Exploring an Alternative Treatment of Parkinson’s
While this condition is progressive, it is possible to see improvements in symptoms and delay progression.
This treatment is now available at the Brain Treatment Center. It’s called MeRT, which stands for Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy.
Simply stated we use a magnetic field to stimulate and balance brain function, guided by very sophisticated imaging and diagnostics. It is completely non-invasive and drug-free.
With patients who have Parkinson’s Disease, specific neurons located in the brain begin to break down and die. A lot of the symptoms of Parkinson’s occur because of the loss of neurons that produce a chemical in the brain called dopamine. When these levels of dopamine decline, it causes abnormal brain activity, which then manifests in Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is progressive, and currently, there is no cure, however, there are medications that can improve symptoms.
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- Tremors are most common, usually starting in the hands or an arm or leg, and occur even when the body is at rest.
- Rigid muscles which can limit movement anywhere in the body, and also cause pain.
- Slowed or impaired movement which can make seemingly simple tasks more difficult and time-consuming. Steps when walking can become shorter and disjointed, and it can be hard to do everyday tasks like getting out of a chair or going to the bathroom.
- Balance issues.
- Stooped posture.
- Decrease in automatic movements such as blinking or smiling.
- Speech can become monotone without inflection. The patient may slur, or talk faster or slower than normal.
- Difficulty with writing.
- Depression, anxiety, and fear.
- Sleep disorders such as insomnia and/or sleeping during the day.
- Generalized fatigue.
- Incontinence or difficulty urinating.
- Constipation (digestion is slower).
- Changes in blood pressure with movement, such as a sudden drop in blood pressure when going from a sitting position to standing.
- Dysfunction with the sense of smell such as no longer being able to identify some odors.
- Generalized or specific pain in various areas of the body.
- Cognitive issues such as dementia which usually occur in the later stages of the disease. Lewy Body dementia, which can cause hallucinations, is a common type of dementia experienced by Parkinson’s patients.
- Chewing, eating, and swallowing problems can occur as the disease progresses due to slowed muscle movements.
- Breathing problems.
The causes of the disease are unknown however, both genetics and environment can play a role. Some gene mutations can cause Parkinson’s but these are rare, and usually only seen when many people in a family are afflicted with the disease. Ongoing exposures in the environment from herbicides and pesticides may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s in later years, but this is uncommon as well.
Many different types of medications are being used to help control various Parkinson’s symptoms. There are no dopamine supplements or prescriptions because dopamine that’s given directly doesn’t enter your brain where it’s needed, but there are some medications that are designed to mimic dopamine effects in the brain. The longer these drugs are taken, the more likely they can stop working consistently.
Other drugs can be infused via a feeding tube which delivers the medication directly to the small intestine for maximum absorption. Other meds can be delivered by injection or via a patch that’s placed on the arm. Unfortunately, some medications can have serious side effects such as hallucinations.
Deep brain stimulation surgery includes implanting electrodes into a certain part of the brain. They’re connected to an implanted generator located in the chest that can send electrical pulses to the brain, and possibly reduce Parkinson’s symptoms.
Surgery is not without risk, and complications can lead to infections, brain hemorrhage, and stroke. Some people can also have problems with the equipment as well.
While these types of treatment can help with symptoms, they cannot curb the progression of the disease.
Parkinson’s and MeRT
Here at the Brain Treatment Center, we offer MeRT for Parkinson’s Disease. MeRT is a unique and improved version of TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), and is a much more individualized approach to brain modulation, and is tailored to the patient’s needs based on frequency, location, and power used. TMS modulates the brain’s electrical activity by using magnetic fields which pass through the scalp from an electromagnetic coil however, it is important to note that TMS is a generalized approach to neuromodulation because it is only able to target a single location in the brain with a single frequency.
While the neuromodulation equipment used in the MeRT process has been cleared by the FDA in the treatment of depression that has been resistant to medications, it may also be used off-label for other disorders in the practice of medicine. These include Parkinson’s disease, Dementia, and other brain-related conditions. Additionally, this treatment is non-invasive and pain-free.
