Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thought and Consciousness

en: Phenomenal consciousness and functional co...Image via WikipediaThought, I love thought.
But not the juggling and twisting of already existent ideas.
I despise that self-important game.

Thought is the welling up of unknown life into consciousness,
Thought is the testing of statements on the touchstone of consciousness,
Thought is gazing onto the face of life, and reading what can be read,
Thought is pondering over experience, and coming to conclusion.
Thought is not a trick, or an exercise, or a set of dodges,
Thought is a man in his wholeness, wholly attending.

    --- D.H. Lawrence

Since I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (ha-ha) about consciousness, experience, rumination , I found this poem by D.H. Lawrence speaks to me. 

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Monday, November 29, 2010

ADHD, NLD, APD, and Vision Problems: Blind Men with An Elephant?

Remember the  childhood story of the blind men and the elephant?  You know, the one that goes:  One Blind Man grabbed the elephant's tail and said, "An elephant is like a snake". 
Another  Blind Man grabbed the elephant's tusk and said, "An elephant is like a spear".  Another Blind Man grabbed the elephant's side and said, "An elephant is like a wall."  Another Blind Man grabbed the elephant's leg and said, "An elephant is like a tree".

Sometimes, I think the various practioners are looking at different aspects of the same mental problem from the vantage and disadvantage point of their respective disciplines.   There is significant overlap between the different diagnosis of conditions that a neuropsychologist would identify as ADHD or Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NLD); an audiologist would identify as Auditory Processing Disorder (APD); an occupational therapist would see as Motor Apraxia; or Vision Problems that fall under the purview of a developmental optometrist.   All of these things play in the biochemistry of the body.

The overlap amongst these sometimes is so great that specialists have questions as to whether or not some of these conditions are truly separate conditions especially in the case of APD and NLD or APD and ADHD.    In short, if you walk into an audiologist's office, you will get one diagnosis.  If you walk into a neuropsychiatrist's office, you will get another diagnosis.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sources for Music and the Autism Spectrum

Sen Nick Xenophon officially launches planetmu...Image via WikipediaCompendium of Sources for Music and the Autism Spectrum contains a nice bibliography for the effects of music and the autistic spectrum.  There is a bibliography of music therapy, auditory integration therapy, entrainment, and pitch perception.  You need access to paid databases to get the articles.  However, this compendium does give you an idea of what topics are under serious consideration. 

Music Therapy has been evaluated as a treatment that does work for autism.  I think that it is not employed more often because insurance companies and conservative practitioners think that anything fun is foo-foo.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Arts and Crafts, Tibetans and Black Holes

Yesterday, we went to the Newark Museum to see the Stickley "Arts and Crafts" exhibit, the Tibetan  and the planetarium show about Black Holes.  I know, my gentle readers are thinking so what does this all have to do with the brain?  Yoo Hoo, I thought that this blog was about the brain!!!    Newark is one of the armpits of the armpit state, New Jersey.  I know armpits are somehow connected to the brain via the nervous system.  Is that it?

Friday, November 26, 2010

101 Fascinating Brain Blogs

Found an interesting collection of blogs relating to all things brain.    There are blogs that look at psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, technology, ethics and law, multidisciplinary studies involving the brain, mental disorders, and all kinds of miscellaneous stuff.

Tractographic reconstruction of neural connect...Tractographic Reconstruction of Neural Connections Image via Wikipedia 101 Fascinating Brain Blogs

Unfortunately, the blog Cognitive Daily has gone off line.  The author of the blog points readers towards the psychology and neuroscience blogs of Research Blogging,

There are some interesting ones here:
  • Splintered Mind  about Perception -- a little dense but it is going to be interesting to me as I move up the cortex into issues beyond getting the basic senses working
  • Intelligent Insight -- about IQ tests and Intelligent Assessment
  • Mind Hacks -- interesting use of technology and interfacing with the brain
  • Brain Hammer   -- neurophilosophy
  • Somatosphere -- intersection of psychology, anthropology and medicine
  • Situationist -- from Harvard:   politics, the law, social psychology, and neuroscience.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

Share Our StrengthImage via WikipediaToday's a Good Day to Give Thanks  For What We Got.

I have been hiding from the early onslaught of XMAS as I am a traditionalist and like to enjoy my fall before XMAS shopping starts.    I really like the feeling of autumn winding down and turning into winter.   The sense of the harvest and the time allowed to give thanks for what we got.  I like the Catholic sermons and readings at Mass at this time of year about the end times as it prepares me for advent and the waiting time for XMAS.   I like the walks in the woods at this time seeing the leaves on the ground and the bare trees.

