Depression in the workplace: A real issue

As a neuroengineer and a researcher, Dr. Curtis Cripe has spent a considerable amount of time learning about mental health issues. He believes that one of the most prevalent problems that needs the most attention revolves around depression.

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Over the years, Americans have come to realize just how serious a problem workplace depression can be. Because of this, mental health professionals, researchers, and HR specialists have come together to discuss the ways people can deal with workplace depression.

Here are some of the ways to deal with people suffering from workplace depression.

Be aware.

Dr. Curtis Cripe knows all too well just how hard it is to spot people with depression. Sometimes they’re right under everyone’s noses and are still unrecognized because of extremely subtle signs and symptoms. If a co-worker looks to be lacking focus, moody, withdrawn, irritable, or constantly fatigued, it might be a sign of workplace depression.

Be understanding.

Probably the worst thing anyone can be in an office is to discriminate against those who are suffering discriminating. A key to dealing with people who are suffering from depression is understanding. And to do that, Dr. Curtis Cripe recommends that people learn more by reading the many resources available to them, whether online or in a public library.

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Be kind and proactive.

While many companies nowadays are more than willing to help people with workplace depression, other businesses have yet to adopt this approach. In this case, as a colleague, it’s still possible to help. Listen to them and allow them to air what weighs them down. Every little bit helps.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., founded the Crossroads Institute, which developed telemedicine brain training delivery systems for children with learning disabilities and other developmental delays. He is the current head of research and development for the NTL Group. More neurology-related reads here.

What does transition planning for children with disabilities entail?

While most parents raising a child with a disability will not even entertain the notion of having their child live apart from them, there will still come a time that such a scenario isn’t possible anymore, a time when they will not be able to provide care. It’s for the reason that transition planning is crucial if parents are to prepare for a future when their child becomes an adult who needs to be cared for by someone else, says behavioral medicine expert Curtis Cripe, Ph.D.

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First, going through one’s will should involve assigning a caretaker for the child should you or your co-parent move on. Even if a person is fully healthy, parents should still consider if the individual they are assigning for such is fit to fill that role. In other words, it will not be wise to assign such a future task to another elderly.

It goes without saying that it should be a younger family member like another child or those of close friends that parents should talk to about this possibility, whether the situation is seen to arise soon or later. Parents should keep in mind that transition planning is vital as future care is not a question of if but of when.

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Moreover, parents should also keep in mind the financial future of the child. Most adults with disabilities qualify for Social Security and insurance benefits, so parents should be able to determine this in advance, and to what extent the child will gain financial income when they are gone. Aside from gauging whether such benefits will be enough to cover the expenses, parents should likewise include financial provisions for the child in their retirement plan. Factor in insurance copayments and estimated costs for medical supplies and services, Dr. Curtis Cripe advises.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., develops programs for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders associated with head injury (TBI), depression, anxiety, memory disorders, and neurodevelopmental delays in children with learning disorders. More on Dr. Cripe and his work here.

Developmental milestones to watch in your child’s first few months

Developmental assessment pediatricians would quip that your baby’s first 12 weeks are essentially the “fourth trimester” of your pregnancy. This is because so much growth takes place during this period in your child’s life. In this blog, Dr. Curtis Cripe discusses certain developmental milestones parents should pay attention to during their child’s first few months.

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First, a newborn will spend most of their time sleeping. Your baby is focused on simply feeding and growing. Nonetheless, the child will begin to respond to the world and your presence. A baby will react to skin-to-skin contact, turn toward the sound of your voice, and get startled by loud noises. Your baby will begin to grasp things you offer and automatically begin to suck when you touch their mouth or lips.

By the time your baby reaches their second and third month, you will notice a lot of changes. All the long nights of the previous month will begin to feel shorter, even as they become less restless in the evenings. You’d likely see them smiling more when your talk, sing, or cuddle.

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As far as your baby’s body is concerned, you’d see more regular thumb sucking. Your baby will have developed preferences to touches and textures and has fully recognized your scent. They will be able to bear weight on the legs and sit up when you hold them on your lap. Moreover, after about 12 weeks, your baby should be able to hold their head up at a 90-degree angle.

By the third month, your baby will have increased their hearing clarity and begin to imitate speech sounds. While the child still doesn’t have depth perception, their vision is significantly increased, clearly recognizing objects as far as 15 inches away. Your baby will also begin to firmly grasp objects, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in neuroengineering programs for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. More on Dr. Cripe and his work here.

Living with a lisp: How to cope with speech impediment

Communication is a major component in life. Through it, we are able to convey thoughts, emotions, desires, and needs. However, persons with disabilities such as blindness, deafness, and muteness have problems with receiving external elements of communication such as speech recognition or object recognition. There are also those with neurological disabilities posing major hindrances to communication.

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According to neuroengineering expert Dr. Curtis Cripe, a lisp is an uncommon speech disorder which affects a person’s ability to pronounce certain words. Thos with lisps could have difficulty communicating with others. Here are ways they can cope with communicative hardships in their condition:

The first thing a person with a lisp needs to identify is the type of lisp that they have. In an interdental lisp, the tongue protrudes between the two front teeth when making “th”, “s”, or “z” sounds. If their tongue touches their two front teeth, it’s called dentalized lisp. A lateral lisp occurs when they make a wet sound when speaking these sounds. And lastly, a person has palatal lisp is when their tongue touches the roof of their mouth when speaking these sounds.

