Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Olive Oil

We've been giving our son organic olive oil since he was around one year old, initially to provide him with some healthy calories since he was mainly eating, and continues to mainly eat organic baby food and some pureed table food. Much of the following information is taken from the book Brain-Building Nutrition.

Olive oil is high in the Omega-9 fatty acid oleic acid and rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Organic cold-pressed virgin or extra virgin olive oil is preferred. It has also been shown to elevate HDL "good" cholesterol, which might have an important affect on preserving brain function. In terms of overall health value, olive oil is one of the most important.

Fatty acid content:
Omega-6 = 8 percent
Omega-9 = 82 percent

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Brain-Building Nutrition: How Dietary Fats and Oils Affect Mental, Physical, and Emotional Intelligence

I just finished reading a book by Michael A Schmidt, PhD on the importance of dietary fats and oils and our intelligence. I thought it was a good read covering the different fats and oils that we consume and how they affect our brain.

The book includes a small section on cerebral palsy. The author writes: "Looking carefully at the fatty acid status of any child with cerebral palsy seems to be an important step in fostering recovery. Supplementation with fatty acids may allow slow restoration of some functions and may lead to an improved quality of life."

Without giving away too much of the book, here are some strategies for healing with fats and oils:
  1. Determine the Ideal Omega-3
  2. Balance Omega-6 and Omega-3
  3. Keep Your Carbohydrates Balanced
  4. Eliminate Trans Fatty Acids
  5. Eat Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables
  6. Remember Important Brain Minerals
  7. Use Spices That Help to Balance the Messengers and Protect the Brain
  8. Include Mitochondrial Nutrients
  9. Enrich with the Sulfur-Bearing Nutrients
  10. Get Adequate Methyl Donors
  11. Get Enough Sleep
  12. Exercise

I highly recommend reading this book to better understand the nutritional importance and brain benefits of the right balance of fats and oils.

Brain-Building Nutrition: How Dietary Fats and Oils Affect Mental, Physical, and Emotional Intelligence

Monday, April 20, 2009

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important fat-soluble vitamin that promotes bone mineralization, enhances the immune system, and works as a neurohormone to stimulate proper brain development.

Our son has food allergies and we had his vitamin D levels tested the last time he had a blood draw to test for food allergies. Be sure to get a 25(OH)D vitamin D test before starting any oral supplementation. Our sons vitamin D levels were low and we've increased his oral supplementation accordingly. We'll be getting a repeat 25(OH)D test soon and and may supplement less since it's now spring and he'll be getting more vitamin D from sun exposure.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT) or the Walbarger Brushing Technique and Joint Compression

Our son doesn't like us to touch his right hand and always makes a "yucky" face with the first bite of every meal. We continue to expose his hands to different textures, which will hopefully help desensitize his hands. He seems to have decreased proprioception in his hands and feet, as well as some tactile sensitivity.

If you're anything like me, you're probably thinking "What is proprioception?". Well, proprioception means "one's own" perception. It is the awareness or sense of one's own limbs in space. I found this information from interesting "Without proprioception, we'd need to consciously watch our feet to make sure that we stay upright while walking." Our son does tend to watch his feet while walking.

One technique that may help with these issues is Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT) or the Walbarger Brushing Technique and Joint Compression.

** This should only be done with supervision from an Occupational or Physical Therapist. **

The brushing technique was developed by Dr. Patricia Wilbarger. Dr. Wilbarger, is an occupational therapist and clinical psychologist who has been working with sensory processing theories for over 30 years.

"The DPPT uses a specific pattern of stimulation delivered through a specific type of brush and gentle joint compression or “pushing” to send information to the brain in an organized fashion. Simply put, it primes the brain to receive and organize information in an effective and useful way. It is done approximately every two hours for a specified number of days and then according to the needs of the child. Consistency is a critical factor! However, the protocol can be administered in between scheduled sessions, to assisting with transitions between activities, reducing overwhelm reactions, and re- organizing the nervous system after emotional upset.

The brush used for this technique, is a soft plastic surgical brush. This brush has been found to be the most effective in stimulating nerve endings in the skin. The actual brushing is done using a very firm pressure, starting at the arms and working down to the feet, avoiding the chest and stomach. The brushing is slow and purposeful providing “proprioception” (input through muscles and joints.) It is not ‘scrubbing’, and should never be painful, or cause damage to the skin. Children may initially react with crying or other avoidance measures because it is new, and the re-organizing can be disquieting. Generally within a few sessions, it becomes pleasurable and children will often ask for it or do it themselves.

The joint compression is also done in a specific pattern; ten count repetition, using light pressure. Students can be taught to do this themselves, by using an alternative method of ‘wall’ push-ups, and jumping."