Archive for June, 2011

Diet and Brainjogging will manage and minimize ADHD symptoms

Monday, June 27th, 2011 by admin

Children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often characterized as being

Brainjogging, in conjunction with a restrictive diet specifically tailored to individual children, can significanlty minimize the manifestation of ADHD symptoms.

hyperactive, fidgety, impulsive, distracted and anxious.  These individuals, particularly children, can be considered difficult to handle.  Approximately ten percent of children in the United States are diagnosed with ADHD.  Traditionally, these children are treated with medication, but a new study in The Lancet suggests that a restrictive diet may yield a significant decrease in the manifestation of symptoms.

Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands, the study’s lead author, suggests that many ADHD diagnoses result from external factors, which can be treated by changing the environment in which the affected individual exists (NPR).

Pelsser suggests that there needs to be a shift in the way in which ADHD is treated.  ADHD needs to be approached as a collection of symptoms rather than a disease.  Pelsser goes so far as to draw a comparison between ADHD and eczema, saying, “The skin is affected, but a lot of people get eczema because of a latex allergy or because they are eating a pineapple or strawberries.”

Pelsser’s research indicates that approximately 64 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually experiencing a hypersensitivity to food. By starting children on very elaborate diets and then restricting that diet over a period of five weeks, researchers were able to minimize symptoms of individuals with ADHD.  Over this five-week period, researchers are able to study which foods cause problems with different children.

Astonishingly, teachers and doctors who worked with study participants reported observable changes in behavior.  The children were more attentive and less reactive.

Despite Pelsser’s research team’s promising results, a restrictive diet is not the answer for all children with ADHD.  As with medication, a diet program should be modified or abandoned in the event that it does not translate directly into results for the child being treated.  Regardless, beginning treatment with a diet, rather than medication, may lead to successful management of symptoms without resorting to medication.

Additionally, Camp Academia, Inc.’s patented cognitive processing software, Brainjogging, successfully manages ADHD and its traditional symptoms.  Brainjogging can be used in conjunction with a diet that treats ADHD.

Listen to this story on NPR here.

Mirror neuron systems in individuals with autism

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 by admin

A new study in Biological Psychiatry reports that the mirror neuron system, a brain circuit that allows humans to understand and anticipate other people’s actions, may merely be delayed in individuals with autism, rather than ineffective or nonexistent.  The brain circuit regulating mirror neuron systems becomes active when individuals perform certain actions or watch others perform them.  Individuals with autism, however, typically do not have fully developed mirror neuron systems until age 30.  In neurotypical individuals, mirror neuron system function is strongest when they are young and declines throughout their lifetime.  Conversely, the mirror neuron systems of individuals with autism actually increases as they age, reaching “normal” capacity at age 30 and rising thereafter, even to unusually high levels of efficiency.

The mirror neuron system in individuals with autism increase as they age. Image courtesy of Elsevier.

There is, however, some contention that the increased strength of the mirror neuron system in individuals with autism may be due to early interventions in their lives, including social function interventions and academic ones.

The study, which contends that individuals with autism, who were once thought to have defective or nonexistent mirror neuron systems, may merely have delayed mirror neuron systems, is significant in its implications for autism-related research.  Delayed mirror neuron systems can be identified as a main research interest for autism research.  These brain circuits could be targeted with varied and focused interventions in an attempt to enable individuals with autism to overcome social deficiencies potentially associated with decreased efficiency in these circuits.

Elsevier (2011, May 5). Mirror neuron system in autism: Broken or just slowly developing?

Multiple sclerosis and marijuana

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 by admin

This graphic was taken from a website promoting the use of medical marijuana in patients with MS. Marijuana use to treat MS is controversial in that cannabis potentially furthers cognitive delay even as it relieves other MS-related symptoms.

Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), which affects the brain and spinal cord, have increasingly begun to turn to smoking cannabis to relieve symptoms. Approximately 16% of MS patients smoke cannabis regularly.  MS cannabis smokers believe that smoking relieves “pain, spasticity, insomnia, bladder problems, tremors and emotional distress” (NPR).

