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.

Monday, June 27, 2022

A Look at the Most Common Neurodegenerative Diseases
NTL Group's head of research and development, Dr. Curtis Cripe, is committed to neuroscience. He has even gone the extra mile, writing about his work in hopes of sharing his knowledge and expertise with readers everywhere.

For this post, Dr. Curtis Cripe shares his knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases and discusses some of the most common types.

Neurodegenerative disease is a chronic progressive condition that results in the deterioration and death of nerve cells in the brain or other parts of the nervous system. This leads to a decline in cognitive function, mobility, and different abilities. Neurodegenerative diseases are incurable and often result in death.

There are many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Each type of neurodegenerative disease has its unique symptoms and progression. 

Alzheimer's disease, known as Alzheimer's, is the most common type of neurodegenerative disease. It affects millions of people worldwide and is the leading cause of dementia. Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. It affects about a million people in the United States and is the leading cause of disability in older adults. Huntington's disease is a rare neurodegenerative disease that typically affects people in mid-life. Finally, ALS is a rare neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

There is no known cure for any neurodegenerative disease. However, treatments are available to help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Treatment options for neurodegenerative diseases vary depending on the type of neurodegenerative disease.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease, Dr. Curtis Cripe says it is important to stay positive and seek out all available resources. With support, information, and treatment, it's possible to live a full and rewarding life despite the challenges posed by these diseases.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the director of the NTL Group’s research and development team. For more information, click on this link.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Ways Parents Can Nurture Their Child's Brain Development

The human brain is the most complex organ in the body, and its development begins early in the fetal development cycle. Dr. Curtis Cripe explains that as the brain continues to develop throughout infancy and childhood, it is crucial for parents to do what they can to promote and nurture brain development in their children.

During pregnancy, soon-to-be-mothers need to get enough nutrients, including folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the developing brain. Dr. Curtis Cripe emphasizes the fact that brain development doesn't stop at birth. Once the baby is born, continued stimulation through activities such as reading, singing, and talking will help support healthy brain development.

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Below, Dr. Curtis Cripe shares some steps parents can take to promote their child's brain development.

Encourage reading from an early age: Reading with your child from an early age is a great way to stimulate their brain development. Not only will they learn new words and concepts, but they will also start to develop important reading skills.

Make time for play: Play is essential for healthy brain development in children. Making time for play allows children to practice essential social and motor skills and explore the world around them with a healthy curiosity.

Encourage positive discipline: It is important to encourage positive behavior in children from an early age. This means using techniques such as praise and rewards rather than punishment.

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Create a stimulating environment: The home environment can significantly impact a child's brain development. Creating a stimulating environment with plenty of toys and activities will help support healthy brain development.

Parents can find a variety of other sources by exploring resources such as the internet, libraries, and consulting with pediatric healthcare professionals. Dr. Curtis Cripe reminds parents that each child is different and will develop at their own pace.

Neuroengineer Dr. Curtis Cripe has a multi-disciplinary background that includes engineering, brain injury, child neurodevelopment, and software development, among others. Bookmark this page to read the latest posts from Dr. Cripe.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

NTL Group: A Look Into the World of Neurology

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The work of neurologists, is to understand and treat people with diseases that affect the brain, spine, peripheral nerves, muscles, and autonomic nervous system. A neurologist assesses a patient's symptoms to determine certain conditions like tumors or epilepsy. A patient may be referred to a neurologist by their GP or another medical or specialist doctor. The referral letter from the GP will give details of the problem and what it is believed may be causing it. Dr. Curtis Cripe notes that neurologists also see children referred by a pediatrician because they have not reached their developmental milestones, for example, walking at an appropriate age. In addition, a neurologist may also see them if they have a learning disability.

A neurologist's work is mainly carried out in hospitals, but some do perform outpatient clinic appointments. Neurologists use testing and diagnostics to help determine certain issues based on findings.

A typical working day for a neurologist may involve consulting in a clinic or being on call to deal with emergencies. Dr. Curtis Cripe adds that the work is often demanding and requires good mental acuity.

