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Posts Tagged ‘neurofeedback’

Merry Stressmas, and an Anxious New Year!?! 12 simple steps to minimize the holiday fallout

young man overwhelmed with Cap santa claus and Christmas ornaments at homeAhh, the holidays! Time for many to celebrate their faith. Time for others to reflect on the accomplishments of yet another year gone by, and to plan for an even better one ahead. Time to be with family, give thanks, serve others, and enjoy a break from the normal routines of life. Right???

In a perfect world, yes. Although, the stark reality for so many is that the holidays bring on an increasingly high level of undue stress for more reasons than there are days in the holiday season. Financial struggles, health concerns, passing of a loved one, work deadlines, shopping, travel, crowds, and family squabbles are but a few that can spark fear, worry, sadness, anxiety, and depression in just about anyone; if they are not prepared for it.

Add to this the profound increase in calorie intake (particularly sugars), sedentary behavior, late nights and poor sleep, excessive alcohol intake, travel fatigue, decreased physical activity levels, and a general lack of attention to one’s health this time of year, and you have a perfect recipe for both simple and deadly mental and physical health problems.

While suicide increase during the holidays has largely been proven a myth, there are direct correlations between increased mental and physical stress around the holidays leading to exacerbation of depression and other mental health disorders, and a resultant spike in the number of calls to suicide prevention and substance abuse hotlines. It can be theorized that many around the holidays are thankfully unable to act on suicidal thoughts give the increased presence of friends and family, although self-medication through increased drug and alcohol use over the holidays can certainly lead to worse outcomes after the new year for many.

While this is a piece on stress around the holidays, the importance of physical health (which is directly impacted by stress) needs to be considered briefly. As an example, the journal Circulation published research in 2004 showing nationwide trends in heart attacks increasing by 5% during the holidays, with peak incidences occurring on both Christmas and New Year’s Day. Coincidence??? Certainly not. An editorial in the same edition of this journal discussed further the “Merry Christmas Coronary” and the “Happy New Year Heart Attack” phenomenon – related to increased mental and physical stressors this time of year.

With the gloomy realities and statistics behind us, we can now focus on what is most important – what can we do to prevent or minimize the fallout of the holiday season to ensure we may enjoy it to the fullest, and so that we may proceed with peace of mind, good health, and longevity into the year ahead?

  • Drink responsibly. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink every 2 hours in social situations, with water in between to avoid intoxication and dehydration – your brain will thank you!
  • Walk away. Don’t feel you must change anyone’s mind about politics, sports, or anything else for that matter. Engage in positive dialogue.
  • Reach out. If something is deeply upsetting you, sometimes the worst thing to do is hold it in while everyone else is celebrating. Confide in a trusted source.
  • Don’t stress over shopping. Getting into fist fights over the newest TV or toy is clearly not what the holidays are about and will dramatically increase your stress levels. Is it really about the presents?
  • It’s OK not to travel. Many are compelled to travel due to family pressures and the like. It is OK to ‘skip a year’ if you are overwhelmed and feel you need a break.
  • Get to bed. Sleep cycles are impacted enough going into winter with shorter days and longer nights. Be mindful of sleep routines as they have a large impact on buffering chronic stress responses and clearing your brain of toxins.
  • Stick to your regular eating habits. If they are healthy ones, that is. It is OK to ‘sample the goods’ around the holidays, but overdoing it will be sure to weaken your immune system and allow stress to harm your brain and body.
  • Move your body. Exercise should be a regular part of your daily routine, especially around the holidays. It minimizes the effects of stress and burns the excess calories you will likely indulge in.
  • Meditate. Quiet time away from the distractions of the holidays to self-reflect and calm your mind will reduce stress levels.
  • Turn off the tube. TV usage skyrockets during the holidays for many, leading to less physical activity and social disconnection. Decrease computer and social media use while you’re at it!
  • Play games, listen to music, tell stories. All activities that will engage your mind and connect you to others around you during the holiday season.
  • Connect socially. One of the secrets to stress reduction. Social connection produces hormones that reduce stress. If you have little or no family and friends around, volunteer opportunities abound.

