What People Need to Know About Addiction to Speed

Of all the dangerous drugs circulating the country, one of the most prevalent is crystal meth. It has torn families apart and ruined lives in both urban and rural areas. When a person first tries it, it is more or less life-changing. The powerful rush it gives its user is hard to take away. That’s right — most of the time, all it takes is just one session. Here are some eye-opening facts about crystal meth.

Image source: luxury.rehabs.com

·It has many names on the street – crack, ice, speed, or chalk.

·It is a more affordable option of cocaine. It gives the same effect, over a longer period of time. It is affordable because it’s easier to make.

·It can be manufactured anywhere, from trailer homes to abandoned buildings, to residences themselves.

·It can be inhaled, injected, swallowed, or snorted.

·One of the most dangerous aspects is that users develop

Image source: skincare.net

a tolerance over a period of time. When this happens, people begin to need a bigger amount to get their hit.

·It has been found that excessive and prolonged use of the crystal meth has a negative effect on a person’s body and brain. Users usually experience rotting of teeth and drying up and damaging of the skin.

·Withdrawal symptoms from crystal meth are extreme and can range from simple anxiety to extreme paranoia and severe (and dangerous) depression.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes drug addiction and abuse recovery. He currently leads the Research and Development department of the NTL group. For more on Dr. Cripe and the NTL group, follow this Facebook page.

That Pleasure Center: How Addictions Change The Brain

Thanks to science, it is now outdated to view addiction in all its forms as a moral scourge. Before, addicts are cast out for their supposed lack of willpower in conquering drug dependence. Neuroscience forwards and persistently substantiates the biomedical view of addiction as a result of a cognitive dysfunction, rendering moot any values-based judgment of it.

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The biomedical view pits addiction as a chronic disease with a physiological explanation, altering the brain and its functions. Furthermore, it is triggered by a natural response of the brain to pleasurable stimuli. The so-called “pleasure center,” the nucleus accumbens, is infused with dopamine when a pleasurable experience registers in the brain. Thus, addiction can take on many forms and is not exclusive to drugs and alcohol. The most benign, everyday activities, such as sex, and even sports, can escalate into full-blown addiction as long as the brain registers pleasure from these and triggers the release of the happiness hormone, dopamine.

Neurosurgeons and neuroengineers then direct their addiction recovery research toward methods that target this “pleasure center.” In China, for instance, a still-risky but roguish procedure called “stereotactic ablation” seeks to obliterate parts of the nucleus accumbens. While well-intentioned, the procedure presents both biomedical and ethical issues. One is that it affects or inhibits other emotional and physiological responses stemming from the pleasure center, such as sexual desire, motivation, and in extreme cases, even happiness. This innovation presents a fundamental problem in neurosurgery: the inherent sensitivity and susceptibility to damage of brain tissue.

Other neuroengineering techniques treating addictions are more holistic and bio-social in their approach. Modern imaging methods allow a comprehensive examination of the brain’s many aspects, including cognitive abilities and brain processing speed and regulation. Data from such are then compiled with personality and lifestyle factors in the development of appropriate treatment programs for addiction.

Image source: TIME.com

Dr. Curtis Cripe developed an integrated cognitive rehabilitation/development/neurotherapy training program targeted at brain recovery and brain development for children, adolescents and adults with brain dysfunctions. For more on neuroscience and methods of cognitive neurorepair, visit this website.

Brains, Computers, And The Future

Scientists are getting closer and closer to creating an interface between the human brain and a computer that can translate what people are thinking. This is especially helpful for people who are unable to communicate, such as those with complete locked-in syndrome.

Image source: itv.com

Some researchers have tried to see if an interface that uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS, would work. Essentially, this method would measure brain hemodynamic responses that are usually associated with neuronal activity.

Scientists have tried to use brain-computer interfaces that depended on neuroelectrical tech, like an electroencephalogram, or EEG. The endeavor ultimately failed in its goal of helping completely locked-in syndrome patients communicate.

