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Season 1, Episode 4: What are Brain Imbalances? with Robert Melillo, DC, DABCN, PhD(c)

By Jodi Cohen

Promotional graphic for "essential alchemy" podcast featuring a discussion on brain imbalances with guest dr. robert melillo, hosted by jodi cohen, ntp.

With Robert Melillo, DC, DABCN, PhD(c), you’ll learn symptoms and treatment options for the brain, the connection between brain imbalances and the parasympathetic system, and understand what is the functional disconnection syndrome.

  • Symptoms and treatment options
  • Connection between brain imbalance and the parasympathetic system
  • Understanding functional disconnection syndrome

About Dr. Robert Melillo

Dr. Robert Melillo is a world-wide leading expert in neurodevelopmental disorders like ADD, Autism, Dyslexia and other learning disabilities in both adults and children. He is a published author, researcher, professor and has treated and helped thousands of patients all over the world.

If you’re enjoying the Essential Alchemy podcast, please leave Jodi a review on iTunes.

Jodi: Hi! I’m your host, Jodi Cohen. And I’m so honored today to be joined by Dr. Robert Melillo, who is a worldwide leading expert in neurodevelopmental disorders like ADD, ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities in both adults and children. He is a published author, including one of my favorite books, Disconnected Kids, which was a fabulous tool for my own children. A researcher, a professor, he’s treated and helped thousands of patients all over the world with ADHD, autism, and other behavioral disorders.

And I’m very excited to get your input and perspective on how an imbalanced brain, and especially imbalances in the parasympathetic nervous system, can kind of impact behavior. So, if you wouldn’t mind jumping in a little bit about what a brain imbalance or a functional disconnection syndrome is, and how it kind of coincides with parasympathetic nervous system.

Robert: Sure, great. First of all, thank you for having me. I appreciate this. It’s obviously a very complex answer. I wrote a whole textbook about this. But, to kind of simplify it, and understand that I am simplifying it. So, what a brain imbalance is, is what I believe is really the root cause of all neural behavioral disorders, and most adult mental health issues. And we know now that they all start pretty much in childhood or even in the womb.

Normally, in the development of the brain, there is a dance that goes on back and forth. And the right side develops first in the womb, and for the first 3 years. And then the left side. And then there is this kind of back and forth dance until pretty much adulthood. And so, that should happen normally in most people. And when it does, this is why we have differences in the right brain and the left brain, and why they do different things.

And the fact that we have differences in the way our hemispheres regulate everything about us, is really what makes our brain unique. We have the most asymmetrical, what we call lateralized brains on the planet. And that’s an advantage. It basically gives us 2 brains in one. And when this develops the way it’s supposed to, our brain works fabulously. When it doesn’t develop the way it’s supposed to, this is the root cause of all learning, mental health, and many physical issues as well, because the brain regulates everything.

Robert: So, simply put, what happens is that during development, mostly environmental factors superimposed on genetic predispositions, which are really traits, meaning we have traits for different skills, or really traits that were either going to be probably be more right brain or left brain dominant in our abilities, in our personality style. And what happens is that we have different environmental factors that affect genes that are expressing. And they mixed together really develop the right brain and left brain.

And if something happens and the environmental factors are not the most ideal, or if there’s a lot of maternal stress, or if there’s other factors at work, sent from the father, what we call epigenetic factors, it affects gene expressions. And what can happen is that, let’s say if the right brain is supposed to be developing first, if it doesn’t develop the way it’s supposed to, if it slows down in its development, the left brain may kick in too early and too aggressively. And somebody who is already gifted in their left brain skills, they get too much of an extreme version of it.

And now what happens is they develop this developmental imbalance where one side of the brain is progressing and the other side isn’t. And then, during growth spurts which happen throughout childhood, this imbalance becomes even more. And what happens is that it disrupts the normal communication and flow. So that normally our whole brain should be active during anything we do. And there is like the left brain may be active during certain things and then the right brain is active at the same time, suppressing all of the other things that we could be doing at that time. And then the right brain may do that to the left brain.

