The Basal Ganglia

What are the Basal Ganglia? The Basal Ganglia is made up of several sub cortical nuclei, they are strongly connected to the thalamus, cortex and brainstem. The functions of the basal ganglia are: planning and controlling voluntary movement, procedural learning and regulating the emotional aspect of behaviour. The basal ganglia regulate activity of the premotor and motor cortex via their effect on the tonic inhibition of the thalamus. The basal ganglia is comprised of the striatum (caudate nucleus and putamen), the globus pallidus, the substantia nigra, nucleus acumbens and the subthalamic nucleus. How do the Basal Ganglia work? “The sum of all experiences hours of practice memory emotion reward seeking and the plan for a particular movement are all integrated and result in one behavioural output due to the co-ordinated activity within the Basal Ganglia” Claudia Kreb. The basal ganglia have input from the motor association cortex and the sensory cortex and combine the information to decide if a movement should take place and then streamline the movement and stop unwanted movements. When we consider movement and motor plan selection, action and learning, we also consider the interplay between the direct and indirect pathways of the basal ganglia. The Direct pathway: The purpose of the direct pathway is to free the thalamus from its tonic inhibition (the thalamus would fire signals to the motor cortex to create movement if no input came into it), thus allowing for motor cortex excitation allowing target oriented and efficient movement to occur. The Indirect Pathway: The Purpose of the indirect pathway is to stop unwanted movement; it inhibits output from the thalamus resulting in less motor output. The interplay between the direct and indirect pathways allows for smooth, c o n t r o l l e d a n d c o - o r d i n a t e d movement. If there is too much output from the thalamus you could h a v e r a n d o m u n c o n t r o l l e d movements such as tics or dystonia. If there is not enough output from the thalamus, you can have a lack of appropriate movement, such as in Parkinson’s disease. How is the Basal Ganglia relevant is clinic? If we look more deeply at the importance of the basal ganglia we can appreciate the diverse and severe neurological conditions associated with basal ganglia dysfunction. These i n c l u d e To u r e tt e s s y n d r o m e, hemiballismus, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, dystonia and Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. We can also appreciate the beauty of learning a new motor program and the combined effect of the direct and indirect pathways allowing for movements that are wanted and disallowing unwanted movements. Learning a new motor program such a s p e rf o r m i n g a c h i ro p ra ct i c adjustment or a child learning to ride a bike. In clinic this is applicable in understanding and appreciating the normal developing child and the learning of new motor skills. It is also va l u a b l e i n h a v i n g a d e e p e r understanding of patients with neurological conditions affecting the basal ganglia. Clinical Tips: Adjustments: Increase input to the incoming sensory pathways, improve sensori-motor integration and increase oxygenation via improved thoracic spine and rib function. If someone has a sensitive system or dysfunction in the basal ganglia pathways such as displaying tics, tremors or movement irregularity then minimising overstimulation from high velocity upper cervical (manual or activator) adjustments would be beneficial. Adjustments that are worthwhile to consider include cranials and dural release (to stimulate the parasympathetics) and rib adjustments, especially standing or anterior to improve oxygenation to the brain. Copyright CCNP 2015. Permission is granted for clinical use, only with full acknowledgement of source BOOK REVIEW No Drama Discipline Dr Dan Siegel & Dr Tina Bryson The pioneering experts behind the bestselling The Whole-Brain Child now explore the ultimate child-raising challenge: discipline. Highlighting the fascinating link between a child’s neurological development and the way a parent reacts to misbehavior, No-Drama Discipline provides an effective, compassionate road map for dealing with tantrums, tensions, and tears— without causing a scene. Defining the true meaning of the “d” word (to instruct, not to shout or reprimand), the authors explain how to reach your child, redirect emotions, and turn a meltdown into an opportunity for growth. By doing so, the cycle of negative behavior (and punishment) is essentially brought to a halt, as problem solving becomes a win/win situation. Studies in neuroplasticity—the brain’s adaptability—have proved that repeated experiences actually change the physical structure of the brain. Since disciplinerelated interactions between children and caregivers comprise a large amount of childhood experiences, it becomes vital that parents thoughtfully consider how they respond when kids misbehave. Discipline is about teaching – not about punishment – and finding ways to teach children appropriate behaviour is essential for healthy development. This book provides tools for parents to immediately incorporate into their parenting regime. Including, a specific list of strategies called R-E-D-I-R-E-C-T. When our child is having a challenging moment (say, hitting mommy for example), try using one or more of these strategies to move your child away from his primitive and reactive “downstairs” brain and back to using his maturing logical “upstairs brain”. Reduce words Embrace emotions Describe, don’t preach Involve your child in the discipline Reframe a no into a conditional yes Emphasize the positive Creatively approach the situation Teach mindsight tool Books that matter In this section we will review resources that we find that are helpful for practitioners and are great for supporting the community in raising great kids How to use Great Books to read and have in your lending library to help families create happy healthy functioning lives. Home care advice: • Increase oxygenation with deep breathing ensuring ribs are moving • Eg: For kids blowing a tissue across a table or blowing bubbles • Decrease stress hormones via exercise, meditation, free play, decreased scheduled activities