• Focal Dystonia: The Root Causes Underpinning the Yips

      Gibson, Eve (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
      Cases of the yips have popped up from time to time in all different sports from MLB pitchers suddenly not being able to find the strike zone to professional golfers missing very short putts. A theory proposed by researchers to explain the yips is a motor dysfunction known as focal dystonia [2]. Dystonia describes a wide variety of movement disorders which are defined by intermittent or constant muscle contractions that create irregular and repeated movements [3]. It is worth noting that the yips affect not only gymnasts and golfers, but also a wide variety of skilled professionals, as the yips target fine motor skills and muscle memory [4]. The name of the phenomenon and the affected body regions vary depending on the area of expertise of the individual affected by this dystonia. Amongst golfers it is known as the yips, for professional gymnasts it is the twisties, and professional musicians call it musician’s dystonia [5]. What happens when the mind gets in the way of the body? Severe performance anxiety may be a catalyst for the yips. Psychological stress manifesting in muscular defects makes finding a treatment plan difficult and case specific. If the yips is not purely psychological, but is a motor control disorder, then how does a healthcare professional go about treating the symptoms?
    • The Undeniable Link Between the Brain and Gut

      Rhoads, Brigham; Jurewicz, Abigail; Nghe, Amy; Oliveras, Kiana; Nelson, Vanessa; Gingerich, Alexa (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-05)
      Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, and stomach pain are all kinds of gastrointestinal problems we have faced before. They are easy to dismiss as merely an upset stomach, but this mentality could build up and ultimately be detrimental to mental and physical health. Improperly caring for the digestive system can lead to extensive intestinal health issues. The microbiome is a collection of all of the microorganisms that thrive in the human digestive system. It is a cohesive network of beneficial, neutral, and negative bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses that help digest foods that are otherwise indigestible by our digestive tract among many other functions. Neglecting intestinal health by not nourishing the microbiome with proper nutrients, abusing medications, or excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a host of different health problems. For example, sleep disturbances, like insomnia, are a common symptom of a struggling gut. They can lead to chronic fatigue because the majority of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is pivotal in mood and sleep, is manufactured in the gut [1]. A more acute health crisis that can develop from improper care of one’s gut is the formation of peptic ulcers in the stomach or small intestine. Peptic ulcers are caused by a breakdown of the mucus membrane in the digestive tract and result in chest and abdominal pain, weight loss, trouble breathing, and in extreme cases expulsion of blood [2]. Who would have thought that what we eat could affect the development of healthy gut flora, which then can contribute to declining mental and physical health? This article investigates topics regarding the gut’s impact on body and mind, what lifestyle choices cause dysbiosis, and how Parkinson’s Disease can develop beginning in the gut to demonstrate how central the gut is to overall wellness.