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neurofeedback Tag

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.

Neurofeedback News and Research March 2019

As the word gradually gets out about this amazing therapy, neurofeedback is increasingly the subject of new and larger scientific studies. We can only hope this powerful therapy will become more widely adopted by conventional medicine, allowing more patients to make improvements in a wide variety of neurological as well as mental health disorders.

This month there are two important new developments- a study on performance enhancement, and one that deals with emotional processing.

Neurofeedback Reduces Stress, Enhances Performance under Difficult Conditions

neurofeedback and performanceWhen the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science publishes a study, the world sits up and takes notice.

The current SEAS faculty include 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering and one Nobel Laureate in a faculty size of 173. In all, the faculty and alumni of Columbia Engineering have won 10 Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics.

This recent study on the effects of neurofeedback was entitled “Regulation of arousal via online neurofeedback improves human performance in a demanding sensory-motor task”. The study was based on the idea that humans make better decisions and perform better at demanding sensory motor tasks when they have control over the arousal state of their sympathetic nervous system.

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!

Neurofeedback Research from November 2018

Neurofeedback versus psychostimulants in the treatment of children and adolescents with ADHD

Neurofeedback for ADD and ADHDA recent systematic review that included eight randomized controlled trials that compared neurofeedback treatment to treatment with medications. Outcome measures included behavioral assessments by parents and teachers, self-reports, neurocognitive measures, and EEG measurements. The results were favorable, showing improvement in objective and subjective measures of ADHD. Neurofeedback was also able to decrease medication dosages.