While recovering from COVID-19, you may find yourself getting breathless easily from activities that didn’t used to tire you, like carrying laundry or walking up the stairs.
Concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), pose potentially significant health issues no matter their severity. Despite this, as many as five in 10 concussions aren’t reported or detected.
If you’ve been feeling fuzzy-headed and have been struggling to concentrate since you’ve had COVID-19, you’re not alone. Even months after the disease, some patients still can’t shake the feeling that their brain is lost in a maze. Many describe it as walking through a fog, unable to see where they’re going.
Have you ever gotten stuck in a task, set it aside for a while, and then discovered that it somehow seemed easy when you came back to it? If so, you’ve experienced the power of strategic breaks to re-energize your brain. If you’re recovering from a traumatic brain injury, these breaks play a vital role in revitalizing your brain throughout the day.
Sustaining a traumatic brain injury can be a challenging experience. You probably felt angry, demoralized, helpless, and even hopeless in the days following your injury. For some people, these feelings eventually subside and disappear — but that didn't happen for you.
Even after you've recovered from the acute symptoms of COVID-19, you might find yourself struggling with short-term memory loss, concentration issues, and other cognitive symptoms. If it's been weeks (or even months) since you had COVID-19, it can feel like there is no reason why you should still feel this way. These lingering symptoms after initial recovery from COVID-19 have become known as “Long COVID” and can have a debilitating effect on your life.
If you’ve been struggling with lingering symptoms after a brain injury and even a mild jog is enough to trigger misery, then you might flinch at the idea of high-intensity interval training as a recovery method. But there is a way to exercise while keeping your symptom levels down.
Tingling hands following a concussion (mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI) might sound relatively minor, but for anyone who’s had the misfortune to experience this symptom, it can be painful, puzzling, and disruptive to daily activities.
Many doctors’ first response to a concussion is to recommend resting in a dark room until symptoms go away. And if that doesn’t work (and it won’t for up to 30% of post-concussion patients), their next step is often to prescribe medications for the symptoms that haven’t gone away.
Post-concussion syndrome is an “invisible” illness.
Following concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), impaired vision and vision-related symptoms are common. Signs and common symptoms include blurred vision, light sensitivity, light-related headaches, eye movement issues, and more.
The type of head injury doctor you need to see depends on the type of injury you’ve experienced and how long ago the injury occurred. Doctors who excel at concussion treatment, for example, are often not the doctors you would see for a skull fracture.
When people think of concussion symptoms, they often think of the obvious ones: headaches, drowsiness, fogginess. What they don’t expect are gastrointestinal issues.
Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion (mild traumatic brain injury or mTBI), and other head trauma can cause high blood pressure, low blood pressure, and other circulatory system changes. Head injury may lead to dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system (a condition known as dysautonomia), which in turn can cause blood pressure dysfunction and other symptoms to persist for months or years after the injury. Some patients experience a particular type of dysautonomia known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which we discuss further in the post.
Perhaps this sounds familiar: You wake up from a relaxing nap expecting to feel refreshed, but instead, your heart is pounding for no reason. Or you stand up after a few hours on the couch and feel lightheaded and unstable. Maybe your resting heart rate is now 90, even though it used to be 65.
If you’ve had a severe or mild traumatic brain injury (severe TBI or mild TBI) that’s left you with post-concussion syndrome (PCS), just thinking can be taxing. Cognitive health is “the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember,” but a brain injury can disrupt these processes, either temporarily or in the long term. This can make day-to-day functioning a challenge, to say the least.
Mild and severe traumatic brain injury (concussion and TBI) can cause upsetting changes to your mental health. You may find that preexisting mental illness worsens after your injury or that new symptoms — such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more — arise. Don’t give up hope: There are good treatment programs that can help you improve.
The fight with cancer is difficult enough, so it’s understandable if you’re frustrated and confused by the cognitive symptoms that can crop up after chemotherapy. Memory problems? Clouded thinking? Fatigue? No thanks!