Sometimes they work cooperatively. But if they can’t, then this is what leads to issue. And there is one very famous neuroscientist who’s very skeptical. His name is Tim Brown. And he was quoted as saying that nothing in psychiatry or psychology makes sense unless you look at it from the context of brain asymmetry. When you look at the symptoms that kids have, or adults have, and you look at those symptoms of schizophrenia, or ADHD, or autism. You look at them, you look at all these symptoms, and they make no sense unless you look at it from the perspective of right and left brain. And then it makes perfect sense. And that’s true for everything.

And so, basically all of these disorders are really what we call abnormal lateralization of the brain. And the good news is nothing is broken. There is no genetic mutation or anything like that. And we can change that. And this also comes down to how the brain regulates the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system as well.

Jodi: I love that. That was brilliant. And I’m wondering for the listeners who don’t really know kind of what the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere do, if you could delve into that a little more, that would be fabulous.

Robert: The right hemisphere develops first. And the right hemisphere is really more about building relationships, and attachment, and just kind of orienting ourselves to the world. So, the right brain, when we’re first born, we don’t really have clear vision. In the womb we can hear things but we’re not hearing syllables or words. But we hear tone of voice. And we come to recognize emotional tone of voice. When a baby is born, obviously it’s only non-verbal communication, and emotional expression. Getting connected with their own body, and their own feelings, so they can express their needs to the mom.

When we’re first born, we have these things called primitive reflexes that allow us to engage in the world. And so, we are able to move, and engage, and start to build. But we only move our big muscles at that time. We’re not doing little fine motor skills. And speech is a fine motor skill. Our eyes being able to work together, our inner ear being able to get our sense of space and where we are in our body, developing a map of the inside and the outside of our body. Being able to start to read emotions on ourselves and on others, and form attachment, and ultimately form relationships. This is really the basis of the right brain, which is critical to survival.

And so, the right brain is very connected to the body, and the autonomic system, and the gross motor movement, and non-verbal communication. And in the first 3 years of life, when the right brain is forming, we don’t have a hippocampus yet. So, we’re not forming conscious memories. So, subconscious memories, or more what we call implicit memories, are formed in that age, where we learn things but we don’t remember learning them. Like, how to socialize with other people.

Then the left brain kicks in around 3 years. And everything is about details. The question of a 3 year old is “Why?” And so, the left brain is now all about details. The hippocampus comes in. We start forming conscious memories. We learn more consciously, and we can direct that learning. The left brain is more motor, the right brain is more sensory. The right brain is more paying attention, the left brain is more about looking at detailed attention.

Out of all attentions, 4 out of 5 different types of attention that we have in humans, the right brain controls them. But the left brain controls focused, detailed attention. The left brain is motor. The left brain is what we call approach. The right brain is more withdrawal. It’s more cautious. Different emotions regulate the two. The right brain is more about withdrawal emotions or negative – sadness, fear, disgust, guilt, and shame. The left brain is more about happiness, and anger, and what we call curiosity, or surprise. So, the left brain is about learning. It is goal directed. We have a goal and we’re going on that. It’s more sequential. The right brain looks at the big picture. It looks at everything all at once. Left brain looks at things in detail, sequentially, one step after the other.

Robert: But the overall main role, both sides of the brain, but the left side and the prefrontal cortex is really prediction. The ability to simulate what’s going to happen, and then predict it. And then have our behavior act accordingly. So, we choose the best behavior at the best time. The left brain and the right brain work in regulating the immune system. The left brain activates the immune system. The right brain suppresses the immune system. In general, the right brain kind of suppresses things.

So, when we have an over activity in the left side, underdevelopment of the right, which is what we see in ADHD, and OCD, and tics, and Tourette’s, and autism, and schizophrenia, we see things we can’t control, like obsessive thought, or compulsive behaviors, or tics, vocalizations, overaggressiveness, anger outbursts.

The left brain loves familiarity, it loves routine. So, it loves to do the same thing over and over, and over, and over. It hates new things. It doesn’t want to transition. We have an overactive immune response. We have too much inflammation in our body. So, this is kind of what we see as classic in autism or ADHD.

