Clinic provides hope for athletes with brain injuries: ‘This is going to be huge’

A neurofeedback machine provides data while a patient performs brain exercises. (Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports Images)

Our friend Dr Harry Kerasidis featured in this article in USA Today

OXNARD, Calif. — The announcement last month that Aaron Hernandez had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he committed suicide while in prison did not come as a surprise to many former NFL players.

That’s because they suspect they have the degenerative brain disease diagnosed too.

Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson said on Twitter he’s “certain” he has CTE, which has diagnosed posthumously in 111 former NFL players. Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter said he lives in “fear of the unknown.” Husain Abdullah, who retired at age 30 last year after sustaining his fifth concussion, told USA TODAY Sports former players know “things can get bad and get bad in a hurry.”

Worst of all for these players and other athletes is there is no reliable way to test for CTE in the living. And there is also no treatment for anybody with symptoms of the disease.

However, several former NFL, college and high school football players and other athletes say they are finding success at a recovery center in Southern California that claims to help rehabilitate brains suffering from the effects of repeated and severe trauma.

Read more…

Hacking the Human Brain with Social Marketing

Credit: City University London
Marketers have always spent time and money trying to pinpoint their ideal consumer market, but in the age of viral video, what makes that audience engage with an advert? New research looking at how the human brain responds to social marketing videos using encephalography (EEG) reveals that storytelling is the best way to engage consumers.

Narrative Transportation

The research team concluded that in order for campaigns to have a lasting influence on consumers, marketers need to create content that:

  • Gains their audience’s attention, working memory and invokes an emotional response
  • Reflects a typical story structure with a beginning, middle and end
  • Enables the consumer to identify with the subject
  • Provokes the consumer to care about the subject

Read more…

Head Injury and Chronic Brain Damage: It’s Complicated

Pro athletes can have other conditions that make diagnosis difficult
By Brian Levine, Carrie Esopenko on September 1, 2017

Credit: fstop123 Getty Images

There are two ways to go about studying a disease. Let’s call them the retrospective and prospective methods. In the retrospective method, scientists identify individuals with the disease and ask about the circumstances that led to the illness. In the prospective method, they start with a representative sample of people and track them over time to see who develops the disease.

Both methods have yielded important discoveries, but the retrospective method is much more prone to distortion than the prospective method. Consider the following example. Using the retrospective method, 100 percent of alcoholics drink alcohol. Yet drinking alcohol does not necessarily lead to alcoholism, as can be determined by the prospective method in which it can be seen that the proportion of those who enjoy alcoholic drinks and become alcoholics is less than 100 percent.

Read more…

How Science Is Unlocking the Secrets of Addiction

By analyzing brain scans of recovering cocaine addicts, clinical neuroscientist Anna Rose Childress, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, studies how subliminal drug cues excite the brain’s reward system and contribute to relapse. When she showed images such as the one of cocaine on the left screen to patients for 33 milliseconds, their reward circuitry was stimulated. She’s trying to find medications that can prevent this activation and keep people from falling prey to “unseen” triggers.
By Fran Smith Photographs by Max Aguilera-Hellweg This story appears in the September 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Patrick Perotti scoffed when his mother told him about a doctor who uses electromagnetic waves to treat drug addiction. “I thought he was a swindler,” Perotti says.

Perotti, who is 38 and lives in Genoa, Italy, began snorting cocaine at 17, a rich kid who loved to party. His indulgence gradually turned into a daily habit and then an all-consuming compulsion. He fell in love, had a son, and opened a restaurant. Under the weight of his addiction, his family and business eventually collapsed.

He did a three-month stint in rehab and relapsed 36 hours after he left. He spent eight months in another program, but the day he returned home, he saw his dealer and got high. “I began to use cocaine with rage,” he says. “I became paranoid, obsessed, crazy. I could not see any way to stop.”

Read more…

Using objective data to improve performance

Psychologists are using biofeedback to help clients identify and change their physical responses to stress and more

When Denver sport and performance psychologist Steve Portenga, PhD, first started providing therapy to athletes, he taught them breathing and relaxation exercises to practice at home. But he often doubted whether the athletes were doing their homework correctly, if at all.
“I’d ask them how their relaxation went over the past week and was getting answers like, ‘Oh, yeah…right.'” he says. The replies left him thinking, “You didn’t do it, did you?”

