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August 2016 – Synergy Neurofeedback
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August 2016

epigentics and neurofeedback

Neurofeedback and the Science of Epigenetics

epigentics and neurofeedbackGenetics as a science is somewhat new on the scene. Though there were contributions from Pythagoras, Hippocrates, and Aristotle,  modern genetics is said to have begun with the work of the Augustinian friar Gregor Johann Mendel. His work on pea plants, published in 1866, established the theory of Mendelian inheritance.

Since the acceptance of modern genetics theory around 1925, it was established that directly inherited genetic traits play a major role in defining who we are.

Epigenetics and Inherited Behavior

The new science of epigenetics is changing how we think about inherited traits. Epigenetics explains changes in gene function that are not mirrored by underlying changes in DNA sequence. It is related to the idea of gene expression- that organisms with the same DNA can manifest different traits, based on the influences of unique external and internal environments.

Epigenetics can be defined as the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Epigentic changes are heritable, and this is why our proclivities for certain behaviors shared by our parents are more than just learned. By inheriting genes with certain sequences “hidden” due to methylation, we can become pre-disposed to certain behaviors, levels of stress hormones or neurotransmitters, dietary choices, and even certain diseases.

TBI Traumatic Brain Injury

Neurofeedback for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

TBI Traumatic Brain InjuryTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI), commonly referred to as a head injury, is a brain dysfunction caused by an outside force, usually a violent blow to the head.

Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury).  Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.  

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.

Treating Anxiety and Panic Disorders with Neurofeedback

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garyjwood/

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garyjwood/

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

With our common cultural norms of overworking, under exercising and poor diet, we have suffered the consequences in the form of stress and stress related disorders. You could say we have a generalized anxiety disorder in the world today.

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States, and a major public health problem in the world. According to large population-based surveys, up to 33.7% of the population are affected by an anxiety disorder during their lifetime. Substantial underrecognition and undertreatment of these disorders have been demonstrated.1

The general heading of anxiety includes panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder.

One study estimated the annual cost of anxiety disorders in the United States to be approximately $42.3 billion in the 1990s, a majority of which was due to non-psychiatric medical treatment costs. This estimate focused on short-term effects and did not include the effect of outcomes such as the increased risk of other disorders.2