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

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

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Getting my eyes lined up with my new glasses

Got my new glasses.  I get a lot more peripheral vision and a bit more of a sense of space but my eyes are hurting.  So I had the optician double check the lenses.  In fact had two opticians double check the lenses and they are OK.  So went and had another visit to the optometrist.

He thinks we have a bit of a dilemma. We can decrease the amount of prism and my eyes won't be aligned as much but I will be more comfortable.  Or we can leave them as is.  He is trying to pinpoint the exact nature of the problem...whether it has something to do with binocularity or something else.  I looks at a test for far fixation with a red and green cross.   I could make the cross but it was jiggling.
So he patched me for twenty minutes with each eye.  Each eye was relieved a bit and the pain diminished but not completely.  We thought it might be better to do a day test patching an eye starting in the morning as my eyes get quite tired with these new glasses and see what happens.

We might cut the prism and start with a lower power prism and I might go back to home exercises and work on aligning a bar on my TV set.

Copyright © 2010-2014 Traveller Journey Through The Cortex

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Profiles of the gifted and talented


Profiles of the Gifted and Talented
The following presentation of six different profiles of gifted and talented students can provide information for educators and parents about the behavior, feelings, and needs of gifted and talented children and youth. It is important to remember that this is a theoretical concept that can provide insights for facilitating the growth of the gifted and talented, not a diagnostic classification model.

The six different types are:  successful, challenging, underground, dropout, double labeled, autonomous learner....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Circling back

Have had two interesting observations.

Went to an optometrist who specializes in strabismus.  Unlike everyone else, he didn't  do fifty million tests.  Did the visagraph and also checked my binocular vision.   I have 30 degrees of stereopsis...fantastic binocular vision... But still not much depth perception,  so he did two more tests:  test of near point fixation and far point fixation which found that my the lines are shifted to the left; they are aligned horizontally, no problem.He wrote a new prescription that added a basein prism to the left eye and had an interesting comment that my problems may be processing information.

Went to neurofeedback. We have been doing alpha synchrony training with OpenFocus.  My alpha/theta ratio is 1.5 at the beginning of the session, towards the middle, it moves towards 1. 0, and occasionally alpha dips below 1.  So I have good concentration.  These waves are not characteristic of someone who has Adhd.... So my therapist feeling is that maybe I have a processing problem not a concentration or attention problem.

So where does this lead me?   Back to the learning disability world?  Hmmm.


Copyright © 2010-2014 Traveller Journey Through The Cortex

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Plodding through Brain HQ

Nederlands: Twee visuele banen in de area extr...
Nederlands: Twee visuele banen in de area extrastriata: de 'waar' route en de 'wat' route. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The dorsal stream (green) and ventral stream (...
The dorsal stream (green) and ventral stream (purple) are shown. They originate from primary visual cortex. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Plodding along Brain HQ.    Been doing the exercises every day.  I am doing well with Perceptual Exercises like Visual and Auditory Sweeps but not so good with Peripheral Vision exercises.  Struggling with Navigation and People Skills.   However, I do notice that I don't confuse left and right any more and don't get as lost as I used to.  Also, it is much easier for me to rotate objects in my brain.

Attention exercises are ones I do well after a bit of practice.  I do find that they help with focus.
Card Shark is a bit of a  challenge.  I am working on this daily.  Right now, I am trying to chunk the information in chunks  of 3 and saying them out loud.  Once you lose your place in this test, you are pretty much hosed.

Visual memory is really hard.  Scene Crasher is going to be a tough exercise but one that I will do later on.

That's why I haven't been posting much … just plodding away through my exercises.
Copyright © 2010-2014 Traveller Journey Through The Cortex

