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Archive for the ‘Brain Health’ Category

Anxiety

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Anxiety is not something to be taken lightly – especially not for the millions of people around the world suffering from it. When sever enough, anxiety can completely disrupt life. It can make getting though a simple day seem like the most difficult thing in the world. If you have any type of anxiety disorder, you know this to be true. What can be done for anxiety?

Identifying Anxiety:
If you have a serious problem with an anxiety disorder, you may feel symptoms such as a rapid a rapid heart rate brought on by stressful thoughts. This fast heartbeat may cause you to feel dizzy, cold, or clammy. It may seven cause you to faint and lose consciousness. This is one extremely severe symptom of an anxiety disorder, and it is commonly known as a panic attack. If this happens to you, it is in your best interest to see a medical doctor as soon as possible.

Another symptom of an anxiety disorder is the in ability to feel comfortable around other people. This is known as Social Anxiety Disorder. Such a problem can cause a great deal of stress and panic for the person suffering from it. Dealing with friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers can become a seemingly impossible task. A person suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder may not feel comfortable enough around others to hold a normal conversation. He or she may panic when asked a question, or feel incredibly self-conscious when all eyes are on him or her. Eventually, someone with social anxiety disorder will try to hide from social gatherings at any cost. He or she will keep to himself or herself and come across to others as extremely introverted.

Anxiety has other ways of coming out and wreaking havoc on the human brain. Some people have an incredibly difficult time even getting out of the bed in the morning, all due to the fact that as soon as they open their eyes, all they can think about is the negative things the day might bring. This type of anxiety is typically aggravated and set off by an underlying problem in the persons life, such as a death of someone close, the dissolution of a romantic relationship or a marriage, or another devastating event. In these cases, the anxiety can become so overwhelming that the person will eventually lose the ability to properly function mentally.

Managing Anxiety:
Although anxiety can, in some cases, be almost impossible to live normally with, there are many steps that can be taken to control the disorder. A person suffering from anxiety can see a medical doctor known as a psychologist, who deals with treating anxiety. A psychologist can routinely monitor a patient with anxiety and suggest relaxation techniques. Sometimes simply having someone to talk to can better the situation. In certain cases of extreme anxiety, where the anxiety is too disruptive in the patients every day life, a patient can be prescribed anti-anxiety medication.

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Latest from Brain Harmony Technology in Salt Lake City, Utah

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Here is the latest presentation from Brain Harmony Technology.

http://www.clickcaster.com/items/brain-harmony-technology-presents

Written by Derrick Walker

February 1, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Neurofeedback in Salt Lake City, Utah

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The center at Brain Harmony Technology in Salt Lake City, Utah performs neurofeedback as an alternative therapy. Below is an article that talk about neruofeedback for peak athletic performance.

 

brainmap

 

Wired for Victory
Can a bunch of electrodes and a computer screen help you swim faster, sink your putts, and swish your free throws? By D.T. Max

With neurofeed-back, athletes train their brains—and get a jump on the competition. (Photo: Raymond Meier)
A quiet mind is a winning mind.

That’s why the players of the Italian soccer team AC Milan gather every two weeks in the Mind Room, a glassed-in facility at the team’s chic training complex. There, on zero-gravity recliners, listening to the soothing sounds of New Age music, they unwind. In a way. Each player’s head is fitted out with miniature electrodes that send a signal from his scalp to a computer, so while he relaxes he can also watch his brain waves play out, like a video game, as brightly colored zigs and zags on a monitor.

Every once in a while, an aberrant wave pattern flickers across the screen. The penalty kick missed against Juventus? Anger at being benched? When these sudden spikes appear, the player’s job is to use all of his mental discipline to banish the discordant thought—the anxiety response of the brain to a negative memory—and return to a neutral, open state, optimal for performance. Behind a wall of glass, the team’s sports psychologists watch the zigzagging lines too, the alpha, beta, and theta waves of the human mind in action, evaluating their stars’ focus and occasionally sending calming words through their earpieces.

 This procedure is called neurofeedback training. Many athletes swear by it and say it improves their performance, among them the tennis champion Mary Pierce and the Olympic gold-medal skier Hermann Maier, not to mention various players on the 2006 World Cup champion Italian soccer team. The goal of neurofeedback, which is becoming increasingly popular for professionals and amateurs alike, is to train the brain so that an athlete stays focused in competition. Experts have shown that a state of calm neutrality can help players perform better. The idea is that we damage ourselves when we can’t get past our irritations and, especially, our remembered failures—our airballs, unforced errors, or pushed one-foot putts. Think of Chuck Knoblauch, the Yankee second baseman whose first surprising throwing errors in the late 1990s started a negative feedback loop—ball after ball sailing into the stands until the former Gold Glove prematurely retired after the 2002 season. Neurofeedback tries to block this downward spiral of self-destructive doubting. When it works, it helps the player find “the zone” and stay in it. The notion that freedom from stress will make you a better athlete is hardly new. “You must swing smoothly to play golf well and you must be relaxed to swing smoothly,” Bobby Jones said decades ago. Thinking has always been stinking. But two things have changed since Jones’s time to make interventions like neurofeedback feasible. We can now define a relaxed state of mind with precision, and we seem to have proof that, once relaxed, the brain can be taught to stay that way.

