mill5001: October 2011 Archives

Post-Concussion Syndrome

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Post-concussion syndrome is a condition often acquired after a traumatic brain injury. It can occur in mild to severe cases of traumatic brain injury, and there is no statistical correlation between the severity of the injury and the chances of developing post-concussion syndrome. Symptoms of the condition include loss of memory and concentration, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, and anxiety. Symptoms may appear right after the injury, or may take months for the initial onset. Also, they may last over a year. Memory loss, particularly short-term, and headaches are typically the longest lasting effects.

There are two main hypotheses for the causes of post-concussion syndrome. One is that the impact of the concussion causes structural damage to the brain and disrupts neurotransmitter systems. The other main hypothesis is that the symptoms are due to psychological factors such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Further research on concussions should involve the process of ruling out rival hypotheses, although it is possible that both hypotheses are true.

In my senior year of high school, I suffered a concussion in a hockey practice. I got hit in the back of the head and my head hit the boards. I cannot remember five days before the injury and four days after. I was later diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Since I was five, I have always been prone to headaches, but for about ten months after the injury, my headaches were much more severe. Almost every headache in that time period resulted in extreme sensitivity to light and sound and acute pain. Some headaches even resulted in a loss of consciousness. I still have a slight difficulty with my short-term memory, particularly with names. Prior to the injury, I remembered every name even after one meeting. Post-concussion syndrome has had a fairly pronounced impact on my life.

I got some information here:

Lucid Dreaming

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A lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming. In a lucid dream, the dreamer can control almost anything and participate in the dream. There are two types of lucid dreams--dream-initiated lucid dreams (DILD) and wake-initiated lucid dreams (WILD). In a DILD, the dreamer realizes mid-dream that they are dreaming. In a WILD, the dreamer goes directly from being awake to being in a lucid dream.
It has been hypothesized that the recognition that one is dreaming occurs in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a location in the brain where working memory occurs. After the initial recognition, the amygdala and parahippocampal gyrus help to maintain the memory that the person is dreaming. These functions are logical because the recognition is rather "executive" and thus one would expect it to occur in the frontal cortex. The amygdala and hippocampus are both involved in memory, so the idea that they are involved in maintaining memory during the dream makes sense.
I first experienced a lucid dream (DILD) during my sophomore year of high school. I was fascinated by the experience and sought an explanation on what I experienced. I learned that I had experienced a lucid dream and that people can develop the ability to consciously self-produce them. I was very intrigued by that notion and decided to try to learn on my own. It took a lot of practice to figure out the methods, but in my junior year of high school, I experienced my first wake-induced lucid dream. Needless to say, it was a satisfying feeling. Since then, I usually try to have at least one WILD each week. They are quite fun (for lack of a better word) and since I've been having them, my sleep as a whole has improved. I used to be around a 10 on the sleep inventory we did in class; now I am a 2.

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