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Brain injury blog, concussion blog

The Cognitive FX Blog

Your source for everything you need to know about traumatic brain injury and concussions.

Dr. Mark Allen PhD

Mark D. Allen earned a PhD in Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University with post-doctoral training in Cognitive Neuroscience and Functional Neuroimaging at the University of Washington. He has 15 years of research and clinical experience in fMRI, with 22 publications in tier-1 peer-reviewed scientific journals, 3 book chapters, and dozens of presentations at scientific and professional conferences in neuroscience, neuroimaging, and neuropsychology. Having collected and analyzed fMRI data from over 1,000 experimental subjects and over 300 clinically-referred patients, Dr. Allen is a pioneer and expert in the development of fMRI for use in clinical settings.

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Brain Injury Awareness  |  Education & Resources  |  Post Concussion Treatment  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

Neurofeedback for Post-Concussion Syndrome: Separating Myth from Fact

Neurofeedback is a confusing topic for patients to decipher on their own. Many clinics use big words and brief explanations, and they claim that neurofeedback can cure any number of conditions, from ADHD to post-concussion syndrome.

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Brain Safety & Care  |  Education & Resources  |  Post Concussion Treatment  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

Can Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Help with Brain Injury Recovery?

Oxygen is good for the brain. A lack of oxygen is bad for the brain. So is getting more than normal levels of oxygen better for the brain?

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Brain Safety & Care  |  Cognitive FX News  |  Education & Resources  |  Life After EPIC Treatment

What the Duke Study on fMRI Brain Scans Means for Post-Concussion Syndrome Detection

The Hariri lab at Duke University recently published a review that questions the reliability of task-based fMRI as used to examine individual patients. 

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Brain Safety & Care  |  Concussions  |  Post Concussion Treatment  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

fMRI vs. SPECT Scan for the Brain: Know Your Options

If you’re struggling to recover after a brain injury, dealing with healthcare providers is often a frustrating process. Unless you have a clear, severe injury, they might be dismissive of your symptoms or just may not have enough treatment options to help you. Oftentimes, they’ll order an MRI or a CT scan.

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Brain Injury Awareness  |  Brain Safety & Care  |  Concussions  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

How Do You Know If You Have a Concussion?

If you’ve been reading about concussion diagnosis and symptoms and feel confused, that’s pretty normal. Most advice about concussions feels vague. It’s hard to know what applies to you. And if you’re like most patients, you may be second-guessing yourself and unsure of whether to see a doctor after your injury.

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Brain Safety & Care  |  Concussions  |  Education & Resources  |  Post Concussion Treatment

Post-Concussion Syndrome & Extreme Fatigue: Why You’re Exhausted and How to Make It Better

It’s not uncommon for people in today’s society to be tired. The demands on our time seem to be never ending. However, there’s a difference between being tired from being on the go all of the time and the feeling of extreme fatigue.

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Concussions  |  Education & Resources  |  Healthy Food & Habits  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

Exercise After a Concussion: When Is It OK and What If It Makes You Feel Worse?

If you’ve recently suffered a concussion, you might be confused about when and how to return to exercise. Maybe you were told to avoid all physical activity until you feel better. But what if that time never comes?

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Education & Resources  |  Life After EPIC Treatment  |  Post Concussion Treatment  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

Recovering from Post-Concussion Syndrome: What to Expect and How to Get the Most out of Treatment

Are you still experiencing post-concussion syndrome symptoms even after resting like your doctor recommended? If you’re frustrated, tired, and in pain because your concussion symptoms won’t go away, you’re not alone. 

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Brain Injury Awareness  |  Concussions  |  Education & Resources  |  Post Concussion Treatment  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

Can an MRI Detect Post-Concussion Syndrome?

A regular MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) looks at brain structure and integrity. While it is helpful for diagnosing structural brain damage, it can’t often be used to detect post-concussion syndrome (PCS). However, a specialized form of MRI called functional neurocognitive imaging (fNCI) can detect PCS. 

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Concussion Rehabilitation: Types of Therapy and How They Can Help You

If you notice symptoms after a concussion, it’s best not to wait to seek treatment. If you’re the type to “wait it out” and see if things get better, then we recommend waiting no longer than three months. After that, it is very unlikely your symptoms will improve, so it makes sense to pursue active rehabilitation of concussion and post-concussion syndrome (especially if those symptoms interfere with your everyday life).

