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What is neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is direct training of the brain, which then learns to function with greater control and stability. We observe the brain in action from moment to moment. We show that information back to the person. And we reward the brain for changing its own activity to more appropriate patterns.


This is a gradual learning process. It applies to any aspect of brain function that we can measure. Neurofeedback is also called EEG biofeedback, because it is based on electrical brain activity, the electroencephalogram, or EEG.
Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. It is simply biofeedback applied to the brain directly. Self-regulation is a necessary part of good brain function. Self-regulation training allows the central nervous system to function better.


What is neurofeedback good for?
Neurofeedback addresses problems of brain disregulation. They include the anxiety- depression spectrum, attention deficits, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders, pain,  headaches and migraines, PMS, and emotional disturbances. It is also useful for organic brain conditions such as seizures, the autism spectrum, and cerebral palsy.

Can neurofeedback cure these conditions?
In the case of organic brain disorders, it can only be a matter of getting the brain to function better rather than of curing the condition. When it comes to problems of disregulation, we would say that there is not a disease to be cured. Where disregulation is the problem, self-regulation may very well be the remedy. But again the word cure would not apply.

So the symptoms disappear?
Indeed, with neurofeedback the symptoms may be entirely eliminated. A person with Attention Deficit Disorder may be able to train the brain to pay attention, so that condition will no longer be diagnosable. A person with migraines may no longer have them. (However, that person may still have a greater “vulnerability” to migraines than the average person on the street.) A person with epilepsy may no longer have seizures. (Although that person still retains a vulnerability to seizures.) A child with severe rages and temper tantrums may not have them again.

How is this done?
We apply electrodes to the scalp to record brainwave activity. We process the signal by computer, and we extract information about certain key brainwave frequencies. We show the ebb and flow of this activity back to the person, who attempts to change the activity level. Some frequencies we wish to promote. Others we wish to diminish. We present this information to the person in the form of a video game. The person is effectively playing the video game with his or her brain. Eventually the brainwave activity is “shaped” toward more desirable, more regulated performance. The frequencies we target, and the specific locations on the scalp where we record the brain, are specific to the conditions we are trying to address, and specific to the individual.

What conditions can be helped?
In our work, we are especially concerned with the more “intractable” brain-based problems of childhood whose needs are not currently being met. This includes first of all seizures. It includes the severely disruptive behavior disorders, such as conduct disorder and bipolar disorder. It includes the autistic spectrum and pervasive developmental delay. It includes cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury and birth trauma. Many children have sleep problems that can be helped: bedwetting, nightmares and night terrors, sleep walking, and teeth grinding. We can also be helpful with many of the problems of adolescence: drug-taking, suicidal behavior, anxiety, and depression. We can help to maintain good brain function as people get older. The good news is that almost any brain, regardless of its level of function, can be trained to function better.

What happens if neurofeedback clients are taking medications?
With successful neurofeedback training, medications targeting brain function may no longer be needed, or they may be needed at lower dosages, as the brain takes over the role of regulating itself. It is important for clients to communicate with their prescribing physician regarding neurofeedback and medications.

If neurofeedback deals with so many conditions, why have I not heard of it before?
Neurofeedback involves “operant conditioning” of the EEG. Generally, the technique is not yet taught in most medical or psychology graduate school courses. Hence we need to attract a greater variety of professionals to this field.

Videos

  "What is Neurofeedback" video by EEG Info

   "Faces of Neurofeedback" video by EEG Info

   "Neurofeedback - Addictions" video by EEG Info

   "Neurofeedback - ADD/ADHD" video by EEG Info

   "Neurofeedback - Peak Performance" video by EEG Info

Links

  www.isnr.org

 www.addcentre.com

 www.eegdirectory.com

 

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