Dynamic Neural Retraining System

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history

Annie Hopper created the Dynamic Neural Retraining System or DNRS in 2008, and states this is based on her recovery from "severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Fibromyalgia and Electric Hypersensitivity Syndrome".[1] Hopper is not a doctor or a scientist.[1][2]

Theory[edit | edit source]

DNRS's website states that trauma is the cause of brain changes, and that trauma causes a "maladaptive stress response" which then causes certain physical symptoms, which the website lists.[3] However, the symptoms listed have many possible causes and DNRS is not an approved trauma recovery program.[3] Various scientific claims on the website about the long term effects of trauma and about how the program physically alters the brain do not have scientific references, including the claim that the program will help you create "new, healthy neural pathways".[3]

Components[edit | edit source]

The program is a psychologically based self-help approach that states it involves

The program states it takes 14hrs to complete the training, with 4 days suggested for this, followed by regular practice. It can be done online or by DVD. You are expected to commit to 6 months of practice, at a minimum of one hour per day.[3]

ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

The DNRS website claims it can "rewire chronic illness disease patterns in the brain" and that "the program is an effective treatment for chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and many other chronic illnesses". No brain scans or brain imaging studies support this "rewiring the brain" claim, no other evidence is given to support this claim, and there is no evidence that brain-only dysfunction is the sole cause of any of these illnesses.[3] DNRS does not suggest any benefits that could lead to improvement in mitochondria or immune system functioning, or any change in dorsal root ganglia inflammation,[3] all of which research has found to be involved in ME/CFS. Peripheral nerve changes, the autonomic nervous system changes, and POTS are not mentioned.[3] The only scientific support is not published in full and not peer-reviewed, and appears as a graph and basic summary of some aspects of a preliminary report based on questionnaires from a group who tried DNRS. Only some results are reported, and it shows a high drop-out rate, and unsurprisingly shows that those who did not drop-out did improve to a degree.[4] There is no information about whether participants had been professionally diagnosed, the results of the patients self-reporting CFS are not given, and full results are not reported, which is an indicator of bias.

ME/CFS is a neurological disease which is also multisystemic; symptoms include immune system dysfunction including altered cytokine expression, digestive / gastrointestinal symptoms that in some cases become severe enough to need tube feeding or even cause death from kidney failure, mitochondria dysfunction, hormonal changes caused by the endocrine system, multiple types of pain, new intolerances to certain foods or sensory intolerances, alterations in the shape of red blood cells, changes in the circulatory system for example postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and significant cognitive dysfunction.[5]

The theory of ME/CFS as a long-term consequence of trauma lacks evidence and has significant evidence against it, with many patients having no trauma history and most reporting that the onset if the disease was linked to a virus, other infection, or physical injury.[5] A study of military veterans by Murphy et al. (2003) could not find a link between Post-traumatic stress disorder and CFS-like symptoms.[6] Heins et al. (2011) found no relationship between childhood maltreatment and response to CBT therapy for CFS.[7][8][9]

Risks and safety[edit | edit source]

There is no scientific evidence that DNRS has positive benefits or that it is a safe treatment, no clinical trials have been conducted, and DNRS was not developed by a medical professional or scientist.[3][4]

The hallmark symptom of ME/CFS is post-exertional malaise which can be triggered by too much cognitive effort; in severe and very severe ME watching too much TV or listening to audio may cause post-exertional malaise or permanent deterioration, which may mean the commitment and work needed by DNRS is both impossible and very harmful.[5]

Some components of the program such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness and stress management techniques have not been shown to be effective in the majority of ME/CFS, and some have resulted in substantial rates of harm. If used as a trauma recovery or stress management program, it is not known how this compares with well-established, proven treatments.

Evidence[edit | edit source]

No clinical trials have been conducted to show the effectiveness or potential risks of DNRS, and there is no evidence that the brain is "rewired" or "retrained" or that neural networks within the brain are altered by the treatment.[3]

Evidence consists of an unpublished presentation, which has not been peer reviewed, part of which can be found on the DNRS website, and a number of claims by coaches or facilitators who stated they recovered from multiple illnesses using it.[10] According to the presentation, brain imaging or brain function tests were not used to assess neuroplasticity after the DNRS course, and all results were based on patient questionnaires.[4]

The presentation on the website does not provide results separately for patients with ME/CFS, although some patients reported having it.[4]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Tozer, James. "Meet the DNRS™ Team". Dynamic Neural Retraining System. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  2. Tuller, David (September 2, 2012). "Trial By Error: What Is the Dynamic Neural Retraining System?". Virology blog.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Tozer, James. "How The Program Works". Dynamic Neural Retraining System. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Guenter, et al. (2019), Neuroplasticity-based treatment for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivity: feasibility and outcomes
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Carruthers, BM; van de Sande, MI; De Meirleir, KL; Klimas, NG; Broderick, G; Mitchell, T; Staines, D; Powles, ACP; Speight, N; Vallings, R; Bateman, L; Bell, DS; Carlo-Stella, N; Chia, J; Darragh, A; Gerken, A; Jo, D; Lewis, DP; Light, AR; Light, KC; Marshall-Gradisnik, S; McLaren-Howard, J; Mena, I; Miwa, K; Murovska, M; Stevens, SR (2012), Myalgic encephalomyelitis: Adult & Paediatric: International Consensus Primer for Medical Practitioners (PDF), ISBN 978-0-9739335-3-6
  6. Murphy, Frances M.; Lee, Kyung Y.; Mahan, Clare M.; Natelson, Benjamin H.; Kang, Han K. (January 15, 2003). "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-like Illness among Gulf War Veterans: A Population-based Survey of 30,000 Veterans". American Journal of Epidemiology. 157 (2): 141–148. doi:10.1093/aje/kwf187. ISSN 0002-9262.
  7. Heins, Marianne J.; Knoop, Hans; Lobbestael, Jill; Bleijenberg, Gijs (December 2011). "Childhood maltreatment and the response to cognitive behavior therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome". Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 71 (6): 404–410. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2011.05.005. ISSN 1879-1360. PMID 22118383.
  8. Clark, James E.; Davidson, Sean L.; Maclachlan, Laura; Newton, Julia; Watson, Stuart (2017), "Rethinking childhood adversity in chronic fatigue syndrome", Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior, doi:10.1080/21641846.2018.1384095
  9. Morris, Gerwyn; Berk, Michael; Maes, Michael; Carvalho, André F.; Puri, Basant K. (January 26, 2019). "Socioeconomic Deprivation, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Medical Disorders in Adulthood: Mechanisms and Associations". Molecular Neurobiology: 1–25. doi:10.1007/s12035-019-1498-1. ISSN 1559-1182.
  10. Tozer, James (n.d.). "Research". Dynamic Neural Retraining System. Retrieved September 23, 2020.