Research Chair for Concussions Funded

February 1, 2013

By Sera Kirk and Diana Pederson

The Vancouver Sun reported recently that a research chair has been funded at Surrey Memorial Hospital with Simon Fraser University to develop tools to diagnose and treat concussions.

Philippe A. Souvestre MD (France), R.Ac. of The NeuroKinetics Clinic commented “Given that there has been so much in the news about the impact of concussions on the lives of sports enthusiasts; it is encouraging to see research funding becoming directed towards expanding solutions. Sports are an important part of a healthy lifestyle for many persons. Growth and access to effective solutions for the occasional injury is therefore also very important.”

Philippe is the founder and lead practitioner at The NeuroKinetics Clinic in Vancouver which has been providing safe and effective treatments for concussions and trauma since 1997. Philippe has been practicing for almost 30 years, and is a former flight surgeon with the French Air Force, neuroscientist, and traumatologist.

Participate in a Research Study

August 7, 2012

Participate in a research study on balance control. Screenings for selecting Candidates will be performed at The NeuroKinetics Clinic from Monday Aug.7, 9am, to Thursday Aug. 10, 5pm 2012.

We are looking for Volunteers to perform a Research Project looking at a new way to mitigate Balance and Dizziness Disorders [BDD] and Fall Proneness due to the adverse effects of stress and workload with applying a novel safe, drugless, and non-invasive device.

Objectives of this Double Blind Randomized Clinical Trial are as follows:

=> Objectively evaluate the effectiveness of a safe, drugless and non-invasive Device in
1. Correcting stress-related moderate dysfunctional mechanisms known to cause BDD
2. Reducing the occurrence of unsteadiness, dizziness, and fall proneness under stress
3. Enhancing general balance control and performance at home, at work and in sports

=> Our goal is to better understand how to correct the cause of BDD and improve performance.

Eligible candidates will:
• be between the ages of 25 and 60,
• have no neurological or cardiovascular history of disease,
• have no history of severe trauma, and
• be able to walk and stand without assistance.

The time commitment is one 15 minute screening, and two 3.5 hour sessions, 2 weeks apart during the month of August 2012. Benefits for subjects include a short customized report on individual performance data from the screening – a $75 value. Refreshments will be provided while on site for the study sessions.

If you are interested in taking part in this study, please…
Phone 604-736-3963 or email: reception@neurokinetics.com
and ask for Tiffany or Diana for more details.

Please feel free to pass this on to anyone else you think may be interested!

Thank you on behalf of our Team

Concussion in Sports

February 7, 2012

I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out. – Rodney Dangerfield

Recent headlines spotlighting athletes with concussions have helped raise awareness about how they are treated—or not.

Why are sports-related concussions such a problem?

The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services reviewed the issue of violence in sports as early as 1974. The report of William R. McMurtry, Q.C., Investigation and Inquiry into Violence in Amateur Hockey, includes a quote by Dave “The Hammer” Schultz of the Philadelphia Flyers on page 5: “I’m more valuable in the penalty box than I am sitting on the bench…”

Most sports leagues have protocols meant to protect athletes from brain trauma. But according to a December 12, 2011, article in CBS Sporting News, Determined players circumventing NFL efforts on concussions, these protocols have too many loopholes. While teams offer treatment, players feel pressure to perform, fearing they will lose their jobs or let their teams down if they acknowledge their concussions and seek proper treatment. As a result, concussed athletes routinely underreport problems or avoid essential treatment.

Athletes’ concerns about their careers are justifiable. Unfortunately for both players and fans who appreciate skilful teamwork and play, glorification of violence and confusion between genuine heroism versus pointless self-martyrdom has plagued both professional and amateur sports. According to The Province’s December 20, 2011, article, Fighting is part of hockey, fans argue, fans are adamant that they expect violence for their entertainment dollars: “It’s not freakin’ ballet class.”

What will it take to change the casualty rate?

David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail has some excellent preventive suggestions in his January 8, 2012, article, Hockey desperately needs a concussion cure. His ideas include changes to sports culture, equipment, game rules, and violence management, as well as having and using an effective treatment protocol. But what will motivate leagues to implement change?

Player lawsuits such as the one launched last year by 21 NFL players against their league for allowing conditions that left them permanently disabled may help change the future of sports. If the athletes succeed, the substantial costs paid by leagues to complainants will be transferred to ticket prices. Will fans still want the violence if they have to pay more for its consequences?

