I would like a good website realting to the application of medical technology in mental health. What is currently happening in the field, and what is the impact of medical technology?

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boblawrence | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The term “Medical Technology” encompasses a broad spectrum of fields that are applied in medical care, ranging from computer applications for management of medical information, to sophisticated technologies applied to the molecular diagnosis of diseases.  Technologies involved in monitoring patients include such things as electrocardiography, telemetry, pacemakers, electrophysiologic monitoring, etc.

Another sense of “Medical Technology” is that which your question refers to, namely laboratory medical technology.  This field applies chemistry, genetics, hematology, immunology, serology, bodily fluid analysis, etc. to the diagnosis and treatment of disease.  The laboratory medical technologist ordinarily has a college degree in a related scientific or biologic field, and one or more additional years of specialty training in a school of medical technology.  Medical technologists are licensed medical professionals.

In the mental health arena, laboratory medical technologists do testing for ordinary medical conditions (for screening for underlying diseases, or as necessary if the mental patient becomes physically ill), plus specialized testing that is needed to monitor psychotropic drug levels.

Typical testing that you, as a mental health laboratory medical technologist would perform fall into these categories:

1.  Comprehensive laboratory screen for general diseases

2.  Thyroid testing

3.  Blood sugar testing

4.  Screens for things like gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, etc.

5.  24-hour urinary protein analysis for kidney and metabolic disease

6.  Toxicology to detect things like heavy metal poisoning that can mimic mental illness

7.  Very specialized testing such as molecular diagnosis of mental retardation disorders

8.  Very specialized testing for genetic disorders that might cause mental symptoms

The first reference defines medical technology in general, as well as laboratory medical technology.

The second reference is a web site that discusses medical technology in the mental health setting.

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