Dizziness. Nausea. Balance problems. Car-sickness. These are a few of the unpleasant symptoms of vestibular dysfunction after a head injury. Fortunately, they don’t have to be permanent; most patients make rapid improvement with a good therapist.
Recovering from a head injury is an emotional, difficult journey whether you’re male or female. On that journey, women face a few hurdles that men do not. Today, we’d like to talk about those hurdles and a few ways you can handle them as they come.
Here’s something you probably won’t hear in the emergency room: A transient ischemic attack (TIA, or mini-stroke) can have symptoms that last for months or years afterward. Many healthcare providers think these symptoms are rare or at least short term, but a 2013 survey from the UK Stroke Association showed otherwise. Seventy percent of respondents reported long-term after effects such as cognitive difficulties or poor mobility. And sixty percent had emotional changes after the incident.
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.
Dry needling and acupuncture can help relieve certain post-concussion symptoms. They are not a cure-all, either for acute concussion or post-concussion syndrome, but if you suffer from headaches, neck and back pain, or nausea, keep reading.
At our post-concussion treatment clinic, patients sometimes present with short- or long-term hormone dysfunction after brain injury. While we don’t treat hormonal imbalance at our clinic, we often make referrals for it and communicate with our patients’ physicians about their condition.
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?
Low energy, difficulty concentrating, brain fog, anxiety, depression, memory problems...
Some doctors say it’s absolutely unsafe to drink liquor when you’re recovering from a concussion. Others say it’s safe, but it might set back your recovery. Still others say, “Why not substitute a fancy coffee for your favorite cocktail on your next night out?” (Please don’t do this. We’ll explain why later in this post.)
What should you do when your concussion symptoms don’t go away?
The Hariri lab at Duke University recently published a review that questions the reliability of task-based fMRI as used to examine individual patients.
Between 80,000-90,000 of people who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year develop long-term disabilities related to their TBI. Many others suffer from a variety of long-term, problematic symptoms that continue to interfere with their lives. When they try to get help for these issues, they are often told there’s nothing more that can be done — or worse, that there’s nothing wrong with them at all. Here’s the good news: Recovery can and does continue for patients who find the right help.
There is a whole world of hurt and pain for patients who experience mental health symptoms after a concussion. Not all of them realize that concussions can cause anxiety, and those who do know it don’t know why it’s happening or how to fix it. Many visit psychiatrists who prescribe medication that may just make things worse (something we’ll explain in depth later in the post).
It should come as no surprise that COVID-19 — both the illness itself and all the situational changes that come with the coronavirus pandemic — is messing with our minds. Many people are experiencing heightened anxiety in response to the pandemic, and not just people who have experienced anxiety before.
While the world wrestles with the COVID-19 pandemic, most news coverage is focused on what’s before us: death tolls, the emergence of new signs and symptoms, and the search for viable treatments. And this is as it should be. However, there’s something you should know that the news does not often emphasize: Of the many people who recover from COVID-19, a small percentage will have consequences of the disease that will outlast acute infection.
Note: While this quiz will give you some insight into your current conditions, your results are only as good as your answers. It is not a substitute for seeing a doctor and is not official medical advice. If you’re experiencing any of the signs of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), seek medical attention immediately. Otherwise, feel free to use this quiz as a starting point to determine if you need further care. Also note that, while we may record your responses, it is not linked with any personally-identifying information.
[Note: This article was written during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We recommend that you check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for travel advisories and health information when making travel decisions.]
If you’ve had a concussion (or two, or three … ), there’s a good chance someone told you to rest in a dark room and do nothing until your symptoms go away. But research over the past few years has revealed that resting in a dark room (known as “cocooning”) is not the best way to treat a concussion.
We can all agree that nausea is terrible. If it’s a one-time thing because you ate expired yogurt, well, it’s not the end of the world — you’ll be back to normal in a day or two. But nausea that lasts for days? Or comes back every time you exercise? It’s awful.
