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.

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.