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June 6th - The BRIGHT Foundation featured presenter at ATSK

By Maryrose Rubenacker,

We are very pleased and excited to announce our first attendance to an international conference put on by ATSK-Alternative Therapies for Special Kids a now recently renamed foundation ASK-Alternatives for Special Kids- http://www.4healthykids.org.

The conference was held May 3-5 in Boston, and was well attended with over one hundred participants and speakers. The attendees came from places spanning as far as Australia and Israel. Presenterís approaches ranged from the new, cutting-edge to ancient therapies-all intended to develop and enhance cognition.

We would like to highlight some of the therapies featured, and also encourage you to link over to the ASK

Website for a comprehensive look at the therapy/biography and even a way to obtain supplemental material. We will in the future, have direct links to many of the speakerís websites. We are in no way endorsing any of these therapies specifically, but felt the need to bring some of them to the forefront.


First and foremost, the common running theme of all of these approaches was clear. The intensity of administering the therapy was always stressed, as well as the necessity for integrating several therapies to achieve your goals for your child.

Annie Lachaud, Practitioner, The Institute for Advanced Neuromotor Rehabilitation-Montreal:

A very interesting hands on therapy said to "cure" structural abnormality and function of the respiratory

system based on number of hours applied. A permanent center will be opening in Montreal applying this Leonid Blyumís approach. Annie has a son with cerebral palsy who she has dramatically treated with this method

Jay Kain, Co-CEO, Center IMT(Integrative Manual Therapy and Diagnostics)

This center applies a non-invasive, drug-free healing modality based on clinical and scientific research.

Through "listening" with their hands to circadian rhythms, the practitioner is able to assess oneís optimum flow(much like myofacial). You child is also given an intense home based program. Center locations are continually expanding. Traditional therapies are also conducted on-site. Jay has applied this modality to his daughter diagnosed with autism.

Matthew Newell, Director, Family Hope Center-PA:

Newell has founded a new not for profit agency that promotes an integrative developmental approach to reach mobility and cognition through an intense home based program written for the family to implement. The individualized program includes sensory stimulation, motor activities and a specific nutrition plan.

Alex Sutton Chairman, Institute of Biochemical Medicine-Australia:

Sutton applies the Schuessler method of treatment using natural minerals to balance pH levels in the body. He has an online based application and will assess and send you the appropriate purest forms of salts and minerals. He attributes much of the digestive difficulties in neurologically challenged children to the lack of minerals which canít be produced without exposure to a normal nonchemically altered diet.


We also had the pleasure of speaking and introducing our foundation. There was quite a bit of interest from the professionals in attendance. Many of the sessions went long as the need for these alternative and complimentary experts and practitioners really are looking for a platform such as the conference and our site, to get the word out. Confidently, in the majority of the presenterís cases, it was their child or a close relationship with one, which drew them to seek and become well versed in their approaches. We came home with much more experience under our belt and look forward to bringing you much more information to help our children. Please attend a special needs conference if you get the chance. The knowledge, encouragement and warmth you receive from the other families and speakers are immeasurable.


4/1/2002 - Mother of 13 yr brain injured child organizes Euromed conference to provide increased awareness of the Poland based  therapy program.

Below is Lynette's introduction to the upcoming Euromed conference which she is organizing.  Lynette has tried many therapies in Cody's 13 years, including two years of intensive IAHP, HBOT, etc.  Now she is advocating for Euromed.  The Bright Foundation does not have direct experience with Euromed, however we will hold an official interview with their staff and report our findings of what is unique about Euromed and what kind of success they are seeing. 

Thirteen year old Cody LaScala, who has cerebral palsy, return to Poland for his fourth visit to the Euromed Center. Prior to his visit, Cody, walked only with total support. After returning he took his first REAL steps. His second visit gave him gross motor skills of his arms and further improved his walking. His parents, Lynette and Rick are thrilled, "We have all been amazed with the progress Cody has made, each trip he comes back to show off his new abilities. He is living proof that the therapy does work!" Visit number three was as exciting and eventful as well, Cody learned to stop and turn which is yet another step to independent walking.