Brain fog is one of the most common symptoms of a concussion. On lists of warning signs of a concussion, it might be listed as “trouble concentrating,” “slowness in thinking,” or even “difficulty remembering and learning new information.”
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is difficult enough to handle alone. When you add concussions into the mix, it can feel overwhelming. The relationship between ADHD, concussions, and post-concussion syndrome is still being researched, but that doesn’t mean there’s no good info or treatment options for patients who need them.
Light sensitivity (photophobia) can manifest in different ways for different people. For example, you might:
Personality changes (or what feels like them) are common following a traumatic brain injury. Even a concussion can affect the brain long after it’s healed from the initial injury. The way we process and understand information can change as a result of the injury, so it’s not surprising that our emotions are affected too.
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.
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?
When you get a concussion, you may worry about when it’s safe to sleep. You might even have a friend or a family member wake you up every few hours. And while that is sometimes necessary (if you have a severe injury and have not yet received medical attention), most of the time, it’s better to sleep as much as you can while you heal.
Many people who have a concussion suffer from some kind of vision problem as a result of the concussion. However, except for “blurry vision” or “sensitivity to light,” the vision problems people often experience after head trauma are not usually listed among the most common concussion-related symptoms. These symptoms are often overlooked and left untreated, or they are not treated as effectively as possible.
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.
If you’re searching for answers and think you might have post-concussion syndrome (PCS), the path to diagnosis can be challenging. Few medical professionals are experts on the condition, and many lack the most sophisticated diagnostic tools. Many doctors will make a diagnosis based on concussion symptom history and a quick physical examination. Others will supplement their findings with imaging or computerized testing.
“I feel like there’s a tight band around my head.” “My head feels like it’s blowing up like a balloon.” “I have a constant pressure headache.” “I feel like my head is being pulled apart between the eyes.”
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.
Whenever we hold a new patient consultation, we discuss the medicine and supplements that patient has been taking for concussion symptoms. We see a variety of medications for concussion that doctors throughout the U.S. and Europe are prescribing. We also see if they’ve been helping or hindering our patients.
Neuroplasticity, from a clinician’s view, is the ability of the brain to change and heal itself. From a scientific perspective, neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to affect the synaptic transmission of information in response to external stimuli.
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.
A concussion and multiple concussions can cause symptoms like depression, trouble focusing, irritability and other symptoms that make your child feel like seem like they are not themselves. Brain damage from a concussion can cause emotional symptoms that do not resolve on their own. As a parent, you may have noticed that your child did not to act out or have behavioral problems before the concussion. Understanding that the behavior or complaints you recognize in your child or teen are unusual for them, it is safe to assume it is due to the concussion. While some symptoms like moodiness, rudeness, or anxiety may come from other possible sources, it is possible that they’re coming from a concussion they sustained. Your child does not want to be grumpy or suddenly outburst over simple occurrences. It is not uncommon for children and teens to have behavior difficulties resulting from a concussion diagnosis, associated behavior symptoms/changes include:
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.
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.
Did you know the scientific name for an Avocado is Persea Americana? The avocado is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to various dishes due to its flavor and texture. The avocado has become an extraordinarily popular food among health-conscious individuals. It is known as a super-food, which isn’t surprising because of its health properties.
Going to school can be tough for any child or teen during this phase in their lives. They’re discovering themselves and where they fit in a sea of opportunities. Attending school can be especially tough when they are experiencing concussion symptoms. These symptoms can make your child or teen feel socially isolated because other children or teens don’t understand why they can no longer participate in gym class or why their class schedule has changed. It can be tough for your child to explain why things have changed or they might feel embarrassed about the changes that happened at school.
If you're like most people whose mood is impacted by the winter season, chances are you've woken up on a gray, winter day and wanted to stay in bed. We understand a case of the winter blues is likely to develop like the common cold. We have come up with a couple of ways to overcome this season's case of the winter blues, and we hope you can find the sunshine even on the rough days.
