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Neurofeedback News and Research November 2019

Neurofeedback shown to be effective for Major Depressive Disorder

Neurofeedback for Major Depressive DisorderA recent study has shown neurofeedback to be effective in changing the “brain signature” associated with depression and thus alleviating certain recurring thought patterns that are known to trigger a relapse of the disease.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a disorder caused by a set of social, psychological and biological factors, characterized by the continuous loss of interest or pleasure in daily life and the prevalence of negative feelings such as deep sadness, guilt and low self-esteem. MDD effects a large swath of the population of the industrialized world. In the US, the lifetime prevalence of MDD is around 20%- a whopping 1 in 5 people will be affected by this disease sometime in their lives.

Neurofeedback shows great promise as non-invasive, side-effect free treatment for depression. Now it is being investigated as a possible preventative measure as well.

Recently, a group of scientists performed a study in which paricipants were able to modify the “brain signature” for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) as measured by fMRI. Patients who had recovered from the symptoms of depression were found to still have this fMRI brain signature. Researchers posited that by training this area of the brain with neurofeedback the chances of remission of the disease could be lessened.

“The brain signature of excessive self-blame was discovered in patients with Major Depressive Disorder whose symptoms had remitted, suggesting it could precede the symptoms of depression, making people more vulnerable to the disorder,” -the study’s first author, Dr. Roland Zahn at King’s College London.

Neurofeedback News and Research September 2019

Prosthetic Leg with Neurofeedback Makes Walking Easier, Treats Phantom Pain

neurofeedback and cyberneticsFollowing the trend in which humans are increasingly becoming cybernetic organisms, where man and machine are integrated into a functional whole. Cybernetics has some of the most inspiring applications for people missing arms or legs. We are at the edge of a whole new era in this technology, where artificial limbs will become integrated more completely into the body.

A leader in this field of development, SensArs, a Swiss firm, is behind a recent big advance in the field of cybernetics, by building an interface that can link a prosthesis with residual nerves in the thigh and create a neurofeedback mechanism. They have shown that patients can now communicate directly via their brain to the artificial limb.

Neurofeedback News and Research August 2019

Study: Neurofeedback shown to Reduce Anxiety

anxiety and neurofeedbackAnxiety disorders, including panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder, are the most prevalent mental disorders. Anxiety disorders follow a chronic course; however, there is a natural decrease in prevalence rates with older age. Anxiety disorders are highly comorbid with other anxiety disorders and other mental disorders.

The way Western medicine has treated anxiety in the past has been somewhat problematic- the class of drug most often used is tranquilizers which are a temporary solution at best, and can actually cause anxiety as they wear off. It is also well known that these drugs can also cause dependency, making them controlled substances that come with a no driving or operating heavy machinery warning.

It’s clear we need a new treatment model moving forward if we hope to gain any ground with a disease that affects so many people in the modern world.

Neurofeedback Enhances Performing Arts Ability

neurofeedback for musical performanceNeurofeedback has through many studies been shown to be an effective enhancement to sports performance. There are as many other applications to performance as there are human activities. Recently the application of neurofeedback to the performing arts has been a topic of interest and some promising studies.

Neurofeedback benefits those in the performing arts with improvement in creativity,  reduced performance anxiety, and better focus.  Neurofeedback training teaches your body to relax and be present in the moment, qualities highly valued by performing artists.

Neuroplasticity and Neurofeedback

For many years, neuroscience was a heavily deterministic field. The brain you were born with was thought to be the brain you were stuck with for life. With the emergence of the concept of neuroplasticity, it is now understood that this is not black and white. Brains can grow and transform, adapt to new circumstances, and even rebuild itself after an accident.

Neuroplasticity is defined as the capacity of the brain to develop and change throughout life. The prefix neuro- means nerve cell, or neuron, and -plastic refers to our brain’s capacity to reorganize itself. Neuroplasticity is the idea that the brain is malleable in terms of structure, allowing opportunities for new growth and connections. As structure changes, so does function.

Understanding EEG Brain Mapping

What is an EEG Brain Map?

qEEG to determine psychiatric medicationsNeurofeedback is a process that involves feedback, hence the name.

The feedback comes in real-time, as the patient receives visual and possibly auditory information allowing them to adjust their internal state to optimize their brainwaves and “win” at the game they are playing. Feedback is also attained over longer periods of time, using something called an EEG brain map.

