6 Neurological Conditions

6 Neurological Conditions and Symptoms You Should Look Out For

people , health and stress concept – unhappy woman suffering from head ache at home

The nervous system is a complex, highly specialized network. From sight to smell and walking to speaking, our nervous system organizes, explains and connects us to the world around us.

When something goes wrong with a part of the nervous system, however, it can cause a neurological disorder. Neurological disorders affect millions of people each year, yet many people may be unaware they have one.

Understanding symptoms of neurological disorders is important, as it can lead you to an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Here are six common neurological disorders and ways to identify each one.

1. Headaches

Headaches are one of the most common neurological disorders and can affect anyone at any age. While many times a headache shouldn’t be anything too serious to worry about, if your headache comes on suddenly and repeatedly, you should see a doctor, as these could be symptoms of an underlying condition.

“The sudden onset of severe headache as well as headache associated with a fever, light sensitivity and stiff neck are all red flags of something more serious such as intracranial bleeding or meningitis,” Dr. Chrisman said. “If your headaches are happening often and you find yourself taking over-the-counter pain medication frequently, this is also an indication you need medical attention.”

Although headache disorders like tension-type headaches and migraines aren’t life-threatening, dealing with chronic pain can be debilitating. There are many treatment options available today for headache disorders that can help you get back to a more normal life.

2. Epilepsy and Seizures

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder involving abnormal electrical activity in the brain that makes you more susceptible to having recurrent, unprovoked seizures. “Unprovoked means the seizure cannot be explained by exposure to or withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, as well as not due to other medical issues such as severe electrolyte abnormalities or very high blood sugar,” Dr. Chrisman said.

The tricky part is that if you have one seizure in your life, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have epilepsy. But, if you have two or more, it may be epilepsy. Seizure symptoms can vary depending on where in the brain the seizure is coming from. After experiencing a seizure, it’s important to see your doctor. There are many effective treatments to manage epilepsy that can result in seizure-freedom, usually medication. “In the appropriate patient, treatment may include epilepsy surgery, which involves removing the seizure focus in the brain, and that can be curative,” Dr. Chrisman said.

3. Stroke

Strokes, which affect nearly 800,000 Americans each year, “are one of the most crucial neurological disorders to be aware of due to the severity of potential symptoms and resulting disability that can occur,” Dr. Chrisman cautioned.

A stroke is usually due to a lack of blood flow to the brain, oftentimes caused by a clot or blockage in an artery. Many interventions can be done to stop a stroke these days, but time is brain (not money) in this case. The B.E. F.A.S.T. mnemonic is helpful to remember to recognize the signs of a stroke: B: Balance difficulties; E: Eyesight changes; F: Face weakness; A: Arm weakness; S: Speech; and T: Time. These signs and symptoms don’t always mean someone is having a stroke, but it’s very important to call 911 and get help right away, just to be sure.

Identify your risk factors for stroke and ways to improve them by visiting our Stroke Risk Profiler.

4. ALS: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a somewhat rare neuromuscular condition that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Doctors are unsure what exactly causes ALS, but factors that may cause ALS include genetics and environmental factors.

Symptoms include muscle weakness and twitching, tight and stiff muscles, slurred speech, and difficulty breathing and swallowing. Unfortunately, this condition is difficult to diagnose and often requires the evaluation of a neuromuscular neurologist.

“There is usually a delay in diagnosis for this condition of about one year, on average, by the time the patient gets to the neuromuscular specialist and receives the correct diagnosis,” Dr. Chrisman said. “Although there is no cure, there are treatments, and it’s important to start these as early as possible.”

Read: 10 Foods for Brain

5. Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Memory loss is a common complaint, especially in older adults. A certain degree of memory loss is a normal part of aging. For example, walking into a room and forgetting why may be totally normal.

However, there are signs that may indicate something more serious, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. These symptoms may include getting lost, having difficulty managing finances, difficulties with activities of daily living, leaving the stove on, forgetting the names of close family and friends or problems with language. Behavioral changes along with these memory changes could also raise concerns.

Dementia is a slowly progressive condition and should be evaluated by a neurologist. While there is no cure, there are medications and therapies that can help manage symptoms.

6. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that primarily affects coordination. Generally, it becomes more common as you age, impacting nearly one million Americans. Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but many treatment options are available.

Why do we Yawn

Why do we yawn and why is yawning contagious?

Just imagine: you’re driving down the highway at 2pm in the heat of the day, and you’re really looking forward to getting to your destination soon. You try to stay awake but drowsiness strikes.

As a result you yawn and then sit up straighter in the driver’s seat, perhaps you’re a little restless and act out in hopes of increasing your arousal.

Is this what people yawn for? Yawning is generally triggered by several things, including fatigue, fever, stress, medications and social and psychological reasons. From one person to another the causes are different.

The question of why we yawn raises a surprising amount of controversy over such a trivial matter. We have no evidence to point us to the exact reason why people yawn.