Parents who support their children recovering from post-concussion syndrome or symptoms (PCS) are in challenging circumstances. Many times parents and their injured child, are not fully supported throughout recovery. Often they are left with unanswered questions, and they are left searching and seeking resources to help them to help their child. We have asked parents of our patients, and parents of those who take care of individuals with PCS for things that would help others in their journey and this is what we gathered. The Recovery Rollercoaster We know this process can be frustrating, overwhelming, and it is a roller coaster of emotions for all involved. Throughout this process, you may experience feelings of frustration, empathy, and in some cases even heartache, hopelessness, and fear. It’s hard to watch your child suffer and feel you can’t do anything about it.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet? The Ketogenic diet was developed in 1921 to treat epileptic children. This diet was originally designed for 80 to 90 percent of calories to come from fat, 5 to15 percent to come from protein, and 5 to 10 percent to come from carbohydrates.
Oxford Dictionaries defines stress as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Everyone is very familiar with experiencing stressful events in their life. Stress occurs every day and comes in various forms. Stress from trying to juggle family, work, friends, and school commitments can be overwhelming. Stress can also develop from issues like health, money, and relationships.
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.
It is that time of year, time to set back your clocks by an hour. The end of daylight savings time is a time of year that many people look forward to for that extra hour of sleep. This one-hour change can have some negative impacts when it comes to driving safety.
Essential fatty acids seem to be a big fad right now. BCC Research states, “The global market for natural fatty acids sourced from vegetable oils, animal fats is projected to reach more than $25.7 billion in 2019.” But why? What is so important? What is so essential about them? Here’s the low-down.
This week is Child Passenger Safety Week, and we want to share more about ways to keep your kids safe in the car. Car seats and boosters protect infants and children in a car accident, yet car crashes are a leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 13 years old. Car accidents often lead to traumatic brain injury for the driver and passengers, including children. The most important way to keep kids safe is by using the right car seat for them. Below are the different types of car seats on the market and the age recommendation for each type.
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.
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.
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.
Over the last few months our team has been working on a new booklet to raise the level of awareness and education around concussions.
What comes to mind when you think of the word “syndrome?” Many commonly known syndromes are often associated with genetic factors or medical diseases that are often lifelong or have lasting effects. Because we know that many post-concussion symptoms are treatable, Cognitive FX agrees with the recent change in terminology and diagnosis that replaced post-concussion syndrome with the more accurate title of post-concussion symptoms. What was post-concussion syndrome? According to the latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), post-concussion syndrome included “subjective physical complaints (i.e. Headache, dizziness), cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes. These disturbances can be chronic, permanent, or late emerging” (King, Crawford, Wenden, Moss, & Wade, 1995). More specifically, post-concussion syndrome referred to a cluster of problems that emerge or worsen after receiving a concussion, with symptoms lasting longer than three months.
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).
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:
A concussion is defined as “the result of the forceful motion of the head or impact causing a brief change in mental status (confusion, disorientation, or memory loss), with or without a loss of consciousness.”
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to multitasking, we all think we’re great at it, but really only about 2% of people can successfully multitask, according to Psychology Today. Even if you think you MIGHT be one of these people, chances are, you’re probably not. Yet it seems that we all like to test out that theory in inappropriate places, specifically when we’re on the road. Most of us have sent a text or talked on the phone while driving, but we also all have been in or know someone who has been in an accident involving distracted driving. You’d think we would have gotten the hint by now, especially with driving laws being the way that they are. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, “ 15 states prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving”, and “all states except 2 include at least one category for distraction on police crash report forms.”
Dr. Mark Allen, and Dr. Alina Fong presented at Pink Concussions 4th conference Pink 4 hosted in Rome, Italy after the Pediatric Aquired Brain Injury Conference. This presentation explores important topics related to concussion research and development which leads to better concussion treatment, and treatment outcomes.
Sleep: something we tell ourselves we don’t have time for, yet we always seem to need more of it.
