% of patients, cholesterol gallstones acquire a surface calcification during treatment, rendering them nondissolvable and unsuitable for further therapy with bile acids.[38]

Not all patients are suitable candidates for oral dissolution therapy. Selection criteria are based on 3 main aspects: (1) patient, (2) gallbladder, and (3) stone characteristics. Patients with complications or with frequent and severe attacks of biliary colic are not suitable candidates. Patients with mildly symptomatic gallstones are the best candidates.[28,39] Patients with increased surgical risks or those who do not want to undergo surgery due to personal preferences should be considered for medical dissolution therapy. Asymptomatic patients are currently not treated. For medical therapy to be effective, the gallbladder needs to fill and function. Finally, only cholesterol stones can be dissolved by bile acids, and any significant calcification of the stones will render them nondissolvable.

Gallbladder function -- as well as cholesterol content of stones -- can be assessed by oral cholecystography.[40] After oral intake of an iopanoic acid derivative, a plain abdominal x-ray will show radiolucent cholesterol stones floating within a radiopaque contrast-filled gallbladder.[41] Gallbladder function can be further evaluated by measuring the emptying or ejection fraction following a fatty meal. Ultrasonography is the easiest and most precise method for detecting the presence of stones. Ultrasonography as well as cholescintigraphy may also be used to assess cystic duct patency and gallbladder function by measuring the ejection fraction after a fatty meal or cholecystokinin injection.[42,43,44] Some clinicians have even suggested that ultrasonography may predict stone composition prior to bile-acid or shock-wave lithotripsy treatment.[45,46] Several investigators have shown that the degree of stone calcification and suitability for bile-acid dissolution therapy can be accurately assessed by computed tomography (CT).[47,48,49] Hence, a combination of CT for stone composition and ultrasonography for gallbladder filling and function is also a good alternative for appropriate patient selection.

The success of oral dissolution treatment is defined as complete disappearance of gallstones as documented by oral cholecystography or, preferably, ultrasonography. This is achieved in 10% to over 80% of patients. The wide range of success reflects differences in patient selection, treatment duration, dosage, and ways of assessing success.[50] In a meta-analysis comprising almost 2000 patients treated until 1992, complete dissolution was achieved in 18.2% with CDCA, in 37.3% with UDCA, and in 62.8% with combination therapy.[51] In patients with small stones (< 10 mm), a dissolution rate of 48.5% was seen with UDCA therapy.

By employing more strict selection criteria, the efficacy of this treatment can be increased, but at the expense of the number of suitable candidates.[52] Thus, an optimal lean patient with small (< 5 mm) radiolucent stones (approximately 3% of all symptomatic patients) will have a 90% likelihood of complete dissolution within 6 months.[53] In contrast, patients with 5- to 10-mm radiolucent stones (approximately 12%) will have only a 50% chance of successful dissolution within 9 months.

Initially, extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL) was introduced as an adjunct to bile-acid therapy.[54,55] The rationale was to use ESWL to fragment larger stones to increase dissolvable surface area, shorten treatment time, and increase the pool of patients suitable for bile-acid dissolution. With increasing experience it became clear that ESWL was actually an independent treatment modality.[56] After pulverizing gallstones to tiny sand-like fragments, there seems to be little if any benefit of or need for additional bile-acid therapy.[56,57,58]

A significant drawback of gallstone dissolution therapy is the possibility of gallstone recurrence. Stones will recur because the gallbladder is left in place and the underlying cause of gallstone formation has not been corrected. The recurrence rate is about 10% annually for up to 5 years,[59] and is often preceded by sludge formation.[60] Thereafter, recurrence is uncommon. Most stones recur without symptoms[50] and will respond to re-treatment with bile acids.[61,62] Maintenance therapy with low-dose UDCA has been reported to decrease the recurrence rate but it is costly.[63] Patients with multiple primary stones have an increased recurrence rate.[63] Additional factors that have been reported to predict recurrence after successful lithotripsy are obesity,[64] poor gallbladder emptying,[65] an increased deoxycholic acid pool,[66] and an apoE4 genotype.[67] Whether these factors are important after medical dissolution is unclear.

Because successful dissolution therapy is not inevitably followed by gallstone recurrence, there is a group of patients in whom the initial lithogenic process is transient. Pregnancy, rapid weight loss, and convalescence from abdominal surgery are recognized transient risk factors.[68,69] Trying to identify and characterize patients with transient lithogenicity for dissolution therapy is an important challenge for future studies.