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Identifying the type of lisp facilitates speech therapy. People with lisps can perform daily exercises that can improve their pronunciation of certain sounds. These routine exercises include repeating sounds for up to 20 times in front of a mirror to monitor tongue placement, as well as repeating broken and blended syllables which incorporates difficult to pronounce sounds. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, working with professional speech therapists is also recommended as they can track progress in communicating and sound production.

Dr. Curtis Cripe heads research and development at the NTL Group. He has published two peer-reviewed papers and written two book chapters on neurotherapy and neuroengineering. For more information on Dr. Cripe, visit this website.

Recent advancements in neuroscience

The pace of innovation in neuroscience research has been phenomenal, especially in the last 25 years. Both advances in the technology and our understanding of the human brain have grown by leaps and bounds. In this blog, neuroengineering professional Curtis Cripe goes over key recent findings in the field of neuroscience.

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One is the discovery of deeper connections between cognition and exercise. It has long been established that exercising does improve our cognitive skills, from memory functions to learning. But a research done recently using mice on treadmills at the Hokkaido University in Japan showed that not only does exercise double the amount of neuron growth, it also improves the mice’ memory of mazes. Epigenetic changes were also observed, changing the way we look at the impact of physical conditioning on cognitive health.

Another recent breakthrough is that paralyzed patients can walk anew with the aid of nerve stimulation. In a study done in the Lausanne University Hospital, neurosurgeons placed wireless electrodes around the spines of patients with damaged spinal cords. The remote electrical stimulation was precisely timed and coupled with intensive rehab. Surprisingly, the process allowed the patients to walk on a treadmill with the aid of a harness within days.

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For the first time, stem cells are being reprogrammed into new neurons. This has been tested in the brain of a patient with Parkinson’s Disease, a sickness which still has no known cure. Kyoto University researchers transplanted a total of 2.4 million stem cells directly into the brain of the patient. As of this writing, the trial is ongoing, but the initial findings are very promising. The hope is that the transplant will restore neurons destroyed by the disease, and at least help relieve symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, adds Curtis Cripe.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., 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 various neurological disorders. For more on Dr. Cripe and his work, go to this website.

Common speech disorders in toddlers

Children have individual paces of development but parents are often aware of the ages where milestones occur. For example, between 9 and 12 months, a baby should already have taken his or her first steps and should be walking unassisted by 15 months. Another major milestone is talking. Babies start talking 6 months in. The progression of speech should then be monitored from that point.

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Neuroengineering expert Dr. Curtis Cripe opens the possibility that children who fail specific speaking milestones could be suffering from speech disorders. There are a few common speech disorders in toddlers that are rooted in neurology. Here are some of these:

Apraxia of Speech
Apraxia of speech occurs when the neural pathway between the toddler’s speech function and brain is obscured or lost. The end result of Apraxia of Speech is that a child cannot make the muscles necessary for speech coordinate with the brain. The muscles themselves are fine, but are unable to articulate properly what the toddler wants to say, making the speech incoherent.

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Stammering
Also known as stuttering, stammering occurs when a toddler repeats certain parts of words, making it difficult to form phrases or sentences. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, three million people in the US suffer from stammering. They also noted that at least 10% of children are stammering, although 75% of those who do eventually outgrow it.

Dysarthria
Dysarthria is caused by nerve or muscle damage and manifests itself in slurred speech. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, other symptoms of Dysarthria include labored speech, difficulty in articulating, changes of rhythm and pitch during speech, limited lip, tongue, or jaw movement, and abrupt changes in voice quality.

Dr. Curtis Cripe heads research and development at the NTL Group. He has published two peer-reviewed papers and written two book chapters on neurotherapy and neuroengineering. To know more about Dr. Cripe and his achievements, visit this website.

Ways artificial intelligence is transforming neuroscience

By now, it is very apparent that artificial intelligence or AI is not only changing the way people navigate through traffic, find new forms of entertainment, and shop online. AI has also drastically altered how many industries work, allowing scientists to come up with more realistic and innovative solutions to various global issues like finding alternatives to batteries and better understanding how our minds work, says Curtis Cripe of the neuroengineering research specialist NTL Group.

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AI is allowing for huge leaps in neuroscience, the strand of biology dealing with the anatomy and physiology of the human brain. Such a development is crucial in better understanding our behaviors, as neuroscience affects various fields spanning psychology and linguistics.

While deep learning is integral to modern AI studies, everything begins with the development of artificial neural networks or ANNs. An ANN is a computational model of the biological brain, something that neuroscientists were able to develop from breakthroughs in neurophysiology and psychology. Its goal is to detect patterns, allowing neuroscience to help validate current AI methods.

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It’s exciting that the relationship between neuroscience and AI is fast becoming a mutual one, as the former also benefits from the reinforced learning that AI provides, explains Curtis Cripe. While it must be noted that neuroscience’s provision of pattern detection does not necessarily equate to the correct approach in AI computation systems, neuroscience nonetheless ushers in myriad and complex arrays of algorithms and architectures that can be used to further AI innovations in the future.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., 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. More on Dr. Cripe and his work here.