This latest technique though seemed to give hope to the study. It is a non-invasive brain-computer interface that combines the NIRS and EEG tech. This technique measures frontocentral blood oxygen levels, as well as electrical changes that occur in the brain. Although brain-computer interfaces in the past have helped patients communicate, the NIRS is the only technique that works on people with complete lock-in syndrome.

This also comes as great news for people who are unable to communicate, such as those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, which can lead to paralysis later on, or those paralyzed because of a stroke or a spinal cord injury.

Image source: bbc.co.uk

Another encouraging fact to note is that this is merely the beginning, as such studies are projected to have broader applications in the future.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer and the head of the Research and Development department of NTL group for advanced technology for brain and cognitive treatment and repair. To find out more about him and the NTL group, check out the blogs on this site.

Bioengineering: A Fascinating Timeline

When one mentions the term bioengineering, people usually think of advanced technology that could have only existed in the late 20th century. That, however, is rather inaccurate. The fact of the matter is bioengineering has been around for hundreds of years. But it was in the 19th century that bioengineering made a turn and became more prevalent. Here is a fascinating look at the important events that led to the development of bioengineering.

From 1791 to 1896

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Image source: journal.sonicstudies.org

In a span of 105 years, a number of inventors and innovators came out with influential and then-state-of-the-art medical equipment. For example, in 1791, Luigi Galvani built the very first frog galvanoscope used to detect electricity using frog’s legs. In 1881, Samuel von Basch built the first sphygmomanometer, which was the tool used to measure blood pressure. The first X-ray machine was built in Germany in 1895, by Conrad Roentgen. He received the Nobel Prize for his efforts in 1901.

From 1903 to 1940s

The first half of the 20th century saw numerous leaps in bioengineering technology. Willem Einthoven began with the invention of the electrocardiogram, otherwise known as the ECG machine. Twenty-six years later, Hans Berger built the first electroencephalogram or EEG. In the two decades that followed, antibiotics, sulfanilamide, and penicillin were all invented.

From the 1950s to 1980
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The technological revolution continued well into the second half of the 20th century starting with the invention of the electron microscope in 1950. Other notable inventions in this era were computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. The gamma camera and SPECT came into existence in the 1980s.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer whose professional and academic backgrounds span several disciplines including engineering, software development, bioengineering, psychophysiology, psychology, child neurodevelopment, and brain injury. Learn more about Dr. Cripe’s work by following this Facebook page.

Improving The Brain Processing Skills With Brainyarcade®

There are reports that say around 15 to 20 percent of Americans are affected by a form of learning disabilities or disorders. With cognitive brain dysfunctions impacting a great deal of individuals, treatments that go beyond conventional, largely ineffective remedies are needed.

Image source: ntlgroupinc.com

An innovative program, which uses the most advanced brain-based technologies, helps re-train and develop the brain processing skills of the (eliminate) children and young adults. NTLgroup® calls it the BrainyArcade® program (not treatment – medical professionals get a little testy with the use of the word treatment).

It employs individualized programs that collect cognitive data through documentation and imaging, which are then summarized and analyzed. Wit these With this information, a development program is designed for the individual, in which his IQ development, learning, cognitive progress, social maturity skills, and behaviors are given focus.

The BrainyArcade® program allows the individual to undergo various exercises, such as electroencephalogram-based video games, computer-based exercises, and physical development tests. During these workouts, brain activity is observed continuously and stimulates his progress during the process.

Determining and addressing the cause of brain problems, the child will see an improvement in his ability to perform not just academically, but also in day-to-day life. The program is supported by concrete results, with patients’ average IQ scores being raised 15 to 25 points, as well as one to two functional grade levels.

Image source: alzheimer.wustl.edu

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background in various sciences and fields and works as the research and development division director of the NTLgroup®. He is also a notable international speaker on cognitive brain function and analysis. To read more of his contribution to the industry, follow this link.