Brain Function

7 12, 2015

Brain Changers in the News

By |December 7th, 2015|ADD (AD/HD), Anxiety Disorder, Behavioral Disorder, Brain Function, Christian Counseling, Migraine, Neurofeedback, News & Events, Wellness|Comments Off on Brain Changers in the News|

Galveston Brain Changers – Business Spotlight
Managing ADHD without Medications — an Interview with Dr. Stephanie McClung 
Moving Heaven and Earth – Dr. Stephanie McClung and Mindy Fritz
Brain Changers’ Effective Integrated Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
Brain Changers Launches Website Providing Information on Effectively Treating Anxiety, Migraine, ADD (ADHD), Behavioral Disorders, and More.

28 01, 2014

Some Negative Effects of Marijuana

By |January 28th, 2014|Addiction, Brain Function, marijuana, News & Events|Comments Off on Some Negative Effects of Marijuana|

With marijuana becoming legalized in Washington and Colorado this past year, there has been much debate over how dangerous this drug really is for those who use it. Those who support the use of marijuana are quick to develop opinions that support their position, often disregarding scientific information that differs from their opinion. The fact is that marijuana has negative effects on the brain, heart, and lungs, as well as being a trigger for other ill-effects.

Negative Effects of Marijuana on the Heart
Within a few minutes of smoking marijuana, heart rate can jump by 20-50 beats per minute, and blood pressure drops. These results can be more drastic if there are other drugs involved, as well. Research indicates that users are four times more likely to have a heart attack within an hour of smoking than they are when they abstain from use.

Negative Effects of Marijuana on the Lungs
Even infrequent marijuana use can cause burning in the mouth and throat. Long-term use can lead to respiratory issues, as those who smoke ingest approximately five times the carbon monoxide and three times the amount of tar than that of cigarettes. Additionally, marijuana contains more than 4,000 identified chemicals, at least 50 of which are carcinogenic.

Negative Effects of Marijuana on the Brain
The chemical THC in marijuana has an almost immediate effect on the brain. The endocannabinoid system (ES), was named because of the effect that cannabis, the plant form of marijuana, has on this system. The body produces two natural chemicals that interact with the cannabinoid receptors and regulate how our cells communicate to send, receive, and process information. When someone smokes marijuana, THC enters the brain and immediately binds to these receptors, overwhelming [...]

31 01, 2013

Hallucinations: What Are They and What Causes Hallucinations?

By |January 31st, 2013|Addiction, Bipolar Disorder, Brain Function, Migraine, Schizophrenia|Comments Off on Hallucinations: What Are They and What Causes Hallucinations?|

Hallucinations are a very real and often frightening symptoms of several disorders. Because of the societal stigma attached to hallucinations, a child or adult experiencing them may choose to keep them a secret, rather than seek help. Through neurofeedback and counseling, Brain Changers seeks to assist struggling individuals and families to understand and address them and the underlying disorders.

What Are Hallucinations?
A hallucination is a perception that occurs in the absence of an external stimulus. It can occur in any of the five senses; in other words, a hallucination is seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or feeling something that isn’t really there. Some people are aware they are not actually real; other people experiencing a hallucination may think it IS actually real, and they may also have delusional interpretations of these.

What is the difference between a Hallucination and a Delusion?
Hallucinations are different from illusions, or delusional perceptions; in these cases, an actual stimulus exists, but the person perceiving it interprets it incorrectly.

What Causes Hallucinations?
Typically hallucinations are a symptom of an underlying medical, neurological, or mental disorder. They almost always appear in schizophrenia, but they can also be a symptom associated with psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, or dementia. Hallucinations are also commonly associated with substance abuse; use of recreational drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, PCP, and marijuana are known to induce hallucinations. Withdrawal from alcohol, or from drugs such as heroin, hypnotics, or sedatives, can also result in hallucinations. Some people experiencing migraines, particularly those recovering from a comatose state, experience them. Charles Bonnet syndrome is the name given to blind individuals who “see” flashes of light or images. Diseases such as Parkinson’s can cause first illusions, where the sufferer distorts images and sounds [...]

