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Can Your Brain Heal Itself

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What You Need To Know About Brain Oxygen Deprivation

Can the brain heal itself?

Not all brain injuries involve a blow to the head or lesion. Indeed, your brain can be injured even when nothing comes into contact with your head. Anoxic brain injuries occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen. The aftermath of a lack of oxygen to the brain is largely dependent on the extent of the oxygen deprivation, also known as hypoxia. Some people recover with little to no consequences, while others need years of rehabilitative therapy.

Manage Dietary Ldl Cholesterol

While we need some cholesterol in order to be healthy, too much LDL cholesterol can cause inflammation in the arteries.

Get your cholesterol levels checked, and if your LDL cholesterol levels are high, take action to reduce it by reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet. This means less butter, red meat, and palm oil.

You can also improve cholesterol by exercising regularly and getting adequate fiber in your diet. And if all else fails, talk to your doctor about statins, a cholesterol-lowering medication.

How Does The Brain Repair Itself After A Stroke

    It is an amazing process. We start out as a few cells that develop into a complex human being with highly differentiated organs and biochemical processes. Look at the brain with its billions of nerve cells and billions of connections. How does it happen? Our genes control how these connections take place. For example, a gene tells cells in the retina of the eye to connect with the occipital cortex all the way in the back of the brain. This allows the information received by the inside of the eye to be seen by the brain. It takes a different connection to other parts of the brain to interpret and recognize what has been seen.

    Synaptic pruningOur experiences and what we do in our lives determines how our nervous system develops. Some connections are needed while others can be deleted. For years the term Use it or lose it referred to physical abilities and muscle mass, but we now know that it also applies to the brain and cognition. We encourage people as they age to stay socially and cognitively engaged- crossword puzzles, reading, and group activities. As we learn, we create new connections that shape our brain. The brain is plastic and makes new connections by repeating activities, practice and new learning. These same concepts apply to stroke rehabilitation.

    Recovery processThere are multiple processes that are going on in the nervous system at the time of an injury and during recovery.

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    What Do Brain Scans Of Addicted People Show

    Though addiction can display itself in many different ways, from physical changes to behavioral responses, brain imaging and scans can also find signs of addiction in the brain itself.

    Researchers who study how addiction changes the brain have found clear markers of addiction within brain chemistry and structure. Using technology like magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography scans, medical professionals can see inside the inner workings of the brain, both with an addictive state and without.

    These scans show us that several different regions and pathways within the brain are affected by addiction. From an increase in neurotransmitters like dopamine to reduced or increased activity in particular brain regions, addiction has a direct impact on the brains structure, functioning, and health.

    • A 2009 study published in the journal Neuropharmacology used PET scans to show the flow of dopamine to different regions of the brain in individuals who misused drugs. When researchers followed the dopamine through the brain, they found that dopamine levels were lower in parts of the brain that controlled repetitive or risk-taking behavior and decision making. Dopamine also affected areas of the brain that associated drug-taking with pleasure and stimulation, making it more likely the individual would take drugs again.

    Neuroplasticity: How The Brain Can Heal Itself

    How your brain can heal itself

    Lynne Malcolm

    Parkinson’s disease patients take part in a special yoga class.

    Parkinson’s disease patients take part in a special yoga class.

    Mariano Cuajao Flickr.com/CC/by-nc-nd/2.0

    Dr Norman Doidge has travelled the world meeting people who have healed themselves using neuroplasticitythe brains ability to change in response to stimuli and experience. He told Lynne Malcolm how the concept may change the way we treat everything from ADD to Parkinsons.

    Scientists now know that the brain has an amazing ability to change and heal itself in response to mental experience. This phenomenon, known as neuroplasticity, is considered to be one of the most important developments in modern science for our understanding of the brain.

    The brain is not fixed and unchangeable, as was once thought, but can create new neural pathways to adapt to its needs. This has led to an explosion of interest in the power of brain training to improve our focus, memory attention and performance.

    Dr Norman Doidge, A psychiatrist and researcher from the University of Toronto in Canada, put neuroplasticity in the spotlight in 2007 when he released his bestseller The Brain That Changes Itself.

    The thing that is so beautiful about this is it’s something that anyone has access to.

    Since then hes explored the powerful therapeutic potential of neuroplasticity and demonstrated that the brain has its own unique way of healing .

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    Helping The Brain Recover From Addiction

    Research on the brains recovery is limited and still relatively new. Less than a century ago, scientists thought the mature brain stopped developing new cells we now know the brain continues to create new cells and neural pathways. However, addiction recovery takes time, discipline, support, and patience. Before the brain can begin healing, the body must be clean of any residual substance. Detox can take several days to several weeks, depending on the substance and how long an individual has struggled with addiction.