Author’s Note: If you or a loved one is experiencing undue stress during the holiday season (or any season) leading to withdrawn, erratic, or dangerous behavior, increased substance use, trouble at home, work, etc., please know there are resources that can help. Brain Training is a highly effective option for dealing with chronic stress outside of acute or emergency situations. In these situations, national helplines are available and should be utilized:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255

National Substance Abuse Hotline: 1.800.622.HELP (4357)

5 Important Tests to Consider When Seeking Treatment for Addiction

Addiction way out problem sign. Prevention and cure addiction problem concept.Addiction or, more appropriately, substance use disorder (SUD) is defined as one’s recurrent use of drugs and/or alcohol leading to significant clinical and functional impairment. This impairment may be reflected in the areas of physical and mental health, employment, school, relationships, finances, and more.

One thing is for certain – the vast majority of those struggling with SUD also have underlying challenges with learning and behavior, and may have one or more mental health disorders. While the reasons for these underlying challenges are likely as many as the number of challenges themselves, this shifting of perspective away from the genetic view of addiction offers great hope for those seeking progressive therapies that, in many cases, can have a profound impact on the underlying disorders and the problem behaviors and outcomes associated with SUD.

Newer thinking also dictates that addictive tendencies can be due to factors such as concussion and traumatic brain injury, and metabolic imbalances caused by food allergies, environmental toxicities, nutrient deficiencies, and the like. And let’s not forget stress…  

In order for progressive brain-based modalities to be delivered effectively, which provide a tremendous complement to standard mental health strategies implemented during both in-patient and out-patient programs alike, one needs to understand that SUD is not a disease as we would normally think of one (e.g. cancer, Parkinson’s, etc.), and it is not a moral failing or a character flaw on the part of the user. SUD can affect anyone… of any class, race, gender, and ethnicity.

SUD is in fact a ‘brain problem’ that, in many respects, can be measured and needs to be approached as such for maximum gains. Let us consider 5 areas of measurement related to brain function that reveal a great deal about learning, behavior, and mental health status; and, more importantly, let us realize that something can be done to improve upon function in any or all of these areas:

  • Brainwave Activity (EEG) – In our brain we have networks related to attention, vision, sensations, relaxation, emotions, vital functions, and more. How much delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma brainwave activity we have under different circumstances dictates how well various parts of these networks perform. Quantitative EEG (qEEG) is gaining popularity in select mental health circles as an extremely viable diagnostic tool that can enable us to peer into the inner workings of the brain and these brain networks that make us uniquely human.  
  • Cognitive Testing – Executive function, cognitive flexibility, simple and complex attention, and processing speed are just a few of the tests of higher cognitive function that can reveal a great deal about how one’s brain interacts with its environment. They are also excellent diagnostic tools for monitoring progress when treating the various subsets of learning and behavioral issues underlying SUD.
  • Metabolic Function – Blood sugar, amino acids, urine organic acids, food antibodies, heavy metals, environmental toxins, hormones, neurotransmitters, vital nutrients, genetic variants, and so much more are a mix of both classic and progressive ‘biomarkers’ of brain function. How our bodies handle fuel, utilize nutrients, process hormones, and react to toxins in our environments determines how well our brains handle what is presented to them on a moment to moment basis.
  • Eye Movements – Generally ignored in the mental health arena from a diagnostic perspective, eye movements of all types are directly related to the brain regions that control them. From primitive abilities of finding visual targets that involve parts of the brainstem and emotional centers like the amygdala (fear response), to fast eye movements controlled by our higher functioning frontal lobes; eye movements deliver a wealth of information related to SUD and its underlying causes. Videonystagmography (VNG) is one type of diagnostic tool used to measure these types of functions.
  • Balance and Coordination – More and more, addiction based programs are implementing movement based activities such as Tai Chi and yoga. From both balance and relaxation standpoints, there is good reason to do so. Our sense of self is largely influenced by our ability to physically interact with our environment. When one has severe balance or coordination impairment, as is seen in conditions like schizophrenia, mental function and behavior will likely be impaired. Measurement tools such as dynamic posturography and standard tests of movement and coordination can be utilized to measure these abilities.