12 07, 2012

Neuroplasticity: The Brain that Changes

By |July 12th, 2012|Brain Function, Neurofeedback|Comments Off on Neuroplasticity: The Brain that Changes|

 What is Neuroplasticity?
The brain has an incredible capacity to change itself! This process is called neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity. At one time, it was believed that brain development became almost cemented at a young age, and that this was unchangeable. Through extensive study and research, we have learned this not accurate. The brain can change and become stronger at any age, and neurofeedback is an effective way to help promote this change.

Improve neuroplasticity with Neurofeedback!
This news is very exciting for those who suffer from any disorders related to brain function. Improving neuroplasticity can help those struggling with AD/HD, Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Migraine, Bipolar Disorder, and many other disorders. These disorders can be directly tied to brainwave patterns that are functioning poorly, and neurofeedback is a type of therapy that directly affects these specific brainwaves to rebalance them for improved brain function.

How Can Brain Changers Help?
Beginning with a qEEG, or Brain Map, we are able to identify the specific areas of the brain where brainwaves are functioning above or below the norm, or typical, for healthy brain function. During neurofeedback sessions, these poorly functioning brainwaves are rebalanced, and thus, symptoms begin to subside. Through counseling, we address unhealthy thought and behavior patterns that have developed, and as the brainwaves are changing with neurofeedback, we set achievable goals toward healthier patterns for the future. Additionally, we work with our clients’ physicians to wean off of medications as brain function recovers, and therefore, symptoms improve.

 Contact us to set an appointment!

10 07, 2012

Adderall: What are side effects to Adderall?

By |July 10th, 2012|ADD (AD/HD), Brain Function, News & Events|Comments Off on Adderall: What are side effects to Adderall?|

Adderall is a medication that can improve concentration and focus for an individual with AD/HD, and this can be a welcome relief — short-term! However, there are severe potential side effects to Adderall. Long-term use can alter brain function enough to cause depression and anxiety. Considering young brains are not fully developed until the mid-20’s, they are particularly vulnerable to problems associated with Adderall and/or other amphetamines commonly prescribed for AD/HD symptoms.

Do I have AD/HD?
Fallon Schultz, licensed clinical social worker and addiction specialist from Howell, N.J., reports that studies at UCLA show that aggression, psychosis and suicide rates are higher among those who use amphetamines.

Click here for article: Generation Rx: AD/HD and Medication
In people without AD/HD, the amygdala, which monitors and controls emotions and aggression, can become overactive from stimulants, including Adderall, leading to increased dopamine levels. Schultz adds, “This tricks the brain that it doesn’t need to make dopamine. That results in severe depression and mood dysregulation.” It can also lead to symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Dr. Charles Sophy addresses the serious side effects to Adderall. “The more you take it, the more you need to have that pleasurable mental state.” What starts as one pill becomes 3-4 pills for a similar effect. “You build a tolerance, and after a while, you’re crashing when you come off these pills.”
Adderal can increase blood pressure to dangerous levels, creating the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death. Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer at Hazeklen, an addiction treatment center, shares about these and other side effects to Adderall. “We know from a medical perspective it’s dangerous and can cause seizures, strokes, heart attacks, even death.”

Increase in Adderall Prescriptions
According to [...]

7 07, 2012

Brain Food: The Benefits of Walnuts

By |July 7th, 2012|Brain Function, Nutrition|Comments Off on Brain Food: The Benefits of Walnuts|

Although they may look like half a brain, as a brain food, the benefits of walnuts affect the entire organ! A natural food that is helpful in fighting cholesterol and heart disease, walnuts have also been found to help with cognitive functioning.

