Thursday, January 5, 2023

Dr. Curtis Cripe: Information on Tension Headaches

Dr. Curtis Cripe Discusses Tension Headaches and Its Treatment

Image source:

According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, the common headache has a name, and it is called tension headache.

Tension headaches are typically described as mild to moderate pain. They can be felt behind the eyes, head, and neck. Many patients often compare the pain to wearing a tight headband.

Today, Dr. Curtis Cripe explains more about tension headaches. He talks about possible causes, symptoms, and treatment.

One major factor that often comes out as a likely cause of tension headaches is muscle contractions in the head and neck regions. Other possible causes are stress and hectic activities. Dr. Curtis Cripe notes that even staring at a computer screen and driving for extended periods can cause tension headaches.

Image source:

People who experience it usually feel dull, aching pain that pushes around the head like a tight band. They also mention a marked tenderness in the scalp, neck, and shoulder muscles.

Tension headache has two categories, notes Dr. Curtis Cripe. The first is "episodic tension headache." This occurs for less than 15 days a month for three months. The second is "chronic tension headache," which happens for 15 or more days a month for three months.

The following can be done to treat tension headaches, according to Dr. Curtis Cripe: Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily and sleep and wake at the same time each day. Also, Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions that it's important not to skip meals, especially breakfast. You should also rest in a quiet and dark room. Managing your stress with relaxation exercises and taking the prescribed medication can alleviate the pain, too.

Finally, Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions avoiding things that may trigger a tension headache, ranging from eating certain foods to alcohol to staying up late at night.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is head of research and development at the NTL Group, specializing in developing brain-based technology for healing and repairing neurological dysfunctions. He has published two peer-reviewed papers and wrote two book chapters on neurotherapy and neuroengineering. For more blogs like this, click here.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Dr. Curtis Cripe on Neuroengineering and the Future

Dr. Curtis Cripe Discusses the Potential Future of Neuroengineering

According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, scientists and researchers are getting closer to creating a digital interface between the human brain and computers. The goal is to translate what people think into information that digital platforms can utilize. Such an innovation is especially helpful for people who are unable to communicate, like those with Complete Locked-in syndrome.

Some researchers have tried to see if an interface that uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS, would work. Essentially, this method would measure brain hemodynamic responses, which are usually associated with neuronal activity.

Scientists have tried to use brain-computer interfaces that depend on neuroelectrical technology, like an electroencephalogram or EEG. The endeavor, however, was not successful. It did not help Complete Locked-in syndrome patients communicate.

However, Dr. Curtis Cripe says that this latest technique may give hope to the study. In what seems more like futuristic science fiction than actual science, it involves a non-invasive brain-computer interface. This interface combines the NIRS and EEG technologies and measures frontocentral blood oxygen levels. It also looks at electrical changes that occur in the brain.

Brain-computer interfaces in the past have helped patients communicate. The NIRS is the only technique that works on people with Complete Locked-in syndrome.

Dr. Curtis Cripe explains that this comes as great news for other patients with severe communication problems. He cites patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, as an example. This particular health issue can lead to paralysis later on. Other patients with communication difficulties are those paralyzed because of a stroke or a spinal cord injury.

Another encouraging fact to note is that this is merely the beginning. Dr. Curtis Cripe adds that more studies are projected to have broader applications in the future.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer and the head of the Research and Development department of NTL group for advanced technology for brain and cognitive treatment and repair. To find out more about Dr. Curtis Cripe and NTL group, check out the blogs on this site.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Managing Mental Health Concerns Post-Pandemic

Dr. Curtis Cripe on Why It's Important to Address Mental Health
Since 2020, people's lives have significantly changed due to the pandemic. For the majority, staying home seemed the best way to stay protected from the virus. The world slowly began to reopen with the availability of vaccines and medicines against COVID-19. However, despite the reopening of institutions and businesses, many people still struggle with the mental health issues brought on by the pandemic. These include anxiety, depression, and trauma. In the post-pandemic society, Dr. Curtis Cripe indicates that it's important to continue addressing these issues, noting that neuroplasticity and neuroengineering may be the key to managing these mental health issues.

