Monday, June 27, 2011

Thoughts About Future Directions In Therapy

Pondering the meaning of life, for sure.Image via WikipediaI have been pondering what to do after I finish Interactive Metronome and a course of Captain's Log.  It's really hard to say as getting my brain and body together is a multidisciplinary problem.  I still haven't found a really good captain that can set a direction for a bunch of therapists and help me organize what needs to be done when.  Each person thinks their specialty is Number One!

I do need to work on my hearing.  I definitely don't hear consonants properly.  Maybe this will be addressed through a course of FastForward or maybe it just needs a hearing aid.  There was a study done of gifted and talented children with auditory processing problems but otherwise normal hearing who were given a hearing aid to amplify sounds that showed marked improvement in children.  But I will investigate this after, IM.  Interactive Metronome helps improve hearing. After I finish IM, I will be doing an audiological assessment focused on teasing out my auditory processing problems.  I imagine some of this will focus on decoding consonants.  Some of these tests will look to see if working memory problems are coming from auditory processing or from cognition.

My balance isn't 100% and does interfere a bit with Interactive Metronome.   I am having problems balancing on one foot as I do some toe tapping.  But when to schedule more balance work?

Interactive Metronome helps with a lot of ADHD symptoms but it doesn't help with my core problems with slow response time and response time variability.   The treatments that adresss these two areas  in the medical literature seem to be either using a stimulant or neurofeedback. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Interactive Metronome: Round 2 First Week

Well, just did my first week of Interactive Metronome (IM).  My hand clapping has gotten better and I am now down to 30 milliseconds.  Toe Tapping with both feet is around 80 milliseconds and both heels are about there. The same with my one hand and opposite foot.  My tapping while standing on one foot is all over the place. 

I noticed that it was easy for me to have my attention drift periodically while doing IM.   Some of it is emotionally neutral and mundane like don't forget to run an errand.  Some of it, however, is a bit upsetting and I relive old emotions or fantasies that relate to old memories.  Had a session of EMDR with ocean waves and sea bird noises piped into alternating ears. and it literally zipped out those bad memories and I found I could concentrate.  

Went back to IM and noticed some scores are better and some are a bit all over the place... But the memories are gone.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rocket Dress Makes Me a Certified Clothes Pony

Yup, that's right! I have been really complimented on my taste.  Went to my high school reunion dinner and met up with a bunch of folks.  It's interesting to see where we all have ended up after 35 years.  We are alot more relaxed amongst each other than during our high school years.  The influence of the cliques has dissapated and we are all happier to be with each other.

One of the guys has gone into couture and he complimented me on my outfit.  I am as pleased as punch.  He LOVED my necklace and asked me where I got it.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was from Chico's, but took the dodge that I inherited it from my  Mother-In-Law, which I did.  But we bought it together at Chicos.  And he ADORED my Tadashi Shoji cocktail dress, called it the "Rocket Dress". 

We had a pleasant chat about the couture industry and I asked him where lay people could go and look at things.  Obviously, I am not going to be spending 1000's of dollars on couture.  But I do like to look.  He said to go to the Steve MacQueen exhibit, Bergdorfs and Barney's in New York City. 
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Back to Interactive Metronome

Sorry, I haven't posted.  Went to high school reunion and then off to the relatives.  Also, have been doing some home projects relating to organizing!  Never mind packing and unpacking for the weekends.

I have gone back to A Total Approach for another round of Interactive Metronome (IM).   The folks are doing well there since my last visit.  My therapist for Balametrics has lost a lot of weight, had a second child and looks a lot sharper than she did before.  I am back to working with Ann and we are getting my scores back down. 

I did my initial assessment two weeks ago but had to stop due to poison ivy.  My initial assessment scores for this round of IM showed some regression.  However, I did much better on my return.  We think this improvement was due to the poison ivy drying up.  I had a terrible case and was doing IM with gloves on so I wouldn't ooze urushiol (urushiol is what causes the itching) from the poison ivy all over the equipment.  Since my doctor gave me a mega dose of prednisone, I had to stop IM as the prednisone affects the balance and you need to be steady to do IM.    During the assessment, I think I was subconsciously distracted by all the itching.  In fact, Ann had offered me an special balance platform to help with my balance during the assessment as I was not completely steady on me feet.  So, note to any parents reading this:  if your kid has taken a roll through the ivy, you may want to back off on therapy. 
Metronome 3Image by nigel_appleton via Flickr
Well, I am back on the stick with IM and have been doing toe tapping and hand clapping and right hand/left toe tapping.  I seem to get much better as the sequences get longer... I get into the groove. 

