Nicole Slifcak graciously offered to allow us to present her case on our website in order to encourage others like her with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) not to give up hope, but to keep searching and to try neurofeedback as a solution.
Nicole suffered a serious closed head injury in a car accident. The accident left her with poor executive function, problem solving ability and memory. She had difficulty with sustained attention and organization. She spoke in short sentences in a monotone. Her articulation was poor and difficult to understand at times. She had a flat affect and demonstrated poor judgment. Her balance was very poor and she walked with a clear limp. Fortunately Nicole’s mother brought her to us within a few months of the accident. We knew from the research that recovery is faster if individuals begin training as soon as possible after the accident.
When we ran the qEEG brainmap on her we did a LORETA analysis to focalize the areas of worst damage. Since her hospital report indicate left frontal lacerations, we were not surprised to find posterior damage from the contra coup of the impact. The LORETA images are in the low frequency ranges of theta, indicating there was some cortical damage. The occipital damage also suggested cerebellar damage as well, since the occipital area is so close in proximity and the brain stem is frequently an area where considerable stress builds up in an impact. Nicole’s balance problem and speech articulation problems supported this theory. No damage was noted to more frontal speech areas such as Broca’s or Wernicke’s area.
Our initial training was to address attentional problems that showed up in tests. Once Nicole’s attention had been normalized, we continued training for cognitive improvement. As her attention and cognitive performance improved, her gait and speech articulation also began to show dramatic improvement. When her testing began to show her in the normal range, I asked Nicole what she would like to work n next. She told me that she couldn’t run and that she missed that ability very much. So we began training cerebellar function in the posterior cortex to improve her balance and timing. Within 8 sessions she was able to run again and even began riding a bike.
Nicole has gone on to college and is on the swim team. Her mother tells me she cannot even tell she had a speech problem sometimes when she talks to her on the phone. Nicole is doing very well in school and is leading a normal life.