Clinic provides hope for athletes with brain injuries: ‘This is going to be huge’

A neurofeedback machine provides data while a patient performs brain exercises. (Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports Images)

Our friend Dr Harry Kerasidis featured in this article in USA Today

OXNARD, Calif. — The announcement last month that Aaron Hernandez had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he committed suicide while in prison did not come as a surprise to many former NFL players.

That’s because they suspect they have the degenerative brain disease diagnosed too.

Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson said on Twitter he’s “certain” he has CTE, which has diagnosed posthumously in 111 former NFL players. Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter said he lives in “fear of the unknown.” Husain Abdullah, who retired at age 30 last year after sustaining his fifth concussion, told USA TODAY Sports former players know “things can get bad and get bad in a hurry.”

Worst of all for these players and other athletes is there is no reliable way to test for CTE in the living. And there is also no treatment for anybody with symptoms of the disease.

However, several former NFL, college and high school football players and other athletes say they are finding success at a recovery center in Southern California that claims to help rehabilitate brains suffering from the effects of repeated and severe trauma.

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Hacking the Human Brain with Social Marketing

Credit: City University London
Marketers have always spent time and money trying to pinpoint their ideal consumer market, but in the age of viral video, what makes that audience engage with an advert? New research looking at how the human brain responds to social marketing videos using encephalography (EEG) reveals that storytelling is the best way to engage consumers.

Narrative Transportation

The research team concluded that in order for campaigns to have a lasting influence on consumers, marketers need to create content that:

  • Gains their audience’s attention, working memory and invokes an emotional response
  • Reflects a typical story structure with a beginning, middle and end
  • Enables the consumer to identify with the subject
  • Provokes the consumer to care about the subject

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Using objective data to improve performance

Psychologists are using biofeedback to help clients identify and change their physical responses to stress and more

When Denver sport and performance psychologist Steve Portenga, PhD, first started providing therapy to athletes, he taught them breathing and relaxation exercises to practice at home. But he often doubted whether the athletes were doing their homework correctly, if at all.
“I’d ask them how their relaxation went over the past week and was getting answers like, ‘Oh, yeah…right.'” he says. The replies left him thinking, “You didn’t do it, did you?”

Then Portenga learned about biofeedback—a tool that provides empirical evidence of physiological activity, such as heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension, skin temperature and brain wave patterns. Using sensors connected to displays, he and his clients could see how their bodies reacted to stress and to stress-reduction exercises. Athletes can also train with biofeedback apps at home and these sessions can be tracked, to see not only that they do their homework, but how well it works.

Portenga says he appreciates not just biofeedback’s ability to provide accountability, but the way it has helped his athletes learn to handle competitive pressure. He has used the technique with athletes in every major professional sport, including at Super Bowls, world championships and the Olympics.

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How Kirk Cousins went from 102nd draft pick and the bench to now being a $30 million dollar quaterback

Kirk Cousins is poised to make over $30 Million dollars per year in his next NFL contract. He was selected 102nd overall in the fourth round of the NFL draft. Cousins played in a few NFL games before he was relocated to the bench. He would lack focus and let the disappointments in the game “get into his head”. This is when his journey began with neurofeedback training.

Cousins wanted to learn to cope with the stresses of the game and improve his mental performance. Neurofeedback and biofeedback gave him the ability to perform under pressure and maintain focus. Performance and stress levels have always been large part of any sport or competition. It is common knowledge that you can perform better when less stressed. This type of mental training has helped executives, athletes, pilots, students and just about anyone looking to improve their “mental edge” or optimize their brain. Below I’ve included several links where Cousins talks about how Neurofeedback made the difference in his game.

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins sought help to make his brain perform better

Overlooked Kirk Cousins Has Studied His Way to the Top of the Game

Video of Kirk Cousins talking about how Neurofeedback helped him

Mapping your child’s brain might offer a more precise diagnosis for autism, ADHD, social disorders

Mapping your child’s brain might offer a more precise diagnosis for autism, ADHD, social disorders

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — If you think your child is among the 11 percent of children 4 to 17 years old the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may want to consider an objective tool that some doctors believe offers a more precise diagnosis for social disorders.

Dr. Ron Swatzyna at the Tarnow Center for Self-Management in Houston offers QEEG or brain mapping to his patients, including children.

Non-invasive, painless electrodes are placed on key parts of the patient’s scalp. Brain waves are measured and then mapped on a computer where a diagnostician can identify if brain waves are too active or too slow and compare them to the development of other children of the same age.

Many children are diagnosed with anxiety, ADHD, autism and social disorders through a subjective process in which teachers and parents observe their behavior. However, Dr. Swatzyna says brain mapping allows an objective way to collect data.

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A Map That Shows You Everything Wrong With Your Brain

qEEG – A Map That Shows You Everything Wrong With Your Brain

RACHEL MONROE -The Atlantic – Trial and Error

Technology that compares your brain’s electrical activity to everyone else’s could revolutionize mental-health treatments—or worsen people’s obsessions with perfection.

The woman who would be mapping my brain, Cynthia Kerson, had tanned, toned arms and long silvery hair worn loose. Her home office featured an elegant calligraphy sign reading “BREATHE,” and also a mug that said “I HAVE THE PATIENCE OF A SAINT.”

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Former Broncos Seek Concussion Relief Through Neurofeedback

Former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Dave Studdard (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)– About a dozen former Denver Broncos, some from the Orange Crush era, are taking part in a research study they say is helping them recover from post-concussion symptoms and traumatic brain injuries. They believe those injuries were suffered during their playing days.

After going through the protocol, “It was kind of like night and day,” said former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Dave Studdard, “The light came back on, clarity just everywhere.”

Studdard spent 10 seasons with the Broncos from 1979-1988.

CBS4 was on hand as Studdard went through one of his final sessions at New Hope For the Brain, a Lakewood based performance and rehabilitation center. Studdard said he believes he suffered from as many as 200 concussions during his days protecting Bronco quarterbacks like John Elway and Craig Morton.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass with former Bronco Dave Studdard (credit: CBS)

He said concussion protocol in his playing days consisted of “Take a play off then come back in.” A few years ago, Studdard said he noticed he “couldn’t get anything clear in my mind… a constant fog. I felt like I was in a big fog and didn’t know how to get out.”

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Ex-NHLers swear by controversial biofeedback treatment offered in Calgary

Stuart Donaldson, who runs Myosymmetries, works with a patient last month in his clinic in Calgary.
(Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail)

ALLAN MAKI
CALGARY — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jun. 02, 2017 9:12PM EDT

There was a time when his eyes and brain were at odds with one another. He would try reading a book and found he couldn’t follow the words beyond four pages or even remember what he had just read. He was perpetually tired. He needed help.

So Dennis Polonich, the former Detroit Red Wings forward who decades earlier was left broken and bloodied on the ice after being smashed in the face with an opponent’s stick, ended up walking into Stuart Donaldson’s Myosymmetries Clinic in Calgary – for biofeedback and psychological services.

Mr. Polonich may not have understood all the science and technology behind his treatment, but this much he knows for certain: “I walked out of that office feeling more comfortable than I was going in. I feel better. I feel happy. I’m reading again.”

Biofeedback is not a new form of alternative therapy – the Biofeedback Research Society was formed in 1969 in Santa Monica, Calif. – but it is controversial. Dr. Donaldson’s use of detailed data collected by a quantitative electroencephalograph (qEEG), however, is at the leading edge of assessing and treating brain-injury symptoms. Using sensors in contact with a patient’s scalp, qEEG technology maps out the brain, producing charts and numbers that indicate which parts are overactive and underactive and whether there have been previous concussions or a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).

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