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#289501 - 05/30/09 12:46 PM Eye problems (including reading) after abuse
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
I have been discussing here with didi about how early abuse adversely affected my vision and my reading as a small boy. I still have some kind of a reading problem. Didi has given me permission to discuss this problem as it relates to her son.

I had independently come to the conclusion that abuse was the major contributing factor to the problem with my eyes: I was wall-eyed (medically called exotropia, a kind of strabismus). But apparently for other people it causes the opposite condition: cross-eyes (medically called esotropia, also a kind of strabismus).

I had trouble learning to read as a small boy. Then when I did learn to read, I was a painfully slow reader. I had trouble in sports because I couldn't accurately judge distance. I couldn't tell where the ball was in playing softball. Even in playing marbles (which we played when I was little) I couldn't judge distances well.

Didi, who frequents the MS Discussion site, has a small son who experienced abuse at the same age I did. He has the same kind of vision problem, except Didi is being careful to find experts to work with her son to solve these problems.

I wonder how common this is among young abuse survivors. It is probably not correctly diagosed most of the time. Hence the need to discuss it here.

Interestingly enough, although it is distressing, is the fact that the specialist working with Didi's son identified a problem that mimics dyslexia. It is not dyslexia because the problem resides in the eyes and control of the eye muscles. It is a false dyslexia.

This is very important because even most eye doctors don't recognize that these eye problems can be caused by abuse.

I had vision therapy for a bunch of years as an adult to straighten my eyes. Surgery was unsuccessful. I was told that it was impossible to have success with vision therapy as an adult. But that was incorrect. Vision therapy has been largely successful with me. It has astonished some of the doctors who were told in medical school or optometry school that this was impossible.

I have posted a picture of myself at age 4 before the abuse started. The picture is in the member's side. It is clear that my eyes were correctly aligned at that time.

http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=288858&page=32

Straightening my eyes has greatly improved my reading and my appearance.

I hope this will stimulate discussion on this topic and on reading and eye problems related to abuse.

I am going to include the letter from one of the specialists who is working with Didi's son. I am doing this with her permission. The name of her son has been erased.

Allen

pufferfish whistle





Edited by pufferfish (05/30/09 02:58 PM)
Edit Reason: added link to my picture

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#289502 - 05/30/09 01:07 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Didi

Hello! I requested that my son's Dr. write a letter to the school to make them understand what he is going through. They mentioned putting him in "special" classes next year and I will not allow it because he does not have a learning issue, he has a VISION issue that is effecting his ability to learn. Let me know what you think...

__________________________________________________________

Following is the letter written by the specialist working with Didi's son. I quote this letter with Didi's permission.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Originally Posted By: Dr. Estelle Roberts


To Whom It May Concern:

Anonymous_boy was seen in my office for a visual-motor analysis and subsequently referred for a visual-perceptual examination and vision therapy.

His diagnoses include Accommodative Esotropia and Oculomotor Dysfunction. Either of these medical diagnoses, individually, would affect Anonymous_boy’s ability to obtain maximum academic achievement, and combined they potentially create problems in his ability to receive, process, and utilize visual information. Since 80% of learning that occurs during childhood is accomplished through the visual sense it is essential that you understand what he is experiencing and that you assist and support him in the classroom throughout his therapy program.

Below is a brief de>

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#289557 - 05/30/09 08:45 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
Riley Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/11/09
Posts: 597
Loc: USA
I can't say that my vision was affected by my abuse I don't think, although I was given glasses for a short while but when I grew out of them that was that, even to this day, I doubt it was caused by the abuse. I find this interesting though.

I'm just curious, how does the abuse cause this? Is it the high stress?


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#289566 - 05/30/09 09:10 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: Riley]
ComicBookGuy Offline
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Registered: 02/08/09
Posts: 443
Loc: London, England
I was lucky, only my height was affected by my CSA (which cleared up at 19) and not my eyes - we'll never know whether this condition is more likely to manifest if the abuse is serial over time, as opposed to a one-off "drive-by".

_________________________
- CBG

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#289574 - 05/30/09 09:24 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: Riley]
pufferfish Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Riley
how does the abuse cause this? Is it the high stress?


Of course this is the key question. How?? What is the mechanism?

The answer I think is not completely certain at this point. I have talked it over with my T and he suggests that maybe it has to do with the connection between the right and left halves of the brain (right and left cerebral hemispheres). These two halves are connected by a large bundle of connecting nerve fibers. The connection is called the corpus callosum.

We know that abuse has the ability to cause the brain to shut down the transmission of impulses in certain nerve fibers (they don't die, there is just a kind of roadblock implemented). This is the neurological cause of dissociation. So, if the transmission of impulses between the left and right hemispheres is impaired, the coordination of the left and right hemispheres is also impaired.