I’d rather fight than score. – Dave Schultz

Celebrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine

November 23, 2011
Photo of Philippe Souvestre and Diana Pederson at Dr. Rogers Prize Gala
Philippe Souvestre and Diana Pederson

By Sera Kirk

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally, it is accepted as self-evident. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine

In 1865, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician, died in an insane asylum, where he had been committed for claiming that washing one’s hands between conducting autopsies and delivering babies could save thousands of lives. Unable to prove his theory, he merely succeeded in offending doctors with the implication that they had dirty hands.

Though Western medicine discourages non-standard treatment approaches, at least it does not lock up those with new approaches to medical treatment or label them insane. At the other end of the spectrum, some alternative health practitioners also feel threatened by those MDs who combine standard Western medicine with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

But luckily some people recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of those who combine the two approaches to provide their patients with the optimal care possible. In 2007, the Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation endowed the first Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in honour of Dr. Roger Rogers, an Order of British Columbia recipient in 2001 for his pioneering work in alternative and complementary cancer care.

Representatives from Neurokinetics attended the 2011 Dr. Rogers Prize Award Gala. NeuroKinetics attendees included Philippe A. Souvestre MD (France), President and Founder, Diana Pederson, Director of Project Development, and Reiner Rothe, a company advisor, who cured his mother’s ‘terminal’ stage 4 cancer using alternative approaches.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Wayne Jonas
Dr. Wayne Jonas

Philippe was delighted to see Dr. Wayne Jonas again and hear him speak. They had previously met at Dr. Jonas’ American East Coast home base, the Samueli Institute, which promotes and funds research in complementary medicine.

Dr. Jonas spoke about the open-minded and varied background in which he grew up and the challenges this presented when he became a standard Western medical practitioner, as his colleagues viewed much of what he considered normal as unacceptably radical. CAM is often defined as those treatment modalities that are not included in Western medicine. In British Columbia, CAM is not covered by the Medical Services Plan nor provided in hospitals or standard medical clinics.

Prize Winner

Photo of Dr. Verhoef and Philippe Souvestre at the Gala
Dr. Verhoef and Philippe Souvestre

The winner of this year’s $250,000 prize was the University of Calgary’s Dr. Marja Verhoef, the only Canadian Research Chair in Complementary Medicine and the first President of the International Society of Complementary Medicine Research.

She has established several Canadian networks connecting those interested in complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine, such as the IN-CAM network, a virtual collaborating organization for CAM researchers and practitioners in Canada, North America, and the world. A tireless advocate of appropriate research methods for multiple and varied CAM approaches, she has inspired and mentored many working in these fields.

The Experience

The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel served a dinner that included delectable salmon and a decadent chocolate dessert, and was clearly constructed on the notion that food should bring joy to the senses and the soul.

But the best nourishment of the evening was for the soul alone. Philippe felt inspired by the company of so many like-minded colleagues active in CAM and seeing so much strong support for this approach in treating illness and injury. He particularly enjoyed meeting Barb Fehlau, MD, a Director of the Association of Complementary and Integrative Physicians of BC, a network of medical doctors who practise both CAM as well as standard Western medicine.

Philippe Souvestre commented:

This is what medicine should be: a spirit of embracing the effective new, doctors integrating standard knowledge with additional medical approaches. Too many patients who come to our clinic have been told that there is no hope; to go home and learn to accept and manage their condition. For many, this is unbearable. They must then fight on their own to learn everything possible about their medical condition, wading through a sea of alternative medical choices by themselves.

The approach of Western medical community at large appears to be “if it is not proven by evidence-based medicine, then it is not effective; so don’t consider it.” Yet, there has demonstrated to be considerable value in both [Western, and CAM] medical approaches. I would love to see more emphasis on finding ways to invite the scientific evaluation and integration of complementary medicine rather than using the cry of evidence-based medicine to close doors and antagonize the underfunded efforts by CAM providers who do strive for quality and science in medicine.

It is just so much better for patients to have a knowledgeable guide to support and assist them with every possible approach. The bottom line is the health and wellbeing of the patients, who are all of us.

The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated. – Plato


Participate in a Research Study

April 20, 2011

We want you for a Study

Have you recently sustained a Head Injury?
Would you like to take part in a Research Study?

Simon Fraser University is looking for volunteers to take part in a research study looking at changes in the cardiovascular system and postural instability in individuals with a recent head injury or with post-concussion syndrome.

Concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of head injury that commonly results in symptoms including headache, loss of balance (postural instability), and impaired concentration, among others. These symptoms may resolve within a few days or may persist for weeks. This can lead to lost work, school, and/or sport participation time. Returning to work, school, or sports too quickly can lead to an exacerbation of symptoms or risk of sustaining a second concussion. This study will be investigating the relationship between the cardiovascular system and postural instability in individuals with a head injury.

