Acquired Brain injury (ABI) is the term commonly used to describe damage that has occurred to the brain since birth.
Brain injury can also be the result of illness, infections, tumors, or incidents when breathing has 'stopped' for significant periods of time. There is a need to distinguish between people with acquired brain injury and people with intellectual disability. For example, a person with ABI may still be able to play Scrabble at championship level, but may miss the title match because she can't remember what day and time it's being held. Weakness or paralysis of muscles on one or both sides of the body is a common result of ABI. Following a brain injury, an individual can suffer seizures affecting movement, awareness or sensation.
Injury in which the frontal lobes have been affected can result in a disorder of motivation called adynamia. Vision impairments, including double vision, field cuts, sector losses, rapid eye movement and near-sightedness are common, along with disturbances to eye movement and coordination. Short term memory is where you store information that you need to remember and use again immediately (in the next few seconds, minutes or hours). Long term memory stores information that you want to retain because it is important to you in some way.
If a person's short term memory is impaired (as it is for many people with ABI) they may be unable to transfer new information into their long term memory and to access or retrieve the information that is already stored there. Impaired memory function has a profound impact on a person's capacity to learn because learning relies on memory functioning. The thinking of a person with cognitive impairments will often be confined to the actual and concrete, the here and now. Some people with ABI will be unable to 'move' their attention from one thing to another, or to change their line of thought.
A person with ABI may show that they know about a task or understand an instruction but not be able to follow through the steps of the task, or correct an error. A person with ABI may talk about all the things they are going to do, but never actually get around to doing any of them without prompting and assistance. Our ability to think logically and purposefully allows us to consider and monitor our behaviour, so cognitive impairments can reduce our ability to control what we do. People with ABI often have very little awareness of their abilities and the way they appear to others.
One of the consequences of self-centredness may be a tendency for the person with acquired brain injury to become very demanding of attention from others, and very dependent on them. Problems controlling anger are commonly experienced and are often key contributors to social, vocational and relationship problems for the person with ABI. Disinhibition stems from deficits in the ability to monitor and regulate behaviours and to perceive their impact on others.
Communication problems may also occur as a result of impaired cognitive regulation of social functioning. Any service that aims to assist people with ABI to build their work skills is involved in assisting them to learn, and people with disabilities resulting from ABI face significant communication and learning problems.
For support staff in employment services, the important issue is relevant information about the employee with ABI. Train your brain and fight the effects of aging with this comprehensive pack of logic games.
Mind Games is an extensive collection of small logic games that will help you improve brain functioning and fight against the effects of aging. Each of these games will stimulate specific areas of your brain while providing a comprehensive score history and progress graph to keep track of your improvements. Other challenges, like Memory Racer, will help you improve your immediate recall, mental focus, and speed by having to decide if the picture displayed matches the one showed before.
This small game suite is ideal for those of you who look upon improving their brain capabilities or keeping their attention, anticipation, and memory at an optimum level at all times.
A team from the University of California in San Francisco have revived plasticity in the brains of young mice. The team transplanted a specific type of immature neuron from embryonic mice into the visual cortex of young mice – a method that doctors could theoretically use to treat neural circuits disrupted in abnormal fetal or postnatal development, stroke, traumatic brain injury, psychiatric illness and aging. A naturally occurring signaling chemical (or neurotransmitter) known as GABA creates the conditions for acute plasticity in the visual cortex. This or similar processes could also explain why young children can learn with ease (new languages for instance) but not adults. The study has implications for stem cell transplantation and brain health education: Bordey noted that stem cells used in transplants may need to be mature enough to possess these receptors. Novel research at UT Southwestern Medical Center hints at new hope in combating addiction and dependence. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the UT team’s work is the first research to directly link addiction with neurogenesis in the hippocampus. In a second experiment, after becoming accustomed to taking cocaine the team radiated the rats, stopping neurogenesis while drugs were removed. In a study that focused specifically on patients suffering from schizophrenia, but also observing changes in non-schizophrenics, scientists have found that aerobic exercise increases the volume of the hippocampus by as much as 16%. The volume increased by 12% in those with schizophrenia and by 16% in those without and was associated with improvements in short-term memory test scores. The investigators hope to continue to follow up these patients and are awaiting funding for a new study comparing the effects of exercise with cognitive training.
