Dysfunctions of the Brain

Studies found that women who had suffered abuse were 60 percent more likely to have a child with autism. Researchers hypothesize that the long-lasting impact of abuse on a women’s brain and body, including the immune system and stress response system may be responsible for their increased chance of having a child with autism. (Andrea L. Roberts et al. “Association of Maternal Exposure to Childhood Abuse With Elevated Risk for Autism in Offspring Autism and Maternal Exposure to Childhood Abuse.” JAMA Psychiatry, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.447)

Refer to Trauma and the Brain for additional information.

Believes there is a real increase in ADD, resulting at least partially from the influence of television and the computer on human brains. (Restak, Richard, MD. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. NY: Harmony Books, 2001, pp 133-136)

Dr. Lubar: Children with ADD have excessive theta activity and find it difficult to sustain beta activity. They can be taught to alter this.

  • Delta – slow (during sleep
  • Theta – slow (daydreaming, relaxing)
  • Alpha – during relaxed states
  • Sensorimotor rhythm or SMR – during states of focused relaxation
  • Beta – fast (occurring during concentration or mental work states)

(Amen, Daniel G., MD. Change Your Brain Change Your Life. NY:Times Books, 1998, pp 142-145)

PET scans studies: the brains of adults and children with ADD have abnormalities (do not burn glucose as efficiently). Some children (e.g., ADD, ADHD) are often super-sensitive to high sugar intakes. High blood sugar stimulates a greater release of cortisol. Omega-3 may help normalize the brain and correct behavioral problems. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000, pp 4-5, 92-94, 139)

ADD is basically a genetically inherited disorder involving a deficiency of dopamine. Avoid arguing, yelling, drama, etc. When ADD individuals don’t get the drama and the adrenalin rush they improve in the long term. (Conflict-seeking people may get others upset to get adrenalin.) (Amen, Daniel G., MD. Change Your Brain Change Your Life. NY:Times Books, 1998, pp 116-117, 144-146)

Quotes from the book Driven to Distraction by psychiatrists Edward Hallowell and John Ratey. Lists criteria for the diagnosis of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. PA: Rodale, 2003, p 42-44)

ADD/ADHD can be inherited and can occur without any hereditary disposition (suggesting the probability of a culturally induced set of symptoms). It may even e induced by a push toward multitasking. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. PA: Rodale, 2003, pp 40-50)

Studies at Cardiff U in the United Kingdom: ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a genetic condition. The child of a parent with ADHD is more likely to have the condition than a child of a parent without ADHD; and if one of a set of identical twins has ADHD, the other twin has a 75% chance of having ADHD. Children with ADHD were more likely to have small DNA segments duplicated or missing as compared with controls. Researchers found significant overlap between these segments, or copy number variations (CNVs), and those linked to autism and schizophrenia. The most significant overlap of segments, or copy number variations (CNVs), with ADHD and Autism was found at a particular region on chromosome 16. Conclusions: ADHD is likely caused by a number of genetic changes, including CNVs, interacting with as yet unidentified environmental factors; ADHD is better considered as a neurodevelopmental disorder like autism rather than as a behavioral problem. (Study is First to Find Direct Evidence That ADHD is a Genetic Disorder.) (5 Disorders Share Genetic Risk Factors, Study Finds)

The limbic system is working at full steam but the cortical areas that focus attention, control impulses, and integrate stimuli have yet to become fully active. Imaging studies show marked lack of activity in several right hemisphere regions including the prefrontal cortex. An area in the upper auditory cortex has also been found to be hypoactive. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 185)

Two studies have linked ADHD with a deficiency in dopamine in the brain. This may be one reason for higher risk for substance abuse in people with ADHD as they attempt to self-medicate their brains. (Amen, Daniel, MD. The Brain in the News, Amen Clinic Newsletter. August, 2007.)

Scientists have found that the major malfunction in children suffering from hyperactivity is their frontal lobes seem to be tuned down, so they have difficulty controlling their behavior as well as tenacity of endeavor. (Blaylock, Russell L., MD. Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills. p 4-5. NM:Health Press, 1997)

The incidence of A.D.H.D. is about 10% of all school children and is found very much more in boys than in girls. The reason is because boys have a higher incidence of right brain dominance than girls do. The male hormone Testosterone boosts the right hemisphere and Estrogen the female hormone boosts left hemisphere. It presents as either a learning problem (left brain immaturity) or behavior problem (right brain excess), or both. (Levin, Dr. W. J. ATTENTIONAL DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER, 1999.)

Brain scans of adolescents with ADHD show reduced functioning in those brain areas that are most involved in attention, concentration, and focus: the prefrontal lobes, especially the lateral prefrontal areas, and some of the nuclei located deep beneath the cortex. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. Washington D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p 79)

ADHD disabilities may involve several discrete brain functions including: planning, selectivity, distraction resistance, attention continuity, and self-monitoring. NOTE: Children with ADHD in chaotic, neglectful, or abusive familial environments are more likely to develop oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery, Tracing the Roots of Violence. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, pp 105-108)

ADHD incidence: 3-5% of children and 2% of adults may be affected. Describes symptoms and explains development lag (immaturity) in three areas primarily in the right hemisphere: anterior ingulated, prefrontal area, and an area near the hearing centers. (Bragdon, Allen D., and David Gamon PhD. Brains that Work a Little Bit Differently. NY: Barnes and Noble, 2000, pp 10-20)

ADHD can be triggered by genetic and/or nongenetic factors (e.g., premature birth, maternal alcohol and tobacco use, brain injury, exposure to high levels of lead in early childhood). Outlines symptoms and discusses treatment options. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003, pp 351-363)

Refer to Addictive Behaviors and the Brain for additional information.

Avoiding smoking, alcohol, and drugs during pregnancy may help prevent a higher risk of developing ADHD or similar behavior in offspring. Synergistic effects with female birth control pills: can double the half-life of caffeine to approximately 12 hours.

Loss of the ability to taste. Rare, but may occur following radiation therapy that can damage nerves from the taste buds to the brain, or result from head trauma that can damage the cortex’s ability to recognize taste signals. Total ageusia may result in which people have no taste buds or papillae. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. NY: Vintage Books, 2002, p 74)

Alcohol releases a substance that heightens sexual desire, but it also lowers the amount of testosterone your body produces and that can affect your ability to have an erection. (Brothers, Joyce, PhD. What Every Woman Should Know About Men. NY: Ballantine Books, 1981, pp 151-152)

Refer to Addictive Behaviors and to Substances and the Brain for additional information.

Alexander Disease, a progressive childhood brain disorder, involves the mutation of glial cells. Symptoms include dementia, seizures, and spasticity. (Schramm, Derek D., PhD. The Creative Brain. p 14-16. CA: Institute for Natural Resources, Health Update. 2007.)

