Brain Training at the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine
Integrative Medical Center in Scottsdale
An enormous amount of information has come out of the scientific community
in the last few years about how the brain functions and how it can repair
itself. The information holds great promise for everyone dealing with
ADHD, mild cognitive impairment, depression and anxiety, memory loss,
traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.
We now know the brain is able to change and repair itself, even into old
age. Neuroplasticity, as it's called, is the brain's ability to
reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences. In order to learn
or memorize a fact or skill, there must be persistent functional changes
in the brain that encode, or show the roadmap to, the new knowledge.
Call (480) 418-0220 to reach our integrative medical center in Scottsdale.
Age-Related Memory Decline
People often start to notice subtle deficits in their memories even as
early as their 30s. They struggle to find the right word and have a hard
time remembering the names of people they recently met. As the years go
by, less and less oxygen gets to the brain. Blood brings oxygen and the
basic nutrient, glucose, at life-sustaining levels to all parts of the
brain. Our brains have an amazing ability to supply extra blood preferentially
to those parts in use.
Brains, like muscles, thrive on oxygen. Increasing the oxygen delivery
can result in new neural connections. More neurons make for better memory
just as more muscles make for better strength. By increasing the oxygenated
blood flow, we can increase the oxygen level in our brain, and hence the
Hemoencephalography, or HEG for short, is a simple technique to measure
the amount of oxygen in the blood flow to the brain. HEG uses the same
principle as the little fingertip clip-on oximeter that reads your pulse
rate or your oxygen levels in the hospital. It is clean and quick.
The frontal lobes of the brain are where the so-called executive functions
reside, the activities that have to do with paying attention to details
and remembering them, organizing, strategizing, and planning. A headband
equipped with HEG sensors measures the level of oxygen reaching the frontal
lobes. Then you learn how to increase that oxygen in the blood flowing
to the brain's frontal lobes with simple biofeedback techniques. Over
the course of 6 to 8 weeks of half-hour HEG sessions, you can learn to
increase the oxygenated blood flow to this area of the brain permanently.
This improves brain function, and increases the speed and accuracy of
After about half the number of sessions used for EEG-feedback training
systems, people see permanent gains in brain function.
Low function of the frontal lobes has also been shown to be a factor in
migraine headaches, some cases of
depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.
Contact us to find out
Treatment for ADHD
Parents are discovering that advances in brain imaging have opened up new
horizons to help those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Children with ADHD often have under-developed neural pathways in the part
of their brains that directs and focuses their attention; they are distracted
by everything they see or hear. HEG neurofeedback helps them make new
connections so they can stay focused on the person talking to them, for
example, rather than on the cars driving on the nearby freeway - or the
bunny rabbit in the front yard.
Studies have found that when a person with autism or ADHD is under stress,
the blood flow decreases in the frontal area of the brain and limbic system
- areas important for impulse inhibition - so that they are less able
to control their impulses when under stress. That is probably not a big
surprise to any parent of a child with ADHD.
Many children with ADHD don't hear the same way others do. They hear
the same sounds, but their brain has trouble making sense of what they
hear. Tuning out unwanted sounds in their surroundings is often difficult.
This makes it hard for them to focus and concentrate.
HEG combined with sound therapy stimulates the brain, allowing the child
to process information more quickly and have better impulse control. It
also retrains the brain's ability to listen receive auditory signals
so the child can learn to focus on the desired sounds while ignoring others
in their surroundings. With ADHD, the ear has shut down certain frequencies
of sound. The ear muscles become unresponsive and must be stimulated to
be able to tune in to the desired sound. Attention, focus, learning, and
language abilities can all be improved by retraining the ear to listen
and communicate with the body.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Since our brain defines who we are, the consequences of a brain injury
can affect all aspects of our lives, including our personality. A brain
injury is different from a broken leg or ruptured appendix. It won't
heal the same. Scans can look normal, yet it is clear that something is
very wrong. You have poor attention and concentration, forgetfulness,
poor short-term memory, inability to understand what people say to you,
slowing of neural processing, disturbed complex thinking and organization,
or word substitutions and word reversals.