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Brain Safety & Care  |  Concussions  |  Education & Resources  |  Post Concussion Treatment  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

How to Find the Best Concussion Clinics Near You

The medical community can be painfully slow to adopt best practices, and concussion care is no exception. Many doctors and clinics recommend “cocooning” — i.e., rest and inactivity in a dark room until symptoms disappear — even though research shows that is not the best way to treat a concussion.

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Concussions  |  Education & Resources  |  Post Concussion Treatment  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

Multiple Concussions: Long-Term Effects and Treatment Options

If you’re like the majority of people who have had a concussion, then you likely recovered a few weeks afterward and have felt fine ever since then. Concussive symptoms typically resolve in 7 to 10 days (sports-related concussions) or within 3 months (non-athletes). But not everyone is that fortunate: up to 30% of post-concussion patients have lingering symptoms that don’t go away with time and rest. And even if you do recover and walk away with no long-term symptoms, it isn’t without consequence: You will always be more susceptible to another concussion than someone who hasn’t had one, particularly during the first year after your concussion.

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Concussions  |  Post Concussion Treatment  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

How to Treat a Concussion (Hint: It’s Not Rest)

If you visit a healthcare professional for a concussion, you’ll probably be told to lie down in a dark room until all your symptoms go away. If you get any other advice, it’s usually just another way of saying, “Rest.” But in most cases, that’s not the best way to treat a concussion. And in our experience treating hundreds of patients, many of whom have had symptoms that lasted for months or years, we know that it can be frustratingly ineffective.

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Concussions  |  Post Concussion Treatment  |  Traumatic Brain Injury

Concussion Symptoms: Causes, How Long They Last, and When to Get Help

Concussion symptoms can be confusing. They don’t always show up right away, they can come and go, and they don’t always go away without extra therapy. We treat concussion patients every day and answer these questions for our patients regularly. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to concussion symptoms, including:

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Brain Injury Awareness

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before My Concussion

Past patient, Anna Empey shares her experiences in a series of blog posts including "Perspective After a Brain Injury" and here in this post.  I sustained my first concussion in July of 2011, playing broom hockey. My roller skates slipped out from under my feet, and I hit the back of my head on the right side on cement. I didn’t know how severe my concussion was until I went to the doctor a week later with symptoms such as: Blurry Vision Headaches Fatigue Not Feeling Like Myself Difficulty remembering things including locations, words, names, and more. Problems sleeping and waking up At the time, it was diagnosed as a "grade 3" concussion, which means I also had lost consciousness for more than 30 minutes. I was told to rest for a few months, and slowly I got back into my life over the next six months. I came to Cognitive FX in 2015 about 9 months after I sustained another concussion on the front right side of my head in a car accident. It has taken me time to be grateful for both of my injuries, but most importantly I am thankful for who and where I am now. I wanted to share 10 things I wish I would have known before I had a brain injury.

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Brain Injury Awareness  |  Concussions  |  Education & Resources  |  Post Concussion Treatment

Can One Treat the Long-Term Effects of Concussion?

About a year ago I did an interview over the phone with a sports-talk radio show in Texas. The topic was concussion in high school football (Texas is all about high school football). I talked about treatment for long-term concussion effects and how new therapies are available that can be extremely effective. I also mentioned research that shows treatment effectiveness even when the concussion (or concussions) happened years earlier.

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Brain Safety & Care  |  Education & Resources  |  Life After EPIC Treatment

Physical Exercise and Brain Health

“Eat right and exercise” – this advice is nothing new, you’re tired of hearing it and you’re tempted to tune it out right now – but it’s not going away.  In fact, when it comes to brain health, this worn cliché is gaining more traction than ever. Here I’ll focus just on exercise and leave nutrition to another post.

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Education & Resources  |  Post Concussion Treatment

4 Components of Successful Concussion Treatment

 Originally Published at Utah valley Health & Wellness Magazine Here   As a scientist who studies concussion and does research on concussion treatment, I was recently asked what I would do if I needed concussion treatment. What questions would I ask, from my perspective as an expert? To answer this, my questions would focus on what I see as the four components of successful concussion recovery—diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and maintenance.

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Brain Safety & Care  |  Concussions  |  Post Concussion Treatment

What is EPIC Concussion Treatment?

By Mark Allen, Director of Research The Enhanced Performance in Cognition - EPIC concussion treatment provided at Cognitive FX is a highly effective approach to concussion rehabilitation. We have developed an optimal program for recovery that typically lasts about 1 week, with intensive daily therapy. Each day includes a cycle through specific therapies for each patient guided by her/his brain activation images (fNCI).

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