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TBI

28
Jun

Your Child's Brain Development Improves With Reading

Posted by on in TBI
b2ap3_thumbnail_mother-reading-bedtime-stories-to-child.jpg *When parents read to their children the difference shows in children's behavior and academic performance. And according to a new study, the difference also shows in their brain activity. *Researchers looked at children ages 3 to 5 who underwent brain scans called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while listening to a pre-recorded story. The parents answered questions about how much they read to, and communicated with, their children. *The researchers saw that, when the young children were being told a story, a number of regions in the left part of the brain became active. These are the areas involved in understanding the meaning of words and concepts and also in memory. These same brain regions have been found to be active when older children listen to stories or read. *Even more interesting, according to Horowitz-Kraus, is how the brain activity in this region was higher among the children whose parents reported creating a more literacy-friendly home. "The more you read to your child the more you help the neurons in this region to grow and connect in a way that will benefit the child in the future in reading," she said. (CNN.com/health) Continue reading
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28
Jun

TBI Recovery May Lead To And Create Mystical Experiences

Posted by on in TBI
b2ap3_thumbnail_Mystical-Experiences.jpg *For Jordan Grafman, it was just a split-second vision. *"About 15 years ago, my mom died," Grafman told Live Science. "I was walking down the street to catch the bus at about 5 a.m., and I looked down the street and saw who I thought was my mom, although my mom had been dead for a week. I looked back, and whatever was there was gone." *That momentary flicker in perception intrigued Grafman, who is a cognitive neuroscientist and the director of brain injury research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. *During mystical experiences, people feel connected to a higher power and often describe gaining hidden knowledge or having revelatory insights. *In their new study, the scientists analyzed 116 Vietnam War veterans who experienced brain damage and had mystical experiences, and compared them with 32 combat veterans without brain injuries or neurological disorders. *The researchers found that damage to the frontal and temporal lobes was linked with greater mystical experiences. Previous research found that the frontal lobes, located near the forehead, are linked to movement, problem solving, memory, language and judgment, among other functions. The temporal lobes, located near the bottom of the brain, are linked to the senses, language and memory. (yahoo.com/news) Continue reading
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06
Jun

A Mother's Voice Can Illuminate The Brain

Posted by on in TBI
b2ap3_thumbnail_motheranddaughter.png * Less than one second. That's how long it takes children to recognize their mother's voice. And that voice lights a child's brain up like a Christmas tree. * A new study from Stanford University School of Medicine studied how children reacted to mom's voice compared to a woman they didn't know. Kids were not only more engaged by mom's voice than a stranger's, scientists found, but this response was noted beyond just auditory areas of the brain. * Parts of the brain related to emotion, reward processing, facial recognition and social functioning are also amped by hearing from mom. In short, a child's ability to communicate socially is in a large way affected by how he or she reacts to mom's voice. * The fact that so many parts of the brain lit up after hearing from mom was the real surprise for scientists, said Vinod Menon, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the study's senior author. * This reaction to dear old mom's voice may stretch beyond childhood. A study back in 2010 suggested that teenagers going through a stressful time were almost instantly soothed by hearing mom's voice on the phone, because the conversation helped reduce a key stress hormone and released oxytocin, a feel-good brain chemical believed to play a role in forming bonds. (CNN.com/health) Continue reading
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23
May

Bad Dancer? Yikes! Could Be Your Brain's Fault.

Posted by on in TBI
b2ap3_thumbnail_Dancers-Cartoon.jpg - A study, released today by researchers at the University of Oxford in England, claims a tiny messenger in the brain is partly to blame for those among us who struggle to grasp the latest dance moves. - This is all about GABA (short for gamma-aminobutyric acid). Again: not Gaga, GABA. A naturally occurring chemical, GABA is a bit like the brain’s traffic cop. Nerve cells in the brain are constantly firing and “talking” to each other. GABA helps keep all that chatter from getting out of control. - “Our research suggests that an important first step in learning that new skill is a decrease in GABA levels in the motor cortex,” explained Dr. Charlotte Stagg, a junior research fellow at Oxford and at John Radcliffe Hospital. Her study was published online in the journal Current Biology. - “It appears that GABA levels in some people are more easily modulated than in others, and that the differences between people (are) related to their ability to learn” new movements, Stagg said. (NBCnews.com as of 2011) Continue reading
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23
May

How Workouts Give Your Brain A Boost And Help TBI Recovery

Posted by on in TBI
b2ap3_thumbnail_brain-health.jpg - "What benefits the body benefits the brain," says Dianna Purvis Jaffin, PhD, director of strategy and program at the Center for Brain Health's Brain Performance Institute. "You are not a separate brain walking around on top of a body." - Exercise revs up complex processes inside your mind that can curb depression, help you keep your cool at work, and even one day give Betty White a run for her money. Here are three brain benefits of exercise, plus a look at the science behind them from the inside out. - Inside your head, there are about 86 billion neurons designed to bark orders to the rest of your body — all with the help of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters regulate everything from your mood and sleep cycle, to memory and appetite. - What's it to you? Studies show that low levels of two of these neurotransmitters in particular, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), can lead to mood disorders such as depression. The good news: moderate exercise can increase these levels, according to a recent study in The Journal of Neuroscience. The result, whether you suffer from depression or not, is an increased resilience and capacity to respond to mental challenges, a concept known as "mental fitness," explains study author Richard Maddock, MD, a research professor at UC Davis Medical Center. - If you're constantly feeling overwhelmed by the stressors in your life, you might want to step up your fitness routine. Why? When you're stressed out your brain secretes the "fight or flight" stress hormone cortisol. This is good if you're about to get mugged on the street, but if your cortisol levels are chronically elevated, it can cause problems, says Jaffin. (Studies have linked high cortisol levels to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, memory loss and more.) - It's never too early to think about having a healthy brain as you age, and exercise can help by increasing your cognitive reserve. Translation: Your brain will be able to handle the deterioration that comes with age without taking its toll on your memory, says Jaffin. (CNN.com/health) Continue reading
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