Development of a Novel Cardiovascular Vessel Health Monitor; Investigation of the Role of Poker on Poker Players Mental and Physical Health

Kenefick, Brendan, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Hossack, John, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Mazimba, Sula, MD-INMD CV Medicine, University of Virginia
Mehta, Nishaki, MD-INMD CV Medicine, University of Virginia

This thesis portfolio encompasses the work of two largely unrelated projects; a technical Capstone report and an STS Research Paper. The technical topic was a continuation of a summer research project in the UVa Biomedical Engineering department and the STS topic was chosen due to personal interests in poker and health. The goal of the technical Capstone project is to create a device that can monitor patient heart health inexpensively and noninvasively through the use of pulse wave velocity (PWV) analysis and metabolic equivalents of task (METS) calculations to gauge a patient’s health fitness for cardiac surgery. Measurements of PWV can predict early-onset factors of heart disease. In addition, the device provides users with an objective method of calculating METS. Calculating METS in this manner allows decreases the element of human error in the estimation of one’s health and allows healthcare professionals to make a more informed decision when sending a patient into surgery. Finally, in order to validate the efficacy of the device, an Institutional Review Board for Health Sciences Research (IRB-HSR) clinical trial commenced. The trial was designed to test the device on both healthy and sick patients in a clinical setting, in order to gain insight into necessary changes in future iterations.

Poker is a gambling card game that contributes to the larger pathological gambling issue in the United States today. Pathological gambling, a recognized mental health disorder, is one of many effects that poker has on players; as additional mental and physical health disorders have been connected to poker and gambling. These effects are often exacerbated by the environment cultivated by casinos and cardrooms, both land-based and online. Therefore, the STS Research Paper attempts to answer the question of how this environment contributes to the mental and physical health of poker players. In order to frame the problem and structure an answer to this research question, Ulrich Beck’s theory of risk analysis is utilized. This framework is supported by evidence gathered through ethnography, discourse analysis, and documentary research methods. The goal of this research is to shed light upon and provide sufficient supporting evidence for an important and relevant current issue. In addition, the research contributes to the field of STS as a case study of risk analysis and risk management. This can also be applicable to many engineering disciplines but, specifically, systems engineering as risk analysis is most often associated with the field. As poker and gambling as a whole begin to become legalized throughout the United States, the hope is that this paper will lead to additional comprehensive research on the topic, in order to better understand the causes and effects of the mental and physical health concerns caused by poker and other forms of gambling.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Pulse Wave Velocity, Arterial Stiffness, Poker, Health, Risk Analysis

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Technical Advisors: John A. Hossack, Sula Mazimba, Nishaki K. Metha
STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook
Technical Team Members: Daryl K. Brown II, Justin Z. Yao

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