The inherent beauty of any of these tools, that can reveal a wealth of information about cognitive, behavioral, and mental functions, is that they can in turn be utilized to track progress when one enters into a collaborative treatment program with their mental health specialists and qualified functional neurologist. The blending of the ‘brain’ and the ‘mind’ sciences is long overdue and is proving to be clinically effective with regard to its impact on addiction and SUD, and the underlying disorders that are being shown with greater clarity to be the root cause of them.

Case Study: Post-Concussion Syndrome – Jackie

concussion ep 43Jackie’s Story

At the time of presentation to APEX Brain centers in Asheville, NC in late 2015, Jackie was a 55-year-old, soon to be retired professional female. Post-concussive symptoms of debilitating headaches, memory loss, learning and behavioral issues, fluctuations in heart rate, and difficulty handling visual stimulation such as driving, busy public places and computer screens were preventing her from leading a normal life. Prior to traveling to APEX from Charlotte, NC, Jackie had sought care from several different doctors in her area. Vestibular therapy and chiropractic care had given her some relief of symptoms, although her other experiences were not so positive. At one point a provider told her that she was mentally ill. Jackie was outraged and, as many with post-concussion syndrome report similarly, she offered this statement: “I’m not crazy. I didn’t have any of these symptoms before I had the injury and I am definitely not making them up”. This is the unfortunate reality of many who suffer with brain injury.   

Intervention for balance and cognitive decline

Jackie underwent comprehensive Brain Training at a frequency of 3 times per day over the course of 15 days (with 2 days off between each week for much needed rest and recovery). Her brain function was carefully monitored throughout the training process with measurement of EEG brainwaves, vital signs, eye movements, balance, mental and physical timing, and more to ensure she was receiving the proper amount of therapy to be effective without exceeding fatigue limits that could potentially promote worsening of her symptoms. Modalities implemented included, but were not limited to: neurofeedback, Interactive Metronome, vestibular rehabilitation, metabolic/nutritional therapies, eye movement and neurological rehabilitation, electrical stimulation, breathing exercises and home care therapies.

Outcomes after Brain Training

Jackie reported prior to brain training that she would have a constant headache of 6 on a 0-10 scale (0 being no pain and 10 being the worst possible pain) that would escalate into an 8-9 of 10 by the end of the day. The week after her program she reported the headaches were finally manageable at a level of 3-4 of 10 and would not escalate. Jackie has had continued success and reported at 3 weeks after her program that she is headache free, unless she spends too much time in front of a screen or in a busy public place. She also reports that when this occurs, her ‘at home’ brain exercises will relieve them. Aside from headaches, Jackie has reported that she no longer feels like she is in a constant brain fog. Her heart rate has also normalized and no longer fluctuates or spikes. 

Actual, measurable objective improvements recorded with post-intensive diagnostic testing include, but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive Testing: Jackie showed an increase in her Neurocognition Index of 11%. This is a standardized overall score of cognitive performance. Significant improvements in specific areas of memory (one of her biggest concerns) are as follows: 65% in composite memory, 33% in verbal memory, and 67% in visual memory.
  • Interactive Metronome: 56% improvement in motor timing accuracy and normalization of hyper-anticipatory timing tendency with motor tasks (i.e. premature response to a specified reference tone).
  • Videonystagmography (VNG): Significant improvements in numerous aspects of oculomotor (eye movement) functionality including: gaze holding, slow and fast eye movements, optokinetic responses, and spontaneous/involuntary eye movements.

Implications for others:

Diagnostic and functional tests can be used to direct an effective Brain Training program and improve post-concussion symptoms. Increased sensory and environmental sensitivities are common symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. There are several areas of your brain that process information from your environment and from your body. If these areas are damaged then it becomes difficult for the brain to process sensory input, resulting in fogginess, memory and cognitive issues, impaired processing of pain, and the many other symptoms seen after concussions. The frustration felt by individuals being made to feel they are “crazy”, as Jackie noted, is entirely unnecessary and driven by a health care system that is largely focused on diagnostic testing and lacking significantly in functional treatment options. There is great hope for partial and full recovery in most cases of concussion given a thorough investigation and functional interventions addressing the physical, cognitive, metabolic and lifestyle factors that influence brain health.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing ANY of these symptoms, or anything out of the ordinary related to a head or brain injury, call APEX Brain Centers now at 828.708.5274. You may also email us at [email protected] for more information and to set up a free consultation. 