Alexithymia (Greek for “lacking words for emotions”) is a psychiatric condition in which people don’t recognize basic and/or extreme emotions. It is an extreme case of unawareness: they do have emotions but find it hard to describe what/where they came from. (Wilson, Timothy D. Strangers to Ourselves. England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002, p 135)

The structures of the brain and body are somewhat flexible and can be altered by the mind. Emotions can trigger altered states (e.g., allergies that come and go, placebo effect, walking across hot coals without burning feet). (Pert, Candace, PhD. Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind (audiocassettes). CO: Sounds True, 2000)

Information regarding symptoms of Alzheimer’s may be found on several internet sites. Following are several examples:

People on a high-sugar high-carbohydrate diet are four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. A study from Albany University in New York shows that 70 percent of people with type 2 diabetes will go on to develop Alzheimer’s. Gout, a type of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid, is not linked to excess fructose consumption. High levels or uric acid can also affect the kidneys. (Gameau, Damon. The Sugar Book. P. 129. NY:Flatiron Books, 2015)

The brain has its own set of immune cells, called microglia, which can secrete C1q, a protein that has been implicated in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This protein appears to lodge in synapses (the point between neurons) and is associated with cell death when a brain injury occurs. Levels of C1q appear to increase with age. According to professor and chair of neurobiology and senior author of the study, Ben Barres MD, PhD: “The first regions of the brain to show a dramatic increase in C1q are places like the hippocampus and substantia nigra, the precise brain regions most vulnerable to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, respectively.” Children don’t get Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and these findings may help to explain that phenomenon. (http://med.stanford.edu/ism/2013/august/barres.html)

Alzheimer's is a complicated chronic disease. Abnormal memory impairment is a warning sign. Early onset (e.g., before age sixty) accounts for 5% of all cases. It is is thought to be caused by genetic mutations and, while strongly inherited, is rare. Late onset (e.g., after age sixty) can be influenced by so-called susceptibility genes (e.g., ApoE4) although people with these genes, while more predisposed, are by no means predestined to develop Alzheimer's. The new slogan is: "We have found a cure of Alzheimer's, and it is prevention." (Carper, Jean. 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss. p 7-10. NY: Little, Brown, and Company, 2010)

Being bilingual appears to offer some protection against Alzheimer’s? Ellen Bialystok, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, studied 450 Alzheimer’s patients (half monolingual and half bilingual). Bilingual patients with Alzheimer's symptoms were diagnosed between four and five years later than the monolingual patients with Alzheimer’s symptoms. Mastering a second language appears to strengthen the brain in ways that seem to delay developing Alzheimer's disease later on. Just as a regular physical exercise program can keep your physical body in good shape well into your senior years, an effective mental exercise program can do the same for your brain. If you’re not bilingual and don’t want to learn another language, stimulate your brain daily with challenging brain aerobic exercises. (Source)

The entorhinal cortex (EC) is one of the first brain areas to be affected in Alzheimer’s Disease. This little organ functions as a hub in a widespread brain network for memory and navigation and is the main interface between the hippocampus and the neocortex. This EC-hippocampus system plays a key role in autobiographical/declarative/episodic memories and in particular spatial memories including memory formation, consolidation, and optimization in sleep. The EC also plays a role in spatial directional activity. Studies of humans playing video games found path cells in the EC, the activity of which indicated whether the person was taking a clockwise or counterclockwise path. Such EC direction-path cells show this directional activity regardless of the location in which people experience themselves. This differs from place cells in the hippocampus that are activated by specific locations. (Jacobs J, et al. A sense of direction in human entorhinal cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107 (14): 6487–6492. 2010. Bibcode2010PNAS..107.6487J. doi:10.1073/pnas.0911213107. PMC 2851993. PMID 20308554. Source.)

In a new study, researchers at UC Berkeley found a significant association between higher levels of cognitive activity over a lifetime and lower levels of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein that is the hallmark of Alzheimer's. PET Scans showed that people with no symptoms of Alzheimer’s, who had engaged in cognitively stimulating activities throughout their lives, had fewer deposits of beta-amyloid. Engage in 30 minutes of stimulating brain exercise (e.g., brain aerobic exercises) every day. (Source)

Studies by Ellen Bialystok, psychology professor at York University in Toronto: bilingual patients did not contract Alzheimer's, the worst phase of dementia until five years later than monolingual patients. Mastering a second language can pump up your brain in ways that seem to delay getting Alzheimer's disease later on. Most experts agree that age memory loss comes as a result of disuse. In conclusion, Alzheimer research indicates the condition can be headed off through pursuing different memory improvement exercises. As we age our brain functions slowly start to diminish. This needn't necessarily happen. Just as a regular physical exercise program can keep your physical body in good shape well into your senior years, an effective mental exercise program will do the same for your brain. (Source)

A recent study, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, has found that smoking increases elevates the risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. An analysis of more than 20,000 men and women found a 157% heightened risk of Alzheimer's disease in people who had smoked more than two packs of cigarettes a day. For vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia, these smokers had a 172%. Brain health has a lot to do with overall health. The brain is part of the body, it’s part of the whole, and if you assault parts, it’s going to have an impact on the whole. (Smoking Boosts Risk for Alzheimers, 2010.)

Stanford University studies: The hippocampus appears to be part of what is now being called the default network of the brain. The activity of the default network is diminished in individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease as compared to the brains of healthy elderly adult controls. It may be that this can be used as an early marker for AD. (Greicius, Michael D., et al. Default-mode network activity distinguishes Alzheimer’s disease from healthy aging: Evidence from functional MRI. CA, 2004)

Cleveland Clinic studies, 2001: Watching an average of 4 hours of television per day was linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease was lower in countries where fat and caloric content of diets was lower. Adults who challenged the brain (e.g., reading, chess, bridge, socializing) were 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 218-219, 3-5. NY: Avery Press, 2003.)

Alzheimer's is a serious form of amnesia that is rooted in neurological problems. Pathological and progressive, it impacts the hippocampus (involved with transferring information from short-term to long-term memory). The person may retain ability to recall their own identity. (Newsletter. On the Brain. CA: 2005, p 4)

Ingesting more than fourteen drinks a week (heavy drinker category), doubled the odds of developing dementia compared to not drinking and predicted shrinkage in memory brain regions. Heavy drinking pushes you 2-3 years closer to Alzheimer's. If you also carry the ApoE4 gene, the onset of dementia may come 4-6 years earlier. (Carper, Jean. 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss. p 14-16. NY:Little, Brown, and Company, 2010)

Individual memories are burned onto hundreds of receptors that are constantly in motion around nerve synapses. Some escape. A specific set of molecules catch these elusive receptors and take them to a recycling plant where they are reprocessed and returned to the synapse intact. In early phases of Alzheimer's, dendritic spines gradually lose their ability to transport and recycle the receptors. (Duke University Medical Center, 2007, September 24. New Understanding of Basic Units Of Memory. Science Daily.)

Case Western Reserve University studies of Alzheimer's: There is a protein family known as cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdk). One particular kinase, Cdk5, is "an atypical kinase" that tends to hold the cell cycle in check. Normally, Cdk5 resides in the nerve cell nucleus, but in the presence of AD, the disease process drives the protein out into the cell's cytoplasm, which unleashes a chain of events that ultimately leads to the death of the cells and the resulting dementia. (Alzheimer's disease as a case of brake failure?)