Wed, 03 Jan 2024 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/460309_4
Research reveals best approach for detection of maternal sepsis No result found, try new keyword!A new study led by researchers at University of Limerick in Ireland has revealed the most effective way to diagnose maternal sepsis, a condition with a devastating global impact. Fri, 29 Dec 2023 02:13:00 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ I Led Harvard Medical School. With Gay’s Resignation, the Corporation Must Rethink Its Approach to Governance.

On Dec. 19, I attended a dinner conversation initiated by two members of the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, with several leaders of the Council on Academic Freedom at Harvard to discuss issues pertaining to CAFH’s mission.

Surprisingly, the dinner drew public attention, and while much of the popular discourse about it has concerned what was said — and how it was mischaracterized — this piece addresses a more fundamental matter, even more urgent now that University President Claudine Gay has resigned: What might that dinner and subsequent discussions teach us about the role of the Corporation in the current state of Harvard University and the path forward?

Universities — like other corporations and non-profit organizations — require formal governing bodies to oversee those responsible for day-to-day management and operations. Harvard has two such governing boards. The Harvard Corporation is the smaller and more powerful board, while the Board of Overseers is a larger body of elected alumni who provide counsel to the Corporation on various matters.

According to its web page, the Corporation “exercises fiduciary responsibility with regard to the University’s academic, financial and physical resources and overall wellbeing,” which includes hiring the University president, approving budgets, and overseeing the endowment.

Supported by an Office of the Governing Boards, the Corporation operates in a secretive manner and issues few if any public statements. As dean of Harvard Medical School, a position I held from 2007 to 2016, I expected I would come to know the Corporation well. I was wrong.

Though I met regularly with then-University President Drew G. Faust, I quickly learned that the Corporation — the only fiduciary body tasked with oversight of the Medical School — had precious little involvement in its operation.

As I recall, I met with the Corporation at their request only once a year for between 30 and 45 minutes. Several months before the date I was assigned to appear, I was asked to develop an eight-to-ten slide presentation on the state of the school that was, to my surprise, pre-reviewed and often modified by individuals in the Office of the Governing Boards. I received little or no feedback from the Corporation subsequent to these brief annual presentations.

To supplement this hands-off approach to governance, HMS and several other Harvard schools have established non-fiduciary ‘boards’ of prominent people with expertise in a diversity of relevant areas for the purpose of providing advice, feedback, and philanthropic support. The HMS Board of Fellows is an outstanding group, from which I obtained much valuable advice and support.

Still, such a non-fiduciary board cannot substitute for the lack of meaningful input from a distant and lightly-involved Corporation.

Given the University’s extraordinary and well-deserved reputation for excellence, this weakness in its approach to governance appeared unlikely to be questioned. That situation unexpectedly changed in exact weeks, with campus turmoil after Oct. 7 and plagiarism allegations against President Gay.

In light of their low public profile, it was surprising when two Corporation members asked to speak directly with CAFH leadership over dinner, but, happily, the rapidly-scheduled multiple-hour discussion was collegial and frank, seeming to leave everyone satisfied that we had engaged in a respectful interchange of ideas.

Taking our dinner as a model, the key question that now arises is this: What might the Corporation do in response to the major issues that my colleagues and I brought to the table for discussion, especially now that President Gay has resigned?

Five high-level recommendations published in separate articles by professor Steven A. Pinker and myself were among the main subjects of the discussion.

Our recommendations, which represent our personal views rather than the official position of the CAFH, include developing a new university policy on free speech and academic freedom; developing a policy and clarifying existing policies to proscribe actions that disrupt school operations, academic activities and other events; adopting a policy of institutional neutrality on social and political issues; reviewing DEI programs to identify elements that may improperly restrict free speech; and reviewing the state of viewpoint diversity and approaches to enhancing discussion across difference.

The Corporation is the only group with the authority to make such weighty decisions, and adopting these recommendations would require extensive discussion by the president and the full Corporation as well as engagement with many stakeholders.

As the Corporation considers these and other responses to its current challenges, it should also weigh whether it has come time to change its approach to its essential fiduciary responsibilities.

Those outside the Corporation — the public, University affiliates, and, yes, even school deans — have little awareness of how it conducts its critical work. Beyond the specific recommendations from professor Pinker and myself, the Corporation should step into its role as leader of the nation’s foremost university by committing to a more active engagement with the general public and University stakeholders alike.