Case Study: Young Mother With Multiple Concussions Finds Relief Through Brain Training

Ali’s Story

Ali presented to APEX Brain Centers in August of 2015 in search of concussion relief. She was struggling with a host of debilitating complaints due to multiple head injuries and concussions over the years. Headaches, brain fog, memory loss, anxiety, emotional distress, restless legs, tightness in the chest, tingling in her limbs, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), dizziness, spatial awareness difficulties, loss of muscle mass and hair, gastrointestinal (GI) difficulties and more were all part of her normal daily experience. She was in a constant search for concussion relief. She had been to a host of specialists with limited outcomes; including osteopaths, naturopaths, ENTs, cardiologists, allergists, chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists and massage therapists. She was an exceptional student and athlete prior to her injuries.

Ali traveled from Virginia to seek care at APEX Brain Centers in Asheville, NC in late August, 2015 on referral from a friend who had similar problems with exceptional outcomes at APEX. She underwent an intensive course of Brain Training where she was admitted into in an individualized program directed by extensive diagnostic testing, and led by clinicians highly experienced in functional neurology and functional medicine. What follows is a sampling of some of the cutting-edge clinical interventions and amazing functional gains Ali experienced during her time at APEX.

Intervention for Concussion Relief

Ali underwent comprehensive Brain Training at a frequency of 3 times per day over the course of 10 days (with 2 days off between each week for much needed rest and recovery). Her brain function was carefully monitored throughout the training process with measurement of EEG brainwaves, vital signs (particularly important in those with POTS), eye movements, balance, mental and physical timing, and more to ensure she was receiving the proper amount therapy to be effective; but not too much so as to reproduce/amplify symptoms. Laboratory tests were ordered to evaluate for suspected food reactivity, markers of inflammation, altered stress responses and amino acid insufficiencies; among other factors. Modalities implemented included, but were not limited to: neurofeedback (NFB), Interactive Metronome, vestibular rehabilitation, metabolic/nutritional therapies, eye movement and neurological rehabilitation, whole body vibration, electrical stimulation, cognitive training, breathing exercises and home care protocols.

Ali’s Outcomes after Brain Training

Subsequent to her initial Brain Training program, Ali reported subjective improvements in all areas of pre-intensive complaint. What follows are a sampling of Ali’s words describing outcomes in several of these areas:

  • My heart rate is down significantly and I have fewer palpitations
  • I rarely feel unbalanced anymore
  • The tingling in my hands and feet is gone
  • Brain Training has greatly decreased my widespread pain
  • Since leaving APEX I have only had a few minor headaches, and none that have turned into a migraine
  • Now I can really engage with my children for long periods of time
  • My emotions are on a more even keel
  • I can recover from a workout and exercise again the next day
  • My immune function is improved
  • I expect all of my capabilities to return and even excel beyond what they used to be in light of the new and better lifestyle I’ve adapted!

Measurable Changes

  • Cognitive Testing: Increase in her Neurocognition Index of 13%, which is a standardized overall measurement of cognitive performance. Executive function (reasoning) scores were improved by 35%. Increases in various aspects of memory, attention, processing speed and more were as high as 13%.
  • Interactive Metronome: 43% improvement in task average with motor timing and 15% improvement in  hyper-anticipatory timing tendency with motor tasks (i.e. responding prior to a pre-set reference tone).
  • Computerized Assessment of Postural Stability (CAPS): 8.2% improvement in balance on an unstable surface with eyes closed; which brought her from a moderate to mild reduction in balance compared to her age and gender matched peers.
  • Videonystagmography (VNG): Significant improvements in numerous aspects of oculomotor (eye movement) functionality including: gaze holding, slow and fast eye movements, optokinetic responses, and spontaneous/involuntary eye movements.

