PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – If you or someone you know struggles with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, there could be help available that does not involve any risky medication. A North Texas doctor has helped war veterans combat post-traumatic stress disorder and children who have attention deficit disorder. Now, he wants to help you.
“This is a process where we are able to retrain the brain, literally,” said Dr. Marvin Sams with the Sams Center in Plano. He uses a technique called neuromatrix neural efficiency training.
Lillie Seymour is one of the doctor’s patients. She wears a red thinking cap and goggles with flashing lights, all while playing a video game. Those lights help to treat Lillie’s attention deficit disorder by making her listen to her brain waves – which is how our brain’s neurons communicate.
Sams said that he is retraining the brain to create more waves, so that the brain is made more efficient. The concept might be a little abstract, but some parents are happy to have an alternative to drug and their possible side effects.
Jennifer Seymour is Lillie’s mom. “We started seeing that certain things were harder with her, especially math,” she said. “Her ability to process things she saw, visually, that was an issue.”
But since coming to Sams, Jennifer has noticed that her 8-year-old is more focused, and does not get frustrated as easily. Lillie said, “I think I memorize things better than before I did this.”
However, some critics argue that this type of therapy has not been proven to correct the brain disorders that Sams claims he can help. Those critics contend that it is likely either the Placebo Effect (the power of positive thinking) or the Hawthorne Effect (a person’s behavior changes simply because that behavior is being studied) at work.
Sams stands by his work, and said that his techniques date back decades. “They would have to ignore the science,” Sams said of his critics.
Lillie and Jennifer are convinced that the therapy works.
The Sams program takes anywhere between 20 and 25 sessions, and costs about $4,000 which most insurance companies will not cover.