Monday, June 11, 2018

The Differences Between Short- And Long-Term Memory

The brain takes in and processes a plethora of thoughts and experiences every day, some of which only get stored for a few seconds or minutes, others assimilated for days, while some get etched in the brain for years or even entire lifetime. It is one’s capacity to recall these thoughts that is the basis for memory.
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Memory is, therefore, either short- or long-term. Remembering, for example, who called you up before you went to bed, or what you ate this morning before work, constitutes short-term memory. Experts sometimes call it active or primary memory. In general, short-term memories remain for a span of 30 seconds to several days.

Most short-term types will be eventually forgotten to make way for new ones unless one consciously takes the effort to recall them. When this is done, such memories get stored in the brain’s frontal lobe, the area that allows for long-term memories.

Long-term memory, therefore, refers to facts, experiences, and evens that happened weeks, months, or years back. The conscious decision or need to remember is often the reason for these memories, like recalling one’s Social Security number or ATM password, or when one wants to retain what they have studied for a test.
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However, sometimes what one may not intend to remember still gets stored as long-term memory. This is because an event has a very strong link to one’s sensory experience or a particular emotion, like the passing of a loved one or a first visit to another country.

Dr. Curtis Cripe’s professional career and academic background span a diverse range of disciplines, including aerospace engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, and child neurodevelopment. For more on his work, visit this page.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Encouraging Mental Fitness In Children

Most adults are unaware that children are also subject to stress. Starting school, being scared of the dark, experiencing difficulties playing with others, not being able to express themselves, and other overwhelming situations can be stressful for them. Engaging in intense mental and physical activities that they think are too difficult for them to accomplish can also be a source of mental fatigue. Instead of thinking that children are carefree and always happy, parents should also take note of their little ones' change in moods, emotions, actions, and reactions.

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Mental fitness should be developed from an early age in consideration of the child’s different responses to the things they experience. Just like developing physical skills, sharpening a child's capacity to think and respond will lead to better mental and emotional health. While most people associate mental fitness with brain booster puzzles and critical thinking, it can start with understanding and coping with different thoughts and emotions. Training a child to be open about these things will also help them to communicate well with the people around them. Being consistent with affirmation and discipline will also contribute to building their own values.

When a child is mentally fit, they excel in other areas as well. As they are still in the stage where they are still receptive to new experiences, this is the best time to train their minds so that they will grow up to be insightful, responsive, and resilient. Being able to think on their feet is an ability that will always be advantageous as they grow up.

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Dr. Curtis Cripe played an important role in the development of the treatment programs used by NTL Group, which specializes in the treatment of learning disabilities. For more information about Dr. Cripe and his work, visit this page.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Exploring Neurological Disorders In Babies: Signs And Symptoms

Babies have the amazing ability to develop incredibly fast, going from helpless tiny humans to fast walkers in no time. But there are plenty of factors why they can fall behind and experience a number of congenital neurological problems. Here are some common disorders of this kind among infants.

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Asphyxia or oxygen deprivation can take place when a baby is deprived of oxygen before, during, or after birth. On the other hand, as a common neurological problem in both babies and children, seizures can range in severity, depending on the underlying cause. Hemorrhages can occur in different parts of an infant’s brain, too, and can also range in severity depending on the size of the brain area affected by bleeding.

More severe neurological conditions can be evident at birth, such as an abnormally large forehead or abnormally shaped skull. Some signs of brain damage include an unusually small skull, abnormal facial features, seizures, stiffness, difficulty focusing vision, and inability to feed. Poor muscle coordination could occur, too – doctors note that this problem and jerking in infant limbs may signal epileptic activity if it persists.

If at delivery the signs of neurological issues are already evident, the doctor will start working with the parents to set up a treatment plan and make sure the baby gets all the needed care. Milder cases are more difficult to identify, but if the baby is already falling behind in the developmental curve, it may be a chance to talk about potential causes and what could be done.

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Dr. Curtis Cripe has a diverse background in neuroengineering, aerospace engineering, psychology, psychophysiology, software development and programming, addiction recovery, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. Read more about neurological diseases on this page.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Symptoms of heroin addiction

Heroin is a dangerous drug and has been plaguing the society for many decades now. Over the years, the lives and families of countless individuals have been wrecked because of addiction to heroin. In many cases, overdose happens, and the worst case scenario occurs. But therapists, doctors, and many other professionals urge people not to give up on heroin addicts. A way of battling this problem is knowing the symptoms.

