MeRT Treatment for Autism
The Brain Treatment Center in Newport Beach offers MeRT treatment for children and adults who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There are different types of therapies that can help with autism and MeRT can be used in conjunction with any of those. A diagnosis of autism can be overwhelming for parents, but early intervention can be key to the child’s development. Kids don’t usually grow out of autism, but it is possible for them to function very well.
MeRT (Magnetic E (EEG and EKG) Resonance Therapy is not currently FDA cleared for autism, and is considered “off label.” However, studies have shown that for many children it can be instrumental in helping develop skills to function more normally. To date, rTMS has only been FDA cleared for Major Depression Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, however research is ongoing for other conditions.
MeRT treatment protocols evolved from rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), however rTMS was more of a generalized approach for treatment of autism because it was only able to target a single location in the brain with one frequency.
Conversely, MeRT is customized to each individual based on the results of the EEG, and is tailored to the patient’s needs based on frequency, location, and the power used.
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Autism is a disorder that can inhibit brain function and cause problems with how a person views the outside world and communicates with other people. This can present problems with social skills, interactions with others, learning, and ultimately the ability to function independently of care. It can also cause some patients to have inappropriate responses to everyday situations.
The severity of autism can vary greatly so different people fall in different areas of the “spectrum.” Asperger’s is a mild form of autism.
Usually, symptoms for autism will present themselves during the first year of life, however, other times a person will develop normally and then have a regression between 18 months to 24 months of age. When this occurs, the child loses skills which they have already learned, and takes on other traits typical of autism.
The electrical signals in the brain of a child with autism are different than a normal child and will show up on a qEEG (quantitative EEG). In a normal child, the brain patterns are typically dominant alpha frequency. In an autistic brain, there is a mix of slower brain waves (delta and theta) and higher frequencies of beta waves.
MeRT treatment works by neuromodulating the brain waves which can help the brain to be more organized and in sync, which translates into a higher functioning child, and higher communication and social skills. It can also equate to a higher quality of life for both the child and the caregiver.
Symptoms of Autism
Each autistic child is unique, has different severity levels, and will have their own patterns of dealing with the outside world and ways of communicating. Being autistic can affect intelligence levels, however some kids have high levels and some don’t. Even with high intelligence, they can lack common sense, social skills, the ability to communicate, and have coping dysfunctions.
Just as each child is different, each child’s brain frequencies will also be different. MeRT treatment protocols are tailored for each person to help restore their brain back to some degree of normalcy.
Common Symptoms of Characteristics of Autism Can Include:
- They do not appear to understand or hear when they are being spoken to
- Appear disconnected from the outside world and their loved ones or caregivers
- Have no verbal skills
- Inability to read body language or infer changes of tone of voice
- Don’t make eye contact
- Have a blank facial expression
- Appear to lack emotions and compassion
- Uses monotone or robotic speech patterns
- Can’t understand simple questions or instructions
- Responds inappropriately in social settings
- Being disruptive, loud, or hyper-reactive
- Being obsessive about routines
- Have abnormal fixation on objects
- Stiff movements
- Rocking back and forth or other repetitive movements
- Hurting themselves such as banging their heads against something or biting or hitting
There is no known definite cause of autism. According to research, inherited genetic factors account for about 80% of cases. Studies are ongoing to determine if environmental exposures can contribute to autism such as viral infections, medications, or complications that may occur during pregnancy. There are NO reliable studies that have ever determined that there is a link between autism and the use of vaccines.
MeRT Treatment for Autism Featured on the Television Show, “The Doctors.”
The MeRT Process for Autism
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 U.S. 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 one hour 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. 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. Our office manager, Cindy, will also meet with you to provide you with a brief orientation so that you are clear on expectations. If you are not local, she will also provide you with additional information about Newport Beach and things to do while you are here.
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 gauge your progress.
Contact Our New Patient Coordinator for more 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. 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.
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“We had exhausted every available treatment hoping to help our daughter. Nothing worked – then we found Brain Treatment Center. MeRT changed everything for us.” – BTC patient parent of an autistic child
“We are RVing this weekend and marveling at how well Immanuel now socializes with other children at the campsite. We were here last year around the same time and he needed constant play supervision because he kept arguing & trying to control play. This weekend he’s able to go along with what others are playing.
“Our son is now at a private school with no special ed teacher to support him, and he is able to succeed without the extra support. It’s a small classroom, but last year it would have been impossible. He has made such strides socially, with non verbal cues, being flexible, and regulating his frustrations. His occupational therapist has been amazed as well. She evaluated him before he started treatment with you, but started therapy after we returned from treatment. She says that he has been crushing the presribed program – he scored significantly above expectations at the latest eval and he is speeding through the stages. We are thrilled by his progress and the fact that he can play with other kids – he’s had numerous play dates at our house and they’ve gone well. This touches our hearts more than anything – that he has friends now. Thank you for making this treatment available and for your guiding us through the process. We look forward to summer.” – David J.
