Epilespy

Epilepsy is best described as a neurological disturbance, manifesting in seizures. This can be a single seizure as well as seizures that occur repeatedly and unprovoked. These seizures vary in types and severity, depending on which area of the brain is affected.

 

One of the ways neurologists diagnose epilepsy is by observing a misfiring of brain cells. This misfiring occurs during and outside of epileptic seizures.

Sometimes epileptic seizures are limited to childhood, in other cases epilepsy can remain a lifelong condition. The cause of epilepsy can’t always be determined, but it is believed that epileptic seizures result from brain damage and abnormal brain activity. There seems to be a relationship between factors such as brain trauma, cancer, strokes, and drug/alcohol abuse, and the presence of epilepsy. 

Neurofeedback for Epilepsy

Can Neurofeedback Help With Epilepsy ?

Epilepsy was one of the very first therapeutic applications of Neurofeedback in 1972, when Barry Sterman eliminated seizures in a 23 year-old female epileptic, who then came off medication and got a driving licence. In this paper, Barry Sterman describes how he accidentally discovered how neurofeedback-trained cats were less susceptible to seizures when exposed to rocket fuel, and went on to replicate this remarkable discovery in monkeys then humans. He also summarises 18 separate peer-reviewed journal studies on Neurofeedback for epilepsy over a 25 year period, covering 174 patients and an average success rate of 66%.

With Neurofeedback, specific symptoms of epilepsy can be targeted; however, every individual is different as to what extent the brain can recover or compensate abnormalities. Since abnormal brain activity, also know as instabilities, are seen as the main cause of epilepsy, the most important goal during Neurofeedback training is stabilising the brain. In other words, ‘to train the brain to control it’s abnormal activity’. Neurofeedback is a treatment option applicable to all types of seizures and helpful in the case of brain damage and brain abnormalities. Other training options can be physical calming, resulting in improved balance and coordination, or enhancing emotional control, which can reduce anxiety. As the research shows, Neurofeedback can be very effective in reducing or eliminating epileptic seizures. 

The first step in the process is to have a qEEG assessment which details the specific areas of the brain where training can be most effective. When training commences, the ideal brain wave activity is positively reinforced.

 

Specifically, training focuses on simultaneously inhibiting slow waves (those that are associated with seizures) while reinforcing mid-wave brain frequencies (those that are associated with preventing seizures). The aim is to train the brain so that it normalises the brain wave activity.

Maggie’s Story

 How Neurofeedback Changed Her Life

Read More about Maggie's Story here

Contact Us at the Brain Training Centre today to discuss how we can help you.

EVIDENCE-BASED RESEARCH FOR THE EFFECTIVENESS OF NEUROTHERAPY FOR EPILEPSY

Andrews, D. J., & Schonfeld, W. H. (1992). Predictive factors for controlling seizures using a behavioral approach. Seizure, 1(2), 111-116.

 

Ayers, M. E. (1988). Long-term clinical treatment follow-up of EEG neurofeedback for epilepsy. Epilepsy Support Program Newsletter, 3(2), 8-9.

 

Ayers, M. E. (1995). Long-term follow-up of EEG neurofeedback with absence seizures. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 20(3), 309-310.

 

Birbaumer, N., Elbert, T., Rockstroh, B., Daum, I., Wolf, P., & Canavan, A. (1991). Clinical psychological treatment of epileptic seizures: A controlled study. Chapter in A. Ehlers et al. (Eds.), Perspectives and Promises of Clinical Psychology. New York: Plenum Press.

 

Cott, A., Pavloski, R. P., & Black, A. H. (1979). Reducing epileptic seizures through operant conditioning of central nervous system activity: Procedural variables. Science, 203, 73-75.

 

Daum, I., Rockstroh, B., Birbaumer, N., Elbert, T., Canavan, A., Lutzenberger, W. (1993). Behavioral treatment of slow cortical potentials in intractable epilepsy: Neuropsychological predictors of outcome. Journal of Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 56 94-97.

 

Elbert, T., Rockstroh, B., Canavan, A., Birbaumer, N., Lutzenberger, W., von Bulow, I., & Linden, A. (1990). Self-regulation of slow cortical potentials and its role in epileptogenesis. Chapter in J. Carlson & R. Seifert (Eds.), Biobehavioral Self-Regulation and Health. New York: Plenum Press.

 

Elbertsen, B., & Klove, H. (1976). Clinical application of biofeedback training in epilepsy. Scandinavian Journal of Behavior Therapy, 5, 133-144.

