Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI

Traumatic brain injury

The Brain Treatment Center in Miami offers MeRT treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussions. While MeRT is presently FDA approved to treat Major Depression Disorder, it is considered “off label” treatment for TBI. However, FDA approval is expected for MeRT treatment of traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder some time in 2020.

MeRT, or Magnetic E (EEG and EKG) Resonance Therapy has been used successfully to treat TBI and concussions. If you have suffered a head injury, this treatment may be of benefit to you.

People who have suffered a brain injury will have markers that are visible in their EEG studies. Research has shown that people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury will have a higher power in their delta band frequencies and lower power in the alpha bands.

People with traumatic brain injuries often go through other types of therapies to help them regain function and cope with their injury or disability. MeRT treatment can be used in conjunction with these therapies.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Symptoms

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) define a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as:

"A blow to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. An injury can also occur without a direct blow to the head, such as in an auto accident where the forces cause the head to move violently in one direction and then snap back in another direction. This causes the brain to be jostled around inside the skull and can also injure the brain.Suffering a closed head injury can produce symptoms that range from mild to severe, based on the degree of damage that was done to the brain. While it's possible for a person to experience a TBI to not have a loss of consciousness, in moderate to severe cases, LOC does usually happen. More severe cases of traumatic brain injuries often can result in coma or even death. ”

Traumatic brain injuries are also common in athletes who participate in contact sports such as football, and experience multiple “head hits.” These hits affect the brain, and over time, the damage becomes cumulative, resulting in post concussive disorder. Members of the military are also commonly affected too. Traumatic brain injury for these folks can occur by direct hits or injuries to the head, but also by repeated exposures to the forces of “blast injuries.”

For those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, hospitalization is often needed, sometimes long-term. These patients will often need other therapies to assist with regaining memory, learning skills, coordination and physical function, speech, and coping mechanisms. Brain injuries are complex and can affect many different aspects of a person's life including their emotions and the ability to think clearly. Some people are unable to work again or complete day to day activities.

Depending on the severity of the injury, symptoms can include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Dilated pupils and vision changes
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Cognitive decline
  • Inappropriate emotional responses
  • Green
  • Depression
  • Feeling of isolation
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Facial weakness
  • Weakness or loss of function in other parts of the body
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Breathing problems
  • Numbness and tingling in different parts of the body
  • Loss of hearing or tinnitus

Often a traumatic brain injury can cause brain swelling, hematoma (blood clot), or bleeding within the brain which can be life-threatening. A person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury or concussion of any kind should be taken to the emergency room as soon as possible, even if loss of consciousness is not experienced. Early intervention is crucial to help avoid complications and to avoid the injury worsening.

There are people who are at higher risk for brain injuries including athletes, the elderly (because they are at higher risk for falls), and children and teenagers who are involved in physical-type activities.

Athletes in particular can suffer repeated hits or injuries to the brain and the effects of those can be cumulative over time. The full degree of symptoms may present later on as the brain begins to deteriorate.

MeRT Treatment Protocol Featured on “Broken Brain” Podcast

Mark Hyman, MD is an esteemed functional medicine physician and best-selling author. He founded the Cleveland Clinic Functional Medicine Clinic and created an ongoing podcast called “The Broken Brain.” This podcast focuses on all sorts of different things that affect brain and overall health, from diet to sleep, to therapy.

MeRT was featured on one of his podcasts as an exciting new treatment for patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depression disorder.

Dr. Erik Won, president of The Brain Treatment Center, was interviewed and spoke extensively about the origins of MeRT technologies, and how it has been used to treat veterans who have suffered these types of conditions after returning from war. The Department of Defense completed extensive studies on how MeRT treatment has been able to help these people, and Dr. Won talks about the many successes that have been realized in this podcast here:

The MeRT Process

MeRT is a non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive treatment.

MeRT (Magnetic E (EKG and EEG) Resonance Therapy is a treatment protocol that evolved from a technology called TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). However, TMS is a more generalized approach because it is only able to target a single location in the brain with one frequency.

Studies have shown that brain wave oscillations are altered in patients suffering from conditions such as Major Depression Disorder (MDD), Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, and more. MeRT treatment protocol uses a magnetic field to balance and stimulate brain function. The technology involves using very sophisticated diagnostics and imaging so that the treatment is customized for each individual and a personalized protocol is then tailored based on the location, frequency, and amount of power used by the magnet, specific to each person's unique condition. MeRT is used to improve brain communication, synchronization, and can lead to significant and long-lasting improvements.

Much of the initial MeRT research has been done by the US Department of Defense for veterans returning from combat. There is an article that was published in Defense One that further explains the DOD's research and the benefits that MeRT has been shown to have on people suffering from TBI, PTSD, and MDD. Additional studies have been completed in the private sector on other conditions.

What to Expect

If you are interested in seeing if MeRT treatment is right for you, we will initially schedule two appointments, both of which are about 45 minutes in length. At the first appointment, our neuro-technician will perform a qEEG and an EKG. These procedures are painless and involves the patient sitting in a chair until the test is completed. The results will then be compiled, and sent to our clinical team for interpretation within 48 hours. At your second appointment, our clinician will have a one on one consultation with you to confirm that you or your child is a candidate for treatment, answer any additional questions that you may have, and schedule the assessment period for treatment.