In addition to this symptoms, MS is often marked by cognitive decline and delayed processing, which manifests in difficulty thinking and communicating thought clearly.  Researchers in Canada investigated cannabis’s effects of MS patients’ thinking.  If patients with MS already have cognitive delay, and cannabis further decreases cognitive processing, Canadian researchers believed perhaps cannabis is not the answer to relieving MS symptoms.  They compared cognitive function of people with MS to that of people with MS who also partially self-medicate, or medicate by prescription, with marijuana

The MS patients that smoked marijuana “fared slightly worse on tests of thinking speed, working memory, executive function, and other cognitive tasks then their non-toking peers. And they did worse overall on thinking clearly, with 64 percent doing poorly on overall cognitive performance, compared to 32 percent of nonsmokers” (Honarmand, Tierney, O’Connor & Fiernstein, 2011). The study’s results appear in the the journal Neurology. Researchers wrote the following:

Given that approximately 40 percent to 60 percent of patients with MS are cognitively impaired to begin with, any drug that may add to this burden gives cause for concern.

If you are suffering from MS, Brainjogging can curb decreased cognitive efficiency.  Brainjogging actually increases the speed of neuron communication in the brain, strengthening neural pathways and creating new ones.  Brainjogging has also decreased medical distress, specifically depression, in patients.

Honarmand, K., Tierny, M. C., O’Connor, P. and Feinstein, A. (2011). Effects of cannabis on cognitive function in patients with multiple sclerosis.  Neurology, 76(13). doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318212ab0c

*Margareet: Brainjogging paved the way to personal success

Thursday, June 16th, 2011 by admin

Margareet works with Dr. Christiane Price during a Brainjogging session. Margareet has significanlty increased her self-image since beginning Brainjogging in February 2011.

On the evening in February 2011 when Ms. Henderson saw Brainjogging’s ad in the newspaper, she was skeptical: she had already had Margareet tested by other tutoring companies and nothing yet had worked for her and her daughter.  Ms. Henderson contacted Brainjogging’s main office in LaGrange, Georgia, and enrolled Margareet in an eight-week program, during which Margareet would Brainjog twice daily at home and come into the office once each week for cognitive therapists to collect her Brainjogging data.

Ms. Henderson said that the results of Brainjogging on her daughter were obvious by March, within one month of beginning the program in February 2011.  Margareet began paying attention to herself by making sure that she was clean and presentable and by dressing herself.  Margareet began to show interest in her hair and jewelry.  She began taking care of her room and neatening her personal spaces.

Ms. Henderson said of Margareet, “She just became so outgoing – smiling at people and talking to them.    She looks at you [now] when you speak and she pays attention.”

When asked what she believed was the most important result of Margareet’s Brainjogging, Ms. Henderson stated that self-esteem was the greatest benefit of her and Margareet’s experience.

“I signed her up for help with grades, but everything got better when her self-esteem got better,” Ms. Henderson explains.

Margareet became a happy, confident child during her initial eight weeks with Brainjogging, from February 2011 – April 2011.  Ms. Henderson immediately signed Margareet up for an additional eight weeks of sessions when the first eight-week period ended.  In those four months, Margareet’s Fs in social studies, language arts and science rose to a two Ds and a C, respectively.

In May 2011, Ms. Henderson and her mother again went to Margareet’s field day at school.  Margareet was very outgoing, smiling and talking to various people.  She had made connections with people in her class.  She was a 12 year old girl with friends and a smile on her face, and Brainjogging helped her come out of her shell.

*All names in this article have been changed to protect confidentiality.

*Margareet: an ad raises a family’s hopes

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 by admin

This child, born at 24 weeks of gestation, is approximately the same size as Margareet at birth: 1 pound and three ounces. Margareet survived her twin but has experienced delayed development as a result of her premature birth.

Leitha Henderson was sitting at work, flipping through a newspaper, when she encountered an ad for Camp Academia, Inc.’s Brainjogging program.

Twelve years ago, Ms. Henderson gave birth prematurely to twins. The twins were born at only 24 weeks of gestation.  One twin survived only six months; the other, Margareet, experienced diminished hearing

and vision.  Margareet weighed one pound, three ounces at birth. Margareet’s premature birth led to cognitive delays.  She was a slow learner.  During preschool, Margareet experienced a period of time during which she was developing normally, but her progress slumped and she got behind in school in the following years.  Margareet had few friends and was very shy.

On the day that Ms. Henderson stumbled onto Camp Academia, Inc.’s ad, she was at a loss as to what to do to help her daughter.  Margareet, who was about to turn 12 when her mother chanced across Brainjogging’s ad, was not taking care of herself.  Margareet had Fs in science, social studies and language arts.  Ms. Henderson was primarily interested in helping her daughter academically, but there were other things that concerned her, including the fact that Margareet was completely uninterested in her appearance.  Ms. Henderson dressed her in the mornings because Margareet simply did not care about how she looked.