But there are several theories that explain why people yawn. These include increasing alertness, cooling the brain, and evolutionary theory explains that yawning is to remind others in your group that you are too tired to stay alert, and that someone else should take over.

1. Help us wake up

Yawning comes with increasing drowsiness. This is the hypothesis behind why people yawn. Yawning is also associated with increased activity and stretching movements. Increased body movement may help us stay alert when the pressure of drowsiness increases.

 

Also, certain muscles in the ear ( tensor tympani muscle ) are activated during yawning. This triggers a reset of the range of motion and sensitivity of the eardrum and hearing, which increases our ability to monitor the world around us after we may have lost consciousness before yawning.

Yawning is usually accompanied by stretching movements. from shutterstock.com

In addition, opening the eyeball and flushing the lens of the eye may result in increased visual alertness.

Read: Protect Your Mental Health from Social Media

2. Cools the brain

Another theory as to why we yawn is the thermoregulatory hypothesis which suggests that yawning cools the brain. Yawning draws cold air into the mouth, which then cools the blood to the brain.

Proponents of this theory claim the increase in brain temperature occurs before yawning, with the decrease in temperature occurring after yawning.

But the research that gave rise to this theory only shows that excessive yawning occurs when brain and body temperatures are increasing. The research doesn’t say that yawning has a cooling purpose.

People yawned more frequently when experiments created artificial fevers, which showed a correlation between warm body temperature and yawning. But there’s no evidence to suggest that yawning cools the body—only that a warm body temperature triggers yawning.

3. Guard duty

Yawn-like behavior has been observed in almost all vertebrates. These observations suggest that the yawning reflex is ancient. The behavioral hypothesis based on the theory of evolution refers to humans as social animals. When we are vulnerable to attacks from other species, the function of groups is to protect each other.

Watchkeeping is part of the deal within the group, and yawning and stretching are evidence when an individual’s alertness level is dropping. It is important to change activities to prevent negligence and indicate when to change people just in case.

Neuroscience explanation

The yawning reflex involves many structures in the brain.

A study that looked at the brains of people prone to yawning found activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain is associated with decision-making activities. Damage to this area is also associated with a loss of empathy.

 

If a certain area around the hypothalamus , which is made up of neurons with oxytocin, is stimulated, in rodents this causes them to yawn. Oxytocin is a hormone associated with social bonding and mental health.

Injecting oxytocin into different regions of the brainstem also causes yawning. These include the hippocampus (associated with learning and memory), the ventral tegmental area (associated with the release of dopamine, the happy hormone) and the amygdala (associated with stress and emotions). Blocking the oxytocin receptors here prevents that effect.

Patients with Parkinson’s disease don’t yawn as often as others, which may be related to their low dopamine levels. Dopamine substitutes have been reported to increase yawning frequency .

Your dog may yawn on a long car trip because your dog is stressed. from shutterstock.com

The same is true of cortisol, a hormone that increases stress. Cortisol is known to trigger people to yawn , while removal of the adrenal glands (which produce the hormone cortisol) prevents people from yawning . This suggests that stress levels may play a role in triggering why people yawn, which could be why your dog may yawn so much on long car trips.

So, it seems that yawning is somehow linked to empathy, stress, and the release of dopamine.

Why is yawning contagious?

Chances are you’ve yawned at least once while reading this article. Yawning is a contagious behavior and seeing someone yawn often causes us to yawn too.

But the only theory offered here suggests that a person’s vulnerability to yawning is correlated with a person’s level of empathy.

It’s interesting to note that people on the autism spectrum are less likely to catch yawns than people with high psychopathic tendencies . And dogs, which are considered to be highly empathetic animals, can get infected when humans yawn .

 

Overall, neuroscientists have developed ideas that explain the various triggers why people yawn, and we have a very detailed picture of the mechanisms underlying yawning behavior. But the purpose of why people yawn remains elusive.

Back in our road trips, yawning may be a physiological cue when levels of self-awareness compete with intense drowsiness. But the important message here is that sleep may be a good choice and encourage drivers to stop and rest, and that should not be ignored.

Protect your Mental Health from Social Media

Six ways to protect your mental health from the dangers of social media

A  psychologist who studies the dangers of online interactions and observes the effects of (wrong) social media use on the lives of my clients , here are six suggestions for reducing the harm social media can do to mental health.

1. Limit the time and place you use social media

Using social media can affect direct communication with others . By turning off social media notifications or turning on airplane mode at a certain time each day, you can better relate to others. For example, not checking social media when eating with family and friends, when playing with children, to talking to a partner. Avoid social media so as not to interrupt work or distract from conversations with colleagues. Special advice, don’t keep your phone or computer in the bedroom, because it will disturb your sleep .

2. Schedule a ‘detox’ period

Several studies have shown that a social media ‘detox’ or a five-day to a week ‘pause’ from Facebook can reduce stress levels and increase life satisfaction . So start scheduling a daily break from social media for a few days.