The new school year is just around the corner; kids are preparing for another year of learning, friendships, and experiences, and mothers are rejoicing everywhere! Whether it’s vocabulary tests, after school clubs, or sports, your kids are going to be kept pretty busy, and you want them to have the best and safest year possible. The benefits of getting children physically active at a young age are numerous. According to The Aspen Institute, physically active children are 15% more likely to attend college, score up to 40% higher on tests, and are 1/10th as likely to be obese. Whether this is their first year or their last participating in sports, every child wants to perform the best they can. Every parent wants their child to have a good time while also staying safe so they can keep playing the sports they love now and lead healthier and more successful lives later. http://youthreport.projectplay.us/the-solution Here are some tips on things to help you keep your athlete safe and have a successful season.
The brain is the most important organ in the human body. It regulates the profuse amount of information that the body needs to regulate itself. This includes comprehending pain levels, regulating blood pressure, controlling nervous response, creating and secreting hormones, assisting digestion, along with coordinating the countless other signals the body sends to the brain to help our body function. It is so important to give your brain the vital nutrients it needs to keep your body running in tip top shape.
The Cognitive FX EPIC Treatment program is designed to help patients recover from a concussion in a week. Centered around the specific deficits and symptoms of each patient, this week is intense for the mind, brain, and body, and uniquely customized to each individual. We use standard modalities that have been amplified for our patient’s specific needs such as Neurological Occupational Therapy, NeuroMuscular Therapy, Vision Therapy, Brain Games, De-stimulation and more. Our team focuses on giving the “Just Right Challenge” to help our patients know when to push through an exercise or when to rest or slow down a bit. The “Just Right Challenge” is simple. As you start the day you work to get to your optimal activity level. We often try to push through the mental and or physical challenges. Instead of pushing through pain and symptoms to the point of crashing, we have you slow down or take a short break , with the goal to get back to your optimal activity level again. As you move forward with this challenge, the goal is to need and take fewer breaks.
On a regular basis, we’re asked if gender and/or age influence one’s ability to recover. We are also asked if how someone was injured, or how long it has been since their injury will influence their ability to recover. Our research has found that while it is important to understand these demographics, these factors don’t deter the ability to recover in a short period of time.
Any good scientist knows that in every good data set there must be a way to look at the data objectively and subjectively. Without both types of data, it can be hard to have a full picture and understanding of what is being studied. What Does Objective Measurement Mean? Objective measurement is something that is measured consistently. For example, measuring how well someone can perform a set number of tasks in a controlled environment. There are no other factors that can alter the data gathered with this measurement.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) which is caused by the brain hitting the skull. This can happen in sports, car accidents, falling, or anything similar. A concussion can even be the result of a whiplash. Whenever the body moves quickly back and forth and the brain in turn hits the inside of the skull, it can result in a concussion. A concussion can cause damage to nerves and neurons, alter the blood flow in the brain, and cause chemical and functionality changes in the brain.
Using functional NeuroCognitive Imaging (fNCI) brain scan technology, we are able to measure the function and activation levels of 60 regions in the brain. We can clearly and objectively see which parts of the brain are working too hard or not working hard enough. Many of our patients are grateful for the objective analysis of fNCI because it gives them a precise understanding of how their injury is influencing their brain's ability to work efficiently.
Concussions may be the hardest form of traumatic brain injury to treat due to the convoluted nature of long-term symptoms and how those symptoms can be misdiagnosed or even undiagnosed.
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.
Neuro refers to brain cells, also known as Neurons; Vascular means the blood supply or blood flow which is the same as the vascular system; and Coupling means connection. NeuroVascular Coupling (NVC) is the connection between neurons and their vascular supply, which is their energy source required to function properly.
fNCI Beginnings & Research For over a decade, Notus Neuropsychological Imaging has been researching the human brain and the effects of concussion. During this time, Notus developed an imaging technology called Functional NeuroCognitive Imaging (fNCI) that examines over 60 regions of the brain, making it possible to objectively diagnose a concussion or mTBI. fNCI can accurately depict which brain regions are overcompensating for others and which regions are not working enough, giving the therapists at Cognitive FX specific neuromarkers that clarify the severity and extent of a concussion.
