Psychological Sciences Institute; Atlanta GA
The motivation for the trip inland to Atlanta was two-fold. I was told that the /Shepherd Institute was a world-class facility dealing with rehabilitation of brain and spinal cord injury, and as you could see from yesterday's post, I was not told wrong.
The other group I came to see is Psychological Sciences Institute (PSI,) headed by Dr. David Cantor.
Dr. David Cantor
I was told that Dr. Cantor worked almost exclusively with child developmental issues, and that he had more than a few patients who suffered from autism that he had "cured." Other Dr's spoke highly of him as a researcher, clinician and practitioner, and I was told he has become a leading expert on qEEG (high tech brain activity maps) and neuro-feedback. Those things alone were more than enough to pique my interest enough to visit, and I was not disappointed. I found more than I came for.
I try to keep things in layman's terms, so the bottom line on David is that his doctoral thesis was on the qEEG, and along with a masters in psychology he has a masters degree in psycho-pharmacology, which is basically the study of the effects of drugs (medicine) on the mind and on behavior.
One thing strikes me about both the Shepherd Center and David. They both look at the whole patient, and have staff and facilities designed to investigate and deal with all of the various aspects of a patients illness. Working primarily with children, David deals with many autistic children. "Autism is a spectrum illness" says David. "Unlike many other illnesses which you either have or you do not have, it covers a wide range of symptoms and differing levels of severity."
David has a large support staff that includes three psychologists, speech therapists, a nutritionist. physical therapist, neuro-feedback technicians, occupational therapists and others. I struggled with the same issue as at Shepherd Center - I cannot take pictures in any setting that patients or their families are present. But to give a feel of the place I did get a few. But what I am able to do the least amount of justice to is the numerous efforts and outreaches David has initiated on behalf of children with developmental disabilities.
Here are two large rooms geared toward physical assessment and rehabilitation.
There are many things that separate David's clinic from others I have seen, but one of the most remarkable is how he deals with patients and insurance companies. When a patient comes (no child is ever turned away here) he gathers the answers to specific questions and performs a series of tests. Based upon the results of this interview and exam, he then tells the patient (or the patient's parents) exactly what tests he wants to order and why. Sadly, 90% of patients do not have the level of insurance or the financial means to get the appropriate testing done.
Why so much testing? David doesn't like treating symptoms - he likes correcting underlying conditions. Often underlying chemical or enzyme imbalances cause negative symptoms and behaviors. There are microbial imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal poisoning, allergies, yeast sensitivities, impairment of bio-chemical pathways, inflammations - all manner of things can cause brain malfunction and thereby mimic or cause other conditions. And unless these underlying symptoms are recognized and addressed the patient risks being sucked in to a never-ending morass of symptom management when a "cure" is available. (David doesn't like to use the word "cure," but others use it when referring to his outcomes.) Meanwhile, the older a child gets without the underlying issue being addressed the less likely they will be able to reverse the damage and lead a normal life.
And this is serious stuff. "Autism" case numbers are exploding to such a degree that members of congress have called hearings about it. They recognize that if the underlying problems that are causing this increase are not realized and addressed society will not long be able to afford the burden of non-functional adults. This problem is so severe that many are referring to it as a "pandemic" - which means a disease breaks out all over a country or the world.
Here is a device that has brought some striking results called an Interactive Metronome.
Interactive Metronome station
I cannot begin to do it justice in this short piece, but suffice it to say that it brings one's various body parts into sync with each other and with external stimuli. This has shown to produce very positive results in the areas of attention and concentration, motor control and coordination, language processing and impulse control.
And here is many of the patients favorite room - toys galore.
And here is the neuro-feedback equipment. I have published articles previously about the remarkable results that this has brought for epilepsy patients, stroke and traumatic brain injury victims, ADHD patients and migraine headache sufferers. This is the treatment that has been showing strong results with Les that I posted about a month ago.
This whole advance in the science of the mind has been made possible by the development of the new qEEG brain wave reading and analysis equipment. Tens of thousands of "normal" brain maps of all ages and both sexes are compiled into a library. One who is suffering with a neurological issue has a brain map done which is then compared to the library of "normal" maps. When the differences in brain wave activity are noted, a plan of treatment is developed which "teases" the brain into proper function - without the use of drugs or invasive surgery.
