Friday, March 15, 2019

Common neurological ailments caused by heavy substance abuse

Prolonged substance abuse, regardless if it involves illegal or legal substances, can have harrowing effects on the human mind and body.

This is why rehabilitation is such a crucial step in weaning people from drugs. Their dependence on substances could go beyond cravings and cause neurological disorders, which are more difficult to reverse.

Sometimes, these changes are permanent. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, a leading neurological expert, heavy substance abuse can easily cause damages to the human mind and body. Examples of such damages are:

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Seizures

Seizures are triggered in a variety of ways, and one of them is through substance abuse. Seizures usually result from erratic changes in the electrical activity produced by the brain. Taking substances like methamphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy in high doses can trigger this phenomenon. Likewise, withdrawal from substances like benzodiazepine can also have similar results.

Encephalopathy

Encephalopathy is associated with altered mental stages due to brain damage. It is often a complication brought about by liver damage or oxygen deprivation of the brain. While encephalopathy has a chance of being reduced through early treatments, extensive damage is often permanent.

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Dementia

Although dementia is often used as an umbrella term for various neurological conditions, dementia caused by substance abuse is often associated with decrease in intellect, as well as cognitive levels, memory loss, and cognitive functions like speech, concentration, and judgment. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, heavy abuse of substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and benzodiazepines can cause dementia.

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 read more about Dr. Cripe and his work, visit this website.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The major elements of memory

Memory plays an important role in the brain’s completion of different tasks, as Dr. Curtis Cripe emphasizes in his neurodevelopment program. One of the most frequent tasks of the brain is cognition, which is defined by Oxford dictionary as “the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” Memory is crucial in cognition because it is required in learning, storing, and using information received by the brain.

The major elements of memory are the following:

Short-term memory: This refers to the amount or bits of information that the brain retains at any point in time. It can last between one second and 24 hours, with the span depending on the amount of relevance is placed on the memory.

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Intermediate memory: Also referred to as working memory, intermediate memory occurs when the information or memory has been processed. It determines how one might feel or decide in a given situation. Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions that some developmental delays in children and dementia in adults can be caused by poor working memory, or even short-term memory challenges.



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Long-term memory: Memories that can be recalled for years, or even throughout one’s life, are part of the long-term memory. This is divided into three parts, namely, episodic memory (events and experiences), semantic memory (facts, concepts, textbook information, and other similar information), and procedural memory (skills, tasks, and hands-on learning.)

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, brain injury, and more. Visit this website to read similar articles.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The causes and treatments of memory loss

Short-term memory or the onset of forgetfulness, even if simply occasional, can be significantly disruptive to daily lives. There are a variety of causes for loss of memory, and we’ve outlined them below:

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One common cause is both prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication. It could very possibly be that your sleeping pills, antihistamines, anti-depressants, pain medication after undergoing a surgery, or muscle relaxants are interfering with your memory. Secondly, there’s lack of sleep. If you’ve been overworked and simply getting too little sleep, the resulting fatigue could also affect the processing and retrieval of information in the brain.


Other major contributors to memory loss are bad nutrition or deficiency in nutrients and vitamins, stress and depression, heavy consumption of alcohol, smoking, drug use, and incurrence of a head injury. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to mitigate the condition. Eating healthier food and sleeping right are practical ways to keep memory loss at bay.

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For most people getting on in age, it’s advisable to socialize more regularly, as doing so pushes back depression and stress which are also known causes of memory loss. Staying mentally active, from doing crossword puzzles and volunteering for civic projects to learning to play a musical instrument or reading more books, is also an effective deterrent of memory loss.

Engaging in more physical activities is also a good way to retain a sharp memory. A sedentary life decreases blood flow throughout our body and brain. Jogging, brisk walking, and doing aerobics and meditation activities like yoga help greatly; a simple 10- to 15-minute walk in a day is a great regular habit to develop.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in developing brain-based technology for healing and repairing neurological dysfunctions. For more info on Dr. Curtis and the NTL Group, go to this website.

Friday, October 12, 2018

What are the most common cognitive disorders?

Cognitive disorders or neurocognitive disorders are mental health disorders that are known to cause cognitive impairments in the lines of learning, memory, perception, and problem-solving. They have acquired diseases that represent a decline in one’s physical and mental health. Cognitive disorders can fall under delirium or mild and major neurocognitive disorders.


The treatment of cognitive disorders varies with each disease where these disorders manifest. Here are some of the most common cognitive disorders affiliated with neurological conditions.

Delirium: Delirium is defined as a disturbance in one’s consciousness that occurs in a short period of time which results in a rapid change between mental states. Sub-categories of delirium include substance intoxication delirium, substance withdrawal delirium, and unspecified delirium that occurs when symptoms of different neurocognitive disorders are present, but the cause is unknown.