My body and soul just don't feel right without going through this cycle on a yearly basis.  Today,  I will give thanks and be with my family and be glad for what I got.

So here's what I like to give thanks for:
  • Thanks that unlike some folks, I don't have to be absolutely looking through every ingredient on a menu searching for the errant teaspoon of wheat or dairy as I am merely gluten/dairy intolerant and not allergic.  
  • Thanks for getting coupons on Amazon that have allowed me to get things for free that help my therapy without busting my budget. 
  • Thanks to my therapists who have helped me tremendously.
  • Thanks to my hubby for being supportive and positive through my journeys through the cortex. 
  • Thanks to my MIL for starting to come around on and not be judgemental about having a disability
  • Thanks to my readers for toiling through some pretty turgid posts about neurology.
  • Thanks that there is a pretty fair chance that most of my neurological problems are solvable ones.  
  • Thanks for the Improvement in my vision.
  • Thanks for Vision Therapy.
  • Thanks for Not Being as Clumsy as I Used to Be.
  • Thanks for the Improvement in my hearing.
  • Thanks for the ability to hear Lyrics in Pop Music.
  • Thanks for having more rhythm as I dance. 
  • Thanks for not feeling like I am about ready to fall out of a car as I sit in the passenger seat.
  • Thanks for not feeling like I am going to slip and fall.
  • Thanks for not being afraid of heights like I used to be.
  • Thanks for the Increased Clarity of Thought.
  • Thanks for Not Being a Pain because I am not forgetting as many things as I used to be.
  • Thanks for Not Being a Pain because I am not asking people to repeat things they just said.
  • Thanks for Not Being a Pain because I couldn't see something everyone else could see... that was obvious to everyone else. 
  • Thanks for Not Being a Pain because I was dropping everything.
  • Thanks for Increased Organization in my life.
  • Thanks for a calmer tummy leading to a calmer mind.
  • Thanks for the strength to do what I have to do to get better.
  • Thanks for feeling a lot more calm because I am in more control of my body.
  • Thanks that I have roof over my head and food on my plate, unlike so many worthy people who are facing misfortunes this year.
  • Thanks that I have the health insurance and resources to cover my therapy.
  • Thanks for Increased awareness for neurological disabilities.
  • Thanks to God for watching out for me
Also, for those who don't have enough to eat this Thanksgiving, a number of bloggers are doing an empty plate blog post.    Mark Twain has noted:  "The observance of Thanksgiving Day--as a function--has become general of late years. The Thankfulness is not so general. This is natural. Two-thirds of the nation have always had hard luck and a hard time during the year, and this has a calming effect upon their enthusiasm."  Remember 25% of our nation's children are on food stamps.   A lot of good people are on unemployment; many for over 1 year with their benefits set to run out. So, let's think of other people, and donate to Share Our Strength.

I am going to post some happy thoughts for those having a tough time.  On a lighter note, here's some Thanksgiving jokes and stories:
Thanksgiving Jokes For Kids

Silly Thanksgiving Jokes

If you'd like a nice story to read together as a family later in the day,  here's Louisa May Alcott's, "An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving" or Emil's Thanksgiving, or "Over the River to Grandmother's House".

I think it's important to remember to share and to take some time for gratitude.  

Happy Thanksgiving! 

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Interactive Metronome Assessment

Had an Interactive Metronome Assessment with CEPD.  My scores have slipped since my last assessment with A Total Approach, but I am still in the normal range for many of my scores.  My hand clapping is superior with both hands or a hand to the left or right side.  My lower body is more problematic.   My toe tapping is normal but my heel tapping and my standing on one foot tapping is out of range.   I think some of the problem is balance -- I am still taking prednisone which knocks myself off kilter and I waiting for my orthotics.  If I don't have my orthotics when I start, I will go back to Dr. Diamond and get my feet taped so that I have more stability.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Occupational Therapy First Session With Jean

Monday, we did three things:

  • Wii Hab
  • Sensory Integration Coaching, and
  • Fine Motor Skill Drill
Wii Hab:  I did the Rhythmic Boxing on the Wii and got a score of 200.   The Wii Trainer (not Jean!) continues to yell at me for not even breaking a sweat!  But he doesn't know how much it took for me to get the coordination together so that my left and right hands coordinate with my feet.    It's a good thing, Jean had told me in advance that Rhythmic Boxing is a good thing so that I had practiced in advance at home.  

