Sadly, a few months ago, I found out that my childhood friend was diagnosed with ALS. Hearing this news sent me on an emotional roller coaster ride, knowing perfectly what my friend was about to endure as I have treated many patients with this disease. I contacted my friend and immediately scheduled her for a combined treatment of Neurofeedback therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy (HBOT) and Nutrition Coaching.
ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s disease is a progressive, more often than not fatal, a neurological disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. ALS causes progressive degeneration of motor neurons that run from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the body’s muscles. The disease causes motor neurons to die, leading the brain to lose its ability to initiate and control muscle movement. Those who have ALS face the possibility of losing the ability to speak, eat, move, and breathe normally. Recent advances in neuroscience reveal the main causes of ALS are a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain, lack of specific brain chemicals, and brainwave imbalances. You see, in our brain, there are billions of brain cells, called neurons, that send electrical signals to each other, that we measure as brainwaves through our EEG machine. These electrical signals cause our brain cells to release small chemicals called neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline). These enormous groups of brain cells feed off oxygen and other nutrients via blood from over thousands of blood vessels inside our brain. For people with ALS, there aren’t enough blood vessels supplying the oxygen and important nutrients needed, this causing imbalance in the brain.
Neurofeedback therapy, also called electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback, is a non-invasive form of treatment with zero side effects that can truly help those who have been diagnosed with having ALS. For example, sensors are attached to the person’s scalp so the specialist is able to monitor the brain waves through an EEG machine. While viewing the person’s brainwaves on an EEG monitor, the specialist is instantly provided with the information required to distinguish the parts of the brain that aren’t working properly or as efficiently in conjunction with the rest of the brain. The specialist is then afforded the opportunity to zone in on those specific areas with focused “brain training” exercises, to assist the patient with retraining their brain, for the sole purpose of creating healthier brain patterns. Next, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a medical treatment that enhances the body’s natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber, where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. Hence, this kind of treatment in patients with ALS can help new blood vessel growth in the brain, causing the brain to generate new stem cells, which will then turn into new brain cells. In conclusion, combining Neurofeedback therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy (HBOT) and Nutrition coaching (used to correct nutritional deficiencies causing the brain’s chemical imbalance) can successfully help optimize a person’s motor, sensory and cognitive skills, therefore allowing the patient to perform everyday functional tasks, improving their quality of life.
Dr. Elena Eustache is a specialist in Neurofeedback therapy, with a PhD in Psychology and Cognitive Behavior therapy. Dr Elena Eustache helps her patients reach their full potential so they live the life they have always dreamed of.