Siegfried Hoyer (University of Heidelberg), believes some forms of Alzheimer's disease are tied to abnormalities in brain glucose metabolism, which results in overproduction of nerve-damaging AGEs, free radicals, and the formation of neurofibrillary tangles that kill brain cells. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000, p 136)

Studies: People with less than an eight-grade education have twice the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who went beyond the eighth grade. Those with both low education and mentally unstimulating jobs run three times the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, pp 242-243)

The stress reaction creates specific hormonal imbalances. These same hormonal imbalances have been shown to damage brain cells, and may even lead to Alzheimer’s disease. (Childre, Doc. Freeze Frame – One Minute Stress Management. CA: Planetary Publications, 1994, 1998, pp 39-42)

Reported on the nuns study: those who had earned college degrees, taught school, and constantly challenged their minds into old age lived longer and resisted Alzheimer’s disease better than the nuns who had lower levels of formal education and spent most of their time cleaning rooms and preparing food. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. NY: Vintage Books, 2002, p 43)

A disease (associated with a gene apolipoproteinE4) characterized by a reduction in the number of acetylcholine receptors and distinct patterns of cell destruction not seen in ordinary aging of nondiseased brains. Study of 60-100 year-olds: Alzheimer’s brains showed a 20% decrease in number of neurons (mild impairment), to a 70% decrease in cases of severe impairment. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000, pp 19, 24, 307)

Equal numbers of men and women are victims of Alzheimer’s disease, a disorder that destroys certain vital cells in the brain, resulting in intellectual impairment for 204 million Americans. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? How Men and Women Compare. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, p 21)

Studies: The dendrites of people who lived in a complex environment (e.g., had a college degree, a stimulating job, and were mentally active throughout life) were 40% more complex than those of high school dropouts and of university graduates who had not been mentally active after college. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, pp 242-243)

The nucleus basalis deteriorates in people who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease. (Tortora, Gerard J. and Sandra Reynolds Grabowski. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, 10th Edition. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003, p 4690

The disease may begin to develop as early as adolescence. It may take 50 or more years for Alzheimer’s pathology to progress from stage 1 to stage 5 or 6. Depression may predate onset of Alzheimer’s and increase one’s risk of developing the disease (1.8 times higher risk). (Snowdon, David, PhD. Aging with Grace. NY: Bantam Books, 2001, pp 82-93)

Disruption of acetylcholine in the neocortex is believed to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self, How Our Brains Become Who We Are. NY: Penguin Books, 2002, pp 58-59)

Regular physical exercise and an increase in intellectual activities seem to offer protection against developing Alzheimer’s disease. (Restak, Richard, MD. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. NY: Harmony Books, 2001, pp 185-186)

About one quarter of Americans carry a gene associated with Alzheimer's: ApoE4. So far, it appears to be the most dominant gene associated with Alzheimer's. Many researchers now view Alzheimer's and other types of dematia as diseases of "lifestyle" as well as genetics. (Carper, Jean. 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss. p 3-6. NY:Little, Brown, and Company, 2010)

People with (amnesiac) disorders usually retain their level of intelligence and their general personalities. Although they can learn things nonconsciously, they typically are unable to consciously recall any new experience. (Wilson, Timothy D. Strangers to Ourselves. England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002, pp 24-25)

Refer to listings above.

A form of amnesia that appears to be rooted in damage to the medial temporal lobes, especially the hippocampi. Person can recall information prior to an injury event but can no longer transfer information into long-term memory. (Newsletter. On the Brain. CA: 2005, p 4)

Anomalies in brain development can result from slowed growth in specific areas due to high levels of fetal testosterone (e.g., immune disorders, learning disabilities, left-handedness). (Miller, Lawrence, PhD. Inner Natures. Brain, Self & Personality. NY: Ballantine Books, 1990. p 276-290)

Anorexia tends to affect girls more than boys. Boundaries within the family are usually diffuse and weak, while boundaries that separate the family from the outside world are well-defined and h2. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health: MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996, p 346-347)

Brain scans found reduced blood flow to areas in the brain that control vision. A female with anorexia sees herself as “fat” when she looks in a mirror. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, p 249-250)

Individuals with anorexia may have impaired hypothalamic function. They tend to be disciplined, persevering, and introverted. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p. 66, 68)

Individuals with anorexic or the obese are fighting battles for consciousness through food (e.g., rejection or acceptance of food). Food can be a catalyst for almost any emotion. (Woodman, Marion. Addiction to Perfection: Toronto, Canada: Inner City Books, 1982, p. 21-23)

Provides examples of 80% success rate in breaking the cycle of anorexia. Believes that at some level, anorexia is a way to get attention from the family. (Bandler, Richard, and John Grinder. Reframing. UT: Real People Press, 1982, p. 23-25)

Individuals with this disorder (associated with increased aggressive and violent behaviors) average 11% less gray matter in their prefrontal cortex as compared to healthy individuals. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. PA: Rodale, 2003, p. 87-88)

Clinical anxiety is a spectrum of conditions that includes nonspecific or generalized anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, PTSD, and OCD. About 25% of all adults may suffer from some type of. (Website for the Center for the Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety; LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self, How Our Brains Become Who We Are. NY: Penguin Books, 2002, p. 272-276, 282-290)

There may be an imbalance of GABA, an important brain chemical. Summarizes recommended treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003, p. 330-332)

Asperger's Syndrome is thought to be a milder form of autism (refer to Autism Spectrum Disorders for additional information). (Shreeve, James. Beyond the Brain. National Geographic, Vol. 207, No. 3, March, 2005, p. 20-21)

Lack of dopamine is thought to be a factor in ADD (particular in adults). Add is marked by lack of concentration, short attention span, and physical restlessness. The underlying neurological dysfunction is caused by a brain that isn’t yet fully “on line.” (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p. 66, 185.)

Studies found that women who had suffered abuse were 60 percent more likely to have a child with autism. Researchers hypothesize that the long-lasting impact of abuse on a women’s brain and body, including the immune system and stress response system may be responsible for their increased chance of having a child with autism. (Andrea L. Roberts et al. “Association of Maternal Exposure to Childhood Abuse With Elevated Risk for Autism in Offspring Autism and Maternal Exposure to Childhood Abuse.” JAMA Psychiatry, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.447)

Did you know that Autism Spectrum Disorders, Schizophrenia, (and perhaps Bipolar Disorder, as well), may share some common roots? Studies showed the risk of an autism spectrum disorder may be higher among people whose parents or siblings have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Findings came from a case-control study using population registers in Sweden and Israel. According to Patrick F. Sullivan, professor in the department of genetics and director of psychiatric genomics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, “The results were very consistent in large samples from several different countries and lead us to believe that autism and schizophrenia are more similar than we had thought.” (Source)

As you know, the brain has billions of neurons. They are arranged in complex circuits that allow you to make decisions, control movement, perceive the world, and so on. MIT Neuroscientists have reported that simple mathematical computations underlie these brain circuits. No surprise, deciphering those circuits is critical to understanding how the brain works and what goes wrong in neurological disorders. According to Mriganka Sur, the Paul E. Newton Professor of Neuroscience and senior author of the Nature paper, two major classes of brain cells repress neural activity in specific mathematical ways: One type subtracts from overall activation, while the other divides it. “These are very simple but profound computations,” Sur said. There is growing evidence that alterations in excitation and inhibition are at the core of many subsets of neuropsychiatric disorders. Hopefully, these findings will help scientists learn more about diseases thought to be caused by these imbalances, including autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. (Source)

Most of the sensory problems in autism involve vision, touch, and hearing oversensitivities. With hearing, they receive disordered, inaccurate information about their environment because their perceptual systems become oversensitive and because they process incoming stimuli slowly. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 78-91. NY:Vintage Books, 2002.)