Monday, May 12, 2014

Central auditory disorders: toward a neuropsychology of auditory objects

Hrvatski: Primarna slušna moždana kora.
Hrvatski: Primarna slušna moždana kora. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
en: Acoustic radiation(red arrow). from Medial...
en: Acoustic radiation(red arrow). from Medial geniculate nucleus to Primary auditory cortex ja:聴放線(赤色の矢印)。内側膝状体から一次聴覚皮質へ。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Deficits of auditory cognition are less familiar and less well understood than their visual equivalents. The objects of auditory cognition are natural sounds, but ‘auditory object’ is a problematic concept[]. An auditory object might be defined neuropsychologically as a collection of acoustic data bound in a common perceptual representation and disambiguated from the auditory scene. This definition suggests the importance of perceptual regularities whilst allowing that ‘top-down’ processes may forge associations between acoustic properties and current behavioural goals may give prominence to particular objects within the same acoustic data (e.g., in the spoken word “dog”, relevant sound objects could include the speech token ‘dog’, the speaker’s voice, emotional state, accent, etc). Even this general definition raises certain difficulties. Most everyday sounds have a complex, time-varying frequency structure (see ‘A brief acoustic primer’, Supplementary Material; available using websitehttp://journals.lww.com/co-neurology/pages/default.aspx ), and temporal object boundaries are often difficult to determine. Furthermore, sounds, unlike visual objects, are ‘transparent’ when superimposed; and auditory objects are associated with diverse physical entities, including both discrete sources (e.g., a barking dog) and acoustic events (e.g., a gust of wind, a spoken phoneme). These various auditory object properties and categories have potentially separable neural representations and associated clinical deficits.
The literature on central auditory disorders illustrates these difficulties. Terms such as ‘cortical (or ‘cerebral’) deafness’ and ‘auditory agnosia’ (see Table 1) are widely used, but remain rather loosely defined and demarcated from one another, and progress in defining a useful taxonomy has so far been limited. This is partly attributable to difficulties extrapolating between symptom-led single-case studies and lesion-led group studies in patient populations that may or may not be representative (such as temporal lobectomy series), lack of uniformity of test materials across studies, and the rarity of strategically located brain lesions.
Table 1
Terminology of central auditory disorders
Here we review recent progress in characterising central auditory disorders, focusing on disorders of auditory object processing: the auditory agnosias. From an auditory neuroscience perspective, we are here concerned chiefly with the effects of damage affecting object processing in the putative auditory ventral (‘what’) pathway[]; however, auditory object processing entails important interactions with dorsal ‘where’ and ‘how’ pathways, particularly in the parsing of natural auditory scenes. Our approach is based on a simple operational classification of four fundamental stages likely to be involved in processing auditory objects: parsing of objects in the auditory scene; encoding of auditory properties (at the sub-object level); representation of the perceptual structures of whole objects; and recognition of objects. Key terms are summarised in Table 1. Recent studies of central auditory disorders are summarised in Table 2.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3374998/#!po=38.8889

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Disorders of binocular vision are associated with a significant increase in the risk for falls and fractures in the elderly, likely exceeding the more commonly recognized risks associated with cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, according to new research.
The study is the first to evaluate the association between fractures and disorders of binocular vision in the Medicare database, the largest and most comprehensive data source of its kind in the United States.
"This association has not been previously explored, and it was unclear whether these disorders had a specific impact on morbidity in the elderly," said lead author Stacy Pineles, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles.
"However, it makes sense that the rate is higher. Patients with disordered binocular vision may have more difficulty with depth perception and perceiving obstacles in space if they have double vision," she told Medscape Medical News.
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/823648
Copyright © 2010-2014 Traveller Journey Through The Cortex
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gifted Adults: Relationships and Career

Very good presentation based on Marylou Kelly Streznewski that includes an interesting discussion of neuroscience behind giftedness.  Gifted People have more dendrite spines.  Need for stimulation.


3 Keys to Being Gifted and Happy on the job
  • –  Finding a day-to-day level of stimulation which provides challenge and newness
  • –  Ability to move to new areas of work when challenge of present area wares off
  • –  Ability to create own work environment 


    Dating and Marriage 


    • Five steps to finding true friends and partners
      • –  Create a support group
      • –  Understand that most people won’t get
        your needs and be ok with that
      • –  Find places and activities that attract
        other gifted people
      • –  Contact “Mensa”, a national
        organization for gifted adults, to get a
        list of members in your area
      • –  Be comfortable with yourself


    Remember, your playing small does not suit the world.  Nor does it suit you.

