Several times a year the International Brain Research Foundation (IBRF) team visits Ryan at our home. We use the IBRF protocol (among others) as part of Ryan’s treatment and recovery. On Monday, October 15, the team is doing a complete assessment. The doctors and technicians will come right to our home with all their equipment.
One of the most important evaluations they do is a qEEG, which stands for “Quantitative Electroencephalography”. In everyday terms, this is capturing, measuring, and analyzing brain waves against the norm. For Ryan, it primarily lets us know if his brain is still healing. It also gives us information to decide where he needs the most attention.
For example, we learned in the last qEEG (in May) that the hemispheres of his brain are not cross-communicating effectively. At the most fundamental level, one hemisphere could be “sleeping” while the other is relatively active. They are not in synch. This is a huge problem. Since then we modified his neuro-feedback session (twice a week) to encourage his brain to rewire — or ideally, create — cross-hemisphere connections. We need to both quiet the “noise” (random and/or excessive electrical neuron firing) and promote reorganizing what he has.
One thing we know about Ryan, and have since his first qEEG just months after the beating (by Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May) is he senses light and sound. We know, for fact, that these reach his brain’s cerebral cortex. What we don’t know is if his brain is then able to process this information. In other words, it might get there but he simply can’t make sense of it (by invoking higher brain activity). As a practical matter, we go on the assumption that Ryan is (at least somewhat) capable and bombard him with visual and audio stimulation.
Ryan is fortunate to have some of the best minds working on his behalf. All humility aside, I consider myself in this elite club. I am the expert. Perhaps more than anyone — ever — on this planet, I have the most comprehensive understanding of brain injury. I live it every second, yes, but I also learned the medical and therapeutic aspects. I am the theoretical and practical, personified. It defines me. How I wish people still thought of me as the beer drinking, boob loving, sports fanatical slob of yore. Ah, the good ole’ days. I’d take them back in the blink of an eye, despite my obvious repulsiveness (with women, that is. Men just thought of me as one of the guy).
I’m telling you, I could put on a clinic on reading, analyzing, and interpreting an EEG. I can outpace most neurologists in assessing all the various brain wave frequencies. CAT scans of the brain… no problem. Yes, I might be bragging a
bit lot but I really wish it I didn’t know all this stuff. I hate that I do! It is true that ignorance is bliss. I know too much… too much to know that it scares me.
The human brain is the most complex organ (or anything ever, for that matter) in the universe. It’s not only unique, but uniquely unique to each person. We understand more about the universe itself!
The qEEG results, in report format, won’t be available to us for several weeks or months. This is always a stressful time for us; waiting to see if Ryan’s healing has stopped.