This impaired communication between the left and right cerebral hemispheres would have all kinds of implications including coordination of the eye muscles and the visual fields. It would also impair learning because the right hemisphere is concerned with visual and coordination interpretations. The left hemisphere is concerned with verbal intelligence. If they are not coordinated, then it is easy to postulate all kinds of learning effects.

Notice also, and not last or least in importance is the impairment of fine motor coordination involved in a child's learning to write and draw and play marbles, among other activities. Therapy would involve decreasing the burden of anxiety and fear connected with the abuse with counseling and psychotherapy, while giving remedial training to coordination of the eyes and hands. Learning to calm the effects of anxiety might help to decrease the effects of abuse that mimic HD and ADHD.

Allen

pufferfish whistle


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#289579 - 05/30/09 09:43 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Allen,

This is fascanting stuff.
Where do you get your info from.
Anxiety from abuse can induce effects that mimic hd and adhd.
I suffered from learning disabilities early in school.
I thought it was the result of neglect.
But this opens a new can of worms for me.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
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"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

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#289585 - 05/30/09 10:01 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: michael banks]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: michael banks
Allen,

This is fascanting stuff.
Where do you get your info from.
Anxiety from abuse can induce effects that mimic hd and adhd.
I suffered from learning disabilities early in school.
I thought it was the result of neglect.
But this opens a new can of worms for me.

Mike


I have also had some of these problems as a result of abuse. I have taught human anatomy and physiology at the college level for 13 years. I have read books on the hemisphericity of the brain and I have worked very hard at vision therapy to repair my own visual processing.

Allen

pufferfish whistle


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#289588 - 05/30/09 10:08 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
didi Offline


Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Allen,

I forgot about this article, it may help explain what you are talking about.

Take care,
Didi



Registered: 4
Posts: 66
Loc: USA www.thedoctorwillseeyounow.com/articles/behavior/ptsd_4/

_________________________
Raising children who have been loaned to us for a brief moment outranks every other responsibility!

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#289715 - 05/31/09 10:14 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: didi]
Riley Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/11/09
Posts: 597
Loc: USA
That is fascinating. I agree with Michael it opens up a whole new can of worms. I figured alot of the stuff had to do with PTSD, but perhaps some of it was physiological. Thanks for the info.


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#289737 - 06/01/09 01:05 AM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: Riley]
pufferfish Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Here is another interesting article which Didi found:

Originally Posted By: Didi

I found this article in the Oxford Health Journal..


Originally Posted By: Oxford Health Journal


Youth experiences of frequent attenders in general practice

Bert Schilte, Piet Portegijs and Nettie Blankenstein

Universiteit Maastricht, Dept Of General Practice, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

It is well known that major difficulties in childhood such as deprivation or abuse can influence physical and mental health throughout life. Frequent attenders with stress-related complaints are known with a higher prevalence of childhood difficulties. During the busy consultation hours of GPs, there is usually not enough time to explore the patient's life story, and often patient and GP do not recognize the interrelations of difficulties in childhood with mental and physical health in later life. We aimed to determine, within the group of frequent attenders in general practice with stress-related complaints, the size of the subgroup with major difficulties in childhood, and the extent of the contribution of different types of childhood difficulties to medical, social and psychological variables. Those participating in the study were 403 patients, between the ages of 20 and 45 years, in 18 GP practices, who frequently visited their GP (>15 consultations in the previous 3 years) with more than four medically unexplained symptoms. The patients filled in a questionnaire on their complaints, quality of life, use of medication, number of referrals, disability, coping style, chronic difficulties, life events and difficulties in childhood. Childhood difficulties were divided into deprivation of parental care, emotional overburdening (bearing too large a responsibility in the family or parents having involved them a lot in their own problems), and traumatizing events (such as physical or sexual abuse). Medical problem lists were obtained from the Registration Network of Family Practices (RNH). The validity of the youth questionnaire was assessed with in-depth interviews in a subset of 75 patients. A majority of our frequent attenders reported difficulties in childhood: abuse (sexual and physical) as well as emotional overburdening related to gender (women more than men) and lower level of work. Patients with abuse and emotional overburdening had higher scores on lifetime somatization, a higher medical consumption, often had passive coping styles and listed more chronic difficulties in relationships. They also reported at present more physical and mental complaints (depressive and anxiety), a lower quality of life and a lower subjective health. Deprivation in childhood was not related to any of the variables in our study. Problems in childhood, such as abuse and emotional overburdening, are important contributing factors to somatization, medical consumption, mental health, coping style and chronic difficulties in relationships. In spite of our practical experience, we were struck by the frequency and consequences of unfavourable youth experiences in frequently visiting patients. We would like to get feedback on our presentation and to share experience on this subject with GPs in other countries.



