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Reversing the Damage of a Stroke

For one patient, a decade of recovery took determination, persistence and the courage to weather repeated setbacks.

Strange as it may seem, the stroke Ted Baxter suffered in 2005 at age 41, leaving him speechless and paralyzed on his right side, was a blessing in more ways than one. Had the clot, which started in his leg, lodged in his lungs instead of his brain, the doctors told him he would have died from a pulmonary embolism.

And as difficult as it was for him to leave his high-powered professional life behind and replace it with a decade of painstaking recovery, the stroke gave his life a whole new and, in many ways, more rewarding purpose.

Before the stroke, Mr. Baxter’s intense work-focused life as a globe-trotting executive in international finance had eroded his marriage and deprived him of fulfilling relationships with family and friends. Unable to relax even on vacation, he rarely took time to smell the roses. Now, he told me, he leads a richer, calmer, happier life as a volunteer educator for stroke victims and their caregivers and for the therapists who treat them.

The stroke began with a cramping pain in his leg after a long international flight during which he wore compression hose to support his varicose veins. He didn’t take the pain seriously until suddenly he couldn’t talk or move the right side of his body. The clot that caused his leg pain had broken loose and cut off blood flow to the left side of his brain.

He nearly died. But once stabilized, the doctors discovered that he was born with a hole in his heart that had allowed the clot to bypass his lungs and go directly to his brain. Two of his siblings turned out to have the same defect, called patent foramen ovale, which they subsequently had repaired.

Mr. Baxter readily admits that his Type A personality, which was the driving force behind his professional success, was also a major factor that helped him reverse the extensive losses he suffered when the clot severely damaged his brain. And it inspired him to recount his 14 years of recovery and renewal in a fascinating book, “Relentless: How a Massive Stroke Changed My Life for the Better,” an apt title for what it took for him to regain full physical function, comprehension and intelligible speech.

His mantra, which could help many others facing a devastating health setback, is that recovery takes determination, focus, resiliency, persistence and courage — the courage to weather repeated setbacks and frustrations. He admits, however, that it can also take the financial resources and personal support he had to get the kind of help that can make a difference.

At first, his goal was to get right back in the saddle, working nonstop in finance. But after months of intense rehab, he still could neither use nor understand language, spoken or otherwise.

“It took seven or eight months for me to realize I wasn’t going back to my job,” he said. “I didn’t even understand that the words coming from my mouth weren’t making any sense.”

The learning curve was steep: “I couldn’t read; I couldn’t write. I could see the hospital signs, the elevator signs, the therapists’ cards, but I couldn’t understand them,” he wrote. The aphasia — the inability to understand or express speech — “had beaten and battered” his pride.

But he refused to give up. With age and prestroke physical conditioning on his side, he had convinced himself that “100 percent recovery was possible as long as I pushed hard enough.”

Mr. Baxter figured if he could get his body functioning again, his language facility might also return. The brain, he learned, was plastic and capable of renewal. So he devoted countless hours to physical therapy, worked out in the gym long and hard, and had his left arm tied behind his back, forcing himself to use the right. He found that as his physical abilities improved, so did his comprehension and communication skills.

When what he tried to say came out garbled, many people assumed he was either mentally slow or a foreigner with limited English. As one of his speech therapists said of people with aphasia, “It’s hard to understand that they have their intellectual faculties and know what they want to say, but they don’t have the ability to communicate it.”

Mr. Baxter researched and enrolled in several different aphasia programs throughout the country. For many hours a day, he did language practice, starting with books and flash cards for preschoolers and doing endless repetitions to relearn speech until eventually — after years of hard work — he was finally able to read books and have real conversations.

His original therapists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, admittedly amazed at the progress he made, asked what benefited him the most and solicited his help developing a new, intensive aphasia program. He was also invited to participate in Archeworks, a design program in Chicago for students working to solve urban problems.

“I faced the challenge of using my right hand, making new friends, and communicating effectively with a team,” he wrote. He was building things with his hands and tools and suddenly he realized he was problem-solving, a skill he had used often in finance.

Sports also aided his recovery. As he slowly regained use of his right side, he took lessons in golf and boxing, aided by watching others do things correctly.