So, like I said, when you look at it, symptoms of these things are really always a combination of overactive areas in one area of the brain, combined with underactive skills in the other. So, like ADHD, attention deficit. That’s a delay of development, in maturity of the right brain. So, we have a deficit of attention, because the right brain regulates most attention, especially sustained attention. But, we have hyper-activity which is overactive motor activity from the left brain or overactive thoughts, which is obsessive thinking, or compulsive behavior, or tics, or stims, and anger outbursts. And sticking with routines and hating to break routines. That’s an over activity and over activity of the immune system, so we get inflammation, and food sensitivities, and leaky gut.

And all of this, ultimately the brain needs to develop from the bottom up. And then come from the top down to regulate. And especially regulate the autonomic system. And if that doesn’t happen, then we have all this autonomic dysregulation. And we have generally an overactive sympathetic and underactive parasympathetic system.

Jodi: I love how you tied everything together, not only the emotional and mental symptoms but physical. So, basically overactive left brain is overactive sympathetic nervous system.

Robert: Well, they both, either one. Both of them. What happens is that, and this is where really it all ties together with the whole Polyvagal theory and system. In the brain stem, our brain starts from the bottom up. When we’re born, we’re not born with a blank slate in our brain. Our brain has most of the basic information that we need to function in this world. It’s basically like this old, primitive operating system that our brain is born with. And it’s there, and it has all the information, but it doesn’t make sense unless we match it with real experience. You understand?

So, we have to calibrate that software with what we have. So, we have to move. We have to interact. We have to create experiences. We have to actively sense the world for our brain to match what’s happening with the software that’s already there. But then, we need to eventually delete this old software and upgrade. We need to upgrade the software each year so that it becomes more sophisticated, faster, more integrated.

We don’t have a brain when we’re born, so how do we move to engage the world? And so we’re born with these things called primitive reflexes, like rooting and sucking reflexes, grasping reflexes, the Moro response, the asymmetric and symmetric tonic neck reflexes. These are in the brainstem, in the medulla, in the lower part of the brainstem. In the same area, where we have all of the autonomic nuclei that are developing.

So, we have 3 predominant autonomic nuclei that are in the brainstem. The first is what we call the older parasympathetic, or what we call the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus. And this regulates what we call the freeze response, or the fear paralysis reflex. And it also regulates basic digestive function. Then that develops first in the womb, in the first trimester. And then, it’s very unmyelinated. It’s old.

And then, the sympathetic nervous system starts to develop in what we call the rostral ventral-lateral medullary nucleus, along with something called the central-lateral medullary nucleus. And that forms in the middle of the brainstem area. And this then kicks in the sympathetic nervous system which does the opposite. The older system lowers blood pressure, and reduces our digestion, and our breathing, so that we are almost dead. And the other one activates it so that we can run after prey, or increase our heartrate, increase our oxygen utilization.

But then, we need something to slow it back down again. And then, through evolution we develop what’s called a nucleus ambiguous, which is the newer myelinated ventral vagal system, that regulates the heart, and the lungs, and all of the facial muscles, and what we call the social engagement system. And regulates our ability to regulate safety from non-safety. And so, all of that starts in the brainstem, in the same area where the primitive reflexes are.

Robert: And so, what we see is in almost all kids and adults with these chronic neural behavioral issues, they never get rid of their primitive reflexes. So, they never delete this old software. So, that brainstem never fully matures. And then it goes up. It’s supposed to go up. And then ultimately the brain comes down. And on either side, regulates that whole system. But this doesn’t happen. And whether we have a right brain or a left brain delay, that doesn’t come down and regulate. And we have an over activation of the sympathetic nervous system.

And because part of the sympathetic nervous system is involved with the adrenal gland, so that we’re releasing the stress hormones throughout our body, it affects the whole body all the time. And this is what we see in developmental issues, these chronic over activation of the sympathetic nervous system that leads to food sensitivities, metabolic issues, malabsorption syndromes, vitamins, and minerals, amino acid deficiencies, leaky gut, and all that stuff.

Jodi: Yeah, it’s really amazing. And you’ve developed a really great system to help kind of correct the brain imbalance and restore function. Can you discuss a little bit about that, especially for parents who might think, “Oh my god, I need you!” How do you assess kids, and how do you help kind of restore that balance so that the body functions, and evolves, and develops?

