GREENSBORO, N.C. -- When you’re looking for answers to save what’s left of your daughter’s future, a three-hour drive to Asheville was nothing for Chris and Jennifer Little.
“Oh, she came in for what we call the day of discovery where it's a full five-hour battery of testing. The quantitative EEG or Q EEG is just a part of that,” Dr. Michael Trayford said.
Trayford is the only physician trained in neurology who has both examined Caitlin and was willing to talk to us about what he found. Caitlin suffered a traumatic brain injury on Oct. 12, 2017, and hasn’t recovered. She can remember what happens to her each day, but her brain sort of “resets” overnight and when she wakes up, she has no memory of the previous day. This has been going on for nearly a year-and-a-half.
Trayford says he has tests that show what some other doctors don’t look for, including something called a quantitative EEG.
“A quantitative EEG is basically raw EEG data that we take and we compare to age and gender match databases,” Trayford said. “So, we compare to other girls her age without any type of brain injury, what we call normative or average databases. And we see where there's differences if there's too much of certain types of activity in one part of the brain, too little of certain types of activity in other parts of the brain. So it's comparative and database driven."
One thing several doctors have told the Littles is that getting enough blood flow to the entire brain is essential.
“The fact is, the brain is a very, what we would call, ‘greedy organ,’” Trayford said. “It requires a lot of fuels or if there's any restriction of blood flow, any decrease in fuel delivery like glucose and things like that, certain fats, the brain will be the first to suffer because it uses an extraordinary amount of fuel.”
Then he pulls up some scans of Caitlin’s brain and shows us the problem.
“We're seeing less activity in the front, less activity in the rear. What does this mean? She has tremendous deficits and Alpha brainwave activity. Alpha brainwaves are what help us corral our attention, our focus and if we don't have attention and focus, we can't learn effectively. So, you can learn things but they're not going to stick around very long because we don't have the ability to muster the resources necessary to encode those memories,” he said. “The best analogy here is driving the car with the foot on the brake. Because right here the foot's on the brake. There's less than normal activity. So, with that, now the fast activity or the high Beta activity really has to ramp up and she's just sitting here with her eyes closed. But because her Alpha activity is so low, her front brain has to work extra hard just to just to be awake. That is not a good thing.”
See Caitlin’s brain scans in this edition of the Buckley Report.
Subscribe to the Caitlin Can’t Remember podcast in the iTunes store or Google Play and get updates on Caitlin’s condition and her family’s search for answers, or you can just click on the podcast player below.