Scientists at the University of Iowa have published results of a fascinating study showing that antidepressants can improve the cognitive functioning of stroke victims. Prior studies had indicated that antidepressants provided cognitive benefits for depressed stroke victims. The team compared the benefits of antidepressant treatment to the improvements on cognitive tests in two control groups, who received training in problem-solving skills or a placebo. A clinical study shows that promoting neurogenesis has a positive impact on the symptoms of major clinical depression.
As we’ve noted on this blog before, the process of brain training also seems to have a positive impact on mood.
The study focused on polyunsaturated fatty acids, derived from vegetables such as corn, soybeans, sunflowers and pumpkins as well as blue fish, and polyphenols found in tea, grapes, wine, olive oil, cocoa, nuts and other fruits and vegetables.
Spanish scientists from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona who fed mice a diet rich in polyunsaturates and polyphenols noted greater cell proliferation in the two areas of the brain where neurogenesis is produced—the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus.
Kaoru Inokuchi, a neuroscientist at the University of Toyama in Japan, and his team have shown that new brain cells in the hippocampus help clear away short term memories that have been passed along to long term storage. It’s been known for a while that the hippocampus stores memories for a while then lets them go.
It had been previously theorized that neurogenesis helped form and consolidate memories in the hippocampus, but things now seem more complex.
Where business training, management & leadership training, time & stress management, coaching and team building meet "alternative" content. Essentially this model divides the modern human brain into three parts, based on our evolutionary ancestry. The triune brain theory has been updated and surpassed by modern neuroscientists and developmental biologists who have found that things are more complex and animals not so easy to pigeon hole (even bird-brained pigeons). The neocortex, found only in certain “higher” mammals is associated with functions such as language, abstraction, planning and logical thought.
The neocortex is also slower under pressure than other parts of the brain and when stressed can be effectively turned off leaving other more “primitive” parts to take over. The majority of training out there is designed by clever humans using this part of the brain, and involves addressing this part of the brain only. The illusion is that this part of the brain runs the show and while we can use it to delay gratification for example, it is also true that more often people make decisions on a emotive intuitive associative level and THEN rationalise it. I also don’t want to take this too far and the neocoretx can get a bad rep in personal development circles.
Training that keeps people involved, active, creative and playful, works as it has emotional content. The oldest and most critical part of the brain for survival is the basal ganglia – sometimes called the reptilian brain as birds and other non mammals also primarily driven by this structure.

Explicit and specific confidentiality agreements which people have a chance to discuss and actively agree too (by raising hands for example) are a basic foundation of “safe” training environments. Many people have learnt some odd ideas about learning through negative experiences in childhood.
Watch out for challenging existing dominance hierarchies in training, which may be official (making the boss look like a fool) or unofficial (sometimes it’s the experienced secretary who really says what goes for example, and “flat” organisations often have their own pecking orders). Being impeccable with your word builds trust, even when this means doing something unpopular like starting on time after a break! People have great intuitive BS detectors so if you don’t mean and embody exactly what you say and recommend as a trainer people will sense it and lose trust. Safety for delegates starts with the commissioning process and how they are discussed and enrolled on the course. One field of study that I highly recommend in light of the triune theory is embodied training.
For me the integration of all three brains is only possible with mediative and embodied disciplines which until recently have not been available to people working in organisations. Why when the other parts of the brain are so vital for learning is only the neocoretx general addressed in organisational training? Mark Walsh is the UK’s leading specialist in “embodied” approaches to management training and the MD of Integration Training.