Can Diet Affect Brain Function? Read Article here!
Omega-3s
As a brain food, one of the benefits of Walnuts is they are rich in omega=3s! Research has shown that boosting levels of omega-3s in the diet has a healthy, natural effect on decreasing the symptoms of depression, reducing inattention and improving focus in children and adults with AD/HD, and strengthening cognitive functioning overall. The implications for improved cognitive functioning have also shown promise in delaying diseases associated with aging, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Serotonin and Melatonin
Consuming one-quarter cup of walnuts can boost serotonin and melatonin levels in the body, thus supporting another of the benefits of walnuts! Both hormones, serotonin and melatonin, are directly linked to mood, cognitive functioning, and sleep. Those who suffer from depression, anxiety, mental confusion, and sleep disorders have reduced levels of these vital hormones in their bodies. So, if you are feeling down or want to stop counting sheep, munch on a handful of walnuts!

Anti-Oxidants
Among the greatest of benefits of walnuts as brain food is this: walnuts contain very high levels of anti-oxidants. The human brain accounts for only 2% of body mass, but it uses approximately 20% of the oxygen in our body! It is the organ that is most vulnerable to oxidative stress, and oxidative stress is associated with brain aging, ability to handle stress, and learning, and a host of disorders that are related to brain function! Thus, including a daily dose [...]

5 07, 2012

Brain Injury: Healing from a TBI

By |July 5th, 2012|Brain Function, Traumatic Brain Injury|Comments Off on Brain Injury: Healing from a TBI|

 
The CDC reports that 1.7 million people suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the US every year! These account for approximately one-third of all deaths in this country annually! It is further estimated that approximately 2% of Americans, or 5.3 million people, currently live with disabilities associated with a TBI.
A TBI occurs as a result of a blow or jolt to the head and results in damage to the brain. The severity of a TBI ranges from mild to severe. Brain Changers utilizes the qEEG to determine the severity of the brain injury and where in the brain the injury is located.

A mild TBI occurs when there is a brief change in mental status or loss of consciousness. This is the most common type of brain injury, commonly called a concussion, and is classified as a mild traumatic brain injury. These often go undiagnosed, and consequently, rehabilitation and medical care are not sought for appropriate recovery.
A severe TBI may involve actual loss of consciousness for anywhere from hours to weeks and can result in permanent disability. Any TBI, whether mild or severe, can lead to permanent changes in brain function.

The most common causes of TBI:

Motor vehicle collisions
Falls
Violence
Sports*

*Research has shown that approximately 85% of head injuries from bicycle accidents can be prevented with the use of helmets.

Click here to read article Brain Function: TBI, Concussion, and Rehabilitation
 

How Can Brain Changers Help?
Brain Changers is committed to working with our clients toward an integrated approach to improved brain function and life productivity after a brain injury.  Additionally, we work with your physician and other providers to assist in the greatest amount of healing and recovery possible during your [...]

28 06, 2012

Can Diet Affect Brain Function?

By |June 28th, 2012|Brain Function, Nutrition|Comments Off on Can Diet Affect Brain Function?|

  
Yes! Think of your brain as the engine that controls the human body. The food you eat is the fuel or energy this engine needs to run. When we eat and drink foods that are not healthy for us, it is equivalent to putting dirty fuel in the engine. Just like a vehicle, using the best fuel for our body’s engine will help it run more optimally. Brain cells need twice the amount of energy as other cells in our body.

Many common disorders affect the brain, including Depression, Anxiety, AD/HD, Sleep Disorders, and many other disorders. The quality of the fuel we put into our bodies can play an important role in enhancing or reducing symptoms! Certain foods have the ability to exacerbate symptoms, while other foods can actually help minimize symptoms. Below is a list of a few nutrients and how they affect the brain and performance.

Omega 3:

Not only are Omega 3’s beneficial for their anti-inflammatory benefits and cardiovascular health, they are a great brain nutrient! Studies have documented evidence that daily intake of omega 3 can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, help calm hyperactivity in a child with AD/HD, and improve overall brain function and cognitive performance.