It should be noted that due to the overwhelming success of her first program Ali returned for a second intensive Brain Training program in November of 2015. She experienced further objective and subjective benefit and continues to update us on her progress.

Concussion Relief IS Possible

An alarming number of individuals do not seeking care for head injuries. It is important to recognize the symptoms of these debilitating injuries and that something can be done about them. The ‘wait and see’ approach to concussion and mild traumatic brain injury is no longer acceptable. Early intervention is key! The longer one waits, the more difficult it is to recover and have full engagement with life!

If you or someone you love is experiencing ANY of these symptoms, call APEX now at 828.708.5274. You may also email us at [email protected] for more information, or to set up a free consultation. 

Case Study: Balance and Memory Problems – Roger

Son & Elderly FatherRoger’s story

At the time of presentation to APEX Brain Centers, Roger was a 70-year-old male struggling with severe balance problems, clumsiness, fatigue, and a general disinterest in life. He used to enjoy life as a family man, successful entrepreneur and golfer. Just over 10 years prior he had undergone radiation therapy for cancer that damaged his 8th cranial nerve (the balance and hearing nerve). He had also undergone prism therapies and surgery for eye position abnormalities, which have caused further insult to his ability to maintain good balance and to learn effectively. Although not listed as a primary complaint, he also suffered from significant cognitive decline in several areas as evidenced by very low to low average scores on standardized cognitive testing.

Roger sought care at APEX Brain Centers in Asheville, NC in May of 2015 and underwent an intensive course of Brain Training. He was admitted into in an individualized program directed by extensive diagnostic testing, and led by clinicians highly experienced in functional neurology. What follows is a sampling of some of the cutting-edge clinical interventions and amazing functional gains Roger experienced during his time at APEX.

Intervention for balance and cognitive decline

Roger underwent comprehensive Brain Training at a frequency of 3 times per day over the course of 15 days (with 2 days off between each for much needed rest and recovery). His brain function was carefully monitored throughout the training process with measurement of EEG brainwaves, vital signs, eye movements, balance, mental and physical timing, and more to ensure he was receiving the proper amount therapy to be effective, but not too much so as to be counter-productive. Modalities implemented included, but were not limited to: neurofeedback (NFB), Interactive Metronome, vestibular rehabilitation, metabolic/nutritional therapies, eye movement and neurological rehabilitation, whole body vibration, electrical stimulation, breathing exercises and home care recommendations.

Outcomes after Brain Training

Subsequent to his Brain Training program, Roger reported subjective improvements in the vast majority of his pre-intensive complaints. More profound than that; his wife was quoted as saying, “it’s like I have my old husband back”. She noted that he used to be the life of the party and had been slowly deteriorating over time to the point of sitting in his chair all day and sleeping more and more often. He was finally plugging back into life, putting an end to his isolation and apathy. As is demonstrated by his balance testing, he is also experiencing a renewed ability to maintain balance, allowing him to be safer and more efficient in navigating his physical environment.

Actual, measurable objective improvements recorded with post-intensive diagnostic testing include:

  • Cognitive Testing: Increase in his Neurocognition Index of 48%. This is a standardized overall score of cognitive performance. Increases in various aspects of memory, attention, processing speed and more as great as 21%.
  • Interactive Metronome: 56% improvement in task average with motor timing, and normalization of hyper-anticipatory timing tendency with motor tasks (i.e. responding prematurely to a pre-set reference tone).
  • Computerized Assessment of Postural Stability (CAPS): 20.5% improvement in balance on an unstable surface with eyes closed – bringing him from severe to mild reduction in balance compared to his peers. Elimination of a posterior center of pressure (CoP); significantly reducing his risk of falling backwards.
  • Videonystagmography (VNG): Significant improvements in numerous aspects of oculomotor (eye movement) functionality including: gaze holding, slow and fast eye movements, optokinetic responses, and spontaneous/involuntary eye movements.