    “Our deepest Fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest Fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that scares us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? You are a Child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically LIBERATES OTHERS.
             -- Mairanne Williamson


http://www.iowatag.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Gifted_Adults_ITAGPresentation_2006.pdf
Copyright © 2010-2014 Traveller Journey Through The Cortex
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cognitive Impairment in Patients With Bipolar Disorder

 It is widely accepted that patients with schizophrenia have some degree of cognitive deficiency and that cognitive deficits are an inherent part of the disorder. Historically, there has been less focus on cognitive deficits in patients with bipolar disorder; however, numerous studies of cognition in patients with bipolar disorder, including several comprehensive meta-analyses of bipolar patients who were euthymic at the time of testing, have recently been undertaken.1-4 Each of these analyses found that cognitive impairment persists during periods of remission, mainly in domains that include attention and processing speed, memory, and executive functioning.

Cognitive Impairment in Patients With Bipolar Disorder | Psychiatric Times:

 Copyright © 2010-2014 Traveller Journey Through The Cortex

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains - The Atlantic

bellinger
bellinger (Photo credit: island home)
Forty-one million IQ points. That’s what Dr. David Bellinger determined Americans have collectively forfeited as a result of exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate pesticides. In a 2012 paper published by the National Institutes of Health, Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, compared intelligence quotients among children whose mothers had been exposed to these neurotoxins while pregnant to those who had not. Bellinger calculates a total loss of 16.9 million IQ points due to exposure to organophosphates, the most common pesticides used in agriculture.
Last month, more research brought concerns about chemical exposure and brain health to a heightened pitch. Philippe Grandjean, Bellinger’s Harvard colleague, and Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, announced to some controversy in the pages of a prestigious medical journal that a “silent pandemic” of toxins has been damaging the brains of unborn children. The experts named 12 chemicals—substances found in both the environment and everyday items like furniture and clothing—that they believed to be causing not just lower IQs but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. Pesticides were among the toxins they identified.
http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/the-toxins-that-threaten-our-brains/284466/

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Your Brain Has 2 Clocks

Old Clocks
Old Clocks (Photo credit: servus)
Gee, and I have enough time with only one clock!  But apparently there are more than one ways to tell time.  
I have a bit of a problem monitoring how much elapsed time passes.  When I worked where I had regular appointments I had a better sense of it, but now that I am at home I don't have a real sense of elapsed time since I am not on a regular schedule.   That should tell you something there!
I am thinking of doing the Fehmi's Open Focus exercise on time at some point but I am doing a lot with other Open Focus exercises so it is on my list.
Did you make it to work on time this morning? Go ahead and thank the traffic gods, but also take a moment to thank your brain. The brain’s impressively accurate internal clock allows us to detect the passage of time, a skill essential for many critical daily functions. Without the ability to track elapsed time, our morning shower could continue indefinitely. Without that nagging feeling to remind us we’ve been driving too long, we might easily miss our exit. 
But how does the brain generate this finely tuned mental clock? Neuroscientists believe that we have distinct neural systems for processing different types of time, for example, to maintain a circadian rhythm, to control the timing of fine body movements, and for conscious awareness of time passage. Until recently, most neuroscientists believed that this latter type of temporal processing – the kind that alerts you when you’ve lingered over breakfast for too long – is supported by a single brain system. However, emerging research indicates that the model of a single neural clock might be too simplistic. A new study, recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience by neuroscientists at the University of California, Irvine, reveals that the brain may in fact have a second method for sensing elapsed time. What’s more, the authors propose that this second internal clock not only works in parallel with our primary neural clock, but may even compete with it.
Past research suggested that a brain region called the striatum lies at the heart of our central inner clock, working with the brain’s surrounding cortex to integrate temporal information. For example, the striatum becomes active when people pay attention to how much time has passed, and individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that disrupts input to the striatum, have trouble telling time.
But conscious awareness of elapsed time demands that the brain not only measure time, but also keep a running memory of how much time has passed. Scientists have long known that a part of the brain called the hippocampus is critically important for remembering past experiences. They now believe that it might also play a role in remembering the passage of time. Studies recording electrical brain activity in animals have shown that neurons in the hippocampus signal particular moments in time. But the hippocampus isn’t always necessary for tracking time. Remarkably,people with damage to their hippocampus can accurately remember the passage of short time periods, but are impaired at remembering long time intervals. These findings hint that the hippocampus is important for signaling some – but not all – temporal information. If this is the case, what exactly is this time code used for, and why is it so exclusive?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=your-brain-has-two-clocks
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