Robert: Yeah, well, the first thing is to remove what’s blocking the brain from developing, which is the retention of these primitive reflexes. Like I said, it’s like we had this old operating system that is always operating in the background. So, imagine in your computer, if you had this old operating system that was always there, and it slows down the processing. And it may prevent you from upgrading software. So, we need to delete that. We need to get rid of that first.

So, there are very specific issues, there are techniques that I’ve developed, that I train parents on. And there are exercises that we can do, that will get rid of these primitive reflexes. But what I found is that if you don’t do that, while you’re also stimulating one side of the brain more than the other. So, what we have is, to restore balance, it’s the underactive side that is the problem. Even though both sides produce symptoms, it’s the underactive, underdeveloped side that’s the problem. So, what you need to do is specifically stimulate that underactive side of the brain to restore balance.

And this is the problem with a lot of therapies. One is, they don’t look at the whole system. So, you have to do multiple things. You have to do sensory, visual, auditory, vestibular, tactile, smell, eye movements, along with specific physical activities, and exercises, and stimulation, along with diet and nutrition, along with cognitive stimulation, and sensory process. All of that needs to be done together in the right combination at the right stage. But at the most basic level, if we don’t get rid of this old software, nothing’s going to happen. So, to do that, we need to stimulate those reflexes, we also need to stimulate the underactive side of the brain.

Robert: And then, this usually, once we delete that software, the brain then can explode in its growth. And the way we restore balance and most therapies that are out there, like OT, or PT, or even chiropractic, or whatever, the problem is that when they’re using therapies, they do everything equal to both sides. And that doesn’t correct an imbalance. If anything, it actually makes an imbalance worse because the side that’s more sensitive and more active is going to respond to those treatments more aggressively. And that creates more of an imbalance.

So, this is the uniqueness of what I’ve developed and the approach. And there was just recently a study that was done over the past couple of years at Harvard, at the McLean Hospital, the number one mental institution, in the United States, independently looking at my program and how it relates to ADHD. And essentially they’ve now completed that study and done sophisticated brain imaging.

And it showed that not only was it as effective or more effective than the best medication, but that it created changes in the brain that they’ve never seen before. And that it completely confirmed all of my theories on what’s happening in this whole bottom-up, top-down development and all of that, related to primitive reflexes. Basically, that’s exactly what it showed in this study. And it was a completely independent study at Harvard Medical School.

Jodi: Well, and personally, my younger son, Max, we did a lot of your work on him. And it was profound. And that’s actually one of the reasons I have my own essential oil company, because the olfactory nerve goes straight to the prefrontal cortex. That was a fabulous tool for me. And I’m wondering if you could talk about smell a little bit and how you use it.

Robert: Smell is huge. It’s so funny, people don’t understand how important smell is to development and brain. There was one article that was done on me and Brain Balance a while back, by NPR. And normally I like NPR, but this reporter was so biased from the very beginning. He did just a terrible job. And it was funny because in it there was one story of a family where they talked about how we changed the sense of smell in this child, and they started eating different foods. And he kind of blew it off like, well, big deal. You know what I mean? Like, that’s the big deal, you should change smell?

I had a couple of neuroscientists that reached out to me and went, “Wow, you changed smell! Like, do you realize how huge that is? It’s so important.” And they were kind of like, I can’t believe that person, that article didn’t understand. They had no clue how important it is. So, smell is huge, because when we look at how animals socialize, how do they socialize? They socialize really through smell. And our basic brain, called the limbic system, which is the basic core of our brain, and our emotions, and our autonomic regulation is really regulated by what we call the rhinencephalon. It’s basically what we call the nose brain.

Robert: And, so what we see is that the basis of social skills, the social networks, and emotional regulation really start with smell. There’s an area of our brain called the orbitofrontal cortex, which is in the prefrontal cortex, which we know is dysfunctional in ADHD, and OCD, and other things like that. And we know that that area of the brain is specifically initially responsive to smell. And we know that that side of the brain regulates our social behavior in humans.

So, what we see is that almost every child, and we check objectively with a research based tool, smell in every child. Remember, at Brain Balance, we worked with about 40,000 kids, so this is a pretty big sample set. And we do smell with these kids before, during, and after. And usually in every session we work with them. In my own practice, I also use this tool on every person.