“If I could see somebody do something, then I could follow it and mimic what they did,” he wrote. “I had to focus on visualization — picturing the task, the actions needed to perform that task, and the intended result.”

Art therapy was another helpful pursuit, which he said reduced his stress, countered depression and improved his self-esteem and emotional health. With art as a new source of fulfillment came an invitation to join a museum board that gave him additional conversational practice and “withered away my aphasia every day.”

Gradually, Mr. Baxter said he “started to realize that by doing more for others, I’d be happier with myself.”

Living now in Newport Beach, Calif., with his second wife, the 55-year-old stroke survivor devotes his life to inspiring other survivors and their caregivers. “I go to universities and hospitals to present my story — what I had experienced, how I rehabbed myself, how it changed my life for the better, and what it took to get my life back,” he wrote.

“Sometimes, I can’t believe how far I’ve come,” he said. He credited family members and friends who “never gave up on my recovery, nor did they ever treat me as if I were lost, and because of that, I never felt lost. None of it would have worked without a positive attitude.”

 

 

Source: Reversing the Damage of a Stroke

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Stress Changes The Brain, And This Could Be How It Happens

The results of a new brain imaging study may have just answered a big question about how stress changes the brain. Using a combination of genetic editing and brain scanning in mice, researchers found that stress triggers a chemical cascade that radically changes how brain networks communicate, and the results could sharpen our understanding of anxiety disorders in humans.

Breaking down the research

Stress serves an important purpose in preparing us to react to danger. Anything the brain perceives as threatening triggers multiple brain networks to synchronize and communicate, all in just a fraction of a second. With systems humming, we make immediate decisions to survive the threat.

But what facilitates all of those brain networks to connect and communicate? That’s been a difficult question to answer in the human brain, because doing so would require examining brain function during the split-second window of facing a threat.

Enter our friends the mice to help solve the problem. Researchers followed a trail of previous studies and zeroed in on the neurotransmitter noradrenaline (aka norepinephrine, a chemical that floods the brain during stress) as a likely facilitator of brain-network connectivity.

The twist was that they had genetically manipulated the rodents’ brains to allow for selectively controlling when noradrenaline was released (not possible in human brains). While controlling the chemical faucet, they also scanned the mouse brains using fMRI to see what would happen.

And what happened, it turns out, was pretty amazing. The release of noradrenaline “rewired” the mouse brains, allowing different brain networks to instantly cross-communicate. But the neurotransmitter wasn’t just facilitating communication, it was restructuring neural connections beyond anyone’s expectations.

“I couldn’t believe that we were seeing such strong effects,” said the study’s first author Valerio Zerbi, a brain imaging specialist from the University of Zurich.

The researchers found the strongest rewired effects in brain areas responsible for processing sensory stimuli (auditory and visual, for example), and in the amygdala, the epicenter of the brain’s threat response system.

What does this mean for us?

It’s the part about threat response that may hold the most promise for better understanding what stress does to our brains.

Allowing for the fact that this was research in mice, the particular dynamic studied here is probably quite similar between us and our rodent counterparts. If noradrenaline rewires the human brain as it appears to rewire the brains of mice, it’s possible the long-term effects of stress are more profound than we’ve realized.

Previous research has linked the flood of noradrenaline to changes in brain connectivity, but it seems likely we’ve underestimated the effects, especially in the small but powerful part of our brain sitting at the center of anxiety disorders: the amygdala.

At a minimum, this research opens new doors for better understanding how both acute and chronic stress effects the brain, and could enlighten new ways of deconstructing anxiety conditions, now the most prevalent mental health disorders worldwide. The study was published in the journal Neuron.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

David DiSalvo is the author of the best-selling book “What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite”, which has been published in 15 languages, and the books “Brain Changer: How Harnessing Your Brain’s Power to Adapt Can Change Your Life” and “The Brain in Your Kitchen”. His work has appeared in Scientific American Mind, Forbes, Time, Psychology Today, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Esquire, Mental Floss and other publications, and he’s the writer behind the widely read science and technology blogs “Neuropsyched” at Forbes and “Neuronarrative” at Psychology Today. He can be found on Twitter @neuronarrative and at his website, daviddisalvo.org. Contact him at: disalvowrites [at] gmail.com.