The time commitment is a few hours on two occasions a couple of days apart. Please respond by early June 2011 to participate in the Study.

If you are 19 years of age or older, recently sustained a head injury, are still symptomatic, and interested in taking part in this study, please contact Michelle Bruner or Dr. Andrew Blaber for more details.

NeuroKinetics is a collaborator in this study.

Study on Concussion Rates in Junior Hockey Players

February 23, 2011

A study was recently completed which followed a junior hockey team and tracked their concussion rates.

Science Daily posted a good article about the study: Junior Hockey Study Uncovers Alarming Concussion Rates

The CBC also had a good article which is linked here.

It is good to see that there is a growing awareness of the seriousness of concussions and the lasting effects which can be experienced from concussions. It is important that education continue to raise awareness about concussions – so that more of these can be prevented. There is generally no widely available treatment for concussion at this time. Our Clinic does offer an effective treatment for concussion. It will take time to make access to solutions accessible to the many.

Here are a few statistical highlights from the article:
• 17 players suffered a total of 21 concussions during 52 observed games.
• 29% suffered a second concussion during the study period.
• 24% of the concussions occurred in players who were involved in a fight.

Be aware, and help support changes in sports so that participation can become safer and still be fun.

Prevent Falls: Keep Balance Controls Healthy

By Philippe A. Souvestre, MD & Mick Matheusik, M.Sc
Posted: Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Source: Senior Living Magazine – Special Home Edition – February, 2011 – http://www.seniorlivingmag.com/articles/prevent-falls

According to the famous Wilkins retrospective study in 1999, falls are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in older Canadians: the sixth leading cause of death. One in three people over 65 years old and one in two aged 85 or over fall each year, and about half of these falls involve fractures.

Non-fatal falls cause physical trauma, fear of walking and physical degeneration from immobility, loss of independence and having to leave one’s home. This impacts the victim, the family, the health-care system and society. Falls cost Canadians $3 billion annually. Fall prevention would be a major step toward enhancing mobility, letting people stay in their homes while saving health-care costs. Avoiding falls and accidents are a key part of remaining active.

Conventional medicine mainly offers damage control in the form of drugs (with their side-effects), surgery (often with serious consequences) and physical therapies. None of these measures addresses the source of falling. A revolutionary approach pioneered by NeuroKinetics, however, stops the cause of falling; the fundamental factors that underlie it relates to the health of the sensory-motor (input-output) areas of the brain. This approach intervenes only at the level of the brain and works as long as there is no actual brain tissue damage, but only neural pathway dysfunction.

Both fall proneness and falling reflect the same condition dominated by a loss of postural balance always combined with many other physical, cognitive, emotional, intellectual and behavioural symptoms. These include pain, stiffness, vertigo, balance and dizziness disorders, transient blurry vision, anxiety, mental concentration and short-term memory issues, co-ordination issues, sleep disorders and fatigue, depression/irritability, and reduced tolerance for other sensory data (for example, hypersensitivities), leading to a loss of balance control. Loss of equilibrium can occur either instantly, as when tripping, having a stroke, or gradually over a long period. Emotional or physical trauma can cause acute or lasting, deteriorating changes in the brain’s ability to process incoming stimuli and adapt appropriately by maintaining upright orientation. This slow decline in the brain’s functional ability to adapt and effectively sustain vertical posture and gait appears in the form of fall proneness.

The usefulness of posture, gait, and balance testing is typically overlooked or at best, generalized in mainstream care, at least in Canada for the general population other than professional athletes or other specialized occupations such as pilots and astronauts. However, detailed assessments identify difficulties, which allow safe standing and fall prevention. The causes of difficulty in walking, decreased range of motion, weakness, slower reaction time in co-ordination and body adjustments, increased stiffness and muscles spasms/tension, postural pain, a decrease in brain processing ability are all assessed and then can be addressed with specific treatments.

The important message here, which bears repeating, is that fall proneness does not begin with the feet; it begins within the central nervous system, that is, the brain and spinal cord. Conventional medicine treats the peripheral symptoms and may not address the cause, which is brain dysfunction. The good news is that there is a way of stopping fall proneness by restoring the function of the brain controls in the relevant areas.

