Functional & Integrative Neurology
"Our brains are connected to every system in our body. Neurological signals are the driving force of stimulation for all bodily functions, as well as the balancing and monitoring forces. When neurological pathways in our brain are no longer accurately sending or receiving signals to and from organs throughout the body, we develop a wide array of symptoms and health concerns that cannot be resolved without also correcting and balancing the neurological pathways."
~ Dr. Leila Doolittle
Definition of Neuroplasticity
The ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury (chemical traumas such as biochemical/biotoxins, physical traumas, emotional traumas) "neuroplasticity offers real hope to everyone from stroke victims to dyslexics" Neuroplasticity: The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. Definitions from Oxford Languages
What is Functional Neurology?
The brain is capable of change. We can build new neural pathways by activating neuronal pools in various regions of the brain through series of exercises and therapies. These protocols are built based on functional findings in an detailed examination where telling signs clue us in to how each lobe and pathway of the brain are functioning. Once the weakened or imbalanced regions of the brain are mapped, the functional neurology therapy plan is created to activate these regions to neuroplastically alter, correct and rebalance the neuronal pathways to restore optimal functioning. Neurons need fuel and activation in order to thrive and survive. Fuel can be defined as oxygen, glucose and essential nutrients. Activation refers to stimulation of the nervous system which causes changes in the structure and metabolism of the nerve cell. Functional Neurology Practitioners are also involved with eliminating possible negative effects on neurons such as toxins, infectious agents and immune responses, i.e. toxic mold, viruses, candida overgrowth, Lyme or coinfections, etc. Four factors that are of high importance in functional neurology care are: 1. Determining where the failure in the nervous system and/or body lies. 2. What would be the right stimulation to activate that area? 3. What is the health and condition of the failing area, to determine how much stimulation would be too much. 4. Adapting this vital information in order to apply that precise amount of stimulation to the patient in our office. It is important to note that the stimulations used, must be specific to the particular patient who is being treated. There is bio- individuality to the nervous system, just as individual as a fingerprint, and such that even those with similar symptoms may require different stimulations at different frequencies and intensities in order to achieve the best success. This cannot be done in a generalized or cookbook type program. For example, you cannot treat every patient with a balance disorder or ADHD with the same treatment protocols. Generalized treatments run the risk of exciting an area of the nervous system that is already overexcited, or stimulating an area that should be inhibited. Results are maximized due to the fact that the program of stimulations is tailored to the individual patient’s problem and capacity, and not a one-size-fits-all program where results may be limited or the program may actually be inappropriate. In other words: Different people, different brains, and therefore, different treatments. It is important to note that the functional neurological examination although very detailed is noninvasive and therefore can be performed on many different types of patients without patient anxiety being a factor. This is very significant especially for those practitioners treating children on the autism spectrum, because there is a tendency for these children to have higher anxiety. The skilled Functional Neurology Practitioner realizes that everything from the patient’s posture, to tics, to faulty eye movements, and alignment are all expressions of what is going on in the patient’s nervous system. Subtle though these expressions may be, to the highly skilled Functional Neurologist, these little things mean a lot. Activation of the nervous system via specific exercises or stimulations to targeted areas of the brain, pathways or circuits can create powerful results in the patient, but should be carefully monitored, so that the metabolic capacity of the patients nervous system is not exceeded, and damage does not occur instead of the intended rehabilitation.
What conditions can Functional Neurology help with?
Functional Neurology can be very beneficial in many conditions, including but not limited to: focus & concentration issues, ADD, ADHD, memory issues, brain fog, insomnia, dizziness or vertigo, blurry or double vision, floaters, headaches or migraines, fibromyalgia, tinnitus or ringing in the ears, light or sound sensitivity, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, and many other conditions.
Dr. Leila Doolittle performs detailed neurological examinations on her patients to assess the functioning of neurological pathways and their connections to all other systems of the body. This includes the neurological connection to hormone production, to cardiovascular function, to cortisol and stress reactions in the body, to proper immune responses, etc.
Treatments include exercises that specifically help to activate these pathways to help with balancing the brain for optimal neurological coordination and activation. All exercises performed are non-invasive approaches to activate neuroplastically the areas of deficiencies in the brain to attain the most healthy neurological system possible.