The different approaches to treating addiction

posted Feb 8, 2019, 9:38 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Addiction is identified as an often chronic and relapsing disease. Some of the things that people can be addicted to are alcohol, recreational drugs, smoking, and medication. Its root cause should be addressed because not only is addiction detrimental to the health of the person suffering it, but to other people as well.

Addiction can be effectively managed through treatment and recovery programs, such as those engineered by Dr. Curtis Cripe. These treatments should be individualized because not all addiction cases are the same. Also, these may be implemented as an adjunct to one another, depending on the need of the patient.

Some of the treatment approaches that have been used are the following:

· Medication: For addiction to substances, medication can be prescribed for detoxification and treatment. FDA-approved medications can help suppress withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

· Therapy: There are plenty of therapies to manage addiction, such as long-term rehabilitation program, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, family counselling, and others.

· Neuroengineering: The programs developed by Dr. Curtis Cripe are based on neuroengineering principles, targeting the parts of the brain that need healing or re-balancing. The objective is not just to have the patient recover from addiction, but also break relapse cycles.

Dr. Curtis Cripe currently heads the research and development team of NTL Group, a consortium of like-minded researchers and healthcare professionals whose goal is to provide assistance to people seeking help in the areas of recovery addiction, traumatic brain injuries, and neurodevelopmental delays. To read more about the company, visit this website.

Common signs of a concussion

posted Jan 25, 2019, 7:55 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Concussions occur quite normally in contact sports such as football, soccer, and boxing. What’s worrying about them is that a lot of people don’t even realize they’ve sustained one. While most cases are followed by full recovery, these violent blows to the head can also lead to various complications and even fatality, especially with failure to subject them immediate treatment.

Both signs and symptoms of concussions may not appear immediately and, when they do, can last for days or even weeks. Such severe traumatic brain injury can lead to confusion, headache, or even loss of memory. If you’ve hit your head, you may temporary lose consciousness, fail to remember the cause of the blow (amnesia about the event), hear ringing in your ears, feel nauseated, have slurred speech, and even start vomiting.

Other possible symptoms of a concussion are sudden bouts of fatigue, dizziness or “seeing stars,” an inability to reply immediately to questions, and feeling dazed. These, along with the ones mentioned above, are often immediate effects of a blow sustained on the head. 

But, again, concussion signs are not instantly manifested. Some symptoms appear hours or days after the injury is incurred. These symptoms include changes in personality such as sudden irritability, inability to sleep properly, being sensitive to noise and light, having difficulty remembering and concentrating, having issues with taste and smell, and even depression. If you’ve hit your head, the best recourse is still to seek immediately the aid of a physician, particularly a concussion specialist.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the director of research and development at the NTL Group. His professional career and academic background spans a diverse range of disciplines, including aerospace engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, and child neurodevelopment. Visit this page for similar posts.

How exercise affects Parkinson’s in neurological terms

posted Aug 7, 2018, 12:27 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe   [ updated Aug 7, 2018, 12:28 AM ]

While a number of Parkinson’s disease treatments have been introduced by doctors and scientists, most of these are complicated procedures. And in many cases, these treatments are quite expensive. However, researchers have found that daily exercise may have a positive effect on people’s brains, especially those suffering from neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s. 

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Below are two of the more common effects exercise may provide to a person with Parkinson’s. 

Alleviation of symptoms 

Just like the severity of Parkinson’s, exercises come in different levels of varying intensity. Depending on which stage of the disease the patient is at, there are corresponding exercises that they can do to help alleviate symptoms and restore (to a degree) both balance and motor coordination. Yoga and Tai Chi are examples of mild exercises that can help a Parkinson’s patient experiencing tremors and imbalance.

Delay of progression 

It has been found in many scientific studies in the past that exercise, through the improvement of a person’s mobility, leads to the creation of neural connections and the fortification of existing ones. This is why many doctors prescribe physical therapy and exercise programs for Parkinson’s patients. While it has been noted that these routines need not be intense, they have to be constant. Physical activities such as cycling or even brisk walking are enough to delay the progression of the disease. 

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Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a multi-disciplined background that includes child neurodevelopment. He heads the Research and Development Department of NTL Group for advanced technology for brain and cognitive treatment and repair. Learn more about mental disorders by visiting this blog.

The Importance Of Psychophysiology In Progressing Neuroscience

posted Jun 16, 2018, 11:40 PM by Dr. Curtis Cripe   [ updated Jun 16, 2018, 11:40 PM ]

Psychophysiology is a branch of physiology and neuroscience concerned with better understanding the interaction of a person’s mental state and their physiological responses. It is about studying the relationship between mental and physical processes and is dependent on the work of neurologists, physicians, biochemists, psychologists, engineers, and other science professionals.