Source: Stress Changes The Brain, And This Could Be How It Happens

What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About Compassion – Carolyn Gregoire

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Mounting evidence of the impact of contemplative practices like meditation (which we now know can, quite literally, rewire the brain) are finally bringing modern science up to speed with ancient wisdom. Mindfulness and compassion — the practices of cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment, and extending a loving awareness to others — are part of every religion and wisdom tradition, and we’re at last beginning to understand the profound impact that they have on the brain, says psychiatrist and mindfulness expert Dr. Dan Siegel………..

Read more: http://sco.lt/9FLw5R

 

 

 

 

 

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What Stress, Change, And Isolation Do To Your Brain – Christine Comaford

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Change happens. Adversity happens. Conflict happens. Then your brain and body tries to cope with it. Your brain releases stress hormones, like cortisol, which then fire up excessive cell-signaling cytokines which alter your physiology. Suddenly your ability to regulate your behavior and emotions is compromised. Your ability to pay attention is compromised, your memory, learning, peace, happiness are all compromised. Why? Because all that change has caused your system to be overloaded with stress…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2018/10/20/what-stress-change-and-isolation-do-to-your-brain/#2f51c4481940

 

 

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

 

 

Holistic Brain Health & Mental Wellness 270+ Piece PLR Pack – 270 + Pieces of High Quality and Diverse Mental Health Content

According To The World Health Organization. There are almost 10 MILLION new dementia cases annually and 47 MILLION people have dementia globally. According To The Cleveland Clinic 5 Million Americans Are Living With Alzheimer’s and 135 Million Are Expected To Be Diagnosed by 2050

Of course, everyone wants to improve their mental performance,focus, and concentration and reach an ultimate level of mental wellness. You now have the opportunity to deliver information that millions of people are seeking with the highest quality content in various media that you can be proud to share with your audience.

All the research and hard work has been done for you to reach this massive audience including a ton of DIVERSE CONTENT and many EDITABLE SOURCE FILES SO YOU CAN USE IT IN UNLIMITED WAY……

Read more: https://internetslayers.com/specials/holistic-brain-and-mental-health-plr/

Here’s Why Exercise Improves Brain Function – InformED | Learning & Mind & Brain

Source: Here’s Why Exercise Improves Brain Function – InformED | Learning & Mind & Brain

4 Ways To Trick Your Brain Into Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions | The Learning Factor

Be honest: How is your progress so far on those New Year’s resolutions you lined up just a few weeks ago? As January wears on and the cold, dreary weather continues for many of us, sticking with your resolutions can quickly start to seem more challenging than you’d expected–and sometimes completely impossible. If you’ve made and broken countless resolutions in the past and are already struggling this year, don’t give up hope just yet. It simply might be time to take a different approach to your resolutions. Understanding a little bit more about how the brain reacts to rewards and motivations could make the difference between forming a new habit for life and giving into temptation or laziness after a few weeks.

Source: 4 Ways To Trick Your Brain Into Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions | The Learning Factor

Eating Healthy – Here’s How To Shortcut Your Way Into The Lucrative Wellness Market With This Ready-To-Go, High Quality Product Without Breaking The Bank

Eating Healthy: Quality Life Through Quality Bites” is a 10-Modules Health and Wellness massive PLR! It covers everything from very basics of healthy food choices, habit hacks, secret recipes for health and longevity, and so much more… This guide is created with 100% passion and uniqueness that is both Comprehensive and Effective! This guide is packed with valuable information to drastically improve your quality of life through simple eating healthy hacks – while showing you the list of healthier food choices. Information shared in this powerful guide WORKS as long as there is massive execution and consistency…..

Read more: https://abundanceprint.com/eatinghealthy/

Brain discovery could lead to therapy for depression and PTSD — Fighting for a Future

Article by Sarah Wiedersehn of Brisbane Times Australian scientists have made an “exciting” discovery about the human brain that they say could lead to new treatments for numerous mental health conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. A study conducted by researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, found […]

via Brain discovery could lead to therapy for depression and PTSD — Fighting for a Future

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