After finally finishing the data collection portion of my final product, I came to realize how much work goes into conducting surveys through a traditional format. When conducting surveys last year, I always distributed a simple google form through social media and text/email to my target sample. However, since I was calling people this time, data collection was a much slower process. In fact, after calling all of Dr. Dike’s migraine patients three different times, I was only able to extract data from 50% of the target sample. Although I got fewer results than I had expected, Dr. Dike assured me that having data from even twelve patients for a group of relatively new drugs is significant, and he told me about how he had once gotten a paper published with only data from seven patients.
Although I have started the process of data analyzation, I will try again this week to reach out to the patients who did not pick up the phone in a last attempt to expand my sample size. Meanwhile, I have started to familiarize myself with how to run statistical tests on google sheets and excel. Dr. Dike told me that since I have taken statistics, he will let me decide how to analyze the data. As a result, after finding the mean and standard deviation for the individual questions, I have decided to run a matched pairs t-test
Overall, the biggest portion of my final product that now remains is writing the research paper.
After meeting a slight bump on the final product road, it was finally time to get started on formally collecting data. On Friday, I headed over to Dr. Dike’s office and began the process of calling patients to ask them questions about how their quality of life changed after taking certain new migraine medications.
Before I began calling, I felt a slight twinge of nervousness; after all, it had been quite some time since I had cold-called someone. However, after realizing that I had two years of experience in cold-calling, I felt more confident and I carried out the survey process successfully. Out of the initial five patients that Dr. Dike gave me to call, only two patients answered the survey; two of the patients refused to participate and another patient did not pick up the phone. Thus, this made me realize that I would need more time to call patients and collect data than I had originally predicted. With multiple long weekends coming up, I plan on spending full days at Dr. Dike’s office so I can collect all the data and begin the process of formally writing the survey research paper.
Looking ahead, I will be giving my Final Presentation to Ms. Bowling’s class on Tuesday. Given that I am not finished with my final product, my presentation will not be an exact replica of what I plan to say at Final Presentation Night. However, I am still excited to share my year’s worth of work and experiences with the eighth graders.
Sometimes, roadblocks are hit while we are hard at work on a task, causing us to turn around and start all over again. On Sunday, I talked to Dr. Dike over the phone about my final product because he had mentioned how he had some concerns about the data collection. Since I have to go to school and am unable to collect every migraine patient’s neck circumference and Mallampati score, Dr. Dike and his physician assistant were helping with the data collection. The Mallampati score operates on a subjective scale ranging from 1 to 5, and Dr. Dike began to notice that his perception of a score of 3 was different from his physician assistant’s score of 3. Thus, this made all of the data that was collected by two different people inaccurate.
Because I didn’t want all of the research that I had over migraines to become unusable for my final product, Dr. Dike and I discussed what could be modified about my current final product plan. After some time, we decided that it would be best for me to conduct research about the patient quality of life after the usage of different migraine drugs. Dr. Dike recently started prescribing three new drugs to his migraine patients, and research about its effectiveness would be both beneficial to him and the neurology community.
Thus, on Friday, I will begin data collection by calling patients and asking them questions off of the Migraine-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire version 2.1, a validated survey.
Continuing the mentorship aspect of ISM, I visited Dr. Dike’s office on Thursday and was able to reconnect with him after two weeks. As this year has progressed, Dr. Dike has truly become not just a mentor for neurology, but also for life in general. Before starting mentor visits, we always chat, and this time, the discussion entered the realm of college.
When I shared my dilemma about having to choose between Rice University, my dream school, and the University of Texas at Austin, a more affordable school, Dr. Dike told me about his own experience as a student. He shared how higher education debt piles up quickly especially when one starts medical school, and in medical school, there are very little scholarships that are given out. Talking to Dr. Dike helped clear up a lot of my confusion, and it showed me that ultimately, it is medical school that matters in the long run for my career.
As the mentor visit continued, I came across a patient who was having trouble with his memory. In order to check, Dr. Dike asked the patient a series of questions, including general questions about United States history and more technical questions about his profession. The patient showed signs of short-term memory loss because he was unable to remember the names of recent presidents such Barack Obama, but he was able to provide an in-depth explanation of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Seeing how Dr. Dike diagnosed the patient was quite interesting because I would have never thought that my knowledge of US History would come in handy as a neurologist. All my classes truly are important!
Coming back from spring break, last week was quite chill in terms of ISM assignments, so I decided to spend the extra time working on upcoming due dates. To start off, I contacted Ms. Bowling, my middle school GT teacher, to see if I could come in and present my final presentation to her class in order to rehearse. We decided that I could come in on the morning of April 16th, and although that date seems quite far away, it is only two weeks away--that is, three weeks until I must have my final presentation completed. Although in hindsight this seems like something to worry about later, it is important to consider that a majority of my final product should be completed by that date so that I have substantial information to present.
The reason that I chose to present to Ms. Bowling’s classroom is because that is when I was first exposed to ISM; I remember sitting in the little desks as a student presented their work and talked about how he had been able to see surgeries multiple times throughout the year. That was the day I decided that I wanted to do ISM in high school. Now coming back four years later, it makes me happy that I may be able to inspire other kids to join ISM and find their true passions as well.