The history of neurofeedback goes back to the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov and his conditioning experiments with dogs. Then, in the sixties, the sleep researcher Barry Sterman found that he was able to train cats to produce a particular brain wave called a sensorimotor response (SMR), which created a kind of suspended focus, a feline version of “the zone.” Sterman would go on to help found the discipline of neurofeedback in the seventies at UCLA, when EEG machines—electroencephalography is the grandfather of the discipline—were as big as refrigerators, with electrodes like suction cups. Today, the standard neurofeedback EEG amplifier is no bigger than a USB hub and the electrodes look like the earbuds from an iPod. A coach can carry a neurofeedback kit in his bag and clean up a player’s mind in a hotel room or at halftime. As a result, neurofeedback is going on nearly everywhere.

Written by Derrick Walker

December 21, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Alcohol is Not a Health Food : by Dr. Daniel Amen

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“Brain in the News” is a weekly commentary on how brain science relates to the news. The brain is involved in everything we do. Wherever there are human stories the brain is involved. From the impact of war and natural disasters on the brain to drug abuse scandals to courtroom dramas to politics the brain is in the news, and you can read about it here.

Alcohol is Not a Health Food

CNN recently reported on a new study that confirms what I have seen on SPECT scans for a long time – alcohol is not a health food! Any amount of alcohol can decrease brain size. I like to say when it comes to the brain, size matters. People who drink alcohol — even the moderate amounts that help prevent heart disease — have a smaller brain volume than those who do not, according to a study in the Archives of Neurology.

While a certain amount of brain shrinkage is normal with age, greater amounts in some parts of the brain have been linked to dementia. “Decline in brain volume — estimated at 2 percent per decade — is a natural part of aging,” says Carol Ann Paul, who conducted the study when she was at the Boston University School of Public Health. She had hoped to find that alcohol might protect against such brain shrinkage. “However, we did not find the protective effect,” says Paul, who is now an instructor in the neuroscience program at Wellesley College. “In fact, any level of alcohol consumption resulted in a decline in brain volume.”

In the study, Paul and colleagues looked at 1,839 healthy people with an average age of about 61. The patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and reported how much they tippled. Overall, the more alcohol consumed, the smaller the brain volume, with abstainers having a higher brain volume than former drinkers, light drinkers (one to seven drinks per week), moderate drinkers (eight to 14 drinks per week), and heavy drinkers (14 or more drinks per week). Men were more likely to be heavy drinkers than women. But the link between brain volume and alcohol wasn’t as strong in men. For men, only those who were heavy drinkers had a smaller brain volume than those who consumed little or no alcohol.

In women, even moderate drinkers had a smaller brain volume than abstainers or former drinkers. It’s not clear why even modest amounts of alcohol may shrink the brain, although alcohol is “known to dehydrate tissues, and constant dehydration can have negative effects on any sensitive tissue,” says Paul. “We always knew that alcohol at higher dosages results in shrinking of the brain and cognitive deficit,” says Dr. Petros Levounis, M.D., director of the Addiction Institute of New York at St. Luke’s — Roosevelt Hospital Center, who was not involved in the study. “What is new with this article is that it shows brain shrinking at lower doses of alcohol.”

Less is better.

To your brain health,

Daniel

Daniel Amen, M.D.
CEO, Amen Clinics, Inc.
Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
Dr. Amen’s Blog – Recent Articles
Hold the Video Games
Alcohol Is Not A Health Food
Large Review Finds St. John’s Wort As Effective As Standard Antidepressants
A Magnificent Mind Can Be Yours/Part 3 of 6
Unbelievable! Read the Labels
Dr. Amen’s Upcoming Appearances
A Magnificent Mind at Any Age  
October 25, 2008 
KCTS 9 Studios,  Seattle, WA  More…

A Magnificent Mind at Any Age  
October 25, 2008 
Seattle Act Theatre,  Seattle, WA  More…

16th Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine & Regenerative Biomedical Technologies
December 11, 2008  – December 14, 2008
Venetian Hotel,  Las Vegas, Nevada  More…

The Learning Brain Expo  
January 16, 2009  – January 19, 2009
Newport Beach Marriott Hotel,  Newport Beach, CA  More…

Magnificent Mind At Any Age  
January 25, 2009 
Orpheum Theatre,  Phoenix, AZ  More…

(IITAP) International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals Symposium  
February 19, 2009  – February 21, 2009
TBD,  Phoenix, AZ  More…

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists  
April 30, 2009  – May 03, 2009
The Fairmont Hotel,  San Jose, CA  More…
ADD Resources November Conference
Date: November 1, 2008
Keynote speaker: William Dodson, MD
Location: Smith Hall – University of Washington – Seattle Campus
Continuing Education Credits: available for Psychologists, Social Workers, and Licensed Practicing Counselors
 
“Brain In The News” is offered as a free service to educate people on how the brain relates to our behavior. You can see over 300 color 3D brain SPECT images at www.brainplace.com. You can subscribe for free at www.amenclinics.com

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Copyright 2008, Amen Clinics Inc., A Medical Corporation. All rights reserved.

CLINIC LOCATIONS

Amen Clinic Newport Beach
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Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 266-3700

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Fairfield, CA 94585
(707) 429-7181

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3315 S. 23rd Street, Suite 102
Tacoma, WA 98405
(253) 779-HOPE

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Reston, VA 20191
(703) 860-5600

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Written by Derrick Walker

October 23, 2008 at 4:06 pm