In February 2010, Margareet’s mother and grandmother went to her field day event at school. Margareet participated in her activities but did not say much. Ms. Henderson believes that Margareet was aware of and self-conscious about her delays in relation to other students.  Margareet merely went through the motions of participation without really engaging in field day.  Margareet’s grandmother, Ms. Henderson’s mother, expressed that she wished Margareet were able to connect with other students.

And then, on this night in February 2011, Ms. Henderson found Brainjogging’s ad.

*All names in this article have been changed to protect confidentiality.

Attentional dyslexia: a particular breed

Friday, June 10th, 2011 by admin

Attentional dyslexia flies under the general banner of dyslexia, but it is a particular type of reading disorder, distinguished even from other variations of dyslexia.  A Tel Aviv University study yielded the first comprehensive explanation of attentional dyslexia (Science Daily).

Attentional dyslexia, though different from traditional dyslexia, is equally frustrating for students.

Individuals with attentional dyslexia experience an atypical migration of letters in printed text.  The phrase “happy cat” might be read as “happy hat,” with the first letter of the first word migrating to the same slot in the second word.  More infrequently, the phrase “rough can” might be read as “cough ran,” with the first letters of each word migrating to replace each other.  This migration of letters between words, rather than within words, sets attentional dyslexia apart from general dyslexia, in which letters are often transposed within a given word.

Despite attentional dyslexia’s specific characteristics, Brainjogging minimizes its manifestations in the same way it does traditional dyslexia.  Yesterday’s post noted that dyslexia is sometimes called “letter or word blindness” because individuals with dyslexia often do not see letters – and fail to notice their omission of letters.  Traditional and attentional dyslexia are both caused by atypical eye movements that do not incorporate the entire field of vision, particularly peripheral vision.  Brainjogging’s eye movements train individuals’ eyes to move from left to right, taking full advantage of one’s field of vision.  Brainjogging enjoys enormous success with individuals with dyslexia, be it traditional or attentional dyslexia.

Orthographic transparency doesn’t lessen the presence of dyslexia

Thursday, June 9th, 2011 by admin

Dyslexia is complex and occurs even in individuals who are native speakers of orthographically transparent languages.

Dyslexia, a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence, and dysgraphia are both treatable using Brainjogging. Brainjogging was actually created to enable the program author’s daughter, who suffered from dyslexia, to be an efficient reader.

Orthographically transparent languages are based on alphabets with letters that correspond to the same sounds.  English is not an orthographically transparent language: English letters change sounds depending on a word.  It may seem that speakers of orthographically transparent languages would be less frequently plagued by dyslexia, but a recent study conducted on Italian children reveals that even speakers of Italian, an orthographically transparent language, has speakers suffering from dyslexia (Science Daily).

The presence of dyslexia even in cultures whose primary language is orthographically transparent speaks to and justifies the urgency that drives investigation of dyslexia as a cognitive disorder independent of language.  Dyslexia is sometimes referred to as “word blindness” or “letter blindness because individuals with dyslexia often fail to see – and fail to notice their omission of – certain words and letters in printed text.  Their eyes simply do not move efficiently enough to take in all words and letters.

Brainjogging trains the eye to move efficiently and thoroughly from left to right, taking in all visual stimuli, particularly stimuli in the peripheral fields of vision.  This increased efficiency yields a more comprehensive visual stimuli for the brain to process.

Columbia University research indicates possibility of early diagnosis of autism

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 by admin

Recent research from Columbia University demonstrates detection of autism using fMRIs. Further research needs to be conducted on younger, more critical populations.

A recent study by researchers at Columbia University demonstrates that researchers can predict autism in children using functional MRI (fMRI) scans.  Twenty-seven children between the ages of four and seventeen were given fMRIs while they listened to recordings of their parents voices; twelve of the children had autism and fifteen were typically developing.  The fMRIs measured activity in the brain regions involved in hearing and language comprehension, the primary auditory cortex and superior temporal gyrus, respectively.  The fMRIs revealed that there was no difference in the primary auditory complex in either group, but that the superior temporal gyrus was significantly more active in the typically developing children.  Immature language comprehension – or complete lack thereof – is a hallmark of autism.

