Neurofeedback Treatment at NeuroQuest, Ltd. Striving to Bring a Happier Ending to "Concussion” Story
The Chicago Tribune reported on March 15, 2016, that an official in the NFL, Mr. Jeff Miller, senior vice president for health and safety, told a congressional committee that a link exists between football related head injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This fact has never before been publicly acknowledged by the NFL. The recent “Concussion” movie, starring Will Smith, has shed immense light on the disease process known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a disease stemming, in part, from repeated head injury. Currently, the diagnosis can only be made at autopsy. But while millions of dollars have gone into diagnosis, more needs to be done to advance treatment for individuals currently living with CTE-like symptoms. Even decades after their playing career is over, it is well-documented that repeated head trauma may lead to changes in behavior, mood, attention, executive function, emotion and may even progress to neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s or ALS later in life.
Recently, NeuroQuest, Ltd., a local neurofeedback clinic, joined forces with ten other clinics nationwide to bring help to former NFL players with declining brain function. The goal is to provide a comprehensive Neurocognitive evaluation, including functional brain imaging and neurocognitive testing to 100+ former NFL players who may be experiencing brain changes as a result of concussions they received during their football careers. Players who are diagnosed with Mild or Major Neurocognitive Disorder will have the opportunity to receive a new treatment that can potentially improve brain function and reduce concussion related symptoms. The treatment is High Performance Neurofeedback (HPN), and it uses each player’s own brainwaves to exercise the brain directly, helping it to reorganize and rebalance. Think about it like fitness training for the brain. This new treatment was highly effective in a recent pilot study of 9 former players who were having symptoms related to their concussion experience in the NFL. “All 9 players treated with HPN Neurofeedback demonstrated significant clinical improvements.” says Dr. George Rozelle of Sarasota, FL, who was lead clinician on the pilot study. “The players who have been re-evaluated at a one-year follow-up, show their improvements are holding.”
NeuroQuest, Ltd. uses the HPN Neurofeedback technology, along with other modalities of Neurofeedback and medical therapies to help individuals of all ages improve brain function, regain emotional and behavioral control, and in many cases, get their lives back on track. While symptoms from a single mild concussion usually dissipate after one week, a qEEG, or functional "brain map" can detect dysregulation in EEG patterns up to four months after injury. The impact of multiple concussions can be evident in these brain maps years or even decades later. Post-concussion symptoms can be correlated to abnormalities in the “maps” and targeted treatment can be designed for each patient's unique pattern of injury. As treatment progresses, a patient's brain map should progressively move towards normal.
The doors are open to former NFL players for screening and qualification for inclusion in the multi-site study. Those former players who have been receiving treatment are already showing signs of improvement. “Many of the former players are exhibiting classic symptoms of neurocognitive disorder such as memory impairment, sleep issues, difficulty with emotional control and difficulty with problem solving and executive function,” said Dr. Ronald Brown, Chief Medical Officer of Carolina HealthSpan Institute. “We are not sure what the future of CTE research will bring, but we are not going to sit on the sidelines and watch the decline when we can intervene now to improve these guys’ quality of life.”
More info and a brief video can be seen here: http://carolinahealthspan.com/concussion-story-plays-out/
Currently, neither the NFL nor NFLPA provide financial assistance to retired players who wish to be evaluated for concussion-related Neurocognitive Disorder. There are programs set in place however, such as The 88 Plan that can pay for concussion related medical expenses, and the NFLPA’s Player Care Foundation which can help with hardships. These programs may not cover all who need treatment, and can take some time for approval.
There is a large population of former players who could benefit from these services. Individuals who wish to support the effort to identify and treat these players are encouraged to contact The Professional’s Fund, a 501c (3) charity that is dedicated to fulfilling treatment costs. The website can be visited at www.theprosfund.com.
Elsa Baehr, Ph.D.
Director, NeuroQuest Ltd.
8707 Skokie Blvd.
Skokie, Il 60077