GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. -- Anyone who struggles with depression, ADHD, or other mental issues knows getting the right diagnosis and treatment can be a frustrating process.
Now one Greenwood Village clinic is using new technology to read patient brain waves to get more clear cut answers.
Kat Kubat was diagnosed with ADHD at 9 years old.
“All through grade school it is something I fought and dealt with and then in high school I actually got to the point where I was frustrated,” says Kubat.
For years, she struggled with medications and finding the right treatment for her ADHD. Like many patients with mental health issues, it was a roller coaster ride that went on for years.
Now, at 32 she is back on medication for attention deficit disorder.
“There is a lot of grey area around diagnosing ADD and ADHD,” she says.
“Different patients can have the same symptoms but for different reasons and sometimes giving a diagnosis based on symptoms alone can be a misdiagnosis,” says Psychiatrist Dr. Nicole Shadid.
Shadid and the medical professionals at the Neuro-Therapy Clinic in Greenwood Village are taking a more objective approach with a new machine.
They use an EEG to look at brain waves, much like an EKG does for the heart.
They record the brain`s electrical activity and use that to help diagnose everything from ADHD, to depression and many other mental health issues.
“This allows us to understand a patient’s unique brain wave patterns,” says Shadid.
It`s a simple office-based procedure where patients are in a relaxed , but awake state.
They put on what looks like a swimming cap with electrodes and the whole procedure takes about 20 minutes.
“We can actually look into the brain and see what`s going on rather than just randomly trying a medication and seeing if it works,” says Shadid.
And, just like an x-ray allows doctors to see a broken bone, the EEG gives doctor`s a snap-shot of what`s happening inside a patient`s brain.
The process helps with not only diagnosis, but with the next integral steps - treatment and medication.
Doctors submit their images gathered from the eeg, to a database called 'peer online'... It's a shared resource developed by physicians across the country over the last 20 years.
It`s a place where doctors submit their patient`s eeg images and discuss what treatments they tried - what worked and what did not.
“It allows us to compare and learn which medications have been effective for physicians treating patients with similar EEG findings,” says Shadid.
Minimizing the frustrating 'trial and error' process for patients like Kubat.
“It`s not just a matter of do you have it or not have it. It`s a matter of how does your brain look and what is going to make it function optimally,” she says. “They can basically say, this is what you have and this is what will essentially fix it. I mean, that to me, is mind-blowing."
The whole process costs about $750.
The test is not covered under insurance, but that could be changing soon.
Health insurers are very interested because getting patients on the right medication sooner.