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Harnessing Neuroplasticity – Functional Neurology's Key To Healing The Brain

Written by: Dr. Shaun Kornfeld and Dr. Derek Barton, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Dr. Shaun Kornfeld and Dr. Derek Barton

In the midst of increasing drug therapy in the field of neurology, there is also a growing demand for non-surgical, drug-free treatment options. Functional neurology is an option that offers the treatment of neurological and brain-based conditions using a non-invasive approach to address complex neurological disorders. This non-invasive method of treatment offers patients and their families new hope in their quest to participate in treatment that is drug-free and surgery-free. In this article, we explore the concepts of functional neurology and discuss the conditions that can benefit from non-invasive treatment.

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Functional neurology is based on the concept of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity describes the brain’s ability to adapt and change through learning and experience. Functional neurology leverages this ability of the brain to help it heal from injuries and incorrect processes occurring in the brain. The brain is the organ that senses our reality. When information is not received and processed correctly, everyday life becomes challenging for the patient. Practitioners of functional neurology assess the various systems of the body to understand how the brain is receiving and responding to information. When looking at the brain and body holistically, a functional neurologist can create an individualized treatment plan tailored to each patient. This approach allows functional neurologists to be concise in their approach and ultimately focus on treating the root cause of a patient’s neurological challenge.


Functional neurologists begin the evaluation process to assess a patient’s brain by testing various aspects of brain function. This can include a thorough assessment of the patient's medical history and an evaluation of their heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. The balance systems of the body may be evaluated, as well as an assessment of the movement of the eyes, cognitive testing, and a thorough physical examination. Based on the findings of these tests, a functional neurologist can determine areas of the patient’s brain that function normally and which areas may be experiencing challenges. A customized and individualized treatment plan is then formulated to help optimize and heal the patient’s brain. These treatment plans utilize the different senses of the body (touch, vision, hearing, taste, and smell) to activate and rehabilitate areas of the brain where there is dysfunction or injury. These activations can help the brain make new connections, optimize function, and improve that patient’s quality of life.


Many patients experience significant benefits from this treatment approach. Using the brain’s innate healing ability allows functional neurologists to create meaningful change without the use of drugs or surgery. By using the body’s own healing ability, side-effects are minimized and many patients are able to avoid unwanted invasive procedures. Patients presenting with conditions such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, cognitive decline, memory loss, vestibular disorders, and neurodevelopmental challenges have found help with a functional neurological approach to treatment. Patients can experience improved neurological function and increased quality of life after receiving functional neurological treatment.

Functional neurology offers an innovative, dynamic, and individualized approach to helping those who are suffering from neurological injury or deficit. It is a non-invasive, drug-free method of treatment for patients seeking a safe and effective approach to treating many complex conditions. If you or someone you know is suffering from a brain injury or neurological condition, there may be a functional neurologist near you who can help.

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Dr. Shaun Kornfeld and Dr. Derek Barton Brainz Magazine

Dr. Shaun Kornfeld and Dr. Derek Barton, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Shaun Kornfeld, DC, DACNB, FACFN, FABVR is an experienced chiropractic neurologist and functional neurology practitioner. He sits on the board of directors for the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado and is the lead clinician at our Colorado center where he manages the care of patients and ensures Plasticity’s methods exceed their expectations. Derek Barton, DC, DACNB, FABBIR is the Director of Operations and Compliance and the Lead Clinician at Plasticity Centers of Orlando. During his career, he has worked as a clinician specializing in brain injury rehabilitation working with complex neurological cases, athletes, and celebrities.



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