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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Mental activity as a contributing factor to brain resilience

For a long time, the medical sector had believed that the adult brain is immutable and fixed. Neurologists had assumed that the brain was a lot less flexible after a certain point, and the stubbornness of a few had done little to dispel that notion. Today, the brain is discovered to be more elastic than previously thought, and that an active brain contributes to this resilience in more ways than one. 

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Discoveries made as far back as the 1960s has pointed to the ability of the brain to repair itself. Key findings include the production of new neurons (previously thought to be restricted to those in the nose) within the hippocampus, a pivotal region of the brain associated with memory. Neuroscientists have also noted that, at times, patients have made gradual recoveries from traumatic brain injury, leading them to explore the true extents of the brain’s ability to heal itself. 

Today, two principles are now known to affect the resilience of the brain: neurogenesis, which involves the creation of new brain cells, and brain plasticity, which refers to the rearrangement of the connections between neurons. The brain is known to create new neurons and maintain the connections between them whenever it is active. Further studies have corroborated the ability for physically and mentally engaging activities to suppress the onset of mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s.

Besides this, the ability for activities to strengthen brain plasticity has opened new horizons for neuroscience. The discipline of neuroengineering, which applies brain plasticity to help resolve compromised neural connections, has found extensive use in rehabilitative medicine. By stimulating the brain, it can be coaxed to heal severed connections gradually. 

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Dr. Curtis Cripe’s work in neuroengineering is the basis of the treatment programs used by the NTL Group. Visit this website for more on Dr. Cripe’s work.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Drug Addiction And Recovery: Two Eye-Opening Facts

Any form of addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s life. Drug addiction is one of the worst addictions to have. It can bring all the aspects of a person’s life – personal, psychological, social, mental, emotional, and financial – to ruin. Here are two eye-opening facts about drug addiction.


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It can happen to anyone.
Some people believe, much to their peril, that if they consume drugs occasionally rather than frequently, they can somehow skirt addiction. They think that only weak people can become addicts, people who are unable to deal with their problems. But what they don’t consider is that dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin can get a person hooked after one usage.

It can create and worsen a number of health disorders.



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Drug addiction is a disorder. It can lead to other illnesses, particularly mental ones. There are four major mental disorders. First are anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The second kind of mental disorders that arise from drug addiction are mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. Then there are personality disorders. Paranoia is a common personality disorder. The last category and arguably the most serious disorder group are psychotic disorders. Schizophrenia is a terrible psychotic disorder, which can be caused by drug abuse.

NTL Group’s BrainRecoveryTM focusses on underlying cognitive brain functions allowing the individual to return to a normal productive life without encountering the same detrimental relapse cycles. It works to re-balance the brain and break relapse cycles. And overseeing this program and other NTL Group’s NeuroEngineered Services is Dr. Curtis Cripe, director of Research & Development. For more on drug addiction and recovery, follow this Twitter account.

Monday, September 26, 2016

What Everyone Should Know About Bioengineering

Bioengineering has grown over the years together with the advancement of technology. In fact, it is solving more and more real-world problems. But what exactly is it?

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The differences between bioengineering and traditional engineering lie in the concepts used. For example, traditional engineering uses physics and math to evaluate, analyze, design, and create useful inanimate tools and physical structures, while bioengineering looks into the ever-increasing information taken from molecular biology to analyze and develop more complex and useful applications of bio-organisms. Bioengineering also has the creation of biotechnology as its goal. There is a possibility of future machines that can find and repair damages in the human body, and help cure illnesses that modern medicine could not.

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 Image source: bioengineering-inc.com

Industrial bioengineering revolves around the growing or creation of new organs and tissues to replace those in a patient’s body that are too damaged to function. This would eliminate the wait for donors. Today’s industrial bioengineering applications are also creating modified organisms such as plants for farming and agriculture.

Bioengineering has other branches. An example would be biomimetics, which is the study of how various living organisms are built and how they function. The goal of this is to apply the information to traditional engineering.

There has been a bit of confusion between the terms bioengineering and biomedical engineering. The primary difference worth noting is that biomedical engineering is geared toward creation and development of medical innovations. Bioengineering uses engineering in biology, but not just for medical purposes.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes bioengineering, among other disciplines. He is the head of the research and development department of the NTLgroup®. Learn more about what he does by following this Facebook page.