Did you know that recent studies indicate that more than three-fourths of children who have been diagnosed as autistic can learn to talk? If these children learn verbal skills by age five, in adulthood they tend to be happier and higher functioning that do their nonverbal peers. Initial studies were done by Connie Kasari and colleagues at UCLA. Follow-up studies showed long-term language improvement for kids with autism after an intensive, targeted behavioral therapy program. Findings were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (May ’12). Some children do not seem to be able to learn useful language by age five, but studies suggest it is possible to acquire language later. The new studies show a method for teaching preschool-aged children basic skills that is aimed to help them develop language by five, and continue to make improvements years later. (Source)

Individuals with autism-spectrum disorders are more likely than others to possess savant skills. Researchers have suggested that this may occur for a couple of reasons. First, the ASD individual typically has some type of obsessive interest in a constricted areas of interest (central coherence), coupled with a cognitive processing style that involves a focus on local features during the processing. This may aid in the development of savant skills. In the process, however, global processing tends to be sacrificed. (Gaigg, S.; J. Gardiner, J. and D. Bowler. 2008). "Free recall in autism spectrum disorder: the role of relational and item-specific encoding". Neuropsychologia 46 (4): 983–992. (Source)

For the past several decades, research in developmental psychology, social psychology, and cognitive neuroscience has focused on the human ability to have a “theory of mind” or to “mentalize.” This involves the ability to make attributions about the mental states (desires, beliefs, intentions) of others. This ability is absent in monkeys and only exists in a rudimentary form in apes. It develops by about age five and is impaired in autism. (The lack of a theory of mind in most autistic children could explain their observed failures in communication and social interaction.) Normal adults are capable of both mentalizing and empathizing. These abilities are useful for making self-interested choices because they enable people to predict others’ actions more accurately. (Singer, Tania, and Earnst Fehr. The Neuroeconomics of Mind Reading and Empathy. VOL. 95 NO. 2 NEUROSCIENTIFIC FOUNDATIONS OF ECONOMIC DECISION-MAKING)

Researchers in Sweden and Iran have succeeded in identifying specific peptides in individuals with a diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)? The peptides consist of fragments of the complement factor C3 protein, whose natural function is in the immune system. Previous studies have already identified a known connection between this protein and ASD, which further reinforces these new findings. The hope is that this new set of biomarkers ultimately will lead to a reliable blood-based diagnostic tool. (Momeni, N., et al., A novel blood-based biomarker for detection of autism spectrum disorders, Nature Translational Psychiatry, 2012 (Source

Study: A 25% reduction in size was found in a part of the cerebellum that regulates responses to the environment (noises, temperatures, movement, memory). Neurons in limbic system are smaller and more numerous than those with non-autistic brains. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. CT: Millbrook Press, 1998, p. 150-151).

Autism is a spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders that are strongly genetic in origin, affect about 1 in every 200 children, and are more common in males (10 males to 1 female). The spectrum appears to include Asperger’s Syndrome. Discusses the Extreme Male Brain (EMB) theory of Autism. (Baron-Cohen, Simon, Dr. The Essential Difference: The Truth About the Male and Female Brain. NY: Basic Books, 2003, p. 133-154)

Paying attention to faces (as opposed to objects) doesn’t seem to lead to the expected normal increase in brain activity…the face-processing areas of the brain are not well connected to those parts of the brain that control attention. (Nordqvist, Christian. Autism News: Autism Linked To Poor Communication Between Brain Areas. April 2006. Article)

A developmental disability that affects several areas of the brain, including the cerebellum, hippocampus, and limbic system. Some have normal sensory abilities but have difficulty sorting out important information from noise, while some cannot prioritize sensory signals pouring into the brain, and some have an oversensitivity to sensory stimuli. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. NY: Vintage Books, 2002, p. 78-91)

Lists genetic conditions associated with autism including Phenylketonuria, Neurofibromatosis (or von Recklinghausen’s disease), Tuberous sclerosis, Fragile X syndrome (abnormal gap on the X chromosome), and Moebius syndrome (a birth defect affecting nerves controlling the eye and face muscles). (Baron-Cohen, Simon, Dr., and Dr. Patrick Bolton. Autism, the Facts. NY: Oxford University Press, Inc, 1993, p. 26-34)

One of the brain organs associated with fear – translates perception of danger into action. Input can arrive from the senses and/or from the cortex. (Shreeve, James. Beyond the Brain. National Geographic, Vol. 207, No. 3, March, 2005, p. 22-23)

Autism is biological and precedes any relationships. (Amen, Daniel, MD. Change Your Brain Change Your Life. NY:Times Books, 1998, p. 73-74)

Describes autism as a spectrum of disorders related to brain function. Autism may be resistant to treatment. (Carter, Rita, ED. Exploring Consciousness. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p. 258-267)

Studies: massage helped children with autism, diabetes, asthma, cancer, and arthritis. Neuropeptides (e.g., endorphins) released in the brain from touch receptors in the skin, send positive healing messages to the brain. (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. NY: Warner Books, 2004, p. 6-10)

Segregation (neurons traveling to different regions in the growing neural tube that will form the brain) is under the direct control of homeotic genes. Some scientists believe that autism might be due to a mutation of homeotic genes that leads to faulty brain construction and connection. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self, How Our Brains Become Who We Are. NY: Penguin Books, 2002, p. 66-68)

Lists viruses that can affect the fetal/infant brain and that may contribute to autism including Rubella (if contracted in the first 3 months of pregnancy), Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes encephalitis. (Baron-Cohen, Simon, Dr., and Dr. Patrick Bolton. Autism, the Facts. NY: Oxford University Press, Inc, 1993, p. 26-34)

Three masses of gray matter, collectively termed the basal ganglia, are located deep within each cerebral hemisphere.... Some psychiatric disorders (e.g., OCD, schizophrenia, chronic anxiety) may involve dysfunction of circuits between the basal ganglia and the limbic system. (Tortora, Gerard J. and Sandra Reynolds Grabowski. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, 10th Edition. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003, p. 469-471)

The human brain is approximately 60% fat. Fatty acids (e.g., DHS, EPA, omega-3) are needed to build nerve endings. Some psychiatric and neurological disorders are linked to lack of omega-3 (e.g., depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia). (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, p. 86-89)

As you know, the brain has billions of neurons. They are arranged in complex circuits that allow you to make decisions, control movement, perceive the world, and so on. MIT Neuroscientists have reported that simple mathematical computations underlie these brain circuits. No surprise, deciphering those circuits is critical to understanding how the brain works and what goes wrong in neurological disorders. According to Mriganka Sur, the Paul E. Newton Professor of Neuroscience and senior author of the Nature paper, two major classes of brain cells repress neural activity in specific mathematical ways: One type subtracts from overall activation, while the other divides it. “These are very simple but profound computations,” Sur said. There is growing evidence that alterations in excitation and inhibition are at the core of many subsets of neuropsychiatric disorders. Hopefully, these findings will help scientists learn more about diseases thought to be caused by these imbalances, including autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. (Source)

Zonulin is a protein made by the human body that appears to impact the development of auto-immune diseases as well as those that involve blood-brain dysfunctions such as multiple sclerosis, HIV infection, and brain tumors. Zonulin acts as a gate-keeper for brain and body tissues. It can open junctions between cells known as zonula occludens, allowing some substances to pass through that ordinarily would be stopped. Exposure to gluten can increase Zonulin levels in patients with celiac disease allowing substances to pass thorugh the walls of the inestines. This phenomenon has been shown to occur not only in the intestines but also in the blood-brain barrier, a collection of tightly packed endothelial cells that line the blood vessels of the brain and prevent some substances in the blood from entering the brain while allowing others to pass through. Zonulin can bind with receptors in the B-B barrier and open the gates between cells in the blood vessels allowing some substances to pass through. (Korn, Dana, with contributions by Michelle Maria Pietzak MD, and Alessio Fasano MD. Wheat Free - Worry Free. p 333-340. CA: Hay House, 2002.)