For example, here is a neuro-feedback brain map that shows areas of the brain that are deviating from healthy brain activity in red.
The bottom set of images is an "after" view - and the difference in brain functioning is easily seen. This technique gives direct scientific feedback to the practitioner that actually quantifies the changes taking place with treatment. This, combined with the changes in behavior noted by the patient and the patients family give a real good view on the brain's functioning. And the results shown above are not some exceptional case. This is the norm for patients whose brains have malfunctioning wave patterns that can be addressed. And these "bad" wave patterns account for a surprisingly large number of neurological conditions that we have had zero lasting answers for in the past.
This is the core push of the journey and the fundraiser I have undertaken - and the reason I have done it is because this technique would be pushed under the carpet if certain institutions had their way. Not only does the technique provide permanent, lasting results after a relatively few sessions, it does not generate the huge amounts of money that drugs and invasive surgery do. And in many cases, the incredibly expensive drugs with their myriad of negative side effects are no longer needed by the patients. And this, my friends, totals to many BILLIONS of dollars in this country. And it is not just the BILLIONS in medications that fatten the pockets of those in the food chain, it is the many BILLIONS of people worldwide who suffer from these neurological issues that will be able to get relief and find their way back into functional lives.
So off my pulpit and back to David. David's holistic (addressing the whole of a patients needs rather than one specialized area) is not unlike what we saw at the Shepherd Center - where the patient is treated rather than treatments dispensed. David remarks about how patients that have gotten the neuro-feedback treatment long in the past don't come back like those treated with drugs. Their change is permanent - the brain has been taught to heal itself and function properly. But those that are taking drugs - the dosages are constantly being changed, tolerance builds up, side effects have to be addressed - they often become "chronic patients" with a never ending stream of issues.
David has had numerous peer-reviewed papers published on various areas of study. He works as a research partner at the university and governmental level. There are numerous studies he has done - this following one dealing with ADHD and how neuro-feedback affects the symptoms of ADHD in patients that are not subjected to drug intervention. Another area David has done remarkable work in is proving that qEEG brain maps can accurately predict intelligence BEFORE one takes an IQ test. In other words, the images you see of brain maps can clearly display the quality of functioning going on inside our heads. This is ground-breaking stuff.
And this next set of brain maps shows a rather disturbing fact. Without going into great detail, the brain maps below prove that the drugs given children to address symptoms of these conditions create permanent changes in their brain function. The brains on the top got treatment after they had been given psych meds, the brains in the middle had never had psych meds, and the brain maps on the bottom show the residual difference.
Residual effects of prescription drugs on the brain
I am sure many of us suspected this, but having it shown clearly and measurably leaves little wiggle room. If there are therapies that can be developed (such as neuro-feedback) that can address these neurological conditions without the use of powerful drugs and invasive surgery, the only ones who lose are those who profit from those drugs and surgeries. Everyone else comes out ahead. Again, this does not come as a big surprise to anyone that has dealt with health care institutions or professionals whose underlying motive is maximizing profits. Does a medical establishment have the patients needs or their own pocket-book as the priority? It has been nice to spend the last few days with folks whose sole motivation is the improvement of life for their fellows.
I have taken to video-taping interviews, and am glad I did with David. He covers a broad range of facts and figures in a short amount of time - and he doesn't waste words. I apologize to him if I have gotten anything wrong in this article - I have used this as an opportunity to bring some of you following this up to speed with what it is that I am trying to raise money for, and many of the things I stated in this article are my observations and opinions - not David's words.
I have now reached the six month mark on the road - and tomorrow I will spell out specifically how far this effort has come and how I envision it taking shape from here.
Today's parting shot is from the trip back to South Carolina, taken in August GA. On my trip through I showed how the railroad tracks run down the middle of one of the downtown streets. Well, as I came back through a train had just passed. Sorry for the grainy photo, but I had to quickly shoot over my shoulder and through the window.
Have an awesome Wednesday !!
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