Journal of Rehabilitation publishes NeuroGrow’s Concussion Paper
– Nationally recognized neurologist Dr. Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD, recently published an encouraging study in the Journal of Rehabilitation about a multi-disciplinary program for treating patients with Post-Concussion Syndrome – a condition in which patients experience persistent concussion symptoms such as headache, memory loss, anxiety, insomnia, or brain fog for months to years after the initial injury. The statistical analysis of Fotuhi’s 12-week Concussion Recovery Program showed that 64% of patients who scored in the "abnormal" neurocognitive range before treatment experienced clinically significant improvements in their brain performance.
"Post-concussion patients struggle with a variety of emotional and cognitive symptoms that can be quite incapacitating but often are not fully recognized or appreciated by their physicians," said Fotuhi, medical director for Tyson’s Corner-based NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Center and affiliate staff at Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Many of these symptoms - such as difficulty performing routine tasks at their job, being irritable, having dizziness and motion sensitivity, or disabling fatigue - are invisible. Patients often suffer from many of these symptoms at the same time and as a result may lose their jobs or experience conflicts in their personal relationships."
While the long-term consequences of traumatic brain injuries have become increasingly clear in recent years, there is still remarkably little consensus within the medical community on how to help these patients recover from the wide variety of concussion symptoms they experience.
Patients in the NeuroGrow Concussion Recovery Program first undergo comprehensive baseline cognitive evaluation and qEEG "brain mapping" to measure the extent of damage to their brain. They also complete a series of questionnaires to detect all of their cognitive, emotional, pain, and sleep symptoms. They then enroll in a comprehensive brain rehabilitation program that includes brain training and neurofeedback twice a week for 12 weeks. Brain training is targeted toward specific cognitive symptoms a patient experiences; if their thinking is slow, the brain training involves brain games to make them think faster; if they have memory problems, they are trained to memorize a list of 100 words, forward and backwards. EEG-based neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback that restores normal brain oscillations to help patients become calm and focused.
Trained "Brain Coaches" in Dr. Fotuhi’s concussion rehabilitation protocol encourage patients to eat a healthy diet, sleep eight hours a night, practice meditation daily, and exercise 4-5 times a week. With a traumatic brain injury, there is a great deal of inflammation in the brain and damage to the linings of blood vessels. The lifestyle modifications in this program are aimed at healing the brain from inside out. For example, regular exercise has been shown to increase the levels of a healing protein in the brain called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Over 12 weeks, the combination of brain training, neurofeedback, and lifestyle interventions enhance brain rehabilitation and improve cognitive capacity so that patients can return to their baseline level of functioning.
The good news, according to Fotuhi, is that up to 89% of patients improve significantly with these interventions. Because patients with post-concussion syndrome suffer from a wide variety of overlapping symptoms, a multidisciplinary therapeutic approach tailored to the patient’s individual symptoms and history is necessary in order for them to gain full recovery.
According to Fotuhi, there are striking similarities in the neurobiology of concussion and COVID-19 neurological issues. He recently published his findings in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease and believes that patients with post-COVID neurocognitive deficits may benefit from similar treatment protocols. In light of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and mounting evidence of lingering brain fog, fatigue, insomnia, and emotional issues, Fotuhi is encouraging larger-scale clinical trials for treatment of patients with persistent concussion and post-COVID brain-related symptoms.
A Harvard- and Johns Hopkins-trained neurologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Fotuhi is widely regarded as an authority in the field of memory, Alzheimer’s Disease, concussion treatment, ADHD, and increasing brain vitality. He has published numerous articles in major peer reviewed journals, appeared as a guest on national media news shows, and authored three books. Dr. Fotuhi’s NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Program uses effective brain training, biofeedback, and behavioral modification techniques for enhancing cognitive function in patients with concussion, ADHD, memory loss, and post-COVID neurological issues.
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Ms. Bita Fotuhi, (703) 462-9269