The borderline person is unstable in moods, may be impulsive and physically self-damaging, and may find it difficult to be alone. The person tends to divide good and bad by the process of splitting. (Viorst, Judith. Necessary Losses. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1986, pp 56-58)

Individuals with Borderline Personality or BPD suffer from a disorder of emotion regulation. While less well known than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), BPD is more common, affecting 2% of adults, mostly young women. While a person with depression or bipolar disorder typically endures the same mood for weeks, a person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last only hours, or at most a day. Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally unworthy. They may feel unfairly misunderstood or mistreated. Such symptoms are most acute when the person feels isolated and lacking in social support, and may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger or distress to even mild separations such as a vacation, business trip, or sudden change in plans. Source.

Discusses borderline states as being more ill than neurotics and less ill than psychotics (e.g., manipulative, self-destructive, impulsive, unpredictable). (Claridge, Gordon. Origins of Mental Illness. MA: Malor Book, 1995, p. 208-234)

Once a disorder exists, and the brain has changed, the changes have to be dealt with in some way in order for a patient to recover. Drugs can induce adaptive changes in neural circuits, or put neural circuits in a state where adaptation and learning are promoted. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self, How Our Brains Become Who We Are. NY: Penguin Books, 2002, p. 299-300)

During the first year of life, infants spend 50% of their metabolic energy to construct and refine brain mechanisms. Brain function can be seriously impairs if the slightest mistake occurs in these processes. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. Why We Love. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2004, p. 140-141)

Bulimics are more inclined to be extraverted, distractible, and compulsive. (Carter, Rita, ED. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p. 69)

Case Western Reserve University studies: Cancerous brain tumors do not grow from neurons but from glial cells. Alzheimer's disease as a case of brake failure? Article.

Presents four major themes: individuals differ fundamentally in the type of nervous system they possess, temperament has biological roots that reflect the type of nervous system, biologically based traits of temperament are synonymous with predispositions to differing forms of mental illness, and predispositions to mental illness are genetic in origin. (Claridge, Gordon. Origins of Mental Illness. MA: Malor Book, 1995, p. 2-6)

Refer to Cellular Memory for additional information.

Estimates are that approximately 1 in 303 children have cerebral palsy by age 8. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy can result from neurological damage during gestation (e.g., a kink in the umbilical cord that briefly interferes with fetal oxygen supplies, maternal infection). Such neurological damage can lead to the activation of immune cells in the brain known as microglia and astrocytes, which cause further inflammation and exacerbate the damage. Recent research with dendrimers suggests there may be a role for them in a variety of conditions including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases such as genital herpes and cancer. (Kannan, Sujatha, et al., Dendrimer-Based Postnatal Therapy for Neuroinflammation and Cerebral Palsy in a Rabbit Model, Science Translational Medicine, 2012)

Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. Refer to Immune System for additional information.

Also known as Hereditary Motor and Sensory Neuropathy (HMSN), this peripheral neuropathy affects motor and sensory nerves outside the Central Nervous System. It is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders. Symptoms may include foot and lower-leg weakness, and atrophy of hand muscles. (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. NINDS Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Fact Sheet. Accessed 2007.)

Known by a plethora of other names, this is not a “game.” It is a highly dangerous activity used to alter one’s state of consciousness. The goal is to achieve a euphoric state by stopping the flow of oxygen-containing blood to the brain temporarily. Permanent injury and/or death can result. Victims are typically juvenile males. (You can find additional information at this website.)

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative condition perhaps best-known for affecting individuals who endure repeated blows to the head (e.g. boxers, football players, other athletes). According to Dr. Daniel Amen, a 27-year old former Marine is the first Iraq veteran that was found to have CTE. Reportedly, an abnormal form of a protein accumulates and eventually destroys cells throughout the brain in areas that regulate impulse control, judgment, multitasking, memory and emotions. As compared with returning Vietnam veterans, Afghan and Iraq veterans are much more likely to have been exposed to blasts, whose shock waves send the brain crashing into the skull. (Source)

Compulsion is despair on the emotional level, a lack of self-love. The substances, people or activities that we become compulsive about are those that we believe capable of taking our despair away. Genuine love and compulsion cannot coexist. It is not possible to be obsessed with food or anything else and to be truly intimate with ourselves or another human being. (Roth, Geneen. When Food is Love. NY: Penguin Group, 1991, 1992, p. 14, 19, 23, 25)

Compulsive eating is a dramatic restaging of the suffering and/or violence that we witnessed as children in our families. Our relationship to food is a microcosm of all that we learned loving and being loved, about our self-worth. It is the stage upon which we reenact our childhood. If we were abused, we will abuse ourselves with food. The degree to which we are violent, abusive, self-punishing is in proportion to the degree of violence, abuse, and punishment we received. We learned how to do it by having it done to us. (Roth, Geneen. When Food is Love. NY: Penguin Group, 1991, 1992, p. 61-62, 103)

Healing requires telling the truth, acknowledging your losses. When you acknowledge your losses, grieving your losses, and letting them go. This allows you to live in the present instead of living in reaction to the past. Your pain seems to be about food, willpower, and looking a certain way but pain is not about what it seems to be about. If you don’t know what you pain is about, you can’t release yourself from it. (Roth, Geneen. When Food is Love. NY: Penguin Group, 1991, 1992, p. 123)

People tend to mirror the way they live in the way they eat (e.g., what they do with food, they do in their lives). Think of eating as a stage upon which people act out their beliefs about themselves. (Roth, Geneen. When Food is Love. NY: Penguin Group, 1991, 1992, p. 61-62, 103)

The brains of girls with CAH (a condition that causes adrenal glands to make excess androgen during prenatal development) were found to be permanently changed. (Gurian, Michael, and Patricia Henley with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Company, 2001, p. 42)

During gestation the brain makes its first appearance as a crest of cells from which the neurons, brain cells will emerge. Next come the formation of the major brain regions and a migration of neurons from their original sites of generation to their final positions in the brain. Disastrous consequences can ensue whenever one of these processes goes awry as a result of disease, genetic mutation, or exposure to drugs or chemical toxins. Indeed most congenital (present at birth) brain defects result from the disruption of the normal programs of neuronal growth, development, and migration. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. Washington D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p. xiv)

Being controlled (e.g., as a child or adult) precipitates being out of control of something: food, work, sex, drugs. It also precipitates a need to remain in control of what we believe we will not receive unless we control the receiving. Of love, for instance. (Roth, Geneen. When Food is Love. NY: Penguin Books Inc, 1992, p. 45)

More women than men have seemingly uncontrollable cravings for carbohydrate-rich food. Some scientists feel this is due to serotonin, which may help to regulate cravings for such foods. The activity of serotonin normally increases after the consumption of even a few calories and desire decreases accordingly. However, in some overweight women (and some men), serotonin activity does not increase, and the desire for more rich food does not decrease as it does normally. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? How Men and Women Compare. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, p. 45)

Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio Study: Now in addition to “cutting” (troubled teens deliberately cut/burn their skin or break a bone), some are now leaving sharp metal / other objects in their bodies. Radiologists say this is the first study to report on "self-embedding disorder." (Rubin, Rita, and USA Today Staff. Self-embedding disorder': When teens insert objects into their bodies. 2008. Article.)