Harvard is facing an unprecedented crisis in confidence, and responsibility for Harvard’s performance ultimately falls on the Corporation. As it considers how to respond, it must also conduct an objective examination of how this crisis evolved and use it to guide this reset of sorts. How it goes about choosing a new president will be an important first test of their response.

As a longstanding member of the faculty who cares deeply about its ongoing success, I stand with most members of the community in being ready to assist them.

Jeffrey S. Flier is the Higginson Professor of Physiology and Medicine and was the dean of Harvard Medical School from 2007 to 2016.

Tue, 02 Jan 2024 17:21:00 -0600 text/html https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2024/1/3/flier-harvard-corporation-gay/
Best No-Exam Life Insurance Companies No result found, try new keyword!This traditional life insurance approach may involve a more comprehensive application process, including an in-person medical exam. Although it sounds daunting, a medical evaluation could work in ... Thu, 06 Jan 2022 05:42:00 -0600 https://www.usnews.com/insurance/life-insurance/best-no-exam-life-insurance Colorado organizations revolutionize medical approach through food No result found, try new keyword!Many including in Colorado are using the buzzwords "value-based care" as a way to describe a departure from the old model of paying for each medical treatment individually and toward a structure ... Tue, 26 Dec 2023 03:28:00 -0600 text/html https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2023/12/26/food-as-medicine-colorado-project-angel-heart.html Exploiting epitope overlaps: A new approach to vaccine development

Vaccine development aims at protecting as many people as possible from infections. Short protein fragments of pathogens, so-called epitopes, are seen as a promising new approach for vaccine development.

In the journal Cell Systems, bioinformaticians from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) now present a method for identifying those epitopes that promise safe immunization across the broadest possible population group. They have also computed against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 using their HOGVAX tool.

During the coronavirus pandemic, so-called mRNA vaccines proved particularly successful and flexible. These vaccines target the so-called spike proteins—characteristic structures on the virus's surface. The mRNA contains the sequence of the spike protein, which is produced in the body after vaccination and then trains the .

"Epitopes"—short fragments of pathogen proteins that are capable of triggering an immune response—are seen as an alternative method to mRNA and a promising approach for obtaining targeted immune responses quickly, cost-effectively, and safely.

Everyone has a unique immune system: Depending on their infection history, they are trained to handle and react to different proteins. "This is a fundamental problem of vaccines based on epitopes," explains Professor Dr. Gunnar Klau, holder of the Chair of Algorithmic Bioinformatics at HHU. He considered a new approach to developing such vaccines with his Ph.D. student Sara Schulte and Professor Dr. Alexander Dilthey from the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene.

Professor Klau compares the problem with a chef who needs to create a new dish for a large event, "Some guests have allergies, while others do not like certain ingredients, so the chef needs to select ingredients that as many of the guests as possible can eat and will enjoy."

Translated to , this means that they are seeking epitopes that trigger a good in as many people as possible. This is necessary because it is impossible to pack an unlimited number of protein fragments into a so that the various immune systems can seek out the sequences suitable for them—the carrier medium simply does not have sufficient capacity.

The team of three researchers took a special approach with their bioinformatic tool "HOGVAX."

Sara Schulte says, "Instead of stringing the epitopes for the vaccine together end-to-end, we use identical sequences at the beginning and end of the epitopes so we can overlay them. The identical section, known as the 'overlap,' is thus only represented once in the vaccine, which enables us to save a huge amount of space." This, in turn, enables many more epitopes to be included in a vaccine.

In order to manage the epitopes and their longest overlaps efficiently, the researchers use a data structure known as a "hierarchical overlap graph" (HOG).

Klau says, "To stay with the cooking analogy: HOG corresponds to a compressed or shrunk cookbook, from which the chef can now select the recipes that are suitable for all guests."

Professor Dilthey says, "As a test, we applied HOGVAX to data for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and we were able to integrate significantly more epitopes than other tools. According to our calculations, we would be able to reach—and immunize—more than 98% of the world population."

Sara Schulte says, "In the future, we will work on adapting HOGVAX for use in cancer therapy. The aim here is to develop agents specifically designed for individual patients that attack tumor cells in a targeted manner."

