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Brain Mapping! More than a window into the brain…

Neurofeedback! More than stress reduction…

Mills River Family Chiropractic / ABC Learning Lab
Drs Tom and Laura Gross

Brain Mapping refers to one of many forms of imaging the function of the brain, called human functional neuroimaging.There are actually many forms of brain mapping but what sets them apart is their ability to map the brain while it is working and draw conclusions about how well it is working.Most of us have heard of MRI and know that when something has really gone wrong, doctors can take an MRI and look at the structures inside our body. This is a picture of the structure but does not tell anything much about how well the area is working.An f MRI is a functional MRI that looks at how well the area is functioning.This is one example of many such tests that show some aspect of body function.Some of these tests allow doctors to see how the brain functions during specific tasks such as while reading or performing math or music.These tests, when compared with “normals” can really give doctors insight into what has gone wrong in a variety of different medical conditions.

I have just been accepted to be a presenter at the International Winter Brain Conference in Palm SpringsCalifornia, February 3-7, 2006.This is one of the big yearly conferences covering Brain Mapping using QEEG (brain waves) and the training of brain waves using Neurofeedback for a functional correction to a long list of conditions.Neurofeedback uses a person’s brainwaves to run some computer program which may appear very much like a video game.People train their brainwaves to produce normal or better signals while they score or perform well at the game. The newest development in QEEG and Neurofeedback is called LORETA (Low Resonance Electrical Tomography) which can map a signal’s origin to an exact location, even deep within the brain, and then target this exact location for Neurofeedback training.

The presence of brain waves was discovered in 1875 and named EEG in the 1920’s.EEG has been used clinically by neurologists effectively to detect seizures, tumors and problems with blood flow.In 1960 it was discovered that people could train themselves to change their brainwaves and that doing so could give significant protection against seizures induced by toxicity.Since the 1960’s EEG Neurofeedback, as it has been called, has been shown very effective in reducing and eliminating seizure disorders and all varieties of attention disorders (ADD/ADHD), some forms of depression as well as other conditions.In 1989 it was discovered that the QEEG (Quantitative EEG) could be used very accurately to predict effectiveness of various interventions including both medications and Neurofeedback.To date, 15 year follow-up studies have demonstrated the lasting benefits of Neurofeedback in the successful treatment of ADD/ADHD and other conditions.That means these people are still better up to 15 years after they were treated with Neurofeedback.

Conditions which can be helped with Neurofeedback are grouped into three categories.Research validated (proven effective) applications include Seizure disorders and Attention Deficit Disorder.Research has provided promising support for Neurofeedback in the treatment of Depression, Alcoholism and addictions, help for Closed Head Injuries and Traumatic Brain Injuries and work with children with Learning Disabilities.Applications which look promising due to clinical reports of improvement but are not yet verified by research include Tourette’s Syndrome and other movement disorders (Parkinson’s Disorder, Dystonia), Asperger Syndrome and high functioning autism, “Brain Brightening” in the elderly, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, especially effective when anxiety is part of the symptom picture.

Neurofeedback and other forms of biofeedback have long been used effectively in performance enhancement in athletics, music, the arts as well as in academic and professional management and executive skills enhancement.