More Concussion Info From Dr. Carrick’ s Interview for Official Karate Magazine

Dr. Rubenstein: Since the traditional medical community has no specific tests such as MRI’s for concussion, how do you personally diagnose and understand what is happening in a patient with a concussion?

Dr. Carrick:
We do utilize MRI and other specialized imaging tests in association with sophisticated tests of memory, verbal and auditory testing similar to the types of tests other specialists use in concussion. But we go further with functional testing of the brain that includes measurements of the speed and accuracy of eye movements. These are really windows of brain function and now we have the technology to measure them exactly. We also measure balance and the center of pressure of the person’s whole body when they do a variety of things to stress their brains. For example, we have people do math and see if their center of pressure or stability changes. We have one of the best concussion labs in the world and it takes us several hours to complete the testing that allows us to help people. The development of advanced computerization of diagnostic testing allows us to do better job now than we ever could have done in the past and we hope to be able to learn and develop more in the future.
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Excerpt From My Soon to be Published Interview with Dr. Carrick Developer of Functional Neurology

Hello Dr. Carrick, Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview and taking time out of your busy teaching, treating and lecturing schedule to talk to our readers about concussion. I have to say…. you are one of my biggest heroes in healthcare.
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> Could you please give us your background relating to your expertise in the treatment of concussion and other traumatic brain injuries?

I have had a specialty practice of functional neurology for 35 years and have a special interest in traumatic brain injury. My background is central to Chiropractic applications with several Fellowships in a variety of Brain Specialties and a PhD specialty in the neurophysicological aspects of learning. I have been fortunate to have had extensive experience in this clinical area and have a very vibrant clinical team that has resulted in patients being referred to me from around the globe. We attend professional athletes, Olympians, National and Collegiate level athletes from many countries.

> I also understand that you have been involved in the martial arts for many years. Could you tell us about that.?
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I have a 3rd degree black belt in Shotokan Karate. The martial arts have been central to my life since I was a young man, allowing me to understand movement and motor control at a level that I might not have appreciated from clinical studies alone. The dedication and discipline of training has certainly transferred to other aspects of my personal and professional life.
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> What is your definition of a concussion and what is actually going on in the brain?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that changes the way your brain works. Most concussions result in a temporary loss of function and usually people will have headaches and problems with concentration. We find that balance and coordination are usually impaired and people might have problems remembering things. Memory, balance and coordination. Concussions don’t usually result in brain damage that we can see, so the CT scans and MRI tests are usually normal. But, the function, or how the brain communicates with itself and the rest of the body is impaired. We do have changes in the brain that are difficult to see with our diagnostic instruments but now we have some pretty sophisticated tests that will allow us to know the functional state of the brain. We are able to measure function fairly accurately and establish a baseline of testing that allows us to realize if our treatments are going to make a difference. Martial artists understand function better than most athletes. Speed, accuracy, balance and coordination are all brain functions that can be changed with training. Our treatment of concussions is really training the brain to do things better and restoring function. Usually we get our patients better than they were before their concussions.