    The brain will start recovering the volume of lost grey matter within one week of the last drink with alcohol. Other areas of the brain and the white matter in the pre-frontal cortex take several months or longer to recover.

    Rebuilding the neural pathways to reinforce healthier choices and habits depends on each individuals circumstances. Opioids and cocaine are highly addictive, which makes them more challenging to re-configure deeply ingrained neural circuits. Additionally, the longer a substance is abused, the more solidified the neural pathway for that behavior becomes.

    Most drugs change dopamine levels. Many variables determine whether or not the brains capacity to release and re-uptake dopamine will ever fully recover. In addition to the specific substance and length of use, dopamine recovery depends on a persons age, genetics, mental health, and how many drugs were used simultaneously.

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    Healing The Brain After Trauma

    The good news is that the changes in the brain can be reversed. The amygdala can learn to relax again the hippocampus can resume proper memory consolidation, and the nervous system can heal to flow between the reactive and restorative modes again.

    Medications, hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, neurofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing , and other brain-related modalities even virtual reality, ketamine, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine have proven helpful in treating PTSD. The bottom line is that the mind has to reframe and release the trauma so that the brain can reset itself.

    Recovery is a gradual process accomplished over time with successful methods of treatment being as varied as individual trauma survivors. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but evidence suggests that when people commit to a process of exploring and testing treatment options they can, reduce the effects of trauma and even eliminate symptoms of PTSD. Studies show therapies to be most effective when applied during the disorders critical first few months.

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    Making A Full Recovery

    Whether or not you can make a full recovery will depend on how badly you were injured and how you approach the rehabilitation program that is designed by your doctor. Some people make complete recoveries from serious brain injuries, while the effects of even a mild concussion can last for a long time if not properly cared for.

    One example of this is focal brain injuries which affect a specific part of the brain. In this example, well use the audio-visual centers of the brain. The recovery process and timeline for a patient with this type of injury will be very different from the recovery process and timeline of someone who suffers from acute memory loss or a loss of motor functions.

    Pushing Through Tbi Recovery Plateaus

    Can the Brain Heal Itself From Trauma? Professor Russell Meares 5 of 9

    During the first six months after a brain injury, the brain enters a heightened state of plasticity. This means that the brain will spontaneously repair itself, and therapy will have a visible impact. Therefore, you might make rapid progress in your recovery.

    However, after about six months, plasticity will decrease.As a result, you might feel like your recovery has stalled.

    Therapists call these stalls plateaus, and they are a normal part of TBI recovery. But just because your progress has slowed down, that does not mean that it has ceased entirely.

    Your brain can still make repairs during this time, and you can still activate neuroplasticity, even during a plateau. The key is to persevere with your therapy exercises. With enough time and practice, you should begin to make progress again.

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    What Trauma Looks Like In The Brain

    When you experience trauma, your brains fear center, the amygdala, sounds the alarm, and your body instinctively responds almost immediately with a sequence of hormonal and physiological changes. Your brain isnt busy preparing you to think about whats going on. Its getting you ready to run or do battle and ceases all non-essential body and mind processes. Your sympathetic nervous system floods the body with stress hormones and according to fMRI studies, parts of the brain shut down.

    Ideally, when the immediate threat subsides, the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and calms and restores the body. This process would reduce stress hormones and allow the brain to resume the top-down structure of control. However, some trauma survivors brains never fully shift from reactive back to responsive mode. Instead, their brains stay on alert, primed for threat with dysregulated activity.

    Neuroanatomical studies have identified changes in brain structures of those with PTSD which can lead to depression, substance abuse, personality and other mental disorders, and health problems.

    Stroke Recovery Helping The Brain Heal Itself

    There is hope for stroke recovery with elderly and previously ill individuals. This recovery involves proactive and comprehensive post-stroke care and early rehabilitation efforts.

    Rehabilitation helps stroke survivors relearn skills that have been lost or compromised. It teaches survivors new ways of performing tasks based on their disabilities, such as learning to bathe or dress using only one hand. Experts believe that repetition is important. While learning any new skill requires patience and practice, a repetitive rehabilitation program helps the brain heal.

    Physical, recreational, and occupational therapy and other rehab programs are essentialsimilarly, awareness, sensitivity, and patience in helping a stroke victim recover.

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    What Influences Brain Recovery After A Traumatic Brain Injury

    Levels of recovery following brain injury are heavily influenced by the individual and how their body reacts. Even mild concussion can lead to lifelong effects, while people suffering moderate to severe brain injuries can make close to a full recovery. Predictions are so difficult because of the many variable factors which differ between individuals, such as:

    • The severity of the injury
    • The part of the brain that is damaged
    • The individuals attitude to rehabilitation
    • The quality of the rehabilitation
    • How the individual lives after the rehab programme has ended
    • The quality of the support network of friends and family

    Generally, the fastest recovery occurs over the first six months following the injury. Recovery will then taper off, and while some people may see no progress after one year, others can report gradual improvement for many years afterwards.