Protein:

Protein has long been touted for its importance in providing energy for the body. The amino acids in protein-rich foods are also beneficial for boosting brain energy! They are responsible for empowering healthy levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, important brain chemicals responsible for helping you feel alert and encouraging greater concentration. Whether dealing with lethargy from depression or an inability to concentrate from AD/HD, increasing your protein intake slightly may help minimize symptoms of “brain drain”.
 Food and Depression: You Are What You Eat
 Complex Carbohydrates:

19 06, 2012

Brain Fuel: Carbohydrates and the Brain

By |June 19th, 2012|Brain Function, Nutrition|Comments Off on Brain Fuel: Carbohydrates and the Brain|

There is a direct link between carbohydrates and the brain. We need carbohydrates; they act as brain fuel! Glucose forms in the body with the breakdown of carbohydrates. The brain needs glucose to perform properly, as it is the only sugar that feeds it. To function effectively, your brain cells need twice the fuel that other cells in your body require. Thus, a low carbohydrate diet could actually deplete this organ of much needed fuel!

 Food and Depression: You Are What You Eat!
Some carbohydrates are good for you, and some have a negative effect on the body and brain. Complex carbohydrates are like clean fuel; they feed the brain with natural sugar found in the healthier foods that we eat, including nuts, legumes, and fruits/vegetables. They are made of long chains of sugar molecules that slowly break down in the liver to the shorter glucose molecules the brain uses for fuel. Thus, complex carbohydrates work in the body more like a time-release capsule of sugar. These carbohydrates can have a positive effect on energy, focus, ability to process information and perform cognitive tasks, and they can boost mood!
Simple carbohydrates are found in sugary foods, including sodas, candy, and fruit juices. Consuming simple carbohydrates can be equated to taking an injection of sugar. These carbohydrates are found in most processed or refined foods, although they are also found in some natural foods. They have short-chained sugar molecules that breakdown quickly, thus they enter the bloodstream quickly. Sugary foods like soda, candy, fruit juices, honey, and corn syrup, are directly absorbed through the stomach wall; then, they rapidly release into the bloodstream, almost as quickly as if they were delivered by a syringe. Simple carbohydrates [...]

14 06, 2012

Blueberries Benefit the Brain!

By |June 14th, 2012|Brain Function, Nutrition|Comments Off on Blueberries Benefit the Brain!|

Simply google, “the benefits of blueberries,” and you will find that whether fresh or frozen, blueberries benefit the brain!
It is the flavonoids in blueberries that activate an enzyme which increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. These flavonoids are found in other berries, as well, including strawberries and raspberries.

Anxiety Disorder?
Blueberries for Anxiety! Click here for article!

Nurses’ Health Study
Recently, a research study was published in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society which demonstrates that blueberries and strawberries, which are high in flavonoids, appear to reduce cognitive decline in older adults. The study results suggest that cognitive aging could be delayed by up to 2.5 years in elderly who consume greater amounts of the flavonoid-rich berries.

Depression?
A Berry Good Way of Beating Depression! Click here for article!

Nutrition Researcher
Nutrition Researcher, James Joseph, has this to say about blueberries. “What blueberries do is what simply can be called strengthening the brain by taking advantages of the brain’s tremendous redundancy,” said Joseph. “Blueberries have compounds that boost neuron signals and help turn back on systems in the brain that can lead to using other proteins to help with memory or other cognitive skills.”

Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Blueberries for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome! Click here for article!

British Study
British scientists published a study a few years ago that furthers the proof that berries keep the mind fresh! Researchers asked 40 adults, ranging in age from 18-65, to drink a Blueberry smoothie for breakfast. They were asked to perform a cognitive, mental task 45 minutes after drinking the smoothie. Five hours later, these volunteers performed an additional mental task and performance was measured. Two [...]