Trevor Greene, who suffered a severe and debilitating brain injury from an axe attack on a Canadian Armed Forces’ peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan in 2006, continues to make “significant” improvement, thanks, he says, to a technology developed by a Surrey doctor.
“My balance and strength vastly improved, especially my core strength,” said Greene, from his Nanaimo home, after he started treatment about a year ago that involves a machine developed by B.C. neuroscientist and entrepreneur Dr. Ryan D’Arcy at the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic. “I was doing a time stand, seeing how long I could stand, and I just exploded after the (treatment).”
And he says there was an improvement in his post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
Before the treatment, “I was having difficulty with word-finding and that got better,” he said. The treatment involves sending electrical impulses under the tongue to the brain and then recording the clinical changes on a second machine.
He said it also helped his anxiety: “I was constantly vigilant. I was pretty much aware of everything around me. Which is exhausting. And that calmed down.”
Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, who founded HealthTech Connex, which created the neurotechnologies that improved Greene’s physical and cognitive disabilities and PTSD, and Greene are both happy to be part of the construction of a new Centre of Excellence in Whalley, on land owned by the Royal Canadian Legion Whalley branch.
The Innovative Centre for Rehabilitation for PTSD will anchor the Legion Veterans Village, a $312-million project being built over two phases. It will include the clinic, 91 affordable-housing units for veterans, first responders and Legion members, as well as a new restaurant and pub that will serve as the new Whalley Legion hall, said project lead Rowena Rizzotti. That’s expected to be completed around Remembrance Day in 2022, she said.
Almost 500 market-housing condos are to be built in the second phase, but there is no date set for completion.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Greene of the project. “Vets are a different breed. We like to be around people with shared experiences.”
The recovery centre, which will be made up of several different companies, each with their own business plan and revenue streams, will cater first to vets and first responders, said Rizzotti.
D’Arcy’s goal is to roll out the machines, which he said read the health of the human brain at a lower cost and shorter waiting time than for an MRI, to doctors offices everywhere, to be used to test the cognitive abilities of everyone.
“Our goal is to make them (machines) as accessible as the ones used to test blood pressure,” said D’Arcy.
The Whalley Legion and the Royal Canadian Legion’s parent group for the B.C. and Yukon region are both partners in the centre. As the Legion’s membership drops, they wanted to become relevant to the upcoming generation of veterans and their families and see the centre as a way to do that and leave a legacy for younger people, said Rizzotti.
D’Arcy and Greene both hope the technologies used on those with traumatic brain injuries can help others with similar ailments, concussions or mental-health issues, which can offer them more hope and progress.
“Conventional medicine holds that brain-injury survivors have six months to get better and that’s it,” said Greene. “But I’ve been going for 14 or 15 years and I’m still going. After six months, brain-injury survivors give up on themselves because health-care providers give up on them and they switch to adapt mode.”