Tourette’s: How it affects people and how to manage it

Tourette syndrome is one of the few neurological illnesses which can greatly affect a person’s lifestyle. A person with Tourette’s would have involuntary body movement called “tics,” ranging from something mild like flinching to cases where patients would flail or curse. In severe cases, some tics could paralyze a patient indefinitely. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, Tourette’s begins during childhood, with a good chance of it subsiding as one reaches adulthood. For a lot of patients, symptoms subside after just 10 years. However, persistent Tourette’s require a lot of effort in terms of managing the illness.

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People suffering from Tourette’s can be categorized by the tics they experience. They can either be vocal tics or physical ones. For both categories, symptoms could either be simple or complex. Simple vocal tics manifest themselves in coughs, sniffles, blows, and screams while complex tics include repetition of words or phrases, mimicking other people, or even swearing. As for physical tics, simple ones could include jerking movements like neck twisting, blinking, and teeth grinding. Complex physical tics are often complex movements like hitting, kicking, shaking, and mimicking the movements of others.

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Managing Tourette’s can be tricky. For one, suppressing the patient can simply agitate the person and make the episode worse. This is why lifestyle changes are necessary in order to lessen the episodes. Dr. Curtis Cripe believes that stress can be a big factor in the surfacing of these tics. That is why patients are often told to avoid stress or to have a ready, quiet, and safe space where they can deal with and “release” their tics. The good news is that, given the delicateness of the issue, it is good to know that there is a growing community which supports and helps children and adults suffering from Tourette’s.

Dr. Curtis Cripeis 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. For more insightful reads on neurological disorders, visit this blog.

How is procrastination connected to depression?

Procrastination is the act of avoiding what needs to be done by pursuing other actions. For example, instead of studying, a student might end up cleaning his or her room or watching television. While this simple act of omission sounds harmless enough, new studies have shown that certain degrees of procrastination are linked to depression. Dr. Curtis Cripe says that chronic procrastination is tied to depression, which happens when one feels a certain helplessness and lack of energy to fulfill tasks.

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Depressed people often put actions off but to a severe degree. For example, a person who is depressed may not feel like accomplishing anything at all, even if it’s as simple as writing their name down on a form or answering phone calls. Given the nature of this combination, seeking treatment becomes a greater challenge.

However, not all acts of procrastination can be traced back to depression. Oftentimes, people who are chronic procrastinators have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. People suffering from this ailment are easily distracted or have difficulty sticking to a task they are given. The same goes for obsessive-compulsive disorder, where a person has compulsions that keep him or her from performing certain tasks.

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Given the available information regarding procrastination and depression, it is important for people to assess the situation of those whom they know to be chronic procrastinators. Mental health issues are serious matters and getting ahead of them can make all the difference. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, finding the root cause of our procrastination can help us overcome this crippling problem.

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. To read more about Dr. Cripe and his work, visit this webpage.

Caring for children with Tourette’s Syndrome

Tourette’s syndrome, also called Tourette Syndrome or TS, is a neurological disease. Patients with TS experience sudden and frequent tics – movements that are quick and twitch-like, and uncontrollable. More often than not, TS manifests itself in children between 7 and 12. While caring for a child with TS may be difficult, it is by no means impossible. Knowledge and research can go a long way.

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On that note, Dr. Curtis Cripe shares a few effective ways of caring for children with TS.

Calming techniques

Parents of children with TS would do good to learn the many calming techniques professionals do when calming their patients. Since children with TS are known to be irritable and short-tempered, having them do activities such as meditation and deep breathing can help them cope with their situation.

Biofeedback Training

Biofeedback training is a form of therapy whose goal is to manage the triggers of tics. It has been known to help people with TS control stress and the pain they feel from the tics.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, children with TS perform exercises that help them control their thoughts, emotions, and, ultimately, behavior. This goes a long way when dealing with tics and other TS symptoms, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds.

Dr. Curtis Cripe also mentions that parents need to consult with professionals regularly, as well as therapists, for the continued progress of their children.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in the creation of neuroengineering programs that aid in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous neurological disorders. Go to this page for more neurology-related reads.

Distinguishing between fine motor and gross motor skills

Motor skills allow the use of the skeletal muscles effectively. These vary in function and involve different parts of the body, including the joints, bones, nervous system, and brain. Motor skills are refined as people age, but sometimes they can also be hampered by certain disabilities, explains behavioral medicine professional Dr. Curtis Cripe.

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Gross motor skills refer to skills acquired or learned as a baby until early childhood. For example, by the time a child turns two, they should be able to begin walking, climbing up the stairs, and running. Gross motor skills are developed throughout childhood and are refined as one grows older. In other words, they are integral to a person’s overall motor development.

Fine motor skills, on the other hand, have to do with the coordination of muscle movements in the body, like using the eyes, fingers, and hands properly. These skills involve being able to put on clothing, fasten buttons, or grasp small objects. They enhance the sense of body control, strength, and dexterity.