As Cripe describes, neuroplasticity is the capability of the brain to modify itself in response to stimuli. The ability to direct, train, and influence the brain is called "plasticity." It can help alter the thought processes of those going through anxiety, depression, and trauma. With the right strategies and a healthy lifestyle, the brain can create new neural pathways that will change the mind's reaction to a particular trigger.

Some strategies to improve neuroplasticity involve mindfulness, meditation, exercise, diversion through mind-engaging activities, reality testing, and more. While restructuring the mind can seem challenging at first, these methods can help individuals manage their own thoughts. In the process, continuously engaging in these activities can create new neural pathways to improve response to unpleasant thoughts.

Neuroengineering is an example of how behavioral medicine can address a range of neurological and psychological issues, explains Dr. Curtis Cripe. It is important in many aspects of one's life, including encouraging the development of new skills, knowledge, and cognitive capabilities, and it can be used to alleviate the signs and symptoms of pandemic-related mental health issues.

Ultimately, even as the rest of the world has returned to its hurried ways, people must move at their own pace and allow themselves to recover from the "pandemic lifestyle." At the same time, they should also find support to encourage them to slowly heal and readapt.


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Interesting Facts About Bioengineering

Bioengineering is one of the most fascinating disciplines, helping medical professionals improve the lives of their patients dealing with various medical conditions. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, bioengineering is a practice that involves the design and development of technologies with the aid of biology and engineering to create solutions for healthcare problems, environmental issues, and the like.

Some tools produced by bioengineering research are medical imaging technologies, prosthetics, tissue-engineered organs, and bacteria engineered to produce chemicals.

If you are ready to learn more about bioengineering, below are some interesting facts about one of the fastest-growing fields in the world.
• The demand for bioengineers is growing at a rapid pace. Per data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the bioengineering industry is anticipated to increase by around 7 percent from 2016 to 2026. The rate is higher than the average for all other occupations. There are several reasons behind the rising demand for bioengineers, such as the continuing advancement of technology and the need for innovative solutions to healthcare woes.

• It has enhanced healthcare in many ways. Some well-known examples of medical devices that have been produced thanks to bioengineering include artificial organs and limbs, insulin pumps, and dialysis machines. Dr. Curtis Cripe states that the positive impact of bioengineering in healthcare revolves around biomechanics, biomechatronics, biomedical electronics, and tissue engineering. But the use cases of bioengineering are continuing to expand.

• Bioengineering can solve problems in agriculture. Scientists have been working double time to address food shortage issues affecting many parts of the world. Bioengineering has provided some solutions, including improving food production efficiency, reducing reliance on water and fertilizer, and developing pest-resistant crops. Another bioengineering technique that has been trending these days is soil bioengineering, which is used for bank stabilization, erosion control, and water quality improvement.

Do you want to learn more about bioengineering? Dr. Curtis Cripe shares his knowledge and insights on the field and many others, such as neuroengineering and behavioral medicine, through this Twitter page.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The Future of Neuroengineering: The Possibility of a Brain-computer Interface
Researchers, scientists, and engineers are getting closer to developing an interface between the human brain and a computer that can put people's thoughts in digitized form. Dr. Curtis Cripe has mentioned before that this is especially helpful for people who cannot communicate, such as patients struggling with complete locked-in syndrome.

Checking all possibilities

Researchers and engineers have tried to see if an interface that uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS, would work. Through this method, they would measure brain hemodynamic responses that are usually associated with neuronal activity.

Scientists have also tried to use brain-computer interfaces that depend on neuroelectrical technology, like an electroencephalogram or EEG, though the endeavor ultimately failed in its goal of helping completely locked-in syndrome patients communicate.

A glimpse into the future

This latest technique, though, as Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions, seemed to produce a hopeful outcome. It is a non-invasive brain-computer interface that combines NIRS and EEG technologies. This method measures frontocentral blood oxygen levels and electrical changes that occur in the brain.

Brain-computer interfaces have helped patients communicate in the past; however, Dr. Curtis Cripe says that the NIRS is the only technique that works on people with complete lock-in syndrome.