Allen

pufferfish whistle


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#290246 - 06/04/09 01:11 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
ashgray2 Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 3
If I feel my eyes are tired while I'm working, I always look for a pure green colored object to relax my eyes.
Since I'm always infront of a computerat any rate my eyes will be stress.
Sometimes I take some supplements that is good my eyes.

____________




Edited by ModTeam (06/04/09 01:48 PM)
Edit Reason: remove advert sig

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#291000 - 06/09/09 09:08 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
didi Offline


Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
It would make sense that EMDR would be an effective treatment for PTSD.

Knowing that PTSD has caused my sons Vision Issues, It certainly explains how Eye Movement could actualy HELP with it.

Not sure how it would work for children...

http://www.emdr.com/briefdes.htm


In 1989, Francine Shapiro (1995) noticed that the emotional distress accompanying disturbing thoughts disappeared as her eyes moved spontaneously and rapidly. She began experimenting with this effect and determined that when others moved their eyes, their distressing emotions also dissipated. She conducted a case study (1989b) and controlled study (1989a), and her hypothesis that eye movements (EMs) were related to desensitization of traumatic memories was supported. The role of eye movement had been previously documented in connection to cognitive processing mechanisms. A series of systematic experiments (Antrobus, 1973; Antrobus, Antrobus, & Singer, 1964) revealed that spontaneous EMs were associated with unpleasant emotions and cognitive changes.





Edited by didi (06/10/09 06:45 AM)
Edit Reason: more info
_________________________
Raising children who have been loaned to us for a brief moment outranks every other responsibility!

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#291450 - 06/13/09 06:02 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: didi]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Didi and everybody,

As I stated, EMDR was tremendously beneficial for me.

The sessions brought me emotionally right into the extremely painful abuse I had experienced. It was like a flashback X 100. But I don't say this to discourage anybody. The EMDR sessions brought lasting relief from those haunting memories in the back of my mind and the flashbacks and troublesome emotions they produced.

But the relief was permanent. Flashbacks come and come and come and come. EMDR was painful but it was a permanent fix. It stopped the flashbacks plus the elusive ghost-like emotions that crop up unexpectedly. I still needed talk therapy because I had to orient my thinking afterwards.

I might "watch-it" for little children. I don't know what their reaction might be. At least they should be watched very carefully during EMDR.

Allen

pufferfish whistle


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#291534 - 06/14/09 07:28 AM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
didi Offline


Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Hello Allen!

I might "watch-it" for little children. I don't know what their reaction might be. At least they should be watched very carefully during EMDR.

I had asked a therapist about this, and I do believe that you are right. Young children take thier time disclosing everything that happened to them. They could only handle "small doses" or they would certainly go over the edge.
EMDR may be a possibility in my son's teens.

Take care,

Didi

_________________________
Raising children who have been loaned to us for a brief moment outranks every other responsibility!

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#293250 - 06/26/09 08:21 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: pufferfish

I had independently come to the conclusion that abuse was the major contributing factor to the problem with my eyes: I was wall-eyed (medically called exotropia, a kind of strabismus).

I had trouble learning to read as a small boy. Then when I did learn to read, I was a painfully slow reader.


Here is a picture of exotropia in a boy. Notice the left eye.

This picture is not me(Allen = pufferfish). I have been told that I looked a lot like the boy in the picture. For me the right eye was the wandering eye.



It can be surgically corrected so that it looks normal. But it requires vision therapy to help both eyes work together and read together.

Allen

pufferfish whistle





Edited by pufferfish (06/26/09 08:40 PM)
Edit Reason: identity of picture

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#364075 - 06/13/11 01:01 AM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
I hope this is not crass. I don't intend anything negative by this post. I just want to reinforce this idea about eye problems as being related to abuse and the nervous system problems which stem from abuse.

This came up in the news yesterday. Look at the difference in the left eye before and after. I'm only making one point here: Brain damage can affect the eye control.






Certainly there's no argument about brain damage here.

If this offends anyone I'll be glad to take it down.

Allen


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#409455 - 09/07/12 11:55 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
pufferfish Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
There are some books out now which seem to strengthen this whole premise:

Fixing My Gaze, by Susan Barry and Oliver Sacks.

http://www.amazon.com/Fixing-My-Gaze-Scientists-Dimensions/dp/0465020739/

I don't think you have to buy this book to help you. There are other things which will help more. I'll add them as they come to mind.

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#410272 - 09/16/12 07:52 AM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
Farmer Boy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
Wow

I have to say this has opened a new can of worms of me too. I was first abused about 4-6 (I don't really know yet). I have had dyslexia type symptoms as long as I can remember. I also have bad depth perception, peripheral vision and fine motor skills. I sucked at sport obviously. My eyes are not visibly turned though. Reading has always been hard work. I bluffed my way through high school with B's in english and only ever read 1 whole book.