Since the programís inception in 1994, over 70% of the children who have therapy have seen significant improvements. Currently Euromedís patients include children from all over the world. LaScalaís belief in the Adeli Suit therapy prompted her to coordinate this conference so that other children can benefit as Cody has. For more information or a reservation for the conference, please contact Lynette LaScala-Kropf (563)264-2158.  http://www.euromed.pl/


WHO: Dr. Przybyl, Orthopedic Surgeon, and Director of the world renowned Euromed Rehabilitation Center in Mielno, Poland

WHAT: Euromed Chicago Conference with the the Adeli Suit Therapy, which is specifically intended for the rehabilitation of motor function in patients with Cerebral Palsy and other related muscle disorders. The presentation will include a detailed analysis and in-depth discussion of the program, demonstration of the therapeutic exercises using the Adeli Suit, video of patient sessions, and individual evaluations for treatment. The conference and evaluations are FREE.

WHEN: SATURDAY, APRIL 13 PRESENTATION 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m

SATURDAY, APRIL 13 EVALUATIONS 3:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

SUNDAY, APRIL 14 EVALUATIONS 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Four Points Hotel Chicago

10249 W. Irving Park Road

Shiller Park, IL 60176




THURSDAY, APRIL 18 EVALUATIONS 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast

3200 South Parker Road

Aurora, Colorado 80014


This free conference with the premier introduction of the Adeli Suit Therapy is coming to the Midwest. A new method of therapy utilizing the Russian cosmonauts Adeli Suit, returns motor function, balance, coordination of the both upper and lower limbs, and trunk to normal patterns. This will be a one-time opportunity for parents and therapists to learn first hand about this therapy. Free evaluations will be offered after the conference by Euromed Rehabilitation Center.


2/19/02 - Miscellaneous Brain Related Articles submitted by Monica

Here is a part of the IAHP coma study.  Monica recomends readig it if you haven't already:
Here is a really great article on neurogenesis:

Life among dead brain cells, new hope.


Awesome article.  Teaching with the brain in mind

Another reason to put on your running shoes. http://www.salk.edu/NEWS/rungage.html 

Better Thinking thru playing

Growth Factor Stimulation Leads To Increase In New Neurons In The Brain


Importance of protein called Integrin

Regeneration of subcortical pathways in rats


Healing the brain inside & out


Another sensory article about brain growth/primates:

Here is an article about brain dominance (asymmetry).  This proves an early Doman theory.

  Brain 'Asymmetry' Works for Reading Skills

  By Nancy A. Melville
  HealthScoutNews Reporter

  SATURDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthScoutNews) -- Asymmetry may suggest an imperfection or misalignment, but when it comes to the right and left
sides of the brain, the variations appear to have an important role
in children's reading and verbal skills.

  Language and reading abilities are known to be associated with the
left side of the brain, and, as seen in many matching parts of the
body, a natural asymmetry is normal, with the left side being
slightly larger.

  According to a new study, that extra space may pay off in language abilities.

  The study, published in a recent issue of the journal Child
Development, found that children with greater symmetry between the
two sides of the brain don't perform as well on reading-skill tests
as those with the more-common asymmetry between the two sides.

  The finding was based on study of 39 sixth-graders in Florida. The
children were given magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, then
tested for a variety of reading abilities, including pronouncing
unfamiliar words, determining missing words in a paragraph and
reordering nonsense syllables into words.

  The researchers found that children whose MRIs showed more symmetry between right and left sides of the brain didn't do as well on the tests as those who displayed asymmetry.

  In addition to examining the MRIs and the tests, the researchers
also considered the socio-economic status of the students, because
children from low-income families often have poor reading and verbal

  Although kids from low-income families did indeed perform more
poorly on the reading tests and low-income kids who had little
asymmetry showed the weakest mastery of language, overall the kids
with less brain asymmetry had consistently lower reading scores,
regardless of income levels.

  And those from lower income families had no greater levels of brain
symmetry than children from other income levels.

  "There were two main findings," says lead study author Mark A.
Eckert, an instructor in the department neuroscience at the
University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute. "One is that brain
asymmetry predicted the children's verbal ability, and the other was
that it was true in both economic groups."