Sensory Integration Coaching:  Jean gave me a Sensory Motor Preference  Checklist (more checklists!) to look at alerting/calming mechanisms and instructions to do a diary of sensory activities.  She is following the approach of the game, "How Does My Engine Run" to get me aware of when I need to alert or calm myself or stay in "idling" position.    This checklist looks at oral motor input (putting stuff in your mouth), vestibular/proprioceptive input (movement), tactile input (touch),  visual input (looking at things). 

I do a little bit of this already.  We have changed our daily wake up routine:  A gentle dawning light starts to fill the room 1/2 hour before we get up.  I hand crafted a CD that plays music instead of having an alarm go off (although we do have the alarm as a backup for those days when we sleep through it).   The CD starts off softly with 2 gentle Enya songs, the third is a more dynamic, but gentle Enya, the next is a soft but more dynamic Mozart, and finally, sprightly Mozart.  This whole approach is easier on both of us and we find we wake up and get out of bed in a more alert and energetic and better frame of mind.

Fine Motor:  I tried to pick up little plastic pegs with a clothespin and put them in a pattern.  I had done some of this in vision therapy with green and red colored films over the pattern to be copied but without the clothespins.  I am a bit slow with this activity as I was having a hard time picking up my pegs.  Also, I have been going back to compensating by counting out my patterns instead of looking at them quickly and matching the pattern automatically like my optometrist, Dr. Herzberg would like me to do.  (It's the part vs whole business -- I will explain this later). 

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Questionnaires and Checklists

Been trundling on through the neuropsych evaluation.  Saturday's session was Questionnaires and checklists.
Evaluation scaleImage by billso via Flickr
I was a third of the way through the first questionnaire and I sighed about how long this was (300 question survey).  Boy, was I wrong!  I had just begun to answer the questions.  There were 3 more surveys to go.  Questionnaires on  mental health (Beck Tests), and  survey of physical health.   Mooney Problem Checklist. It took me 2 hours to finish them.

The problem with these questionnaires and checklists is that there is no context.    So you do your best to answer the question.

Kind of tired at the end of these things.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Muted Praise for Root Vegetables Displays Lack of Knowledge About Vegetable's Roots

"Food writers tend to be exuberant about spring and summer vegetables, but a bit muted about cold-weather produce. Maybe it’s because summer’s offerings are fleeting in comparison to winter’s enduring, staid roots and tubers. That’s too bad: There are plenty of delicious, comforting dishes to be made with vegetables like kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, celeriac, carrots and turnips."
 KohlrabiImage by La Grande Farmers' Market via Flickr
Winter Root Vegetables - Recipes for Health - NYTimes.com

This article has a nice recipe for kohlrabi polenta although you can substitute any number of root vegetables for it.   I am big on eating seasonally with supplements from my canned vegetables.

Although I just referenced an Italian recipe for kohlrabi, apparently, the big consumers for Kohlrabi aren't the Italians, but the Germans.  In fact, some people call Kohlrabi the German Cabbage or Turnip.  Germany is the world's largest kohlrabi producer and consumer. Annually, Germany produces 40,000 tons of kohlrabi, as well as imports kohlrabi from Holland, Italy, and other neighboring countries, to meet its annual consumption demand.  I think that sometimes you do get the best results with a food by looking at its ethnic heritage, i.e. who eats the most of it and how do they traditionally prepare it.

So, in that vein:  I am posting these links:

Kohlrabi, überbacken  (Baked, Stuffed Kohlrabi)
Maultaschen mit Kohlrabi - Füllung  (Pasta Stuffed with Kohlrabi)
Kohlrabi Schnitzel 
Kohlrabi Eintopf  (Kohlrabi Stew)
Kohlrabisalat mit Gurken, Möhren, und Tomaten  (Kohlrabi Salad with Cucumbers, Carrots, Tomatoes)

Kohlrabi, überbacken  (Baked, Stuffed Kohlrabi)
Maultaschen mit Kohlrabi - Füllung  (Pasta Stuffed with Kohlrabi)
Kohlrabi Schnitzel 
Kohlrabi Eintopf  (Kohlrabi Stew)
Kohlrabisalat mit Gurken, Möhren, und Tomaten  (Kohlrabi Salad with Cucumbers, Carrots, Tomatoes)

Kohlrabi, überbacken  (Baked, Stuffed Kohlrabi)
Maultaschen mit Kohlrabi - Füllung  (Pasta Stuffed with Kohlrabi)
Kohlrabi Schnitzel 
Kohlrabi Eintopf  (Kohlrabi Stew)
Kohlrabisalat mit Gurken, Möhren, und Tomaten  (Kohlrabi Salad with Cucumbers, Carrots, Tomatoes)
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ADHD, Ogden Nash and the Sins of Omission and Comission

Ogden NashImage via Wikipedia
Ogden Nash
The TOVA Test (test of Attention) that I just took reminded me of the sins of Omission and the sins of comission in the following poem by Ogden Nash.  In short, there are no joys in omission (inattention) and there are joys in comission (impulsivity).  

