The Brain Divided into the Most Magnificent 7 Areas…

The Brain Divided into the Most Magnificent 7 Areas...

Did you know your brain IS the boss of you? While you read this, your brain is keeping you alive by sending signals to keep your heart beating and your lungs moving in and out, as well as regulating all the busy systems of your body so that you can walk, eat, digest, think, and so much more. Like a supercomputer, your brain is interpreting huge amounts of information second by second in order to understand the world around you and the words on this page. Every system in your body is told what to do by the brain; everything we do is supported by the brain, though we are hardly ever aware of it. Without the brain, there is no You.

The prefrontal cortex (PFC), located just behind the forehead, is a section of gray matter that functions like the “CEO” of the brain or the conductor of an elaborate orchestra. Often thought of as the “thinking part” of the brain, the PFC helps us modify our behavior, make decisions about what is appropriate behavior, and takes in all the information from the rest of the brain to determine what our thoughts and actions should be to achieve our goals, weighing the potential benefits and consequences of what we do.

If you see yourself in any of these questions in the graphic above associated with the Prefrontal Cortex, then let us introduce you to an individualized program developed to assist you with your specific problem.

We have 23 years of experience, honing our skills and developing remediation programs, activities and tools to help with these issues. If you are interested in finding a solution to those annoying little glitches that affect your timing or foul-up your reasoning and deduction skills, then take a look at our PFC eBook.

We have compiled several charts looking at each of the many functions of the PFC, as well as indicators of each problem; then we’ve listed numerous remediation activities, just for YOU!

This e-book on the Prefrontal cortex , is the first in a 7 part series of e-books covering the entire “Magnificent 7”! We are now taking pre-orders for shipment soon!

http://www.cognitive-connections.com/Brain-Shop/product/34-prefrontal-cortex-e-book-preorder

Order your copy today and let’s start ‘making connections, one neuron at a time’!

The Secret to Staying Attentive and Focused…

The Secret to Staying Attentive and Focused...

We hear attention deficit and people immediately think someone has a problem ‘paying attention’. however, they can pay attention to a lot of things, they can not SUSTAIN attention. To divide or divert your attention is a tricky skill…most people can divert their attention to something that catches their eyes, but can they bring it back to task in a timely manner, and stay there? Can you sustain that attention once you have brought your attention back to task?

There are many conditions that take this kind of cognitive flexibility ability away from us; sleep disorders, anxiety, chronic stress, not to mention many different learning concerns.

So, when we say someone has an inability to stay focused we must take into consideration many different aspects of their lifestyle to understand what is causing the deficit in attention. Is it Auditory Reception problems, the inability to ‘hear’ information and process it into a format that the brain can then use to ‘file it’ and then retrieve it again. Auditory processing problems look a great deal like an attention problem, however, it may be more of a problem with not ‘hearing fast enough’. The person isn’t able to keep up with the conversation, or their brain gets too tired and becomes ‘brain drained’.

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A person with what we call Attention Deficit has reversed brain activity. When their brain is awake on an EEG it looks asleep (so they are given a stimulant to wake up) but when they lay down to fall asleep at night, their brain wakes up (causing many people to take a sleep aid).

Using NeurOptimal, a Neurofeedback system, you can actually retrain your brain to reduce the variance in your cortical activity. As this happens your brain wave activity ‘renormalizes’, eliminating the turbulence that causes the inability to sustain attention.

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Did you know….
* In 2011, the CDC reported that ADHD affected 9.5% of American children.

* Boys (13.2%) are almost three times more likely than girls (5.6%) to be diagnosed with ADHD.

* ADHD is not limited to children; a recent Harvard/NIMH study reports that over 4% of the adult population in the US experiences symptoms.

* ADHD is rarely the only medical problem for those diagnosed with the disability

* Approximately 1/3 of individuals with ADHD are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder

* Up to 70% will be treated for depression during their lifetime
ADHD sufferers are twice as likely to report sleep disorders

* Many other comorbid conditions affect those with ADHD, such as learning disabilities, Tourette syndrome, Bipolar disorder, Oppositional defiant disorder and Conduct disorder

* ADHD sufferers also report higher instances of relationship problems, motor vehicle violations & accidents, obesity, and reduced earnings because of lower productivity & truancy.

* The cost of ADHD is estimated as high as $52 billion; this includes treatment costs, additional school funding, higher insurance rates and lost productivity.

* Current treatment has shifted away from a medication-based treatment strategy to a combination of medicine, Neurofeedback, counseling & cognitive therapy.