    It is possible for the brain to heal itself, with new brain cells growing to replace damaged ones, but much of the recovery we experience is actually due to the brain re-wiring itself and finding new pathways to bypass recently-broken connections. In other words, remaining brain tissue can assume the functions of damaged areas, so we have to re-learn how to do certain things, such as walk, talk or drive. This is because the parts of the brain that told the nervous system how to do these things have been damaged, and other parts are having to take over.

    Best Brain Supplements For Stroke Recovery

    Could your brain repair itself?

    While there isnt much evidence that shows supplements prevent strokes, they can enhance recovery, brain repair, and reduce risk. Here are some suggested vitamins to incorporate:

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    Secrets To Helping Your Brain Repair Itself

    True or false? By the time you reach 18 or 20 your brain is fully grown and fixed for life. Its all downhill after that.

    For 400 years this was what experts believed. But its a view that wasnt just wrong, it was spectacularly wrong, according to Dr. Norman Doidge, psychiatrist and author of The Brain That Changes Itself.

    Heres the real scoop and it can change your life if you take advantage of the new discoveries. . .

    Because doctors believed the brain cant repair itself or grow new parts, treatment for many brain conditions was considered unjustified or not even possible.

    Since early in the new millennium this perspective has completely changed. The new science of neuroplasticity demonstrates that the brain can, with the right stimuli, adapt, repair itself and restore lost function.

    Energy + Thought = Brain Healing

    The fact that the stuff between your ears can grow and change means that many learning and health deficits associated with the brain are no longer considered irreversible. They can be improved and sometimes cured.

    The ideal interventions to heal the brain dont involve surgery or drugs. They are natural and non-invasive, mainly different forms of energy such as sound, vibration, light, electricity and motion.

    You can use these avenues into your brain to awaken its healing capabilities by modifying patterns of electrical signals. These in turn promote structural changes.

    Eastern Medicine Has Long Known What The West is Now Discovering

    Scientific Advancements In Stroke Recovery

    Since 1950, stroke survival rates have increased by 70%. This survival rate increase is due to:

    • An improved ability to prevent high blood pressure
    • Advancements in the use of imaging to diagnose a stroke
    • A drug called tPA that dissolves clots within the first few hours of a stroke

    A study at the University of Southern California suggests that a new medication can help reduce post-stroke inflammation of the brain. This promising medication includes a dose of a gene called TRIM9. It can reduce inflammation and swelling in the brain, improving the rate of recovery. While new research and treatments are encouraging, we can do much to help stroke patients recover and heal their brains.

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    New Insights Into Brains Repair System Point To Improved Stroke Therapies

    Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, discusses brain-computer interfaces and stroke recovery. New research is revealing how the stroke-damaged brain can respond to treatment, even after the crucial first six months when most recovery typically occurs, a leading stroke expert said at a briefing arranged by AAAS with support from the Dana Foundation.

    Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said research on the brains plasticity as well as some striking developments in robotics and brain-machine interfaces are giving new hope for stroke patients.

    He called the science of stroke recovery the brightest and most exciting area in stroke research. But in remarks at the 22 May Capitol Hill briefing hosted by AAAS in conjunction with Rep. Chaka Fattah Koroshetz offered some sobering statistics on the prevalence, impact and cost of stroke.

    Making Decisions About Medical Care

    Could your brain repair itself? – Ralitsa Petrova

    As early as 24 hours after your loved ones injury, the health care team may begin talking about the choices you must face about the next phase of care for your loved one. These choices may involve different options for rehabilitation, transitional care, a skilled nursing facility, or possibly home care.

    While these decisions may feel rushed to you, experts know that early treatment can maximize recovery and minimize long-term problems.

    Brain injury rehabilitation can begin before or after your loved one fully emerges from a coma. Your health care team can help you make these decisions. Some guidelines for making your decision are on page Where Will the Journey Go From Here?.

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    How Then Does The Brain Repair Itself

    Learning about the limitations of neurons compared to skin cells, you may be disappointed that an organ as important as the brain seems to be unprepared for damaging events. The truth is, the central nervous system has an ingenious strategy to repair itself that is entirely different from the strategy used by other organs. The brain will never be the same as before the damage, but it will try to compensate for its losses. Neurons in the brain are able to change their connections with each other. This process is called plasticity, and it helps the brain to adapt to the loss of neurons. Forget for a moment about dying cells, the responsibility for plasticity lies entirely with the surviving cells. How does this work?

    • Figure 3
    • In response to an injury, a brain cell can adapt by growing new arms and also by increasing or decreasing the strength of existing connections .

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