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The connection between the mind and the body is the focal point of psychophysiology. Those in the field continue to look for non-invasive ways to deal with various neurological and psychological issues, from head trauma or TBI to emotion-induced illnesses like fear, anxiety, and stress. This means that a psychophysiological disorder is in part induced by emotional factors.

Common neurological ailments are psychosomatic in nature, including ADHD, migraines, and ulcerative colitis. Alternative health care provided by psychophysiology and neuroscience in general looks at ailments in the body as interconnected, not isolated and localized to a particular area. It is a holistic study of the whole system: body, mind, physical symptoms, and emotions.

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The field continues to find ways to quantify the effectiveness of various therapies and treatment methods. Applied psychophysiology works closely with modern, alternative approaches, from psychotherapy and meditation to bodywork and hypnosis. Psychophysiology is key in observing and recording date for a variety of body processes connected to the nervous system. The field is finding more concrete manifestations of how emotional states directly affect physiological processes.

Dr. Curtis Cripe founded the Crossroads Institute, which developed telemedicine brain training delivery systems for children with learning disabilities and other developmental delays and adults with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and head injuries. For related reads, check out this blog.

What Are The Symptoms Of Neurodevelopmental Delay In Children?

posted May 18, 2018, 5:26 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe   [ updated May 18, 2018, 5:26 AM ]

Neurodevelopmental delay in children can be difficult to spot given that children develop at their own pace in a vast range of timings. However, some signs pointing to this disorder that parents can spot early on.

Neurodevelopmental delay can manifest in many ways, the most obvious ones are those that exhibit physically. Infants who have motor skills problem can either have fine motor skills delay or gross motor skills delay.

Fine motor skills delay inhibits toddlers or infants from making small movements such as holding a toy properly. Gross motor skills delay prevents them from making larger coordinated movements such as jumping, catching a ball, or even climbing stairs. Symptoms of these include stiff arms and legs, floppy or loose trunks and limbs, limited arm and leg movement, involuntary reflexes, and inability to do actions such as sit up by themselves at nine months or stand up by the first year.

Speech and language delays are also neurodevelopmental delays. Speech delay occurs when a child has problems pronouncing words, often manifesting in stutters or inability to pronounce certain syllables. Language delay, on the other hand, occurs when a child has difficulty understanding speech or can’t express their own thoughts. Language delay also affects a child’s ability to speak, gesture, and write.
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Dr. Curtis Cripe has behind him a diverse professional and academic background, having worked in aerospace, engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, and child neurodevelopment. To know more about neurodevelopmental delay, follow this blog.

Human Brain Development From Ages 0 To 3

posted Apr 12, 2018, 3:28 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe   [ updated Apr 12, 2018, 3:29 AM ]

There’s an incredible period of development that occurs in a child’s brain from birth to age 3, including the production of over a million neural connections every second. This development is influenced by numerous factors, from the child’s relationships to environment.

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At birth, a child’s brain already has about all of the neurons it will ever possess. The brain doubles in size during the first year, and then by age 3 would have reached 80 percent of its adult volume. Synapses, the brain’s communication specialists, are formed during these years faster than at any other time. At age 2 or 3, the brain would have up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood.

Brain development can be heavily influenced by both genes and external elements: genes fuel mass synapse formation, while the environment fine-tunes the brain and assists in making decisions about the pathways to keep and dispose of. For one, the more often an idea or skill is heard or practiced, the more the synapse is strengthened. This means that walking and language are easily inculcated in a child’s brain.

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Since it’s a period for rapidly creating and pruning out synapses, the ages 0 to 3 is a critical time for learning. To create lasting skills such as a second language, a baby’s exposure and practice need to be constant. An enriched environment for brain development can be supported through social interaction, a healthy diet, physical activity, introducing new experiences, and avoiding toxic stress, to name a few.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a multidisciplinary neuroengineer who has authored multiple peer-reviewed papers and two chapters in field-related books in behavioral medicine and neuroscience. Read more about his field on this page.

The terrible consequences of morphine addiction

posted Feb 9, 2018, 5:05 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe   [ updated Feb 9, 2018, 5:06 AM ]

Morphine is a drug that is often used to help a patient through the unbearable physical pain. While it does its job quite well, morphine can be addictive, and the consequence may be dire. In fact, some of the common disorders related to morphine use would be bipolar and anxiety disorders, PTSD, depressive disorders, schizophrenia, and more.

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One of the biggest dangers and most tragic consequences associated with morphine addiction is that it is genetic and can be inherited very easily. There is a high chance that users and addicts will pass on this trait to their children. And it just isn’t morphine. Any opioid addiction for that matter can be passed down. 

Another consequence of morphine use is the alteration of brain chemicals and structures. Brain structures releasing chemicals that induce pleasure are stimulated by morphine. The amount of these chemicals going through the brain is increased dramatically, and in time, the brain adjusts. When this happens, even without morphine, the brain is changed. 