 

Engel, J., Troupin, A. S., Crandall, P. H., Sterman, M. B., & Wasterlain, C. G. (1982). Recent developments in the diagnosis and therapy of epilepsy. Annals of Internal Medicine, 97, 584-598.

 

Finley, W. W. (1976). Effects of sham-feedback following successful SMR training in an epileptic: A follow-up study. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 1, 227-235.

 

Finley, W. W. (1977). Operant conditioning of the EEG in two patients with epilepsy: Methodologic and clinical considerations. Pavlovian Journal of Biological Science, 12(2), 93-111.

 

Finley, W. W., Smith, H. A., & Etherton, M. D. (1975). Reduction of seizures and normalization of the EEG in a severe epileptic following sensorimotor biofeedback training: Preliminary study. Biological Psychiatry, 2, 189-203.

 

Fischer-Williams, M., & Clifford, B. C. (1988). Biofeedback treatment of patients with seizures: A pilot study of EEG feedback. Electroencephalography & Clinical Neurophysiology, 70(1), 18.

 

Hanson, L. M., Trudeau, D. L., & Grace, D. L. (1996). Neurotherapy and drug therapy in combination for adult ADHD, personality disorder, and seizure disorder: A case report. Journal of Neurotherapy, 2(2), 6-14.

 

Kaplan, B. J. (1975). Biofeedback in epileptics: Equivocal relationship of reinforced EEG frequency to seizure reduction. Epilepsia, 16, 477-485.

 

Kotchoubey, B., Busch, S., Strehl, U., & Birbaumer, N. (1999). Changes in EEG power spectra during biofeedback of slow cortical potentials in epilepsy. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 24(4), 213-233.

 

Kotchoubey, B., Strehl, U., Uhlmann, C., Holzapfel, S., Konig, M., Froscher, W., Blankenhorn, V., & Birbaumer, N. (2001). Modification of slow cortical potentials in patients with refractory epilepsy: A controlled outcome study. Epilepsia, 42(3), 406-416.

 

Kuhlman, W. N. (1978). EEG feedback training of epileptic patients: Clinical and electroencephalographic analysis. Electroencephalography & Clinical Neurophysiology, 45(6), 699-710.

 

Kuhlman, W. N., & Allison, T. (1977). EEG feedback training in the treatment of epilepsy: Some questions and some answers. Pavlovian Journal of Biological Science, 12(2), 112-122.

 

Lantz, D., & Sterman, M. B. (1988). Neuropsychological assessment of subjects with uncontrolled epilepsy: Effects of EEG biofeedback training. Epilepsia, 29(2), 163-171.

 

Lubar, J. F., & Bahler, W. W. (1976). Behavioral management of epileptic seizures following EEG biofeedback training of the sensorimotor rhythm. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 7, 77-104.

 

Lubar, J. F., Shabsin, H. S., Natelson, S. E. et al. (1981). EEG operant conditioning in intractible epileptics. Archives of Neurology, 38, 700-704.

 

Lubar, J. F., & Shouse, M. N. (1977). Use of biofeedback in the treatment of seizure disorders and hyperactivity. Advances in Clinical Child Psychology, 1, 204-251.

 

Monderer, R. S., Harrison, D. M., & Haut, S. R. (2002). Review: Neurofeedback and epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 3, 214-218.

 

Quy, R. J., Hutt, S. J., & Forrest, S. (1979). Sensorimotor rhythm feedback training and epilepsy: Some methodological and conceptual issues. Biological Psychology, 9, 129-149.

 

Rockstroh, B., Elbert, T., Birbaumer, N., Wolf, P., Duchting-Roth, A., Reker, M., Daum, I., Lutzenberger, W., & Dichgans, J. (1993). Cortical self-regulation in patients with epilepsies. Epilepsy Research, 14. 63-72.

 

Rudrud, E., & Striefel, S. (1981). Eight to twelve hertz occipital EEG training with moderate and severely retarded epileptic individuals. Australian Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 7(4), 173-179.

 

Seifert, A. R.,& Lubar, J. F. (1975). Reduction of epileptic seizures through EEG biofeedback training. Biological Psychology, 3, 157-184.
 

Sterman, M. B., & Friar, L. (1972). Suppression of seizures in epileptics following sensorimotor EEG feedback training. Electroencephalography & Clinical Neurophysiology, 33, 89-95.

 

Sterman, M. B. (1973a). Neurophysiological and clinical studies of sensorimotor EEG biofeedback training: Some effects on epilepsy. Seminars in Psychiatry, 5(4), 507-525.

