How do doctors test for autism?

posted Jan 17, 2020, 10:10 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD is one of the few neurological disorders that people can experience throughout their lifetime. Unlike other neurological like Tourette’s syndrome, ASD doesn’t go away after a decade nor once the patient reaches adulthood. Also, the symptoms might not be as pronounced as Tourette’s.

A child who constantly avoids eye contact could be perceived as just shy, or it could be that parents might not see the problem in a child with a weird posture. But according to neuroengineer Dr. Curtis Cripe, parents should at least have an idea of the symptoms of ASD and other neurological issues, particularly because these diseases manifest early in life.

While resources regarding symptoms are widely available on the internet and through support groups, actually diagnosing ASD is a different task altogether. In fact, professionals adhere to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Using this, physicians can perform screening tests and comprehensive diagnostic evaluations on a child.

Developmental screening involves knowing if a child is within their growth trajectory and is not experiencing any delays. Difficulties in areas such as speech or motor skills could be a sign of developmental delays. And, while developmental delay is different from ASD, it could by itself be a symptom of ASD.

If a child has developmental delay, they undergo comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. Here, physicians see if a child falls into the autism spectrums. These include challenges in communication and social interaction as well as restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior. Dr. Curtis Cripe states that these methods of evaluation are oftentimes used to take a closer look into the behavior and cognitive level of a child.

Dr. Curtis Cripeis a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. If you are interested in reading more about neurological disorders, visit this website.

Mental health exercises for everyone

posted Dec 26, 2019, 9:03 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Everyday stress can wear us out in due time. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of stopping whatever his or her work is and going out for a vacation to soothe the mind and body. This is where mental health exercises can help. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, people can do small acts every day to reduce stress and anxiety. Here are some examples of mental health exercises everyone can do.

Start the day with small accomplishments
It doesn’t matter if you are just fixing your bed or waking up to your alarm clock; you must relish small victories. By starting your day accomplishing small tasks, you build yourself up for the day’s many challenges. At the same time, failing to do these small tasks can set you back mentally.

Take the time to stand up and stretch
Staring at your work desk for several straight hours isn’t the healthiest activity in the world. That’s why employees need to take short breaks to stand up and do stretches. A switch in position is always good. Stretching can relieve muscle groups and ease tension.

Find time to laugh
Everyone has his or her own type of humor. Regardless of what type of humor you have, find something that makes you laugh. Even the corniest meme can brighten up your day. Always have something funny saved on your phone or your desktop in case you need some giggles.

Listen to music
Music is one of the most powerful forms of expression. What we cannot convey with our words or actions, we can let music speak for us. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, listening to music can give us the relaxation and escape we need. Some people use music to turn stressful situations around, while others use it to amplify what they are currently experiencing.

Dr. Curtis Cripeis a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. For more posts on mental health and wellness, follow this Twitter account.

Pets: A new breed of mental health therapy

posted Nov 26, 2019, 12:05 PM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Dr. Curtis Cripe has devoted a considerable part of his life to the study of neuroengineering, with one of his ultimate goals being the sustainable management of neurological dysfunctions. He has also spent much time reading up on various treatments and therapies that have been known to attain a certain level of success with patients suffering from mental health issues.

For this blog, Dr. Curtis Cripe explores a new breed of mental health therapy – therapy pets. He notes, though, that just like all therapies, this is supplementary to appointments to mental health professionals, which are always required.

In a number of surveys taken, patients suffering from anxiety and depression have expressed a deep connection with therapy pets, especially dogs. Part of this connection is rooted in the person’s responsibility to care for the pet, making them cultivate a sense of purpose and achievement.

Then there’s also the ability of pets to tether people back to the world. Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and PTSD often feel confused about their surroundings, as if reality has been fragmented. The presence of therapy pets reminds them that they do live in the real world.

Of course, the biggest and most significant role of therapy pets is to provide companionship. People suffering from any sort of trauma and its subsequent effects may rather opt to be withdrawn from the world, Dr. Curtis Cripe explains. Pets can help gradually bring them (patients) out of their homes and into the world again.

Dr. Curtis Cripe has a diverse multidisciplinary professional and academic background, having worked in aerospace, engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, and child neurodevelopment. More on Dr. Cripe and his work here.

Detecting autism in children

posted Oct 11, 2019, 11:03 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Autism spectrum disorder or ASD refers to a developmental and neurological disorder that begins in a person’s early childhood and lasts throughout his or her life. Autism greatly affects how a person will learn and interact with others. Studies show that by the age of two, signs or symptoms can be identified to aid parents in recognizing if their child may have the disorder, explains behavioral medicine professional Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Neurologists state that the most common method for detecting autism is a comparative measurement of a child’s development with given milestones established for children in the same age group. One sign of early autism is an impaired ability to communicate. Children with ASD may exhibit marked inability to initiate or sustain conversations, repetitive use of language, or delay or total lack of spoken language.

