With more and more vaccines being available to the public, the COVID-19 threat is starting to diminish, though the pandemic is far from over. There are many people who contracted the virus, and unfortunately, are still suffering from various after-effects that have left them still feeling bad, and in some cases, debilitated. Because there have been so many unknowns associated with COVID, many physicians are ill-equipped to help these “long haulers” make a full recovery.
Johns Hopkins Medical Center published an article that stated that people who were hospitalized and in the ICU can and are suffering from PICS, which stands for Post-Intensive Care Syndrome. This condition causes physical, psychological, and mental long-term complications.
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Each person is unique and the folks who were infected with the virus experienced it in various stages; some had mild cases, while others were more severe and had to be hospitalized, and sadly, way too many people ultimately passed away from complications. We are now about a year and a half into the pandemic and are seeing that after-effects from the virus are also affecting people differently, regardless of how sick they may have been. Research shows that the most serious ongoing complications affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain. Other complications are occurring too, which can include:
- Overall muscle weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Lasting fatigue
- Inflammation throughout the body/brain
- Cognitive issues such as brain fog, memory problems, and changes in thinking
- Inability to sleep
- PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Substance abuse with alcohol and/or drugs
- Ideation of suicide
The COVID-19 Pandemic has Affected Everybody
Even if you didn’t contract the virus, chances are that you were affected by this pandemic. Millions lost their jobs and the economy crashed, causing us to enter into a recession. Everyone lost their “normal,” whether that was due to a loss of income, the inability to see friends and family, and the stress of when there would be light at the end of the tunnel.
Sadly, many people lost their loved ones who passed away from the disease. Others who had friends or relatives in the hospital felt completely helpless and overwhelmed because they couldn’t be together during this time of extreme crisis.
Mental health conditions have been and continue to be on the rise because of all of the stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The NIH (National Institute of Health) published a study in June 2020 just a few months after the lockdown began which showed some sobering statistics regarding mental health:
- 13% increase in substance abuse
- 31% increase in depression/anxiety
- 11% increase in thoughts of suicide
- 26% increase of other “stress-related symptoms”
The study mentioned that these increases were DOUBLE what they were pre-pandemic. It’s worth noting that this study was published only 3-months after the world went into lockdown, and we all know that it’s lasted much longer since that time. It’s fairly safe to assume that these statistics have risen exponentially.
Additionally, those who already had pre-existing mental health conditions were at a much greater risk of being affected. And what’s unfortunate is that we still hear very little emphasis placed on the mental health ramifications created from the pandemic either directly or indirectly, such as much higher rates of Depression, PTSD, Anxiety, etc.
The Brain Treatment Center in San Diego Can Help!
Here, we use a treatment called MeRT, which is an acronym for Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy. This treatment is non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive and has helped hundreds of people to recover from mental illness and get their quality of life back again! We have been using MeRT at our clinic in San Diego for years to treat patients suffering from various types of brain dysregulation that accompanies illnesses to include:
- PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
- TBI (Traumatic brain injury/concussion)
- Substance abuse
- Cognitive issues such as brain fog and memory issues
- Parkinson’s Disease
- After-effects of stroke
- Learning disorders and ADHD
How Does MeRT Help?
While MeRT has been used to treat mental health conditions, it has also been used to help those with physical brain conditions such as dementia, traumatic brain injury (concussion), Parkinson’s disease, and stroke recovery. We are learning that it may also help those who are suffering after-effects of COVID-19, such which can include inflammation of the brain. Regardless of the cause, whether it be mental, emotional, or physical, these conditions all cause dysregulation to occur in the brain pathways which is visible on a qEEG. Once we are able to determine the exact dysregulation going on in your brain, then we can come up with a treatment protocol to help.
It is important to mention that while MeRT can help with a variety of things, it is not a cure for permanent brain damage that may have been caused by the virus, or for brain tissue that has died. However, it can help to reduce inflammation and possibly restore damaged brain tissue, and the effects of treatment are long-lasting.
Because each person’s brain is so unique to them, a qEEG, which is the cornerstone of our treatment protocols, is required to identify the exact dysregulation occurring. This data is then sent to our team of neuroscientists for a specific treatment protocol based on each individual’s brain patterns. We are then able to use these protocols to treat each patient by using a set of magnets that gently send magnetic signals into the brain which will restore and reorganize the brain waves that will stimulate and reorganize the neuron function. This is called neuromodulation.
Benefits from MeRT can include:
- Better mood
- Improved concentration and focus
- Increased relaxation
- Improved sleep
- Improved memory
- Increased mental clarity
- Greater ability to cope with stress
- Increased attention span
- Increased motivation
- Fewer cravings (drugs and alcohol)
- Improved emotional stability
- Improved sociability
- Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
- Increased energy
Please notes that improvements and results can vary based on each individual and are based on strict and active observation of our treatment regimens, and thus, cannot be guaranteed.
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The MeRt Process
MeRT (Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy) emerged from a treatment modality called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). TMS still exists but it is more of a one-size-fits-all approach since it is only able to target a single location in the brain with only one fixed frequency.
Conversely, MeRT uses the qEEG to guide the TMS so that each protocol is tailored specifically for their own brain dysregulation, and frequencies and locations can be adjusted accordingly. MeRT will improve synchronization and brain communication within itself which can lead to long-lasting and significant improvements.
