"The quality of your life is the quality of your brain. Take care of it." - Nora Gedgaudas
Our brains develop through experience. The learning process which moulds the brain is mediated by the electrical connections within and between its various domains. "Neurons that fire together, wire together", as Hebb famously put it. The ability of both humans and animals to learn to control the electrical activity of the brain (brain waves) is astounding. We can now retrain disorganised neural networks deep inside the brain in order to improve all manner of functions.
The state of our nervous system affects such features as memory, attention, mood, impulse-control and even the chaotic firestorms of epilepsy. These are all malleable processes thanks to the neuroplasticity of the brain, and can now be beneficially guided through the use of neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback's usefulness in improving performance in sports, academics and music have all been demonstrated and now confirmed in evidence-based research. Elite athletes across the world are incorporating neurofeedback into their training regimes to record-breaking results.
Through neurofeedback, the elderly and the young alike are brightening their brains; people with autism are calming themselves; ADHD kids are learning to focusing; and stroke victims are regaining lost functions. The anxious and depressed are gaining much-sought-after relief; the addicted are finding freedom from compulsion; and the sleepless are gaining rest. You can find a list of specific conditions that we train for at the Brain Training Centre under the conditions menu of this site.
What Does 'Brain Training' Involve?
Brain training is a pain-free, non-invasive procedure by which the brain to taught to change itself. This is done by audio and visual (sound and light) signals presented to the brain through the normal senses (eyes and ears). Electrodes are placed on the scalp and the tiny signals emitted from the brain are fed back to the practitioner, who can interpret how your brain is behaving. These electrodes ONLY READ the signals from your brain, there is no electrical input occurring so you do not have to worry about being zapped! Your neurotherapist is trained to interpret the signals being emitted by your brain, so he can then present the correct audio and visual entrainment signals that will coach your brain towards the 'Goldiocks Zone', where neural performance is optimised.
The lights and sounds presented to you act as rewards for the brain, which responds by producing more of the signals we want and less of the ones we don't. Once your brain has learnt this neural pattern via the neuroplastic process, it can then access this state on demand and you can begin to notice the difference in your day-to-day functioning. This is known as ‘operant conditioning’ in learning theory. The neurological feedback is achieved through video game displays that reward your brain with audio and visual feedback. You can even train while watching your favourite DVD! The therapist sets your functional goals based on the findings from the qEEG and clinical assessment.
Can I Do Neurofeedback at Home?
Absolutely! If you live outside the Canberra region and the distance is an issue, or if you are unable to visit the clinic due to disability or family/work time commitments, please contact us to discuss our exciting remote home training options. We have good success with both intensives and supervised home services.
How Will We Know When to Stop Brain Training?
Our therapists are highly educated in observing brain waves and take into consideration your feedback on your symptoms outside of training sessions. Neurotherapy is aimed at providing sustainable change. Therefore, we continue the sessions for a short amount of time after symptoms transform to ensure the change is long lasting. We re-map your brain to determine the amount of change that has occured, therefore ensurings we have a picture of progress made.
How Soon Will Neurotherapy Start to Work?
Once again, the answer depends upon your symptoms and other factors. As a guide however, most clients notice a difference between the first and tenth session. Sometimes changes occur outside of the area other than the symptoms that have been specified. That is why it is important to give our therapists feedback. It means the brain is responding.
Is it Possible That My Symptoms Will Feel Worse When Brain Training?
The brain is an intricate and complicated organ. Therapists at the Brain Training Centre consistently tweak your protocols to get you the best results in the shortest amount of time. It is vital to the neurofeedback process that you report on your experience physically, emotionally and mentally between visits. We will provide you with the tools to do this quickly and easily . Over the duration of treatment, no client has ever reported a worsening of symptoms.
Will the Effects of Brain Training be Permanent?
The effects of brain training are very robust. Studies have shown that client changes have held for up to 20 years after neurotherapy treatment in conditions such as ADD. However the science of brain training is relatively new. Please contact the Brain Training Centre to discuss the research relative to your individual symptoms. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have.
