Oct 14, 2017
New Treatment Uses PMFS

A clinic in Southern California is working with former football players and other athletes who have sustained repeated brain trauma. The clinic, Pure Recovery California Center, uses pulsed magnetic field stimulation (PMFS) to help trigger electrical activity in the brain.

An article from USA Today Sports explains that treatment at the clinic starts off with a quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) to gauge electrical activity in the brain. This allows the clinic to compare the results with measures taken from other people of the same age and gender.

Next, a 3-D map of the brain is created to show areas where functioning may not be normal. PMFS can be used to help stimulate electrical activity in those parts of the brains. The clinic may also use pulse electrical stimulation to stimulate nerve cells with small electrical currents, though this option is used less frequently than PMFS.

“It’s not One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Harry Kerasidis, a neurologist who helped with developing the program at Pure Recovery, told USA Today Sports. “We have come a long way since then. One of the nice things about stimulation therapy is that it does not take a lot of energy. You don’t have to induce a shock that even results in a twitch and definitely not convulsions.”

Jermichael Finley, who retired from the Green Bay Packers in 2015 after having five concussions throughout his career, sought treatment at the clinic. Although skeptical at first, Finley’s first qEEG test indicated that 44% of his brain was dysfunctional. Six weeks and 30 sessions later, Finley’s measure showed only 20% dysfunction.

“[Before going to the clinic] I noticed irritability began to set in and I really didn’t know what to do,” Finley told USA Today Sports. “When I heard about the place, my first thought was, ‘Man, this is not my kind of deal.’ I was told to think outside the box and see what’s going on with my brain.”

The clinic offers a 30-day program that also includes meditation, speech therapy, exercise, an organic diet and games intended to increase brain activity and neuroplasticity. One other feature is the structure it provides.

“When you’re a guy with $5 million in your bank account and you remove his identity as a football player—one he’s had since he was a kid—he no longer can think of himself as an athlete,” Husain Abdullah, a retired NFL player and client at the clinic, said. “You also eliminate the structure he’s had along with his support system. There’s the blood family and then there’s the football family. Now, the football family is gone. You mix that in with the mental health issues like depression and anxiety that may have been the result of concussions, it can lead to a lot of issues. That’s why so many of these guys go broke. You basically need a program like this to re-craft a player after retirement.”

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