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For instance, heroin addicts show short-time side effects such as a quick euphoric rush. Some also exhibit flushed skin and extreme irritability of the skin leading to severe itching. Other side effects also include the lowering of blood pressure and heart rate, overall sluggishness, and impaired thought processes. 

But these are the mild symptoms. 

For some heroin users, the reactions are more serious. This happens for a number of reasons. Sometimes, the heroin itself is tainted. Other times, the users have physical ailments, to begin with. More serious reactions (also known as atypical reactions) include severe anxiety and paranoia, shortness of breath, shaking (or tremors), severe headache, chest pain, and heart palpitations. 

People who suspect someone they know is a heroin user should be observant of these symptoms. Interventions have to be planned as soon as possible. And professional help should be sought out. 

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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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Neuroengineering: A Quick Overview

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Neuroengineering marries the different fields of neuroscience, device development, computation, and mathematics, and is an exciting modern venture into science and technology. It has generated plenty of excitement not only for developing interfaces between the brain and computers but also for mostly untapped potential in developing treatments for neurological conditions such as strokes and epilepsy. It combines technologies and algorithms with experimental research to accomplish the following.

Develop devices and computing: This is to assist patients with neural disorders, which affects almost 1 billion people around the globe.

Reveal how neural systems perform computations: This is one of the biggest challenges that confront science today.

Inspire new technologies and algorithms: Through reverse engineering living neural systems, scientists in this field can produce more innovations, such as robotics.

Educate younger scientists and engineers: It can pave the way for transcending the traditional limits and boundaries of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Perhaps one of most memorable examples of neural engineering is the bionic arm, where the DEKA Arm is currently underway in clinical trials out of hopes of providing amputated U.S. soldiers with an artificial limb that is way more advanced than the basic hook used since the World War II. The DEKA Arm recognizes signals coming from the brain and relays signal back to the human organ.

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A closer understanding of how neurons work could discover ways to stimulate or disrupt the neurocircuitry. This way, implantable devices akin to pacemakers could be used for controlling nervous system conditions such as depression and Parkinson’s disease.

With the diverse array of disciplines it incorporates, neuroengineering could offer pioneering insights into understanding further prevalent brain and nervous system disorders and other neurologic deficits affecting millions worldwide.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in neuroengineering programs. For similar discussions, subscribe to this blog.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The different therapies for autism

Individuals with autism belong on a large spectrum. In fact, no two people with ASD are alike. It is also a well-known and universally-accepted fact that there is no cure for ASD. There are, however, different kinds of therapies that can vastly improve the quality of living of a person with autism. Here are some of them.

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Behavioral therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA helps a child with his everyday activities and how they relate to people. ABA also shows a child how to do things on their own at home, such as using the toilet, pouring water for themselves, and preparing their own meals. As such, ABA therapy is best done at home.

Speech therapy
Children on the spectrum often have trouble communicating. This is especially true for those classified as nonverbal or those with severe ASD. Speech therapy doesn’t necessarily teach these kids how to talk, but rather how to communicate via signs and signals. A popular method is having a set of pictures at home. Children point to the objects if they need or want to do something.

Occupational therapy
Occupational therapy or OT helps with the cognitive and physiological functions of a child. OT assists in fostering the brain and motor function coordination which kids with ASD have trouble with. This kind of therapy helps with the most basic movements such as climbing, walking, crawling, pointing, and others.

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Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes the treatment of learning and neurodevelopmental disorders. He currently leads the Research and Development department of the NTL group. For more on Dr. Cripe and the NTL group, follow this Facebook page.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Digit span: Its importance in neurodevelopment

Memory plays a huge part in one’s life. In learning, the brain is made stronger and more robust with the help of enhanced memory. In aging, using an individual’s various skill sets well into their older years, as well as remembering abilities, partly rely on memory. 

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In brain function, memory is one of the most important aspects because, as Crossroads Institute notes, it “defines who we are, what we know, and how we utilize what we know.” 

There are three categories of memories, namely short-term, intermediate or working, and long-term memory. Short-term memory can be measured using digit spans. It is done by letting the participants see or hear a sequence of numbers, and then checking if they were able to recall the digits correctly, either in the normal or reverse order. The longest sequential numbers they accurately remember serves as the digit span. The digit span is a representation of how much information any person can retain at any point in time. 

There are two ways of determining the digital span: either using auditory or visual triggers. If these digit spans are lower than the normal for a person at their age, or there is a significant disparity between the two, the individual could experience learning or behavioral problems. 

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Dr. Curtis Cripe has a diverse background in various fields, including neuroengineering, psychology, psychophysiology, addiction recovery, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. For more information about him, visit this LinkedIn page.