Most of the initial research for MeRT was completed by the U.S. Department of Defense for veterans who were returning from combat. Defense One published an article that further explains the research, findings, and benefits that MeRT was shown to have on the veterans who were suffering from traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, etc. Since that time, other studies have been completed in the private sector on other conditions.
Starting as a New Patient
We understand that MeRT is a relatively new, cutting-edge treatment and you may not be certain if this is right for your situation. But this is not a decision that needs to be made right away or all alone.
Your first step would be a simple phone consultation with our New Patient Coordinator. Here you can discuss symptoms and history, ask all the questions you want, and have her explain the protocols, fees, and details of treatment.
If you are interested in taking the next step in seeing if MeRT treatment is right for you, we can set up an appointment for an EEG (a simple, painless, and non-invasive brain scan).
Your first appointment with us will consist of us performing a qEEG (quantitative EEG)/EKG test which is used to evaluate brain activity and will show us any dysfunction or communications that are occurring. A qEEG is sometimes referred to as a “brain map” and shows exact areas of the brain that are experiencing dysfunction. This tool is valuable as it allows us to customize treatment specifically for YOU. This test is performed by our chief neuro technician and takes approximately 45-minutes to complete, however, if you are seeking treatment for your child with autism, please plan on spending an hour with us. We will also gather your new patient paperwork at this time, and get you scheduled for your initial assessment period of treatment.
The second appointment is a clinical evaluation with Kate Ryan, R.N., and takes approximately 45-minutes. This appointment can be completed via Telemedicine or in-clinic, whichever you prefer. Please note that if you choose a Telemedicine appointment and are seeking treatment for your child, your child will need to be present. During this consultation, Kate will answer any questions you may have and discuss your applicable treatment plan. Additionally, you will have an opportunity to meet with our physician and Medical Director, Julie Kim, M.D.
6-weeks of treatment is recommended for patients undergoing MeRT in order to achieve optimal and long-lasting results. However, prior to committing to the 6-weeks of treatment, we have each patient first go through an assessment period of treatment to see how they will respond. The assessment period is included in the 6-weeks of treatment.
The assessment is 1 to 2 weeks long depending on the age of the patient. For children who are 10 years and younger, the assessment period is 1 week in length. It consists of attending 4 treatment sessions, Monday through Thursday, and is followed by a repeat qEEG to determine progress.
Assessment for anyone 11 years and older is 2-weeks in length and consists of 9 treatment sessions followed by a repeat qEEG. Treatment would be provided the first week, Monday through Friday, and the following week, Monday through Thursday. A typical treatment session lasts about 30-45 minutes.
Additionally, the follow-up qEEG results will be covered with you by your provider.
If clinical changes are occurring as they should, and the qEEG also shows progress, then you would then continue treatment which would occur 5 days per week, Monday through Friday. Generally, you will begin to feel the benefits of treatment within a week or two, but because treatment is cumulative, should continue to note improvements throughout the course of your treatment, and even for some weeks after treatment. Because treatment is consecutive, you must be able to stay in or around the Newport Beach area while undergoing your therapy.
For those who are not ready to commit to an assessment period, or if we need to see the results of the testing to confirm that MeRT can help, we also offer the option of coming in for a qEEG/EKG and then having a consultation with Kate and/or Dr. Kim to go over the results. After your clinical consultation, you will still have the option of going through an assessment period should you choose to do so.
Improvements and results of MeRT are based on strict and active observation of our treatment protocols. Results may vary based on each person and are not guaranteed.
Because each person’s brains and conditions are unique, treatment protocols are customized specifically for each individual which is guided by the qEEG results. Repeat qEEGs and clinical consultations occur every 2-weeks throughout treatment. The effects of treatment generally last a lifetime, though some folks do prefer occasional follow-up treatment as needed.
During your treatment session, you will sit in a comfortable chair while the neuro technician administers this gentle treatment with a hand-held magnet that is held near the scalp. While you may feel a slight sensation during treatment, it is not painful or uncomfortable. Magnetic pulses are delivered for 6-8 seconds during each minute of treatment.
Potential side-effects of treatment are minimal and should begin to dissipate after you begin to progress through treatment.
Our clinic does not accept insurance. We can provide you with the appropriate paperwork at the end of your treatment so that you can submit it to your insurance company to see if they would provide you with any reimbursement.
Currently, rTMS is FDA cleared for Depression and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.) Treatment for all other conditions is considered “off label” at this time, though we are hopeful that treatment for TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) will be FDA cleared at some point in the next couple of years. For non-FDA-approved treatment, it is highly unlikely that any 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, depending on their health coverage. Medicare patients have reported that their coverage provides no reimbursement for MeRT.
Additional Payment Options
We take all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Care Credit is also an option to assist in financing medical expenses. Care Credit is a separate company from The Brain Treatment Center Newport Beach and is a credit card that can be used to 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 let you know if you are approved very promptly.
Contact Our New Patient Coordinator for More Information
Our New Patient Coordinator is here for you. She will take the time to answer any questions that you may have, listen to your concerns, and carefully explain all of the details and information you need regarding your condition.
If after talking to her you are interested in further exploring whether you could benefit from MeRT, the next step would be to schedule your EEG and a Consultation with our Doctor. With thorough diagnostics, the doctor can show you what is seen as happening in your brain and what may be causing the issues you are experiencing. At this point, it can be determined whether or not you may benefit from MeRT Treatment and you can decide if you would like to move forward with treatment.