 

Sterman, M. B. (1973b). Neurophysiological and clinical studies of sensorimotor EEG biofeedback training: Some effects on epilepsy. Chapter in L. Birk (Ed.), Biofeedback: Behavioral Medicine. New York: Grune & Stratton, pp. 147-165.

 

Sterman, M. B., Macdonald, L. R., & Stone, R. K. (1974). Biofeedback training of the sensorimotor electroencephalogram rhythm in man: Effects on epilepsy. Epilepsia, 15(3), 395-416.

 

Sterman, M. B. (1977). Sensorimotor EEG operant conditioning: Experimental and clinical effects. Pavlovian Journal of Biological Sciences, 12(2), 63-92.

 

Sterman, M. B., & Macdonald, L. R. (1978). Effects of central cortical EEG feedback training on incidence of poorly controlled seizures. Epilepsia, 19(3), 207-222.

 

Sterman, M. B., & Shouse, M. N. (1980). Quantitative analysis of training, sleep EEG and clinical response to EEG operant conditioning in epileptics. Electroencephalography & Clinical Neurophysiology, 49, 558-576.

 

Sterman, M. B. (1986). Epilepsy and its treatment with EEG feedback therapy. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 8, 21-25.

 

Sterman, M. B. (1997).The challenge of EEG biofeedback in the treatment of epilepsy: A view from the trenches. Biofeedback, 25(1), 6-7, 20-21, 23.

 

Sterman, M. B. (2000). Basic concepts and clinical findings in the treatment of seizure disorders with EEG operant conditioning. Clinical Electroencephalography, 31(1), 45-55.

 

Sterman, M. B., & Lantz, D. (2001). Changes in lateralized memory performance in subjects with epilepsy following neurofeedback training. Journal of Neurotherapy, 5(2), 63-72.

 

Sterman, M. B., & Egner, T. (2006). Foundation and practice of neurofeedback for the treatment of epilepsy. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 31(1), 21-36.

 

Strehl, U., Trevorrow, T., Veit, R., Hinterberger, T., Kotchoubey, B., Erb, M., & Birbaumer, N.(2006). Deactivation of brain areas during self-regulation of slow cortical potentials in seizure patients. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 31(1), 85-94.

 

Swingle, P. G. (1998). Neurofeedback treatment of pseudo seizure disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 44(11), 1-4.
 

Tan, G., Thornby, J., Hammond, D. C., Strehl, U., Canady, B., Arnemann, K., & Kaiser, D. K. (2009). Meta-analysis of EEG biofeedback in treating epilepsy. Clinical EEG & Neuroscience, 40(3), 173-179.

 

Tansey, M. A. (1985). The response of a case of petit mal epilepsy to EEG sensorimotor rhythm biofeedback training. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 3, 81-84.

 

Tozzo, C.A., Elfner, L. F., & May Jr., J. G. (1988). Biofeedback and relaxation training in the control of epileptic seizures. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 6, 185-194.

 

Uhlmann, C., & Froscher, W. (2001). Biofeedback treatment in patients with refractory epilepsy: Changes in depression and control orientation. Seizure, 10(1), 34-38.

 

Upton, A. R., & Longmere, D. (1975). The effects of feedback on focal epileptic discharges in man: A preliminary report. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, 2, 153-167.

 

Walker, J. E. (2008). Power spectral frequency and coherence abnormalities in patients with intractable epilepsy and their usefulness in long-term remediation of seizures using neurofeedback. Clinical EEG & Neuroscience, 39(4), 203-204

 

Walker, J. E.,& Kozlowski, G. P. (2005). Neurofeedback treatment of epilepsy. Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14(1), 163-176

 

Whitsett, S. F., Lubar, J. F., Holder, G. S., et al. (1982). A double-blind investigation of the relationship between seizure activity and the sleep EEG following EEG biofeedback training. Biofeedback & Self-Regulation, 7, 193-209.

 

Wyler, A. R., Robbins, C. A., & Dodrill, C. B. (1979). EEG operant conditioning for control of epilepsy. Epilepsia, 20, 279-286.

 

Zhao, L., Liang, Z., Hu, G., & Wu, W. (2005). Nonlinear analysis in treatment of intractable epilepsy with EEG biofeedback. Conference Proceedings IEEE Engineering, Medical, & Biological Science, 5, 4568-4571.
 

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All articles, documents and publications mentioned by or linked by this site or hosted at this site have been provided by The International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) as a public service. There is absolutely no endorsement by ISNR of any statement made in any of these documents, articles, or publications. Expect to see differences of opinion between authors. That is the essence of free and open scientific study.

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