Exploring an Alternative Treatment for 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.
In patients who have Parkinson’s disease, specific neurons in the brain begin to break down and die. Many symptoms of Parkinson’s occur because of the loss of neurons that produce a chemical in the brain called dopamine. These declining levels of dopamine cause 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 can limit movement anywhere in the body and also cause pain.
- Slowed or impaired movement can make 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. 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 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 have the disease. Ongoing exposure to the environment from herbicides and pesticides may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s in later years, but this is also uncommon.
Many medications are 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. However, some medications mimic dopamine effects in the brain. And the longer you take these drugs, 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. Some meds can be delivered by injection or via a patch 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 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.
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, 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.
While the neuromodulation equipment used in the MeRT process is FDA-cleared for 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.
What is MeRT?
MeRT stands for Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy. This innovative treatment protocol 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 tailored for each person’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. We tailor MeRT as to frequency and location based on initial thorough testing and evaluation. This customized, scientific approach is unique to each patient.
We carefully analyze the patient’s initial testings as to the brain’s pattern of function and activity. Through this detailed analysis, we can determine the correct neural synchronization. We then devise a highly personalized protocol for each patient to encourage improved brain communication. Many of our patients have noticed significant clinical improvements.*
Treatment for Parkinson’s disease usually lasts four to six weeks and can be done alongside other therapies. Appointments are 30 to 45 minutes, Monday through Friday. Many of our patients report they notice a difference occurring within the first week.*
The MeRT Process
MeRT is a non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive treatment.
Studies have shown altered brain wave oscillations in patients suffering from conditions such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), 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 sophisticated diagnostics and imaging to customize the treatment for each individual.
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.
MeRT Treatment for Parkinson’s: What to Expect
For the initial analysis, you will come in for a comprehensive testing appointment. We will gather your new patient paperwork and then our chief neuro technician will perform a qEEG and EKG, which will enable 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. Should you decide to proceed with treatment, we will schedule your assessment period.
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 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.
Your second appointment is 45 minutes long. During this time, you will meet with us for your clinical evaluation. Your provider will answer any questions you may have and discuss your applicable treatment plan.
The assessment period of treatment lasts for 2 weeks. The assessment period of treatment will help you, and us, determine how you are responding to treatment. At the end of the assessment period, we will perform a second qEEG to note any changes occurring in your brain.
After completing a two-week assessment period, the patient will have their initial qEEG/EKG, and then attend treatment sessions for two weeks. The first week will be Monday through Friday, and the second week, Monday through Thursday, nine sessions in total, followed by a repeat qEEG to determine progress.
Once the assessment period is complete, and we are seeing progress both clinically and on the qEEG, we will schedule subsequent two-week treatment periods. Because each treatment period lasts for two weeks, you must be able to stay in Newport Beach or the surrounding area. We advise that to get the most out of your treatment—and for long-lasting results—you stay for an entire six 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. We highly advise a total of six weeks of treatment (which includes the assessment period) for optimal and long-lasting results.
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 prefer occasional follow-up treatment as needed. But each person is different, and protocols may vary. Your provider will have regularly scheduled follow-up EEGs and meet with you to gauge your progress.
A typical treatment session takes about 45 minutes. You will sit in a chair while the neuro-technician administers the treatment near the scalp via a hand-held magnet. The gentle magnetic impulses are delivered for six to eight seconds each minute. You may feel a slight sensation while the treatment is occurring, but it is not painful or uncomfortable.
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. Plus, the results of therapy can vary per individual. In general, the longer the length of MeRT therapy, the longer the changes remain.
We are an in-network provider with TRICARE. If you have TRICARE insurance, it is possible that your policy may provide coverage, depending on your specific situation. Our New Patient Coordinator can discuss this with you in further detail.
For all other insurance, we are out of network and cannot file an insurance claim on your behalf. We can, however, provide you with the paperwork at the end of your treatment, which you can submit to your insurance company to see if they may provide you with any reimbursement. Please note that we are unable to treat patients who have Medicare or Medicaid.
Currently, rTMS is FDA cleared for Depression and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.) Treatment for all other conditions is considered “off-label.” However, for non-FDA-approved treatment, it is not likely that 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. But this depends on their health coverage. Medicare patients have reported that their coverage provides no reimbursement for MeRT.
We take all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Care Credit is also an option to help finance medical expenses. This is a separate company from The Brain Treatment Center Newport Beach. Care Credit is a credit card that can 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 promptly let you know your approval status.
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It’s normal for patients and their families affected by brain disorders to feel alone, frustrated, and hopeless. Yet, there is hope. MeRT is a treatment protocol that has helped patients restore their brain function, reclaim their lives, and get a whole new lease on life.
We understand what you are going through. 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 and have experienced incredible results firsthand. As a result, they are passionate about helping you 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 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.