Neurofeedback

What is it?
Neurofeedback is the process of utilizing the body's ability to change. The "NEURO" portion of the term, indicates the central nervous system developing improved behavior, through changing connections, in the vast networking brain. This is an exciting direction, so that conditions traditionally considered as fixed, may now be modifiable. This is not magic but consists of persistent application of learning principles, now with the advantage of monitoring brain processes dynamically online with advanced neurofeedback.

NEUROTHERAPY is the applied process of neurofeedback to resolve problem areas, sometimes amenable to training. The basic concept is that the brain can be trained to overcome problems with a variety of manifestations. Some of these are in the problem areas of memory, attention, emotions, sleep, fear/anger, depression and sometimes seizure reduction. There are no guarantees of success, rather there is a growing knowledge base that these technologies work. However, the more serious the difficulty, there is a reasonable expectation and relationship that it may take a longer time to effect learning. On the side of adverse effects, there are almost no known adverse side effects, primarily due to the training being under voluntary control.

In both Neurofeedback and Neurotherapy, The learning process applies. It is usually below the level of consciousnessand and the knowledge of change is gradual. There is no magic. The results are dependent on consistency and practice. In fact, the effects are often seen by others first. The other profound potential benefit is that these training protocols are cumulative and may augment medication regimens. In addition, the effects are often long term, even permanent.

The Technology
Neurofeedback is the more technical term while Neurotherapy has a broader connotation. Both are related to the EEG, to obtain the most information about the brain, a brainmap is obtained. This is a statistical Quantitative EEG (QEEG). This points the way to go in retraining the brain. There are a number of statistical analyses, which can further narrow the direction of effort, and in a sense a roadmap leading to optimal brainwave training. Peak Performance Processing refers directly to the desired goal of the brain learning to function optimally, to it's best ability. Some of the statistical analytical programs are: NeuroRep, LORETA, NeuroGuide with the Discriminant Brain Analysis (for TBI). Each of these have their unique presentation of the statistical bases for ultimate interpretation, leading to specific training hypotheses and protocols. The training protocols range from highly technical displays to graphic games. The goal is always to enhance learning and resolution of problem areas. Review the RESOURCES link for more information.

There are exciting changes in the technology of imaging the brain. There is the new PET scanning. There are also the SPECT and fMRI (functional MRI). However these are either dependent on injected radio-isotopes or expensive linear accelerators. These newer imaging technologies are also less dynamic than the EEG as a Quantitative (QEEG) fast dynamic technology, done in-office and relatively inexpensively. There is a time lag of fractions of a second for brainwave dynamics to be observed, on an off the shelf fast computer system. The Fast Fourier Transform is the basis for the QEEG, allowing almost instantaneous visualization for effective training to occur, of frequency/time/intensity spectral analyses. Learning theorists agree that for optimal learning to occur, the time lag needs to be short between stimulus and response.

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