Then Portenga learned about biofeedback—a tool that provides empirical evidence of physiological activity, such as heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension, skin temperature and brain wave patterns. Using sensors connected to displays, he and his clients could see how their bodies reacted to stress and to stress-reduction exercises. Athletes can also train with biofeedback apps at home and these sessions can be tracked, to see not only that they do their homework, but how well it works.

Portenga says he appreciates not just biofeedback’s ability to provide accountability, but the way it has helped his athletes learn to handle competitive pressure. He has used the technique with athletes in every major professional sport, including at Super Bowls, world championships and the Olympics.

Read more…

Sitting disease is the new health hazard

from the Peper Perspective :

Sedentary behavior is the new norm as most jobs do not require active movement. Sitting in a car instead of walking, standing on the escalator instead of walking up the stairs, using an electric mixer instead of whipping the eggs by hand, sending a text instead of getting up and talking to a co-worker in the next cubicle, buying online instead of walking to the brick and mortar store, watching TV shows, streaming movies, or playing computer games instead of socializing with actual friends, are all examples how the technological revolution has transformed our lives. The result is sitting disease which we belief can mitigate by daily exercise.

The research data is very clear– exercise does not totally reverse the health risks of sitting. In the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, researchers Matthews and colleagues (Matthews et al, 2012) completed an 8.5 year follow up on 240,819 adults (aged 50–71 year) who at the beginning baseline surveys did not report any cancer, cardiovascular disease, or respiratory disease.

Read more…

How Kirk Cousins went from 102nd draft pick and the bench to now being a $30 million dollar quaterback

Kirk Cousins is poised to make over $30 Million dollars per year in his next NFL contract. He was selected 102nd overall in the fourth round of the NFL draft. Cousins played in a few NFL games before he was relocated to the bench. He would lack focus and let the disappointments in the game “get into his head”. This is when his journey began with neurofeedback training.

Cousins wanted to learn to cope with the stresses of the game and improve his mental performance. Neurofeedback and biofeedback gave him the ability to perform under pressure and maintain focus. Performance and stress levels have always been large part of any sport or competition. It is common knowledge that you can perform better when less stressed. This type of mental training has helped executives, athletes, pilots, students and just about anyone looking to improve their “mental edge” or optimize their brain. Below I’ve included several links where Cousins talks about how Neurofeedback made the difference in his game.

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins sought help to make his brain perform better

Overlooked Kirk Cousins Has Studied His Way to the Top of the Game

Video of Kirk Cousins talking about how Neurofeedback helped him

Mapping your child’s brain might offer a more precise diagnosis for autism, ADHD, social disorders

Mapping your child’s brain might offer a more precise diagnosis for autism, ADHD, social disorders

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — If you think your child is among the 11 percent of children 4 to 17 years old the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may want to consider an objective tool that some doctors believe offers a more precise diagnosis for social disorders.

Dr. Ron Swatzyna at the Tarnow Center for Self-Management in Houston offers QEEG or brain mapping to his patients, including children.

Non-invasive, painless electrodes are placed on key parts of the patient’s scalp. Brain waves are measured and then mapped on a computer where a diagnostician can identify if brain waves are too active or too slow and compare them to the development of other children of the same age.

Many children are diagnosed with anxiety, ADHD, autism and social disorders through a subjective process in which teachers and parents observe their behavior. However, Dr. Swatzyna says brain mapping allows an objective way to collect data.

Read more…

A Map That Shows You Everything Wrong With Your Brain

qEEG – A Map That Shows You Everything Wrong With Your Brain

RACHEL MONROE -The Atlantic – Trial and Error

Technology that compares your brain’s electrical activity to everyone else’s could revolutionize mental-health treatments—or worsen people’s obsessions with perfection.

The woman who would be mapping my brain, Cynthia Kerson, had tanned, toned arms and long silvery hair worn loose. Her home office featured an elegant calligraphy sign reading “BREATHE,” and also a mug that said “I HAVE THE PATIENCE OF A SAINT.”

Read more…