Traumatic Brain Injury

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Traumatic brain injury is a devastating neurologic injury. Individuals who survive moderate or severe brain injuries are frequently left with crippling deficits that may require institutional care. These individuals may become dependent on others for their daily needs and activities after sustaining such an injury. Mild traumatic brain injuries involve loss of consciousness of fewer than 30 minutes, are generally expected to resolve in the vast majority of cases. However, a significant percentage of individuals with even mild brain injuries can continue to experience ongoing symptomatology which is sometimes difficult to identify and even more difficult to treat.

Individuals with protracted symptoms after brain injuries may complain of refractory headaches, cognitive deficits, sleep problems, dizziness, visual problems, tinnitus, sensitivity to various stimuli, attention deficit, emotionality, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, cervicalgia and more. These patients can be very time-consuming from the standpoint of a busy outpatient practice. Despite the healthcare provider’s best efforts, brain injuries can be fairly recalcitrant to treatment. Cases that come to mind are a military veteran who was involved in an improvised explosive devices (IED) attack and since then none of the treatments that have been offered have made a profound difference in their quality of life. Another case could be a retired football player with a similar presentation. Universal Neurological Care specializes in this very complex niche in medicine. Dr. Syed Asad completed his neurology training at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA which included rotations through Grady Memorial Hospital, a Level 1 trauma center in downtown Atlanta. He was also trained at the Harvard Medical School joint program in nuclear medicine. In addition to being board certified in neurology and nuclear medicine, he is one of a handful of physicians in Northeast Florida who is board certified in brain injury medicine.

The team at Universal Neurological Care includes Dr. Georgia Gianakakos, a triple board-certified epileptologist who interprets all electroencephalograms. Megan Weigel, DNP, APRN is an advanced practice holistic nurse practitioner who brings her knowledge and training in functional medicine to the care of multiple sclerosis patients as well as general neurology patients. Angelo Cappobianco, PA-C, and Emily VanderZee, PA-C are both recent graduates of Nova Southeastern University and critical parts of the team. Dr. Asad has worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars since 2011. He has participated in their return to play protocols as an independent neurotrauma consultant. He has also served on the sidelines during NFL games as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant and continues to serve as a consultant to the football team.

In addition to serving in the U.S. Army Reserve in the Medical Corps, Dr. Asad serves as the Medical Director for the Eisenhower Center, a traumatic brain injury rehab center based in Ann Arbor, MI, with a satellite facility in Jacksonville, FL. He takes care of military veterans through the Wounded Warriors Program at the Eisenhower facility. Sometimes individuals who have sustained brain injuries in motor vehicle collisions or work-related trauma find it difficult to get the proper care. These individuals, through no fault of their own, are sometimes caught between different types of insurances such as auto or workers comp. Due to this, it is possible to become embroiled in litigation. As such, some larger facilities might turn away these individuals because of their complexity but also because they can be logistically challenging.

Dr. Asad and his team at the Universal Neurological Care outpatient clinic take great pride in and are extremely passionate about properly diagnosing brain injuries and helping individuals return to their preinjury baselines. Universal Neurological Care, as a practice, espouses an extremely patientcentric culture. The team at Universal Neurological Care does not discriminate against the individual based on how or why they sustained the injury. If a clinical diagnosis of brain injury is made, additional diagnostic testing with objective state of the art modalities such as the right eye oculomotor testing, video nystagmogram, computerized dynamic posturography, special EEGs designed to evaluate the brain function in brain injury, and more are pursued to further corroborate and quantify the condition. Zlatan Pecar, RN specializes in running diagnostic tests by an extremely standardized protocol. Once the injury is sized up, patients are put through a rigorous program that incorporates lifestyle, supplements, medications, rehab, and procedures to give patients the very best opportunities to improve and return to as normal a quality of life as can be achieved under the circumstances. The brain is the most complex organ in the body. Brain injury is the most complex condition of the brain. At Universal Neurological Care, this challenge is met with the best technologies and with the care and compassion that the patients with brain injuries deserve.

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