We perform a quantitative EEG before modulation treatment starts in order to determine exactly the frequency of your brain.
MeRT stands for Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy. MeRT is a cutting-edge treatment protocol that combines technologies of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS, an FDA cleared therapy for Depression and OCD), Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG), and Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) to analyze and formulate treatments that are tailored for each individual’s unique brain pattern.
Most TMS treatments are used to deliver stimulation to one area of the brain at a fixed frequency for all patients, however, MeRT is more evolved. Our MeRT is highly individualized as to frequency and location based on initial thorough testing and evaluation. This customized, scientific approach is unique to each patient.
The patient’s initial testings are analyzed very carefully as to the brain’s pattern of function and activity. Through this detailed analysis, we are able to determine the correct neural synchronization. This information is then used to devise a highly personalized protocol for each patient, with the purpose of encouraging improved brain communication. Many of our patients have noticed significant clinical improvements.*
Treatment for Parkinson’s disease usually lasts 4-6 weeks and can be done alongside other therapies. Appointments are 30-45 minutes in length, Monday through Friday. Many of our patients report that they notice a difference occurring within the first week.*
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 rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). However, rTMS 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
Initially, you can expect to come in for your first appointment which will last approximately 45-minutes to an hour. We will gather your new patient paperwork at this time, and then our chief neuro technician will perform a qEEG (quantitative EEG) and EKG which is used to evaluate brain activity and enables us to identify any dysfunction or communication problems in your brain. While this appointment usually takes about 45-minutes, if you are seeking treatment for your child with autism, please plan on spending an hour with us. At your qEEG appointment, we will set up the schedule with you for your assessment period, should you decide to proceed with treatment.
Your second appointment is 45-minutes long. During this time, you will meet with Dr. Sandy Lee for your clinical evaluation. She will answer any questions that you may have and discuss your applicable treatment plan.
The assessment period of treatment lasts from 1 to 2 weeks, depending on your age. For children who are 10-years old and younger, the assessment period is 1-week long. For anyone who is 11-years and older, the assessment period is 2-weeks long. The assessment period of treatment will help you and us determine how you are responding to treatment. At the end of the assessment period, a second qEEG will be done to note any changes occurring in the brain.
For children 10 years old and younger completing a 1-week assessment period, the patient will have their initial qEEG/EKG completed, and then attend 4 treatment sessions Monday through Thursday, followed by another qEEg to determine progress in the brain.
For persons 11 years and older completing a 2-week assessment period, the patient will have their initial qEEG/EKG completed, and then attend treatment sessions the first week, Monday through Friday, and then for the second week, Monday through Thursday for a total of 9 sessions, followed by a repeat qEEG to determine progress.
Once the assessment period has been completed and we are seeing progress both clinically and on the repeat qEEG, subsequent two-week treatment periods will be scheduled. Because each treatment period lasts for 2-weeks, you must be able to stay in Newport Beach or the surrounding area. We do advise that to get the most out of your treatment, and for long-lasting results, that you are able to stay for an entire 6-weeks of treatment (which includes the assessment period). The comparison between the initial and second qEEG/clinical evaluation will determine if you are responding. You should also start to experience changes in the way you are feeling during this time period. We highly advise a total of 6-weeks of treatment (which includes the assessment period) for optimal and long-lasting results to take effect.
If you are not yet ready to commit to going through an assessment period of treatment or prefer to have your qEEG and consultation done to ensure you are a candidate for treatment, we do also offer the option of coming in for a qEEG/EKG and consultation with our clinician to see your results before proceeding with the assessment period.
Please note that results and improvements are based on active and strict observation of our regimens. Results may vary based on the individual users and are not guaranteed.
Results of therapy can vary per individual. In general, the longer the length of MeRT therapy, the longer the changes remain. Since each brain is unique, the protocol will be different for each patient as it is based on specific qEEG/EKG data from your brain, and the specific condition being treated. Generally, the results of treatment can last a lifetime, though some people do prefer occasional follow-up treatment as needed.
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 gentle 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.
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 the 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 approved at some point in 2022. 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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For more information or to book a Consultation.