$620,000 Grant Expands the Scope of Neurological Research
The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Inc. of Atlanta, Ga., has once again awarded Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers funding to expand clinical studies into the use of a noninvasive, drugless therapy that may help to reduce symptoms associated with a list of neurological conditions. This year’s grant totals $620,000.
This new grant will fund a controlled clinical research trial for athletes who have had a concussion and suffer from persistent post-concussion symptoms. Sports-related concussion affects at least 1.3 million Americans each year, many of whom are adolescents or young adults. While most recover within seven to 10 days, some experience persisting symptoms such as headache; insomnia; poor focus, concentration, or balance; fogginess, irritability, or depression. Rest is the mainstay of current treatment options, which also includes inner-ear balance therapy or medications for specific symptoms, but new, innovative therapies are sorely needed.
The project is under the direction of Charles H. Tegeler, M.D., McKinney-Avant Professor of Neurology, director of Telestroke Services, and director of the Ward A. Riley Ultrasound Center. Tegeler is conducting clinical studies of HIRREM (High-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring or, as it’s commercially known, Brainwave Optimization®), a product created by Brain State Technologies, LLC, of Scottsdale, Ariz. This noninvasive procedure uses a computerized system designed to reflect the brain’s frequencies back to itself in near real time using auditory tones. Resonance between the tones and the electrical circuits in a person’s brain can allow improved balance to the two hemispheres of the brain and has shown reduced symptoms in a pilot study* of people with insomnia.
Preliminary results of Tegeler’s prior studies suggest a reduction in persisting symptoms following sports concussion, or other types of traumatic brain injury, associated with use of HIRREM. This spring, Tegeler and his colleagues are presenting these results at the 10th World Congress on Brain Injury, and the annual meetings of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and the American Academy of Neurology.
To date, Tegeler’s research has also studied individuals with insomnia, episodic migraine, hot flashes, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition marked by an unexplained increase in heart rate when standing up, causing dizziness and lightheadedness. More information on this research can be found at www.wakehealth.edu/HIRREM.
This new grant will also support an ongoing placebo-controlled clinical trial for those with insomnia. Since 2011, The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Inc. has provided approximately $2.3 million in support of this research. Tegeler awaits receipt of a government grant to evaluate the effect of HIRREM for military personnel with PTSD.
“At a time when funding for research is difficult to find, this support from The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Inc., makes it possible to continue our research program, and the transition to additional controlled clinical trials,” said Tegeler. “We continue our efforts to scientifically evaluate the potential benefits of HIRREM as a noninvasive, non-drug therapy in situations where such options are lacking. It is with deep gratitude to Susanne Collins that we accept this generous additional funding for this important research, which provides a chance to focus on the important problem of concussion, while continuing our work in those with insomnia.”
*Editor’s note: The pilot study was published in the journal Brain and Behavior in October 2012 (28 OCT 2012, DOI: 10.1002/brb3.101); a methods paper was published in the journal, Brain and Behavior last year (14 JAN 2013, DOI: 10.1002/brb3.116).