Written on October 13, 2010 by Mark Walsh in Triune Brain Theory3 Comments - Leave a comment!
Scientists continue to discover with the latest medical and technological advances that the brain continues to change and develop across a person’s lifespan.
Just like muscles in our body, if the brain is not kept active, it doesn’t become stronger. Unless you are suffering from a disease, disorder or injury, then you should have the ability to improve your memory. Very few people would turn down a chance to improve the way they think, if they knew how to go about it. That all sounds really good to everyone who hears about it, but their first question is always, “How can I improve my thinking ability so that I can take advantage of all of these benefits?” You will discover that there are many ways to train your brain to think more effectively. These same people will run, jog, lift weights, play tennis, and do all kind of various exercises in order to keep their body physically fit.
Take the time needed to exercise your mind, for its fitness is just as important, if not more important than the fitness of your body. Gain access to knowledge that you can actually use and apply to start transforming your brain.
You do not have to posses super intelligence or keep your nose stuck in a book all the time to improve your working memory, or even your IQ.
There is a large and growing number of people with acquired brain injury employed in disability employment services.
Commonly known as stroke, a CVA is a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel that has caused damage to the brain. These are sometimes penetrating head wounds (like gunshot), but more usually a closed head injury, resulting from a blow to the head. Alcohol related brain injury (ARBI) occurs when chronic overconsumption of alcohol causes dehydration and shrinkage of brain cells. People with ABI often have cognitive impairments which lead, in turn, to them having 'intellectual problems'.
People who acquire a brain injury usually retain their intellectual abilities but have cognitive problems affecting specific areas of functioning. The most complex organ in our bodies, it is an insignificant-looking greyish mass, weighing about 1,500 grams, that sits inside our skulls bathing in cerebro-spinalfluid. The problems people experience will depend on which part of the brain has been affected, and the amount of damage sustained.
An individual may also lose their ability to coordinate their muscle movements (ataxia), resulting in difficulties eating, speaking and writing. Changes in feeling and sensation are often experienced, and there can be disturbances to taste and smell, orientation and touch. This condition will lead to a lack of drive and initiative in the person, leaving them indifferent to events and with very limited reserves of energy. Some people may lose their ability to recognise non-verbal sounds; in other cases, the person to be extremely sensitive to certain noises or pitches. This includes things like a message you have to pass on, or what you want to get out of the drawer you have just opened.
Hence ABI can leave marked differences in a person's capacity to remember events and skills learned before they were injured, and to learn and retain information since the injury. In other words a person may forget what a door handle is called (the explicit memory of a name) but they are less likely to forget how to use the handles to open or close the door (the procedural memory of how to do the task). This lack of drive and initiative may extend to an inability to initiate any speech or action. People with ABI can be very impulsive, and unable to stop and think about the consequences or effects of their behaviour. Damage to cognitive functioning can reduce the ability to acknowledge and understand the perspective and feelings of others.
It may be demonstrated in a variety of ways including mood changes, pessimism, frequent self-criticism and criticism of others, self-pity, suicidal thinking, and social withdrawal. Disinhibition may result in irresponsible, impulsive behaviour, uncontrolled swearing or use of explicitly sexual language, or inappropriate sexual behaviour. The game packs 23 brain training mini games that include various types of challenges based on the principles of cognitive psychology.
All these brain features are slowly degrading as time passes, but, with Mind Games, you can keep them all fresh on a daily basis. The finding provides hope that future therapies may permit the repair of brain circuits after injury or disease. Southwell, PhD, a student in the lab of Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, PhD, Heather and Melanie Muss Professor of Neurological Surgery and a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF.
They found that if certain receptors (NMDA receptors) associated with the new neurons are lost, the cells are much more likely to die. The researchers’ experiments indicate that stimulating an increase in neurogenesis (brain cell growth) might help prevent addiction, dependence, or relapse. Further, my own experience and the anecdotal experiences of Mind Sparke customers indicates that the training helps improve impulse control, self esteem, and elevate mood.