When you are inattentive and  don't do something, not only is there no pleasure in the fact that you didn't do something, but you often feel guilty about it once you realize what you have forgotten.   Also, these are often the types of things that have to get done and that have repercussions.  On the other hand,   when you indulge in a pleasure that you shouldn't have,  you do feel secretly pleased.  

It's a fun poem, Enjoy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bye Bye to CSA for This Year

Curly kaleImage via WikipediaThis weekend we had the "Pig-Out" at our CSA farm.  It's our last and biggest harvest to close out the year.  So hubby and I went and picked huge garbage bag fulls of kale and broccoli.  We also got a little radicchio and parsley. 

I have been making my favorite kale soup.  It's taken me a long time to get to like kale but I've finally found a recipe that works.  It's an Italian recipe and nothing bad ever comes from Italy food-wise.  I throw kale, garlic, chicken broth, white beans, and canned tomatoes into a Romertopf, turn the heat on to 500 degrees, and bake for 1 1/2 hours. The kale gets really nice and loses that nasty bitter taste.   I am freezing up huge quantities because food prices are set to jump next year and I am feeling frugal.

I need to find another kale recipe.  My kale soup is great.  But we can only eat so much of it.    The soup freezes well

I made a broccoli soup for the first time, but I am not sure I am completely happy with the results.  I did blanch up my broccoli so we can freeze it.   I also have a great recipe for broccoli salad.

Radicchio still needs to be conquered.  I am not that thrilled with the salad recipes that I have tried.  Grilling radicchio with balsamic vinegar is OK... I'm not that thrilled with it.  I am going to try a recipe  for grilled chicken, radicchio pasta and see how that goes.  If anyone has any great ideas for radicchio please let me know. 

We really enjoy the CSA.  My tummy has gone organic and is really rejecting chemicals in food.  I just feel so good with really fresh vegetables in my system.   Part of the fun of the CSA is making friends with strange vegetables.  At the beginning, hubby and I ate some really noxious combinations because I didn't understand vegetables like kale, kohlrabi, and rutabaga.    But they are now my friends.  The last to be my friend is radicchio  and I trying to work on our relationship.

I also like belonging to the CSA because it enhances a seasonal rhythm from anticipating the spring planting, waiting for each vegetable to come in throughout the year, and then the final harvest, "Pig-Out', to say good-bye.  We then revert to eating our frozen or canned vegetables.  With a bit of luck, we have enough to carry us through the winter until the spring.  There's a very nice sense of being somehow in harmony with nature's cycles that's very soothing. 

Belonging to a CSA, makes me feel like I am taking some defensive measures against toxins in the environment.  There is a lot of research in epigenetics, the study of inherited changes in phenotype (appearance) or gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence, and brain dysfunction.    There is a constant theme running through statements by major institutions that somehow there may well be an environmental link with autism.  No one in the major medical community is pointing a finger at a target but they are mumbling about  some part of autism probably having some environmental trigger.   When the mainstream medical community  states this, however, there is a lot of waffle words and hemming and hawing.  The alternative community definitely has their suspicions as well.   One likely candidate that seems to have backing from both communities is mitochondrial dysfunction.   I don't know my biochemistry well enough to weigh in on this... so, I am withholding judgment.  Sometime later next year, I will sit down with my general practioner and get a sense of where mainstream medical logic is going and try to cover what is textbook medicine.  Regardless, avoiding chemicals in food seems to be a good thing in general and if it helps with brain problems, so much the better.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Started neuropsych evaluations

Over the next month, I will be doing a series of neuropsych evaluations at CEPD.  For some reason, they do one screening per day, unlike Columbia which had me do 8 hours of screening in one day.  Maybe the screenings will go better since I won't be as tired.  I won't have to travel 2+ hours to the Upper West Side of New York City.  I just roll out of my house and I am at CEPD in 15 minutes.  I was exhausted during my testing at Columbia.  The test administrator had allowed me to snack during the test and I ate a bunch of snacks and drinking caffeinated ice tea in the afternoon just to keep focus.
Brainscan of brains with and without ADHDBrain Scans of People with ADHD Image via Wikipedia
The first test we did is the TOVA, test of variables of attention.  TOVA is often used to help diagnose ADHD.   I did the visual portion of the test and not the auditory one. The visual T.O.V.A. target is a square with a second but smaller square inside of it, near the upper border. The nontarget is a square with the smaller square near the lower border.  You press a special button when you see the target square near the upper border.