  Eckert speculates that because the language facilities are known to
reside, for the most part, in the left side of the brain, those who
have more symmetrical brains, and hence smaller left sides, may be at
a language disadvantage.

  "It may be that if you have this reversed asymmetry, your language
isn't completely lateralized to the left hemisphere and you might not
be as good at processing oral language as other people," he says.

  Interestingly, the researchers also found that the correlation
between reading ability and brain asymmetry only applied to
right-handed participants. Eckert says the patterns were not as clear
in left-handed people.

  "In our studies, we frequently see relations between the asymmetry
and verbal ability of right-handers, but that relationship is
sporadic in left-handers" he says.

  Eckert says that before brain symmetry is even considered as a
factor to look at in children with learning problems, research must
be done to find out what kinds of intervention could help these

  Child development expert Dr. Jean Berko Gleason, a professor of
psychology at Boston University, says that regardless of the size or
shape of a child's brain, early intervention can almost always help
with reading and verbal skills.

  "I don't think you can draw the conclusion that you're predestined
to be a good or bad reader, because it's conceivable that early
language experience can indeed contribute to the development of your
brain," she says.

  "If people are reading to you and talking to you, and you have a lot
of linguistic experience from your earliest years, there's no reason
not to assume that your brain wouldn't develop to represent the
experiences you have."

  Early experiences of being regularly read to and spoken to can have
a powerful impact on not only reading skills later in life, but even
on the physical development of the brain, Gleason adds.

  "You have a period in early development where there is an enormous
proliferation of neurons in the brain and then there is a pruning of
those neurons to represent what your experiences have been," Gleason explains.

  Those experiences profoundly shape the development of the brain,
regardless of the amount of asymmetry between left and right sides,
she adds.




1/14/2002 - Professor Neville Hogan's work with Robot-aided neuro-rehabilitation

Using robots to assist the rehabilitation process will inevitably provide more precise, objective, and detailed data on what actually happens during recovery. That will in turn lead to a better understanding of the key biomechanical and neurological (and perhaps even psychological) factors required for successful rehabilitation. A better understanding of the biology of recovery will lead to better ideas of how technology can help rehabilitation. It promises to be an exciting future.

Neville Hogan, PhD

Recent Publications:

1/14/2002 - THE SECRET LIFE OF THE BRAIN on PBS on January 22, 2002

Watch THE SECRET LIFE OF THE BRAIN on PBS on January 22, 2002. This five-part series informs viewers of exciting new information in the brain sciences, introduces the foremost researchers in the field, and utilizes visual imagery and human-interest stories.

For more information visit the PBS web site at

Information about this educational opportunity is provided, courtesy of
Brain injury Resource And Information Network, Inc.
An Acquired Brain Injury Advocacy Alliance

12/30/2001 - News from Jeffrey D. Macklis
Associate Professor of Neurology

In personal communications, Dr. Macklis announced the exciting news that a new multi-disciplinary center is being formed with the goal of conducting basic research for Nervous System Repair.  Read about some of the exciting work of Dr. Macklis' lab in the articles below.  

Recent articles

Research affiliations

12/30/2001 - Injected Neural Stem Cells Restore Movement To Rodents

In research funded by grants from the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Project ALS.  The study was significant because it's one of the first examples where stem cells may restore function over a broad region of the central nervous system.  

Read more here

1/07/2001 - Brain Cells Can Be Generated Efficiently From Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Dr. Lorenz Studer, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, comments that "these findings provide an exciting body of work on the neural potential of human embryonic stem cells both in vitro and in vivo." While the techniques need to be refined, "both these studies are crucial first steps toward exploiting human embryonic stem cell technology for brain repair and provide experimental platforms of human brain development," Dr. Studer notes.  

Read more here


1/28/2002 - Introduction to Michael Merzenich's work on Brain Plasticity

Our laboratory is principally interested in 1) defining the neural bases of learning, recognition and memory; 2) defining mechanisms underlying the origins of functional brain illnesses and disabilities; and 3) developing training strategies for remediating learning-disabled and movement-disabled adults and children.