Additionally, 27 age-matched children with autism were given fMRIs while listening to recordings of their parents’ voices.  Columbia’s researchers correctly identified autism in 26 of the children.

The findings are significant but require further research.  Although the fMRI scans did identify autism, there is not yet any indication that these scans can distinguish between autism and other developmental disorders.  Autism spectrum disorder is, indeed, a wide range of abilities and deficits – autism does not manifest in the same way in any two individuals.  Columbia’s team cannot yet identify whether autism detected is more or less severe within the spectrum.

Finally, autism is most easily treated with early intervention, which ideally takes place at or even before age two.  The children in Columbia’s study were ages four to seventeen; Columbia will need to conduct trials on younger children in order to substantiate suppositions that fMRIs can correctly identify autism in this critical population.

ADHD’s commonality with bipolar disorder – and how Brainjogging can help

Friday, June 3rd, 2011 by admin

Physicians are contemplating adding "mood swings" to the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, as they are often associated with the disorder.

ADHD is characterized by inattention, impulsivity and, often, mood swings. Norwegian researchers recently mined a research biobank to investigate ADHD’s relationship with other mental disorders (Science Daily).  In 2005, they began a long-term evaluation of ADHD and the degrees of connectivity it shares with mental disorders.  They identified a distinctive overlap between the mood swings characteristic of ADHD and those associated with bipolar disorder.  In light of this study, there has been discussion of whether mood swings should be included in the diagnostic criteria for ADHD.

Brainjogging, Camp Academia, Inc.’s cognitive processing enhancement software, has a calming effect on individuals who experience anxiety.  It drastically decreases the occurrence of mood swings and trains individuals with ADHD to narrow their focus, limiting distractibility.  ADHD’s commonality with bipolar disorder, drastic mood swings, are significantly reduced when an individual begins Brainjogging.  Mood swings are only one of the many aspects of ADHD that Brainjogging ameliorates.  Brainjogging also alleviates the manifestations of depression and bipolar disorder, independent of ADHD, although both of these mental disorders are, to a degree, found in individuals with ADHD.

Size matters: exercise’s effect on spatial memory

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 by admin

Spatial memory, which can be enhanced through exercise, employs the mind's eye. Brainjogging specifically addresses the importance of employing the mind's eye.

The brain functions like a muscle.  It must be toned and strengthened, either through mental exercises or physical ones – or, better yet, both.

Let us return to neuroscientist Peter Snyder’s work.  Yesterday’s post referenced the positive effects Snyder found aerobic exercise to have on the hippocampus in senior populations.  The hippocampus is the area of the brain integral to learning and memory.  To reiterate, Snyder discovered that in individuals who walked approximately 40 minutes, three times a week for a year, the hippocampus grew 2%.  This 2% growth is the rough equivalent of setting the clock back two years. In contrast, individuals that stretched, toned and lifted light weights for the same period of time actually lost 1.5%.  In comparison to individuals that gained hippocampus mass from aerobic exercise, this translates into a difference of about three and a half years of cognition (Trudeau, 2011).

The hippocampus’s growth specifically affected the state of the study’s aerobic participants’ spatial memory.  Spatial memory refers to recording information about the environment and its spatial orientation. Spatial memory is required to navigate cities and even grocery stores and familiar living spaces.  It creates a kind of cognitive map of various physical spaces. At the beginning of the study, both groups took tests measuring their spatial memory abilities.  The individuals in the aerobic exercise group improved upon their spatial memory scores from the year before while the light lifting and toning group did not improve its spatial memory scores.  While the individuals in the aerobic group still occasionally forgot people’s names and other pieces of information, their spatial memory improved significantly.

Spatial memory is also significant in that it can be improved with or without exercise – although exercise is an excellent and perhaps inexcusably accessible tool to forgo using.  Brainjogging’s tutoring sessions employ mind’s eye exercises in which students close their eyes and recall familiar spaces.  They orally navigate others from one point to another with their eyes closed.  The individual employing his or her mind’s eye offers directions while the partner draws a map from Point A to Point B, per the mind’s eye employers guiding statements.  After the journey is completed, the navigating individual studies the drawer’s map and they ascertain together the efficacy of the individual’s spatial memory and cognitive map of the space.  These exercises, in conjunction with Brainjogging’s cognitive processing enhancement software, increase brain plasticity, actually changing the brain.