Saturday, January 3, 2015

US researchers identify gene network linked to autism

U.S. scientists have identified a molecular network of genes known to contribute to autism spectrum disorders, and they say their finding may help uncover new genes linked to these conditions.

According to the news release, researchers used gene expression data and genome sequencing to study the whole set of interactions within a cell, and they identified a module comprised of 119 proteins linked to autism genes.
Researchers also found that the corpus callosum and oligodendrocyte cells in the brain can contribute to autism.  Oligodendrocytes are myelin-forming cells of the central nervous system, and the corpus callosum is a huge band of myelinated fibers. Myelin, which is comprised of proteins and phospholipids, forms a sheath around nerve fibers and increases the speed at which impulses are conducted.
"In the future, we need to study how the interplay between different types of brain cells or different regions of the brain contribute to this disease,” study author Jingjing Li, postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine, said in the news release.
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/12/30/us-researchers-identify-gene-network-linked-to-autism/

Friday, January 2, 2015

Journey Down The Stomach

and down through the Intestines.

I have gotten a huge amount of gas lately…It's really bad when you fart so loud you wake up your husband.   Hubby's eyes popped open.  He jerked his head up and then promptly went back to sleep.  He didn't remember a thing.

So, I decided to go to the doctor.  Went to see Dr. L.  who specializes in hard to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS.  She looked at my gums and my tongue.  Poked around at my stomach.  Decided she didn't need to do another round of endoscopies but that she would do the colonoscopy since it's been 5 years since my last one.

She gave me a script for xifaxen, an antibiotic.  And boy, howdy, does that help. After day 3, I felt a lot better with less tummy ache, farts.  I had a lot more energy.  Some of the white coating on my tongue went away as well.

My vision improved as well especially in terms of depth perception.


Dr. L is also recommending that I do FODMAPS diet.  This diet eliminates certain carbohydrates, ie.  FODMAPS -- Fermentable, Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols.  So basically eliminating Dairy, Gluten, certain vegetables and fruits, processed foods.    Apparently, everyone is a little different and will need to tailor this diet to themselves.  So, there is some possibility that I could go back to eating a little bread and maybe having a little dairy later on.  

But for now, I have to try to be good.



Copyright © 2010-2015 Traveller Journey Through The Cortex

Friday, November 14, 2014

We need to get back to baking our own bread

Sourdough loaves
Sourdough loaves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Why our tummies are revolting!  We can't eat factory made bread because of what food chemistry has done to it to make it rise faster and cheaper.   
Bread has changed. One disturbing possibility is that modern farming and industrial baking produce bread that more and more people cannot and should not eat. The "green revolution" spawned new high-yielding varieties of wheat designed to work with the artificial fertilisers and pesticides used in intensive farming. But recent research suggests that these new wheats have fewer minerals and vitamins than traditional varieties and more of the proteins that cause "leaky gut" type conditions.
The so-called Chorleywood Bread Process (CBP), invented in 1961 and now used to make most industrial bread, has turned out to be a culinary and digestive disaster. Traditionally, most bread was fermented (allowed to rise) for many hours, often overnight. The CBP used high-energy mixers and a slew of chemicals to make a very white loaf in double-quick time.
Only if you let dough ferment for long enough can naturally occurring beneficial bacteria work to make the bread more digestible, nutritious and tasty. Most British bread is made too quickly for these bacteria to have a chance. Fermenting dough for six hours as opposed to 30 minutes removes around 80% of a potentially carcinogenic substance called acrylamide found in bread crusts, and long yeast fermentations conserve the highest levels of B vitamins in dough.
In the 1990s a new breed of enzyme-based "improvers" displaced the suspect chemical additives. You won't know they are there because the law says that as "processing aids" they don't need to be declared on the label. But we would do well to ponder what bread engineered to stay soft for weeks may be doing to our insides.
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/apr/16/recipes.foodanddrink

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Amblyopia In Early Childhood May Alter Speech Perception

The presence of amblyopia during early childhood may lead to impaired visual-auditory speech integration and alterations in speech perception, according to a study published online September 11 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

"Among human children, in the past, we only knew that amblyopia affected visual acuity and stereopsis (ability to see in [3 dimensions]). Now, our research shows that amblyopia affects an entirely different sensory system: our perception of sound," lead author Rajen U. Desai, MD, from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, told Medscape Medical News.

