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PTSD Tag

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.

Neurofeedback News and Research December 2018

Can Neurofeedback Help to Cure a Broken Heart?

neurofeedback and The short answer is that no research has been done! But there is some anecdotal evidence to support the possibility.

Anthropologist Helen Fisher, an expert on romantic love, and her research team took MRIs of people in love — and people who had just been dumped. They found that certain parts of the brain were overactive during these two states. She discusses it in her TED talk entitled The Brain in Love.

Recently, the professional rapper Dessa came across Dr. Fisher’s research and decided to experiment with neurofeedback in an effort to get over a past relationship.

Neurofeedback News and Research May 2018

Cal State San Bernardino publishes a study on Neurofeedback and PTSD with very positive results

One in five veterans returning from active combat has symptoms of PTSD. PTSD symptoms can include agitation, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashbacks, severe anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It is notoriously hard to treat- the most promising therapy up until now in the world of conventional medicine has been CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

In this recently published study, veterans with PTSD experienced significant improvements in well-being. Initially 80 percent of the veterans were experiencing severe to moderate levels of distress. Following neurofeedback treatment, 78 percent of them reported positive levels of well-being.

“Overall the findings support artifact-corrected neurofeedback as a clinically-effective intervention that helps improve some of the impairments associated with PTSD and that specific improvements in auditory attention and processing speed can contribute to greater well-being.” -Cal State San Bernadino

Read more

Time course of clinical change following neurofeedback

A recent study, by combining data from two ongoing neurofeedback studies, has found that the symptoms treated with neurofeedback during these studies continue to improve for weeks after the treatment. Most neurofeedback studies stop measuring the therapeutic response after the treatment is over, which could result in skewed results, showing less therapeutic effect.

neurofeedback cranium outline with colored areas of brain

Neurofeedback- An Evidence-Based Scientific Approach to Mental Health

neurofeedback cranium outline with colored areas of brainNeurofeedback is a non-invasive, evidence- based psychotherapy that allows patients to train their own brains to improve various conditions. Evidence- based psychotherapy or medicine is defined by the NIH (National Institute of Health) as follows:

“Evidence based medicine (EBM) is the conscientious, explicit, judicious and reasonable use of modern, best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. EBM integrates clinical experience and patient values with the best available research information.” (1)

Neurofeedback uses qEEG technology (brain mapping) to measure a patient’s brain waves in different areas of the brain, and then engages them in dynamic brain training to normalize these levels. As levels of brainwaves (alpha, beta, delta, etc) become balanced, improvements in function are noted in corresponding areas of the brain or body .

Ongoing research with neurofeedback on individual neurological disorders such as ADD or traumatic brain injury (TBI) has helped specialists identify with great accuracy patterns of brain dysfunction, and researchers have used this much larger pool of data to develop specific neurofeedback protocols to treat each individual neurological condition.

During a neurofeedback session, patients play simple games that allow them to track changes in their own brain wave patterns through visual feedback. Using this newly learned skill, neurofeedback patients can learn to adjust brain wave patterns to optimal levels.

It is a skill the patient learns intuitively through trial and error, using the visual feedback as a guide. As patients improve their ability to self- regulate,  neurological disorders can be corrected or at least greatly improved.

Treating PTSD with Neurofeedback

PTSD soldier with dogPTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event, something outside the normal range of human experience. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as hyperarounsal, difficulty sleeping and mood swings.

The following statistics are based on the U.S. population (from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/):

  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
What is Neurofeedback?

Conditions Commonly Treated with Neurofeedback

What is Neurofeedback?

What is Neurofeedback?Neurofeedback is a type of brain training or biofeedback that uses  real-time displays of brain activity—most commonly electroencephalography (EEG)- to train a client to regulate their own brain waves. Neurofeedback is approaching the mainstream- this article in the Washington Post about neurofeedback extols it’s virtues as an adjunct treatment for a wide variety of brain disorders, including PTSD, pain and anxiety.

A neurofeedback session is a bit like playing a video game with your brain. EEG (electoencephlograph) Sensors are placed on the scalp to measure electrical activity, with measurements displayed using video displays or sound. Clients can learn over time and repeated sessions to self- adjust brainwaves back into the normal range, resulting in a reduction of emotional or neurological symptoms.

For those who find it difficult to come into the office regularly for sessions, neurofeedback is also available as a home care therapy. Click here for more information on neurofeedback training at home.

What is Neurofeedback Used For?