A Primer on Neuromechanics

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Neuromechanics is a combination of the fields of robotics, neurobiology, and biomechanics, as well as in-depth studies on sensation and perception, explains NTL Group’s research and development head Dr. Curtis Cripe. Scientists and researchers in the field of neuromechanics study, observe, and experiment on neural tissues, specifically the working of their mechanical properties. They are also very much concerned with the ability of neural tissues to take and give force and how these tissues can respond to trauma.

Those who study neuromechanics mainly focus on the information exchanged between the neuromuscular and skeletal systems, as well as the transformations the information between these systems undergoes. In fact, Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions that simulations have been done to connect computerized models of neural circuits to virtual bodies of animals.

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A huge portion of what’s involved in the analysis of neuromechanics depends on the kinematics and dynamics of movement. Dr. Curtis Cripe describes this as the patterns of feedback (both motor and sensory) during movement and the synaptic and circuit organization of the brain, which is responsible for motor control.

Furthermore, some experts in the field of neuromechanics research the mechanical stretch of cells, shear deformation of cell cultures (planar), and 3-D cell matrices. The understanding of all of this is key to the creation of more accurate functioning models.

Dr. Curtis Cripe adds that more research on neuromechanics can improve treatment for patients burdened with physiological diseases or injuries. The future of neuroengineering in the branch of neuromechanics seems to be, at the very least, very intriguing.Dr. Curtis Cripe is the director of research and development at the NTL Group. Dr. Cripe and his team use neuroengineering technology to treat several health issues, including head injury (TBI), anxiety, depression, addiction, memory disorders, and neurodevelopmental delays in children, especially those with learning disorders. Read more about his work and passions by visiting the NTL Group’s official website.

A Review of Human Brain Development From Infancy to Toddlerhood

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Dr. Curtis Cripe notes that a special period of development occurs in a child’s brain from infancy to toddlerhood. During this time, over a million neural connections are produced every second. This development is influenced by numerous factors, from the child’s relationships to the environment.

When a baby is born, its brain already has about all the neurons it will ever possess. The size of the brain drastically increases, almost doubling, during the first year. By toddlerhood, around the age of three, a child’s brain will have already reached 80% of its adult volume.

Synapses in the brain are primarily responsible for communication. These are formed during the years between infancy and toddlerhood, faster than at any other time. At age two or three, the brain would have up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood.

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Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions that genes and external elements can heavily influence brain development. Genes can be considered the fuel for mass synapse formation, and the environment can be seen as the instrument that fine-tunes the brain and assists in making decisions about the pathways to keep and dispose of.

Dr. Curtis Cripe notes that the more often an idea or skill is heard or practiced, the more synapses are strengthened. This means that walking and language are easily ingrained in a child’s brain.

Since infancy to toddlerhood is a period for rapidly creating and pruning out synapses, this is a critical time for learning. To create lasting skills such as a second language, a baby’s exposure  needs to be constant. An enriched environment for brain development can be supported through social interaction, a healthy diet, physical activity, introducing new experiences, and avoiding toxic stress, to name a few, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the director of research and development at the NTL Group. Find more of Dr. Cripe’s insights on brain development by clicking on this page.

Dr. Curtis Cripe On The Significance of Brain Plasticity

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Neuroplasticity, also referred to as brain plasticity, is the brain’s capacity to adapt and change through stimuli. The term “plasticity” is used to represent the brain’s ability to be controlled, trained, and influenced. In this blog post by Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., learn more about brain plasticity and its importance.

The brain can develop new connections, restructure pathways, and in some instances, generate new neurons. The two primary types of neuroplasticity are functional plasticity and structural plasticity. The ability of the brain to pass functions from a damaged area of the organ to its other undamaged regions is referred to as functional plasticity. Structural plasticity concerns the brain’s capacity to alter its physical structure caused by learning.