Speech recognition includes not only auditory processing but also processing of visual cues from the speaker's mouth and face. The authors test this concept using the McGurk effect. "[W]hen presented with an audio track playing /pa/ and a separate video track of a person silently articulating /ka/, participants will most often claim to hear a unique fusion sound /ta/." Approximately 85 to 90% of individuals with normal auditory and visual processing will report hearing the fusion sound, they note.

….
When asked how this information may be applied clinically by pediatricians to improve integration among patients who have delayed resolution of their amblyopia, Dr. Desai responded: "For amblyopia that was corrected too late, pediatricians and parents can consider asking the children to listen to them only using their 'good' eye (and to close their amblyopic eye). A few of our study patients heard completely different sounds depending on which eye they were using to look at someone talking to them. They heard the correct sound when they closed their amblyopic eye."
When asked how this information may be applied clinically by pediatricians to improve integration among patients who have delayed resolution of their amblyopia, Dr. Desai responded: "For amblyopia that was corrected too late, pediatricians and parents can consider asking the children to listen to them only using their 'good' eye (and to close their amblyopic eye). A few of our study patients heard completely different sounds depending on which eye they were using to look at someone talking to them. They heard the correct sound when they closed their amblyopic eye."


http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/831686

Journeys Through Yoga Nidra

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.
Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have just put aside neurofeedback for a little while as it has led me to looking more at my psyche rather  than strictly neurological problems such as attention.  In the process of trying to use open focus, I started to notice that I had been carrying around a lot of stress and anxiety… that a lot of my problems in trying to focus were because I was ruminating about a number of upsetting events.   Also, I noticed that I was carrying around a lot of pain in my body that I couldn't link back to any specific event.  It was just there.

Richard Miller (psychologist)
Richard Miller (psychologist) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, I started to look around at trauma and other events surrounding trauma and I stumbled upon  yoga nidra, a yoga  based therapy that is being used to treat veterans with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress D
isorder).   Dr. Richard Miller had modified yoga scriptures to make them more accessible to military personnel, called iRest.   Now, this is not the type of yoga you usually think about with all sorts of odd ball positions (although I have done that, too).  No, it is not part of the current yoga craze of wearing Lulumon $100 yoga pants.

It is done lying down and focuses on relaxing, ascertaining your heart's purpose or your life intention and then following a circle of awareness around the body, reiterating the heart's purpose, pairing opposing states such as lightness and heaviness, feeling broad and narrow, or anxious and calm and coming back to awareness.

I have been doing it daily and sometimes a couple of times a day and it has really put me in a new space.    The funny thing is that I notice periodic, fleeting, improvements in my vision as I do this.


Copyright © 2010-2014 Traveller Journey Through The Cortex

Friday, September 5, 2014

How Clutter Affects Your Brain (and What You Can Do About It)

Anterior cingulate cortex.
Anterior cingulate cortex. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Stuff and More Stuff!!!! And Ever More Stuff!!!!!!!

Oh God, We just moved and are dealing with stuff.

Knowing how everything is neurologically related somehow, of course, I found an article dealing with stuff and the brain.


Researchers have found two areas in your brain associated with pain, the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, light up in response to letting go of items you own and feel a connection towards.


 Excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. That’s exactly what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people’s task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.
A team of UCLA researchers recently observed 32 Los Angeles families and found that all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings. Similar to what multitasking does to your brain, physical clutter overloads your senses, making you feel stressed, and impairs your ability to think creatively.
Obvious solution, be organized.  However, that is not so simple for all of us.  Some of us find putting our things away to be very difficult even when we have a good system in place. 
Never mind thinking about how to slot and chunk new items into a cohesive system.
http://lifehacker.com/how-clutter-affects-your-brain-and-what-you-can-do-abo-662647035

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Common Medication and Vision Side Effects

 Apparently, there are a bunch of medicines that don't play well with vision problems.

 Some of the anti-psychotic  medicines affect accommodation, produce blurred or double vision or impact the visual field include:  Zoloft, Risperidal, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Citalopram.   Even though this article doesn't point out Xanax or other benzodiazepans as being problematic, they have come up on other lists.  Since a lot of folks with strabismus often suffer from anxiety, depression, or social anxiety and are prescribed these  medications, they may be worsening some of the problems they are working so hard in vision therapy to correct.

Other medications impacting vision include antihistamines including Zyrtec, and a number of hypertensives.
http://www.oepf.org/sites/default/files/journals/jbo-volume-18-issue-4/18-4%20Bodack.pdf