What is BrainCore Neurofeedback?
Mar 01, 2016 02:58PM
● By Dr. William Lichter
BrainCore Neurofeedback is also known as EEG Biofeedback. It is a guided exercise for the brain. It is actually a learning modality designed to retrain dysregulated brainwave patterns.
The theory of neurofeedback is based on a simple concept: When you have information on what your brainwaves are doing, your brain can use that information to change how it works.
The goal of all neurofeedback is to transform an unhealthy, dysregulated brainwave imbalance into a normal, healthy, organized pattern. By doing this, the brain becomes more stable and is able to operate optimally and efficiently. It is completely noninvasive and is considered by the Food and Drug Administration to be completely safe.
Published research has demonstrated neurofeedback’s efficacy in managing many neurological conditions such as ADHD, migraine and tension headache, insomnia, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, post stroke syndrome, anxiety, depression, PTSD and panic attacks as well as other conditions. Some professional and Olympic athletes use neurofeedback to fine-tune their brains for peak performance.
Depending upon your mental state, your brain produces four distinct brainwaves: Beta are produced when you are alert and focused; Alpha are produced when you close your eyes and relax; Theta are produced briefly when you start to fall asleep; and Delta occur when you are sleeping.
All neurofeedback begins with a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG) evaluation. The QEEG is a test designed to objectively evaluate a person’s brainwave patterns. The brainwave data recorded with the QEEG is statistically compared to a sophisticated and large normative database and a report is generated. This assessment procedure allows the doctor to determine whether a patient’s brainwave patterns are different from normal.
The QEEG provides the doctor with the neurofeedback training protocols that will be used during the training sessions. These protocols are designed to retrain the brainwave patterns toward normal. As the brainwave patterns normalize, the brain is able to operate more optimally and efficiently.
Neurofeedback Training Sessions
Individuals are hooked up to a computer using wires and sensors and the computer records their brainwave activity. These sensors are noninvasive as no electrical current is put into the brain. The sensors simply record the brainwaves coming from the brain. Information about these brainwaves is displayed on the doctor’s monitor. The software automatically detects when the brainwaves are properly ordered and it feeds that information back to the patient. This feedback appears in the form of a game, movie or sound, which signals the patient that the brainwaves are becoming more ordered. For example, the patient could be watching a puzzle of a picture that is being filled in piece by piece. As long as the patient’s brainwaves are moving in an orderly direction, the puzzle pieces are filled in and the patient hears a tone. If the brainwave patterns move away from an orderly configuration, then the puzzle does not get filled in and no tone is produced. The patient is actually controlling the completion of the puzzle with their brain and the brain is learning how to regulate itself.
With our newest technology, the patient performs the training while watching a movie. In this case the patient may watch a DVD movie or even a program on Netflix that is being controlled by their ability to regulate their brainwaves. The movie will get brighter as the brainwaves normalize and darker when they become dysregulated. The brain’s natural desire to watch the movie clearly will drive those neurological circuits that normalize the brainwaves and allow the picture to be visualized. The more those circuits are driven and used, the more neuroplastic changes take hold. The patient learns how to use those new circuits during the demands of everyday life.
For the past 40 years, neurofeedback has been studied in research labs at prominent universities throughout the world. A typical session lasts about 30 minutes and the typical patient usually requires about 25 sessions, however some cases may require more. The changes are permanent. Once the patient’s brain learns how and when to produce a certain brainwave, that ability becomes embedded in a permanent circuit within the brain. The formation of this new circuitry is referred to as neuroplasticity and is the theoretical basis for how we learn.
Dr. Frank H. Duffy, a professor and pediatric neurologist at Harvard Medical School, stated, “Neurofeedback should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas. In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used.”
BrainCore of Tampa Bay, at the office of Dr. William Lichter, became the first and only BrainCore certified neurofeedback center in Tampa in 2013. For more information, call 813-885-6001 and visit BrainCoreTherapy.com. See ad page 38.