Children experience rapid brain growth in their early years, with each neuron in the cerebral cortex having an estimated 2,500 synapses or tiny gaps between neurons where nerve impulses are transmitted at birth. However, the average adult carries around half the total of synapses that children have. This results from synaptic pruning, where connections are eliminated or enhanced. Neurons that are often utilized build stronger connections, while those that are seldom or never used eventually expire.

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According to Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., neuroplasticity plays a key role in different areas of one’s life. It promotes the ability to acquire knowledge, learn new skills, and strengthen cognitive potential. In addition, it helps people recover from traumatic brain injuries and strokes. It enhances regions where functions are reduced or lost. Overall, neuroplasticity boosts brain fitness.

It’s important to remember that brain plasticity is an ongoing process influenced by age and environment. For example, young brains tend to be more receptive, responsive, and sensitive to experiences compared to more mature brains. However, this doesn’t disqualify adult brains from adaptation. Dr. Curtis Cripe notes that apart from age and environment, the relation between genetics and environment plays a role in molding the brain’s plasticity.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., is the head of research and development at NTL Group, specializing in neuroengineering programs directed at the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders linked to head injury, anxiety, depression, learning disorders, and memory disorders. Head over to this page for similar posts.

Brain talk: What are the factors that can affect memory?

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Several factors can affect human memory. Dr. Curtis Cripe of NTL Group lists some of these factors below.

Age: As people grow old, they often experience a decline in their memory function. This is normal and to be expected. However, Dr. Curtis Cripe notes that some things can be done to help offset this decline. For example, older adults can participate in activities stimulating the brain, such as crossword puzzles or other mental exercises. Additionally, staying physically active and eating a healthy diet can help keep the mind sharp as you age.

Stress: Stressful situations can impact your ability to remember things. When you are under stress, your body releases hormones that can interfere with memory. Additionally, when stressed, you may not be able to focus, which can lead to problems remembering things.

Anxiety: Anxiety can also lead to memory problems. This is because anxiety can cause you to focus on negative thoughts, crowding out positive memories. Additionally, anxiety can lead to physical symptoms such as a racing heart and sweating, making it difficult to concentrate, focus, and remember things.

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Depression: Depression is another condition that can negatively impact your memory. Depression can cause you to have negative thoughts about yourself, leading you to believe that you are forgetful or stupid. Additionally, depression can physically impact the brain, making it difficult for you to focus and remember things.

Medications: Some medications can also cause memory problems. For example, some antipsychotic medications can make it difficult for some people to form new memories. Additionally, some antidepressants can lead to problems with short-term memory. If you are taking any medications that you think may be impacting your memory, be sure to talk to your doctor about it.

With all these factors, some things can be done to help offset these effects. For example, older adults can participate in activities stimulating the brain, such as crossword puzzles or other mental exercises. Additionally, staying physically active and eating a healthy diet can help keep the mind sharp as you age. If you are experiencing memory problems, Dr. Curtis Cripe suggests you talk to your doctor about it.

Dr. Curtis Cripe has been very instrumental in the creation and development of the various treatment programs used by NTL Group. Learn more about Dr. Curtis Cripe and his work by visiting the NTL Group’s official website.

An Overview Of Behavioral Medicine

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Over the past few decades, behavioral health has been the subject of extensive innovation and re-examination. In this blog post, Dr. Curtis Cripe, NTL Group’s head of research and development, gives an overview of behavioral medicine and the many changes and discoveries that have come to light in this specialty due to the renewed focus currently targeting the subject.

Behavioral medicine deals with the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. This branch of medicine also studies the effects of environmental and lifestyle, among other factors, on human health. Modern wellness models have developed to include behavioral health as an essential factor in human well-being.

The Mental and Physical Health Connection

Behavioral medicine specialists use various techniques to treat their patients, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and medication. They also work with patients to modify their behaviors and improve their overall health.

The field of behavioral medicine is relatively new compared to other areas of healthcare. Its development started in the 1970s when researchers investigated the link between mental and physical health. Behavioral medicine has since grown into a distinct and respected field of medicine.