When things go wrong in the brain’s growth or development, a smorgasbord of human afflictions and pathological conditions can result, such as drug abuse, schizophrenia, and depression, and even suicide, that most sorrowful of calamities that can befall the brain. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. Washington D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p. xiv-xv)

Hypothesizes that déjà vu results when there is a slight delay in transmission from the non-dominant to the dominant hemisphere of a person’s brains. This results in the dominant side receiving the information twice, a type of mental diplopia or mental double vision. (Bragdon, Allen D., and David Gamon, PhD. Brains that Work a Little Bit Differently. NY: Barnes and Noble Books, 2000, p. 52-56)

Dendritic spines are tiny compartments that protrude from the dendrites of neurons that “receive” inputs from most excitatory synapses in the brain. Dendritic spines grow during normal maturation of the brain but are lost or abnormal in shape in many human neurological diseases, including mental retardation and dementia. Dendritic spines are mobile (e.g., they change their number and shape in response to the brain’s experience and to electrical signaling in the brain). (Sheng, Dr. Morgan. Brain Science Institute. Dendritic Spines – Tiny Structures in the Brain for Communication and Information Storage. May 2005. Article.)

Emotions become flattened in depersonalization. This is probably related to disruption of information following pathways to and from the limbic system (e.g., information cannot get up to the prefrontal cortex to create conscious emotion, or form a memory, or be translated into words). (Carter, Rita, Ed. Exploring Consciousness. CA: University of California Press, 1998. p. 264-267)

The mental disorder of depression is partially caused by the reward system. A person who is depressed has a less reactive reward system. Due to this reduced reward system, it leads to a depressed person who is unable to react to positive rewards that they receive. Because of the person’s inability to react to positive stimulants the person is unable to feel positive about anything. This pessimistic outlook on life causes the person dealing with depression to question their life and all the things that they own. The person does not consider rewards such as: life, a job, money, and family as rewards. The person's unreactive reward system causes no positivity in the person's life, and this leads the contemplation of suicide in order to escape such a life.  [“The role of the brain reward system in depression.” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 25: 781–823. doi:10.1016/S0278-5846(01)00156-7.]

National Institutes of Mental Health, 2002 report: at any given time an estimated 19 million Americans aged 18 or above suffer from a depressive disorder. Almost as many have an anxiety disorder, and some adults have both. (Brooks, Robert, PhD, and Sam Goldstein, PhD. The Power of Resilience. NY: Contemporary Books, McGraw Hill, 2004, p. x-xii.)

Study: May be a gene on chromosome 6 (close to genes involved with CAH – the masculinizing of female fetuses, and with schizophrenia) that is involved with depression. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983, p. 160-161)

Studies: aging humans who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids had increased gray matter brain volume. Most new tissue development was observed in the portion of the brain associated with happiness. (Sarah M. Conklin, PhD. High -6 and Low -3 Fatty Acids are Associated With Depressive Symptoms and Neuroticism. 2007.)

Depression appears to involve alterations in the way circuits in the hippocampus, as well as in the prefrontal cortex, perhaps as the result of long-term elevations of stress hormones. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self, How Our Brains Become Who We Are. NY: Penguin Books, 2002, p. 305-307)

Depression often precedes and predicts heart disease. Hippocrates said it first: food that is good for the heart is likely to be good for the brain. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000, p. 79)

Refer to Emotions and Feelings for additional information.

Any factors that increase the activity or reactivity of the brainstem (e.g., chronic stress) or decrease the moderating capacity of the limbic or cortical areas (e.g., neglect) cam increase aggression, impulsivity, and capacity to display violence. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery, Tracing the Roots of Violence. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, p. 33)

Conditions in which specific mental consequences result from the inability to exchange information between brain areas. Connectivity changes in psychiatric disorders involve mal-connections rather than disconnection syndromes. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self, How Our Brains Become Who We Are. NY: Penguin Books, 2002, p. 305-307)

Dissociation (apart from that caused by overt brain injury) is frequently linked to childhood traumas and to an imbalance of dopamine, noradrenalin, and serotonin. Drugs that alter the balance of these neurochemicals can produce dissociation and conversely, may also help a person with a dissociation disorder (see Multiple Personality Disorder). (Carter, Rita, Ed. Exploring Consciousness. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p. 267-273)

A rare form of amnesia (affecting less than 0.2% of people) that can appear abruptly after a traumatic event. Typically a temporary disorder it has been presented in books and movies (e.g., The Bourne Identity). (Newsletter. On the Brain. CA: 2005, p. 4)

Perhaps 99% of people with DID have documented histories of severe and prolonged trauma during childhood. Temperament styles may contribute to differences in the way children react to trauma (e.g., one may be resilient, the other vulnerable). Refer to Multiple Personality Disorders for additional information. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p. 198)

DID seems to be associated with changes in limbic system activity. People with DID can exhibit entirely different personalities at different times. As many as one person in 100 may have DID (e.g., inexplicable blanks in their memory). See also Multiple Personality Disorder. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Exploring Consciousness. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p. 264-267)

In Fragile X, Downs, and perhaps in autism, the genetics differ but the end result for the brains appear to be similar. The gene Fmr1 located on the X chromosome, influences neurons to be less likely than normal cells to reach out and form connections, or synapses, with their neighbors. Fewer cells are making connections. (Medicine and Science. Fragile X, Down syndromes linked to faulty brain communication. Article.)

The concept of downshifting fits with both what is now known about the triune nature of the human brain and what can be observed in instructional settings, as well as in our own daily living. One’s neocortex (e.g., 3rd gear metaphorically) functions fully only when one feels secure. (Hart, Leslie A. Human Brain and Human Learning. NY: Longman Inc, 1983, p. 110)

Legal and illegal drugs can interrupt the many feedback loops that allow the psychosomatic network to function in a natural, balanced way, and can set up conditions for somatic and well as mental disorders. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. NY: Scribner, 1997, p. 273-274)

Related to mathematical ability. Children have normal intelligence and are sociable, but can’t systemize due to genetic reasons. (Baron-Cohen, Simon, Dr. The Essential Difference: The Truth About the Male and Female Brain. NY: Basic Books, 2003, p. 113-115)

Occurs when a taste nerve is damaged, causing a person to perceive tastes that are not there, notably salty, metallic, or bitter sensations. Can also be a side effect of certain types of drugs. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. NY: Vintage Books, 2002, p. 74)

This learning disability describes a person’s difficulty in expressing thoughts through writing, graphing, and handwriting. It does not have to limit creativity. Provides a couple of dozen strategies for dealing with dysgrahia. (Dysgraphia. Article.)

The frustration related to dysgraphia can cause a great deal of stress for the person involved. It adults, cases usually occur after some neurological trauma. It may also be diagnosed in conjunction with Tourette syndrome, ADHD, or the autism spectrum. (Dysgraphia or Agraphia. Article.)

Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities. It may be diagnosed in children or adults. Some studies are currently seeking patients as there has been little research in this area. (Dysgraphia. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Article.).

Dyslexia describes a dysfunction in the auditory receiver in the brain. The dyslexic finds it difficult to maintain attention for more than 5-10 minutes at a time. The sound distortion (e.g., listening through a defective telephone receiver) interferes with language reception. (Tomatis, Alfred A, M.D. Editor Timothy M. Gilmore, PhD, et al. About the Tomatis Method. Toronto, Canada: The Listening Centre Press, 1989, p. 45-60)

Dyslexia may involve miswiring in basic brain structure. Study: Layers of cells in the brain were disorganized and some had migrated to the wrong location in the brain. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983, p. 164-174)

Individuals with dyslexia have been found to have abnormal patterns of brain activity in the left cerebral hemisphere (e.g., left temporal, parietal, and inferior frontal lobes). (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. PA: Rodale, 2003, p. 185)

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy: dyslexia affects about 5% of the population. The brains of people with dyslexia do not break down fatty acids and incorporate them into their neuronal membranes the way non-dyslexic brains do. Omega-3 fatty acids may help. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 95-97. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

Dyslexia is seen more often in babies born in summer (e.g., a winter virus may infect pregnancy women). The left hemisphere of dyslexic children seem to be missing cells that specialize in understanding rapid sounds in speech such as b, d, and g. (M and N are slow sounds). A thalamus section that processes sound impulses is smaller in the left hemisphere. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 136. CT: Millbrook Press, 1998.)

