Understanding brain injuries: A review

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Dr. Curtis Cripe of NTL Group mentions that one of the most important things people can learn from first aid classes is how to handle people who have experienced head injuries. This is an incredibly delicate situation wherein the brain may have experienced trauma that could lead to brain damage. Dr. Cripe notes that people with brain injuries are affected in all sorts of ways. It may even have an immense effect on how they move, feel, think, or function. It is estimated that more than 5 million people in the US struggle with brain injury.

Brain injuries can happen in various ways, with the most common being accidents. People sustain brain injuries from car crashes, slips or falls, sports accidents, unforeseen violence, bomb explosions at war, or repeated concussions in a full-contact sport like boxing or MMA.

People can also sustain brain injuries in other ways other than sudden and intense impact. For example, cutting the supply of oxygen to the brain can have an extremely harmful effect. Tumors and infections are other causes of brain injuries. The most common non-traumatic cause of brain injuries, however, is stroke.

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People with brain injuries experience several symptoms, including headaches, poor vision, inability to communicate, insomnia, and more severe problems like seizures and the gradual decline of motor skills. Dr. Curtis Cripe stresses that anyone who takes care of people living with brain injuries should, above all, understand that their patients may not be able to do the things they used to do.

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.

Telemedicine is here to stay

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Amidst many challenges, people have been able to come out successful, thanks to advancements in technology. One of the best examples in recent times is the use of telemedicine, which Dr. Curtis Cripe wishes to talk about in today’s blog.

Before the COVID19 pandemic, telemedicine was already a practice among professionals in the medical field. Back then, it received its share of criticism. So many people questioned the effectiveness of telemedicine, especially in terms of how properly a diagnosis can be made by a doctor on the patient.

When the COVID19 pandemic fell upon us, telemedicine played a huge role. The general consensus at the start of the pandemic was for everyone to stay indoors and refrain from meeting other people. While this did a lot in terms of protecting people from the effects of the coronavirus, this did not do anything to help address their other needs. As Dr. Curtis Cripe points out, periodic checkups with the doctor became challenging, if not impossible.

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When a good portion of the public turned to telemedicine, it didn’t take long for people to realize that it works. There are cases wherein doctors do not need to be physically present in order to provide a diagnosis for a patient’s condition. With mobile communication over the internet, a lot of issues can be solved. If the issues are found to be indeterminable with telemedicine, then that’s the only time the patient comes over for an appointment.

Telemedicine has been proven to be effective, and more importantly, it has shown that it serves various purposes for the times we are in today, shares Dr. Curtis Cripe. That’s why even when the lockdown season is over, telemedicine will be surely here to stay.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. He currently heads the Research and Development Division of NTL Group, for advanced technology for brain and cognitive repair. For more information, please visit this page.

Telemedicine – An effective tool in today’s disconnected world

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Dr. Curtis Cripe has observed that people have avoided each other as much as possible out of fear of being infected with the virus. Today, he discusses why telemedicine becomes an even more effective tool in such a disconnected world.

According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) telehealth and telemedicine is defined as: Technology enabled health and care management and delivery systems that extend capacity and access. In some cases, it creates a venue wherein a diagnosis of a patient’s condition can be performed.

Using the traditional route of getting a diagnosis, a patient has to literally commute from one place to another just to reach the doctor’s clinic, notes Dr. Curtis Cripe. Chances are, the patient has to fall in line before being attended to by his physician. This already takes up a lot of time and energy from both doctor and patient, and yet the patient has to go through his commute back to where he came from.

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The truth is, there are cases wherein doctors do not need to get up close with their patients to provide their expertise. With today’s online audiovisual exchange, a huge part of diagnoses can be done at a competent level. In case this would not suffice, and there is a need for a face-to-face consultation, this can be determined in the telemedicine session itself, says Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Telemedicine removes a lot of hassle on the patient’s end, while also providing a safe means for patients to receive healthcare during the pandemic.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. He founded the Crossroads Institute and now heads the research and development teams as developers of Cognitive Repair for Brain Disorders technology. For related reading, please visit this page.

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.

What is pupil detection and what are its uses?

Who knows the old adage that the eyes are windows to the soul can find scientific application? Pupil detection and iris recognition are quickly becoming methods for health professionals to find out the state of a patient’s physical and mental health.

