Heart Matters Upgrades Neurofeedback System:
Following this paragraph is a description of what neurofeedback is, but we are so excited about our latest investment in assessment and training modules for LORETA Z Score neurofeedback. This software allows us to nearly double the locations for training to 40 brain sites, but adds locations within the brain never before trainable with neurofeedback. Below is a headshot of an actual patient using the new swLORETA viewer showing on the left side the dysregulation (orange) in Absolute Power and on the right Coherence (clarity of signals between brain structures). One can see the cerebellum clearly lit up in the back lower portion of the middle left side of the picture, and in the projections going to the same areas in the right side of this slide below. This is historically significant because these regions of the brain were never observable or trainable before using EEG.
If you want to watch a YouTube video on the science behind swLORETA by Dr. Robert Thatcher creator of our Neuroguide Neuronavigator software click here.
What is Neurofeedback?
In the early 1960s it was discovered that individuals could be trained with a reward system (operant conditioning) to optimize the frequencies in the brain. This process was aligned with biofeedback, which demonstrated an individual’s capability of changing heart rate variability and blood pressure. They proved an individual could learn to self-regulate brain waves, and by doing so, could return the brain to healthy functioning. Initially, this was done by training a specific frequency range called sensory motor rhythm (SMR- 12-15 Hz). It was learned from previous experiments by Dr. Barry Sterman that reinforcing this frequency band stabilized the brain with amazing results. Dr. Joel Lubar applied these principles clinically and was able to teach children to self-regulate seizure disorders, to self-correct attention issues (ADHD), and release those enslaved by depression. All without the need of medication.
With the advent of personal computers, digitization of electroencephalograms (EEG), and the development of other non-invasive brain scans (MRI. PETscan, SPECTscan), much was learned about the brain in the 1990s. Studies proved that not only frequencies were important, but location of dysregulation significantly contributed to mental and emotion problems. fMRI research showed by training specific locations, disorders like depression, bipolar, and anxiety could be corrected. The problem with fMRI neurofeedback is expense. However, in the early 90s a method was developed called Low Resonance Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA). This solution could use electrical data (EEG) acquired from 19 channel surface electrodes to triangulate specific locations in the brain and determine accurately it’s electrical activity. By comparing the EEG data with a normative database, abnormal patterns could be determined and treated cheaply and effectively. This type of neurofeedback is called QEEG based neurofeedback or LORETA Z Score neurofeedback. This process has created amazing results and opened the door to helping other problems like stroke and TBI victims.
What does Neurofeedback Do?
Neurofeedback teaches the brain to self-regulate. Regulation means that a brain’s patterns are within a normal range that is optimal for the brain and central nervous system. Dysregulation of brain patterns, which can be caused by any number of factors like chronic stress, unresolved trauma, drugs, or metabolic issues can creates an imbalance in the electrical activity of the brain and central nervous system. Neurofeedback can teach the brain to regulate itself, usually without the need for medication.
By using a reward system, the brain is rewarded for producing the desirable healthy patterns. As this normalization process occurs, undesirable symptoms begin to dissipate and the brain begin to operate with a new effectiveness and efficiency. .
The most exciting part of neurofeedback is that the process is entirely subconscious. You do not have to try to make the specific brainwave pattern or try to get the reward. Your brain will simply learn to function better all and TBI victims
What does Neurofeedback Do?
Neurofeedback at Heart Matters is done using a 19 channel EEG cap or individual electrodes, which are placed on the head. Electrodes can sound ominous, but no electricity flows from the cap to the brain. The cap and electrodes simply pick up the electrical signals the brain produces (EEG). These signals flow into a battery operated Deymed Truscan amplifier, which amplifies and digitizes the signal and passes it through a fiber optic cable into the computer. This prevents any possibility of electricity passing back to the patient. Once in the computer, the software converts the signal into raw EEG, compares the EEG to the ANI normative database, and send the information into the Neuroguide neurofeedback training module that contains the normative protocol and integration with the media format that is used for training. As the trainee watches or listens to the media, they must be normalizing their brain according to the programmed protocol in order to see or hear the media clearly. As a result the brain begins to change and normalization begins to occur. As the brain normalizes, it recognizes the new efficiency, which it sees as desirable. Once the new patterns are learned, the brain continue this process itself. There are longitudinal studies performed 10 to 20 years later that show normalization from disorders continued after neurofeedback treatment.
On average Neurofeedback treatment period lasts from 20-30 sessions for a single symptom and around 30-60 sessions for more chronic problems.
Treatment sessions lasting approximately 1 hour are conducted twice a week for optimal results.
How Can Neurofeedback Help?
Neurofeedback can help with simple things like cognitive issues, sleeping, wakefulness, calming down and … as well as in managing migraines, stress and anxiety, depression, bipolar, sensory integration issues, ADD/ADHD.
More recently, Neurofeedback is proving to help people with autism, Asperger’s, chronic pain, addictions, stroke, concussions, and traumatic brain injury (TBI) .
Neurofeedback can also help people suffering from dementia, and PTSD. In fact, this has become the chief treatment for war veterans who suffer from concussive problems or PTSD by the US military in Fort Campbell, KY. Again, Dr. Lubar created protocols that are used to heal our soldiers.
Here is an example of what we see in a QEEG demonstrating the progress that is made with neurofeedback training. The top row shows increased activity in the frontal and midline region (red). The second row shows the dysregulation normalized.
Those wishing to look deeper at the scientific research behind LORETA Z Score Neurofeedback click here.