Monday, September 13, 2010

Chat with Neuropsychologist

NeurofeedbackImage by mattsches via FlickrI went in to find out what to do next in cognitive functioning with a neuropsychologist at Quietmind Foundation.  Since it generally takes a while to Tee up therapists, I figured I had to interview him and make a plan.
 
Since I have told my story over and over and am rather bored with my saga yet I don't want to leave out any pertinent details, I have made a chart of symptoms, therapies, and net effects of therapies.  Dr. Berman took a look at my chart and thought it was interesting that I went and shot some basketball successfully after I had completed Physical Therapy and a certain amount of vison therapy.
His assessment was very different from other therapists.  I was really expecting a more pen and paper assessment like that of Columbia Presbyterian where I had been diagnosed with Non-Verbal Learning Disorder.    He held out two different cards:  a card with two parallel lines and a card with a big X.  Then he asked me to stand up and extend my right arm and hold it firm as he pressed on it.  He pushed down on my arm and I held it firmly in place.
  
Then he had me look at a card with parallel lines and then a card with a big X.  He pushed on my arm and my arm flopped down.
  
Then he had me follow him tapping on his knees alternately.  Then I held out my arm and he pushed down and my arm flopped down.
  
We did a series of exercises like this and the net effect was my arm flopped down when I was otherwise engaged. 

  

Dr. Berman says I am having problems with laterality, functions located in the right or left side of the brain. and Hemisphericity, differences in firing rates between the left and right sides of the brain.  Apparently, I am more of a sequential thinker than a parallel processor.  I'm not sure I understand all this right now.  One thing that is in the mix which may be somehow related is that sequential processing problems are a part of Auditory Processing Disorder
   
The next thing Dr Berman did was to evaluate my breathing.  I am a mouth-breather.   No... No... not that kind!  I am not a  dork who collects funny books, watches cartoons, plays Dungeons and Dragons, video games (except for Brain Fitness purposes),  stalks goth boys or gets beat up!  Absolutely Not.
   
But back to my mouth breathing.  Dr Berman wants me to start breathing through my nose and pooching out my belly as I inhale.  Apparently, my brain is not getting enough oxygen with mouth breathing.  Well, that is easier said than done.  I have a lot of sinus issues and am a candidate for nose surgery.  Me  breathing through my nose is like a normal person drinking a can of Coke with a cocktail straw.  It's rather frustrating.
   
However, the good doctor is right about it improving function.  I noticed that when I was practicing nose breathing, I could see a lot clearer and could get in a lot more depth perception.  Weird, hunh?
I can see where he is going.  Later on, the breathing will be integrated with neurofeedback and cardiac function (He works with a cardiologist).  It's kind of like working with the emWave, a handheld stress reliever  that uses colorful LED displays and audio feedback to help synchronize your breathing and heart rate.  
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