Why did a computer geek get involved in Health Care?

6 May

I ask myself, this too. Very often, now. These two industries are VERY different.

There comes a time in life when you introspect and wonder what you have done.It is great to have been part of many computer industry breakthroughs but in the final analysis you have done things for other businesses.

When given the chance to do something in health care, you think, gosh, I can use my knowledge to directly help people.

The timing seemed very right. Basic information acquired from the body like blood pressure, ECGs, stethoscope signals are actually very rich in information.

However, very little information has been extracted from them. You ask yourself why?

My simple explanation is that mathematics has never really played a role in medicine, the way it has played a role in engineering. Somehow math and physics seem to go along with engineering. There seems to be more affinity for chemistry with medicine due to all the pharmacology.

The divide between math and medicine needs to be bridged for big breakthroughs to be made in medicine, especially as it relates to home care.

I’ll tell you more as we go along. This will be an interesting journey. Please stay with me.

The unsung hero – the Autonomic Nervous System

28 Apr

You have an unsung hero in your body. It Is called the Autonomic Nervous System.


Autonomic Nervous System


The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) acts as a control system for the body, operating largely at the unconscious level

The ANS affects…

  • Heart rate
  • Digestion
  • Respiration rate
  • Salivation
  • Perspiration
  • Pupil Diameter
  • Reproduction

The ANS consists of two systems – the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Both these systems have to balance each other out for the body to be in good shape. When these two systems are not in balance, it causes dysautonomia.  Most diseases especially chronic pain (fibromyalgia, CRPS, RA e.g.) have ANS problems.

Most systems of medicine (especially the Eastern ones) emphasize this balance. In fact when you are doing yoga, meditation or getting a massage, you are actually balancing these two systems.

We will talk more about this system. In the meantime, if you want to know more about ANS monitoring and how to check your ANS go to


Till next time. Keep your ANS balanced!

Autonomic Neuropathy can be fatal but can be cured

21 Apr

THE fatal complication of diabetes is autonomic neuropathy which typically leads to a “silent heart attack”. Unfortunately this is not very well known and therefore not very well covered. THIS IS NOT what everybody understands as neuropathy which is really peripheral neuropathy.

According to various studies, autonomic neuropathy affects over 50% of all PWD.  In general it leads to 50% mortality 5-10 years after onset. At onset there are NO symptoms. Symptoms appear when one of the organs, in most cases the heart, is affected. By then it is too late.

This is so serious that the ADA has recommended Heart Rate Variability testing (to identify this) in its standards of care since 2006. This testing is supposed to be done immediately upon detection of Type 2 diabetes and 5 years after detection of Type 1 diabetes. It is to be repeated annually if negative. If detected early it is possible to reverse it and reduce/eliminate the risk of cardiovascular disease among PWD.

However, nobody follows this recommendation. One deterrent has been that there really has not been a simple testing method that has allowed this recommendation to be implemented in a clinical setting.

There is one now. I am attaching a link to a booklet that addresses the “detection, monitoring & treatment of diabetic autonomic neuropathy”. This was compiled from the experiences of doctors (mainly in India) on about 100,000 PWD.  India is the diabetes capital of the world with over 50 million diabetics.

This can be easily implemented in the US since the products are FDA cleared and the procedures are reimbursable by insurance. It is strange that the US PWD cannot access the same treatment that the Indian PWD now can.

You can obtain a free copy of this booklet by following the link


You need to be very careful to differentiate it from peripheral neuropathy which is completely different.

Thank you for sharing this important information and helping PWD minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease. This will go a long way to helping them lead long, healthy lives.

What is this thing called the Autonomic Nervous System?

6 Oct

This is a very important component of the nervous system in the body. It works in the background and is responsible for almost everything that goes in inside your body that you don’t consciously control.

The ANS ( autonomic nervous system) consists of two components – the sympathetic system and the parasympathetic system. They both work together. In a subsequent post I will tell you how they actually work inside your body.

Here are the things the system “manages” inside your body.