Continure reading more on Falls and How to Prevent

Other than the traditional external factors … (e.g. improved lighting, grab bars, non-slip floors, removing obstacles, added personal assistance, etc.) that are typically incorporated by occupational therapists, home care workers and/or family members, having an active lifestyle significantly decreases the risk of falls (assuming a healthy brain). Underlying this is training in sensory motor skills with a qualified health-care provider and incorporating basic balance enhancing activities such as:

* Walking as briskly as possible while breathing deeply, alternating with slow pace walks in the same session. The ideal is to walk at least one hour every day. The time can be broken up throughout the day and still be effective. Studies show that walking regularly decreases falls by 50 per cent.

* Stretching increases both flexibility and strength; ideally 20 minutes, two times per day. Head, neck, and back (bending), hips, ankles, shoulders, arms – rotation, flexion, extension.

* Attention to posture – for example, avoid lying in bed with head bent against pillow watching TV. Be aware to stand up straight.

* Enhance space perception – activities such as walking, dancing, breathing, stretching and tai chi are all effective.

* Exercise visual perception – move eyes open, and then closed, in all directions of vision. This can be done sitting, standing, or lying down. Eye direction affects balance lean.

* Promote efficient breathing – deep breathing exercises while walking or other activity. Increases heart-lung performance and improves oxygen in the blood, which also assists with brain function.

* Drink plenty of water or other non-diuretic fluids. The brain contains a higher percentage of water than the rest of the body.

* Exercise the mind with precision. Puzzles, building models, activities requiring fine-tune dexterity, sequencing and playing or even listening to music are examples.

This is a multi-system approach as the balance control system is complex.  Balance control requires a combination of both physical and mental function. The important point is to select the level of activities that are compatible with one’s abilities. Remember the old adage of “Use it or lose it.”

If these lifestyle tips do not improve balance health, then there may be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

For more information, visit the following websites:

www.braintrustcanada.com/resources

www.homeinstead.com

www.NurseNextDoor.com

www.wecare.ca

www.taoist.org/vancouver

www.neurokinetics.com

Source: Senior Living Magazine – Special Home Edition – February, 2011 http:http://www.seniorlivingmag.com/articles/prevent-falls

Why… “The Brain Whisperer”?

June 18, 2010

 Today we are launching our Blog. Very impressive maneuver for me, as I am really not used to  communicate on the net…

While finally stepping out to communicate better on what I feel called upon, I instinctively felt that I should begin with introducing briefly but yet thoroughly myself to you, seasoned or new blog readers, wherever and whenever you may be. So let’s begin here now…

Why… “The Brain Whisperer”? - As for any call name given to someone in particular, “The Brain Whisperer” has of course a good story behind. “The Brain Whisperer” is my call name, a call name given to me many years ago by a patient, who came gradually back to herself in all aspects after a few months of treatment, and this after many years of physical and mental agony, thanks to the medical expertise I earned through my career as a doctor and a scientist from many beautiful and accomplished professionals.

As you may know, Aviation and Aerospace have strong traditions recognized as necessary to strengthen and gather their own all together to better work as a team to face the odds of flying. One of these traditions is to “baptize” flying and non flying crew at a very early stage of their career with a well deserved call name specific to one’s peculiar character and trait of some sort. This call name will surely follow them throughout their career and very likely their lifetime. I belong to this milieu, and some patients too!…

Well, in our case here, “The Brain Whisperer” came along as a gentle familiar call name through the proceedings of a challenging treatment program I provided to a flight attendant who was severely physically and emotionally incapacitated after multiple occupation related traumas. Year after year, this pleasant lady, mother of two, did desperately seek help from any medical doctor she could approach, and she gradually expanded the range of her investigations towards all kind of therapists and practitioners, as nothing effective could be provided to her to get her “back to herself”, i.e. a bright, energetic and athletic creative middle age female executive. We finally met after she heard of me by pure chance through former patients of mine.

She came up with this nickname, “Brain Whisperer” because, for her, this name clearly reflected my passion for and my focus on assessing and silently “sort of dialoguing with a dysfunctional brain ” (according to what she felt when seeing me working on her, hence her expression of “whispering to this brain” ) in order to reset “defective functions” back to “normal function” through using neuroscience based micro-instrumented brain centered stimulations.

Now you know the reason why “The Brain Whisperer” is a very special moving reminder to me of a particularly touching episode in the history of my medical career, where I deeply felt in my heart that I was on the right track towards answering my calling as a caring medical practitioner. Upon reflection, “The Brain Whisperer” appears to be the most adequate name for my blog, because the focus here is on serving suffering patients and intent to resolve the cause of their dysfunction or incapacitation, whether physical, cognitive, emotional or intellectual. 

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