Takeaway

With an alarming increase in the number of baby boomers and seniors experiencing balance issues and cognitive decline (that are in fact related), it is important to recognize the symptoms of these potentially debilitating disorders and, more importantly, that something can be done about them. Early intervention is key, as the longer one waits and the more function is lost, the more difficult it is to recover and have full engagement with life!

Boot Camp for Your Brain?

03E08469[1]Google defines ‘boot camp’ as: a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training. Aside from the obvious military style boot camp, many are seeking out boot camps in all shapes and sizes to help with everything from fitness to addiction.

Why not boot camp for your brain???

A basic understanding of how the brain works will help you realize that a boot camp is the most effective way to train your brain. From those with neurological issues, to those looking to elevate their level of performance to new heights, a well-trained brain will help ensure you are functioning at your highest possible level (both physically and mentally).

Neuron Theory, 101

Your brain’s sole purpose in life is to receive and transmit information. Sensory information from the environment and your body travels up to your brain to be processed; and thoughts, actions, hormone circulation and more are the end result of that input. The brain receives and transmits information through neurons (nerve cells), more specifically networks of neurons, in the brain and body. The more powerful the information traveling in those networks, or pathways, the stronger they become. In short, from a theory developed in the mid-20th century by the psychologist, Donald Hebb: cells that fire together, wire together!

What determines if cells get ‘wired’ together is the intensity and frequency of the stimulation delivered to them. There can be equal parts frequency and intensity, or more of one or the other. Using the example of learning how to play a guitar; one can play 10 minutes per day, 5 days per week – representing moderate frequency and low intensity – and could expect slow gains in the ability to play guitar. The same individual could participate in a ‘guitar boot camp’ playing for 1-2 hours, 3-5 times per day, for 5 days – very high frequency AND intensity – and expect to make much larger gains in their skills on 6 strings.

Now, About that Brain Boot Camp

Paying respect to the understanding that cells that fire together, wire together, it should now make good sense that training of brain function would yield the greatest outcomes in this high frequency, high intensity boot camp model. Every brain is different and unique, and faced with its own sets of strengths and challenges; and the frequency and intensity of individual aspects of Brain Training can be adapted to fit these unique needs.

Another added benefit of the boot camp training model is that of fitting a great deal of learning into a very short period of time. Moms and dads, sons and daughters, athletes and CEOs, brain injured and infirmed – time is a valuable commodity, and to compress months (if not years) of benefit and improved quality of life into a 5, 10, or 15 day period of time is something most folks could not put a price tag on. Further, the longer we wait (and the longer it takes) to train our brains, the less benefit we will gain from the experience.

To learn more about our Asheville, NC based Brain Boot Camps for learning and behavioral issues, peak performance, concussion and brain injury, and more; contact us at 828.708.5274 for a FREE 15 minute consultation.

How to Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s Related Memory Loss

There are many types of dementia, some of which are preventable and others that are not. Conditions that are considered genetically driven, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and brain tumors, lead to degeneration and loss of nerve connections and cells within the brain that result in the decline in cognitive abilities such as memory, reasoning and problem solving. But no matter the cause there are ways to slow the rate of dementia and Alzheimer’s related memory loss. The key is acting early. Most types of dementia are progressive. The earlier you seek help the more successful you will be at preventing memory loss.

Even in the case of Alzheimer’s disease, thought by most to be completely incurable, evidence suggests that the progression of the disease is impacted by factors within our control, most notably the proper control of our blood sugar levels. Finding the cause of memory loss can help you and your health care providers determine the best means of preventing further memory decline. Certain types of depression lead to ‘pseudo-dementia’, which can be treated with great success. Even age-related memory loss can be impacted quite successfully with the appropriate nutritional, exercise, stress management and Brain Training methods.

Recognizing Early Signs of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

If you recognize the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia you can be proactive in preventing memory loss. If you or someone you know is struggling to find the right words, regularly misplacing common everyday items, overreacting (or underreacting) to situations, getting lost in familiar surroundings, or having extreme difficulty with simple tasks such as balancing the checkbook, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may be suspected. Disinterest in formerly pleasurable activities and a decrease in the sense of smell are also telltale signs that one’s brain function may be declining. If this is the case seek help from a practitioner who is experienced helping those with memory loss as soon as possible.

