Brain fog is one of the most debilitating and dehumanizing symptoms of a chronic disease. Historically, it has been very difficult to characterize, diagnose, or treat effectively. Over the past several years, we have come to understand the underlying cause of brain fog and developed a new treatment that is successful for over 75% of our patients. This new procedure, called Vasovagal Therapy, may be the answer for patients looking to restore quality of life.
The Difficulty with Diagnosing Brain Fog
When one of the body’s vital organs isn’t working optimally, there is usually a test that can be done to identify the problem. Based on these test results, your doctor will recommend treatment to improve the organ’s function. For example, if your heart beats too fast after an EKG, beta blockers may be prescribed to slow it down. Your brain is arguably your most important organ, and when it isn’t functioning properly there is not a definitive test to confirm there is a problem. In fact there isn’t even a medical term to describe the problem. Patients who suffer from a condition known as Dysautonomia have coined their own term that ably describes the situation: brain fog.
What Causes Brain Fog?
Brain fog associated with Dysautonomia is chronic in nature. Acute brain fog is very common, resulting from a variety of factors, most of which is self limited. Toxins can also lead to brain fog. This can include side effects from some common medications including antihistamines. Lack of sleep, severe stress, or depression can also cause brain fog.
Symptoms of Brain Fog
The medical term that approximates brain fog is cognitive impairment. While this term fails to convey the feeling of a ‘cloudy head’ or ‘haze’ or ‘veil over ones thoughts’ described by patients, cognitive impairment does encompass several specific symptoms experienced with brain fog. The most common symptom is difficulty with word finding (knowing the word you want to say but not being able to say it). Decreased concentration and inability to efficiently access short-term memory are other typical cognitive symptoms of brain fog. For example, when reading a book, a patient suffering from brain fog will get to the bottom of a page and forget what they read at the top.
Diseases and Conditions Associated with Brain Fog
Many chronic diseases associated with fatigue are also strongly associated with brain fog. Dysautonomia is not only a cause of fatigue in diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Lyme Disease, and conditions like Fibromyalgia, but is also the underlying cause of brain fog in those patients. Patients with chronic inflammatory conditions including Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Crohn’s disease can suffer from Dysautonomia, and have brain fog as one of the symptoms. The interplay between the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system may also contribute to brain fog in patients with adrenal or thyroid disorders.
Most chronic diseases are not treated with one medication or procedure alone. Chronic Lyme Disease, for example, has been shown to respond well to long-term antibiotic therapy. Studies show, however, that cognitive impairment or brain fog does not respond well in Lyme patients treated with antibiotics. This is a result of the antibiotics not addressing the underlying Dysautonomia.
A Breakthrough Procedure to Treat Brain Fog
Vasovagal Therapy is a new procedure that we have found successful in treating Dysautonomia. The therapy involves mechanical stimulation of the autonomic nerve fibers that run along the veins in the neck and abdomen. Vasovagal Therapy is particularly well suited for Chronic Lyme patients, working in concert with antibiotics, resulting in relief of a broader range of symptoms than antibiotics alone.
The benefits of Vasovagal Therapy are typically immediate. Patients will describe a lifting of the cloud or removal of the veil over their thoughts, sometimes in the middle of the procedure.
Brain fog is one of the most dehumanizing symptoms a person can experience, negatively impacting every aspect of life. When brain fog is severe, it can essentially lead to complete withdrawal from human interaction and activities. After treatment, patients can experience better interpersonal relationships, they can enjoy activities such as reading again, and they can regain the ability to function in the workplace.
Our Success Rates
The procedure is very safe. We’ve maintained a technical success rate of 99% and more than 90% of patients experience a positive autonomic response. Additionally, approximately 3/4 of patients report diminished brain fog after Vasovagal Therapy. Patients that have had the procedure done elsewhere and are seeking a second or third treatment can still benefit greatly, but in some cases may not respond as well as those who have not had previous procedures done.
If you are a patient or know someone who is interested in more information about brain fog treatment (Vasovagal Therapy), please contact us toll free at 844-247-2728 or 949-247-8877.