After decades of research, Cognitive FX, in collaboration with Notus Neuropsychological Imaging, found the secret to understanding and recovering from a concussion: NeuroVascular Coupling (NVC). NVC is essentially the connection between the neurons, the astrocyte, and the amount of oxygen, and other nutrients from our vascular supply (blood flow) in our brain.
“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.
For years the protocol has been to rest until symptoms stop, and that if you start participating in an activity and you experience symptoms to stop what you are doing and rest. In the first few weeks after initial injury, rest is important and can help prepare the brain to be active and function properly again, and for the majority of people they recover from their injury in this time frame. There are however a group of individuals (around 15% of those diagnosed with a concussion) where symptoms persist after a few weeks. Typically, the diagnosis is post-concussion syndrome. So when do you stop resting and start being active again?
Neurology Vs. Neuropsychology: One of these is not like the other… Neurologists and Neuropsychologists often get mistaken as one and the same. Although there are some similarities, the differences are quite stark, and often allows for the necessity of both fields in many cases of neurologic injury.
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.
Dr. Norman Doidge M.D. is a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst. He has written many books including New York Times Best Seller, “The Brain that Changes Itself.” He also has written “The Brain’s Way of Healing.” Both books focus on the unique ways the brain changes and heals itself based on the concept of Neuroplasticity.
I meet with patients every single day who have been dealing with concussion symptoms. Sometimes they have been experiencing them for a short amount of time, and others have been dealing with them for months and even years. When I meet with those that have dealt with symptoms longer, many times I hear things like “I am a different person," or “Life is different” or “I used to be different…” After a concussion, there are so many changes that can occur in almost every area of your world. For many people after a head injury or concussion, quality of life goes down, but I want you to know there is hope, and you are not alone in your experience.
By Brittany Prijatel, Sports Psychology Consultant Motivation comes and goes, but one thing to remember is that it is possible to cultivate motivation. You can find and create motivation even when you are feeling unmotivated. As we move forward into the new year, we are at the height of personal change as well as establishing new routines. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind as we approach all the changes that we are looking to incorporate into our life.
Everyone has their own ideas and opinions about goals and goal setting. One of the things that I notice as I work with individuals during EPIC concussion treatment, is that a lot of time it is not the goals that we are failing at but instead the goal setting. It may sound like a small difference but it can have a huge impact on achieving our goals.
Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, conducted a study about the ways positive thinking affects us. She is quantifying positivity with emotions and life impact using a positive outlook.
By Brittany Prijatel - Sports Psychological Consultant Gratitude is a profound tool for cultivating positivity. Gratitude is simply the conscious act of bringing your attention to what you have or want to appreciate. More importantly, gratitude is a choice. By taking the time to appreciate the abundance that we have in our lives, we create a momentum towards receiving even more. When you begin to say thank you for the things that you have, and the kindness others share, you truly notice all the great things you have to be thankful for each day. Gratitude has been demonstrated to have a large impact on multiple areas of your life. By being grateful studies have shown that individuals have seen improvements with: Immune System A Decrease in Blood Pressure Improvements in Sleep & Relationships Increases in Happiness More Feelings of Enthusiasm, Interest, Attentiveness, Energy, & Determination
By Britany Prijatel - Cognitive FX Sports Psychology Consultant What is Awareness? Awareness is defined as having knowledge, or being in the state or condition of being conscious of your surroundings. This concept can be applied to many different subjects, but awareness is an important part of understanding a concussion and your recovery process. It takes awareness to facilitate change, even if it is changing a mindset.
