Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Autism and Genes

In the research sample, this study found some commonality between Autism and Schizophrenic in terms of genetic underpinnings. According to the abstract, autism and schizophrenia represent diametric conditions with regard to their genomic underpinnings, neurodevelopmental bases, and phenotypic manifestations. This showed up in some dysregulated genetic under-development in Schizophrenia versus dysregulated over-development in Autism. There were also some findings in the signaling systems linked to schizophrenia that showed some overlap with those for autism and for ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Autism and Shared Common Genetic Risk Factors

In reportedly the largest study of its kind to date (2006), researchers concluded that some neuropsychiatric diseases appear to share some common genetic risk factors: Autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Autism and Its Underpinnings

The incidence of Autism (or its identification) seems to be increasing. People want to KNOW what are the underpinnings or contributors and can it be prevented. Every year more studies reports are adding to the body of knowledge. Two main theories are being investigated:  Anatomical and psychological. (Poor upbringing per se has pretty well been discounted.) Genetic dysfunction and possibly mirror neurons may be the most promising path.

Rather than try to restate the abstracts, I will share some study URLs or reports that seem to be whittling away at this bit by bit. You can try to access them directly if you are interested. Currently they are all functioning. However, sometimes the addresses are changed or removed, as you know.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Blue Light Waves and Prudence

Blue light waves from the sun are here to stay—at least for the foreseeable future. Blue light waves from electronics are here to stay, too, and more types of electronics are being invented. It is possible to enjoy the benefits of sunlight—and you couldn’t live without it—and also benefit from electronics and still minimize the hazards. Consider:
  1. When out in bright sun wear dark glasses (along with a hat when at the beach or out in the middle of the day) to help reduce the blue waves that reach the retina
  1. When using electronics:

 ·       Look “up and away” into the distance every few minutes
·       Consciously blink more frequently
·       Stay well hydrated to help keep eyeballs moisturized
·       Use blue-light-blocking glasses or screens to reduce the blue waves that reach the retina
·       Get up and move around for a couple of minutes every 30 minutes of screen time
·       Create and live a balanced lifestyle that includes disconnecting from electronics for some period of time every day

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Blue Light Waves and Protection

Researchers say that while filters in human eye such as the cornea and the lens do a decent job of blocking ultraviolet rays from reaching the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye, those filters do not block natural or artificial blue light from reaching the retina. That is the reason it is important to wear sunglasses when out in the bright sun. Some are also choosing to wear special blue-light blocking glasses or screen protectors when using electronic devices. Studies have shown that exposing your eyes to a digital device for two consecutive hours can cause eyestrain and fatigue—to say nothing of exposure to artificial blue light waves. Estimates are that 60 percent of people who use electronic devices spent an average of six hours a day viewing a screen. That’s a great deal of unprotected exposure to artificial blue light waves—and no one knows what that is doing to the developing brain and eyes.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Blue Light Waves at Night

Some believe that the photoreceptor cells in the retina display the highest rate of oxidation of all cells in the body. Apparently, unprotected exposure is bad enough during daylight hours—worse at night. Researchers have linked exposure to artificial blue wave light at night (e.g., working the night shift) to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, some types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and an increased risk for depression. This may be because blue light waves can suppress the production of melatonin. Lowered levels of melatonin are linked with inadequate amounts of sleep; inadequate amounts of sleep are linked with the development of chronic illnesses; chronic illnesses are linked with a potentially shortened lifespan. It’s a vicious circle.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Artificial Electronic Blue Light Waves

Because they are shorter, Artificial Electronic Blue Light Waves or High Energy Visible (HEV) wavelengths flicker more easily than longer, weaker wavelengths. This type of flickering creates a glare that can reduce visual contrast and affect sharpness and clarity. This flickering and glaring may be one of the reasons for eyestrain, headaches, along with physical and mental fatigue caused by many hours sitting in front of a computer screen or other electronic device. Natural filters in the human eye do not provide sufficient protection against blue wave light rays from the sun, let alone the blue light emanating from these devices and from fluorescent-light tubes. Prolonged exposure to blue light may cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of vision over time.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Blue-Violet Wave Light

The sun gives off a natural form of blue light waves that appears blue-turquoise in the visible light spectrum. This has slightly lower energy and a corresponding lower potential to cause damage. Filters in the human eye are better able to filter out this natural source of blue light, although wearing dark glasses when out in bright sunlight is recommended for prevention. So what is the problem? Technology! The closer blue light waves fall toward the Blue-Indigo end of the visible spectrum, the more risk they pose to your eye health. These are the type of blue light waves that emit from the LED screens of computers and smartphones and tablets and so on. These highest energy blue light waves can cause the most damage to your macula. With the huge increase in LED screen time in recent decades, human eyes are being asked to handle vast amounts of artificial blue light waves, putting a serious strain on vision.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Retina and its Macula

