By Mohammed Elamir, MD, FACP, Aviv Clinics Physician
When 14-year-old Linden Perry came to Aviv Clinics, we asked about her expectations of our program.
“I just want to be me,” she answered.
It’s a response we hear frequently at Aviv Clinics, where our unique, comprehensive medical program helps people improve their brain function. Whether they struggle with mild cognitive decline, post-stroke conditions, traumatic brain injuries, post-concussion syndrome, long COVID, or other challenges, our clients all want to feel like themselves again.
For Linden, “being me” meant returning to the prototypical All-American girl she had always been. A straight-A student, Linden enrolled in honors and advanced-placement classes at Station Camp High School in Nashville. She was also a star basketball and soccer player, playing on school teams and travel squads. Linden’s outgoing personality, positive attitude, and confidence earned the admiration of her classmates and teammates alike.
However, her world abruptly came crashing down at a routine after-school basketball practice.
During a November scrimmage, a teammate accidentally tripped Linden, causing her to fall and hit her head. Within moments, Linden knew something wasn’t right as troubling symptoms appeared immediately. She felt sensitivity to light and sound. She lost her sense of balance. She experienced double vision and eye seizures.
Those symptoms never subsided in the coming days and weeks. Diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, Linden’s intense symptoms wreaked havoc on her quality of life. She had trouble concentrating in school. She missed classes and assignments. Her grades began slipping and she could no longer play sports.
Desperate for help, Linden and her mother Carissa visited countless Nashville doctors. At one point, Linden saw a neurologist, an ophthalmologist, a chiropractor, and a neuro-ophthalmologist while also undergoing vestibular rehabilitation, occupational therapy, and vision therapy. Despite often having multiple appointments in a single day, none of Linden’s providers could offer any answers, and her improvements were minimal and often fleeting.
“Each one basically told me there was nothing they could do,” Linden told us. “They also said I should just accept my new normal.”
Carissa refused to accept that. With the help of a family friend, she reached out to Ramon Foster, a former offensive lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers who also lived in Nashville. Ramon recommended they contact Dr. Joseph Maroon, the team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dr. Maroon is also a board-certified clinical professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Dr. Maroon, who had been through the Aviv Medical Program himself, told the Perrys about Aviv Clinics, and his personal experience with the innovative, holistic program.
Carissa heeded his advice and investigated Aviv as a treatment option. She told us that as soon as they stepped into our 30,000 square-foot central Florida clinic, they knew they’d made the right choice.
“The first day, her doctors had already mapped out every single appointment Linden was going to have for the next 12 weeks,” Carissa says. “Then, they told us specific therapies that they would introduce when Linden reached a certain point in the program.”
Throughout Linden’s three-month program, she worked with me as well as a nutritional coach, a physical therapist, a neuropsychologist, and a physiologist. Her personalized treatment plan also included Aviv’s specialized hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) protocol. While inside our one-of-a-kind multiplace hyperbaric suite, Linden completed brain exercises focused on improving her memory, reaction time, attention, information processing speed, and more.
Why HBOT? Scientists at Tel Aviv University and the Shamir Medical Center in Israel conducted numerous peer-reviewed clinical studies on the effects of HBOT on the long-term symptoms of concussions and traumatic brain injuries. In each study, patients receiving the HBOT treatment protocol showed significant improvement in cognitive function, including:
- Executive function
- Information processing speed
- Visual-spatial processing; and
- Motor skills.
Aviv’s HBOT protocol mirrors the conventions used in these studies.
Although HBOT tends to earn the headlines, each part of the Aviv Medical Program is essential to our clients’ improvement. Our comprehensive, team-oriented approach ensures clients like Linden achieve optimal cognitive and physical results from their tailored program.
Linden, who took online courses during her three-month treatment program, began to notice cognitive improvements within one month.
“I would come to Aviv Clinics every day, then I’d go to the rental home and spend five hours doing schoolwork online,” Linden tells us. “In the beginning, I’d have to stop my schoolwork because of eye seizures, migraine headaches, or fatigue. Then I started noticing gradual improvement. In my science class alone, I submitted 152 graded assignments in nine and a half weeks.”
Each Aviv Clinics client is thoroughly evaluated both before and after their treatment program. The initial three-day assessment includes advanced brain imaging and physical, cognitive, and neurological tests. Once this assessment is complete, our clinical team creates a custom-tailored program for each client. At the conclusion of treatment, we repeat the same tests to measure improvement and make recommendations for ongoing progress.
Linden completed the program on May 31 of this year and aced her final assessment. Her rate of progress from beginning to end was remarkable. Not only did her cognitive ability improve, but so did her strength, agility, balance, confidence, and energy.
“By the end, I had returned to my normal processing speed,” she says. “I could complete a 100-question exam in 25 minutes.”
Post-concussion syndrome is one of many conditions we treat at Aviv Clinics, using our multidisciplinary Aviv Medical Program. Our treatment has also been shown to be an effective option for symptoms of:
- Long COVID cognitive symptoms
- Traumatic brain injury
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Age-related cognitive decline
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Lyme disease
Now back in school, Linden joined her team back on the soccer pitch at a national competition just days after leaving our clinic. Most importantly, Linden’s wish came true: she gets to be herself again. For Carissa, she gets her daughter back.
Learn more about Aviv Clinics: www.aviv-clinics.com
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