In the first half of the test (the target infrequent half), the target:nontarget ratio is 1:3.5, i.e.: a target is presented (randomly) only once every 3.5 nontarget presentations. This half of the test is designed to be boring and fatiguing and it was.  If you don't respond to the target, you commit an error of omission (a measure of inattention).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coming to the End of the Row With Occupational Therapy?

A little dexterity is helpful in working with ...Image via Wikipedia
Saw my Occupational Therapist and we went over some of the test results.
She had done the Quick Neurological Scan Test and really didn't find much except for some balance issues.  Some of the balance assessment is a little bit off because I was taking prednisone and that was making me wobbly.
She also redid the Sensory Profile Test and I am still scoring "Low Registration"-- that is, input from my senses doesn't register.  So we might do a little Sensory Integration Therapy to increase alertness.
We talked about things like Fine Motor Skills and she is thinking the problem may not be fine motor skills in and of themselves but more problems with attention or something else affecting higher cognition and not the body itself.  I could learn to knit a bit slower than everyone else.  I could knit a few rows perfectly fine.   But I couldn't sustain it for 100 rows without major effort. So maybe it is time to move on up the cortex and work with a neuropsychologist.
We'll also work on some more Activities of Daily Living.... Woe for hubby as he will have to change some of his evil ways.
We have scheduled a couple of visits but I am thinking that this is all she has to offer.  We shall see.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Facilitating and "Court Sense"

XX. Olympic games Munich 1972 Krešimir Ćosić o...Image via WikipediaHow Basketball Skills Can Help You to Hold Better Meetings

Last night, I ended up being the defacto facilitator for a group meeting.   This experience has led me to reflect on skills acquired in therapy and "healthy living" and how they pertain to real life.
My group was asked to come up with some recommendations to be transmitted to national headquarters.  We started out getting to know each other and then we turned to the task at hand.  Naturally, there were a few people who dominated the conversation with everyone else sitting on the sidelines.    So, I spoke up and suggested that we break out into small groups and have each group come up with a consensus on recommendations.   This was well received so I asked people to count off by 4's and then have each group coalesce by their numbers.  So people broke off and began their discussions.

People seemed happy with me continuing to facilitate, so I asked each group for their recommendations and let the group discuss them.   After each small group presented their ideas, I summarized our ideas and asked everyone if they thought this was a reasonable summary or if it needed to be modified.  Everyone was happy with what I had done so I submitted our final report.
So how does this all fit in with basketball?  Great basketball players like Magic Johnson have a "court sense", i.e., they know what is going on with everyone around them in real time.  I don't quite have that yet.  I have to consciously make an effort to stop and check in.   So, I took a look at how these superstars develop "court sense".    Naturally, court sense involves understanding a lot about the rules of the game and offensive/defensive tactics that are likely to be used in any given situation.  But it also involves knowing when to shoot a basket,  hang on to the ball and penetrate defenses, or pass the ball in real time.

Isn't this kind of like conversation in a group?  When to talk, when to hold forth in great detail, or when to stop and listen to other people?   And, this is just the verbal part.  There is a whole lot of nonverbal communication going on in terms of the way people hold their bodies: open or closed positions.  There is a whole lot nonverbally going on in terms of the way people group together -- groups that are open or closed to new comers, etc.  Good facilitators know how to take the temperature of the group and keep checking that temperature periodically.