Aside from communication barriers, many undiagnosed children will display social cues that show that they are not developing like other kids of the same age group. These are an inability to reciprocate emotions; failure to develop relationships with peers; repetitive patterns of behavior; and impairment in nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, body posture, and facial expression. Experts would usually look for at least two of these symptoms when diagnosing autism.

A child with ASD may choose not to converse at all, or simply repeat things they hear. Many of them will repeat lines they like from games, movies, TV shows, and commercials. They may also insist on listening to the same song, watching the same film, or have a fascination with certain objects like toys, cars, or even geometric shapes, adds Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in the development of brain-based technology for treating various neurological disorders. Visit this blog for similar posts.

Interesting ways seniors can take care of their mental health

posted Sep 26, 2019, 10:24 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

As the head of the NTL Group, Dr. Curtis Cripe has put a premium on mental health. He has over the past few years, shared through his blogs the things he has studied and practiced to promote awareness.

For this blog, Dr. Cripe wishes to share with seniors and the people taking care of them how to keep one’s mental capacity as healthy as possible as one reaches their twilight years. Below are some ways to, at the very least, delay the onset of dementia and other mental health issues.

Learning new things: One of the best mental exercises a person can do is to learn new things. From taking night classes to reading books to learning how to cook, all these activities stimulate the brain and keep it from being stagnant.

Take on a new hobby: Building from the previous item of learning new things, taking on a new hobby allows a person to feel, smell, see, and taste new things. The use of these senses once again keeps the brain active, which is important in delaying the onset of mental health conditions.

Keep moving: Being physically active either through (low impact) sports or everyday routines such as knitting or writing can keep a person’s hand-eye coordination and other fine motor skills at their peak. This is also very beneficial when it comes to a person’s overall health.

Can you think of other ways seniors can take care of their mental health? Share them with Dr. Curtis Cripe in the comments below.

Dr. Curtis Cripe played an important role in the development of the programs being used by the NTL Group, which specializes in the treatment of learning disabilities and neurological diseases. More information on Dr. Cripe and his work here.

The definition of intelligence, according to science

posted Jul 17, 2019, 10:55 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Scientists have long been hard at work trying to evaluate the differences in abilities among humans for thousands of years now. In 1885, Francis Galton devised the first recognized systematic attempt to measure intelligence, according to neuroengineer Dr. Curtis Cripe. But how does science really define intelligence?

Intelligence involves the ability to solve problems, act purposefully, and adapt to new and complex situations. It is also typically defined as the ability that’s measured by intelligence tests, plain and simple. In 1905, French scientists Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon were tapped by the government to create a test that defines intelligence – from here the IQ tests came to life and largely defined intelligence based on the capacity to judge, comprehend, and reason well.

In 1938, Louis Thurstone examined the performance of students on a series of 56 tests, coming up with seven factors that underlie intelligence. These are verbal comprehension, verbal fluency, number, spatial visualization, memory, reasoning, and perceptual speed. Fast forward to many years later, Howard Gardner theorized the existence of multiple intelligences based on a neuropsychological analysis of human ability and brain function.

Today, disagreements on the definition of intelligence still exist. Yet there has been a movement to incorporate a variety of skills and talents in the intelligence basket, which encourages excellence in non-academic areas and an appreciation of diversity, said Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a multidisciplinary neuroengineer and aerospace engineer whose diverse background includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. He is the founder of the Crossroads Institute, which specialized in telemedicine brain training delivery systems. For similar reads, visit this page.

Is depression a disease?

posted Jun 21, 2019, 11:44 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

One of the most common queries encountered when understanding depression in the 21st century is whether it should be qualified as a disease. But to best answer this question, one should keep in mind the meaning behind the various ways in which neurologists conceptualize depression as well as its features, says behavioral medicine expert Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Firstly, as far as features are concerned, depression is usually characterized by a variety of symptoms, namely: depressed mood, disinterest and loss of pleasure, chronic insomnia, repeated fatigue, a feeling of worthlessness, significant weight loss or weight gain, a decreased ability to concentrate, indecision, and recurring thoughts of death of suicidal ideation. It’s important to note that these symptoms should cause apparent impairment in living one’s daily life but should not be attributed to another medical condition or substance abuse.

Such bodily manifestations of depression make it hard to think of depression as strictly a disorder related to the mind, especially since both mind and body comprise a complementary, overlapping system. Today, there has thus been increasing support of the theory that depression is a systemic disease.

