In the world of concussion management, health care professionals from all aspects have focused on symptoms to evaluate and diagnose mTBI (concussions) and have essentially used those same symptoms to determine the treatment protocols and response to treatment as factors for return to activity. Neurological signs and symptoms are important factors in concussion management, but what interests Dr. Mike Alden and the doctors at Atlas Concussion even more is the cause of these signs and symptoms following a concussion. Dr. Alden has been using specific biomarkers that can objectively confirm the suspected diagnosis, previously based upon reported subjective symptoms and psychological testing conducted by athletic trainers, sports medicine physicians and neuropsychologists. The research that Dr. Alden bases his concussion management protocols on clearly proves that the signs and symptoms present after a head injury are caused by neurochemical components measurable with biomarkers exclusive to the Cyrex Lab’s Blood Brain Barrier Permeability Test.
The Atlas Concussion C1 Treatment ProtocolTM addresses these neurochemical components with strategies that are designed to reduce neuroinflammation, increase blood and oxygen flow to the injured sites, and help to close the blood brain barrier. Essentially, Dr. Alden has developed treatment strategies that are congruent with addressing the causes of the signs and symptoms that arise after a concussion has occurred, not merely focusing on those same subjective reports of symptoms. It’s no longer, “How are you feeling?”, but rather eliminating symptoms within 24-48 hours and then testing the blood to confirm that the blood brain barrier has healed. This combined innovative treatment and testing has elevated concussion management to new heights with Atlas Concussion Treatment and Testing.
For many, the month of August means that football is just around the corner. But for football players, August is pre-season practice two sessions a day and time spent in the weight room, film room and learning the playbook. August is also the perfect time for these athletes to begin the Atlas Concussion Performance Optimization Program too. Dr. Mike Alden has designed this component of the C1 Treatment ProtocolTM to be implemented as early in the pre-season as possible to help improve mental and physical performance and more importantly strengthen the blood brain barrier. The strategies that Dr.Alden has designed are based upon scientific research and clinical trials that have been shown to actually PREVENT concussions. Similar to an athlete strengthening and stretching his muscles to prevent sprain strain injuries, the blood brain barrier can be strengthened metabolically to make it more resilient to concussions during the force of impacts encountered on the football field.
The Performance Optimization Program can PREVENT concussions (let that sink in). Mentally sharper more focused athletes will execute better and remain available to play, thus improving the entire team dynamic, what coach/program wouldn’t want that?
Dr. Mike talks about the Blood Brain Barrier test by Cyrex Labs and its importance in determining exactly when a concussion has healed in the brain.
We want to thank Lowcountry Lifestyles and Greg for allowing us the opportunity to speak about Array20 and concussion testing. You can view their archived podcasts by clicking below!
As Brain Injury Awareness Month continues, Dr. Alden’s mission to present information about Atlas Concussion Testing and the C1 Treatment ProtocolTM became even more global on March 14, 2018 as he presented to the Executive Leadership Council of an international group with membership of over 20,000. Even before the hour-long presentation was completed, it was clear that Atlas Concussion Testing had a message that will communicate well from the platform that has been established by this growing group of philanthropists.
Atlas Concussion Testing has a simple, yet ambitious mission statement, “We intend to change the paradigm of concussion management globally”. With tools like The Performance Optimization Protocol, which serves as a preventative measure that helps strengthen the barriers and increase resiliency against injury, Blood Brain Barrier Permeability testing of course, additional barrier and neurological antibody testing, and the post-concussion C1 Treatment Protocol TM.. Atlas Concussion Testing is poised to deliver on that mission.
“Predict, Prevent and Prevail over Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)” was the theme of Dr. Alden’s presentation in Columbus, Ohio on March 10, 2018. His audience, retired NFL players and their families, along with many other interested individuals from groups like the Veterans Administration and Buckeye Physical Medicine and Rehab received the message loud and clear. Atlas Concussion Testing has the answer that they have been searching for, a way to objectively test and confirm concussion and post-traumatic brain damage (CTE) and more importantly, a way to treat individuals in order to prevent the ravages of neurodegeneration.
At a time when the media is reporting that researchers are working on the issues, and there are no answers or treatments available, the attendees were treated to the fact that yes, indeed there is an answer to their suffering at Atlas Concussion Testing. And so continues our effort to educate as many individuals as possible about the C1 Treatment ProtocolTM. Many of the attendees inquired about how to be tested and treated for CTE, as some have been diagnosed and others are afraid that they are suffering some of the early signs and symptoms already.
Dr. Alden concluded with his classic phrase, “The Blood Doesn’t Lie”, indicating that Atlas Concussion Testing has the tools to confirm the diagnosis of concussions and/or predict CTE. Either way, Dr. Alden has only one mission, which is to save as many brains as possible.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and Atlas Concussion Testing launched our recognition of the importance of educating health care providers on improving concussion management protocols by presenting at the SCCA conference in Columbia, SC. Dr. Mike Alden presented information on traumatic brain injuries and the resulting immunoexcitotoxic events that can follow. Doctors from all over South Carolina were taught about the importance of the blood brain barrier and the intestinal barrier regarding the gut-brain axis.
In January 2018 the NFL released statistics indicating that concussions were increased by 16% during the 2017 season. This increase has been blamed on improved reporting standards. While early (sideline) evaluation methods are improving, the inherent problem remains, subjectivity. Players, teammates, coaches, and even the athletic training staff all must rely on subjective analysis to determine whether an athlete has suffered a concussion. Even the sports medicine physicians and neurologists on the sidelines are limited to evaluation techniques that are controlled by their individual expertise in “subjectively” interpreting the neurological testing that they can perform inside that now familiar blue tent.