I notice that my brain drifts as I do IM.  Sometimes I am one with the beat and other times, I am not.  I am trying to note drifts in attention to see where they are going.  Some drifts are on errands... where the thought comes in, like Oh, I need to run this errand... other thoughts are coming in that have to do with daydreams involving getting other people's approval successfully.  I don't stay stuck on the thought and as soon as I am aware of it, I jog myself to go back to paying attention to the beat.  But, it seems like I am one with the beat for a while and then I am not.  But, I think I would do better if I were more focused...but I suppose maybe that's the nature of ADHD

Another thing, Ann has noticed with other people is that folks tend to get very excited when they realize that they are on the beat and then lose focus.  I know the feeling.  It's like hurrah.  I AM DOING IT! Then, Ooops, now I am not. 

I will be doing IM for the next two weeks.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Many parents & educators strive for their children & students to be able to print their name upon entering Kindergarten. Is this a realistic expectation? There are many factors that contribute to a child’s ability to print. However most of them revolve around the issue of developmental    readiness. Developmental readiness refers to your child’s degree of mastery over the skills that are requires to build a strong foundation upon which a new task is learned. For example, a child must be proficient at walking before learning to run.
Group of children in a primary school in ParisImage via Wikipedia
The set of skills that serve as the foundation for printing & writing is called pre-printing skills. As with learning to run, your child must have mastered their pre-printing skills before learning to print. Now everyone knows of a child or two that could print their name at a very young age. But could those children print any letters that were not in their name? I would not be surprised if they could not. Teaching a child to print their name without facilitating the development of their pre-printing foundation can result in splinter skills. These include being able to print your name & no other letters, or bad habits like forming letters from the bottom up rather than top down. A child must have a strong foundation of skills to enable them to print all letters & numbers. Frequently children are faced with the challenge of learning to print their name when they do not have such a foundation. When this is the case, there is the risk of failure & frustration.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gluten Free Italian, Two Martinis and Seeing in 3D

Does Drinking  Improve Stereovision?

Since my husband had a professional exam to take-- you know, one of those long drawn out all-day affairs, we booked a room for the night in Philadelphia Mariott right on the Avenue of the Arts.

We walked around South Philly near the Graduate Hospital and found an Italian restaurant with gluten free pasta!  Like all true Italian restaurants in Philly, nothing that is not tasty is served.  So even though it was gluten free, Giorgios had a great duck confit sauce and reasonably tasty gluten free noodles.

In a previous post, I had noticed that I could tolerate Italian pasta and breads better than regular American ones.  I mentioned this to the owner and he told me that Italy imports flour from the US but cuts it with semolina.  He has a relative who owns a bakery in Rome and he went back behind the scenes to check out the flour.  It was American flour.  Apparently,  all the bakers in Italy use American flour. They just mix it with semolina.  That's why it has a lower gluten content.

Philadelphia City Hall at duskImage via WikipediaWe also went out and had a drink and listened to some jazz.  On the way back, I noticed more of the city had "popped out" and I was seeing even more dimensionality.  Walking back to our hotel, we crossed Broad Street and I looked up and started to see the relief around the columns and many statues of the Philadelphia City Hall for the first time.

The next day, I met an acquaintance and we went out for dim sum in Chinatown and then had a nice coffee and pomegranate bubble tea in a Taiwanese coffee shop.   Then we walked over to her place in South Philly and chilled out.  As we were walking about,  I really felt that I was moving in space and could sense the vibrancy of the city.   Philly is an emotional in-your-face city with a warmth of neighborhoods.  As we walked through the area around Graduate Hospital, I could feel the hipness of the restaurant scene there giving way to the staid rowhouses near the Italian Market.