Rats with reduced neurogenesis took more time to realize that the lever would no longer dispense cocaine. Eisch plans to study other drugs of abuse, using imaging technology to study addiction and hippocampal neurogenesis in humans. The authors of this study set out to find whether the same would be true for those not suffering from depression.
New research indicates that particular foods can influence neurogenesis, leading to a greater proliferation of new nerve cells in particular regions of the brain. In an experiment published in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, 21 students at the University of Illinois were asked to memorize a string of letters and then pick them out from a list flashed at them. For that to happen, “you need a fairly dramatic change in blood flow,” like the one that occurs when you run or cycle or swim.” van Praag says. For all who integrate BOTH worlds as human business beings - to benefit themselves, their work and the world. These are the reptile brain responsible for base drives, the mid-brain or limbic system responsible for emotions and memory, and the neocoretx responsible for “higher” brain functions. The theory remains useful as a model however and is surprisingly “sticky” as it appeals to initiative notions of the different capacities people have.
This is the newest and very human part of the brain that has allowed us to make I-phones and atom bombs, design innovative training courses and enables delegates to day-dream about other things while we’re boring them with slide-shows.
If you’ve ever said or done something “in the heat of the moment” this is what likely happened.
This means that trainers present information, try and convey data and make logical arguments. Think of every advert on TV, advertisers know what most trainers don’t, that it is not well reasoned logical arguments that change behaviour, but beauty, fear, love, belonging, inspiration, etc.

It is this part of the brain that enables delegates to envisage applying training back in the office for example (it can be viewed as a kind of virtual reality system for testing new ideas), and is also concerned with identity and meaning (along with the limbic system), critical areas to engage in successful training. Connect EVERYTHING to people’s real world experience, practical work applications and what they hold dear.
In UK corporate culture there is still much emotional repression, denial and cynicism so do this with care, and is still well worth doing. If an organism feels threatened all other considerations are overridden in order to escape or eliminate the source of concern…and if this is you as a trainer, you are therefore in trouble!
I often feel sad about these and so try to establish healthier narratives through a meta learning conversation at the start of many courses. If people really feel free not to take part in any exercise (and the “really” bit is crucial as people may perceive threats when there are none, and even gentle encouragement can be seen as cajolement) then when they do take part you will get true involvement not compliance, and the reptilian brain won’t be triggered. Prestige, dominance and power issues can activate some pretty primitive parts of the brain so be careful. I have found it is utterly pointless working with delegates who “have to be there” for example (choice again). Coming from the work of teachers in the US such as Richard Strozzi Heckler and Paul Linden embodied learning is now catching on in the UK.
Many organisations feel safe addressing purely cognitive aspects as they are less “personal” and many trainers complicit in this through fear in becoming beginners in new domains and ignorance of the possibilities. He leads courses in stress management, time management, communication training, team building and leadership training around the world.
When you have the ability to think more effectively, you can make better decisions and become a much more efficient thinker. Very few people have taken advantage of this power by taking the steps needed to improve the functioning of their brain.
It is much easier to get your brain in good shape, and best of all, no sweating or tennis elbow is involved! Just register with your name and email address below to get your FREE copy of these two books! A CVA usually occurs suddenly and the brain is damaged because its blood flow is interrupted. Some 1.1% of the adult population suffers 'serious' ARBI, and around 500,000 people have mild or moderate degrees of this form of brain injury.
Certain functions are mediated by particular parts of the brain and these various parts and functions operate in an integrated way. The extent of some of these changes may not become apparent for some time after the injury has occurred.
Swallowing problems and incontinence of bladder or bowel may occur as short and long-term effects of ABI. People with this problem will also find it very hard to see things from another person's viewpoint.
Repetitive and continuous behaviour, speech or thinking produced by brain injury is called 'perseveration'.
This problem stems from impairment to the brain's ability to regulate thought processes and behaviours.
