Because vaccines are now widely available, the threat of COVID-19 is finally starting to lessen. However, not everyone is vaccinated, and unfortunately, many people who were afflicted with the virus, are still suffering after-effects that have greatly affected their quality of health and life. There have also been many unknowns with COVID, and treating the people (sometimes referred to as “long haulers”) who are suffering from after-effects has also left some of the medical community baffled regarding how to provide healing and relief.
According to an article by Johns Hopkins Medical Center, those who have been in the ICU can also suffer from PICS, or Post-Intensive Care Syndrome, which can cause long-term physical, mental, and psychological complications.
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It’s not only physical symptoms that can linger. COVID-19 affects everyone differently; some were severely sick, hospitalized, and died. Others experienced only mild symptoms. However, as time marches on, we are learning that regardless of how sick someone got, they can still experience symptoms long after testing negative for the virus. Time and research are showing that after-effects from COVID-19 mainly affect the brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys. Regardless of whether you were hospitalized or not, complications can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle weakness
- Wide-spread inflammation
- Changes in thinking
- Memory issues
- Severe brain fog
- Cognitive impairment
- Major Depression Disorder
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Substance abuse
- Changes in eating habits
- Suicidal ideation
Everyone Has Been Affected By COVID-19
Just about everyone has been affected by COVID, even if they didn’t actually get sick. The pandemic wreaked havoc on our economy and left many without jobs for long periods of time. Social distancing, isolation, and loss of “normal” life has greatly affected mental health across the world. And sadly, so many people lost loved ones who were sick, and/or had to try and deal with leaving family members alone to recover in hospitals. A study published by the NIH (National Institute of Health) in June of 2020, which was relatively early on, indicated that the following mental health conditions were on the rise:
- 31% increase in depression/anxiety
- 13% increase in substance abuse
- 26% increase in “stress-related symptoms”
- 11% increase in thoughts of suicide
These increases from June of 2020 were double what they were in our pre-pandemic world. We are now into July of 2021, and based on how much worse the pandemic became, it’s pretty safe to say that those numbers have likely increased even more.
While we don’t have exact statistics yet, we do know that those with pre-existing mental health issues were at greater risk of being affected. We also know that not much emphasis has been placed on the “mental health pandemic” that’s been caused either directly or indirectly by COVID, such as Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Insomnia, etc.
The Brain Treatment Center in Newport Beach Can Help!
At The Brain Treatment Center, we use a state-of-the-art treatment called Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy (MeRT) that is non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical. MeRT has been used for years at our clinic to treat patients suffering from brain dysregulation that occurs from illnesses such as:
- Traumatic brain injury/post-concussive syndrome
- Substance abuse
- Brain fog/cognitive issues
- Parkinson’s disease
- After-effects of stroke
- ADHD/Learning Disorders
How Can MeRT Help?
MeRT has also been used to treat other conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke recovery. So, not only can it help to treat mental health conditions, but it can also be used with physical conditions which can include inflammation in the brain tissue from being infected from COVID-19. All of these conditions (mental, emotional, physical) cause dysregulation in the brain which will show up on a qEEG, which is the cornerstone of our treatment.
MeRT is not a cure for permanent brain damage that may have been caused from the virus, but it can help to alleviate inflammation, dysregulation as a result, and symptoms originating from it. The effects of treatment are long-term.
Each person’s brain is as unique to them as their fingerprints. MeRT protocols are generated by examining brain wave patterns via the qEEG. A brain wave analysis isolates specific areas of the brain that are not functioning or communicating as they should. This data is then used for a specific treatment plan for each individual which is aimed at restoring healthy brain communication and function again.
Once the qEEG has been completed, we are able to see what is and is not functioning properly in the brain. We use this data to treat each patient by using a set of magnets that are placed on the patient’s scalp which sends gentle magnetic signals into the brain that causes a reorganization and restoration of the brain waves which stimulates and organizes the function of neurons. This process is referred to as neuromodulation.
Common Benefits Experienced from MeRT **
- Better mood
- Improved concentration and focus
- Increased relaxation
- Improved sleep
- Improved memory
- Increased mental clarity
- Better ability to cope with stress
- Increased attention span
- Increased motivation
- Fewer cravings (alcohol, drugs)
- Improved emotional stability
- Better sociability
- Improved self-esteem and self-confidence
- Increased energy
** Results and improvements are based on strict and active observation of our regimens. Results vary and can vary based on the individual patient, and are not guaranteed.
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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) or rTMS (Repetitive 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.
Starting as a New Patient
If you are interested in seeing if MeRT treatment is right for you, we will initially schedule your qEEG appointment which takes approximately 45-minutes. At this first appointment, our neuro-technician will perform a qEEG and an EKG. These procedures are painless and involve the patient sitting in a chair until the test is completed. The results will then be compiled and sent to our team of neuroscientists and we will receive results within 48 hours. We will schedule you for a 2-week assessment period of treatment after your qEEG, and go over the results with you the following week.
If you prefer to wait to start your assessment period of treatment until after seeing the results of your qEEG, we can schedule you with a consultation with Dr. Sandy Lee approximately 48-hours after your testing, which would be your second appointment. At this appointment, Dr. Lee will have a one on one consultation with you, go over your results, answer any additional questions that you may have, and schedule the assessment period for treatment should you decide to proceed. Our office manager 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.
The assessment period is 2-weeks long. During the assessment period, treatment is administered every day, Monday through Friday during the first week, and then Monday through Thursday the second week. This is followed by a repeat qEEG on Friday at the end of your 2-weeks to see how you 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 neuro-technician 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.
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 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 the next couple of years. 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 from 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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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 firsthand 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.
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