What is Neuroscience?
Dr Hale has been using neuroscience-based assessment techniques for more than three years now and is continually updating management options to find the safest and most effective methods available to help her patients. She has recently introduced diagnostic EEG and qEEG brain investigations to further define the neurological issues associated with complex and chronic illness including:
- cognitive decline (at any age)
- severe post infectious fatigue
- anxiety (either isolated or associated with mould/mycotoxin illness and gut disorders such as SIBO)
- cognitive or behavioural problems after traumatic brain injury.
Dr Hale uses these assessments in combination with MRI brain volumetrics (neuroquant analyses performed by CorTech Labs in California) to determine any possible reversible factors contributing to the problems. She said, “with the advent of more ‘functional’ testing on the brain, we can start to make in-roads into determining what environmental factors are adversely affecting the brain and nervous system. I explain this to my patients as trying to characterise the ‘brain insults’ within the body and in the environment – if we find them early enough and address them, there is a chance we can slow down or stop the damaging affect they have on the brain”.
Dr Hale is currently an Adjunct Clinical Associate at the Sunshine Coast University and is setting up research projects with Biomedicine students to investigate the neuro-physiological changes that can occur with mycotoxin illness and other illnesses associated with neuroinflammation. Her group is also interested in looking closer at the neuro-physiological changes behind patients with ‘functional neurological disorders’ (FND) using EEG and neuroquant volumetrics. If you’re interested, please see our ‘research’ tab to follow where we are at with this.
Stress and stress management are often the cornerstone of optimising the management of neurological and brain problems. Dr Hale doesn’t believe stress or psychological problems cause many neurological issues, but she says they can certainly amplify them. She says, “when neurological problems don’t fit into a diagnostic category, it can be very distressing for the patient. They have no answers but continue to be adversely affected or suffer intolerable pain. This is where illness trauma can set in, and this can further amplify the problem” Research suggests that calming down the trauma-associated fight and flight responses is highly effective and this can be done using techniques that:
- Calm and balance the limbic system
- Restore health parasympathetic function – the Rest & Digest function within the body
Such neuroscience techniques can help the brain stop amplifying symptoms and start allowing neuro-REGENERATION to occur. The limbic system includes the thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus and amygdala. Secondary structures closely linked to the limbic system include the cerebral cortex, the cerebellum, the adrenals, the GUT and other organs and these components can all be involved in either reducing or magnifying the ‘fright and flight’ related illnesses.
Can Neuroscience techniques improve patients with dementia?
It is early days in the research behind neuroscience techniques, but the earlier patients can be assessed, the earlier all their unique underlying contributors can be ascertained and addressed. With the almost universal failure of pharmaceutical drug trials in dementia treatment, more and more clinicians and researchers are turning their focus to treating the reversible contributors to cognitive decline.
The broad groups of contributors to cognitive decline and dementia include:
VASCULAR disease – arterial disease within the brain and related blood vessels
ATROPHIC factors (loss of the body’s ‘trophic’ hormones with ageing)
DIABETES – sometimes called Type III diabetes – the damaging effects of high blood glucose
TOXIC (including acute or chronic exposures to neurotoxic heavy metals and other environmental toxins)
TRAUMA – even the most insignificant physical head trauma can set of a silent, chronic yet damaging inflammatory cascade that leads to neurodegeneration.
The Bredesen Protocol: Dr Hale attended one of Dr Bredesen’s earliest workshops at the Buck Institute in California, and since then, has further developed her assessments and management strategies. She has been able to replace the costly Bredesen’s Re-Code protocol with an assessment using her expert medical experience, regular pathological testing, neuroquant volumetrics and sometimes EEG. Her management approach is evolving and may include:
- Optimising nutrition and using dietary techniques such as keto-flex and time restricted eating
- Trans auricular vagal nerve stimulation to dampen down stress responses to illness and adversity
- Audio-visual entrainment and CES techniques
- Targeted exercise programs including ‘blood flow restriction techniques’ that increase the body’s own production of BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) and growth hormone
- Trauma therapy – she refers to expert clinical psychology for EMDR with or without LENS neurofeedback
- Hyperbaric oxygen and hydrogen (in future)
She says, “the EARLIER any cognitive decline is detected, assessed and managed, the GREATER the chance we have of reversing, stopping or slowing future decline. Success depends heavily on having an effective support team (at least 2-3 family members) and ensuring adherence to brain-health promoting eating plans, targeted supplements, exercise, sleep hygiene and their regular neuroscience technologies.