Perhaps the subtlest, but most serious risk of blue light is long-term damage to your macula. The macula is the central area of the retina and is of particular interest to retina specialists. The macula is an oval-shaped pigmented area near the center of the retina. Remember, that the retina is the light sensitive tissue which lines the inside of the eye. The macula is the functional center of the retina. Over time, exposure to the sun’s blue light can lead to thinning of your macula, which can accelerate your eyes’ aging process, leading to age-related macular degeneration. This disease often appears as blurred spots in your vision and, in some people, can advance to loss of vision. Here’s the main problem: not all blue light waves are created equal.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Retina and the CNS

When sunlight enters the eye, it strikes the light-sensitive retina. Remember, the retina is part of the central nervous system (CNS) and is connected to the brain via the optic nerve. The retina contains different types of cells. The photoreceptor cells are sensitive to light. I’m sure you’ve heard of rods and cones. These cells are specialized neurons in the human eye. Rods are more sensitive to light and help you see under low-light conditions. They do not process color vision, however. Cones are capable of color vision and are responsible for high spatial acuity. They need more light to produce a correct signal, however, so may find it difficult to process color on a dark night outdoors. The photosensitive retinal ganglion cells discovered only in the past decade or so, communicate not only with the master circadian pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei or SCN of the hypothalamus, but also with many other brain areas that are known to be involved in the regulation of several functions including health.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Blue Light Waves and the Brain

No doubt you noticed the band of blue light on the drawing of the electromagnetic spectrum. Blue light has one of the shortest and highest-energy wavelengths. Blue light waves are everywhere. Did you ever wonder the reason the sky looks blue? When the sun’s rays travel through the atmosphere, the high-energy blue waves crash into the air molecules, scattering blue light everywhere. Blue light waves from the sun helps you feel alert, be in a pleasant mood, strengthen your immune system, and regulate your circadian rhythm. When you are out of doors, you can be exposed to blue light wherever the sun’s rays can reach you. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Electromagnetic Spectrum and the Eye

The human eye is sensitive to only one part of the electromagnetic spectrum: visible light. Light is made up of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves. Every wavelength is represented by a different color. The human eye is able to “see” colors in the visible light portion of the spectrum. (An exception is an eye that has some type of color-blindness.) You might want to search for pictures of the electromagnetic spectrum on the Internet—some clearly show the position of the colors that are also often seen in a rainbow. Imagine cutting a horizontal slice from a rainbow and placing it in a straight line. From left to right the human eye can see violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. The colors blur into each other without clear demarcations between each distinct color.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Electromagnetic Spectrum, 2

Together, these eight types of identified electromagnetic waves comprise the electromagnetic spectrum (and there could be some that research has not yet described). These waves have differing pluses and minuses for human beings. Gamma rays, X-rays, and high ultraviolet wavelengths are classified as ionizing radiation because their photons have enough energy to cause chemical reactions. Exposure to these rays can be a health hazard, believed able to cause radiation sickness, sunburns, DNA damage, and some types of cancer. Radiation from visible light wavelengths and lower are called nonionizing radiation as they do not seem to produce such undesirable effects as do short, high frequency and high-energy wavelengths.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Electromagnetic Spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is the range or spectrum of frequencies related to electromagnetic radiation, their respective wavelengths, and their energies. The wave frequencies are said to range from below one hertz to above 10 hertz, corresponding to wavelengths from thousands of kilometers down to a fraction of the size of an atomic nucleus. This frequency range is divided into separate bands, and the various electromagnetic waves within each frequency band have been assigned different names. Beginning with short, high-frequency, high-energy wavelengths, there are:

1.   Gamma radiation
2.   X-ray radiation
3.   Ultraviolet radiation
4.   Visible radiation
5.   Infrared radiation
6.   Terahertz radiation
7.   Microwave radiation
8.   Radio waves

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Sun, Summer, and the Brain

Nothing much on Planet Earth would live without the sun: people, creatures, plants, organisms in and out of the sea, and so on. Summer is here and the days are longer, which allows for more exposure to sunlight. Its benefits have been widely touted, including light during the day and reflected moonlight at night. Warmth and heat for sure. Vitamin D production, a positive impact on some Immune System Cells, a positive mood in the brain, and so on. Some also know the down side as in sunburns, skin cancer, depression as in Seasonal Affective Disorder, scorching of plants (and sometimes other living entities) with eventual death from dehydration, and damage to the eye, and so on. Sunlight is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, a way of describing wavelengths, energy, and so on.

