If Your Brain Was a Restaurant

The Primitive Reptilian Brain – The Back of the Restaurant

In every restaurant, the entire operation is completely and undeniably reliant on the back of the restaurant. This area is your prep area, your dishwasher, your equipment and your supply storage, fridge and freezer. No one ever walks into a restaurant and says I bet I’m having a great dining experience because everything is running smoothly in the back.

However, if this area of the restaurant was in chaos there is no way the rest of the place could function smoothly or efficiently. Well, unfortunately, this is how society and healthcare have looked at the brain. It has completely ignored the primitive brain. The primitive brain is the area of the brain that controls all your vital function (heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, digestion, etc.) It is the area that times and coördinates thoughts and movements, the areas that tell you where you are in your environment, the areas that keep you from falling, and the areas that keep you alert.  This area and the vast number of functions is the place where we are constantly seeing health problems. Let’s be completely honest; if these areas don’t function well, the rest of the brain gets frustrated! It would be analogous to an angry chef like we’ve all seen on the TV shows. They would be yelling and screaming; hey get me clean pans; slice those mushrooms and those d*** radishes. Primitive functions need to happen in order for advanced functions to happen.

The Limbic brain – The Front of the Restaurant

The front of the restaurant is the experience!  “Oh, she was such a nice person.   Oh, she brought everything out on time!”   This is like the limbic part of our brain.  And, just like the front of the restaurant gets grief from the back of the restaurant, our emotional/limbic lobes are constantly being bombarded from our primitive brain. For example, how do you feel if you are dizzy or disoriented? How do you feel when your heart is pounding through your chest? How do you feel when you can’t get a deep breath? How do you feel when a million things are being thrown at you? Over-stimulate you? Do you ever feel so defeated from this that you want to act like the waitress that tells the dishwasher to take a hike as she storms off out the back door and behind the dumpster for a big deep drag of her cigarette with shaking hands? Wow! I’m so sorry; I don’t know why I’m so emotional. 😊

The Cortex – The Chef   

The part of the restaurant that gets all the headlines and the area of the brain that gets all the attention is the cortex. However, the purpose of the chef area of the brain (the cortex) is to herd cats; even more so than being creative or intelligent. It is trying to tell the emotional areas to chill out; it is directing and attempting to make sense out of all the nonsense being thrown at it from other parts of the brain. If these other areas aren’t doing their basic job, it screams at them and tries to organize this complete chaos. Eventually, though, there is only so much screaming ones’ head can do! Then it will begin to slow down and shut down for moments at a time, Then, these moments happen more often, until the cortex completely fails and/or the restaurant closes.  “Oh, why can’t I think clearly anymore and nothing makes sense with all this noise!”

So, now you know – the best restaurants need a great back of the house, a front of the house, and a chef to keep it all in order.  Your brain needs the same thing – a healthy primitive brain, limbic brain and cortex for the body to work at its best.  So many of us ignore the signs of a brain function imbalance and/or do not have any idea what to do about it.  That is where a functional neurologist can help.  Click here to learn more about functional neurology.

Dr. David R.A. Hardy, DC, DACNB, FABBIR
October 31, 2017

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Hardy, Dr. Joseph Little, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

Concussions: A Mom’s Perspective

It’s official, the 2017 High School Football Season has begun!  Watching my Son play football under the Friday night lights is one of my favorite things to do this time of year. His commitment, his dedication, and his hard work are paying off. Involving our children in sports has always been a priority in our family.    The commitment provides an opportunity to gain greater self-awareness, develop better social skills and commit to a consistent exercise regimen. Becoming actively involved in a sport provides a wealth of health benefits.  Playing a sport can improve efficient functioning of the heart, improve blood circulation, lower hypertension, and lower stress levels. Being part of a team also teaches so many valuable life lessons such as commitment, comradery and mental and physical toughness.  We can do great things when we keep up our physical and mental well-being!

  Although I enjoy watching my son progress and excel at his favorite sport, the sport itself is downright dangerous.  I worry about the next practice, the next play, the next hit or even the after effects of it all.  Last season, I received the call that my son, during practice, took a very hard hit to the head.  It was the second week of football practice and already my son had been hit so hard that he suffered a loss of consciousness, confusion, blurred vision, and a constant headache that would not ease up.   Although there were very real signs and symptoms of a concussion in my son’s case, that may not always be the case.  Often times, the signs and symptoms are subtle and are not always apparent immediately.   Concussions can happen in an instant. Yet they can have a lasting impact on a young athlete.  It is Important to know the warning signs and follow through with a treatment plan to reduce long-term effects. Your brain can heal itself.  However, just because your athlete may feel better doesn’t mean that the brain is healed.  According to Dr. David Hardy, Chiropractic Neurologist at Functional Endocrinology of Ohio, the brain takes time to heal.  Often times the brain compensates during the process and if not properly diagnosed and treated may lead to a more severe concussion to follow often resulting in worse damage than the first.