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Both gross and fine motor skills are integral to the overall physical and mental development of any child. It is the duties of parents to aid their children in the development of their motor skills by providing activities that enhance them. At the same time, in instances in which parents detect delays, they can take their children to a neurologist to run specific motor-skill assessments, adds Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Dr. Curtis Cripe heads research and development at the NTL Group, which uses neuroengineering technology for treating various learning and memory disorders, neurodevelopmental delays, anxiety, and depression. More on Dr. Cripe and the NTL Group here.

How artistry can help Alzheimer’s patients

While Dr. Curtis Cripe and the NTL Group’s many methods of helping patients with neurological disorders utilize highly advanced technology, Dr. Cripe has managed to explore countless other ways in combating mental health issues.

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For this blog, Dr. Cripe explores just how artistry can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

First off, everyone has to know that not all of those who are in their twilight years have Alzheimer’s. Secondly, Alzheimer’s doesn’t only strike once a person reaches their twilight years. There have been some cases that the disease manifests itself much earlier in a person’s life, although it doesn’t happen as much as in seniors.

When a person develops Alzheimer’s, they experience memory loss and struggles to move the way they used to. This drop in motor function hampers a person’s daily routine, as the reduction in cognitive skills negatively affects their short and long-term memory.

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It is fortunate, however, that many researchers and scientists have found ways to keep the brain healthy enough to delay the progression of the disease. One of these ways is art therapy.

Combined with other forms of more traditional therapy such as occupational, physical, and speech therapies, art therapy has been found to stimulate the brain and in some cases, retrieve lost memories. Art therapy involves painting, sculpting, sketching, photography, as well as exposing one’s self to artwork in museums. It can also overlap with music therapy, which is, of course, another form of art.

While art therapy isn’t a form of cure, it does have its benefits. And when battling mental health diseases, every little bit helps.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group. He has published two peer-reviewed papers and wrote two book chapters on neurotherapy and neuroengineering. For related posts, visit this blog.

Addiction hijacks the brain: Here’s how

Once humans develop an addiction, their brain becomes rewired to use drugs in spite of the risks and consequences. Addiction has such a long and powerful effect on the brain that it becomes a constant, even recurring struggle that requires an effective treatment plan, according to neuroengineer Dr. Curtis Cripe.

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This influence on the brain manifests in different ways, mainly the craving for the object of your addiction, losing control over its use, and persistent involvement with the object amid negative consequences. From previous decades when people first thought that people with addictions were morally flawed or lacked willpower, addiction is now recognized as a chronic disease affecting both the structure and function of the brain.

When it comes to the pleasure principle, addictive drugs and substances offer a shortcut to the brain’s reward system, flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine and other neurotransmitters. The probability that the use of a drug will lead to addiction depends on the speed of promoting dopamine release, as well as the intensity and dependability of such release. Smoking or intravenous administration, for instance, generally produces a quicker dopamine signal and is more likely to lead to drug abuse compared to swallowing a pill.

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Over time, too, the brain can adapt in a way that makes the desired substance or activity less pleasurable. This leads to building a tolerance, where a person then has to take more of the object of his addiction to get the same dopamine “high,” explained Dr. Curtis Cripe.

The human brain is a complex organ that controls voluntary and involuntary actions alike. It is highly adaptive, which unfortunately also contributes to the formation of addictive behaviors. Since addiction is “learned” and stored in this dynamic organ as memory, recovery becomes a long, slow process.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. For similar posts, visit this page.

When should you bring your child to a pediatric neurologist?

Pediatric neurologists are tasked to diagnose and treat problems related to the nervous system and brain functions of children. They study conditions caused by the breakdown of communications in the nervous system, which generally allow signals to move seamlessly between the brain and other parts of the body, explains Behavioral Medicine expert Dr. Curtis Cripe.

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There are two main symptoms that should make you think about seeing a pediatric neurologist for your child. Seizure is the first symptom. While seizures do not happen regularly, they are not as rare as believed. Some kids may experience what is known as a febrile seizure, which may appear frightening to parents but do not cause epilepsy or any long-term harm.

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A child undergoing a febrile seizure should be brought to the pediatrician immediately, as the doctor should be able to treat and determine its seriousness and severity. But if a child chronically experiences seizure episodes, it’s best to bring them to a pediatric neurologist.

Another reason to see a pediatric neurologist is if your child frequently experiences migraines. Migraine headaches are debilitating, causing abnormal sensitivity to light, difficulty in seeing, and even nausea. Though it usually only requires rest, water, and pain medication to treat a normal headache, repeated and prolonged migraines should be brought to the attention of a pediatric neurologist. This is because such chronic migraines may likewise be accompanied by various neurological dysfunctions like confusion and loss of sight, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds.

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. More information on Dr. Cripe and his work here.