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

Monday, August 11, 2014

Growling tummy: Sulphite preservatives

I think I am also sensitive to sulphites.... While I have always known that I am allergic to sulfa drugs, I never connected the fact that I don't tolerate wine very well to sulfites.... who'd a thunk that the two were connected.  

Here's a nice fact sheet on sulfites.
http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/220-228-sulphite-preservatives

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mean response times, variability, and sk... [Acta Psychol (Amst). 2000] - PubMed - NCBI

Response time (RT) distributions from three fixed foreperiod conditions (2, 4, and 8 s) in a warned four-choice RT task were obtained for a group of boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, combined type (ADHD; n = 17) and for two groups of normal control boys (age-matched, n = 18, and younger-aged, n = 10). Quantitative measures of distributional shape were derived by fitting the ex-Gaussian distributional model to the individual RT data. Statistical results indicate that the ADHD distributions differ from the age-matched control distributions with respect to the size of the tail (larger for the ADHD boys), but differ from the younger control distributions with respect to the location of the leading edge (slower for the younger control boys). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) results reveal that the ex-Gaussian exponential component is highly diagnostic of the ADHD boys.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10900704

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Adhd and alcohol

  1. Frequent heavy drinking in early adulthood, particularly prior to age 21, is associated with multiple health and legal consequences including continued problems with drinking later into adulthood. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at risk of alcohol use disorder in adulthood, but little is known about their frequency of underage drinking as young adults or about mediational pathways that might contribute to this risky outcome. The current study used data from the Pittsburgh ADHD Longitudinal Study to test social impairment and delinquency pathways from childhood ADHD to heavy drinking in early adulthood for individuals with (n = 148) and without (n = 117) childhood ADHD. Although ADHD did not predict heavy drinking, indirect mediating effects in opposing directions were found. A delinquency pathway from childhood ADHD to increased heavy drinking included adolescent and subsequently adult delinquent behavior. A social impairment pathway from childhood ADHD todecreased heavy drinking included adolescent, but not adult, social impairment. These findings help explain the heterogeneity of results for alcohol use among individuals with ADHD and suggest that common ADHD-related impairments may operate differently from each other and distinctly across developmental periods. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pha/22/2/110/adhd