Of course, the obvious threat of morphine would still be an outright addiction. Any kind of addiction is treated as dangerous. Dependency on drugs especially has been known to have a devastating effect on addicts and in association, on everyone around them.

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Dr. Curtis Cripe heads the Research and Development department of NTL group for advanced technology for brain and cognitive treatment and repair. He is a neuroengineer with a multi-disciplinary background. For more about him and his work, visit this website.

Are People Wired For Drug Addiction? What Neuroscience Says

posted Feb 6, 2018, 2:05 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

In 2016, research from cognitive neuroscientists Brian Anderson of Texas A&M University proposed a new theory on the commonality of addiction. His research suggests: drug addicts, as well as non-addicts, have much more in common at cognitive and neurobiological levels than previously thought, showing that addiction may not be discriminating at all.

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It found that even persons without a history of addiction, for instance, can develop attentional biases mimicking addictive behavior. After going through classical conditioning between stimuli and a drug-free reward, the subjects identified as non-addicts responded to cues in ways equating to relapse for drug addiction.

Could this mean that people’s brain is “wired” for addiction?

Humans, as well as other organisms, engage in behaviors that are naturally rewarding, and the feelings of pleasure offer positive reinforcement so that the behavior is repeated. There are both natural and artificial rewards, such as illegal drugs. The reward pathway of the brain includes the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which is connected to the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex through the pathway. It sends information to those structures through its neurons. The pathway is activated by a rewarding stimulus.

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It remains unclear whether everyone has addiction-like tendencies influenced by the reward system in ways that sometimes go beyond one’s control. The possibility, however, is that treating addiction could become potentially more effective when professionals attempt to curb a normal cognitive process.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in the development of brain-based technology for healing and repairing neurological dysfunctions. For more on Dr. Cripe and his work, click here.

Why alcohol addiction is just as dangerous as any other addiction

posted Jan 10, 2018, 6:23 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe   [ updated Jan 10, 2018, 6:24 AM ]

To those who don’t know better, alcohol addiction or alcoholism may seem less dangerous compared to drug addiction. After all, one may argue, no one has died from alcohol overdose. That may be correct, except for the fact that it isn’t. Alcohol poisoning happens more frequently than people may care to admit. In that, and many other aspects, alcoholism is just as dangerous as drug addiction.

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A lot of the people who have become dependent on alcohol find it impossible to carry out their everyday tasks. The impairment of their cognitive functions means alcoholics already need alcohol to reach their physical capabilities. Without their “fuel,” they often neglect whatever responsibilities they have for work or at home. 

Also, no matter how much alcohol alcoholics consume, they will never be immune to its short-term effect such as hangovers. These results have a significant effect on one’s mood as much as being drunk. From being apathetic to being violent, alcoholics are often not in control of themselves and the situations they are in. They often show a huge void in being mindful of their surroundings and exhibit self-destructive behaviors. 

But the biggest problem many alcoholics admit is that it is nearly impossible to quit on will alone. This is why in rehab centers all around the country, alcoholics who check themselves in are often restrained when violent withdrawal symptoms occur.

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Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes substance abuse recovery. He currently leads the Research and Development department of the NTL group. For similar reads, click Facebook page.

The different types of visual processing disorders

posted Nov 20, 2017, 5:33 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe   [ updated Nov 20, 2017, 5:37 AM ]

If a child passes the eye chart test and other vision examinations and yet cannot distinguish shapes, symbols, or distances, they might be suffering from a visual processing disorder. Though not considered a learning disability, visual processing disorder can still contribute to the deficit of learning skills in children. 

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Here are some of the types of visual processing issues: 

Visual closure: This is characterized by the inability or difficulty to visualize a complete image or picture if the information or parts of the whole is incomplete. 

Visual-spatial relationships: This refers to the ability to perceive the location of an object in relation to other objects. Those who have issues with this find it tough to read maps, avoid hurdles, and judging time. 

Form discrimination: Form discrimination allows one to differentiate shapes, letters, and other symbols. This is important in learning letters, syllables, and words. 

Visual discrimination: When one has a visual discrimination issue, they would have problems with discriminating similar objects and symbols. They can mix up letters and numbers and have difficulty reading.

Visual memory: Visual memory disorder is when someone is unable to recognize and remember visual information.

Visual integration: Perceiving or integrating the relationship between objects and symbols, either in part or whole, is called visual integration. Children with problems in visual integration can either see objects only in pieces or only the whole of it. 

Visual pursuit and tracking: Those with a disorder in visual pursuit and tracking would find it tough to watch moving objects, reading, or writing. 

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Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer who founded Crossroads Institute, which specialized in telemedicine brain training delivery systems. He is currently the head of the research and development of NTLgroup, a consortium of professionals that aim to develop advanced technology for brain and cognitive repair. Visit this website for more information about Dr. Cripe.

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