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Transcript: Paul Nussbaum on Meditation, Neuropsychology and Thanksgiving

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion yesterday on holistic brain health with clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Paul Nussbaum, author of Save Your Brain. You can learn more about the full Brain Fit­ness Q&A Series Here.

Per­haps one of the best exchanges was: Read the rest of this entry »

Reminder: Brain Health Q&A Today

Reminder: Join Live Q&A with Dr. Paul Nussbaum by click­ing HERE, today Novem­ber 22nd at 11am Pacific Time/ 2pm East­ern Time. Chat about about a holis­tic approach to brain health with clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Paul Nuss­baum, author of Save Your Brain, recently named a Best Book on Brain Fitness by AARP. You can also learn more about the Brain Fit­ness Q&A Series.

Transcripts of previous Q&A Sessions:

From Distress to De-Stress: helping anxious, worried kids (Part 2 of 2)

Last week, in this article’s first part, we discussed the importance of actually teaching children how to get themselves into a physical state of being relaxed, explored several suggestions I hope you found useful.

Let’s continue.

Teachers can help student overcome stress by teaching them to identify the impediments they might encounter in doing a certain task.

The teacher can ask:

What’s going to get in the way of you doing this work?
He or she may have to jump-start the students thinking by suggesting such things as:
– competing events (family activities, friends call, IM-ing, new video game, etc.)
– lack of adequate place to study
– inadequate prior preparation or skills
– a negative attitude (this is not necessary, I can’t do math, I’ll never need to know this, etc).
– health factors (I’m sick; I’m tired)

Conversely, teachers have to teach students to identify the enhancers; What’s going to make it more likely that you will do this, and do this well?
(examples)
– I have confidence in my ability
– I feel competent in this skill
– I am committed to learning this because: I have the necessary resources to complete this task, such as materials, sources of information, people supports; parents, tutor, other kids

Teachers can turn distress into de-stress by using the Language of Success

The key is to de-emphasize PRAISE and emphasize SELF-APPRAISAL.

Teachers can encourage self-evaluation by Read the rest of this entry »

From Distress to De-Stress: helping anxious, worried kids (Part 1 of 2)

Teaching kids how to relax.

Consider this vignette:

-Roxanne: (agitated and loudly) I can’t stand this freakin book!

-Teacher: Roxanne, you need to take it easy. Just calm down! Try to relax.You need to finish your reading.

-Roxanne: (to herself) Right easy for you to say, teacher. But very hard for me to do. What do you mean calm down? I feel like my head is going to explode.

-Teacher: (seeing no response) Well if you can’t settle down, maybe a trip to the office will help you!

Some kids are so agitated that even if they know how to relax, they can’t. If you think about it, calming down when you’re upset is the hardest time to do it! Other kids can’t calm down or relax because they don’t know what that feels like. Teachers, occupational therapists, physical education teachers and parents need to actually teach children (of all ages) how to get themselves into a physical state of being relaxed. This doesn’t happen automatically. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many adult yoga classes!

Setting the mental and emotional stage for success.

Teachers who want to reduce stress and increase learning know that getting kids into a positive mindset will do both. They say Read the rest of this entry »

Head Games and neuropsychological assessments

You may have seen this insighful OpEd last Friday in the New York Times, by clinical neuropsychologist Gerald Tramontano:

Head Games

– “CHILDREN aged 5 to 18 suffer at least 96,000 sports-related concussions every year in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. Even more troubling, as many as 20 percent of all high school football players sustain concussions annually, studies show.”

– “The only way to know for sure whether a concussion victim’s brain has returned to normal is to compare the results of neuropsychological tests conducted before and after the injury. That requires preparing athletes for the season by putting them through baseline testing.”

Comment: Great OpEd, raising awareness of a problem with growing importance – not only in terms of sports concussions, but also car accidents, strokes, and a variety of life-events that may provoke brain damage – and introducing readers to the need for cognitive baselines for specific individuals.

Now, we will probably need to go further than the author of the OpEd suggests. There are simply not enough neuropsychologists in the whole planet to test one-person at a time for 4-hours each, and the cost of trying so would be astronomical.

The more realistic route is to combine a) fully-automated computer-based assessments as a baseline, b) the involvement of a neuropsychologist when needed, probably both to supervise the whole assessment program for a sports team, for example, and then to supervise the post-damage rehabilitation process.

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