The first description of dyslexia dates back to 1896 in Sussex, England. fMRI findings: a neurological basis. Dyslexia can involve functional disturbances in widespread areas throughout the brain. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. Washington D.C.:The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, p. 56, 61-62)

Some dyslexics have a superior talent for hearing slower sounds, such as vowels, and see shapes and colors more sharply in their peripheral vision. This may explain why many dyslexics are musicians and painters. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. NY:Vintage Books, 2002, p. 91)

Paula Tallal, a cognitive psychologist: t dyslexic children are deficient at detecting and discriminating rapidly changing sounds. When same sounds are played to dyslexic children at a slower rate, they perceived them much more accurately. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self, How Our Brains Become Who We Are. NY: Penguin Books, 2002, p. 94-95)

A neurologically based language disorder, responsible reading difficulties (e.g., letters are confused, letters are perceived to be upside down or backwards). Males are afflicted with dyslexia 6 times more often than females. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, p. 68)

Dyslexics do not hear short phonemes (e.g., b, d). They take in chunks of speech sounds 1/3 to 1/5 of a second which is too slow for phonemes. Deficits in acoustic signal reception emerge in the first year of life. Slowing down sounds can reprogram the brain. (Schwartz, Jeffrey M., MD, and Sharon Begley. The Mind & the Brain. NY Regan Books, 2002, p. 225-254)

Brain Scans: Dyslexia, a reading problem in people of normal intelligence and schooling, appears to be associated with dysfunction of the left temporoparietal cortex and the left inferior frontal gyrus in English monolinguals. In Chinese monolinguals, however, the dysfunction appears to center in the left middle frontal gyrus. In addition, compared to healthy controls, English dyslexic children exhibited reduced grey-matter volume in the left parietal region; Chinese children with reading problems exhibited reduced grey matter volume in the left middle frontal gyrus. These results suggest that abnormalities in both functional and anatomical structures of language processing might be language-dependent. (Shaywitz, S. E. et al. Functional disruption in the organization of the brain for reading in dyslexia. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 95, 2636–2641. 1998. Temple, E. et al. Neural deficits in children with dyslexia ameliorated by behavioral remediation: evidence from functional MRI. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 100, 2860–2865. 2003. Siok, W. T., Perfetti, C. A., Jin, Z. & Tan, L. H. Biological abnormality of impaired reading is constrained by culture. Nature 431, 71–76. 2004. Hoeft, F. et al. Functional and morphometric brain dissociation between dyslexia and reading ability. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 104, 4234–4239. 2007. Siok, W. T., Niu, Z., Jin, Z., Perfetti, C. A. & Tan, L. H. A structural-functional basis for dyslexia in the cortex of Chinese readers. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 5561–5566. 2008).

People tend to mirror the way they live in the way they eat (e.g., what they do with food, they do in their lives). Think of eating as a stage upon which people act out their beliefs about ourselves. (Roth, Geneen. When Food is Love. NY: Penguin Group, 1991, 1992, p. 61-62, 103)

The phenomenology of psychomotor epilepsy suggests that without a co-functioning limbic system, the neocortex lacks not only the requisite neural substrate for a sense of self, of reality, and the memory of ongoing experience, but also a feeling of conviction as to what is true or false.  MacLean, Paul D., PhD. The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions. p 578. NY:Springer, 1990.

Problems with facial recognition occur after right temporal lobectomy (but not after left temporal lobectomy (when right hemisphere is nondominant for speech. (Pribram, K. H., ed. Brain and Behavior 3, Memory Mechnisms. Britain: Penguin Books Inc., 1969, p. 319)

High levels of the amino acid, homocysteine, may be related to failing intellectual abilities including memory, concentration, thinking abilities, and low moods. As much as 40% of cerebrovascular diseases appears tied to high homocysteine levels. Folic Acid and B12 help to reduce levels. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000, p. 307-310)

In reality, real memories are somewhat vague and fragmented. False memories are clear and detailed. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 questions your brain has asked about itself but couldn’t answer until now. NY: The Millbrook Press, 1998, p. 54)

Alcohol can cause faulty cell migration. The brains of babies whose mothers drink regularly tend to be smaller and malformed with a lower density of neurons. FAS babies have low IQ scores in childhood and severe reading and math disabilities by the time they reach high school and adulthood, as well as maladaptive behavior, hyperactivity, and depression. The first six weeks of pregnancy are the most crucial. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. NY: Vintage Books, 2002, p. 27-28)

Refer to Care of the Brain and Nutrition and the Brain for additional information.

In Fragile X, Downs, and perhaps in autism, the genetics differ but the end result for the brains appear to be similar. The gene Fmr1 located on the X chromosome, influences neurons to be are less likely than normal cells to reach out and form connections, or synapses, with their neighbors. Fewer neurons are making connections. (Medicine and Science. Fragile X, Down syndromes linked to faulty brain communication. Article.)

Symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, mania, and ADD are mainly due to frontal lobe disorders. (Carter, Rita, Editor. Mapping the Mind. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1998, p. 181)

Lateral frontal lobe lesions produce deficits in sequencing behvior, leaving the person unable to plan or multitask. Orbital frontal lesions, located right above the eye sockets, may interrupt emotional pathways that provide feedback to monitor cognitive states and may be associated with a loss of ability to judge right and wrong, a decreased ability to inhibit behavior, leading to more impulsive, obsessive-compulsive aggressive/violent actions. A lesion in the left temporal lobe (Wernicke's area) produces an aphasia where the affected person may have no comprehension of either written or spoken language and speaks oly gibberish. (Gazzaniga, Michael S. Who's In Charge? p 49-50. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011)

The term "Frontotemporal Dementia" or FTD refers to a group of diseases that are commonly misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's Disease (AD). A general term that refers to disorders that are also known as:

  • Pick's Disease
  • Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration
  • Progressive Aphasia
  • Semantic Dementia

(UCSF web site. Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). Article.)

FTD describes a clinical syndrome associated with shrinking of the frontal and temporal anterior lobes of the brain. Synonym(s) include: Pick's Disease, Primary Progressive Aphasia, Semantic Dementia, Dementia – Semantic. No known treatment slows symptoms although antidepressants may be helpful for some symptoms. (National Institutes of Health web site. NINDS Frontotemporal Dementia Information Page. Article.)

A rare form of dementia involving a group of diseases characterized by an accumulation of abnormal forms of tau protein in the brain. Six different form of tau are typically maintained in constant proportions. “Tangles” have been found to consist of overly and abnormally phosphorylated tau. (Connections. Alzheimer’s Disease Education & Referral Center. National Institutes on Aging. Article.)

The AMA recognizes pathological gambling as a diagnosable mental disorder. The essence of gambling concerns making predictions about the future, thus involving the dopamine system. Like gambling, sex can also be addictive in many respects. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p. 141-147)

The uncontrolled proliferation of glial cells can result in gliomas. One of every two primary brain tumors and one of every five primary spinal cord tumors are composed of glial cells. The most common form of glial tumors, astrocytomas, most often grow in the frontal lobes. (Schramm, Derek D., PhD. The Creative Brain. p 14-16. CA:Institute for Natural Resources, Health Update. 2007.)