(InteractiveMetronome.com)

For more information on renting or purchasing a home unit for Neurofeedback contact us at http://www.cognitive-connections.com

The ABC’s of Alcohol Damage on a Child

The ABC's of Alcohol Damage on a Child

The effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy are long lasting…the brain that is damaged can learn in new ways but the almost ‘melted areas’ will continue to remain damaged ALL their lives long. I am not the only parent that has adopted a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I would like to introduce you to Linda. She has written a list of ABC’s that she gave to her child’s teacher to help them understand the struggles her child goes through when trying to learn. We can’t always anticipate the many things we go through when we raise a child with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) here are a few:

A – Alcohol. My child was exposed to alcohol before birth
B – Brain. Alcohol use during pregnancy can permanently damage a child’s brain
C – Corpus Callosum. The part of the brain that passes information between the left side (rules) and the right side (impulses), may be damaged or absent with FASD
D – DSI- Dysfunction of Sensory Integration. Sensitive to lights, tags on clothing, over stimulation to voices, noises, smells, etc…
E – Emotional. Emotional volatility and a low frustration tolerance.
F – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), the “umbrella term” for the damage when alcohol is used during pregnancy.
G – Give. A reminder to give our children praise for what they do right or accomplish or when they try as hard as they can
H – Hyperactivity. It is many times very difficult to sit for long periods of time
I – Immaturity. Alcohol has melted the ability to create neuro-pathways this has inhibited the ability to grow and mature, immature auditory system, immature visual system and behavior
J – Judgement. The prefrontal Cortex is responsible for making wise decisions, our children have a damaged PFC from the alcohol…they need to be gently reminded of good decisions
K – Kindness. Kindness and redirection is far more effective than punishment
L – Learn. Learning is different for every child but especially our children, none of us know what areas are affected by the damage. Please try all different ways to teach
M – Mental Retardation. FASD is the #1 cause of retarding the brain in North America although many people with FASD will have IQ’s within normal range they will all have some learning disability
N- National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (www.nofas.org) visit their website as well as their state affiliates.
O – Other drugs. “Of all the substances of abuse, including heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, alcohol produces by far the most serious neurobiological effect in the fetus, resulting in lifelong permanent disorders of memory function, impulse control and judgment” (Institute of Medicine 1996 Report to Congress)
P – Parenting. Although, children with FASD may look as tho it is poor parenting skills, many of us are bright, educated and highly effective parents, please do not be too quick to blame…let’s talk
Q – Quiet time to regroup. Self-regulation is inhibited by this hypervigilant system, quiet, time with little to no activity will help regroup
R – Repetition. Memory issues are very frustrating to our children, please reframe, reteach and repeat often for retention.
S – Sleep Disorders. Sleeping when your brain is damaged is difficult, if our children come into school tired please try to understand them, put yourself in their shoes, and see how difficult learning and functioning in a stressed environment such as school can be to a person that is not sleeping.
T – Time. Time is an abstract concept and is difficult to teach, and because timing is actually a place in the brain, many of our children will have damaged PFC’s and their timing is just OFF.
U – Understanding. Understanding that our children have disabilities, many times unknown to them but definitely not due to anything they did…and yet many times they are blamed as if they are not even trying.
W – Willful. Behaviors may appear willful…but please remember they have brain damage!
X – X-ample. Children need examples of good behavior and good role models, those with patience and gentle souls
Y – YOU can make a difference in the person’s life that has a brain that has been damaged by alcohol. Both a positive difference and a negative difference, I am hoping YOU make the positive difference!
Z – ZERO. Zero alcohol during a pregnancy. FASD is 100% preventable YOU can make a difference! Please spread the word!!!

I want to thank Linda for her words of wisdom…

I also want to thank our daughter ‘Lizzie’ for being so patient with the world…learning how to accept life based on a ‘non-handicapped person’s’ view of what the environment and conditions of the world should be like for her. You have raised your parents to be more understanding and more compassionate because of your willingness to wait on us to ‘come around’ to your needs. The world will learn Lizzie, you are a brave girl to continue to live with that huge forgiving smile as you struggle daily to learn, live and love…and all because of the pleasure of a few drinks of alcohol for one very young, immature, uninformed girl. I want to promise you Lizzie we will educate the world…because FASD is 100% preventable.

Sharing more thoughts…Dr. Lise’

Picture printed with permission by “Lizzie DeLong”

Do You Agree the Prefrontal Cortex is ‘Shut-Down’?

Do You Agree the Prefrontal Cortex is 'Shut-Down'?

When the brain is not fully functioning due to stress, lack of sleep, head trauma or a birth defect, we find that the ‘thinking part of the brain’, the prefrontal cortex, (PFC) shuts down and is not able to reason, deduce, problem solve or make appropriate decisions in a timely manner. Instead the brain makes impulsive decisions, that have not been thought through or planned out with a rational ending as a goal. These individuals also become emotional rather than ‘intelligently passionate’ making decisions based on what they ‘feel’ rather than thinking through what is the most effective outcome. They lack social skills and do not empathize. They do not understand how their actions will effect someone else.

