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Sunday, January 22, 2017


BREAKING: The radical Christian roots of the DeVos-backed biofeedback company! 

“Neurocore improves human performance by developing the brain's ability to become stronger. We have created a proven approach that uses advanced neuroimaging technology to engage the brain in real time to improve focus, attention, impulse control, and sleep. Our services have helped thousands of people of all ages significantly improve symptoms related to a variety of behavioral and physiological issues like ADHD and difficulty sleeping. In addition, we have worked with already high functioning athletes and executives to maximize their performance in their professional lives. Neurocore is a Windquest Group company.”

“Timothy G. Royer, Psy.D. is an expert in the use of biofeedback and autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulation to treat ADHD, sleep loss, anxiety and other stress disorders in children and adults. Prior to founding Neurocore, Dr. Royer was the division chief of pediatric psychology at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich.” – via the Neurocore site.

However, Neurocore's site neglected to reveal the company's Christian fundamentalist roots, from its early years as Hope 139 (a dog-whistle reference to Psalm 139).

In a June 30, 2008 press release, Hope 139 was described as “a company that works with schools, corporations and professional athletes to maximize cognitive functioning through a variety of brain training exercises using biofeedback/neurofeedback.”

The release continued: 

“Hope 139 was co-founded in 2004 by Bradley J. Oostindie and Timothy G. Royer. 

The mission of Hope 139 is to assist each individual in reaching his or her God-given cognitive potential. The company utilizes neurofeedback and biofeedback equipment and develops individualized plans to assist others in improving focus, attention span, and anxiety reduction. 

The company provides services in homes, corporations, educational settings, and to professional athletes. The company has been displayed in many media outlets, including national newspapers and national television. 

The co-founders also have had an opportunity to present the Hope 139 model to a member of the United State House of Representatives who sits on an Educational Committee. Currently, the Hope 139 model can be found in 26 states and 7 countries. Information about Hope 139 can be found on the website at http://www.hope139.com or by calling 1-888-You-R-139.”

The former hope139.com link redirects to Neurocore's current site.

For decades, Psalm 139 has been a byword of the anti-abortion movement, printed on posters in crisis pregnancy centers, and it's about to become the new gateway drug for the DeVos family's efforts to turn, as Rolling Stone stated in 2014, “public education into a vertically integrated commodified profit scheme”.

The Association of Christian Schools International, an organization which dubbed Betsy DeVos' Secretary of Education nomination as “good news at the national level for private education”, described its Early Education Mission in terms that harken back to halcyon days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and directly referenced Psalm 139.

 “ACSI upholds a worldview that is based on principles found in God's Word, the Bible. Christian early educators are influencers who align their prevailing biblical worldview in all areas of instruction, classroom environment and developmentally appropriate practices. 

Christian early educators believe all children: Are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalms 139:14”

So does Timothy Royer (who calls himself Dr. Royer on Twitter) pass the credibility test? 

Well, his PsyD degree is in psychology, not medicine, and he has no published research to be found. 

The Neurocore site does not provide links to research studies that would indicate how he might substantiate Royer's claims about raising the IQ with his technique or to back up his claims of so many patients who no longer require medication after his treatment. 

But there could be a great deal of money to be made with this product.

The New York Times recently reported Neurocore, which charges about $2,000 for a recommended treatment of 30 sessions, has a deal with Prosper Funding, an online lending platform, to provide financing to clients. 

In addition, Neurocore said that some insurance plans may cover treatments. 

Here in Michigan, the Times reports, the State Department of Insurance and Financial Services in 2015 upheld a denial of coverage determination by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for a person who had sought treatment from Neurocore for migraine headaches. The insurer had denied coverage, saying the “treatment was investigational.” (Neurocore currently has seven locations in Michigan and two in Florida.)

And Timothy Royer’s claims are without research studies or published findings for peer review, and his claims remain unsubstantiated and anecdotal at best, he's included as an in-network provider in BlueCross Blue Shield's national registry, along with Neurocore.

Oh, but Royer's LinkedIn page reveals he earned his graduate degrees from the eminent online source of all things psychology: Argosy University.

Sure, I'll let you go all Frances Farmer on me! (Where's Nurse Ratched when you need her?)


  1. Just another educational plan that has not been proven (like Ingersolls) that charter schools can implement and charge thousands of dollars to health insurance and the tax payers. Quackery! And we want DeVos at the helm? This is scary stuff.

  2. The word "Christian" used here in my view should be routinely followed with an indication we know better, like "Christian [sic]".

    After all, the root of the word is "Christ follower" -- you know, the guy that said "love your neighbor as yourself" and

    "So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you"

    That guy.