Hello from Dallas, Texas!
Our first visit was August 31st through September 4th. The Cerebrum Health Center (formally called the Carrick Brain Center) specializes in customized Vision and Vestibular Therapy programs for TBI, Stroke and Nervous System disorders.
After our first weeks therapy, the team set 3, 6, 9 and 12 month goals for Corey to work towards. We had a successful week and left with a series of home vision and vestibular exercises. We incorporated the exercises 2-3 times per week for September and October. The month of November and December Corey’s therapy focus was participating in the GoBabyGo café research project.
We returned January 3rd marking month 3.
Corey walked in to the center assisted by her forearm cane and shocked the entire team at staff (she did not have the stamina or strength to walk long distances in September). Day 1 is filled with baseline vision exams. Because of her walking, Dr. Randall wanted to test her balance skills (a test she could not attempt in September). Corey also took a cognitive IMPACT exam on the computer; another exam she could not do 3 months ago. Corey did not complete the exam; however, she focused for 45 minutes prior to hitting her frustration level and the parts completed showed some short term memory improvement.
Dr. Randall reviewed the initial results. He was blown away by Corey’s scores. They reflected what he hoped she would achieve in months 9-12 not within the first 3 months of her home therapy. I credit Corey’s work with her home exercises and the GoBabyGo Café project. Dr. Randall was thrilled and escalated this week’s program goals.
Tram, Corey’s medical tech, used electric stimulation on her tongue and left temple. The stim on the tongue arouses nerves in the cerebellum (part of the brain stem) to help her tolerate therapy. Stim on the left temple activates the right side of her body so the muscles don’t fatigue.
A series of ascending vision exercises works to help Corey raise her gaze and focus on centering her body to midline, helping her posture and gait. A full length mirror has been utilized this week. It gives her a greater sense of personal awareness. She is actively participating in readjustments and self-correction to make the therapy more accurate. Several of the exercises include an interactive metronome. A metronome helps neural timing deficits (how fast she processes verbal directions). This deficit is common in TBI survivors. By addressing the timing with an interactive metronome alongside functional therapy interventions, this practice will lead to more efficient treatment and better overall treatment outcomes. Corey is more aware of her role in the exercises ‘keeping beat’ with the metronome rather than a passive role often found in rote exercises. Consistently used it can be customized to become increasingly complex with precise timed motor movements and gradually higher and faster cognitive processing, attention and decision-making. A form of Music Therapy, it’s the only neuro-motor therapy that can be used successfully with all patients across the therapy spectrum including all ages and any cognitive and/or physical impairments.
All of the aforementioned exercises are part of colliculus mapping. The exercises target the occipital in the cerebellum, which means; Corey recognizes where her body is within her environment. She will feel her center of gravity and self-adjust her posture, pitch and gait to walk independently.
For those of you following us on Facebook, you saw the short video of Corey’s amusement ride (aka rotational therapy). Spinning in a certain direction, for a certain number of rotations at a certain speed targets the vestibular system. Everyone’s first thought would be that spinning would cause dizziness and nausea, but it does not. Corey actually walks straighter, is more alert and her movement is more fluid post spin.
The most important part of this week has not just been Corey’s exercises. Functional neurology looks at the whole person, not just the brain and how the body moves. Corey had bloodwork completed and analyzed, which included an in-depth look at her current medications. We have discovered some critical information. Corey’s not absorbing some of her medications. In addition, some of the prescriptions are coated for ease to swallow however; the coating is actually contributing to inflammation in her stomach lining and blood cell lining.
We will be adding several supplements and slowly changing some of her medications to help reduce her internal inflammation. In addition, we will be changing ‘our’ diet. I say ‘OUR’ because we’re in this together. We cook together; we’re going to eat together. The cookbook she’s writing is going to get a whole lot healthier!
During the course of therapy, she had pain in her pelvic area. Her pelvis was one of the fractures she sustained in the accident. Dr. Randall ordered a pelvic x-ray. We’ve discovered a calcification of bone in her right hip that is limiting her range of motion and we suspect is the reason behind her inability to straighten her hips as she walks (she leads with her right hip). We will make an appointment will the original neuro-orthopedic team she had 5 years ago when we get home to follow up on this discovery.
Tomorrow Corey will repeat the same tests from Monday, she will have a final session of therapy exercises and we will conclude with our exit meeting comparing her results from Day 1 to Day 5. We can’t wait to share the final test scores! xoxo
If you would like to see the video on facebook, ‘friend me’ at Marie Palamara Beattie