Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Few Known Causes Of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The development of the nervous system is by no meager means simple. This process that includes the growth of the brain is genetically encoded, highly regulated, and orchestrated. Even the environment has a huge influence on the process.

With this in mind, it’s to be expected that any deviation from the development process may result in a disorder, specifically, a neurodevelopmental disorder. There are many major factors, such as the timing of these deviations. But as for the known causes, scientists and researchers alike have found a few that include deprivation, genetic and metabolic diseases, immune system malfunction, physical trauma, and as mentioned earlier, environmental factors.

Take for instance deprivation from social, mental, and emotional care. This causes delays when it comes to brain and cognitive development. More often than not these delays are severe, especially when deprivation occurs during infancy and early childhood.

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Genetics though, is a bit different since it cannot be controlled. The best example of genetics playing a part in a neurodevelopmental disorder can be seen in children with Down syndrome. Immune dysfunction is also like genetics in the sense that it cannot be controlled. A lot of neurodevelopmental disorders that involve immune dysfunction happen during pregnancy. The disorder known as Sydenham’s chorea, wherein the body moves in an abnormal fashion has been found to be rooted in the body and reaction against Streptococcus bacteria, in which brain tissue is damaged.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes child neurodevelopment. He is the head of the Research and Development department of NTL group. Learn more about Dr. Cripe’s work by visiting this Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Understanding ADHD with These Helpful Facts

Over the past few decades, more and more individuals have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. A lot of speculation and debate has been had over ADHD, its existence and its nature. All the conflicting information has only served to cloud people’s understanding of ADHD. Here are a few facts that may help clarify the disorder.


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It exists.
Forget about people saying that kids don’t have ADHD, that they’re just naturally and easily distracted. Most every medical, psychological, and educational organization in the US has recognized ADHD as a true medical disorder. Medical experts have also deemed it necessary to be treated once diagnosed.
It doesn’t discriminate.
ADHD can affect everyone. It doesn’t matter whether a person is young or old, or male or female, ADHD doesn’t discriminate. Although it has been found that almost one out of every ten children in America are diagnosed with ADHD, and two to three boys are being diagnosed for every girl.
It isn’t easily diagnosed.
ADHD is difficult to diagnose as the process of diagnosis itself is complex. People can’t look at a restless child and simply say that he or she has ADHD. A thorough observation has to be made to look for the various major symptoms. This period needs to go on for a minimum of six months. These symptoms and behaviors happen in almost every setting, which is why the people conducting the diagnostic procedure need to be extra observant at all times.
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Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a multi-disciplinary background that includes neurodevelopmental disorders in children. At present, he heads of the Research and Development department of NTL group. To find out more about Dr. Cripe’s work, follow this Facebook page.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Seeing Into The Spectrum: Advanced Neuroimaging Technique Said To Predict Autism

There used to be no predicting whether babies less than two years old will develop autism or other developmental disorders later on. But an advanced MRI technique being studied by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is showing promise in decoding how different regions of the brain interact in babies at high risk for autism.

Image source: Harvard.edu

Functional connectivity MRI, or fcMRI, reveals a correlation between connections among certain areas of the brain and the likelihood of autism.The researchers focused on infants with siblings diagnosed with autism, as this set is assumed to be high-risk. The fcMRI, scanning 230 different regions of the brain associated with specific abilities such as language and social behavior, was conducted on them in their sleep when they were six months old. The scans were studied alongside other clinical information in the formation of predictions.

The study, published in the June 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine, supports the idea that the brain undergoes changes before behavioral symptoms of autism manifest at two years. It then grouped neuroimaging results among a population of 59 six-month-old infants into autism and non-autism predictions. It also identified almost a thousand brain connections that are predictive of autism.

The confirmation of the study’s predictions was compelling. Eighty-two percent (9 out of 11) of infants predicted to develop the disorder went on to have autism. The study also correctly predicted all the infants who will not develop the disorder.

The predictive promise of neuroimaging in the early identification of neurodevelopmental disorders is seen to support recommendations for early intervention, which mitigates the behavioral symptoms of autism.

Image source: Psychneuro.wordpress.com

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. To learn about the basics of neuroimaging and other neuroengineering techniques, visit this webpage.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Learning Disorders And What People Can Learn From Them

Whenever people have trouble processing information from what they read in books, their learning rate goes down. This is more of a neurological disorder and can have negative effects on a person’s ability to organize thoughts and remember important details. Here are a few more learning disorders to note.

Dysgraphia

The symptoms of dysgraphia can mostly be seen in a person’s handwriting. This learning disorder has a huge impact on a person’s fine motor skills. People diagnosed with dysgraphia may exhibit irregularities in their handwriting, such as inconsistency when it comes to spaces, clear differences in font sizes, inconsistent use of paper space, numerous spelling errors, and overall difficulty in composition.

