Although neurostimulation therapies have been around for decades — and measuring our brain’s electrical brainwaves for a century or more — we’re only starting to understand the power of neurostimulation and neuromodulation in healing brain injury. Researchers are still expanding the many ways to harness the human body’s brain inputs to harness the brain’s ability to heal itself. Inputs are eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, and I would suggest hair and perhaps touchless sense. Think of no-touch therapies like Reiki.
At the same time, researchers are studying blood markers, genetic mutations, epigenetic changes, and the autonomic nervous system reflex to figure out roadside methods of diagnosing concussion and different ways to treat it.
I haven’t written about the cardiac, respiratory, and thermoregulation effects of brain injury on this site. But I have in my book Concussion Is Brain Injury: Treating the Neurons and Me. To this date, the only methods I’ve come across to mitigate or heal some of these effects are my hypothalamus fix (see my book) and low-intensity laser therapy. However, I’ve done so many different kinds of neurostimulation that perhaps them working together is what reversed my asthma and reduced my triggers to virtually nil. Research in these areas is lacking and sorely needed. And these not-well-known areas are only the top of the iceberg. So much about the brain is observed yet completely unknown and seemingly unknowable.
That kind of humility, of holding simultaneously confidence in observance and accepting knowing nothing about what’s observed, is what will truly take us into the future of assessing and healing brain injury.
The future will only bring instant diagnosis and rapid healing of brain injury when the medical profession, health care providers, and institutions change their thinking from rest, strategies, and adult daycare to creative and critical thinking and listening, acceptance, advocacy, innovation in diagnostics and treatments, and harnessing the power of the brain to heal itself. That idea needs to be applied to the most severe of injuries just as much as to the mildest.
The future shines bright in Sherlock Holmes’s world. But the future repels medical evidence-based experts. “Evidence-based” is about what was true in the past. Medicine is an art. Art and clinical judgement guide science into the future. Experts who trash innovation are like those twisting branches binding people up into brain injury to be eaten by multiplying worms into dementia. Experts like Holmes, excited by science’s innovation, will pull the injured brain out of the twisting branches, prevent worms from taking up residence, until one day, healing will happen within days of injury.
Changing brain injury care will require involving the patient or client as an equal in treatment and healing. The person with brain injury is ultimately responsible for healing because without their active participation, nothing really can happen.