More information: Sara C. Schulte et al, HOGVAX: Exploiting epitope overlaps to maximize population coverage in vaccine design with application to SARS-CoV-2, Cell Systems (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.cels.2023.11.001

Citation: Exploiting epitope overlaps: A new approach to vaccine development (2023, December 20) retrieved 5 January 2024 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-12-exploiting-epitope-overlaps-approach-vaccine.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Tue, 19 Dec 2023 09:59:00 -0600 en text/html https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-12-exploiting-epitope-overlaps-approach-vaccine.html
Medical Weight Loss and Beauty Announces Appearance on CBS for its Revolutionary Approach to Weight Loss and Anti-Aging Treatments

Pasadena, California – Medical Weight Loss and Beauty, an acclaimed medically-assisted weight loss clinic and medspa in Pasadena, California, that is dedicated to helping its clients achieve their beauty goals, is proud to announce that its founder, the world-renowned weight loss and aesthetics physician Dr. James Kojian, will appear on CBS for his revolutionary approach […]

Medical Weight Loss and Beauty, an acclaimed medically-assisted weight loss clinic and medspa in Pasadena, California, that is dedicated to helping its clients achieve their beauty goals, is proud to announce that its founder, the world-renowned weight loss and aesthetics physician Dr. James Kojian, will appear on CBS for his revolutionary approach to weight loss and anti-aging treatments.

A medical director at a lot of practices across Los Angeles and founder of successful Drtohelp.com, a website that helps patients lose weight through the use of Phentermine and is currently celebrating its 10th year in business, Dr. James Kojian’s unique approach to utilizing safe, effective FDA-approved treatments, such as Botox and Dysport, Restylane, Juvederm, Phentermine and Ozempic, has presented him an opportunity to appear on CBS to discuss this effective approach to medical weight loss and anti-aging.

Owner of Medical Weight Loss and Beauty, Dr. James Kojian, is a board-certified physician and surgeon who graduated from the University of Illinois Medical School and trained at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. Committed to being able to offer his clients the most efficient and latest methods in the medical beauty industry, Dr. James Kojian also received training in aesthetics through the Oculoplastics Department at UCLA and has many years of experience in aesthetic medicine. Additionally, the celebrated physician underwent training in anti-aging and longevity medicine from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the Age Management Medical Group, as well as achieving memberships in these organizations.

After assisting thousands of clients in achieving substantial weight loss and tighter, younger-looking skin, the internationally acclaimed doctor is consistently helping to Excellerate his industry by training newly qualified doctors and nurses and certifying them in the art of Botox, Juvederm, and other injectable fillers.

Dr. James Kojian’s focus on education additionally extends past his effective treatments at Medical Weight Loss and Beauty to popular social media platforms, where he utilizes his years of specialist knowledge to empower his clients to take control of their health and appearance. His YouTube channel Dr. James Kojian on Youtube, and Twitter account Dr. James Kojian on Twitter are platforms where the anti-aging, longevity, and weight loss expert regularly shares valuable insights, tips, and the latest developments in the health and beauty industry.

Medical Weight Loss and Beauty invites those living in the Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, Glendale, Eagle Rock, and San Marino communities to visit its website to learn more about Dr. James Kojian’s extensive list of world-leading medical weight loss and anti-aging treatments, including:

Phentermine: Phentermine is a prescription diet pill that suppresses appetite. It’s commonly taken by people who are overweight or obese and have weight-related medical conditions. It’s typically prescribed by a doctor and is used for short-term periods in conjunction with diet, exercise, and behavior modification.

Alma Laser Technology: Alma laser technology offers the most comprehensive, full spectrum of technologies and treatment methods covering skin tightening and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, acne scars, stretch marks, and cellulite, as well as providing body contouring.

Dermal Injectable Fillers: The Injectable fillers offered at Medical Weight Loss and Beauty include popular Juvederm and Restylane, which can be used for lip enhancements, jawline, cheeks, and under the eyes.

About Medical Weight Loss and Beauty

Founded by renowned board-certified physician Dr. James Kojian who is a recognized aesthetic professional and leading expert in the field of anti-aging and weight loss through the utilization of specialist FDA-approved treatments, Medical Weight Loss and Beauty offers a variety of innovative services, such as Botox and Dysport, Restylane, Phentermine, Ozempic, and Alma Laser skin tightening for the communities of Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, Glendale, Eagle Rock, and San Marino.

More Information

To learn more about Medical Weight Loss and Beauty and Dr. James Kojian, please visit the website at https://www.drjameskojianmd.com/.

Source: https://thenewsfront.com/medical-weight-loss-and-beauty-announces-appearance-on-cbs-for-its-revolutionary-approach-to-weight-loss-and-anti-aging-treatments/

About Us: Contact Dr. James Kojian M.D.