Do I Need to Come Off My Medication While Brain Training?
It is unnecessary for you to stop taking medications while having neurotherapy. In fact approximately half of our clients are on medication when they commence brain training. Often this is the case as clients have tried to find a solution to resolve their symptoms before discovering neurotherapy. Generally the solutions offered have been medication. Medication most definitely has its place in assisting people to live a higher quality life. However, pharmacology is unable to change the structure of the brain and therefore are limited in their ability to create transformation long term. They do not teach the brain to change.It is our policy that we maintain open communication with you about your health and that any decisions you make concerning your medication involves discussions with your other health care providers.
What Symptoms Can Be Resolved Using Brain Training?
At the Brain Training Centre, we have a saying: “If a problem occurs in the brain, it can be resolved in the brain.” Therefore, most conditions where symptoms originate in the brain can be effectively treated with neurotherapy. Many conditions will improve and other will be fully corrected. ADHD for example has the level 5 the highest level of evidence for efficacy. Clinical or case study level evidence exists for a many others conditions. Certain conditions have standard treatment protocols that enjoy success around the world. The brain can be trained to resolve specific symptoms using tried, true and tested neurofeedback settings. Our therapists then tweak those to account for the uniqueness of your brain. Many conditions can be better managed with with the addition of neurofeedback than with medication alone. Here is a list of common conditions treated at the Brain Training Centre:
Do I Need to Control How My Brain Responds During a Session?
The good news is that the brain training process takes place fairly independently of your conscious mind. The interaction is taking place between the game/video feedback and your physical brain via visual and sound stimulus coming through the headphones. We do ask that you remain focused and still - not like a statue! - while you sit back and enjoy a DVD or watch the game unfold before you.
Is There Anything Special I Should Do Before or After My Session?
There are specific things we need you to do before an initial assessment session. Please find the information for this under the Services menu, Brain Mapping & Assessments section on this website.
The only thing we ask you to do in advance of your brain training session is to arrive on time. Afterwards you may feel a little bit tired or you may feel alert and focused. We can discuss this with you during your initial assessment.
Is Neurofeedback Safe?
Yes. Neurofeedback is a non-invasive, drug free, painless method of learning to regulate your brain function. It is safe to use for all people, regardless of any medical condition. It is used to help people in comas, and can be safely used on pregnant women and babies. Meet our youngest client, Baby Amarli:
How Many Brain Training Sessions Will I Need?
No-one is happy to hear ‘how long is a piece of string?’ But unfortunately that does apply here. Everyone’s brain is unique so the number of brain training sessions required to get your desired outcome varies. As a ballpark, you are likely to see noticeable improvements between the first and the tenth session. The average client attends 40 to 50 sessions. Obviously some attend more and some attend fewer. Remember that the objective of neurotherapy is for you to create a long lasting change. The therapists at the Brain Training Centre will discuss how the treatment is going with you regularly.
How Long Do the Brain Training Sessions Go for?
Typically, a brain training sessions lasts takes about 50 minutes.
How Frequently Will I Be Attending Brain Training Sessions?
The vast majority of our clients attend sessions twice a week. We will do our best to work around your existing commitments. Think of brain training like working out specific muscle groups at the gym. The more frequently the muscle is exercised, the faster the improvements can be seen.
There is no electrical input of any kind going into your brain from the electrodes. These only read the electrical signals coming from your brain. It is similar to how an ECG reads the electrical activity of the heart, but does not itself affect the heart's activity.
EEG Biofeedback Randomised Control Studies
Arns M, de Ridder S, Strehl U, Breteler M, Coenen A. (2009). Efficacy of neurofeedback treatment in ADHD: the effects on inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity: a meta-analysis.Clin EEG Neurosci. 2009 Jul;40(3):180-189.