Be aware of the signs:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Trouble thinking or remembering
  • Speech problems
  • Feeling sleepy or a change in sleep pattern
  • Loss of consciousness (This doesn’t always have to happen)

Know what to do:

  • Seek medical attention, get checked out to assess the extent of the concussion. Become as involved as possible in the care and management plan to help prevent or lessen the long-term effects or injury.
  • Rest
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Seek neuro-rehabilitation. A trained functional neurologist is the best.
  • Keep open communication with your player. Make sure they know how important it is to communicate all symptoms

We are very fortunate to play for a high school program that provides our players with state of the art equipment and a professionally trained staff.  At the start of the season, players were all given base line testing or a preseason physical of the brain which records the normal neurological state.  In Sam’s case, the high school athletic department, trainer and coaching staff followed the proper protocol.  I know that I can’t shelter or protect my son but I will make sure to be equipped to recognize the signs and symptoms and know what to do in the case of an unfortunate head trauma or even a hard hit.

The most important way to equip your player is to encourage that they do not hide their symptoms.  Make sure that they know to report their symptoms to the high school trainer, coaching staff and parents.  Make sure that your player is always wearing protective gear.  If signs or symptoms are present, get checked out.  Whenever there is doubt, encourage them to sit out.

I feel very fortunate to work for a team of doctors committed to overall health and well-being.  This year, Dr. David Hardy, DC, DACNB, FABBIR joined our team at Functional Endocrinology of Ohio with an extensive background in Functional Neurology.  As an athlete himself, who competed in competitive rugby, high school football, and basketball, as well as Ironman competitions, his passion is treating all brain-related conditions but especially TBIs and concussions.  Even though I will always worry about that next practice, next hit, next play or even the after effects of it all, my doctors have educated my son and me about the proper protocols.  Because of this knowledge and guidance, I will know what to look for and how to aid in the recovery process.

When it comes to concussions, be aware and use your head!

Joy Vale
Patient Care Coordinator
September 6, 2017

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio

Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. Andrew Kender, Dr. David Hardy, Dr. Joseph Little, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

 

Brain-Building: The Key to Longevity?

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4 Essential Facts You Need to Know About Neuroplasticity

In the last decade, it has become clear that our brain’s ability to function at its highest level is, at least partly, within our control.  Genetics and head trauma play a role but so does our environment, the foods we eat, and the quality of our daily brain workout. 

In 2014, on Father’s Day weekend, I was in a boating accident.  I was a passenger in a 4-seater SeaDoo jet boat driving in a no-wake zone.  A young inexperienced driver in a 27 foot speed boat struck us at full speed.  I had broken ribs and a concussion.  There is so much I could write about the effect of that accident on my life – about how it gave me a new perspective on things, about how I look at each day differently, and about how blessed I am to have the people in my life that supported me after the accident.  But, the scope of this article is to share with you the importance of neuroplasticity in a brain that is damaged by trauma, age, environmental factors and the failure to give the brain the attention it deserves and requires.

The word, “neuroplasticity” comes from the root words, “neuron” and “plastic.”  “Neuroplasticity refers to the potential that the brain has to reorganize by creating new neural pathways to adapt, as it needs.”[1]  The old school of thought was that the brain is static, except “during some critical developmental periods.”[2]  We now know that is not true.  Our brains are remarkable.  They can reorganize pathways, create new connections and even create new neurons throughout your lifetime if treated well. (Click Link to Tweet)

Here are the bare-bone facts about neuroplasticity.

  1. Neuroplasticity Occurs Under 2 Conditions:  “(1) during normal brain development when the immature brain first begins to process sensory information through adulthood (developmental plasticity and plasticity of learning and memory), and (2) as an adaptive mechanism to compensate for lost function and/or to maximize remaining functions in the event of brain injury.”[3]

2.  Cells that Fire Together, Wire Together.   “When people repeatedly practice an activity or access a memory, their neural networks — groups of neurons that fire together, creating electrochemical pathways — shape themselves according to that activity or memory.”[4]  Over time, “these connections become thick, hardy road maps that link various parts of the brain. When people stop practicing new things, the brain will eventually eliminate, or prune,” the connecting cells that formed the pathways.[5]  Thus, you must always continue to practice new things to create new pathways and to make sure the “map” in your brain will take you where you want to go.

3.  Our Senses are Closely Connected to Memory and Cognition.  Thus, a weakness in one of the brain’s pathways can effect one of more of your senses.