There are a variety of imaging technologies that can be used to look at a brain injury or a concussion, and are used in unique ways to address and review specific concerns with a head injury. These imaging technologies each have their place and use in addressing and understanding not only a brain injury and concussions but many injuries that may occur throughout our bodies. It is important to know that not all imaging technologies are alike or able to clear detect and diagnose a concussion.
What is the Brock String Test? The Brock String Test is designed to test and treat visual perception problems. This is important because these problems can contribute to headaches, blurry vision, balance problems, and more. Symptoms that can be caused by a concussion. The Brock String Test really looks at two different things: convergence and suppression.
We know that there are millions of individuals who suffer from concussions yearly. There is no better time than now to expand our knowledge and application of research to help individuals recognize there is hope and recovery when addressing brain injury. There is a lot of information available about concussions and mTBI (mild Traumatic Brain Injury) and we want to share what recent research has taught us when it comes to concussion myths and facts. Concussion Myth: To get a concussion one must pass out or hit their head. mTBI is defined as “the result of the forceful motion of the head or impact causing brief change in mental status (confusion, disorientation or memory loss) or loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes.” Notice here the definition mentions forceful motion OR impact OR loss of consciousness. Concussion Fact: You can get a concussion without passing out and/or without hitting your head. Since the brain is essentially floating in water and connected to our spinal cord via the brain stem one can get a concussion from forceful motion of the head, like whiplash. Yes, hitting your head can increase your risks of having a concussion but you do not have to pass out or receive a hard hit to sustain a concussion.
In the new edition of The Brain's Way of Healing written by Dr. Norman Doidge, M.D. Cognitive FX is highlighted as a clinic that is taking new scientific research and applying it to the clinical environment. Dr. Doidge has reviewed our treatment protocols in person and has referred patients to us as well. We are grateful for all his support and interest in what we do and recommend people read both The Brain that Changes Itself and The Brain's way of Healing. Both books provide excellent content on how the brain functions and how through neuroplasticity individuals can overcome injuries.
A nationally recognized concussion treatment and research center in Provo, UT has implemented a new community outreach program targeted at student athletes. Cognitive FX is offeringno-cost concussion baseline testing. We are using a thoroughtesting protocol than any other concussion baseline testing protocol. The baseline testing is done prior to any concussive trauma then used in diagnosing concussions and assisting with the return to play decision as required by Utah House Bill 204.
Computerized Concussion Tests As concern about sports concussion has continued to rise over the last few years, there has been some hope that large-scale baseline testing, such as computerized cognitive tests, would help teams, schools, coaches and parents. The hope was that baseline tests could help athletes avoid some of the more serious consequences of multiple concussions. Computerized baseline tests or concussion testing is relatively cheap and can be used to test a large number of athletes in a short amount of time. But recent studies are showing that we need to use more than baseline tests to understand the influence of concussion.
At Cognitive FX we use both subjective and objective testing to discover how effective the treatment of a concussion is. During EPIC Treatment we use two fNCI scans one to definitively show where you were injured and another to understand how effective your concussion treatment has been. Our research shows the comparison between patients who go through our concussion treatment or receive no EPIC treatment at all. How effective is EPIC Treatment? At Cognitive FX we use fNCI (functional NeuroCognitive Imaging) to diagnose concussion(s), create a concussion treatment plan, and evaluate treatment effectiveness. The advantage of fNCI is that it is able to reveal indicators or “neuromarkers” of a concussion. These neuromarkers give us an idea of how severe the concussive effects are and which areas of the brain are most affected. The example below is an illustration of one of the known concussion neuromarkers and compares a patient who scores high on that neuromarker (more impairment) to one who scores low (less impairment).
fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is often a more sensitive method for detecting brain injury such as concussion than a standard MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) brain scan. fNCI (functional NeuroCognitive Imaging) which is an advanced form of fMRI is particularly effective when detecting and understanding brain injury. This may be especially important for certain classes of patients—such as those with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)—who display clear symptoms of a concussion with cognitive and neurological impairment but show no obvious brain tissue damage on standard MRI scans.