By Dr. Greg and Lyn Chappell
Now that you?ve given birth to this beautiful being, how will your child fare in a world of limitless possibilities? Did you know that your child has just as many brain cells as Albert Einstein? The key to his intelligence was not in numbers but in the amount of connections between them. How many connections will your child develop? To a great extent, that?s up to you. It?s no longer let?s wait and hope for the best. Recent research is bringing forth exciting new perspectives on body-mind interactions and their relation to learning, memory, and emotions.
A newborn child?s brain and neurological system are like a piece of clay, moldable as to structure and function. Its development is driven, in part, by the child?s experiences and environmental influences, initially from parents, then in time by community, society, culture, religion, and education. The key is how well can your child ?process? the information they are receiving and this depends to a great extent on the connections?
Children have a ?window of opportunity? to maximize brain development between the ages of 0-7. During this time they are forming more synapses between the cells of the brain in one second than we do in a month as adults. Recent neuroscience research is showing that this is not a set process. We, as parents, can have a significant influence to what level these synaptic connections are made which will determine brain processing potential for the rest of the child?s life!
Scientists are also finding that, during this special limited time, one of the primary drivers of brain development is sensory signal input (proprioception) from proper spinal joint function and body movement. These proprioceptive messages travel over the nerves, through the spinal cord, and to the brain. The less the interferences these messages encounter going to the brain the better the synaptic connections and continued integration of learning and memory functions.
Noted cell biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton (www.brucelipton.com) states that the less imbalance and restricted motion of the spine the better. He is a strong proponent of chiropractic care to safely, and effectively remove spinal imbalance improving proprioceptive and other body signals to the brain improving cellular gene expression for greater brain function and adaptation. This translates into higher intelligence and creative expression.
Authors such as Restak in The Brain: The Last Fronteir states ?Sensory stimulation has been compared to a nutrient. There is a dependence on sensory stimulation for normal brain development.? To paraphrase (for simplicity?s sake) Jensen in Learning With The Body In Mind, what the developing brain needs for successful movement and conscious thought growth is sufficient activation of the integrative centers of the brain. Without it, problems in learning can arise, which include attention deficits, reading problems, emotional dis-regulation, weak memory skills, lack of impulse control, slow reflexes, and impaired or delayed writing skills.
And where is the highest population of sensory signal senders in the body? The answer is the spine, particularly the neck! And the neck is especially vulnerable to misalignment from birthing processes and falls off the bed, learning how to walk, off jungle gyms, off bicycles, etc. Biederman, M.D. in Manual Medicine discusses the strain on the neck area just below the skull which is under a lot of stress during the birth process. Gutman, M.D. in Manuele Medizin states, ?The clinical picture ranges from central motor impairment and development to lowered resistance to infections, especially ear, nose, and throat infections.? He concluded that approximately 80 % of all children are not in autonomic balance and that many have atlas blockage or subluxation. His colleague, Fryman, examined a group of 1250 babies post partum and found cervical strain in 95 % of this group. Removal of these subluxations ? frequently resulted in immediate quieting, cessation of crying, muscular relaxation, and sleepiness?.
The sad part of this is that spinal imbalance can go undetected for years before symptoms show up. Out of the three trillion bits of information that the brain receives every second from the body, only 50 (not million or billion ? just plain 50) ever reach the conscious brain. Therefore, your child may have significant interference to these signals and have no awareness of it until long past their window of opportunity closes. This restricts the higher potentials to which intelligence could develop. How do you know if imbalances exist? Get them checked for spinal subluxations (imbalances) by a specialist trained to detect them, a chiropractor.
Once you get subluxations corrected, get the kids moving! In infancy, let them crawl unrestricted and watch for appropriate cross crawl movements (right leg and left arm should move at the same time). Restrict walkers and door swings to an absolute minimum as these may put their bodies in weight bearing sooner than their nervous systems are ready, therefore, messing up the neurological pathways development. Once they are up and moving, keep them moving. Restrict T.V., computers, and video games which require sitting and a lack of motion.
The brain is composed of about 60% fat and the roll of essential fatty acids in our diets is becoming more and more evident. Of primary concern is the ratio between Omega 3 and Omega 6. They should be in a 1:1 ratio. The typical American diet, loaded with hydrogenated fats, trans-fatty acids, refined carbohydrates, etc., is way overloaded with Omega 6?s. Typical ratios range between 20:1 & 50:1. But, you can help prevent this problem even before birth. Studies have shown that mothers who supplement with Omega 3?s during pregnancy and breastfeeding increase the intelligence of their child. (More info: www.mercola.com/fcgi/pf/2002/may/22/fish_oil.htm)
Other studies show that children who are breast fed for extended periods of time tend to have higher intelligence. A report published in the journal Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least one year and preferably 2, 3, or 4 yrs. Statistically significant increases were shown in I.Q., reading comprehension, mathematical ability, and test scores. This will also help reduce post partum depression of the mother! (www.icpa4kids.com) Make sure you get purified omega 3?s that have all potential toxins from the fish taken out. And, at the same time you are adding the good stuff, eliminate the negative influencers, primarily fast, fried, sugary, and processed foods.
And finally, touch them, hold them, and love them! Early nurturing through holding and touch is a wonderful form of sensory stimulation to the brain. Give your child a massage from the top of the head to the tips of the fingers and toes.
Building a quality house requires competent craftspeople and quality materials. Similarly, building health and wellness in the body requires appropriate nerve signals carrying the information of how to function in a healthy fashion and proper nutrition to form the building blocks for healthy cells and tissues. Your child is programmed to maximize their genetic potential. The only reason why they won?t is interference to the process. Give your child a ?jump start? during their window of opportunity through touch, proper nutrition, and chiropractic care. Then watch them flourish!