Dr. Curtis Cripe advises anyone who feels they may be suffering from mental health disorders to consider seeking help from a behavioral medicine specialist who can assist in understanding your condition and help develop a treatment plan that will work for you.

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A thriving practice

Careers in behavior health generally require a medical degree followed by a specialized residency program. After completing your training, you can receive certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology or the American Board of Medical Specialties, explains Dr. Curtis Cripe. Behavioral medicine continues to thrive, and many opportunities await those determined to establish their career in the field. If you believe you are meant to help people with their mental and emotional health, behavioral medicine may be the practice for you.

How the brain changes as you age

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As an individual grows old, their body experiences noticeable changes. For example, hair goes gray, the skin wrinkles and loses elasticity, and muscles and joints often hurt. However, there may also be less obvious changes that could occur, such as a decline in memory and cognitive abilities.

According to NTL Group, whose director of research and development is Dr. Curtis Cripe, when a person reaches 40 years old, their brain begins to lose some of its sharpness and agility.

Around a decade ago, a study in England suggested that people aged 45 to 49 undergo a significant decline in mental functioning. Some of the changes that might happen are the following:

Cognitive changes: The aging process usually causes subtle shifts in cognitive abilities. As Dr. Curtis Cripe notes, the ability to retain new information, recall names and numbers, hold pieces of information, like phone numbers and passwords, and remember declarative memory may weaken.

Structural changes: The cognitive changes that transpire are typically attributed to the brain’s structure and chemistry changes. For example, upon turning 30 or 40, the brain’s overall volume starts to contract, with the rate of shrinkage worsening in advanced age.

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Neuronal changes: An aging brain shrinks due to the neurons decreasing in size and retracting their dendrites. When an individual grows older, the number of synapses between the brain cells also decreases. These can negatively impact learning and memory.

Fortunately, there are various ways to tune up the brain to ramp up its cognitive functions and abilities. For example, Dr. Curtis Cripe’s company has developed an individualized brain training program that involves mapping the brain to identify the dysfunctional areas in the brain, exercising the brain, and monitoring brain performance using a comprehensive set of measures.

Dr. Curtis Cripe has behind him a diverse multidisciplinary professional and academic background. He has worked in various industries, including aerospace, engineering, bioengineering, psychophysiology, and child neurodevelopment. Read more about him here.

How COVID-19 affects the brain’s health

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It may be challenging to connect the subject of brain health to COVID-19. This is probably due to the virus’s primary target — the respiratory system. But Dr. Curtis Cripe notes that medical findings show that COVID-19 can affect the body more than what is usually known.

Theories abound as to how COVID-19affects the brain, says Dr. Curtis Cripe. One leading theory concerns the loss of smell, pointing to the olfactory cells concentrated inside the nose. These cells are susceptible to viral invasion, and through them, COVID-19 may reach the olfactory bulb in the brain, located in the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for short-term memory.

Another possibility is when the immune system goes berserk for it to be able to fight COVID-19. This may cause neurological complications such as the encephalitis seen in some patients who may experience mild flu-like symptoms. COVID-19 can also cause blood clots that travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Some COVID-19 patients reported having experienced stroke as their first complication, while the respiratory symptoms were mild.

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It has been reported that COVID-19 or its genetic strain was found in the cerebrospinal fluid in some patients, Dr. Curtis Cripe reveals. This raises the possibility of the virus affecting the brain directly. But some scientists, argue that the evidence for this remains uncertain at this point. More studies are still required to know the extent of damage of COVID-19.

Dr. Curtis Cripe 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. For more on Dr. Cripe and his work, visit this page.

Some possible signs of learning disabilities in children

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As part of his work at the NTL Group, Dr. Curtis Cripe is very passionate about finding neuroengineering solutions, including addressing neurodevelopmental delays in children with learning disorders. This blog discusses some possible signs of learning disabilities in children to guide you toward seeking a professional’s help when needed.