Met up with hubby after his exam and we went out to eat.  We went to Babuzzo's which serves small tasting plates.  He had a meatball plate and  I had a calmari, octopus and pork cheeks.  They were really good.  I also had a cucumber martini which was really refreshing and a kir and champagne after drink.

I think the alcohol really relaxed my eyes because even more of the city seemed to stand out.  We walked back to the Market East station for the train back to Yardley.   The signage in the station was floating --as was I.  We got on our train and I just gazed at the city as we headed north.   I am getting a better sense of orientation as well as seeing in 3D.

I wonder if vision therapists should suggest an occasional 2 martini dinner... you know, a little adjunct therapy!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Nerve Stimulation Highly Effective in Battling Tinnitus, Nature Study Reports - UT Dallas News

List of images in Gray's Anatomy: IX. NeurologyImage via WikipediaMicroTransponder, a neuroscience-based medical device company, was founded by UT Dallas Ph.D. candidate Will Rosellini and sponsored by the school’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. MicroTransponder is developing a less invasive wireless medical device to stimulate the vagus nerve. The UT Dallas/MicroTransponder team also is studying how best to optimize the paired therapy for tinnitus patients.

Past research has shown that the severity of chronic pain and tinnitus is tied to the degree of plasticity in the brain’s cortex. A previous study showed that repeatedly pairing sensory stimuli with electrical stimulation of a brain structure called nucleus basalis generates powerful and long-lasting changes in cortical organization. Since the vagus nerve is easier to access for clinical use, and is known to trigger the release of molecules in the brain that promote neural changes, follow-up studies were performed on the vagus nerve.

For the VNS study, the research team used a “gap detection model” to document tinnitus in rats that were exposed to loud noise for one hour while under anesthesia. Each of the noise-exposed rats used in this study exhibited a significant impairment in the ability to detect a quiet gap in a tone near their tinnitus frequency, but exhibited no impairment when the gap was placed in a higher or lower tone.
“Previous research showed that a frequency-specific impairment in gap detection is a likely sign that noise-exposed rats experience a mid-frequency tinnitus ‘ringing’ that fills the silent gaps,” Kilgard said. “Though it isn’t possible to evaluate the subjective experience of rats, this gap impairment has been taken as an indicator of tinnitus.”

When the rats were exposed to VNS paired with sounds, the gap impairment was eliminated – indicating that the tinnitus was gone.

Stimulating the Vagus nerve is also being used for  treatment resistant major depression and epilepsy.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Itchy, Itchy, Itchy: Poison Ivy and GFCF

I've got the  itchi's all right.  I've got a good case of Poison Ivy all over me.  It has even got on my face and I have two red spots on my eyelids.  I better stay righteous on my diet and stay away from gluten and casein (dairy) or else I will have a real itch fest.

Poison IvyImage by wallygrom (very busy at work) via Flickr
I'm also going to put a patch on my eye so I don't spread it into my eye.  Hope this all clears up by next weekend when I have my high school reunion.

I went out and got Calamine lotion and Fells Naptha Soap.  Fells is really good about clearing up Poison Ivy.  However, I notice my grocery store and a number of pharmacies don't carry it.  They carry some $40 lotion.  Fells goes for $1.97.  I finally found it at ACE hardware.   Well, you can get it on Amazon for $3.25.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Emotion and ADHD

From Dr. Russell Barkley's keynote address at CHADD Triangle meeting.

"Bottom line is that Dr. Russel Barkley now believes that emotion is a key component of ADHD. He has convincing arguments that our ADHD emotions are NORMAL emotions but because of the faulty control mechanism in our pre-frontal lobe, we can’t regulate those emotions. He is adamant that many (not all) of the conditions that are 'co-morbid' (co-exist) with ADHD are misdiagnosed. He talks about 'bottom up' inappropriate emotions that manifest in conditions such as bipolar disorder and sometimes depression but in his opinion ADHD is a TOP DOWN emotions issue. The emotions are normal not pathologized. He also pointed out some obvious but potent reminders that negative emotions play a major role in ADHD ('people can forgive your happiness, but they can’t forgive your hostility'). In particular, he says relationships suffer, driving (especially road rage), drinking while driving, car crashes (but not speeding surprisingly) and employment suffer, too. Just wanted to give you a heads up…emotion is a key word for ADHD this year."
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