Mike Merzenich, PhD

Speech comprehension is correlated with temporal response patterns recorded from auditory cortex
Ehud Ahissar, Srikantan Nagarajan, Merav Ahissar, Athanassios Protopapas, Henry Mahncke, and Michael M. Merzenich
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.  2001 November 6; 98(23): 1336713372
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]
Disruption of the neural response to rapid acoustic stimuli in dyslexia: Evidence from functional MRI
E. Temple, R. A. Poldrack, A. Protopapas, S. Nagarajan, T. Salz, P. Tallal, M. M. Merzenich, and J. D. E. Gabrieli
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.  2000 December 5; 97(25): 1390713912 ; published online before print November 28, 2000.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]
Auditory processing parallels reading abilities in adults
Merav Ahissar, Athanassios Protopapas, Miriam Reid, and Michael M. Merzenich
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.  2000 June 6; 97(12): 68326837
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]
Cortical auditory signal processing in poor readers
Srikantan Nagarajan, Henry Mahncke, Talya Salz, Paula Tallal, Timothy Roberts, and Michael M. Merzenich
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.  1999 May 25; 96(11): 64836488
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]
Context-sensitive synaptic plasticity and temporal-to-spatial transformations in hippocampal slices
Dean V. Buonomano, Peter W. Hickmott, and Michael M. Merzenich
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.  1997 September 16; 94(19): 1040310408
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]


1/21/2002 - Dynamic Systems and the Feldenkrais Method                 

"I have been watching the Feldenkrais  treatment of several children with CP and they seem to respond very well. This is one thing I could suggest that is consistent with my theoretical and experimental work on motor development."

Dr. Esther Thelen, PhD

Recent Publications:

  • The Feldenkrais Method‚ : A Dynamic Approach to Changing Motor Behavior (Paper will be posted when approval from author is received)

  • Suggested reading list for Dynamic Systems Theory, Esther Thelen, October 2001 (we are working to bring you webpostings of this literature, in the mean time they are available at the library!)

    1. Traditional classics.

    Bernstein, N. (1967). Coordination and regulation of movements. New York: Pergamon Press.

    Gesell, A. (1946). The ontogenesis of infant behavior. In L. Carmichael (Ed.), Manual of child psychology (pp. 295-331). New York: John Wiley.

    McGraw, M. B. (1943). The neuromuscular maturation of the human infant. New York: Columbia University Press.

    2. Confronting more data.

    Thelen, E., & Fisher, D. M. (1982). Newborn stepping: An explanation for a "disappearing" reflex. Developmental Psychology, 18, 760-775.

    Thelen, E. (1986). Treadmill-elicited stepping in seven-month-old infants. Child Development, 57, 1498-1506.

    Thelen, E. (1984). Learning to walk: Ecological demands and phylogenetic constraints. In L. P. Lipsitt (Ed.), Advances in Infancy Research, Volume III (pp. 213-250). Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.

    3. Principles of dynamic systems.

    Gleick, J. (1987). Chaos: Making a new science. New York: Viking.

    Kelso, J. A. S. (1995) Dynamic patterns: The self-organization of brain and behavior. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

    Port, R. F., & van Gelder, T. (Eds.) (1995) Mind as motion: Explorations in the dynamics of cognition. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

    4. Dynamic systems and development

    Smith, L. B., & Thelen, E. (1993). Dynamic sytems in development: Applications. Cambridge MA: Bradford Books/MIT Press.

    Thelen, E., & Smith, L. B. (1994). A dynamic systems approach to the development of cognition and action. Cambridge, MA: Bradford Books/MIT Press.

    Kamm, K., Thelen, E., & Jensen, J. L. (1990). A dynamical systems approach to motor development. Physical Therapy, 70, 763-775.

    Thelen, E., (1992). Development as a dynamic system. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 1, 189-193.

    Thelen, E., & Smith, L. B. (1997). Dynamic systems theories. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.) Theoretical models of human development. Volume 1 of the Handbook of child psychology (5th edition; pp. 563-634).. Editor-in-chief: William Damon. New York: Wiley.

