The human brain is a complicated organ. It’s essentially the “computer software” that enables us to speak, see, hear, talk, think, move and function in our daily lives. A doctor in South Carolina makes it his practice to analyze the brain when treating his patients.

Dr. Howard J. Rankin heads the Rankin Center for Neuroscience and Integrative Health, on Hilton Head Island. Rankin handles issues ranging from developmental problems in children to cognitive difficulties affecting senior citizens.

Rankin, a clinical psychologist, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, says he looks beyond the importance of interviewing patients to determine their thought processes. Rankin asks, “What happens if I do a brain map and look what’s going on in their brain? What happens if I do some cognitive testing and see how their mental functioning actually works? What happens if I put all that stuff together and integrate it? What do I get? What I get is a much fuller picture and a more unique picture of that individual.”

It’s the blending of all this information that helps Rankin determine a person’s strengths and weaknesses so he can work out a rational plan to help the patient.

Rankin doesn’t see brain-mapping technology as the only answer. “I don’t think that neuroscience has replaced more conventional psychology. I think they exist very well together…In my practice, looking at people’s brains as well as asking them about their backgrounds and their experiences really helps you get a clear picture of what’s going on,” says Rankin.

Compared with several years ago, technology is now allowing doctors to take a more precise look at the brain. According to Rankin, “What we’re able to do, then, is not just look at the brain, but now we have brain-training tools that can directly address the brain.” Rankin believes we need to rebalance our brains. He recalls a woman who had a 30-year history with anxiety and depression and had been in therapy for a long time. After about ten sessions of neuro- feedback, the women felt better.

Rankin is not anti-medication. He says, “Medications, where appropriate, are really effective…there are some cases where I wouldn’t even see people unless they were on medications.” The problem with medications, says Rankin, is they are more of a shotgun approach. “We are going to get to the point in the not-to-distant future where medications are going to be much more targeted to very specific areas of the brain, even down to cells.”

The Rankin Center for Neuroscience and Integrative Health helps patients with neuro-feedback, brain training, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy and behavioral training. Among the conditions the Center addresses: eating disorders, addictions, anxiety, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress and neurocognitive conditions.

Rankin likes to say, “People are more than a set of symptoms and they’re more than just a diagnosis.”

Visit Dr. Rankin at