The Cognitive FX Blog
Your source for everything you need to know about traumatic brain injury and concussions.
Brain Injury Awareness | Concussions | Education & Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury
Parents love their children and want to provide the best possible support and care for their children. When your child or teen has a concussion or is trying to cope with long-term concussion symptoms, it can be challenging to know what to do and how much to do for your child. We understand watching your loved one be in pain, sort through the frustration and changes that come with experiencing a brain injury is not an easy adjustment for you. Naturally, we want to reduce the suffering of those we love, we begin to do more things for them with the intention to help them get better faster, or to reduce their level of stress. Sometimes the desire to take care of them can shift the relationship dynamic to a more codependent relationship. As children become young adults, it is important to instill a sense of interdependence, a space that encourages the teen to learn to be independent with support, guidelines, and a safety net. This empowers them to grow into healthy independent adults. This is also true for those who have a concussion and are learning what they are truly capable of.
Quite often we are asked what makes Cognitive FX unique in relation to clinics that have a background in functional neurology, including Brain Plasticity Centers. Here we review 8 key ways we are unique. 1- Our key founders have a degree in neuroscience or have been to medical school. Two of our founders hold a PhD and two of our founders is an MD. The founders brought together a team of multidisciplinary accredited therapists and trainers, each in their own discipline, to standardize a unique imaging and treatment protocol to effectively treat post-concussion symptoms. This includes neuroscientists, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, athletic trainers, licensed massage therapists, occupational therapists, and other professionals. 2- The thing that makes us the most unique is our objective imaging. Functional Neurocognitive Imaging (fNCI) looks at different regions of the brain and gives you a clear view of which brain regions are working correctly and which ones are not working as they should. This imaging is looking directly at your brain, not at any other parts of the body. When a doctor only looks at symptoms to try to figure out what is going on in the brain, things can be missed or misdiagnosed. The fact that we treat the source of symptoms rather than the symptoms alone is very important. This empowers our multidisciplinary therapists and trainers to have a clear direction and create a plan to help you make significant improvements.
Concussions | Education & Resources
What imaging is used to diagnose a brain injury? After a concussion or any hit to the head, you go to the doctor, and they tell you might have a concussion, but that it is no big deal because your symptoms will just go away with some rest right? Sometimes, but not usually. It would be nice to know exactly how you are feeling to provide the best overall treatment and a new imaging technology can do that. A Functional Magnetic Resonance Image (fMRI) is an imaging technique used to diagnose concussion and recognizes changes in the brain while you are asked to engage in cognitive tasks. Most people have heard of an MRI and but fewer have heard of a functional MRI (fMRI). So what are they and what is the difference between them? MRI produces static images of the anatomy of the brain and a functional MRI produces images of what is going on inside the brain as it is working. Functional NeuroCognitive Imaging (fNCI) fNCI is a unique form of a fMRI that uses specific tests to measure how the brain is functioning. fNCI is over 98% accurate at diagnosing concussions. In the past, concussions have been subjectively diagnosed by either giving the individual a post-concussion symptom scale (PCSS) to rate the severity of their symptoms or by asking the patient if they went unconscious after getting hit.
Brain Injury Awareness | Concussions | Education & Resources | Post Concussion Treatment
Currently, many doctors and other medical professionals tell their patients that the majority of people who have a concussion will recover in a short amount of time (under a month). However, new studies are showing that the risk for long-term symptoms is much higher than doctors and concussion specialists previously thought. Before seeking treatment at Cognitive FX, the majority of our almost 1,000 patients struggled with their symptoms for years. We have treated patients who suffered needlessly from post-concussion symptoms for many decades. Among the oldest concussions we’ve treated was a concussion from 60 years ago. Many of these patients had given up hope that recovery was possible. They saw their symptoms as a permanent part of their lives and futures. However, our research and patient improvement reports continue to prove that patients can drastically improve from their post-concussion symptoms. So what should you do if you fall into this growing percentage of the population with long-term PCS? Below are the first steps you can take toward your recovery.
Concussions | Education & Resources | Post Concussion Treatment
The brain loves taking the path of least resistance. This is true for blood flow and also for sending the communication signals in the brain when neurons are firing. Even a simple task requires different brain regions to work, or function, together at whatever you are trying to accomplish, be it reading this post, driving, writing, singing a song, or doing something as simple as opening your eyes, yawning, or breathing. Overall, when we are talking about brain function, we are talking about the ability for the neurons, the blood flow, and other systems in your brain to work and communicate with one another to do their job. After mTBI, injured regions of the brain can swell. Because the brain wants to take the path of least resistance, it will use different neuronal pathways to avoid the areas where there is inflammation. This change restricts blood flow in one or more regions of your brain, causing other regions to compensate for the regions that are injured. This means that different regions are over-exerting themselves to complete the work of the injured brain regions. Think of it as a receptionist who, on top of completing her own responsibilities, now has to do the job and work of the accounting department and the CEO. This imbalanced blood flow is what we call dysregulation, or dysfunction.
Brain Injury Awareness | Concussions | Education & Resources
Over the last few months our team has been working on a new booklet to raise the level of awareness and education around concussions.