Sleepwalking and Anxiety

If you can figure it out and resolve it, or at least discuss it reassuringly with the child if it cannot be resolve, this may help to relieve some of the anxiety. Sometimes preschoolers sleepwalk as the function of imagination begins to develop. In general, sleepwalking among children tends to peak during preschool years and often resolves after puberty. At least some sleepwalking may be preventable by developing and maintaining a regular and consistent sleep schedule; going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time each morning. Avoiding mid-day naps may help, as well. Shut off all electronics an hour before bedtime—and minimize exposure to terror-inducing information. Do something restful such as reading a favorite book. Some advocate having a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Contributors to Sleepwalking

There may be several contributors to sleepwalking. For example, did something change in the child’s life?

·       Has she been given a new chore and is anxious about doing it right.
·       Has the family recently move to a new house or relocated to a different city?
·       Has the child changed schools or moved to another grade with a different teacher?
·       Has the child started taking music lessons and is anxious about performance?
·       Have the parents divorced or did one parent or another close family member become very ill or die?
·       Is the child being subjected to bullying behaviors at school?

Monday, July 8, 2019

Sleepwalking and Envionmental Factors

Is sleepwalking in offspring is inevitable? Apparently not. It is likely that heritable factors predispose an individual to develop sleepwalking (and/or night terrors), but the actual exhibition of the trait may be influenced by environmental factors.

As to "why" sleepwalking happens, general consensus is that there is a reason. Behaviors do not erupt from a vacuum. Some potential contributors include:

  •          Unhealthy sleep routines. Sometimes a bad dream or night terror may trigger it, or a scary movie news reports in living color of natural disasters, or even reading a scary story.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Sleepwalking and Genetics

Sleepwalking tends to run in families. Children whose parent(s) sleepwalked in childhood are more likely to do so. A study published in the British Journal of Psychology concluded that a first-degree relative of a sleepwalker is ten times more likely to sleepwalk than the rest of the population. A separate study published in the journal Neurology concluded that twins are more likely to sleepwalk. Reportedly, a twin is five times more likely to experience episodes of sleepwalking if the other twin sleepwalks. One study has linked sleepwalking with a mutated gene (located somewhere on chromosome 20) that can be passed from parent to child. Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine reported that those with the mutated gene reportedly have a 50% chance of passing it to the next generation.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

NREM Parasomnias

There are several different types of NREM parasomnias or sleepwalking. The most common type of sleepwalking tends to occur during the first third of the night in non-REM sleep. This type of sleep is a lighter sleep, and it usually does not involve dreams. The part of the brain that generates complex behaviors is believed to remain awake during "sleep." The sleepwalker will tend to repeat daily activities but likely will not initiate some routine activity that he or she has not done before. During sleeping walking the decision-making part of the brain likely is not awake. There are even some sleepwalkers who try to eat, a condition referred to as nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NSRED). This can be dangerous if they cut themselves while trying to fix a snack or burn themselves on the hot stove.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Sleepwalking and Children

Reportedly, children in the age group of 3-12 have the highest prevalence of sleepwalking. Estimates are that nearly 17 percent of these children walk in their sleep. Typically sleepwalking in children tends to fall off after puberty. It can be very frightening to a family when a child starts to sleepwalk, especially of the house involves different levels connected by stairs. Interestingly, sleepwalkers often have their eyes wide open during an episode and may even engage in conversation with others. If the individual does not recall the conversation or even the episode of sleepwalking, he or she was likely sleepwalking. Unfortunately, sleepwalking can lead to fatigue and sleepiness the next day and can contribute to sleep deprivation.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Sleepwalking and the Brain

Sleepwalking is type of parasomnia (abnormal sleeping pattern). It is more common in children than in adults. There are several different types of NREM parasomnias or sleepwalking. The most common type of sleepwalking tends to occur during the first third of the night in non-REM sleep. This type of sleep is a lighter sleep, and it usually does not involve dreams. The part of the brain that generates complex behaviors is believed to remain awake during "sleep." The sleepwalker will tend to repeat daily activities but likely will not initiate some routine activity that he or she has not done before. During sleeping walking the decision-making part of the brain likely is not awake. There are even some sleepwalkers who try to eat, a condition referred to as nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NSRED). This can be dangerous if they cut themselves while trying to fix a snack or burn themselves on the hot stove.