A New Paradigm for Traumatic Brain Injury
A conversation with Mark L. Gordon, MD.
Posted Apr 26, 2019
Dr. Gordon is the medical director of Millennium Neuroregenerative Centers and the author of two books, Traumatic Brain Injury, A Clinical Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment (2016), and The Clinical Application of Interventional Endocrinology (2007).
I was so impressed with the results of Dr. Gordon’s treatment of Andrew Marr for his war-related brain injury, documented in Marr’s book Tales from the Blast Factory, that I wanted to learn more about an effective treatment approach I knew nothing about. Gordon had achieved what the most skilled psychotherapy could not.
In doctoral training to become a psychologist, little to nothing is taught about the impact of hormonal dysfunction on behavior, cognition, and health. And in the mental health field in the United States, hormonal dysregulation is largely ignored—if not shunned—by the mainstream medical profession. For that matter, so has been screening and effective treatments for brain injuries, until more recently. Progress has been slow to recognize what has been referred to as “The Silent Epidemic.”
At this time Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is rarely used in the United States for treating brain injury despite the fact that it has been established that brain injury often impacts both metabolic and hormone production, which can have catastrophic physical and psychological consequences. Perhaps a sign of some progress in this regard is that Jeffrey J. Bazarian, MD, MPH, is on the Harvard Sports Concussion conference program next month to talk about HRT in sports-related concussions.
The information is clearly out there about this seldom talked about relationship. A brain injury specialist’s training book, The Essential Brain Injury Guide, Edition 5.0 (2016), published by the Brain Injury Association of America, emphasizes the importance of screening individuals with brain injuries and treating them with hormone replacement therapy when indicated.
A large percentage of individuals with brain injuries have been found to have hormonal dysregulation. The Guide states that up to 30% of people diagnosed with moderate to severe TBIs have hormonal dysregulation more than a year after injury. The author of the Guide’s chapter on medical complications in TBI is Helen Carmine, MSN, CRNP, CRRN.
Besides Marr’s amazing recovery from debilitating cognitive and mood disorders commonly ascribed to a diagnosis of PTSD, I received dozens of testimonials from other patients of Dr. Gordon who have experienced similar restorative results.
Gordon is a pioneer in the use of HRT for treating individuals who have debilitating brain injuries from both military and civilian brain trauma. He lectures around the world to get the word out and has developed a network of other physicians he has trained in his unique approach with HRT. He also has a White Paper advocating the use of his protocol with brain-injured veterans, which is currently under review by senior officials in the White House. This paper can be viewed here.
Gordon and Marr are also featured in the movie Quite Explosions about the impact of blast-related brain injuries. The movie was directed by Jerry Sher, an Emmy award-winning director, and is scheduled to be released later this year. In the movie, Dr. Gordon talks about the relationship between hormone deficiency and suicide, which is now documented in the scientific literature. The movie also shows how his HRT protocol restored Marr’s functioning and gave him back his quality of life. The movie trailer can be viewed here.
Marr was a Green Beret U.S. Army Special Forces explosive expert, exposed to countless blast waves, whose life crumpled when he returned from his tours of duty.
Given the large number of soldiers who are returning from the theater of war who have TBIs, it is vital for them to receive appropriate screening and treatment. Dr. Gordon pointed to the grim statistic that currently over 150 military suicides occur every week, underscoring the failure of the current system to help the individuals who have sacrificed so much for our nation.
The VA’s National Suicide Data Report recently showed that of the 20.6 veterans and service members who die by suicide every day, six had recently used VA health care services.
Gordon is currently funding his own research project to demonstrate to others the effectiveness of his protocol in a system of care he has termed Interventional Endocrinology. He is doing everything possible to get the word out, to educate and train other physicians, and to influence policymakers to provide the needed resources to turn the tide of lost military lives.