Reduction doesn’t have to be so extreme that it makes you uncomfortable not being able to access social media, for example using Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat for 10 minutes a day for three weeks can lead to less loneliness and depression . It may be difficult at first, but you can ask family and friends for support by saying you’re “detoxifying” on social media. Another thing that can be done is to delete your favorite social media apps.

3. Watch what you do and how you feel

Try using your favorite online platforms at different times and durations of the day to see how you feel then and after. You may find that using social media for a short amount of time will help you feel better than spending 45 minutes going through a site’s entire feed in depth.

If you feel like you’re wasting your energy on Facebook every midnight that leads to bad feelings about yourself, don’t go to the page after 10 p.m.

It should be noted that people who passively use social media, just looking at other people’s posts, feel worse than people who actively use social media , posting about themselves and interacting with others online. It’s better to focus on online interactions with people you know offline.

Read: Why Do We Yawn

4. Use social media mindfully: why am I doing this?

If opening Twitter has become the first thing you do in the morning, is it because you want to know the latest news or just a habit as an escape to face a new day? Do you prefer viewing posts on Instagram instead of doing a difficult task at work? Answer this question honestly with yourself. When reaching for the phone (or computer) to check social media, answer this question: why am I doing this now? Decide if this is indeed what you should do.

5. Crop

Over time, many people or organizations you follow on social media. Some of the content is interesting to look at, but there’s a lot that will be boring, annoying, annoying or it could be worse. It’s time to stop following (unfollow) , mute (mute) , or hide your contacts (hide) . They won’t notice if you ‘cut’ social media. As a result, your life will be better.

This is revealed in a recent study of how information about the lives of Facebook friends can affect people more negatively than any other content on Facebook. Meanwhile, content filled with inspirational stories actually creates feelings of gratitude, vitality, and admiration . Cutting out a few “friends” and adding a few motivating or funny sites tends to lessen the negative effects of social media.

6. Social media is not a substitute for real life

It’s good to use Facebook to find out how your cousin has just given birth, but don’t put off a visit after months. Tweeting with colleagues can be interesting and fun, as long as the interaction doesn’t replace direct communication with them.

When used with mindfulness and consideration, social media is a useful addition to your social life. However, only the person sitting across from you can satisfy the basic human need for a sense of connectedness and self-existence.

10 Foods for Healthy Brain

You are what you eat. While you may not literally transform into the things you eat, your nutritional choices certainly play an important role in your overall health. Not only that, but there are certain foods that can even help to maintain or improve the health of your brain. Eating the right foods to keep your brain healthy can dramatically decrease your risk of developing neurological problems later in life. Here are some of the best foods for your brain:

Blueberries

Blueberries contain a compound that has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. This means that blueberries can reduce inflammation, which reduces the risk of brain aging and neurodegenerative disease. Furthermore, antioxidants have also been found to aid in communication between brain cells.

hard boiled eggs against a grey wooden background

Eggs

Eggs are rich in B vitamins and a nutrient called choline. B vitamins help to slow cognitive decline and deficiencies in B vitamins have been associated with depression and dementia. The body uses choline to create the neurotransmitters responsible for mood and memory.

Fatty Fish

Fish such as trout, salmon, and sardines contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Not only is 60% of your brain composed of fat containing omega 3s, but it is also essential in the production of brain and nerve cells. Deficiencies in omega 3s can cause learning problems and depression.

Fruits

Certain fruits such as oranges, bell peppers, guava, kiwi, tomatoes, and strawberries, contain high amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps prevent brain cells from becoming damaged and supports overall brain health. In fact, a study found that vitamin C can potentially prevent Alzheimer’s.

A variety of leafy greens such as brocolli, brussel sprouts, kale, parsley, lettuce, and spinach

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as broccoli, collards, spinach, and kale contain various nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Vitamin K helps with the formation of fat inside brain cells and has been seen to improve memory.

Nuts

Nuts contain healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E, which have been found to be beneficial for both the brain and heart. Walnuts, in particular, also contain omega-3 fatty acids to further improve brain function essayswriting.org/. In fact, nuts have been linked to improved cognition, sharper memory, and slower mental decline.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants, as well as zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron. The brain uses zinc for nerve signaling, magnesium for learning and memory, copper for controlling nerve signals, and iron to prevent brain fog.

Tea and Coffee

Both tea and coffee contain caffeine, which boosts brain function and improves alertness, as well as antioxidants. Green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine which can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase neurotransmitter activity.

Turmeric powder

Turmeric

Turmeric is a dark-yellow spice that is commonly found in curry powder. Not only is it a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance, but it can pass through the blood-brain barrier to enter the brain directly. Tumeric has been associated with improved memory, less depression, and the growth of new brain cells.

Whole Grains

Whole grains such as bread, pasta, barley, brown rice, oatmeal, and bulgur wheat contain vitamin E, which is used to protect and preserve healthy cells. In protecting these cells, vitamin E preserves brain function and prevents neurodegeneration.

Read: 6 Neurogical Conditions