During the assessment period, treatment is administered every day, Monday through Thursday, followed by a repeat qEEG on Friday to see how you or your child are responding. If there is a positive response to treatment during the assessment period, you will have likely noticed some improvements starting to take place, and we will then schedule for the additional treatment duration.

A typical treatment session takes about 45 minutes. The patient will sit in a chair while the neurotechnician administers the treatment via a hand-held magnet that is held near the scalp. The magnetic impulses are delivered for 6-8 seconds each minute. There may be a slight sensation felt while the treatment is occurring, but it is not painful or uncomfortable.

Typically, after going through the assessment treatment period, MeRT treatment lasts anywhere from 4 - 8 weeks, however in some cases, additional treatment time is recommended for optimal results. Each individual is different, and protocols may vary. Your provider will have regularly scheduled follow-up EEGs and meet with you to guage your progress.

“I'm two or three months past my last treatment and I can honestly say that my brain is in a better place than it was before. The emotional highs and lows that I was living with have been stabilized. My cognition took off during that period (of treatment) and it hasn't slowed down since. ” - Nick Hardwig, Retired NFL Center, Chargers

Insurance coverage

Our clinic does not accept insurance. We can provide you with the appropriate paperwork at the end of your treatment so that you can submit it to your insurance company to see if they would provide you with any reimbursement.

Currently, MeRT is FDA approved for Depression and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.) Treatment for all other conditions is considered “off label” at this time, although we are hopeful that treatment for TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) will be FDA approved at some point in 2020. For non-FDA approved treatment, it is highly unlikely that any insurance will provide reimbursement for our protocols.

Some patients have reported that they have been able to receive some reimbursement for EEGs or clinical evaluations, depending on their health coverage. Medicare patients have reported that their coverage provides no reimbursement for MeRT.

Additional Payment Options

We take all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

Care Credit is also an option to assist in financing medical expenses. Care Credit is a separate company than The Brain Treatment Center Newport Beach, and is a credit card that can be used to cover medical expenses and services. They typically offer zero-interest financing for 12 months.

Usually, when you go to the Care Credit website and apply, they will let you know if you are approved very promptly.

Starting as a New Patient

The first thing that we will want to do is determine if you are a good candidate for treatment. We will schedule an initial qEEG and then follow that with a consultation with our neurologist who can explain what your test shows and whether or not MeRT can help you or not.

Once we determine that you are a viable candidate for treatment, we will schedule your first two-week assessment period. During this time, you will receive treatment, Monday - Friday for the first week every day. In the second week, you will receive treatment Monday - Thursday, every day, and then a follow-up EEG will be completed on Friday to see how you are responding to treatment. If you are responding well to treatment, you will likely begin to notice changes in the way that you are feeling as well.

After the assessment period, we will then schedule your second two-week treatment. Ideally for most conditions it takes at least 4-weeks to optimally treat your condition. If your situation is more severe, or for autism patients, an additional 2-week follow up is generally recommended for maximum improvement. However, each individual is different, and protocols may vary, but your neurologist will help you determine what is best for you as your treatment progresses.

Contact Our New Patient Coordinator for Additional Information

It's normal for patients and their families who are affected by brain disorders to feel frustrated and isolated, and many have lost hope that there is any relief in sight. MeRT is a treatment protocol that has helped patients restore their brain function, reclaim their lives, and feel passionate about living again. We understand what you are going through, and our goal is to help guide you through the process so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not MeRT is the right treatment for you or your child.

Many of our clinicians and technicians have gone through MeRT treatment protocols themselves and have realized first hand what the treatment has done for them, and as a result, are passionate about helping others to heal too.

Our New Patient Coordinator is available to answer any questions that you may have about how MeRT can help you specifically. She'll take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and put your mind at ease. She can also assist in getting you scheduled with the clinic should you decide to move forward with treatment.

Contact Us

  • If you meet the above criteria, please provide us with more information so that we may contact you.

  • Absolute Contraindications

    Absolute contraindications for cortical MeRT treatment: Pacemaker, Defibrillator, Vagal Nerve Stimulator, VP Shunt / Magnetic intracranial shunts, Deep Brain Stimulator, Epidural Cortical stimulator, Steel shunts / stents, Cranial metal fragments (ie shrapnel, excluding titanium), Cochlear implant, Aneurysm clips, coils, pipelines flow diversion, Pregnant or breastfeeding, Primary brain cancer / metastatic legions in brain (unless palliative care), Magnetic dental implants, Implanted cardio-pour defibrillators (ICD), Ocular implants.
  • Relative Contraindications

    Relative contraindications (requiring closer protocol attention, but not disqualifying someone from receiving cortical MeRT treatment :): History of Seizure or seizure disorder, Titanium shunts / stents, Spinal Cord Stimulator, Hearing aids, Ferrous cortical implants, Magnetic ink tattoo, Bipolar Disorder Type I / II, Baha Implant.

Miriam tells the story of how MeRT℠ therapy changed the life of her daughter Raquel, a girl with a case of severe Autism.

Recording of the transmission of The Doctors program in the United States.