Neurologists also help develop new treatments for conditions such as Parkinson's disease and movement disorders, which require cutting-edge research in genetics and stem cell research. Neurosurgeons working in neurology also may perform deep brain stimulation to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, and dystonia, as well as surgeries for epilepsy such as disconnecting the corpus callosum.

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Neurologists need a good understanding of their specialist field and some general knowledge from other medical professions. For example, they may require anatomy, physiology, and pathology knowledge.

A neurologist will also need excellent clinical skills to diagnose disease through examination, patient history, and investigations, including blood tests, X-rays, MRI scans, and lumbar puncture. It is not always easy to define what symptoms mean because the cause of the problem is not always clear.

Furthermore, Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions that neurologists have to evaluate the patient's quality of life and focus on improving it by identifying the root cause of the symptoms, which may require input from several other medical professionals.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the founder and neuroengineer for NTL Group, a consortium of like-minded researchers and healthcare professionals whose primary object is to help those recovery addictions, traumatic brain injuries, and neurodevelopmental delays. For more updates like this, visit this blog.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Is it possible for new brain cells to grow?

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There's a common belief that people are born with a fixed number of neurons and that new ones are no longer possible. This was based on the idea that motor (movement) and cognitive (thought) functions decline as people get old. However, Dr. Curtis Cripe notes several studies suggesting otherwise. This will be the discussion in today's article.

For the past 20 years or so, research on the hippocampus area of the brain -- the region associated with learning, memories, and emotions -- has found a continuous rebuilding of new cells regardless of age or time. Further studies using carbon-14 dating also found that cells in the same region, while diminishing, are quickly replaced by new ones. This process, noted by scientists, can keep the central functions of the hippocampus.

Research like these are significant, in such a way, that they suggest that there are stimuli and inhibitors of adult neurogenesis, says Dr. Curtis Cripe. He further noted possible hints and possible treatment of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and the recovery from traumatic brain injury.

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Surprisingly, among the ways that can potentially amp up adult neurogenesis is exercise. Scientists at the University of Chicago found that aerobic exercise led to cell production in the hippocampus, and increased genetic information is encoded. Scientists also found brain exercises are equally important. Still, it cannot be discounted that age, especially at 80, can reverse such gains. But people should not be dissuaded to seek the benefits of physical and brain exercise, even as more research is necessary.

Dr. Curtis Cripe has a diverse multidisciplinary background which includes neuroengineering technology, aerospace engineering, software development, addiction recovery, among others. He is the head of research and development at the NTL Group. More on Dr. Cripe and his work here.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Parental concern: Detecting depression in children

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Dr. Curtis Cripe of NTL Group has always been a fierce advocate of mental health and wellness. A huge part of his research deals with the mental health issues that children experience. For this blog, Dr. Cripe reviews childhood depression, more specifically, how to detect it in children.

In case people are still wondering, science has proven that depression exists and is a real problem that needs to be addressed. For parents, it is imperative that they know whether or not their children experience this serious issue.

Below is a list of signs and symptoms to look out for, as shared by Dr. Curtis Cripe.

1. A break in routines

Deviation in patterns may be a cause for concern. Though they may not necessarily be red flags, a sudden change in what children do, for example – simply not finding joy in what used to be their favorite regular activity, maybe a sign that something is off in their minds.

2. Lack of appetite

The unwillingness to eat and nourish oneself isn’t just a sign of depression in adults; it also applies to children. Children are indeed the pickiest eaters out there, so it may be difficult for some parents to catch, but Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions that when children don’t even touch their favorite dishes, it may be a cause for concern.

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3. Long-term negative behavior

When children experience failures in life, these incidents may have a profound albeit sometimes subtle effect on them. They may seem angry for long periods. If it takes more than a few weeks, parents should take action, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds.

Dr. Curtis Cripe has behind him a diverse multidisciplinary professional and academic background, having worked in aerospace, engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, and child neurodevelopment. Check out this blog for more insights on neurology and related fields.