People who are disinhibited will often stand too close, stare, or ask inappropriate questions. From memory related mini-games to word, vocabulary, attention, abstraction, and anticipation games, Mind Games has it all. That’s the question associate professor Angelique Bordey and her team from Yale University have shed some light on with a recent study, as reported in the March 25 issue of Neuron.
This is fascinating in the context of intensive brain training with programs such as Brain Fitness Pro. Then they were asked to do one of three things for 30 minutes — sit quietly, run on a treadmill or lift weights — before performing the letter test again. To envisage these “three brains” imagine a large man’s thumb, a fist encasing the thumb and a hand over the front of the fist.
It is for example meaningful for many people to distinguish between “head, heart and hands” or “thinking, feeling and gut instinct” as the model would suggest. This part of the brain is responsible for the tricky, juicy, wonderful, annoying emotional elements that make us what we are, as well as memory and other aspects of learning. Because humans are social animals and can engage the brain stem thorough modelling in the neocortex “safety” has a wider meaning than just not pointing guns at each other (though I’ve found this is a great place to start when working in conflict zones). People may for example believe that it is not OK to make mistakes, that learning is always competitive or that learning is about trying to please the teacher…I mean trainer. Equally exercises which may be intense (useful for engaging the limbic system) can be offered in several forms some of which are less full-on so people can choose their own level of challenge.
The same also goes for group norms such as dress-code which may meet some basic needs for belonging. I would like to issue a gentle challenge therefore to the training community to involve body, emotions as well as traditional cognitive aspects in training. Clients include everyone from Dutch telecoms executives, UNICEF, Sussex University, Buddhist groups and West African military officers.
If you are one of many who think that they have a poor memory, then this may be because you have not discovered effective ways in which your are able to not only acquire the information, but the ways in which your brain processes it. You will learn new things faster and easier, achieve that potential that has been hiding inside you, and improve all aspects of your life. The brain contains an average of 140 billion nerve cells called neurons, that transmit information by a combination of electrical and chemical activity. For my own part I am not a brain surgeon (I remember scratching all three brains during the cognitive neuroscience part of my psychology degree) but a trainer interested in useful frameworks and metaphors. Any trainer worth her salt is both engaging with this part of their delegate’s brain and making sure it doesn’t “hijack” the whole show and disable the neocoretx. Tell a man how to fish and he’ll get the rod the wrong way around, turn him into a dolphin and Nemo is in trouble…or something like that. When I work with business people I wear a suite, when I work with technicians combats and a t-shirt. It uses posture, breathing and non-athletic movement to enrich leadership, stress management, team building and others training areas.
Mark draws on his training experiences in the business world as well as from his academic background in psychology (Bsc hons), martial arts and charity work in areas of conflict.
5969, 2010), showed that transplanted embryonic neurons, once producing GABA, could induce plasticity in young mice even after the end of the normal critical period.
On subsequent days, … the students were noticeably quicker and more accurate on the retest after they ran compared with the other two options, and they continued to perform better when tested after the cool down. This article is intended more as a stimuli for thinking about the different aspects of being human and how these relate to learning and development than a cutting-edge anatomy lesson.
Involving the body and movement in training is particularly effective – more on this later. Because of this it is vital that trainers look after these basic needs at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid. In short it uses all three brains, and also provides “centring techniques” to counteract limbic and reptilian “brain takeovers”.
He is among the most followed trainers in the UK on Twitter and writes the Google number two ranked management training blog. Thrombosis is responsible for 40% of CVAs and although the incidence of CVA increases with age, it can occur at any age. This may sound obvious but I have been in training rooms that were simply not comfortable physically (too hot or too cold for example) or with delegates who had not eaten all day – so ensure the air-con is working and provide snacks and plenty of water. Alcohol also turns off the higher brain areas and so I suggest banning even light lunchtime drinking on courses and refuse to work in environments such as some management colleges and team building weekends where drinking is the norm.

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