In the next upcoming weeks, I hope to finalize my ISM invitations and update my website with all the new assessments and weekly reports.
Spring break is over, and after coming back from a relaxing escape from reality, it is now clear that the deadline for final product is slowly approaching. Over spring break, however, I was able to use my extra time to meet with my mentor and this visit served two purposes: shadowing Dr. Dike and gaining more insight on my final product.
The previous weeks leading up to spring break had been spent on researching migraines and the different risk factors that are associated with them, so I started off the mentor visit by discussing with Dr. Dike all my different findings, including how gender and socioeconomic factors are also confounding variables. Upon sharing this research, Dr. Dike and I agreed that in order to make my results more accurate, I could conduct a prospective research study, in which data would be acquired from new patients. Originally, I had wanted to acquire data from as many different clinics as possible, but Dr. Dike suggested that I stick to only Affinity Neurocare because since it is mostly visited by affluent patients, the confounding variable of socioeconomic background could be largely eliminated. As we hashed out the details, we decided that whenever a new patient came in with a migraine within the next 30 days, his or her neck circumference and Mallampati score would be measured. Both of these measurements are indicators of obesity and by taking two different measurements, more accuracy could be established.
Because of these changes that I have made to my final product, I will have to tweak my proposal. In addition, I look forward to visiting Dr. Dike’s clinic and taking these measurements; I will now be conducting a present-time research study!
It’s unbelievable to think that spring break is just around the corner: the last long break until I graduate. When put that way, it seems surreal to think that senior year is almost over. Of course, this means that the final product deadline and final presentation night are just inching closer and closer.
In order to prepare for the month of May when I will be juggling with preparations for graduation, eight AP tests, final product, final presentation night, and senioritis, I have already started to check some of the more easier tasks off my list. Last week, I talked to Mr. Hernandez and asked if I could use his room for final presentation night. Getting the contract signed was relieving because I had secured a room in my desired location. Last year, I had used Ms. Harty’s room, and as much as I love the layout of her room, I realized that her room was quite hard to find. This year, I want to make my location easily accessible to my guests so I can have a large audience.
In addition to final presentation night, I have also been diligently working on my final product by reading about different articles that talk about the risk factors of migraines. I plan on meeting with Dr. Dike this week so that I can officially begin working on the retrospective analysis.
I came back from a four-day weekend only to go to school for two days: sounds like the ultimate dream. On Thursday, I headed over to downtown Dallas to compete in the State Conference for DECA. Going to DECA reminds me of my ISM topic of last year, International Marketing, and although I have found a new career path, I could never forget my past journey that made me realize my true calling. Thus, when DECA conferences roll around, I am always excited to catch up with my friends who are interested in business. I look forward to meeting up with everyone once again in Orlando for the International Conference!
Aside from DECA, I also took some time this weekend to review my original work presentation that was given a week ago. It is always interesting to see how watching the videos gives me such a different perspective of my presentation. For example, sometimes when I paused during the presentation, I felt as if I was talking so slow, but while watching the video, it seemed very natural. Thus, watching the video has made me realize that when I consciously think about talking very slow, I will end up talking at a normal speed.
Now, it is time to start diligently working on my final product!
Just like every Friday this past month, I headed over to Affinity Neurocare last Friday around lunchtime to meet up with my mentor, Dr. Dike. After enjoying some Chinese food and a casual conversation with some of the office staff and physician assistants, I came to realize that I could really get used to this lifestyle: I was now truly looking forward to Friday’s and not just because of the weekend.
While shadowing Dr. Dike, I was able to come across many different cases, including two patients with migraines, which is what my final product will be over. However, this visit taught me a lot about the emotional aspect of neurology, including the importance of patient privilege and patient confidentiality even when it is immediate family members who are asking for the information.
In addition, I was also able to learn about the importance of transcultural health care. One of the patients came in complaining of different varied symptoms, but everytime Dr. Dike asked her questions, her husband would answer instead. At first, there was a concern of abuse, but soon, it became apparent that it was due to cultural differences. Especially in the United States, where there are hundreds of different cultures present, it is important to respect patients’ personal preferences and boundaries even if it not the norm in the United States.
Even though it seems as if senior year has just started, it is already time to start coming up with ideas for the final product; the end is near. Starting off the brainstorming process, I had no idea what to do for my final product. The only thing that I was certain about was that I wanted to help others in a more direct manner. I thought about organizing a free neurological clinic for the community, but after doing research and realizing how expensive basic scans and tests are, I realized that this would not be feasible.
During my visits to Affinity Neurocare, Dr. Dike had mentioned that he was trying to start research of his own using his patient cases, and he would love for me to work on that with him whenever I got the chance. I decided to look more into this option, so when I went on my mentor visit last Friday, Dr. Dike and I talked about possible research topics. After discussing topics such as the effect of socioeconomic factors on stroke development and the correlation between obesity and migraines, we decided that it would be best to conduct a retrospective analysis on the latter because Dr. Dike has had many patients with migraine issues in the past. Furthermore, finding a correlation between migraines and obesity could help tremendously in treating this severe headache, especially in the United States where obesity is a major health issue.
In the next upcoming weeks, I will be tweaking my proposal and defining it more clearly so that I can go ahead and officially get started.