1. Reading difficulties

Children may tend to struggle with reading as they try to engage in a new skill. However, not all reading difficulties are signs of a learning disability. If the struggle of the child is characterized by difficulty perceiving a spoken word as a combination of distinct sounds, this is a very telling sign. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, this condition makes it hard to understand how a letter makes a sound or how a combination of letters makes up a word.

2. Writing difficulties

It’s important for you to note that writing is an action that requires complex visual, motor, and information-processing skills. A child can be quite able to perform reading and understanding verbal instructions. However, he may show difficulties in writing at the same time, which includes slow and labor-intensive handwriting, difficulty putting thoughts into writing, and incoherent sentence construction.

3. Math difficulties

Math is known to be one of the toughest subjects to study. Even when most people struggle with numbers, this doesn’t always mean a learning disability. Children with learning disabilities in math have a hard time understanding how numbers work and relate to each other. They may even have difficulty understanding how math symbols work and how to understand word problems.

Be reminded that you are not advised to make any diagnosis on your own. If your child shows any of these signs, seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., hails from a multidisciplinary academic and professional background that includes addiction and psychophysiology. He is the director of research and development at the NTL Group, a company specializing in neuroengineering programs used to diagnose and treat a host of neurological dysfunctions. For more related articles, visit this page.

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Describing the state of a person with anxiety

For the most part, people often come to know of anxiety as discussed in the random conversations that they have in private circles, observes Dr. Curtis Cripe. Seldom do they get to describe it from the perspective of one who suffers from it, especially when anxiety is referred to as a disorder, in a more strict, clinical sense.

Physically, people with anxiety manifest their condition with alternating sequences of high and low energy. The feeling of worry or uneasy can keep a person up all night, keeping them on their toes, even responsive to the slightest stimulus. They inevitably hit a low point in the energy levels, which can make them pale and lethargic. It is hard for them to sleep with so many thoughts running through their heads, notes Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Emotionally, there are hardly any positives when it comes to this mental issue. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, and loss are the norm, even when there really is little to be worried about in the outside world. People with this condition struggle with keeping their feelings under control, so sadness and anger are often how the disorder manifests.

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Mentally, it is always an uphill climb for a person with an anxiety disorder because it is quite tough to shake off the sense of impending danger, panic, or doom. It’s incredibly challenging to be productive at anything, as a huge part of the mind is preoccupied with worrisome thoughts. Dr. Curtis Cripe advises not to take anxiety disorder lightly because it certainly isn’t trivial to the one who has it.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., is the director of research and development at the NTL Group. His focus is on the development of diagnostics and treatment programs for neurological dysfunctions. Visit this page for similar reads.

Healthy brains and beyond: The indispensable benefits of an outdoor adventure

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Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., has often emphasized the importance of communing with nature. He believes that the natural world holds countless advantages for the human brain and the rest of the body on a physiological level.

For today’s blog, Dr. Curtis Cripe would want to entice people to plan and go on that great outdoor adventure to reap the indispensable benefits of nature.

Time in nature can promote blood and oxygen circulation.

All the hiking people do through nature trails and uneven terrain is good exercise. And because of this, the blood and oxygen experience better circulation in the body, which is excellent for all the vital organs, especially the heart and brain.

The fresh, unpolluted air can do wonders for the mind.

The brain needs an ample amount of oxygen to function properly and stay healthy. Dr. Curtis Cripe explains that oxygen in nature, from the trees, plants, and clean bodies of water is fresh and pure and provides nothing but nourishment for the brain.

A nature hike relieves people of stress.

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This is probably Dr. Curtis Cripe’s favorite benefit from a nature hike, and would probably be others’ too, especially if they live hectic lives in the urban jungle. With all the activity and serene surroundings, the brain releases chemicals such as endorphins that lower stress levels in the body. There are very few better benefits than that.

Curtis Cripe, Ph.D. heads research and development at the NTL Group, which employs neuroengineering technology that repairs brain dysfunction to treat a myriad of diseases and disorders. For more articles on cognitive health, visit this blog.