Article on Neuroworx
Technology that resets brain's frequencies in concussion cases shows promise, Wake Forest Baptist researchers say
A new study found that student athletes with persistent concussion symptoms showed improvement following the use of a technology that uses the brain’s own frequencies set to musical tones to balance brain activity, according to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers.
The technology is called high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring, or HIRREM.
Brain State Technologies, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., developed the technology, which Wake Forest Baptist has licensed and used in research for medical applications.
Wake Forest Baptist’s research, published recently in the journal Sports Medicine Open, followed 15 male and female students who had a concussion while participating in baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cycling, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, snowboarding and soccer, and afterward developed symptoms that did not resolve after three to four weeks — a normal recovery period. Symptoms had persisted on average for 4.6 months after their most recent concussion.
“Until now there has been little to provide relief for the 10 to 15 percent of athletes with concussion symptoms that last three weeks or more,” said Dr. Charles H. Tegeler, professor of neurology at Wake Forest School of Medicine and principal investigator of the study. “These symptoms can include headache, dizziness, insomnia, depression, anxiety, irritability, exercise intolerance and lack of focus and concentration to the point where normal function is affected.”
Study participants received, on average, 18 HIRREM sessions and their symptoms were measured before starting, and after completing the sessions. Blood pressure and heart rate recordings were also obtained to evaluate autonomic regulation of heart and vascular function, and reaction testing was performed.
The study results showed statistically significant reduction of all symptoms, with improvement in autonomic cardiovascular control and reaction testing. All participants were able to return to exercise, academic work and recreational activities, and the majority of them were able to return to play in their respective sports.
“While this study is limited by its size and had no control group,” said Tegeler, “we believe it is significant because the participants not only had reduced symptoms, and other objective improvements, but most were able to get back to play.”
Riley Ridgik participated in the study in the spring 2013 during her sophomore year at Wake Forest University, where she majored in elementary education and was a soccer player.
She said she had concussions in high school leading into college.
“I was having pretty constant headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to loud noises and bright lights, trouble falling asleep, trouble paying attention,” Ridgik said. “I spent a lot of my sophomore year just living in my dark dorm room, and I was having a hard time with my studies.”
And she wasn’t able to participate in soccer.
Today, Ridgik, who is a graduate student and assistant soccer coach at John Brown University in Arkansas, is a big supporter of the study.
“It has changed my life in an awesome way,” she said. “I stopped getting headaches following the study. I was able to sleep, able to study and able to get back to normal life.”
Co-authors on the study are Dr. Christopher M. Miles, Hossam A. Shaltout, Sean L. Simpson, Jared F. Cook and Catherine L. Tegeler from Wake Forest Baptist and Dr. Sung W. Lee and Lee Gerdes from Brain State Technologies.
The study, which was supported by a research grant from The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation Inc., is part of a bigger research program.
“We’ve been working on this for five years,” Tegeler said in evaluating the use of HIRREM. “We’ve now enrolled over 400 people in five different clinical studies.”
Future plans are to start several controlled trials, including a study in civilians with post-traumatic stress disorder and a study in people with persistent symptoms after traumatic brain injury.
“We’re also interested in maybe using this technology for wellness and prevention,” Tegeler said.
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