A few companies have already developed the technology to quickly and easily draw and evaluate athlete’s blood moments after a suspected concussion to objectively determine if the blood brain barrier has been disrupted. No questions need to be asked, the blood doesn’t lie. For years the medical staff has taken players back to the locker room for X-rays to scan for broken bones, to indicate whether it is safe for them to return to the game. Why not follow the same diagnostic procedure for the brain, with a blood test?
At Atlas Concussion Testing we have the capability of confirming when the blood brain barrier is disrupted, but quite possibly even more importantly, we have the exclusive technology to measure when the blood brain barrier has healed. It is vital that athletes are removed from play when they have suffered a concussion, knowing when it is SAFE for them to return to play has plagued team medical staffs and physicians for years. Our biomarkers can take the guesswork out of the decision of IF to remove from play and WHEN to return to play.
On February 14, 2018 The New York Times published an article introducing blood testing as a new method of diagnosing traumatic brain injuries. The newly FDA approved test is provided by Banyan, a company that has been involved in concussion research with the NFL since Commissioner Goodell announced his PlaySmart PlaySafe Concussion Research Initiative in September 2016. The importance of this article cannot be understated, biomarkers are objective diagnostic tools, and should be considered to replace the current neuropsychological computerized testing procedures utilized to manage concussions.
Banyan has created a blood test and testing method that could be very helpful to doctors who want objective confirmation of a suspected concussion diagnosis. Apparently, Banyan has collaborated to provide equipment that is capable to be used on the sidelines or in the locker rooms to quickly assess players with suspected concussions. The impact of this change offers a quick and concise “remove from play” protocol for the medical professionals charged with the care of athletes on the sidelines of NFL games.
At Atlas Concussion Testing we applaud the efforts of Banyan to provide biomarkers that can assist with providing quick and easy to administer blood tests that can improve the safety of NFL players with objective “remove from play” biomarkers. Unfortunately, the biomarkers UHC-L1 and GFAP that Banyan has chosen for this blood test only have 4-hour half-lives, therefore they are only present in the blood for about 24 hours. While removing a concussed athlete from play is important, knowing when to return them to play is essential.
Atlas Concussion Testing utilizes The Blood Brain Barrier Permeability Test from Cyrex Labs to measure proteins in the blood called antibodies, that are very stable and can be present for months,indicating that the concussion has not healed. We have been using these biomarkers as confirmation that it is truly SAFE to allow an athlete to return to play since July 2016. With proper metabolic treatment strategies, the blood brain barrier can be healed more quickly, and brain inflammation can be calmed to reduce symptoms thus allowing players to resume their normal levels of participation. And finally, with a negative Blood Brain Barrier Permeability Test they can return to play without concern for second impact syndrome. To our knowledge, Cyrex Labs offers the only blood test that can do this.
Atlas Concussion Testing was founded in order to provide an innovative and new method of managing traumatic brain injuries. The centerpiece of Atlas Concussion Testing is the Blood Brain Barrier Permeability Test, also referred to as the Array 20, provided exclusively by Cyrex Labs. The field of objective biomarkers in diagnosing concussions is quickly becoming a very important tool in concussion management. More important than diagnosing the presence of a concussion is determining when a brain has fully healed from a concussion. With the Array 20 from Cyrex Labs and the implementation protocols established by Atlas Concussion Testing, that is now possible.
The Array 20 is scientifically supported by the research that went into its development. The relationship between the structures of the blood brain barrier and the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the brain and related tissues is paramount to understanding the cascade of events following an mTBI. Most importantly, immune responses both within the brain and from the body’s immune system outside of the brain are the key to diagnosing and managing concussions with the Array 20. This blood test can objectively confirm the diagnosis of a concussion, but even more importantly, it can tell physicians that the blood brain barrier is healed and it is SAFE for athletes to return to contact sports. There is no more risk of Second Impact Syndrome and no more guesswork involved in returning concussed athletes too soon when the Array 20 is at the center of a return to play protocol.
While concussions have been an injury the human population has been aware of since as early as the 14th century, until recent discoveries the damage caused by concussions were widely unknown. It was not until the 17th century that the word “concussion” was used and the symptoms associated were functional rather than physiological. This thought process paved the way for Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-American neuropathologist, to first discover psychological damage that occurs after repeated head trauma. This trauma is most common in sports athletes, mainly those in full contact sports like football. Dr. Omalu discovered CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, was caused by repeated concussions over a span of time. CTE is a progressively degenerative disease that causes the brain to lose mass. Which can cause many problems including behavioral disturbances like increased aggression and higher suicidality. Dr. Omalu has a foundation for the study of CTE at his website at http://bennetomalufoundation.org/about-the-foundation/.
There are other options, though, the imPACT test is a return to play test that sets a baseline for the athlete before the season begins. Then, if a concussion is suspected, the athlete can come back and be tested against their pre-determined baseline. This type of testing has been proven to have inconsistent results and high error rates. So how do we protect our athletes? These tests do not seem to be reliable enough to inspire faith in such an important subject.
There is a new standard of testing that far surpasses any test in the past. The Array 20 test is a Blood Barrier Permeability test designed to test the blood of an athlete to determine exactly how much damage has occurred in or around the brain. The Array 20 test is a return to play assessment, exactly like imPACT, but the Array 20 exceeds the capability of imPACT. The Array 20 tests for specific antibodies that appear in the blood while the blood-brain barrier is damaged. This allows for a clear indicator of when an athlete is ready to return to play without facing the danger of second impact syndrome. Which is suffering a second concussion while the damage from the first has not healed. The Array 20 test is on the leading edge of protection for athletes of today.