Known risk factors that may lead to dementia

Firstly, while getting older is the single, biggest risk factor for developing dementia, there are many ways to prevent the onset of this debilitating disease. The idea is to keep the brain in good health as we age, says neuroengineering expert Dr. Curtis Cripe.

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When a person hits the age of 65, the chances of brain cell degeneration, as seen in Alzheimer’s disease, get doubled every five years thereafter, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is certainly an alarming thought and one that people should all be wary of over time. It is important to avoid extra stress on the brain should and to continue supplying it with both oxygen and glucose. Below are the top risk factors outside aging that people can do something about to fight the onset of dementia:

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Cardiovascular disease: Experts in brain science says that having heart and blood vessel diseases may accelerate the brain cell degeneration and cause Alzheimer’s.

Depression: Keep in mind that dementia and depression are often interlinked. In fact, having depression is considered by doctors as an early warning sign of dementia.

Diabetes: Studies have shown that decreased mental function is seen more in middle-aged individuals who are suffering from diabetes. This is because a decline in the blood-sugar control equates to a sharp drop in mental capacity.

Head injury: This is a given dementia risk factor. Even as parents protect their kids from hitting their heads when engaging in sports by making sure they wear helmets, adults should be more careful as the risk of head injury, and brain damage is much higher, adds Dr. Curtis Cripe.

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 neurology-related reads here.

Beyond medicine: Therapeutic activities for people with depression that don’t involve medication

According to a national consensus, nearly nine percent of women and five percent of men in the U.S. are suffering from depression. And this is not something to be taken lightly. Depression is a major illness that affects almost every facet of people’s lives. Thankfully, modern medicine has found ways to treat people with depression. In addition to that, researchers and mental health professionals have developed various therapeutic methods that don’t use medication yet complement medicated treatment.

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Curtis Cripe shares some of these therapeutic practices below.

 

Reading and music

It has been found that reading and music can help lift the mood of a person. It has also been found that many patients suffering from depression have reported an alleviation of mood. There are, of course, a number of books and musical pieces recommended for this, as numerous studies have shown.

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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a more formal type of therapy wherein the therapist and patient talk in a controlled setting such as a clinic. This form of psychotherapy is often combined with counseling and goes through a number of steps, from identifying negative thoughts to coming up with a plan on how to change the things in one’s life to combat depression.

Do you know any effective therapies for patients with depression? Feel free to share them with Curtis Cripe in the comments section below.

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 to do when someone is suffering a panic attack

A panic attack may not be as severe as a heart attack or an asthma attack, but the condition still deserves our full attention. A lot of people might think that a panic attack is just something one can easily brush off. Unfortunately, the condition is a lot more complex than what many perceive it to be. According to neuroengineering expert Curtis Cripe, a person suffering from a panic attack may show signs of excessive sweating, palpitations, dizziness, nausea, anxiety, shortness of breath, chest pains, or even a choking sensation. Here is what you need to do when someone is suffering from a panic attack.

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First and foremost, do not panic yourself. Panicking could make their panic attack worse. Speak to them in short, understandable phrases and try to calm them down. Ask if they are taking medication and if they have one on their person. If they are having problems with breathing, help them regain their regular rhythm by breathing with them and counting 1 to 10 slowly.

If you are not sure if they are having a panic attack, ask them. If they confirm your suspicion, try to move them slowly to a safe space, like an area away from crowds. Panic attacks may also be caused by an external stimuli like stress. If this occurs during a tense situation, do everything to forego all your current activities and focus on the person.

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Curtis Cripe also reminds people to be mindful of their words when talking to someone suffering from a panic attack. If possible, use positive messaging such as “we can get through this,” “tell me what I need to do,” and “it’s going to be fine.”

Dr. Curtis Cripeheads 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 reads on neurological disorders, visit this website.

Are outdoor games helpful tools in the battle against teenage depression?

Teenage depression is a serious problem. Over the years, studies have shown an increasing number of teens in the U.S. undergoing treatment for a number of mental disorders, with many of them being depression. And while Dr. Curtis Cripe of NTL Group still urges parents to take their teenagers to specialists if they notice signs and symptoms of depression in their children, he also believes that for their part, parents can help improve the situation.

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Researchers have found a significant link between the prolonged use of electronic gadgets such as mobile phones and tablets to teenage depression. Several explanations arise from this such as withdrawal from the real world and the recognition of the virtual space as the real world’s replacement to cyberbullying and more. Dr. Curtis Cripe suggests that parents encourage their kids to go out and do sports and play games.

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While there are a plethora of amazing benefits outdoor games and sports may have on the physical well-being of teens, taking up sports or other outdoor activities as a passion also provides invaluable advantages for their mental health. What Dr. Curtis Cripe suggests is that parents introduce their teens to activities meant for groups. For sports, there’s soccer or Ultimate Frisbee or maybe even tag football. For other activities, there’s hiking and camping.

And the best part about it? Parents can get in on the action as well, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds – for their own physical and mental benefit.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group. The group specializes in neuroengineering programs aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders connected to head injury, depression, anxiety, memory disorders, and learning disorders. To know more about Dr. Cripe, click on this link.

What’s the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack?

A common misconception is that a panic attack and an anxiety attack are the same. While there are similar manifestations, the nature of these attacks is different. NTL Group’s research and development head Dr. Curtis Cripe designs programs for mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.

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Panic and anxiety attacks have similar symptoms, such as a sudden spike in heart rate, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold sweats, and fear. However, panic attacks can occur even without an identifiable trigger while anxiety attacks may happen because of extreme worry or distress. Those who suffer from a panic attack may have an episode that lasts for a few minutes until it gradually subsides, while those dealing with anxiety attacks may have to go through the symptoms for days.

Internal and external stressors can trigger both kinds of attacks. Panic attacks can happen abruptly, while anxiety attacks can be caused by overwhelming stressors that piled up in a span of time. Those experiencing panic can feel a sense of detachment while those going through anxiety might experience intensified symptoms as the moments pass.

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According to Curtis Cripe, Ph.D., these neurological disorders can be treated. Seeking the expertise of a doctor or a mental health professional will aid individuals in identifying the causes behind the attacks. Going through therapy, medical treatment, and other practices such as mindfulness and other relaxation techniques will help a person manage the symptoms. Proper diagnosis and treatment will help people work towards improving their condition.

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.

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.