Just the beginning

This also comes as very welcome news for people unable to communicate because of other health reasons such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, which can lead to paralysis, or those paralyzed because of a stroke or a spinal cord injury.

Finally, Dr. Curtis Cripe points out that this is just the beginning, and studies on brain-computer interfaces are projected to have even broader applications in the future.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at NTL Group, which is made up of an international team of neuroengineers and neuroscientists from multiple disciplines to bring the latest in neurotechnology and programs. In Dr. Cripe's series of posts here, he shares his insights on neuroscience, neuroengineering, psychology, and other related subjects.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Understanding Brain Plasticity and its Importance

Did you know that the human brain can rewire itself and modify its connections? Dr. Curtis Cripe notes that this ability allows the brain to develop as an individual ages and recovers in the event of a brain injury. It is part of what makes the brain one of the most special organs in the body, and this ability is mostly the result of neuroplasticity.

Also called brain plasticity, neuroplasticity refers to the capacity of the central nervous system to change as a response to a stimulus. The biological process in which the brain reorganizes its synapses or the links between nerve cells allows them to pass messages to communicate.

The brain is designed to always try to optimize its functioning. As a result, certain biological mechanisms are in place that allow relevant neural networks in the nervous system to grow stronger and weaken irrelevant connections. The changes in the synapse connections determine how people behave in certain situations or scenarios and help in the formation of memories.

According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, understanding brain plasticity is essential because it plays a huge role in basic human experiences. For example, neuroplasticity is at the root of learning and memory.
In addition, brain plasticity is key in an adult's ability to recover from the loss of function because of traumas, injuries, or substance abuse. Researchers have determined that some neurological treatments, such as cognitive training, deep brain stimulation, and cognitive behavior therapy, have been possible because of the brain's capacity to rewire itself.

There have also been other manifestations of brain plasticity. Studies show that taxi drivers have a bigger volume in their hippocampus or the brain structure that aids in one's ability to navigate. Professional musicians and mathematicians have also exhibited changes in their brain structures compared to control groups.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a multidisciplinary neuroengineer with a diverse background in various fields, including bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychology, brain injury, and software development. He is the founder of NTL Group, an international team of neuroengineers and neuroscientists. To read more about the subject, check out this blog.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Dr. Curtis Cripe: Helping Teens Struggling With Depression
It's not uncommon to find adolescents displaying behavior that is emotional, moody, restless, and rebellious. That said, adults sometimes need to see if there is something deeper causing this behavior in teens, particularly regarding depression. Depression is by no means just a typical mood swing. It is a severe disorder and a widespread mental health concern. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe of NTL Group, studies show that depression affects as many as 5% of teenagers in the US, representing approximately 2.1 million individuals.

The Need for Vigilance

Depression is, unfortunately, not always temporary. There are some instances when it can last for months or even years, with very high chances of returning. Parents must be vigilant and look beyond the manifestation of moodiness or bad temperament. It is crucial to be conscious of drastic changes in the behavior and actions of their children. When a teenager suddenly loses appetite and weight, develops an unwillingness to socialize, or starts doing poorly in school, this is a cause for concern. Depression is often associated with increased irritability and agitation, which makes the problem branch out further into an array of disorders from learning disability to anxiety. Furthermore, diagnosing depression in teens can be a complex process that requires examining many different factors.

The Need for Professional Help

Parents must remember that depression, especially teen depression, can be treated. There are ways of handling depression cases, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. Parents should not simply settle for giving their teens antidepressants unless these are prescribed, and prescription of such medication should typically only occur in tandem with therapy or after it has been attempted.

In conclusion, Dr. Curtis Cripe urges parents everywhere to seek professional help if they suspect their child is depressed. This is crucial for everyone involved, even if your child is unwilling to undergo therapy.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at NTL Group, an international team of neuroengineers and neuroscientists from multiple disciplines bringing the latest in neurotechnology and programs for all levels of brain development. Learn more about NTL Group’s services and Dr. Cripe’s work by visiting this page.