In my case it may be genetic though. My mum has a turned eye and my brother (who was also abused), nephews and my daughter (who I don't think have been abused) all have dyslexia type problems.

It does make you think.....
_________________________
More than meets the eye!

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#410325 - 09/16/12 08:04 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: Farmer Boy]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
My father had the same problem I have, but to a much smaller extent. My father's father (my grandfather) had it worse still. It is part of my conclusion that abuse has been handed down in that side of the family from father to son. The eye problem appears after abuse. Not all people with the problem were abused, and not all abused people develop the problem. My grandfather was orphaned at age 8 and he was sent to live with a family where he was apparently abused. The problem is more prevalent in boys than girls.

In my recent post on body memories I have pictures which document the development of my eye problem after abuse.

http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthr...9532#Post409532

Farmer Boy, I also went through high school without reading all the books and assignments. I think that some boys in that situation simply drop out of school at that point. This means that abuse often contributes to drop out rate.

Puffer



Edited by pufferfish (09/16/12 08:11 PM)

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#410349 - 09/17/12 03:29 AM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3379
Loc: somewhere in Africa
my eyes started going bad about the same time the abuse at home was getting worse. my vision deteriorated more rapidly when the bullying and abuse started at school. for a while i needed new glasses every 3-4 months. i thought i was going blind. it never occurred to me that the two might be related. at 13, when we moved and all the abuse stopped - except for the verbal & emotional stuff, my vision decline leveled out or slowed way down. i don't know if there is anything to this - but it sure is an interesting coincidence. another thing - i was the only one in my family that needed glasses as a child - and now that we are all more mature - my vision is still the worst (mom and 2 brothers wear glasses for reading) - and i was the only one abused.

Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#410441 - 09/17/12 08:01 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: traveler]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
My family moved to Denver when I was 15. They started noticing that I had problems. My eyes had "turned" and I couldn't talk. What other symptoms did they notice? Why did it take them years after the abuse?

My father took me to an eye doctor (ophthalmologist). The doctor was the father of the astronaut, Jack Swigert. I learned much later from my mother (that's how I always learned stuff) that the doctor said that my eye problems were from emotional problems. Well, so..... duuuuuhhhhhh

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Swigert

His role as an astronaut was portrayed by Kevin Bacon in the movie Apollo 13. Astronaut Swigert had graduated from the same high school that I was attending when his father evaluated my vision. He graduated from the same University from which I would later graduate. I didn't know any of that then and I didn't derive any benefit from that interesting information.

Puffer



Edited by pufferfish (09/17/12 09:21 PM)

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#425051 - 02/12/13 11:47 AM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
xxanxus Offline


Registered: 02/09/13
Posts: 23
Loc: Global
I was born with Esotropia and as a baby I did have surgery to straighten them out. The surgery was only cosmetic as it only fixed the appearence of my eyes. During my CSA my eye sight got significantly worse but I eventually learnt that the worsening of the problem was psychological. As I worked through my CSA issues in therapy my eye sight got slightly better. After my ASA I developed hysterical blindness for a few months, eventually with the aid of therapy my eye sight returned. But as an adult I can't drive and I rely heavily on my hearing

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#425081 - 02/12/13 04:59 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: xxanxus]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
This is a good thread for those of us with this problem.

My eyes exercise best when I'm shopping in Wal-Mart or similar store. That's not because of anything special about Wal-Mart. It's just that when I'm there pushing a basket, my eyes search back and forth and up and down as I try to find the items I need. In the process the eye muscles are getting a good workout under relaxed conditions. I get eye fatigue later. I also get a good eye workout seeing movies, especially 3-D movies.

I actually get dissociative pain in the back of my head after these "exercise" sessions. That's because the part of the brain chiefly concerned with vision is in the back of the brain.

Now that I've discovered I was probably secretly given LSD by the perpetrator when I was 12, I wonder to what extent this contributed to my eye problem. The eye problem got significantly worse during that fracas. I only have questions at this point, not answers. Did I go "nuts" when given the LSD and did the perp. knock me on the head to control me? Possibly this would explain why one of the eye clinicians, viewing my pictures post-trauma, stated that it looked as though I had experienced "blunt trauma" to the head.

Puffer

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#425627 - 02/17/13 10:07 PM Re: Eye problems (including reading) after abuse [Re: pufferfish]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Here is an important reference:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHxxMUQDIwM&noredirect=1

Also, the idea that the brain is plastic - it can change - we CAN relearn patterns from what abuse has taught us.

Puffer



Edited by pufferfish (02/17/13 10:09 PM)

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