Prevent Memory Loss through Brain Training

APEX offers Brain Training for memory loss prevention. We understand the mechanisms of memory loss well and use specific diagnostic and training procedures to help anyone, even those with dementia, to Build a Better Brain. Through brain mapping, cognitive testing and other brain assessments, we design a Brain Training program customized to help you retain your memory, or possibly even improve it. Brain Training for memory loss may include neurofeedback, transcranial magnetic stimulation, Interactive Metronome training, specific brain and body exercises and nutritional support, among many other modalities.

Foods and Supplements to Support Memory Retention

To support a healthy brain and memory, it is good practice to avoid processed and refined foods. Minding your calorie intake is critical. A great first step is to develop an ‘eat to live’ philosophy instead of a ‘live to eat’ strategy. Eating a sensible diet of real, live, or whole foods is the logical first step towards Building a Better Brain and preventing memory loss.

The lists of brain foods or ‘superfoods’ that are reputed to prevent memory loss are long. One needs to exercise caution when claims for products or foods are seemingly too good to be true and some simple advice will go a long way towards eating for a healthy brain.

Also consider a full metabolic and nutritional assessment to see if dietary changes can help you see improvement in your memory, or in other areas of health.

Exercise for Brain Health 

Memory loss prevention is only one of the reasons that exercise is good for our brains. Exercise encourages new nerve cell growth in parts of the brain that facilitate memory and learning. Exercise also improves blood supply and fuel delivery to already existing brain pathways and regions. Exercise simply makes us smarter and is considered by many to be the best memory loss treatment on the market!

Training the ADD and ADHD Brain: Top 3 Exercises

I am excited to announce that I am now a contributing writer to the NaturalNews Network. The NaturalNews Network is a non-profit collection of public education websites covering topics that empower individuals to make positive changes in their health.

My first article focuses on a mental health issue that APEX commonly treats in Asheville: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In this blog post I discuss three evidence based brain exercises we have found to be effective interventions for symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, restlessness, and impulsivity.

Adults and children who have Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder often struggle with an inability to organize thoughts, break the chains of procrastination, or even follow simple conversations. If this sounds familiar, take heart. Brain Training exercises offer hope for anyone suffering from disorders of attention and focus.

Read the full article HERE.

You can stay updated on my most recent articles by visiting my profile on NaturalNews.

What is Neurofeedback and QEEG?

eeg capWhile it is just one of a number of potentially life-changing interventions in our ‘Brain Intensive’ training program here at Apex Brain Centers, it is important to take a moment to further describe what neurofeedback (NFB) and quantitative EEG (qEEG) are as many are unfamiliar with either one or both, although though they have been around for quite some time and are deeply rooted in the scientific literature.

Let’s take a trip…  Think of a qEEG as the map that is needed to get you to your destination and the NFB as the vehicle that will get you there.  The destination itself could be the ability to focus and concentrate better, sleep better, wake better, relax better, listen better, talk better, react better, move better, perform better in academics, athletics and the arts, feel less pain, reduce dependence on alcohol, drugs and food, and, in many cases, simply to feel better.

A qEEG (the map) is in fact referred to as a brain map as it is the very tool that is used to guide the provider and client alike through a course of training to improve a multitude of brain functions and abilities.  Brain maps are an extension of the common EEG tests that are utilized to measure specific brain waves in individuals that have a history of seizures, brain injury, sleep disorders, behavioral problems and more.  The EEG is data from the brain that is recorded from electrodes places at precise locations on the head, the various brain waves having precise physical measurements associated with them.  This data is then run through a variety of sophisticated computer software programs and normative databases, which the individual’s brain waves are compared to and a brain map created…hence, the qEEG.  As your GPS might have several maps for you to choose from when you determine where you want to go on a road trip, the various brain maps obtained by different databases and software systems will likely differ as well.  It is the clinical wisdom of your provider, coupled with a reliable map, that will ensure you are well equipped to get you to your destination in the timeliest manner with the least amount of detours along the way.  Of course, there is also the vehicle to consider…