 For example, we all know that Alzheimer’s patients slowly lose their memories. One way this manifests is that they eat less food. Why? As it turns out, visual deficits are also a part of Alzheimer’s. People eat less because they can’t see the food as well. Another example is in normal age-related cognitive changes. As we grow older, we get more forgetful and distracted in large part because our brain does not process what we hear, see, and feel as well as it once did. The result is that we can’t store images of our experiences as clearly, and so have trouble using them and recalling them later.[6]

4.  Neuroplasticity is directly related to age.  The brain changes at all ages, “but different kinds of change are relevant at different ages.”[7]   The brain will change and rewire itself through its life in responds to stimulation of learning and experience. “As we age, the rate of change in the brain, or neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, declines but [it] does not come to a halt. In addi­tion, we now know that new neu­rons can appear in cer­tain parts of the brain up until the day we die.”[8]   We may increase our brain’s plasticity to try to slow down the aging process.

So what can you do to improve your brain’s function?

  1. Get evaluated by a good functional neurologist so that you can discover any brain weaknesses and any metabolic issues affecting your brain function. Click here to read our blog post about functional neurology and click on any of our doctors’ names below to read about their training.
  2. Engage in neurological therapies. Click here for a list of some of the therapies we use in our office.
  3. Have your brain-mapped and trained using neurofeedback. Click here to read our blog post about neurofeedback or here to visit our neurofeedback website.
  4. Meditate.  Click here to visit Dr. Joe Dispenza’s website to learn about how meditation changes the brain.
  5. Try one of the many brain-training “games” on-line like, Lumosity, Peak, Elevate, or Fit Brains. You can also get these on your phone as mobile apps.

The good news is that for most people, you can improve the brain’s neuroplasticity if you are capable of learning anything new, no matter how small.  Obviously, the level of improvement will depend on many factors. You will notice even greater improvement when you combine one or more of the action steps above.

As for me, I’ve done “all of the above” and will continue to work out both my body and my brain in hopes of living a long and healthy life.  I may also avoid boating for a while  🙂

Dr. Keith S. Ungar
May 17, 2015

www.balancingyourchemistry.com
Email: info@feohio.com
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
Click here to make an appointment.

[1] http://www.whatisneuroplasticity.com
[2] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/15/neuroplasticity-brain-health.aspx
[3] http://www.efpta.org/docs/NeuroplasticityMM-474891-29-04-2012.pdf
[4] http://www.edutopia.org/neuroscience-brain-based-learning-neuroplasticity
[5] Id.
[6] http://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-plasticity/what-is-brain-plasticity
[7] http://www.efpta.org/docs/NeuroplasticityMM-474891-29-04-2012.pdf
[8] http://sharpbrains.com/resources/1-brain-fitness-fundamentals/neuroplasticity-the-potential-for-lifelong-brain-development

Quick Guide To Functional Neurology

Funct. Neur.

Quick Guide to Functional Neurology

Neurology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system.  Lately, Functional Neurology is gaining momentum and acceptance as an authoritative treatment option for nervous system disorders and to improve brain performance.  Functional neurology is multi-disciplinary and includes chiropractic, optometry, audiology, psychology, conventional medicine, physical and occupational therapies.  It may also include diet and nutrition recommendations if there are metabolic deficiencies.

So, what is the difference between traditional neurology and functional neurology?  The answer lies in the difference in treatment approaches.  Conventional neurologists’ primary treatment protocols are pharmaceutical (drugs) and surgery.  Functional neurologists believe that nervous system function changes with environmental stimulation.  This concept is known as “neuroplasticity” and is the core of a functional neurologist’s clinical methodology.

Improving body functionality by finding the cause of dysfunction is the embodiment of what chiropractic physicians are trained to do.   Thus, chiropractic physicians are a perfect choice when looking for someone to lead your functional neurology treatment team. Chiropractic neurologists undergo doctoral and post-graduate training and a rigorous certification process. This intensive training ensures a very high level of clinical efficacy.

So, I’ve found physician to lead my treatment team, what happens next? Just like a world-class chef uses many tools and ingredients to create the perfect meal, the functional neurologist uses a variety of tools to stimulate the nervous system (sound, smell, vision, movement, balance, etc.).  The doctor chooses among these modalities based on a variety of cutting-edge clinical assessment tools.  When combined with specific diet and nutritional recommendations, when metabolic deficiencies are found, the results are powerful.

If you have any neurological condition, memory loss, a cognitive decline, loss of the ability to focus or concentrate, or simply want to improve your brain performance to elevate yourself to the next level in your chosen profession, functional neurology is a wonderful tool to help you meet or exceed your goals and improve your quality of life.

Dr. Keith S. Ungar
March 9, 2015

For more information, visit us at www.balancingyourchemistry.com

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio

Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road,Suite 100, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330)644-5488
Independence: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd.,Suite 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216)236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey, Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
Dr. Ungar is board-eligible in chiropractic neurology