They’re calling it the “tulip bubble.” And it’s not bursting anytime soon.
“We are booked,” said Barbara Negyesi, the general manager of Cognitive FX, a Provo neurorehabilitation clinic.
The clinic, which treats patients with post-concussion syndrome, has gone from seeing one or two patients a week five years ago to having 10 patients a week booked through December — most of whom are Dutch.
The clinic saw its first Dutch patient in 2017. Those numbers began to increase after a patient posted an article about the clinic on LinkedIn, and then articles began to circulate on the radio and TV stations.
The clinic saw 11 Dutch patients last year. As of May 27, it had treated 94 Dutch patients this year, with another 143 Dutch patients scheduled to get treatment at the clinic after June 3.
“In the Netherlands, there is nothing like this kind of approach,” Negyesi said.
The clinic is used to seeing patients who aren’t local. Even before the Dutch began coming, only 30% of Cognitive FX’s patients were from Utah, with the rest traveling from the rest of the nation and Canada for treatment.
The patients who come in experience symptoms such as sensory sensitivities, difficulty being in a crowded room, memory and concentration problems and headaches. But while elsewhere in the world post-concussion syndrome is addressed with how a patient can live with symptoms, Cognitive FX looks to how to treat them.
“There aren’t many treatments for this,” said Marci Amundsen, the clinic’s director of treatment. “Typically, it’s almost a dead-end diagnosis.”
Prospective patients go through two screening processes before treatment can begin. The clinic then uses neurocognitive imaging to identify which parts of the brain are injured and need to be treated. Cognitive FX’s program includes a week of day-long, intense treatment at the Provo clinic to help reactive the injured regions of the brain.
Cognitive FX sees a wide variety of patients, from NFL players and Olympic athletes, to people who sustained a head injury from a car accident or a fall.
Amundsen said most concussion research is being conducted in the United States, and that Dutch patients don’t have any anywhere closer to go. Once a patient hears about another person who had the same condition and got better, they’re willing to give treatment a try.
Amundsen said that because the Dutch patients come from an elevation below sea level, they can have difficulties when their treatment in Utah pushes them physically. The Dutch are also more likely to bring more people into the clinic with them when they travel to Utah with their family.
“The good thing is the Dutch people speak pretty good English,” Negyesi said.