Pupil detection works by tracking eye movements in reaction to light over time. To the untrained person, eye movements may mean nothing, but varying reaction times to lights flashing into the eyes hint at symptoms from mental fatigue to traumatic brain injury. These are just a few applications of pupil detection and is something that’s being integrated into neuroengineering technology.

Let’s talk about the case of traumatic brain injury. Although it doesn’t immediately lead to death, it has terrible implications for the patient’s quality of life since it can cause memory issues down the road. Athletes acquire traumatic brain injury when they sustain concussions. Doctors diagnose this injury through a pupillometer or a penlight test. Both of these things are not readily accessible all the time, but a new app which uses a smartphone fills in this gap. The patient only has to look at a boxed-in smartphone with the app installed to detect eye movements. This can work for on-site detection of such a brain injury during a game.

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Pupil detection may also soon be part of driver vigilance monitoring since eye movements signify how alert a driver is. Many peer-reviewed papers discuss this aspect of a driver-vigilance monitoring device for over twenty years, but it’s only now that engineers and scientists are developing the technology. They just needed machine learning to advance for the algorithms to be discovered.

Eye movement monitoring and detection also feature in mental health monitoring since the movement of the eyes over time can reflect a person’s mental states. We’ll just have to fix our eyes on the future and wait for the tech to mature.

Dr. Curtis Cripe, a brain development expert and former NASA engineer, was asked to participate in a White House-NASA committee for TeleHealth/TeleMedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about Dr. Curtis Cripehere.

Telehealth services for persons with dementia

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been testing the limits of the medical system, and although this virus is not the only condition people are struggling with, it feels like it has taken up a lot of resources meant for other health concerns. Some of these patients who’ve been displaced by this focus on COVID-19 cases happen to be people with dementia.

The good thing is the government has recently allocated resources on telehealth services in response to lockdowns and quarantines. Several research initiatives using telehealth and telemedicine target people with dementia and their caregivers. Dr. Curtis Cripe discusses them below.

One key challenge caregivers face when caring for people with dementia is the lack of expert support on what interventions to perform for specific instances. The pandemic has worsened this particular gap as clinic visits were halted to stop the spread of infection. FamTechCare is one such program, and it involves the caregiver of a person with dementia recording specific instances when their charge is being difficult. A team of experts will review the recording and check the caregiver’s chosen response. The team will make recommendations on what interventions can be performed in such cases. These experts will regularly schedule calls to the caregiver to provide coaching.

Aside from caregiver support, there are several programs that people with dementia can interact with directly, notes Dr. Curtis Cripe. These internet-based programs engage people with dementia to help them manage their mental conditions with alarms and reminders. These systems also combat a person with dementia cognitive decline by challenging them to learn something new or go through mental exercises.

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The rise of smart technologies means monitoring systems have become cheaper and more accessible. This will help caregivers keep track of people with dementia if they end up wandering far and then lose track of their whereabouts. It also allows caregivers to watch their charges from a separate location, explains Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Dementia can take sap the life out of not just the patient but also their caregivers. Newer and newer technology meant to make dementia care more manageable is always welcome.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., has worked in aerospace, engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, and child neurodevelopment. He is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, a company specializing in neuroengineering technology that repairs brain dysfunction. Learn more about Dr. Curtis Cripe here.

Cabin fever: A behavioral examination

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For all the various issues on mental health and wellbeing out there, nothing is more popular in this pandemic than cabin fever. NTL Group leader Dr. Curtis Cripe shares his take on this behavior today.

Cabin fever is a human condition wherein the people involved are characterized by restlessness and irritability caused by being in a confined space for prolonged periods of time. Have you noticed how frequently you and your spouse, or any other person you are living with at home, seem to argue more often during this pandemic?

If you notice that more behaviors like anger, disdain, and intolerance have taken place at home while everybody is forced to stay indoors, there’s a big chance that you and your loved ones are experiencing cabin fever now.

According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, one theory suggests that the term “cabin fever” originated in the United States as a name to refer to the state of people who displayed a set of common and predictable behavioral patterns while they were forced to stay inside their cabins in the winter season until all the snow thawed. Another theory says that the term is drawn from seafaring ships where passengers had to endure months of slow travel while being confined inside their small cabins below deck.

