With clinics open and accepting clients in Montreal, Quebec and Surrey, British Columbia, Heuro looks forward to transforming the lives of Canadians living with chronic balance deficits caused by mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury (mmTBI). But what is the science behind the groundbreaking PoNS (Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator) Treatment™?
What does evidence-based mean?
The Heuro Program featuring the PoNS Treatment™ is an intensive, customized state-of-the-art neurological rehabilitation plan. When we say that this program is evidence-based, we mean it was driven by published science and research with data demonstrating powerful outcomes acquired through rigorous clinical trials conducted by independent investigators.
In one five-week and another 14-week clinical trial, PoNS Treatment™ helped a majority of participants restore balance to a normal range. For most, these improvements persisted during a predefined 12-week follow-up period after discontinuation of treatment and were significantly greater than previously documented in literature for physical therapy alone.
In total, PoNS Treatment™ has been verified through six clinical trials with data from over 275 patients. While personal stories and testimonials are powerful, in scientific circles, they are merely anecdotal evidence.
Why clinical trials?
The only way to determine that a technology is effective and that the results can be replicated is through properly designed and executed clinical trials. You can follow your instincts. But when it comes to your health, you should also trust scientifically based evidence.
This is why clinical trials are the primary method for showing the effectiveness of new treatments. In fact, clinical trials are a key step in applying for and receiving permission or market authorization from Health Canada to offer treatment to the public. (See the illustration from Health Canada below.)
Is the PoNS™ device medically approved in Canada?
Health Canada has cleared the PoNS™ device (used in conjunction with physical therapy) for treating chronic balance deficits resulting from mild to moderate brain injury. This is exactly how it’s used in our clinics through a 14-week treatment program featuring one-on-one, 90-minute physical therapy sessions with a certified PoNS™ Trainer.
In being informed, know that this is the only use for which the PoNS™ device has been approved. Any other uses are considered off-label and have not provided Health Canada with the scientific evidence to earn approval.
With any form of treatment, work with your health team and get the information you need to evaluate the risks and benefits.
What is the school of thought behind PoNS™?
The PoNS™ device is believed to be the first non-invasive means for delivering neurostimulation through the tongue. The device is designed to amplify the brain’s powerful ability to heal itself. This concept is known as neuroplasticity. Up until the 1960s, many healthcare professionals and research scientists truly believed that the adult brain was static and could not be changed.
Thankfully, this has changed and studies have shown that the brain can reorganize and heal itself after trauma. The Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS™) device helps patients build new connections within their brains by delivering specially patterned nerve impulses to the lower brainstem.
How does the PoNS™ device work?
Studies have shown that trigeminal and facial nerve stimulation helped improve gait and balance issues related to mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The PoNS™ device is a non-invasive appliance that delivers electrical stimulation through the tongue, activating two major cranial nerves — the lingual nerve (part of the trigeminal nerve) and the chorda tympani (part of the facial nerve).
In combination with physiotherapy, this approach helps patients form new connections to strengthen gait and balance. (The part of the appliance that goes in your mouth is disposable and replaced after each Heuro program is completed.)
Neuroplasticity vs. neurogenesis
One final thought that we want to share in this post is the difference between neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. While they’re related, it’s important to understand that these are two different concepts.
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change itself and form new connections. It does not mean that you’re re-growing new brain cells or replacing damaged ones. Neurogenesis is the process of regrowing or replacing brain cells.
Our PoNS™ device and therapeutic approach are designed to target neuroplasticity — the generation of new connections within the brain. Neuroplasticity happens over time, but it can be helped and/or accelerated by neuromodulation techniques.
Who is Heuro?
Heuro Canada Inc. is a leading provider of innovative and transformative neurological health assessment and treatment technologies and solutions. With few viable therapeutic options currently available for managing and treating the neurological symptoms associated with mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs), Heuro is championing a new treatment paradigm that helps individuals experiencing persistent deficits, particularly with gait and balance, restore their livelihood and overcome past brain injuries.
Committed to maximizing client potential through non-invasive and personalized treatment plans, Heuro is bringing innovative, Health Canada-approved therapeutic PoNS™ (Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator) technology to licensed treatment clinics across Canada.
Find a clinic near you. Appointments also require a physician referral. If you are concerned about costs, the
For more information about opening a Heuro Clinic in your area, contact our Managing Director.