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Practice Update: The Brain and Covid-19

A great clip from the BBC – with input from Dr Susan Whitbourne who has been providing insight into our behaviours throughout this pandemic.

Creating Sensory Ladders online during telehealth has been one way OT’s across the UK have been supporting the mental health of children, teens, adults and students manage their health and well-being during COVID lockdown. You can see some of these and read more here. http://www.sensoryladders.org

If you have made a Sensory Ladder during Covid-19 you are happy to share, please post to our Sensory Ladder FB page community or send to us via our Contact Us link on this website.

‘But, in our brains, there’s a lot of screaming going on right now…’

Whitbourne, Susan (2020)

You can read the full article here.

https://www.magzter.com/article/Culture/The-Walrus/Your-Brain-on-COVID-19

Dr Whitbourne’s commentary and views about why some people felt and may still feel that they won’t be affected by this virus is fascinating and will help healthcare professionals understand why some people struggle with the idea of lockdown and guidance on social distancing. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/fulfillment-any-age/202004/why-do-some-people-think-theyre-invulnerable-covid-19

 

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Research Update: Early Deprivation and Brain Development

A new article has been published which adds more to that we know about deprivation on development of the mind, body and brain.

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Millions of children worldwide live in nonfamilial institutions. We studied impact on adult brain structure of a particularly severe but time-limited form of institutional deprivation in early life experienced by children who were subsequently adopted into nurturing families. Institutional deprivation was associated with lower total brain volume in a dose-dependent way. Regionally specific effects were seen in medial prefrontal, inferior frontal, and inferior temporal areas. Deprivation-related alterations in total brain volume were associated with lower intelligence quotient and more attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms; alterations in temporal volume seemed compensatory, as they were associated with fewer attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms. We provide evidence that early childhood deprivation is related to alterations in adult brain structure, despite environmental enrichment in intervening years.

Read more here: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/01/01/1911264116

Download a copy [open access] Early childhood deprivation is associated with alterations in adult brain structure despite subsequent environmental enrichment


More articles here…

Enriched Environments as a Potential Treatment for Developmental Disorders: A Critical Assessment

The beneficial effects of enriched environments have been established through a long history of research. Enrichment of the living conditions of captive animals in the form of larger cages, sensory stimulating objects, and opportunities for social interaction and physical exercise, has been shown to reduce emotional reactivity, ameliorate abnormal behaviors, and enhance cognitive functioning. Recently, environmental enrichment research has been extended to humans, in part due to growing interest in its potential therapeutic benefits for children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). This paper reviews the history of enriched environment research and the use of enriched environments as a developmental intervention in studies of both NDD animal models and children. We argue that while environmental enrichment may sometimes benefit children with NDDs, several methodological factors need to be more closely considered before the efficacy of this approach can be adequately evaluated, including: (i) operationally defining and standardizing enriched environment treatments across studies; (ii) use of control groups and better control over potentially confounding variables; and (iii) a comprehensive theoretical framework capable of predicting when and how environmental enrichment will alter the trajectory of NDDs.

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Read more here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00466/full


Early Adverse Experiences and the Developing Brain

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Read more here: https://www.nature.com/articles/npp2015252

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CPD: Understanding and Applying Trauma-Informed Approaches Across Occupational Therapy Settings

AOTA has really helpful and supportive articles right now – promoting the best clinical practice, with an emphasis on participation in occupation.

This article is particularly pertinent to OT’s using ASI theory and practice to create therapeutic environments supporting and scaffolding participation in daily life for those with trauma.

Read the full article here.

 

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Autumn Special: Book now for a chance to win an online module free

#book classroom module now to win online module freeAutumn Special – Book and pay in full for one of our ASI WISE onsite classroom modules in November or December 2018, and you will be entered into a free draw to win a place on an online module worth £200.

You can use this place for yourself or gift it to a colleague or friend. The person attending must be eligible to attend and commence learning by June 2019.

You can make your booking here today or request an invoice

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Trauma and development of the brain.

Watch this amazing TED about trauma…here’s a taster of what Nadine Burke Harris will share with you in her presentation, which explores the underlying neuroscience.

close up photography of grizzly bear

Well, imagine you’re walking in the forest and you see a bear. Immediately, your hypothalamus sends a signal to your pituitary, which sends a signal to your adrenal gland that says, “Release stress hormones! Adrenaline! Cortisol!”

And so your heart starts to pound, Your pupils dilate, your airways open up, and you are ready to either fight that bear or run from the bear. And that is wonderful if you’re in a forest and there’s a bear. (Laughter) But the problem is what happens when the bear comes home every night,and this system is activated over and over and over again, and it goes from being adaptive, or life-saving, to maladaptive, or health-damaging.

Children are especially sensitive to this repeated stress activation, because their brains and bodies are just developing. High doses of adversity not only affect brain structure and function, they affect the developing immune system, developing hormonal systems, and even the way our DNA is read and transcribed.”

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