EEG biofeedback helps with memory loss, balance and motor skills, and cognitive
issues. It works faster and better than pharmaceutical medication (anti-depressants,
anti-psychotics and anti-convulsants are commonly prescribed for "post-concussion
syndrome"), without the unwanted side effects of the pharmaceuticals.
One of our patients, we call her "Chris," was in a roll-over
car accident in April 2008. She spent 4 months at the best neurological
institute in the Valley, without seeing significant improvement in her
symptoms. She was unable to find her way around the city (in which she
had spent her whole life). She had severe neck and back pain, unrelieved
by any medications. Her neurologist gave her a fistful of prescriptions
and told her to go home and wait, it would take a year and half to heal;
there was nothing else to do.
She came to the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine. After the first brain
training session, she asked us if people really feel better after the
first session or was it her brain playing tricks on her? After three sessions,
she regained her ability to find her way around the city. After ten sessions,
she regained her balance, was able to drive, and help her son with his
On November 18, 2008, Chris went to meet Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, the Harvard
brain researcher who recently suffered a stroke. Dr. Taylor was amazed,
said she could not believe how well "Chris" was doing just after
a couple of months. It took Dr. Taylor eight years to fully recover from
her stroke. Our patient's ability to drive, work, think and function
has been completely restored.
It is not uncommon after a brain injury to experience a feeling that you
are a "different person." Dr. Taylor shared that the day of
stroke, the person known as Jill died and someone else was reborn. "Chris"
was also struggling with some degree of personality change after the brain
injury. It has been our experience that when the brain is given the ability
to repair itself, people sometimes shift how they view the world. They
are liberated from having to function in the old ways, and are given the
opportunity to see themselves, and their relationships with others, in
a new way. This can require some adjustment.
Depression & Anxiety
Traditional cognitive/behavioral therapy - "let's sit on the couch
and talk" - is a long process that often includes antidepressants,
anticonvulsants, stimulants, and other mind-changing pharmaceuticals.
If you or a loved one has experienced depression or anxiety, you know
that symptoms typically continue despite the drugs. In fact, the definition
of successful pharmaceutical therapy is "relief of at least 50% of
symptoms" - not "cure."
At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, our Scottsdale integrative
medical center, we first like to rule out medical causes such as food
allergies, heavy metals, fatty acid imbalances or hormone imbalances which
can inhibit neural functions. Then we look at neural function within the
brain. With depression, sometimes the brain doesn't work very well
because some wires are crossed or the connections are poor - too much static.
With EEG and HEG biofeedback, we can realign the neural connections, reopen
neural pathways (think: rebooting your brain.) It can change the color
of life from gray to sunny yellow. By speeding up brain processing, information
can be absorbed more quickly and accurately. Anxiety is relieved, because
the sensory input is no longer so overwhelming that you just want to shut
down and pull the covers over your head. Life can become interesting again,
instead of merely overwhelming.*
Please call our Scottsdale integrative medical center at (480) 418-0220
to learn more about how we can help.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common disorder seen in war
veterans. Soldiers have lived with constant fear of death and have witnessed
unspeakable things on the battlefield. Some of them come out of the battlefield
relatively unscathed. Others are so severely traumatized, it can take
years to recover. But PTSD can also affect those who have experienced
violent personal assaults, natural disasters, and accidents. Some people
with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal.
Others may have no memory at all of the experience, because they were
so young - or so overwhelmed - that the entire experience went directly
from their amygdala to their autonomic nervous system and back to their
bodies, completely bypassing the cortex.
With EEG and HEG biofeedback, we can help these people release those long
stored memories - whether from their bodies or simply from their neural
pathways - so that the memories can be processed completely. In this way,
the scarring is released, and the person is freed to simply react to whatever
challenge they are currently facing - rather than having to deal with
the whole original traumatic episode as well.*
Schedule a free 15-minute phone appointmentto discuss the program by
*Disclaimer: There is no guarantee of successes for any given medical treatment.
Each individual is unique and may respond differently to our medical services,
meaning results may vary for each person.