Mental Boot Camp Could Help Concussions

Mental Boot Camp May Be Treatment for Concussions

By Peter Bochner

A clinic in Provo, Utah, is claiming to have remarkable success in treating people, including some NFL football players, who suffer long-term consequences from concussions.

According to a story by John Hollenhorst in the October 12, 2016 edition of The Deseret News, the claims of a breakthrough are still awaiting formal scientific confirmation, but the small, two-year-old clinic, called Cognitive FX, expects to submit its data for peer-review by year-end.

The standard treatment at Cognitive FX puts concussion victims through a five-day mental boot camp. Of the approximately 300 patients that the clinic has treated so far, not one patient has not reported significant improvement, according to Dr. Alina Fong, a co-creator of the treatment. “Most of them would say they’re between 80% and 100% fixed.”

Fong said a number of current and former NFL players have been treated at Cognitive FX, among them Austin Collie, who suffered concussions in the NFL and now plays for the BC Lions in Vancouver.

Another patient said he had access to the best doctors and therapists because he was a CEO at a Utah hospital, but was told over and over that only time can heal a concussion. Unable to get help elsewhere, he went to Cognitive FX. “In three days, they re-set my brain,” he said.

Cognitive FX’s “secret sauce” may be the way in which it has adapted a 20-year-old technology — a functional MRI — for therapeutic use. While the MRI scan is underway, the concussion victim performs mental tasks in response to questions or images on a TV screen. Meanwhile the MRI uses neuro-cognitive imaging to show what’s going on in the patient’s brain as they do these tasks. The MRI scan zeroes in on 57 separate regions of the brain, looking at points where there’s either too much or too little activation. “Treatment is based specifically on what parts of the brain are either working too hard or not working hard enough,” said Fong.

The one-week treatment program ranges in cost from $6,900 to $9,500. The treatment is not covered by most insurance policies.

Until the success claims of Cognitive FX are peer-reviewed, the question, according to one outside expert, is whether the healing is permanent instead of temporary.

The full original story can be read here.

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Peter Bochner is a writer and editor for subjects related to information technology and medicine. He has worked on such publications as Computerworld, Asian Sources and the Journal of Alzheimers Disease, served as editor for several TechTarget websites, and has written for several high-tech research firms. In addition, he served as editor for the recently published book Aspertools: The Practical Guide for Understanding and Embracing Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Neurodiversity, by Harold S. Reitman, M.D.