EEG brain mapping is the most easily accessible, cutting edge technology to assess what is happening in your most important organ, your brain.  Historically psychiatry has been a subjective field, with an assessment or diagnosis made by a doctor and based entirely on verbal input from the patient. This process is inexact at best, and can even lead to misdiagnosis and prescription of the wrong medications and treatments.

Neurofeedback News and Research April 2019

Brazilian scientists develop neurofeedback technique capable of modifying brain connections in record time

neurofeedbackScientists have found that under one hour of neurofeedback training promotes stronger connections between the sensory and motor areas of the brain, which is a new record in terms of time. So says a new study conducted at D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), published April 15th in Neuroimage. NeuroImage is a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering research on neuroimaging, including functional neuroimaging and functional human brain mapping.

“We knew that the brain has an amazing ability to adapt itself, but we were not sure that we could observe these changes so quickly. Understanding of how we can impact on brain wiring and functioning is the key to treat neurological disorders”, says Theo Marins, a biomedical scientist from IDOR and the Ph.D. responsible for the study.

The Latest Advances in the Field of Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback, an alternative therapy that involves measuring and then stimulating brain waves until they reach a specific frequency, is a rapidly evolving field. Every month new developments are coming to light, as neurofeedback moves closer to the mainstream. Through research studies and clinical reviews, we are seeing more scientific proof that neurofeedback is effective in treating many different brain- based disorders.

How Does Neurofeedback Work?

qEEG brain scanNeurofeedback starts with a brain map. Using a qEEG, a  neuroimaging technique also known as quantitative electroencephalogram, a neurofeedback specialist compares the frequencies of different areas of a patient’s brain with the known normal ranges. Then a treatment protocol is created designed to raise or lower the aberrant frequencies to within normal ranges.

Treatment is then administered, in the specialist’s office or at home. This involves an electronic interface consisting of a qEEG headband to measure the trained frequencies in real time, and a feedback device, usually a tablet. The patient plays a special type of video game, controlled only by brain activity!

Novel Uses for Neurofeedback Therapy

In this blog, we have detailed many evidence- based uses for neurofeedback, as a beneficial therapy for ADD, ADHD, depression, cognitive impairment, and even Parkinson’s disease. Please see our main blog page for an exhaustive list.

The study of neurofeedback as a groundbreaking therapy is in it’s infancy. The potential applications for this life transforming therapy are just starting to be explored- we are just beginning to ascertain potential uses for neurofeedback in the modern era.

Following are some accounts of the novel uses for neurofeedback currently documented.

Brainwave Monitored Assisted Meditation

Highlighted region shows the anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain shown to be activated during meditation. Photo credit: Geoff B Hall

Meditation is becoming more popular in the contemporary world, as it moves into the world of medicine and even the corporate environment. As it comes more into the popular eye, it’s important for it’s credibility here in the West to merge this ancient wisdom with more modern approaches to “being at one”.

A great example of this is neurofeedback assisted meditation. This is the process of using a neurofeedback headband and accompanying monitor (a smart phone or a tablet) to decode our brainwaves while meditating, and make small adjustments to improve our focus and attention.

Some of the same technology we use in our office can be used for this, bringing the seemingly esoteric modality of mediation into the realm of science and evidence-based psychology.

Neurofeedback News- The Headlines from July 2017

Neurofeedback has been in the news ever increasingly, with new applications for this ground- breaking therapy being discovered everyday. Here is our latest sum-up of the recent news.

Neurofeedback is Now Available in the Comfort of your own Home

Neurofeedback for your whole familyHave you thought about neurofeedback but couldn’t do it either because of time or because you couldn’t find a provider in your neighborhood?

How would you like to have access to the exact same gear as the Red Bull professional athletes and other professional and collegiate sports teams? We are extremely honored to be chosen as the only clinical site in the world to have access to this equipment! Now you and your loved ones can have access to cutting edge technology with the convenience of training at home or on the road as thousands of athletes are now doing?

At Synergy Neurofeedback in Fort Collins, Colorado, we have new equipment that makes at-home brain training a breeze. Call us at 1-970-221-1106 for more information, or visit our website page: https://synergyneurofeedback.com/neurofeedback-training-at-home/