    Goldfield, E. (1995). Emergent forms: Origins and early development of human perception and action. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    4. The dynamics of neural organization and plasticity.

    Edelman, G. (1987) Neural Darwinism: The theory of neuronal group selection. New York: Basic Books.

    Kaas, J. H. (1991). Plasticity of sensory and motor maps in adult mammals. Annual Review of Neurosciences, 14, 137-167.

    Georgopoulos, A. P. (1995). Motor cortex and cognitive processing. In M. S. Gazzaniga (Ed.) The cognitive neurosciences (pp. 507-517). Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

    Merzenich, M. M., Allard, T. T., & Jenkins, W. M. (1990). Neural ontogeny of higher brain function: Implications of some recent neurophysiological findings. In O. Franzn & P. Westman (Eds.) Information processing in the somatosensory system (pp. 193-209). London: MacMillan.

    5. Learning to reach

    Hofsten, C. von (1991). Structuring of early reaching movements: A longitudinal study. Journal of Motor Behavior, 23, 280-292.

    Thelen, E.. Corbetta, D., Kamm, K., Spencer, J. P., Schneider, K., & Zernicke, R. F. (1993). The transition to reaching: mapping intention and intrinsic dynamics. Child Development, 64, 1058-1098.

    Corbetta, D., & Thelen, E. (1996). The developmental origins of bimanual coordination. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 22, 502-522.

    Thelen, E., Corbetta, D., & Spencer, J. P. (1996). The development of reaching during the first year: The role of movement speed. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 22, 1059-1076.

    Zaal, F. T. J. M., Daigle, K., Gottlieb, G., & Thelen. E. An unlearned principle for controlling natural movements. (Submitted).

    6. The intersection of perception, cognition, and movement.

    Diedrich, F. J., Thelen, E., Corbetta, D., & Smith, L. B. (2000). Motor memory is a factor in infant perseverative errors. Developmental Science. 3, 479-494.

    Jeannerod, M. (1997). The cognitive neuroscience of action. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Smith, L.B., Thelen, E., Titzer, R. , & McLin, D.(1999) Knowing in the context of acting: The task dynamics of the A-not-B error. Psychological Review.106, 235-260.

    Thelen, E., SchŲner, G., Scheier, C., & Smith, L. B. (2001). The dynamics of embodiment: A field theory of infant perseverative reaching. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24, 1-34.

    7. Exploration and selection in learning new skills

    Adolph, K. E. (1997). Cognitive-motor learning in infant locomotion. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development.

    Sporns, O. & Edelman, G. M.(1993). Solving Bernsteinís problem: a proposal for the development of coordinated movement by selection. Child Development, 64, 960-981.

    Thelen, E. (1994). Three-month-old infants can learn task-specific patterns of interlimb coordination. Psychological Science, 5, 280-285.

1/21/2002 - Constraint Induced Movement Therapy

CIMT has 2 basic premises: 1) learned non-use and 2) cortical reorganization. Taub states that following a brain injury, the individual learns that the unaffected limb is much better at performing tasks than the hemiparetic limb. And that attempts to use the affected limb are usually met with failure or embarrassment or other negative feeling/emotion/event. As a result, the person gradually stops using the impaired limb and relies on the intact limb. = learned non-use.  Taub also believes that the brain can be rewired so that it can learn to move the affected limb again, but that this takes a great deal of repetitive movement exercises. There are numerous research studies out there that validate this cortical reorganization theory.

Summary by Karyn (a BRIGHT member)

Recent Publications:


The BREAKTHROUGH initiative's goal is to raise funds for improved treatment options and innovative research.

Every year hundreds of promising research projects, all of them approved through a rigorous national peer-review system, cannot be funded because there is not enough money to support them. By pushing research dollars into projects that have demonstrated significant potential for discovery, the BRIGHT Foundation can guarantee the highest possible return on every research investment.

How are Research Dollars Allocated?
Every level of giving, from $50 to $500 and up, has a direct impact on research and quality of life programs. The number of research awards given and quality of life programs developed each year is directly related to the amount of funding the BRIGHT Foundation receives.

What Can You Do?
Click on the link above to donate today!

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