Contact Info:
Name: Dr. James Kojian M.D.
Organization: Dr. James Kojian M.D.
Address: 24 E Colorado Blvd Pasadena CA 91105 United States
Phone: (626) 777-7900
Website: https://www.drjameskojianmd.com

Release ID: 89116056

In case of detection of errors, concerns, or irregularities in the content provided in this press release, or if there is a need for a press release takedown, we strongly encourage you to reach out promptly by contacting error@releasecontact.com. Our efficient team will be at your disposal for immediate assistance within 8 hours – resolving identified issues diligently or guiding you through the removal process. We take great pride in delivering reliable and precise information to our valued readers.

Mon, 11 Dec 2023 15:49:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.asiaone.com/business/medical-weight-loss-and-beauty-announces-appearance-cbs-its-revolutionary-approach-weight
MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Announces Midwifery Program to Bring a More Holistic Approach to and Enhanced Birthing Experience
PR Newswire
MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Announces Midwifery Program to Bring a More Holistic Approach to and Enhanced Birthing Experience

PR Newswire

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif., Dec. 15, 2023

Midwifery Program expansion will launch in February 2024 to help fill the gap for expectant women in Irvine and south Orange County

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif., Dec. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- A growing number of women in pre-conception planning, or who are newly expecting are looking for a more holistic approach to their family planning and birthing experience. To meet the growing need of the community, MemorialCare is expanding its Midwifery Program to deliver Irvine and south Orange County residents expanded access to certified midwives' programs beginning February 2024.

Allison Molinski, certified nurse midwife (left), Denise G. Castellanos, certified nurse midwife (right), and Christina Gabel, certified nurse midwife (not pictured) will begin seeing patients in February 2024.

"This partnership will provide a dedicated midwifery team for our families who desire the option of midwifery obstetrical care," says Christine Huff, MSN-INF, RNC-OB, director, Women's and Children's Services, MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center. "Given our years of experience collaborating with midwives, we understand and support the benefits of having a midwife as part of the birthing team; having the midwife option supported by 24/7 in-house board-certified OB/GYNs readily available to assist with any unexpected complications, is the best of both worlds."

The midwifery philosophy of care includes prenatal education and counseling, which enables women to make informed choices for their best birth experience, and the autonomy to decide what choice they feel is natural.

Midwives can be the sole provider for healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies before, during and after giving birth. They offer mothers a holistic approach during the childbirth process, support natural childbirth techniques, provide guidance and support during all phases of the birthing process, including assistance in finding a position of comfort during labor and delivery.

Certified nurse midwives are educated in two disciplines: midwifery and nursing. To receive the professional designation of certified nurse midwives, they must earn graduate degrees, complete a midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for the Midwifery Education (ACME), and pass a national certification examination administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). Because of the specialized training certified nurse midwives receive, they are considered advanced practice registered nurses who provide care prenatally during active labor, birth, and postpartum.

"Nurses who specialize in midwifery help provide a safe and empowering birth experience by focusing on the health of the mother and child during pregnancy, help the mother to make a birth plan, and offer individualized advice to each woman," says Rachael Lopez, M.D., OB/GYN, Saddleback Medical Center Women's & Children's Services OB/GYN Chief. "During childbirth, midwives monitor labor progress, assess maternal and fetal well-being, offer pain management techniques, and provide postpartum care to both the mother and baby."

This program provides continuity of care and is beneficial for future patients through access to the same medical record system, partnerships in clinical excellence, and all MemorialCare clinicians follow the same best practice guidelines.

Saddleback Medical Center is completing the renovation of their Labor-Delivery-Recovery-Postpartum (LDRP) Suites, which supports the holistic approach to care with some of the suites having birthing tubs. In addition, Saddleback Medical Center is home to a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Obstetric Emergency Department (OB ED), to ensure the best possible outcomes.

To learn more visit MemorialCare.org.

Christina Gabel, certified nurse midwife will begin seeing patients in February 2024.

Rachael Lopez, M.D., OB/GYN, Saddleback Medical Center Women’s & Children’s Services OB/GYN Chief.

MemorialCare logo (PRNewsfoto/MemorialCare Health System)

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/memorialcare-saddleback-medical-center-announces-midwifery-program-to-bring-a-more-holistic-approach-to-and-enhanced-birthing-experience-302017135.html

SOURCE MemorialCare

Fri, 15 Dec 2023 08:29:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.morningstar.com/news/pr-newswire/20231215dc95627/memorialcare-saddleback-medical-center-announces-midwifery-program-to-bring-a-more-holistic-approach-to-and-enhanced-birthing-experience




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