Self-care is something we all forget about—until we push ourselves too far. We want to give you a new perspective on self-care as you continue to enjoy this summer. Often, we see or hear that self-care is taking a bubble bath or taking a nap, which could be part of self-care for you. These are relaxing, but here when we talk about self-care we are not just talking about relaxing. Another way to see self-care is taking care of your well-being. When we see the connection between self-care and well-being, we can recognize it as the foundation to have a life we want. This adds a new level of importance to taking care of ourselves and those we love. When creating a summer routine, here are 10 things to consider incorporating into your life to support you and your family. When we take care of our well-being this makes us available to support others in their well-being as well.
The EPIC Treatment method often brings about a significant amount of brain change in a short period of time, causing new blood flow regulation in your brain that can be drastically different than where it has been for a very long time. As with any sudden changes, the effects of this process, while overwhelmingly positive, can have some associated challenges. We call this the Traumatic Recovery Process. Every brain is unique. Every injury is unique. Thus, every recovery is unique. Understanding what to expect in the time after your week of EPIC Treatment can help you prepare for and successfully overcome these challenges.
Brain Safety & Care | Life After EPIC Treatment
Water. Something we don’t really think about until we are hit with a gigantic wave of what feels like an unquenchable thirst. We then spend the next few minutes chugging water like it is the last thing we will ever do. We are all really good at coming up with excuses for why we haven’t had enough water.
Everything Changed After My Brain Injury Past patient, Anna Empey shares her experiences in a series of blog posts including "10 Things I Wish I had known Before my Brain Injury", "Journaling Through Recovery" and here in this post. I lived with post-concussion symptoms, from two separate brain injuries, for almost five years. It was one of the hardest periods in my life, trying to make it through each day, dealing with the migraines, and fighting to live a somewhat typical life. My second injury, which was about three years into recovering from the first injury, had pretty intense impacts on my life. I pretty much quit everything I was doing. I had to keep my job and focus on working 40 hours a week, dealing with constant exhaustion and fatigue. I started avoiding crowds and people in my daily life, and, eventually, I stopped communicating much with anyone because finding words was hard. I also lived with light and sound sensitivity along with short and long-term memory problems. At this point, it was hard to see the glass half full, and I pretty much lived like my glass was half empty.
Brain Safety & Care | Education & Resources | Life After EPIC Treatment
Headaches can be a tricky symptom to address. They are often one of several symptoms that may present itself after a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI). On another hand, headaches are not a requirement to support an actual diagnosis in a TBI or post-concussion symptoms (PCS).
Brain Injury Awareness | Brain Safety & Care | Concussions | Traumatic Brain Injury
Adults 65+ years have the highest rates of traumatic brain injury (TBI) deaths, according to the New York Department of Health. Regardless of your age now, we all get older, even if we don’t want to. You can also think about your parents and grandparents, and the importance of helping those you love prevent an injury. Through these tips, you can learn how to reduce the risk of the elderly, or yourself from a concussion or brain injury. While a brain injury cannot fully be prevented here are some suggestions. Here are some tips to help prevent falls, specifically for the elderly:
The Cognitive FX Foundation is excited to present an afternoon about Brain Injury Awareness with TBI Survivor and Advocate Rekha Iyer. More Speakers include: Stephanie Kifowit, Illinois State Representative along with TBI Survivor, Amy Zellmer, Dr. Ryan Edwards and Dr. Lindsey Stull from the Dynamic Center for Vision Therapy, Chrys Chrysanthou the CEO of ClearEdge Brain Health Toolkit and Jash Desai. Please joins us this Saturday, March 31, in Oak Brook, Illinois from 3-5 pm. Donations of $25 per person to attend are encouraged but not required. RSVP Here This event will kickstart efforts to advance industry changing brain research, make treatment available to more people, and deliver to the masses the correct education to inspire impactful legislative changes.
Written by the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah
Brain Safety & Care | Education & Resources | Life After EPIC Treatment
As we start a new year, now is an excellent time to implement a new routine to help you live the life you want. Not sure where to start? Begin by thinking about these questions:
During the holidays it gets hectic and extremely stressful, particularly for those who already are trying to cope with everyday life with post-concussion syndrome or a concussion.
Concussions | Education & Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury
As Susan A. Connors said, “No brain injury is too mild to ignore or too severe to lose hope, but all brain injuries – including concussion – should be taken seriously.” Yes. a concussion is considered a brain injury. Many may not realize a concussion is a brain injury because it is called "mild," but it is vital that we recognize that ANY damage to the brain is a brain injury. We take concussions very seriously here at Cognitive FX and we specialize in concussion treatment along with treatment for other neurological diseases. No matter how normal a person with a concussion may appear, a concussion can have significant impact on an individual’s life and their ability to function. We are finding that the right treatment protocols can bring improvement, even for individuals who have been diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome.
Brain Injury Awareness | Brain Safety & Care | Concussions
Drowsy driving prevention focuses on "Stay alert, arrive alive." The national sleep foundation is helping to raise awareness of drowsy driving and the risks of driving when you are tired.
Booster Days are designed to help previous Cognitive FX patients obtain additional support after EPIC Treatment if needed.
It’s getting to be that time when children’s obsession with all things strange and maybe slightly scary is reaching an all-time high. They are picking out costumes, eagerly awaiting the sugar high they’ll inevitably have, followed no doubt by a SERIOUS sugar crash. It’s an exciting time; they get to be somebody else for just one night. Let’s go over some safety tips and tricks to ensure that the worst parts about Halloween are sugar crashes and an increased chance of cavities.