I came across this article written in the New York Times, that comedian, Andy Borowitz wrote a few days ago. I have to say it reminds me of the pre-teen brain that hasn’t mastered the use of the Prefrontal Cortex.

Republicans Shut Down Prefrontal Cortex
By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker
09 October 13

The article below is satire. Andy Borowitz is an American comedian and New York Times-bestselling author who satirizes the news for his column, “The Borowitz Report.”

n an escalation of the stalemate gripping Washington, House Republicans voted today to shut down the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls reasoning and impulses.

The resolution, which passed with heavy Tea Party support, calls for a partial shutdown of the brain, leaving the medulla and cerebellum, sometimes referred to as the “reptilian brain,” up and running.

The Tea Party caucus cheered the passage of the bill, which was sponsored by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who called the measure “long overdue.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) offered no timetable for restarting the prefrontal cortex, telling reporters, “It will most certainly remain shut down during any negotiations with the President. That’s the only leverage we have.”

Representative Bachmann agreed: “The President can go ahead and put a gun to our heads. There’s nothing there.”

While the G.O.P.’s decision to shut down the prefrontal cortex rattled Wall Street, the neuroscientist Davis Logsdon said it should be seen as little more than a symbolic vote, noting, “It’s actually been shut down since the 2008 election.”

In case you know someone that needs a little PFC help…I do have some pretty significant exercises to retrain the brain.

Just Another Little Thought by Dr. Lise’

May I Have Another Drink…No You May NOT Even Have 1 Drink…

May I Have Another Drink...No You May NOT Even Have 1 Drink...

It does take a whole village to raise a child! I remember once seeing a young girl in a restaurant and she had started to take a drink of wine. I ran up to her and stopped that drink. She said it was the first ‘drink’ she had since she found out she was pregnant. She then went on to say it was her Birthday and she was celebrating. I am always surprised by the lack of knowledge of FASD, but went on to explain even 1 drink can make a life-long permanent change in the brain of a baby. It is truly our responsibility to help others become aware of how their actions will affect others!

I asked the President of the Northern California Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders group to share her thoughts on FASD and here is what Kathryn Page, Ph.D, wrote:

“FASD has lots of peculiar aspects. One is its envelope, its interface with the rest of the world. In spite of several waves of public awareness campaigns and great avalanches of solid research, this condition does not stick in the minds of public, professional, academic or families–unless they live with it personally. Five percent of us are–to different degrees–burdened with the AD/HD-like symptoms, the sensory overwhelm, the crappy memory and appalling judgment that come with prenatal alcohol damage. Not to mention the profound sense of alienation and shame for not measuring up, when no one understands that you really are trying your hardest.

Five percent is a lot of us. The number is not hard science and it may never be, but very good
research has moved it up from the one percent it used to be. Without identification and intervention (rare indeed), this is the underbelly of our community inhabiting homeless shelters, people’s couches, jails, emergency rooms chronically.

Yet FASD is still not recognized even when the signs are blinking in red neon; “maladaptive behavior” or “unconscious conflict” or “poor parenting” or “fear of success” or “irresponsibility” or
some other misguided claptrap gets stuck on instead. Or the partially correct labels of AD/HD, Bipolar disorder, Learning Disabilities, Attachment Disorder, ODD…partially but uselessly, since that really doesn’t get to it.

My wish is that this condition rise to the level of autism in public awareness and professional competence. Until then families like mine will take our kids to clinician after clinician who will make recommendations that only fire up the frustration further as they backfire or just fizzle, much money spent and hopelessness rises all around.

Clinicians like Lise who are willing and able to see the whole picture are rare and precious.

We are forming a group for Northern California’s parents and professionals interested in bringing about training, diagnosis, intervention and support for families. Anyone who wants to join up is welcome–contact me if you want more information.” 707-996-7846. Kathryn Page, Ph.D.

More about Kathryn Page via her LinkedIn page:

Kathryn is a PhD in clinical psychology, did her internship at Stanford Psychiatry’s Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center, has published research in both hypnotherapy and political trauma (both for Stanford, the latter also in Mexico), and continues to do volunteer work. She is very involved with various collaboratives aimed at bettering the systems for youth/mental health/ education/community. Her interests lie in Restorative Justice and immigration reform as well as improving the well-being of Latino immigrant families.

Kathryn says her real mission in life is to raise awareness and resources around fetal alcohol to the same level that autism currently inhabits. Meanwhile, she reports she is privileged to support the mental health of our immigrant community in Marin County at Canal Alliance–with her love and joy and no small scrappiness!

Thank you so much Kathryn for sharing your knowledge about FASD from a personal standpoint! If any of you have time, interest, concern, or money to share for this cause, please join us.

FASD is a devastating condition that can be avoided altogether… Don’t drink if you are pregnant or have a possibility of getting pregnant!

Get Involved!!!!

Just a Thought by Dr. Lise’