Company hopes to make Pawtucket ‘epicenter’ for brain health

Company hopes to make Pawtucket ‘epicenter’ for brain health

This building at 120 Webster St. will soon be the home of Living Well Adult Day Care and Brain in Play International. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)
Brain in Play will join new facility planned on Webster St.

PAWTUCKET – Baseball, beer, and…better brains?

A company making early groundbreaking strides in brain health appears to be the next big thing in Pawtucket.

Brain in Play International has been running a pilot program at Living Well Adult Day Care, 461 Main St., and now the owners plan to solidify that partnership by moving from Warwick and joining Living Well in a mill facility at 120 Webster St.

The owners of Living Well, Greg Andrade and Scot Comey, who opened their adult care services facility a year ago and have seen rapid growth, were set to close on the purchase of the Webster Street property this month. Brain in Play will be a tenant.

The new five-story facility will have commercial kitchens with handicapped accessibility, treatment rooms, activity rooms, occupational and physical therapy spaces, an indoor track, exercise rooms, sensory rooms, a café, music area, administrative offices, and a partial hospitalization program, among other amenities, according to Andrade.

This will be the “epicenter for brain wellness,” he said.

Backers of Brain in Play International claim to have “invented scientific brain wellness to save and improve brains and lives.” The company was founded by clinician-scientists William and Katharine White.

Bill White, co-author of “Winning the War Against Concussions in Youth Sports,” told The Breeze the couple and their partners are seeing results restoring brain health that were once thought impossible. Scans are showing people with brain injuries or diseases can make a comeback. The advances are especially exciting in the area of concussions, said White, who has consulted with everyone from NFL executives to high school football coaches.

As the experts behind Brain in Play continue to grow in a new Pawtucket space, they’ll be looking to scale their treatments nationally. Injuries and diseases of the brain are the fastest-growing cause of disability and death in the U.S., from youth with “epidemic numbers” of concussions to adults with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. With psychiatric and substance addiction diagnoses rising in all age groups, the need for a solution has never been greater, says White.

Brain in Play’s medical director is the renowned Dr. Alan Ashare and its advisory board chairman is physician training leader and Brown Medical School professor emeritus Edward Iannuccilli.

The company is using a patent-pending, evidence-based brain wellness solution called Brain Performance Enhancement utilizing precise behavioral, cognitive and therapy routines to change “gene expression” and “trigger swift and prominent structural and functional brain improvements, called neuroplasty.”

Medical experts can’t change someone’s DNA, said White, but what they’ve learned is that there are little switches on the DNA and by triggering them they can change the way a brain functions.

“This is a kick-butt, game-changing thing,” he said.

Most doctors are still skeptical of these practices because they’ve been trained that DNA can’t be changed, said White, but the evidence will soon be too overwhelming to ignore. Brain in Play will help “change medical science forever,” promises White.

On a basic level, the latest science is proving that if people exercise 30 minutes four times a week, or 45 minutes three times a week, “consistently enough to break a little sweat,” their brains are becoming 2.5 percent larger within a year, said White. The especially good news is that many of the middle-aged patients being treated should be seeing brain shrinkage of about 2.5 percent, meaning a net improvement of 5 percent, he said.

White works with Rich Gingras of Pawtucket’s Fight 2 Fitness and his Rock Steady boxing program to get people with Parkinson’s and other brain issues active in new ways.

In addition to skilled exercise, White and his team treat through relaxation, hydration, adjustments to intake of drugs or alcohol, mood management, revamped routines, external brain stimulation, finding what inspires a patient and using it to inspire change, good nutrition through the MIND diet, good sleep practices, and reduction of cortisol (the stress hormone).

While there’s a place for medication, the idea is that prescribing 13 drugs for someone and having them sit in a room somewhere is not what’s best for their mental health, said White. He and those he works with get to know each patient, going deep into their background and learning what motivates them.

John Collins is a great example of the change Brain in Play’s techniques are making in people’s lives. Collins, a “classic prototype case,” has struggled with numerous issues since having pituitary brain surgery, said White, and has a chronically inflamed brain, but since meeting White and working with him, the Johnston resident is a changed man, said White. Though he still has many challenges, Collins is now fighting back against deep depression and is feeling better than he has in a long time.

Collins, who is a regular at Fight 2 Fitness, told The Breeze that meeting White and finding Brain in Play was a “God-send,” and has changed his life for the better.

White has created the Brain in Play Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting awareness of the company’s dual vision of saving youth athlete brains by preventing and healing concussions and saving adult brains by preventing and improving dementias and other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

White and his partners will hold the first Brain in Play Nonprofit Foundation Golf Tournament on Oct. 13 at the Pawtucket Country Club. Call 401-615-8775 for more information.

Visit www.braininplay.com or www.braininplay.org for more.