Image source: danielcameronmd.com
Auditory Processing Disorder or APD

As the name suggests, people diagnosed with APD have difficulty processing information that they hear. When there are subtle differences in the sounds of words, it often goes unnoticed by people with APD. This happens even when words are clearly spoken. Individuals with APD also have difficulty pinpointing the origin of the sound, and they sometimes find it impossible to make sense of it.

Visual Perceptual and/or Motor Deficit

This is very similar to APD except that the sense that is affected is sight. People with visual perceptual or motor deficit not only find processing and interpreting what they see, but they also have a difficult time copying or drawing it. Shapes and letters, as well qualities such as colors can get past them. They also have problems drawing either because they hold the pen or pencil too tightly, or they have poor hand and eye coordination.

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NTL Group specializes in neuroengineering programs diagnosing and treating neurological disorders connected to learning disorders and many other disabilities. Dr. Curtis Cripe heads research and development. For more about his work, visit this website.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Brief Introduction To Neuromechanics

Neuromechanics combines information and techniques from biomechanics, neurobiology, robotics, and sensation and perception. Scientists in this field study neural tissues, specifically their mechanical properties. Researchers are also concerned with the ability of neural tissues to take and give force, as well as how they can respond to trauma.

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Image source: oregonstate.edu

Researchers primarily focus on the info among neuromuscular and skeletal systems, and the transformations it goes through. In fact, simulations have been done to connect computer models of neural circuits to virtual animal bodies.

A lot of what’s involved in the analysis of neuromechanics depend on the kinematics and dynamics of movement, the patterns of feedback (both motor and sensory) during movement, and both the synaptic and circuit organization of the brain responsible for motor control.

Some experts in the field do research on the mechanical stretch of cells, shear deformation of cell cultures (planar) and three-dimensional cell matrices. To understand all this can lead to the creation of more accurate functioning models.

Further research on neuromechanics can improve on treatment for patients suffering from physiological diseases or injuries. The future of neuroengineering, especially in this particular sub-field seems to be nothing but exciting indeed.

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Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer who heads the Research and Development department of NTL group. Discover more about Dr. Cripe by following this Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Misconceptions About Children With ADHD

A study conducted in 2005 found that four per cent of American adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. However, even with this number indicating the widespread nature of the condition, several misconceptions exist. Here are some of the mistaken beliefs society has on children with ADHD, and ADHD itself.

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It’s not a real disorder.

Some people question whether or not ADHD is real. And yes, it is. It has been discovered that there is a strong biological component attached to ADHD. Studies have shown children with ADHD have gene variations that other children do not.

Children can outgrow ADHD.

ADHD doesn’t disappear as kids grow up. The symptoms simply evolve. Even if they seem less hyperactive, adults who were once children with ADHD would have difficulty completing everyday tasks, especially ones that are boring. These adults always feel a restlessness within, and an itch, wanting to be always on the move.

ADHD medicine is addictive.

Studies have found this to be false. In fact, the opposite was discovered. Patients with ADHD who take stimulant medication are much less likely to develop a substance addiction compared to those who don’t take the meds.

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Everyone has ADHD.

Sure, everyone feels restless at one point or another. People have this feeling of easily getting bored, distracted, and overwhelmed. Much of this can be attributed to technology, not genetics. A person with ADHD gets distracted a lot more often, and the consequences are much steeper.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes child neurodevelopment, among other disciplines. He is also the head of the Research and Development department of the NTL group. For more on Dr. Cripe and his work, follow this Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Neuroscience Behind Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is more often than not, a terrifying phenomenon wherein people wake up in the middle of the night and find themselves unable to move. They are, of course, conscious and aware. It has led many to believe that the worst is actually happening. People who experience sleep paralysis feel like they’re tied up, or have an intruder laying on top of them. Many, unsurprisingly, fall into panic and imagine the unimaginable, including the supernatural. The science behind it though debunks all theories of ghosts, spirits, and things that go bump in the night.

Image source: learning-mind.com
This phenomenon can be understood more when people look at REM atonia, which is a paralysis that happens when people reach the part of sleep called REM or rapid eye movement. Sleep paralysis occurs as one falls asleep or as one awakens.

Sleep paralysis that happens when falling asleep causes the person to be aware of the body shutting down and preparing itself for REM. This is what researchers refer to as hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. But when the person wakes up in the middle of REM, it’s called hypnopompic or postdormital.

Image source: collective-evolution.com
Sleep paralysis usually lasts a minute or two, although (and naturally) to some people it may seem much longer.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background in several disciplines. Dr. Cripe currently leads the research and development department of NTL Group. Learn more about Dr. Cripe and the work that he does by subscribing to this Twitter account.