Dementia: Dementia is the loss of brain functions more commonly taking place in parts of the brain responsible for memory. It may also cause other cognitive impairments. Diseases related to dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia due to Parkinson’s disease, dementia due to multiple etiologies, substance-induced persisting dementia, and many other forms due to neurological disorders.

Symptoms of cognitive disorders are often shared by diseases that affect the brain’s ability to function. Some of the more recognizable symptoms include rapid changes in mental state, poor or short-term memory, learning difficulties, inability to recognize languages, disorganized thinking, and memory problems.

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. He founded the Crossroads Institute, and now heads the research and development teams as the developer of Cognitive Repair for Brain Disorders technology. For more information on cognitive disorders, visit this page.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Common neurodevelopment problems affecting children.

A child’s brain is constantly in continual development, growth, and tremendous changes and connections because it is frequently stimulated by the environment where it develops. There are a number of disorders from abnormal brain development or damage at an early age, and depending on the time the damage or abnormality occurs, the impact and effects will largely vary.



Autism This developmental disorder appears in the first three years of life, affecting the brain’s normal developing of social and communication skills. Patients process information in the brain and develop at different rates in every ear. Those diagnosed with autism have persistent difficulties in areas such as social communication, motor or verbal behavior, and sensory behavior.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) This childhood mental condition usually takes place before age seven and involves impaired or diminished attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. A child with this problem could lack attention to detail and the ability to sit still. He or she might talk excessively, has excessive energy, or interrupts in other people’s activities, to name a few.

Learning disorders Dyslexia is a reading disorder marked by an impaired ability to recognize words, poor comprehension, and slow reading. Dysgraphia is a writing disorder where there may be problems in writing specific words or writing in general, while dyscalculia is a calculation disorder in the basic arithmetic skills such as addition and subtraction.

Anxiety disorders Here, children worry excessively about many things, from school to their health to their future in general. These may include social phobia, antisocial behavior, and panic attacks, and the anxiety or depression may persist into adulthood.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a multidisciplinary neuroengineer who currently heads the Research and Development Division of NTL Group, for advanced technology for brain and cognitive repair. Read more about neurodevelopment on this page.

Monday, August 6, 2018

A look at Parkinson’s and its treatments

Each year, thousands of Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Today, around 1 million people living in the United States are afflicted with the progressive neurodegenerative disease. The disease causes severe malfunction with vital nerve cells and neurons in the brain such as the dopamine-producing neurons called substantia nigra, causing these neurons to wither and die. 

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The effect of the death of substantia nigra is the loss of dopamine, a chemical that is directly tied to a person’s movement and coordination. A substantial decrease in dopamine can cause tremors, speech changes, difficulty with basic movements, and stiffness in a person. These are all symptoms of Parkinson’s. 

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are ways to make life easier for the patient. One of the more sought-after treatments is deep brain stimulation or DBS. Through DBS, a neurostimulator is placed in the brain. The electrodes of the device are implanted into the target brain area, while the implanted pulse generator sends electrical pulses to stimulate the brain. The pulses travel through an insulated wire. 

There are few side-effects with DBS, and it has been very much preferred over dated surgery techniques for Parkinson’s. However, it must be noted again that DBS is not a cure. Part of the treatment includes medication, which should be taken according to doctor’s instructions. 

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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.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Why We Should Take a Bump On The Head Seriously

While we often take for granted minor head injuries sustained from accidents or sports, it’s best to go through the so-called “concussion protocol” when they happen. More than a simple bump on the head is a bruise, then possible nausea, blurred vision, headache, and dizziness.


In any case, we shouldn’t wait for more complications to appear whenever we receive a hit or blow to the head. Even if the pain goes away within minutes, we should monitor the situation within 24 hours. This is especially true when the head injury is incurred by children. If the symptoms above don’t go away or become chronic, the recourse is to go to the hospital’s emergency minor injuries unit for a check-up.

Also, we might be too dismissive of the injury to notice that it’s already a serious one. Tell-tale signs of serious head injuries requiring immediate medical attention are difficulty in staying awake or being sleepy hours after, bruising and bleeding from one or both ears, sudden problems with reading and writing, poor vision, and slurred speech. In short, we don’t need to see blood or a person outright falling unconscious to know that a head injury is serious.

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Even if everything seems to be fine after bumping your head, you’ve to make sure that there’s no concussion. It’s still advisable to have someone watch over you or be within easy reach via phone or chat for the first 48 hours. Also, do not take sleeping pills, drink alcohol, nor drive a car. In general, avoid any stressful situations for at least a day.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group. He has published two peer-reviewed papers and wrote two book chapters on neurotherapy and neuroengineering. Drop by this website to know more about Dr. Cripe’s work and interests.