After using HIRREM® neurotechnology, Brain State Technologies has reported that young athletes who suffered from symptoms of concussion are showing a number of long-term improvements. After three months of therapy, the small group of athletes reported continued symptom reduction, with all of them returning to full activities and exercise. These findings were presented in Chicago at the American Academy of Neurology Sports Concussion Conference this month.
Symptoms of sports- or recreation-related concussions include sleep disturbance, nausea, cognitive impairments, headaches, depression, and other health concerns. Most athletes who get a concussion will recover within a few days; however, about 10% will go on to develop long-term symptoms, which can last for weeks, months, or even years. In this study using neurotechnology, 19 people participated in the study, and each had symptoms for an average of five and a half months before using HIRREM®.
High-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM®) is a noninvasive procedure using computer technology developed by the CEO of Brain State Technologies, Lee Gerdes, whose background also includes software engineering in Silicon Valley. Using algorithms built into the software, brain wave frequencies are translated into audible tones, which are then returned to the person in real-time. The intention is to support self-optimization of electrical activity patterns within the brain.
Most of the athletes who were part of the study went right back to participating in their chosen sport. There were changes noted in the variability of their heart rate, which suggests that their heart could make more rapid adjustments and adapt better to pumping functions. A portion of the participants underwent reaction testing both before and after HIRREM®, which showed even greater improvements, with better reaction times.
Co-investigator in the study and Director of Research at Brain State Technologies, Dr. Sung Lee, reminded the group at the presentation that concussion presents unique challenges not only to the brain, but to the rest of the body as well, because the brain is the central command station. It was exciting to the researchers that the athletes were not only self-reporting improvements, but that there were objective measures to show better reaction times and heart rate variability, leading them to be able to participate in sports again.
Estimates show that about 190,000 people in the United States develop persistent sports- or recreation-related concussion symptoms every year. The guidelines in the sports medicine industry state that athletes’ return to competitive play cannot be based on the use of drugs that will mask underlying symptoms that would otherwise prevent the individual from participating. Not only would that put them at risk of developing further symptoms and ending their career, but the symptoms may actually be severe enough to prevent them from participating in non-athletic activities.
There has been a recent increase in concerns about the potential long-term effects of concussion symptoms in athletes, which is partially due to the recognition of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which has been reported in National Football League (NFL) players that were exposed to repeated head injuries and hard impact.
HIRREM® has created a “closed loop” of information exchange in clinical studies, which has been linked to improved sleep quality, reduced posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) symptoms, and better symmetry in electrical brain activity, along with other objective health benefits.
Rachael Herman is a professional writer with an extensive background in medical writing, research, and language development. Her hobbies include hiking in the Rockies, cooking, and reading.