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It seems that the behavior is a result of humans being removed from their comfort zones for too long. Generally, people are social beings and are able to actualize themselves better when in the company of others. The drastic shift from a relatively free and highly social lifestyle to being under uncomfortable limitations and isolation are enough to trigger cabin fever.

Dr. Curtis Cripe advises everyone who has behaved similarly while in their homes during this pandemic not to take things personally not to hold any grudges towards each other. Also, there are various tips online on how to manage this and lessen domestic friction.

Dr. Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., is the director of research and development at the NTL Group, a company that develops neuroengineering diagnostic and treatment programs to address a broad array of neurological dysfunctions. His professional background and academic expertise span several disciplines, including aerospace engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, and child neurodevelopment. To know more about his work, read this website.

 

Why telemedicine is a reliable tool today

The rest of the world has been impacted with one of the most crippling issues in recent history, which is the COVID-19 pandemic. A small number of us may have enjoyed some amount of relief as restrictions have eased out a little in some parts of the globe, but for the most part, we are now living in a changed society, Dr. Curtis Cripe shares.
When it comes to health, COVID-19 is top of mind. However, that doesn’t mean all other health concerns will just cease to exist. There remains the issue of chronic diseases and terminal diseases, and even diseases of the mind that range from depression to trauma plague us all while the dark cloud of the pandemic is overhead.
In this very irregular situation, medical experts have turned to telemedicine as a tool to beat the odds. As many people have been trapped in their homes with less available doctors tending to their health conditions, telemedicine has worked around the restrictions and has broken through geographic challenges.
With the use of technology and connectivity, patients and doctors are now taking the route of virtual communication whenever and wherever this is possible. Of course, telemedicine does not fairly address all health situations, especially ones that have to do with the most serious conditions and emergencies. However, there are medical conditions that do not require for a patient to be in the actual presence of a doctor for concrete steps to be made.
Dr. Curtis Cripe points out that diabetes management, active heart monitoring, and even blood pressure monitoring are common in a telemedicine set-up. This practice is expected to become a permanent change in the way that we will be dealing with health issues, even after COVID-19 gets a needed vaccine.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the founder of the Crossroads Institute, and now heads the research and development teams as developer of Cognitive Repair for Brain Disorders technology. He is also part of a White House-NASA committee that has been tasked to spearhead the use of telemedicine as a solution during this time of pandemic, and even after the COVID-19 diminishes. Dr. Curtis Cripe is also a brain development expert and a former engineer at NASA.

How to care for COVID-19 patients at home

As the country enters its fourth month of combating the coronavirus pandemic, it seems justifiable for people to be treated at home. There are many reasons why this could be a viable choice for many. Firstly, it is possible for hospitals in hotspots to be at full capacity, people might think hospitals are unsafe, or that people simply don’t have the resources to send their sick to the hospital. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, here are some guidelines to follow when caring for COVID-19 patients or patients who have COVID-19 symptoms at home.

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Limit Contact
A minimum distance of 6 feet between patient and caregiver should be followed at all times. Unnecessary visitors should be prohibited, especially those who are at high risk of contracting the illness, like elderly people. If possible, the sick individual should be confined in one room to avoid spreading the disease.

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Wear proper PPE
When interacting with a patient, both the patient and the caregiver should wear proper PPE. This includes face masks for both parties. The caregiver should also wear disposable gloves when cleaning items from the sick room, like used plates and laundry.

Track your own health
It is also paramount that healthcare workers and caregivers monitor their own health. If they also start showing symptoms, they should self-isolate for 14 days in order to confirm whether or not they have contracted the disease. Dr. Curtis Cripe also suggests that if any party begins to show respiratory problems or have trouble breathing, emergency services should be notified immediately.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes child neurodevelopment, among other disciplines. He is also the head of the Research and Development Department of the NTL Group. Dr. Curtis Cripe was asked to participate in a White House – NASA committee for TeleHealth/TeleMedicine during the COVID-19. His committee has been asked to spear head long term and on-going TeleHealth and TeleMedicine protocols and procedures that can be followed during the current and future Pandemics as well as TeleMedicine and TeleHealth even after the COVID-19 diminishes. The committee proposals have been accepted and is now moving forward Internationally with UN participation. For more on Dr. Cripe and his work, follow this Facebook page.