And in almost every case, it’s dysfunctional. And it is really again, the right brain is more associated with smell. And so, what we see is, especially people with right brain deficits, they have problems with their sense of smell. And that is the root cause of most of the abnormal eating behavior. Most of these kids are obsessively picky eaters. And it really starts with they have no sense of smell or taste.

Jodi: That’s what happens in old people too, right? They lose their sense of smell and then they stop eating.

Robert: And we know that loss of smell is one of the first markers for schizophrenia. We also know it’s…

Jodi: And Parkinson’s.

Robert: Right, for Parkinson’s. It’s also one of the first markers for dementia. So again, we see that developmentally and degeneratively, there’s these same issues at play. And just stimulating smell alone is very positive but unless you’re doing it coupled with the appropriate brain stimulation, it doesn’t really have as much of an effect, because obviously the child is disposed to smells. But they don’t register it because their right brain isn’t picking up, and because it’s underactive, and under sensitive. But it is huge. It is huge to eating behavior, when kids are obsessively picky eaters, when they don’t have normal social development, non-verbal communication. All of that is foundational in the sense of smell.

Jodi: Yeah. And I’m wondering, because I’m sure there are going to be a lot of listeners who are kind of tracking and being “Wow, this sounds like my child.” Like, I know you’ve got great programs on your site, and it’s really well organized. And we will definitely have links to that. How do people get started? Like, when you kind of onboard people, can you talk a little bit about how you identify what area needs to be balanced. And then what some of the low hanging things are, and how you integrate the primitive reflexes, and things like that.

Robert: Well, the way to start is really with Disconnected Kids, I find that with parents. And now it’s been translated into 12 languages, sold over half a million copies worldwide. And it’s really almost every day I get a letter from a parent saying, “Oh my god, how do you know my child?” Like, I just got off the phone with a parent from Boston, who said to me, “When I read your book, all of a sudden it made sense. And we’ve had our kid to Harvard. We had him to Boston, to Mass General. And they didn’t give us any answers. And didn’t make any sense to me. And then I read your book and I was like, this makes perfect sense.”

Jodi: Oh, I know. I thought it was quirky personality traits. And you explain all of them. It’s amazing.

Robert: Right. Because most people aren’t looking at it, and don’t really understand the neurology.

Jodi: Yeah

Robert: People are surprised. They think that certain professionals really know a lot about the brain. Like, for instance, most psychologists never really learn about the brain. Or they learn it on a very, very basic level. And most people don’t know that. They think they must be experts in it. And even the average physician and neurologist, they really don’t really know the inner workings of the brain and the development of the brain really very well. And if you don’t understand that, then you really can’t understand what’s happening. And you really don’t know what to do about the problem.

So, it’s really important to have that understanding of the basic brain. And so, I think with people reading that book, really will also give you a way of assessing your child. To see if this fits your child. Not everything is this. There are genetic disorders. There’s brain injury. There’s behavioral disorders. There are psychiatric and psychological issues that can happen. But clearly, in the vast majority of kids, it’s none of those. It’s really a neurological imbalance. And it’s neurological at its core. And this is the one thing that people know about least. And it is the thing that is most changeable. So, reading that book is the place to start.

Robert: And then, trying to follow the directions. The only thing that’s a little tricky is that again, it’s really important to identify these primitive reflexes and get rid of them. And so, I talk about it in my book a bit. But this is a type of thing that it takes expertise and skill to really be able to identify the primitive reflexes appropriately. And, I even had some physicians that were like, “Yeah, I went on YouTube and I read about it. And I went and tested the reflexes. And I didn’t find them there.” And then I checked the same kid and they were all there.

And I’ve had parents that have been doing things with primitive reflex, and even going to professionals. And even after 2 years or 3 years the reflexes aren’t gone. So, that’s the only thing is that, is really seeing somebody who’s been trained properly, preferably by me, to be able to really identify primitive reflexes. And really know how to get rid of them, because not all of the techniques will get rid of them. And if you’re not stimulating one side of the brain or the other, these reflexes may not go away, or may not go away for a very, very long time.