All of this gets to be a little hard when you have problems with your vision and hearing.  My peripheral vision isn't as good as it should be so it's a bit harder to see what all the folks are doing at all times.   In basketball, they do a lot of drills to improve court sense that involve expanding peripheral vision.   Great peripheral vision is a gateway into "The Zone"

So “how do I get into ‘the zone?”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Partying with Balance and Hearing Problems

20090912 - Britt & Chris's wedding - reception...Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via FlickrWent to my husband's niece's wedding and reception on Friday and took the opportunity to look at some of the results of therapy.
My balance is all over the place these days.  The prednisone that I am taking has affected my balance demonstrably on an Occupational Therapy assessment.  Dr. Palmer cut the dose down to 10 mg and I was not feeling as wobbly as I have been.
I've got my the fluid in my ears cleared  out.  So, I think that has helped my hearing and balance out.
So, how's my Partying these days?
I can still wear 6" heels and rock to the beat even after 2 Bailey's Bristol Creams and a half flute of champagne.  I got almost everyone at my table rocking to the beat on the dance floor.   Even hubby rocked a little bit.  Hubby may be the Big Poppa Bear, but he is not the Dancing Bear.
I think I was keeping to the beat better until the end when I was getting tired.  As I started noticing I wasn't keeping to the beat, I took that as a sign to sit down.
Didn't have big problems hearing in noise that I've had in the past.   Previously, I was always leaning forward, going "What? What?  I didn't quite catch that."  Didn't have problems hearing people on the other side of the table.
Did feel a bit overwelmed with the boom-boom-boom of the music.  It kind of wore me out and started to get on my nerves at the end.  So we left early about 10 pm instead of carrying on until the wee hours of the morning. 
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Environmental Scan of Literature on Autism Treatments

Here's an Environmental Scan of the Literature on Autism treatments.   For those not in the know about strategic planning, an environmental scan has nothing to do with being green but is a a process of gathering, analyzing, and dispensing information for tactical or strategic purposes.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...Image via Wikipedia
The principal investigator was Dr. David Mandrell from the University of Pennsylvania for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid.  This scan looks at the literature for behavioral and psychosocial treatments but not biomedical ones and evaluates the studies on treatments for autism.  It also looks at the quality of the studies.  This study is interesting because it sheds some light on where public funding may be spent in the future.  The government is concerned about how to best spend declining resources so it wants to know what treatments have been definitively proven to be efficacious and what treatments are promising and what treatments are in the experimental stage.

Tinnitus is All In Your Head!

Tinnitus TreatmentImage by gurucrusher via FlickrThat's right, Tinnitus is all in your head. 

According to the researchers at  the Universities of Calgary, Southern Illinois, Michigan, the Cleveland Clinic and Harvard University the constant high-pitched ringing or hissing noise is made by neurons firing in the brain, not in the ear. McMaster University neuroscientist Larry Roberts, the lead researcher, said tinnitus is triggered by changes in the brain when a person’s auditory sense is lost.
The basis of the group’s conclusion is the discovery that the condition does not stop even if the auditory nerve of a tinnitus patient is severed.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Out of the Woods With My Nose: I Can Breathe!

NoseImage via Wikipedia
Went to see the nasal surgeon, Dr. Palmer, and he yanked out the rest of the spacers in my nose.  I am a bit of a wuss about these things and I find I do better if people yak their heads off while they are doing things that hurt me.  So, I heard about my Irish Nurse Practitioner's life in Seattle and Dr. Palmer's adventures in getting his eyebrows plucked!  It went much better than last time and I didn't feel too much pain.

Right now, my schnozz is a bit sensitive but otherwise OK.  I am doing my nasal rinses to get out all the guck from the surgery.  I am a bit exhausted from the whole surgery and have been creeping and crawling trying to get back my old life.  Other than a low energy level, I am OK.

I think my dentist will be happy that my sinuses are clear.  I will be going back to my old dentist in February when we change dental insurances.  Apparently, I have been a mouth breather (maybe in more ways than one!) and being a mouth breather leads to chronic gingivitis and malocclusion (poorly aligned teeth) which I have.  

My tinnitus has been fluctuating on and off.  I had a nice low period with no tinnitus while I was taking the pain killer.  Unfortunately, once I was off painkillers,  it has come back. 

I will go see Dr. Doty at the Taste & Smell Clinic in January to find out more about my sense of smell. 

I am taking nice big gulps of air through my nose. It's nice to breathe now.  I am finding that I am hearing much better and that I am starting to have more depth perception in my vision. There is no fluid in my ears now.  Dr. Palmer doesn't think there is a known correlation between the sinus surgery and vision but I can truly say that my vision seems to have improved since surgery. 

Alternate Breathing (or, the yoga technique,  Nadisudhi Pranayama)  through the nose is getting a bit of attention in the medical journals.  I did a quick scan of Pubmed and have been finding a number of studies claiming a variety of benefits including spatial reasoning, grip strength, relief from anxiety and depression, etc.  I will be writing more on this later.
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