“We have a beautiful daughter, Raquel and she was diagnosed with severe autism at the young age of 1 ½ years. Rachel did not follow directions, she did not look into my eyes, she did not want to be touched, she did not speak, she did not listen or respond to her name, she did not distinguish me as her mother, and I could clearly feel she was very anxious all the time.
Desperate, and with the intention of doing my best to guarantee a better quality of life for my daughter, for 4 years I investigated and took all available routes to try to help her overcome her condition. I took her to different types of therapy (phonoaudiology, occupational, behavioral, and sensory integration), in addition to a diet regime free of casein and gluten. All these efforts were important and helped my daughter have small signs of improvement, but Raquel was far from making any significant progress – doctors still gave her the same severe diagnosis.
It was not until the fourth year of this endless quest that we finally came up with something that would change our lives, and the life of our daughter forever. When it seemed that all alternatives were exhausted, Dr. Jeff Bradstreet told me about a new therapy in Newport Beach, California, called MeRT, which consisted of repetitive brain stimulation through magnetic waves. There was already strong empirical evidence that they help to regulate brain functioning quickly, safely, effectively and permanently.
Dr. Bradstreet explained that there were 20% of people who, for some unknown reason, did not respond to treatment, but an 80% chance of improvement was definitely an opportunity that I was not willing to let go, especially if it had to do with the well-being of my girl.
I traveled to California and they explained what the treatment consisted of. Rachel was going to do an EEG (Electroencephalogram) to determine exactly what was happening in her brain so that they could design a treatment tailored to her needs.
The study confirmed that the front of her brain did not work properly so Rachel did not process the information like the other children. With the clearest panorama, and high optimism, I agreed to start treatment immediately. I could not wait to start.
On the first day of therapy I thought my daughter wouldn’t cooperate. To my surprise she seemed to enjoy the procedure. Obviously at the end of the day I saw no changes in her behavior, but I did not expect to see results so fast. The story takes a really unexpected turn for all of us at the end of the second day of therapy.
We went back to the house of some relatives, where we were spending the night, and Raquel approached me, with a glass between her little hands asking me to give her some “Juz”. There are no words that can express the emotions that I felt at that moment. All the people who know me ask me if I shed tears of joy in that moment. It was the first time I could say that I had heard the voice of my 4 year old daughter. Incredibly this was not all. A few minutes later my daughter went out to the garden of the house, approached a lemon tree, took one and brought it to her face to smell it. For a little girl who practically lived in the corner of the room, interacting with her shadow, this was a revelation, to the point that a few moments later, when her sister took the lemon from her hands, Raquel demanded loudly “My, Lemon?” Only two days of therapy had passed and we suddenly had what seemed, for the first time in her short life, a normal child.
At the end of the second week of treatment, we arrived at the Clinic excited and very eager to share with the medical staff the great advances that we had seen after the second therapy. The Director of Center approached me and asked me to accompany him to the game room where Raquel was. I will never forget that moment. He said, “Look at your daughter.” Raquel was there, sitting by a window. She was pointing to the passing cars and asking out loud: “Blue Car?”, “Green Car?”, also an airplane “Blue Plane with White?”
Most incredible of all was that not only had she improved her ability to communicate, but her emotional projection also took a 180-degree turn. My daughter now asked me to pick her up and carry her in my arms. She hugged me for the first time voluntarily and repeatedly for more than 15 minutes. Aside from improving in language, she also improved her emotional connection. They were the most beautiful 15 minutes of my life. My daughter recognized me and expressed it openly and freely for the first time.
Since that day she did not let me go, everything she wanted to do, was with me. When I realized these great changes I began to carry out other activities with my daughter. What I can not forget to mention is that Raquel’s anxiety did not allow us to take her anywhere. When we went to a mall, the screams were so loud that a man even asked if she needed an ambulance. To take her to the U.S. was horrible too, because customs officers could not understand how this girl could not calm down with her mother. After 3 weeks of therapy Raquel even tolerated going to Disney. That frightful part of our lives was over. Now I was free to walk with my daughter and she was for the first time able to enjoy the rides. I meditated about why God sent this miracle to me. I came to the conclusion that if Raquel did so well, it had to be for something greater than us. At the end of the Treatment and seeing the progress, I decided to meet with the key people of the company and asked them to send a MeRT machine to Panama. When I got to the office I sat down with them and explained that I would not be able to live without the machine that brought me so many miracles. It took a year, but we finally managed to open the doors of Brain Treatment Center in Panama, and provide thousands of people with a treatment that could be the change they sought in their lives, closer, more accessible and comfortable. – Raquel’s Mother *
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Starting as a New Patient
To get started, we will schedule an initial qEEG and then follow that with a consultation with one of our clinicians who can explain what the results show, and then we will proceed into 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.
Typically, MeRT treatment lasts anywhere from 4 – 8 weeks, however in some cases, additional treatment 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 gauge your progress.
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, rTMS is FDA cleared for treatment of Depression and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.) Treatment for all other conditions is considered “off label” at this time, though we are hopeful that treatment for TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) will be FDA cleared 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.
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