Jodi: Right.

Robert: That is something that, I describe it in the book, but realistically, how to actually really do it, you really need somebody that really knows what they are doing, to assess those reflexes. But, even if you don’t do that, and when you follow Disconnected Kids, understanding what’s happening, really getting a sense of the problem. And then from there, trying to, I think, being guided by a professional that understands my work. And I’ve trained over 10,000 professionals worldwide, and I’m continuing to do it. I’m leaving tomorrow to go to Atlanta, actually teach down there for the first time live, which I’m looking forward to.

Jodi: Yeah. And you’re in the Chicago area, right?

Robert: I’m in New York.

Jodi: Oh, New York, okay.

Robert: My practice is in New York. And obviously I still see a lot of patients myself, especially the cases that are more difficult. I get a lot of international people that come to see me. I’ve been very active during this time in New York, because this is the one thing that parents are going to seek help with their kids, no matter what.

Jodi: Well, and especially when the kid used to go to school and you had time when you weren’t with them. If you are with them all the time, some of these traits become more predominant. And especially, I’ve heard you refer to screen time as digital heroin, which is something that I think we are all struggling with now. I’m wondering if you could speak to that a little bit.

Robert: Yeah, it’s kind of a conflicted thing because we live in a world where, first of all, why is this happening? Why are we seeing this explosion? Everything for me always comes down to the “why”. Like why, what is happening to the brain. Why is this happening now? Why are we seeing this explosion of these issues, these epidemic of these issues, really over the past 30 years? And it’s clear that with the advent of digital technology, and computers, and smart phones, and iPads, that our behavior’s changed dramatically. And the way that it’s really impacted us more than anything else is with movement and social interaction.

So, what we do know is, as I said, from the very beginning, we have to move to build our brain. Motor activity, interacting with the world, is the single most important thing that develops the brain, especially in the first 6 years. And what we see is that, we know now kids at younger and younger ages are not moving anymore. They’re not doing things.

One good thing about this COVID thing is that you see kids on bikes again. You see kids out on the street playing, which you haven’t seen in decades. So maybe that’s a good thing that will happen from this. And it is really important. And people don’t understand the importance. And the average physicians have no idea of the importance of movement.

And they downplay it, like when a child doesn’t hit their motor milestones, they say, “Oh, it’s okay.” They didn’t crawl, they scooted on their butt, or they didn’t walk until they were 16, or 17, or 18 months. “That’s okay. Everybody walks.” That’s completely untrue. If they don’t move at the right time in the right way, it impacts the development of their brain. Every child that I’ve seen, basically, has had some sort of abnormal milestone development. And it means something.

Jodi: Yes.

Robert: So, all of those things are very, very important. And really it’s been driven by our lifestyle. Our diet also contributes to this as well. But nothing is as important as movement. So, really understanding that. And understanding that right now, during this time, people are either doing one of 2 things, either they’re moving even less. So, the main impact of computer screens is that it stops us from moving. That’s the main impact.

But other studies have shown that traditionally videogames, especially violent videogames, or most digital videogames, the way they are designed, is that they stimulate the networks on the left hemisphere. And in doing that, this is the area of the brain that literally is at the basis of obsessive, compulsive, tics, repetitive behavior, and addictive behavior. This is what leads to those hyperactivity of the reward network in the brain.

Robert: And the left brain is more dopamine. So with hyperactive dopamine pathways which is the basis of what we see cocaine and heroin. That’s what it does. So that’s why it’s been referred to as digital heroin, because it literally activates those addictive networks. And you literally become addicted to it.

Now, on the other hand, these screens are not going anywhere. We live with them. And what’s coming down the road, and which is going to be even worse, is virtual reality. Virtual reality is going to create more psychotic people than we’ve ever seen before. So, how do you handle that? So, in the beginning I would just tell people, listen, really limit screen time. Be very careful, especially if your child has a right brain deficit, because they’re going to get addicted faster.

But, I now am the president of a company. A young doctor who really has been studying my work for years, along with a group of really some of the best software designers in the world, took a lot of my principles and created videogames. And now virtual reality games, based on my work that now helps to stimulate the brain to the right side and the left side appropriately.

Jodi: Interesting.