A brain disorder that occurs in a small percentage of people who have suffered from strokes, brain tumors, or head traumas—causes an intense craving for fine foods. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. NY: Vintage Books, 2002, p. 74-75)

Injury somewhere in the right frontal part of the brain can turn some people into fine-food lovers of the highest order. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002, p. 3)

The majority of hallucinations (in this country) are auditory, because people in this culture do not pay much attention to the auditory system. In other cultures, hallucinations will tend to cluster in other sensory systems. (Bandler, Richard, and John Grinder. Frogs into Princes. UT: Real People Press. 1979, p 50)

Doppelgangers—apparitions that look precisely like oneself—are probably produced by disruption to areas where the body map overlaps on the visual association area. (Carter, Rita, PhD. Editor. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 127)

Hallucinations are exceptionally intense self-generated sensory experiences. Children who play with seemingly invisible playmates, for example, may actually be seeing these friends as clearly as they see real people (Carter, Rita, PhD. Editor. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 127)

One way to resolve the problem of mixed sensory messages arriving at the brain is to literally shut one of the dimensions—the verbal input, the tonal input, the body movements, the touch, or the visual input—out of consciousness. (Bandler, Richard, and John Grinder. Frogs into Princes. UT: Real People Press. 1979, p 50)

The voices heard by schizophrenics are their own. They generate speech in one part of their brain and experience it as auditory input in another. (Carter, Rita, PhD. Editor. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p. 127)

PET Scan Studies: The frontal cortex was not active during schizophrenic hallucinations. During auditory hallucinations the primary auditory cortex showed no activity, but the auditory-language association cortex in the temporal lobe became more active. (Schwartz, Jeffrey M., MD, and Sharon Begley. The Mind & the Brain. NY: Regan Books, 2002, pp 313-315)

If one hemisphere is injured, the other can reorganize to take on some opposite-hemisphere tasks, depending on the age at injury. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. p 48. Washington D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001.)

Studies have shown that spirited kids are wired to be more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change than the average child. The author provides explanations and strategies to help parents cope with these types of children (sometimes referred to as individuals with a Sensory Processing Disorder). (Kurcinka, Mary Sheedy, MA. Raising Your Spirited Child Rev Ed: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic. NY:Harper Paperbacks, 2006.)

The hippocampus, essential for memory formation and emotional control, is the very first (brain) structure demaged by the neurochemicals of anger, anxiety, and stress. The next time someone cuts you off on the road or makes a clumsy istake, rather than killing neurons in your own brain, send the person a blessing. (Newberg, Andrew, MD. How God Changes Your Brain. p 208-209. NY:Ballentine Books, 2009)

Most homosexual orientation develops during gestation. Patterns tend to be firmly in place by age 5. Discusses lack of success of change therapies (e.g., push bisexuals to confine behaviors to opposite sex only, or enforce celibacy, or push the individuals to attempt suicide). (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 171-186. NY:Broadway Books, 1998.)

The trauma of growing up gay in a world that is run primarily by straight men is deeply wounding in a unique and profound way. Straight men have other issues and struggles that are no less wounding, but they are quite different from those of a gay man. ( Downs, Alan, PhD. The Velvet Rage. Overcoming the Pain of Growing up Gay in a Straight Man’s World. p 5-6. NY:Da Capo Press, 2005. 2006.)

Refer to Sexual Orientation and the Brain for additional information.

Hyperactivity may result when the mother’s emotional state during the child’s gestation was marked by excessive fear, anger, or anxiety. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989, pp 13-15)

Most hyperlexics can be placed somewhere along a spectrum consisting of autistics at one end and at the other end children who have problems with spoken language and communication. Hyperlexic readers are unusual because they don’t have to be taught how to read. Their problem involves speaking and understanding the speech of others. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. Washington D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001, pp 65-66)

Several brain states reduce or remove free will. People with hysterical paralysis can’t move even though the affected body parts and their connections to the brain appear to be intact. Hysteria may be related to the “play dead” mechanism that occurs in some small mammals when they are in jeopardy. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 191)

Children who suffer major brain damage to the left hemisphere when young can adapt; language moves over to the right. By age 12-13 this flexibility diminishes. Sometimes another part of the brain can take over from the damaged part, complete recovery is more likely in children. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD. The Roots of the Self. NY: HarperCollins, 1995, pp 11, 84, 101)

Terminal insomnia (e.g., you wake up before the alarm goes off and can’t get back to sleep again) can be a sign of pre-depression or depression if it is a frequent happening. Sleep initiation (e.g., difficulty falling asleep) can be a sign of anxiety and a busy life. (Bost, Brent W., MD, FACOG. Hurried Woman Syndrome. NY: Vantage Press, 2001, pp 17-18)

Some individuals have only one sex chromosome (e.g., XXX, XO) and are typically raised as girls; and some have three (e.g., XXY, XYY) and are typically raised as boys. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983, pp 70-80)

Krabbe disease is a rare, incurable genetic disorder caused by a deficiency of an enzyme that is necessary for myelin metabolism. This can cause deterioration of the myelin sheath and death of brain cells. It affects both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Symptoms may appear during the first six months of life, during adolescence, or adulthood. (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. NINDS Krabbe Disease Information Page. Accessed 2007.)

The brain is just over 60% fat and needs omega-3 acids to promote optimal brain performance. Some conditions (e.g., depression, ADHD, learning/behavioral disorders) are linked to a lack of omega-3 acids. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, pp 88-89)

Too much dopamine seems to cause overexcitement, euphoria, and exaggerated convictions of meaningfulness (mania). (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. CA: University of California Press, 1998, p 66)

Disconnected from or lacking a right hemisphere, the left behaves like the manic half of a manic-depressive, while a solo right emotes like the depressive side. (Wonder, Jacquelyn, and Priscilla Donovan. Whole Brain Thinking. NY: Ballantine Books, 1984, p 41)

The Maslach Burnout Inventory weighs the effects of emotional exhaustion, (hallmark symptom), depersonalization, and reduced sense of personal accomplishment). It has become the standard tool for measuring burnout in research on the syndrome. (The Inventory Site)

Women with ovulation problems and anorexia nervosa (a characteristic feature of which is amenorrhoea) may have very high levels of melatonin. Also refer to Seasonal Affective Disorder and Sperm Counts. (Discover Color Therapy. Helen Graham. Ulysses Press, (Berkeley CA) 1998, p 15)

National Institutes of Mental Health, 2002 report: in any given year an estimated 22% of Americans aged 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. (Brooks, Robert, PhD, and Sam Goldstein, PhD. The Power of Resilience. NY: Contemporary Books, McGraw Hill, 2004, pp x-xii)

A person’s temperamental “style” is responsible to some extent for the type of mental illness the person develops (in the event of a psychological breakdown). Temperament is defined biologically, partly genetically based traits that reflect individual differences in brain structure and function. (Claridge, Gordon. Origins of Mental Illness. MA: Malor Book, 1995, x-xi)

Dendritic spines are tiny compartments that protrude from the dendrites of neurons that “receive” inputs from most excitatory synapses in the brain. Dendritic spines grow during normal maturation of the brain but are lost or abnormal in shape in many human neurological diseases, including mental retardation and dementia. Dendritic spines are mobile (e.g., they change their number and shape in response to the brain’s experience and to electrical signaling in the brain). (Sheng, Dr. Morgan. Brain Science Institute. Dendritic Spines - Tiny Structures in the Brain for Communication and Information Storage. May 2005. Article.)

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