As with cars, there are many types of NFB (the vehicle) with the level of sophistication and advanced applications and features ever-changing; exponentially in the recent past as with any other technology.  NFB, in nutshell, is a form of biofeedback that uses the above-mentioned electrical brain recordings to take the client through a process of brain self-regulation.  The feedback used to train the brain can be in the form of sounds, visual demonstrations, video games, movies and more whose performance is directly impacted by the real-time brain waves emitted by the client.  The more the client’s brain waves fall within the parameters prescribed by the clinician in the training software, the better the performance of the vehicle and driver (client), and the faster and more efficiently the client will arrive at their destination.  It is the constant positive reinforcement of the target brain wave ranges over the duration of NFB training that will ensure the greatest amount of plastic change within the brain and less reliance on the maps to tell it how to get to its desired location.  This is indeed hi-tech learning at its finest!

As suggested above, the destination can vary widely from individual to individual, although the process and routes taken are often quite similar in nature.  The key to a successful journey again is having the appropriate map and vehicle to arrive at your preferred destination; and having this coordinated by a clinician aptly educated and qualified to supervise and coordinate this endeavor.  At Apex Brain Centers we utilize Brainmaster Technologies qEEG and NFB equipment and software that is FDA approved and suited for research in both arenas.  We would use nothing but the best map and vehicle, coupled with a rich understanding of the human brain, to get you to your destination!

Call us at 828.708.5274 to learn more about this exciting technology and how it can help you and your loved ones.

From the Admissions Desk

Mike ErvinWhat is Apex Brain Centers and how is it a Revolution in Brain Training?

Quick answer: Yes, you CAN improve your brain function and we have discovered that high frequency and calculated intensity of brain training is the best approach to help you reach your peak level of function and performance.  We have been taught through the years that there is little we can do to improve certain conditions such as addiction, adult learning and behavioral issues, certain mental health issues, or reaching and sustaining the top level of professional and physical performance.  We have also been taught that we just need to study harder to get better scores when taking tests for the next level of education.  These things are not necessarily true.  While we are born with or have things happen to us causing us to struggle with certain aspects of our lives, there is ALWAYS hope we can improve from where we are or from what we have lost!

At first I thought Apex Brain Centers was just about helping specific people with specific conditions reach a higher level of function.  This falls a bit short of our true mission and purpose: Offering people HOPE when they have been told over and over again that there is no hope beyond where they are (this hope is often hard to find).  Apex Brain Centers can help open pathways in the brain quickly and with long lasting results.  It does not need to take months or years to improve as the plasticity of the brain allows for new pathways to be formed leading clients and their families to find new ways of getting to where they always wanted to get to, and do things they always hoped to do!

As the admissions director for Apex, it’s exciting to know I have been and will be in contact with people offering them HOPE and a solid way to get on track with their purpose in life. The Apex Team can help you learn more about the process of making positive changes in your brain quickly.  This can be done in just a few weeks and much less expensively than current methods.  When you are on a road trip and you get lost or turned around, you look for the best and quickest way to get where you wanted to go.  Apex is here to help you find the right direction and the quickest path; saving you time, energy, and money in the process.

This past week I was privileged to witness what we do in a powerful way (video testimonial coming soon).  A young man who has had significant lifetime learning and behavioral struggles was able to show his mother the work he has been doing (Mother: “I can see the changes he making, he has a smile and he was up early asking to go to breakfast, just not something he does.”).  The smile on both of their faces says it all!

Should you find yourself struggling with certain aspects of your life, not living up to your own potential, or you just want to reach the next level of performance; Apex Brain Centers is here to offer you HOPE and effective interventions to help you along your way.

Call us and discover the Revolution in Brain Training for yourself.  We will help you reach Your PEAK.

Mike Ervin

Admissions Director, Apex Brain Centers

APEX Brain Centers is leading the way in neuroplasticity-based brain enhancement programs that are opening new doors for those struggling with addictions, learning and behavioral disabilities, test performance, athletic performance and more.

2 Walden Ridge Drive (STE 80) ~ Asheville, NC 28803 ~ 828.708.5274
© 2015 APEX Brain Centers