Bakhshayesh, A.R., Hänsch, S., Wyschkon, A., Rezai, M.J. and Esser, G. (2011). Neurofeedback in ADHD: a single-blind randomized controlled trial, European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1007/s00787-011-0208-y
Gevensleben H, Holl B, Albrecht B, Schlamp D, Kratz O, Studer P, Rothenberger A, Moll GH, Heinrich H. (2010). Neurofeedback training in children with ADHD: 6-month follow-up of a randomised controlled trial. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry., 19(9):715-724.
Gevensleben H, Moll GH, Heinrich H. (2010). Neurofeedback training in children with ADHD: behavioral and neurophysiological effects Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother., 38(6):409-419.
Gevensleben H, Holl B, Albrecht B, Schlamp D, Kratz O, Studer P, Wangler S, Rothenberger A, Moll GH, Heinrich H. (2009). Distinct EEG effects related to neurofeedback training in children with ADHD: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Psychophysiol., 74(2):149-157.
Gevensleben H, Holl B, Albrecht B, Vogel C, Schlamp D, Kratz O, Studer P, Rothenberger A, Moll GH, Heinrich H. (2009). Is neurofeedback an efficacious treatment for ADHD? A randomised controlled clinical trial. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 50(7):780-789.
Hammer, B.U., Colbert, A.P., Brown, K.A. and Ilioi, E. C. (2011). Neurofeedback for Insomnia: A Pilot Study of Z-Score SMR and Individualized Protocols. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback, DOI 10.1007/s10484-011-9165-y
Klingberg, T., Fernell, E., Elesen, P., Johnson, M., Gustafsson, P., Dahlstrom, K., Gillberg, C.G., Forssberg, H. & Westerberg, H.L.P. (2005) Computerized Training of Working Memory in Children With ADHD- A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 44(2): 177-186.
Lansbergen MM, van Dongen-Boomsma M, Buitelaar JK, Slaats-Willemse D. (2011). ADHD and EEG-neurofeedback: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled feasibility study. J Neural Transm. 2011 Feb;118(2):275-284.
Wangler S, Gevensleben H, Albrecht B, Studer P, Rothenberger A, Moll GH, Heinrich H. (2010). Neurofeedback in children with ADHD: specific event-related potential findings of a randomized controlled trial. Clin Neurophysiol., 122(5):942-950.
EEG-Biofeedback Sham Control
& Comparative Studies
Becerra, J. 2006. Follow-up study of learning-disabled children treated with neurofeedback or placebo. Clin. EEG & Neurosci., 37(3): 198-203.
Egner et al, 2004. The effects of neurofeedback training on the spectral topography of the electroencephalogram. Clin. Neurophysiol., 115(11): 2452-2460.
Fernandez, T., et al, 2007, Changes in EEG current sources induced by neurofeedback in learning disabled children. An exploratory study. Appl. Psychophysiol. Biofeedback, 32(3-4): 169-183.
Fernandez,T. et al, 2003. EEG and behavioral changes following neurofeedback treatment in learning disabled children. Clin. Electroencephalogr, 34(3): 145-152.
Leins U, Goth G, Hinterberger T, Klinger C, Rumpf N, Strehl U. (2007). Neurofeedback for children with ADHD: a comparison of SCP and Theta/Beta protocols. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2007 Jun;32(2):73-88. Epub 2007 Mar 14.
Rossiter TR, La Vaque TJ. (1995). A comparison of EEG biofeedback and psychostimulants in treating attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders. J Neurotherapy 1995;1:48-59.
Thompson L, Thompson M. (1998). Neurofeedback combined with training in metacognitive strategies: effectiveness in students with ADD. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback;23:243-263.
Alhambra, M.A, Fowler, T.P, & Alhambra A.A. (1995). EEG biofeedback: A new treatment option for ADD/ADHD. Journal of Neurotherapy,1(2), 39-43
Boyd, W.D & Campbell, S.E. (1998) EEG biofeedback in schools: The use of EEG biofeedback to treat ADHD in a school setting. Journal of Neurotherapy, 2(4), 65-71.