Switches on the digestive system when eating
Controls flow of waste material
Regulates the pace of the heart
Regulates the dilation of the blood vessels and consequently the blood pressure
Adjusts resistance to airflow in and out of the lungs
Regulates body temperature
Varies the size of the pupil and lens’ thickness
Controls male and female sex organs

This system is critical and unfortunately nobody (even in the medical profession) knows a whole lot about it. This is the unsung hero inside the body.

Bet you that you did not know about this, right?

Autonomic Neuropathy leads to cardiovascular disease

4 Oct

This is a very well known fact. The attached paper reviews the current knowledge about treating autonomic neuropathy. Autonomic neuropathy is probably the most serious complication of diabetes.


There is discussion about whether autonomic neuropathy even precedes diabetes ! There is some evidence that it starts ( without external symptoms) even at the pre-diabetes stage.

Autonomic Neuropathy is not just related to diabetes. There are many other diseases that have autonomic imbalance and hence are at risk for cardiovascular complications. Issues like hypertension, chronic regional pain syndrome, sleep disturbances, irritable bowel syndrome, syncope to name a few have autonomic dysfunction (and hence cardiovascular risk) associated with them.

This is an area about which even the medical profession is not very well informed. The autonomic nervous system works in the background and you only notice it when it causes a problem. It really is an unsung hero in the body.

It is very critical that one informs oneself about the autonomic nervous system and  its function. One needs to be sure that this system is working properly and it is in good shape.

Autonomic Neuropathy is serious but can be taken care of

1 Oct

According to a study done by

  1. IA O’BRIEN,
  2. JP McFADDEN and

The cumulative 5-year mortality rate was increased more than five-fold in those with autonomic neuropathy: 27 per cent vs. 5 per cent in those with normal autonomic function.

Here’s the link for the paper


Autonomic Neuropathy can be controlled/reversed according to a leading endocrinologist Dr. Joe Prendergast (drjoestweets).

He is able to detect it early and treat it before it becomes life threatening. Every physician can do what he is doing. He says it is really not that difficult.

Every one who is a T1 or a T2 diabetic should be able to prevent this complication by using what is available today.

As a diabetic one nas enough things to take care of, why add one more?

One of my bosses told me that one should always control what one can control. There are enough things that one cannot control that one does not need to add to them.

Why don’t people understand that there are TWO kinds of neuropathy

26 Sep

It is very frustrating to find out that some complications of diabetes are not understood at all. If they are not understood how can they be treated?

First off there are TWO kinds of neuropathy

1. Sensory neuropathy often referred to as plain neuropathy (WHICH IS WRONG) since neuropathy is a generic term and not specific.

2. Autonomic Neuropathy which nobody understands and therefore people just ignore.

Add to this the fact that sensory neuropathy has symptoms while autonomic neuropathy has NO symptoms and the situation is ripe for neglect.

Sensory neuropathy can be felt in the extremities of the arms and legs and therefore there is a symptom that people think they can treat.

Autonomic neuropathy is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system that does its work of running the internals of the body ( like controlling the eyes, the heart, the lungs, sweating, the sexual organs and so on) like an unsung hero. This works involuntarily without you even knowing it hence the autonomic nervous system is an unsung hero. When this system has a problem, it continues uncomplainingly (hence no symptoms) until it cannot anymore and then one of the organs that it controls gets damaged. Then there are symptoms of the affected organ. By then it is too late and one has to treat the affected organ (usually the heart). The diabetic may then suffer a “silent” heart attack. Silent because there are no chest pains associated with this heart attack (due to autonomic nervous system problems). The diabetic goes to sleep at night and does not wake up in the morning.

Autonomic neuropathy is so serious that the American Diabetic Association has recommended (since Jan 2006) that testing for autonomic neuropathy be done AS SOON AS Type 2 diabetes is detected and repeated annually if the results are negative.

The fact of the matter is no doctor carries out this testing, even though instruments are now available ( ANSiscope from Dyansys) to perform this testing.

The empowered patient must put his/her foot down and demand this testing and treatment.

In the words of a doctor “sensory neuropathy will cause the loss of  a limb, autonomic neuropathy will cause the loss of  a life.”

So, T1 and T2 diabetics wake up! Ask for this test to be performed.


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