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CAROLINA BRAIN CENTER

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At the Carolina Brain Center, Dr. Dane provides a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to evaluate and treat neurological conditions. For more information, contact: 

CAROLINA BRAIN CENTER

Darcy Dane, DC, DACNB

6404 Falls of Neuse Rd., #201
Raleigh, NC 27615

Telephone: (919) 703-0207

www.CarolinaBrainCenter.com
 

email us at info@carolinabraincenter.com with the subject line Health&Healing for a special savings offer.

Testing Is Not PART of Our Practice;
It Is Integral to Everything We Do

By Darcy Dane, DC, DACNB

Results from exam, labs, and imaging are the science that drives the art of healing. A good practitioner knows anatomy and physiology, but a great practitioner has developed the skill of critical thinking and can synthesize the information in a manner that drives positive outcomes. A skilled practitioner understands that nothing in the brain or body works in isolation and a humble practitioner will remember that, “If the brain were so simple that we could explain it, we would be too simple to understand it.” This is not to diminish our current and burgeoning knowledge about how the brain and body works, but it serves as a reminder that there is always more to learn and different ways to think through things.

Darcy Dane, MDiv, DC, DACNB

Understanding the Problem

We begin with testing to determine the source of the problem.

Our approach to restoration and preventive care starts with diagnostic testing. Every patient we serve is as unique as a fingerprint. While people fall into similar diagnostic categories such as migraine, concussion, Parkinsonian syndrome, epilepsy, learning disability, etc., their individual diagnostic test results look different. Our testing directs us and allows us to devise very specific rehabilitative strategies.

The initial examination process takes two to three hours to complete, and includes a variety of very specific tests. The process includes a thorough bedside examination, videonystagmography (functional visual testing), dynamic vestibular testing (balance testing with and without the aid of vision), visual stamina testing (looking at brainstem and cortical areas with regard to consistency of activation), cognitive testing, and any specialized in-office testing deemed necessary. During the examination process, appropriate referrals for outside testing are made and imaging and laboratory studies may be ordered. If outside testing is ordered, we take time to explain why each test is being ordered or why a referral is being made.

Understanding the Patient

Understanding yourclinical picture is important. So, building a relationship with each of the patients we examine is part of our service. Whether someone is coming in for a second opinion or seeking treatment, our goal is to educate our patients. It is frustrating to receive a diagnosis and receive no explanation. We believe answering questions is an important part of the healing and treatment process. A report of findings visit is included in our initial assessment service.

Testing Throughout the Healing Process

Testing does not end with a diagnosis. Indeed, it is a constant part of the treatment process. These ongoing evaluations allow us to ensure positive outcomes.

Because we do ongoing testing, our strategies change as the brain and body change. Comparing test results is the best way to measure outcomes and adjust treatments. Driving a positive change in the brain (neuroplasticity) is deliberate in its process. We cannot do too much too quickly and we have to do enough to make a difference. This balancing act is patient-specific. Ongoing evaluations allow us to walk that fine line.

Janet: A Case Study

Janet’s case illustrates the unique nature of each patient’s condition—and the critical importance of careful, systematic testing. Janet (a 56-year-old female) came to our office with complaints of right hand tremor and weakness, headache, feeling unsteady, anxiety, and forgetfulness.

After drilling down into her complaints, we found that her right hand tremor was an action versus resting tremor that increased in frequency and intensity if she was tired or anxious; she noticed it when picking up her full coffee mug in the afternoon. We found that her headaches were associated with being on the computer for a long time—which was daily because she is an accountant. Her forgetfulness was described as walking into a room and not remembering why she had done so, misplacing her keys, and having to use her car keys to beep her car to find it in a parking lot. She described her feeling of being unsteady as just feeling clumsy. For example, she clipped doorways and coffee tables on the right side of her body. Overall, she reported that she felt a general level of anxiety, but was not anxious about any specific thing.

Testing revealed that her optomotor (eye movement) system was compromised, causing a mismatch between her visual and vestibular systems. This mismatch was creating biomechanical issues in her neck that produced headaches and intermittent weakness and shakiness in her right hand. Laboratory testing revealed low vitamin-D and iron levels, a genetic marker for MTHFR, and sensitivity to gluten.

Janet’s treatment involved visual retraining, activities to reintegrate the visual and vestibular systems, spinal manipulation, and work habit changes. She was put on Vitamin-D, iron, and a methylated folate. She removed gluten from her diet.

The outcome: Janet’s post-test results were normal and she is no longer experiencing her symptoms. She expressed that she feels sharper mentally and has more energy. She shared our tips for healthy work habits with her office mates and they also have reported experiencing less fatigue and more productivity.