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Neurofeedback and Post- Stroke Recovery

neurofeedback for stroke recoveryStroke remains a leading cause of long-term disability in the United States at a cost of $38 billion per year. About 650,000 persons survive a new stroke yearly and 7 million Americans live with the complications of stroke [1]. Conventional therapy has traditionally involved physical, occupational, and speech therapy, but changes in protocols are currently occurring at a rapid rate due to new scientific discoveries.

Pharmacologic interventions, cell-based and biologic therapies are expensive and come with a wide variety of side effects. Neurofeedback is non-invasive, completely safe and side- effect free, and cost effective compared with conventional medicine.

Recently neurofeedback has gotten some deserved recognition as a viable therapy for post-stroke recovery, even years after the event. A number of studies have confirmed what neurofeedback therapists have known for years- neurofeedback can bring about profound improvements in stroke recovery outcome.

Neurofeedback for Addiction Treatment

Neurofeedback for Addiction TreatmentThe field of addiction treatment has been struggling for years to improve it’s overall efficacy rate. An exciting addition to the tool box has come recently through the widespread rise in the use of neurofeedback for addiction treatment. Research suggests that neurofeedback training can be helpful for those who are struggling with addiction.

As is being recognized, addiction is a multi- faceted disease that requires an integrated treatment approach. The traditional model of 12- step based recovery is outmoded and has been shown to be widely ineffective in keeping addicts or alcoholics clean and sober. The view is that addicts are morally flawed and lacking in willpower is a stigma the disease is only starting to overcome.

Treating PTSD with Neurofeedback

A veteran with PTSDPTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, has gotten a lot of press lately as many veterans return from the wars in the middle east with trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as

These cases are often complicated by TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury. In fact, the two can be intrinsically related and co-generating. Depression is often the result. Neurofeedback treats both conditions, so is becoming one of the complementary therapies of choice in the treatment of PTSD.

Neurofeedback and the Science of Epigenetics

Epigenetic mechanismsFor a long time, we have collectively believed that directly inherited genetic traits play a major defining role in who we are and how we turn out. The new science of epigenetics is changing how we think about inherited traits, as it becomes clear that proclivities for certain behaviors shared by our parents are more than just learned. By inheriting genes with certain sequences “hidden” due to methylation (see below), we can become pre-disposed to certain behaviors, levels of stress hormones or neurotransmitters, and even certain diseases.

Epigenetics is defined as “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself”. DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that occurs by the addition of a methyl (CH3) group to DNA. DNA methylation is an active process, constantly occurring and altering biological functioning as cells read DNA sequences for instruction. DNA methylation is vital to healthy growth and development- it enables the expression of retroviral genes to be suppressed, along with other dangerous DNA sequences in existence.

Neurofeedback for Traumatic Brain Injury

6950602992_d7a06a638a_zTraumatic Brain Injury, commonly referred to as a head injury, is a brain dysfunction caused by an outside force, usually a violent blow to the head.

From the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

Traumatic Brain Injury Overview

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, contributing to about 30% of all injury deaths.  Every day, 138 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI.  Those who survive a TBI can face effects lasting a few days to disabilities which may last the rest of their lives.  Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression).  These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities.