Meeting a Participant with Cortical Blindness and Establishing a Final Sample Size

Natania A -

Hey everyone! During this past week, I have continued to administer the second language test to residents at Paseo and Fairmont, and have administered the first language test to a few residents at Sunshine. Although some residents did score lower in the presence of music, the majority of residents scored higher when music was a component, maintaining the trend from last week. Out of the 6 participants with whom I have completed both sessions so far, only 2 of them scored lower on the assessment after listening to the music. One of them I observed to be in a generally worse mood while taking the test compared to the first time, which may be a reason for her lower score. For the second participant, however, I am expecting that the visual supplements added to the test after the first session may have had an impact. This resident has cortical blindness, meaning that although his ocular vision is intact, his brain is unable to process visual information due to lesions in the occipital cortex. Consequently, this participant struggled to name certain objects or read certain words he saw on the page and described that he was able to see the picture for a split second but that if he kept staring, the picture would disappear. After making sure with him that he still felt comfortable completing the assessment, I used the visual supplements as little as possible during the session. This was a unique experience, but I am hoping that these two participants will not significantly skew my results. 

As a general plan moving forward, I will be wrapping up with the process of gaining consents from new participants next week and conducting the first session with new participants the week after, as I would like all participants to have completed their second session by the last week of April, ensuring that the 3 week period between sessions remains intact and giving me adequate time to analyze my results, draw conclusions, and prepare the final presentation with my findings. Now that I am finishing up the process of acquiring new participants, I am anticipating that my final sample size will be approximately 20 participants. Initially, I was aiming for a larger sample size, but as the project unfolded and I gained more experience, I realized that 20 was a more realistic number, as obtaining a single consent required me to speak to the resident about my study, to email the power of attorney with a consent form, and sometimes even to call family members to explain the nature of my project. There were also many limitations, including some residents being unable to speak or being unwilling to participate on a particular day. However, I am grateful for the obstacles I am facing during this research study, as I know they will equip me to handle clinical research as a college and medical student. 

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    srimayi_l
    Hi Natania! It's really cool to see your project progress! I look forward to seeing your final presentation and product!
    saahithi_i
    Hi Natania! It has been amazing reading through these posts and seeing your progress! I can't wait to see how everything comes together. What was the original sample size you were thinking of obtaining when you started?
    natania_a
    Thank you Saahithi and Srimayi! When I first started, my goal was about 40 participants (10 per disorder) but now that I have generalized my groups into neurological disorders and psychiatric disorders, I am still able to have 10 participants per group with a sample size of 20
    Brittany Holtzman
    Hi Natania! I'm so glad your results are mostly coming out how you had predicted. But I am even more happy that you are having such a positive attitude and gratitude for the obstacles that you are dealing with throughout this process. That's where the real learning is happening! Keep up the great work! -Mrs. Holtzman
    camillebennett
    Great work Natania! Do you think that you would try to account for diagnoses that may impact survey results if you ran the test again on a different sample group?

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