Very often baseline EEG evaluations reveal past traumas to the brain. Upon being questioned, a patient will remember an old biking or car accident or some other sort of blow to the head. Other times the patient won’t recall anything, but a parent or spouse may recall a pasthead injury which the patient forgot.On January 29, 2008, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article titled “Studies Cite Head Injuries as Factor in Some Social Ills”. Below are some key points from several of the studies the article mentions:
At Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City researchers are investigating this problem. According to Dr. Wayne Gordon, “Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of social, educational and vocational failure”. He also discusses the fact that this is unidentified in almost all cases. The research at Mount Sinai indicates that learning disabilities, homelessness, and even alcoholism in many cases may result from an underlying problem of brain trauma.
A study done in New Haven, Connecticut in 2000 found 7.2% of 5000 people interviewed remembered a blow to the head which caused confusion and, sometimes, unconsciousness. In testing these individuals it was found that they were twice as likely to suffer from depression, alcoholism and drug abuse. They also had increased rates of panic attacks and suicide attempts.
One study looked into how many students in special programs for those with learning disabilities had a history of a hard blow to the head. They found about 50% had such an event.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention figures that there are over 5 million people with mental or physical disabilities resulting from brain injuries. But the medical community has not linked these types of problems to less severe head traumas. Even whiplash can cause brain trauma. Studies indicate there is even a problem with the trauma of continually hitting a soccer ball with one’s head.
What I found disappointing upon reading the Wall Street Journal article was the limited range of treatments being given at Mount Sinai. Patients go through six months of therapy, consisting of attention and memory exercises. While I am sure this approach is of benefit, they seem to be unaware of Neurofeedback therapy. Also, it seems they identify the problem via questionnaires pertaining to trauma and by taking a battery of tests. That’s unfortunate, given that EEG screening can actually identify trauma to the brain.
Understand that the Real-Time EEG to which I refer is the most sophisticated neurofeedback therapy currently available. It represents a breakthrough technology, which allows a precise interpretation of brain wave patterns. In Adam’s office the conditions treated with this technology range from ADD to post-stroke complications.
Real-Time EEG Neurofeedback training sessions may enable the abnormal brain wave patterns to be “retrained” and brought back into a more normal and balanced pattern. Patients have often described amazing improvements after a series of these treatments. Some of the positive changes patients have reported include better focus, concentration, memory, mood,muscle function, and even reduction of chronic pain. There are other symptoms, besides those listed above that can result from a blow to the head. These include vertigo, sleep problems, difficulty with organization, difficulty with reading or writing, problems with hand- eye coordination, difficulty with problem solving, and problems with social interaction.There are many other problems that can be associated with abnormal brain wave patterns. Therefore, I feel that it would be a good idea to screen everyone with a baseline EEG. It is not an expensive test. Many of my patients who have participated in EEG Neurofeedback therapy have told me, “It changed my life”.