Neurofeedback (Electroencephalographic/EEG Biofeedback)
Biofeedback techniques have long been used as a clinically effective method for increasing awareness and improving levels of physiological functioning. EEG biofeedback, more commonly referred to as neurofeedback, uses computerized electronic measurement devices placed in the surface of the head and earlobes to monitor brainwave activity. At Behavioral Associates we treat a wide variety of disorders in both children and adults using neurofeedback, a completely non-invasive treatment.
Neurofeedback has recently been receiving attention for the the treatment of ADD/ADHD because it has provided patients a way of controlling their symptoms without taking stimulant medications. Once the patient is hooked up to the EEG monitor, the computer “feeds back” important information relevant to ADD/ADHD. Through guided techniques and reinforcement, the patient is taught to significantly increase beta brainwaves which are associated with stronger focus and enhanced mental performance. Over time dysregulated brain wave patterns are replaced with healthier ones and the patient learns to create “better” brainwaves automatically, a skill which is quickly transferred to every day life.
Following neurofeedback training, patients have reported numerous positive changes such as better attention span and concentration, increased impulse conrtol, mood stability, improved sleep and decreased anxiety and hyperactivity. Neurofeedback has physiological effects that are similar to those created by medication, but has no side effects, is painless and provides long lasting results.
Individual training sessions typically last about 45 minutes. Each consists of gathering baseline data and configuring that day’s training threshold accordingly. Training frequency varies according to the complexity of the problems being treated, ranging from bi-weekly to several times a week.
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback, also called neurotherapy, neurobiofeedback or EEG biofeedback is a therapy technique that teaches people to control brainwaves. This is accomplished by providing the user with real-time information on their brainwave activity, as measured by electrodes on the scalp, typically in the form of video, sound or vibration. Years of clinical research have shown that certain patterns of abnormal brainwaves correlate with certain behaviors. This is especially prevalent in problems associated with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), anxiety, depression, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) For a more detailed description of the way in which brainwave patterns can be associated with these disorders please click here.
Dysfunctional electrical activity in the brain is detected by performing a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG) brain map. This allows the provider to identify abnormal brainwave patterns and plan a suitable intervention. Armed with a current brain map, the clinician can help the client to resolve their clinical issues by training their brain to be more efficient.
What disorders can neurofeedback help with?
We have had success treating attention-deficit disorders (ADD/ADHD), anxiety issues, mood problems, autism, obsessive compulsive disorder, stroke patients, post traumatic stress disorder, addictions, obesity, memory problems, learning and behavioral problems, post concussive syndrome, traumatic brain injury and epilepsy.
For example, EEG operant conditioning has been successfully applied to patients with mild traumatic brain injury. Reports of such case studies have been presented at conferences of the National Head Injury Society as early as 1987. Many clinicians are also reporting case studies in which the symptoms of depression have been alleviated through neurofeedback training (calming down the right front brain, and activating the left frontal lobe). There are countless effective applications of neurofeedback.
Why would I choose neurofeedback to treat ADD/ADHD when it could be treated with medication?
There are other ways to manage your child’s inappropriate or maladaptive behaviors than through medication. Neurofeedback therapy is a safe, non-invasive, alternative option for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents. In November 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics approved biofeedback and neurofeedback as a Level 1 or “best support” treatment option for children suffering from ADHD.
While anxious, stressed people have too little alpha and theta waves, children with ADHD often have increased amounts of these slower/daydreaming waves and an inability to access the faster beta waves needed for concentration. Training to decrease slow activity and increase fast activity has been used successfully for over 25 years to ameliorate ADHD as well as epilepsy.
It is estimated that two million children in the United States are struggling with the symptoms of ADHD. For parents or caregivers looking for an effective, non-drug treatment of ADHD, neurofeedback is worth serious consideration.
What is qEEG brain mapping?
Quantitative Electroencephalography (qEEG or Quantitative EEG), often referred to as qEEG brain mapping, is an assessment tool used to measure the brain’s electrical activity (brainwaves) in the cerebral cortex. These brainwaves are accessed through digital receiver know as a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) and are compared to other individuals who do not report any health complaints.
The qEEG brain map is then used to evaluate statistical abnormalities in your brain as they relate to common mental health disorders in the general population. Research has found the QEEG brain mapping to have reliability that is equal or superior to routinely used clinical tests such as mammograms, cervical screenings, blood tests, MRI, and CAT scans.
What is 19 Channel Neurofeedback?
Unlike traditional simple one or two electrode neurofeedback training protocols, where you concentrate on lowering the power in one specific region of the brain, 19-channel neurofeedback (also know as Z-score neurofeedback or “full cap” neurofeedback) can train up to 5700 variables at one time.
19-channel neurofeedback trains your brain using z-scores. This can be thought of as “real time” training where your brain is getting trained to be within normal limits as defined by a normative database in real time. 19-channel neurofeedback can train EEG coherence, phase delay, amplitude and power asymmetry, phase reset, phase lock and phase shift duration.
What are Z-Scores and Normative Databases?
A Z-Score is a measure of the distance a particular score falls from the mean (average) of the population. Z-Scores are statistics that help us decipher whether or not an individuals brain performance is optimal. A Normative Database is a collection of data from hundreds of individuals high functioning individuals matched by same the sex and age to the individual being treated. This comparison informs the clinician whether current brain functioning is equal to the norm, below the norm or above the norm of what is expected from a “normal” working brain.
What is LoRETA Neurofeedback?
LoRETA (Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography) neurofeedback, which is also available at Behavioral Associates, uses a mathematical process called the “inverse solution” to suggest what is happening in deep structures beneath the cortex. Pioneered by Dr. Robert Thatcher’s and his normative database (appliedneuroscience.com), LoRETA provides a 3-Dimensional source correlation of Brodman areas to a reference Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This allows neurofeedback to train deep brain areas such as the Cingulate Gyrus.
Clinical experience and research show that Z score and LORETA Neurofeedback allow for symptom resolution to be attained in fewer sessions than traditional Neurofeedback employing only surface amplitude training.
Contact us or call our office at (212) 860-8500 to learn if neurofeedback is the right treatment for you.