Cannon, R., Congredo, M., Lubar, J., and Hutchens, T. (2009). Differentiating a network of executive attention: LORETA neurofeedback in anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices. Int J Neurosci. 119(3):404-441.
Cannon, R., Lubar, J., Gerke, A., Thornton, K., Hutchens, T and McCammon, V. (2006). EEG Spectral-Power and Coherence: LORETA Neurofeedback Training in the Anterior Cingulate Gyrus. J. Neurotherapy, 10(1): 5 – 31.
Collura, T., Guan, J., Tarrent, J., Bailey, J., & Starr, R. (2010). EEG biofeedback case studies using live z-score training and a normative database. Journal of Neurotherapy, 14(1), 22–46.
Collura, T., Thatcher, R., Smith, M. L., Lambos, W., & Stark, C. (2009). EEG biofeedback training using live z-scores and a normative database. Philadelphia: Elsevier.
Collura, T. (2008). Whole head normalization using live Z-scores for connectivity training. Neuroconnections, April 2008, p 12-18.
Collura, T. (2008). Time EEG Z-score training: Realities and prospects. In: Evans, J., Arbanel, L. and Budsynsky, T. Quantitative EEG and Neurofeedback, Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
Congedo M, Lubar JF, Joffe D. (2001). Low-resolution electromagnetic tomography neurofeedback. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng., 12(4):387-397.
Friel, P.N. (2007). EEG biofeedback in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Jun;12(2):146-151.
Fox DJ, Tharp DF, Fox LC. (2005). Neurofeedback: an alternative and efficacious treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback, 30(4):365-373.
Gevensleben H, Moll GH, Heinrich H. (2010). Neurofeedback training in children with ADHD: behavioral and neurophysiological effects. Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother., 38(6):409-41
Hirshberg, L.M. (2007). Place of electroencephalograpic biofeedback for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Expert Rev Neurother. 2007 Apr;7(4):315-319.
Lévesque J, Beauregard M, Mensour B. (2006). Effect of neurofeedback training on the neural substrates of selective attention in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Neurosci Lett., 394(3):216-221.
Lubar JF, Swartwood MO, Swartwood JN, O'Donnell PH. (1995). Evaluation of the effectiveness of EEG neurofeedback training for ADHD in a clinical setting as measured by changes in T.O.V.A. scores, behavioral ratings, and WISC-R performance.Biofeedback Self Regul., 20(1):83-99
Marzullo TC, Miller CR, Kipke DR. (2006). Suitability of the cingulate cortex for neural control. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2006 Dec;14(4):401-409.
Monastra VJ, Lubar JF, Linden M, VanDeusen P, Green G, Wing W, Phillips A, Fenger TN. (1999). Assessing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder via quantitative electroencephalography: an initial validation study. Neuropsychology., 13(3):424-33.
Monastra VJ, Lubar JF, Linden M. (2001). The development of a quantitative electroencephalographic scanning process for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder: reliability and validity studies. Neuropsychology. 2001 Jan;15(1):136-44.
Monastra VJ, Lynn S, Linden M, Lubar JF, Gruzelier J, LaVaque TJ. (2005). Electroencephalographic biofeedback in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2005 Jun;30(2):95-114.
Monastra VJ. (2005). Electroencephalographic biofeedback (neurotherapy) as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: rationale and empirical foundation.Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am., 14(1):55-82.
Monastra VJ. (2008). Quantitative electroencephalography and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: implications for clinical practice. Curr Psychiatry Rep., (5):432-438.
Stark, C.R. (2008). Consistent dynamic Z-score patterns observed during Z-score training sessions – Robust among several clients and through time for each client. Neuroconnections, April, 2008.
Swartwood JN, Swartwood MO, Lubar JF, Timmermann DL. (2003). EEG differences in ADHD-combined type during baseline and cognitive tasks. Pediatr Neurol., 28(3):199-204.