However, simply labeling depression as a disease does little to fully encompass its complex nature, cautions Dr. Curtis Cripe. It’s still an illness treated using psychotherapy, after all. But such changing optics is already a move toward a better understanding of depression as a disorder involving both the mind and the body.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in the creation of neuroengineering programs for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. For more reads on neurology, go to this page.

Neuroscience and stress management: Brain exercises worth trying

posted May 10, 2019, 8:37 AM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Stress has become a part of an adult's daily life. Fulfilling responsibilities at home, at work, and in other areas can be overwhelming. Thus, managing fatigue is crucial to maintaining a person's health. To do this, one must start with the mind. Neuroscientists and researchers like Dr. Curtis Cripe suggest these brain exercises to ease the stress:

Identify emotions

People who know how to express what they are feeling are believed to be more intelligent. This is because they are able to identify what they are going through even if it is negative or overwhelming. When negative feelings arise, experts suggest calling it by its name—anxiety, pressure, sadness, or anger. Labeling an emotion helps a person reconcile it with reality and might even lead to better decision-making.

Play music or games

Athletes play their favorite tunes before a big match. Some creative professionals play games when they're out of ideas. For those who are feeling unproductive or pressured, doing something that stimulates the mind can help focus on the task at hand. It can also release endorphins for positivity and better productivity. However, moderating time doing these things is also crucial as seen by neuroscience experts like Dr. Curtis Cripe. Doing these activities for short periods is enough for a mental boost.

Practice mindfulness

Living in the present is not just a suggestion from wellness gurus. Staying in a quiet place and practicing deep breaths can calm the mind and the body. It can also increase focus that might contribute to better decision-making and productivity. Though this exercise will not eliminate stressors, it will improve a person's reaction to these.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, brain injury, and more. Visit this page to read similar articles.

Common causes of brain injury and damage

posted Apr 15, 2019, 1:00 PM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Brain injury can happen to anyone at any given time, and it is caused by a wide array of accidents or forms of violence. According to the Brain Injury Institute of America, 1.7 million people suffer from a brain injury every single year. Dr. Curtis Cripe, head of research at the NTL Group, enumerates some common causes of brain injury and damage.

Falls Falls account for 35.2% of brain injuries each year, and they are the leading cause. Rates are highest for children from birth up to 4 years of age and for adults aged 75 and older. Brain damage could happen after a severe bump, blow, or jolt to the head and could disrupt normal brain function.

Sports injuries Athletes are highly susceptible to brain injury, especially those who are engaged in boxing, football, baseball, skateboarding, and other high-impact extreme sports. Around 1.6 t0 3.8 million sports-related concussions happen each year in the United States, and brain injuries cause more deaths compared to any other injuries in sports. In football alone, traumatic brain injuries are responsible for 65% to 95% of all fatalities.

Vehicle-related collisions Collisions that involve cars, bicycles, and motorcycles are also a common cause of brain injury. They also occur to those handling the vehicles and pedestrians involved in accidents.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in neuroengineering programs aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders connected to head injury, depression, anxiety, memory disorders, and learning disorders. For more articles like this, visit this page.

Brain journals: Types of amnesia and how they affect memory

posted Mar 15, 2019, 3:33 PM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Amnesia is a common trope in movies, TV shows, and literature. Indeed, the idea of a person losing parts of his or her memory is intriguing, but that’s about everything that’s shown on television.

There are different types of amnesia, each having varying degrees of impact in terms of memory loss. According to neuroengineer Dr. Curtis Cripe, amnesia is one of the most unique disorders that modern medicine has yet to unlock. Here are some examples of the types of amnesias and how they affect memory.

Retrograde amnesia
Retrograde amnesia tends to erode more recent memories compared to older ones like childhood memories. The span of lost memories differs widely. Some patients lose days and weeks while others could lose entire years.

Anterograde amnesia
Amnesia is often described as losing memories. However, in the case of anterograde amnesia, a patient cannot form new memories. This is often associated with a damaged hippocampus. Effects of anterograde amnesia can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. For example, drinking alcohol excessively can lead to short term anterograde amnesia while brain damage can leave permanent effects.

Infantile amnesia
Infantile amnesia is the reason most, if not all of us, cannot recall memories from the first three to five years of our lives. It also goes by the name childhood amnesia.

Transient global amnesia
People who develop transient global amnesia often experience confusion or agitation which comes and goes several times within the span of a few hours. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, people experiencing this tend to lose memories of the hours before these attacks.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a multidisciplinary neuroengineer and aerospace engineer whose diverse background includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. For more reads on neurological disorders, visit this blog.

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