Flux Health Forum

Closed head injury, epilepsy... and which device?

Hi,

I am interested in buying the M1 or A9 model (most likely M1) and intend to use it for brain and gut issues (mainly brain).

I recently underwent extensive QEEG and other brain testing with a neurofeedback practitioner and it showed significant dysfunction and showed that the epilepsy I struggle with is almost certainly the result of multiple closed head injuries as there were several shakes on the brainstem: the main affected areas being the brainstem, occipital region, right temporal and midfrontal areas of the brain.

Obviously having seen how powerful the devices can be for reducing inflammation and aiding in recovery from TBI I am very interested in trying them out.

Do you you know of any obvious reason why someone with epilepsy should not use the device? Especially if just using it for reduction of inflammation as opposed to using any protocols that affect brainwaves?

Thanks very much.

I do not know of any contra-indications related to this for PEMF in general. As a general opinion, I would start “low and slow” initially anyway. I have not heard any feedback from anyone with epilepsy using PEMF, so, unfortunately, I can not give you much specific information. But if you find it helpful (or not), many other people might be very interested to know.

@djm Daniel:
Just wondering if you did try either the M1 or A9 and how that worked for you, especially regarding seizures and/or cognitive performance in general.

@Bob - have you had any further feedback re seizures and ICES use? I have a client who could benefit from the ICES for cognitive and emotional regulation purposes, but had a couple of seizures many years ago and is worried about “activating” something that had apparently resolved (or at least has been quiescent).

Thanks!

We have no reports of ICES-PEMF induced seizures. There does not seem to be a connection. But I do not know how that would work for someone with a prior problem that has resolved without explanation.

Thanks @Bob. I suspect the seizures were an acute effect of impacts on the brain of repeated mortar firing. Once the person stopped working with those, there were no further seizures.

I have found ICES helpful for concussion-like, mild BI, but just wanted to get what information I could provide for them.

ICES-PEMF does appear to be helpful for concussion-mTBI generally. We have published this a few times with Bill Pawluk:

https://www.josam.org/josam/article/view/15
https://www.josam.org/josam/article/view/pawluckpaper

but probably more importantly, the study that gets right to the point:

and the protocol we used is here:

Lots of people will be reading this, so…
For people who think that peer-reviewed scientific studies are “optimal” and “prove” something, and that in order for anything to work, they need to follow the published experimental protocol exactly, then the best strategy for them is probably just to follow the protocol we used (above link)

For people who know (or who take my word for it) that science is imperfect and never “optimal”, and that protocols selected for scientific studies are always different from what is best and practical because of the need to run controls and as a statistical expedient, the best thing to do is to understand that what matters is the application of the correct waveform, not a precise frequency or Gauss. ICES-PEMF does this correctly without any need to make any adjustments.

Then, when doing any stimulation on or near the head or CNS, just pick a pulse pattern that you find agreeable. One such pattern is alpha-wave, which, through entirely different mechanisms, tends to elicit in most people the effect of inducing a calm alertness. But if it irritates you, just try a different pulse pattern.

Then you also can learn a lot from what the study did wrong:

What we did wrong was to make the study too short. We stopped applying ICES-PEMF when the study was over and people had apparently gotten much better. As a result, many people just slowly reverted back and lost most of the benefits over time. So the lesson we learned is: do not stop using ICES-PEMF right away. We quit when the study was over, but that turned out to be a bad decision (as later clinical observations clearly indicated)

It appears to be necessary to continue daily, even when symptoms have subsided. How long? That is unclear, but I would say to taper off slowly over the course of a few weeks or more, after symptoms have completely disappeared.

Yes, these are the links I share with people. But your added point of carrying on is good. It makes sense if to some degree the injured brain cells are being “fed” with added energy, they may not be able to maintain the changes over the longer term – and maybe not ever since they may be inefficient for the long term. I’d think of it like a vitamin or mineral that gets used in the body and needs replenishment.

Brains likely self-repair in ways that are different from bones or muscles, it seems to me.

I put all the links in one place, along with my comments on them, because some people are just joining the forum and they may never have heard about this before. So I figure that should make it convenient. But we have not had the opportunity to do more research on concussion + PEMF since then.

The interesting thing to me is that I observe this same pattern for all kinds of injuries, for example: orthopedic chronic pain. In this case what I see is that people can achieve reduced or eliminated symptoms (pain), but then if they just stop using ICES-PEMF, the pain usually comes back in a few days or weeks. But if they extend their use of ICES-PEMF for about 2 to 3 weeks beyond the period where the pain has subsided, then about 80% of the time, the pain never returns.

My thinking is that symptoms can begin to disappear before tissue recovery is complete. So, if you stop using PEMF as soon as the symptoms disappear, then you have not allowed enough time for the tissue injury to fully heal. The incompletely-healed injury may linger, slowly build up again, then start causing problems again.

This seems to be the case with a lot of different types of injury, not just chronic pain. It seems to also be the case for peripheral neuropathy, compartment syndromes, and concussion/mTBI, for example.

This is the mental model I use for developing a strategy. The strategy is to use ICES-PEMF until the symptoms are relieved, then continue to use ICES-PEMF daily for another 2 to 3 weeks to facilitate complete healing of the tissue. This can be hard for some people to do because the symptoms are gone at this point, but it helps to keep in mind that if you continue on using PEMF to allow full tissue healing, then you allow the tissue to fully heal and therefore the chances of a return of the problem are greatly reduced.

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