Robert: Yeah. So, this is an area called digital medicine that is going to be the future of medicine. The idea of software affects the brain. And that’s kind of the downside for it. But it affects the brain negatively, it can be designed to affect the brain positively.

Jodi: I love that. I love that. That’s wonderful.

Robert: And virtual reality is not going away, so we might as well use it for help in brain rehab for brain injury. We can use it for pain management at a really high level, and it will ultimately replace opiate drugs. And so actually, about 3 weeks ago, the first company ever was approved for ADHD videogames by prescription only. And now, that helps us because we’re just about to enter the FDA trial period.

And so we believe that we may become the second company that is approved. But we’re the only ones that are going to have virtual reality games as well. So, they are all designed. And we’ve been using these. Like, in my clinic and other doctors that I have trained, we have people out there using this product already. And it’s an incredible tool when it’s used properly.

Jodi: And for the parents that are listening, that are little bit, they’ve tried a lot of things. They’ve done complicated diets. They are maybe not feeling as optimistic. Can you kind of share how the brain can heal, the brain can regenerate. Like, this is a problem that can be balanced and solved.

Robert: Absolutely. In almost every case. I’ve worked with the most severe cases of autism and in almost all of those cases, I have got significant improvement. Many of them have lost their autism diagnosis officially. As well as, like I said, we worked with 30-40,000 kids. And we objectively measured them in all cases. And we have like over 90-95% success rate, at completely eliminating those issues, not just managing them. Because, there is no genetic mutation at the root of most of these, even though most people are led to believe that’s the case. It’s not the case. There’s no actual damage or pathology in the brain.

So, why can’t they get better? It’s just a lack of knowledge on behalf of most professionals, that they really don’t understand what the problem is. And they’re kind of looking and they’re saying, these are genetic, meaning genetic mutations, or these are brain injury. They are not either one of those things. Those things exist but that’s not what we see in most of these kids. And so, again, we know objectively. And like I said, they just proved it at this Harvard study that they’ve shown before and after brain imaging, where we’ve literally completely rewired and remapped the brain. And along with that, we see elimination of the symptoms.

So this can change. Diet and nutrition never causes these problems. It’s always more of a secondary result. It can help reduce the symptoms. But that’s why it’s frustrating. People are told these are dietary problems. This is because they have a leaky gut. And so, therefore they do the nutrition component, and it may improve the symptoms to a degree but it never really completely resolves the issue. And then they are told, well you can’t completely resolve these issues. But they’re not dealing with the core, root problem.

Jodi: Which is why I’m doing this summit. I think, being in the parasympathetic state and calming the over-activation of sympathetic is the root of many problems.

Robert: Absolutely. I think all of the metabolic issues really come down to an imbalance between sympathetic and parasympathetic mechanisms. All of them – vitamin, mineral deficiencies, lack of acid, lack of enzymes, leaky gut, over activity of the immune system, chronic inflammation, hormone dysregulation, sugar dysregulation. All of it comes down to that.

But, the question is, why is that there? And that’s there because of the developmental issue, developmental imbalance. And ultimately lack of development of the brain and dysregulation of the autonomic system. So, all of the symptoms that are metabolically related, are related to that imbalance in sympathetic and parasympathetic. But the cause of that is this imbalance in the brain.

Jodi: And you’ve shared so much that’s brilliant. Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you wanted to add?

Robert: No, I think that pretty much covers it. Obviously this is something that if parents want to know more, they can go to my website, DrRobertMilillo.com. My wife and I did a web series called Disconnected Kids, Reconnected Families, where we really show the practical application of this in the home, where we go into the home of kids with some of the most severe cases. And that’s a really good learning experience. For any professionals, I do teach a course. And it’s also online.

I want as many people as possible to learn this. And I’m traveling all over the world to try to get this out there. Because, to me, this is the single most important model in all of healthcare, because even things like food sensitivities, they are all related to these issues. So, once you see this, you go, “Oh my god! How important this is.” So, I hope they continue to pursue more.

Jodi: Thank you. I appreciate you and everything you do. And thank you so much for sharing your brilliance with us today.

Robert: Thank you. Thank you for bringing this out to the world.

About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.