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Neurofeedback addresses problems of brain disregulation. These happen to be numerous. They include the anxiety-depression spectrum, attention deficits, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders, headaches and migraines, PMS and emotional disturbances. It is also useful for organic brain conditions such as seizures, the autism spectrum, and cerebral palsy.
We apply electrodes to the scalp to listen in on brainwave activity. We process the signal by computer, and we extract information about certain key brainwave frequencies. (All brainwave frequencies are equal, but some are more equal than others….) We show the ebb and flow of this activity back to the person, who attempts to change the activity level. Some frequencies we wish to promote. Others we wish to diminish. We present this information to the person in the form of a video game. The person is effectively playing the video game with his or her brain. Eventually the brainwave activity is "shaped" toward more desirable, more regulated performance. The frequencies we target, and the specific locations on the scalp where we listen in on the brain, are specific to the conditions we are trying to address, and specific to the individual.
Drugs often do not “cure” problems, and have harmful side effects such as decreased appetite, insomnia, lethargy, or depression. QEEG-guided neurotherapy is non-invasive, holistic, and there are no significant side effects. It resolves (remediates) problems instead of temporarily suppressing or “masking” them. The patient becomes able to perform well on his own, without having to depend on drugs.
Neurofeedback (EEG Biofeedback) is typically provided by mental health professionals such as psychologists, family therapists, and counselors. These professions usually work with clients one-on-one. The training may also be provided by nurses, clinical social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and educators. MDs also provide the service, but with the exception of psychiatrists will usually have the service provided by a trained staff person. BE SURE TO AS FOR A BCIA BOARD CERTIFIED NEUROFEEDBACK PROVIDER
Over the years, certain Neurofeedback (EEG Biofeedback) training protocols have been developed that are helpful with certain classes of problems such as attention, anxiety and depression, seizures and migraines, as well as cognitive function. There are a number of assessment tools we use to help us decide which protocols to use. These are simple neurodiagnostic and neuropsychological tests.
Recent news releases about adverse effects of drugs used for many problems, including ADD/ADHD, have concerned patients. QEEG-guided neurotherapy is a drug-free alternative that remediates many different problems. To know that both children and adults can function normally without the use of drugs is an important discovery.
In the case of organic brain disorders, it can only be a matter of getting the brain to function better rather than of curing the condition. When it comes to problems of disregulation, we would say that there is not a disease to be cured. Where disregulation is the problem, self-regulation may very well be the remedy. But again the word cure would not apply.
We are especially concerned with the more "intractable" brain-based problems of childhood whose needs are not currently being met.
If the problem being addressed is one of brain disregulation, then the answer is yes, and that covers a lot of ground. Neurofeedback involves learning by the brain and if that brings order out of disorder, the brain will continue to use its new capabilities, and thus reinforce them.
Through our experience with Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback, we have reached the point of having very high expectations for success in training. That is to say, nearly everyone should make gains that they themselves would judge to be worthwhile. Our brains are made for learning and skill-acquisition.
With successful Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback training, the medications targeting brain function may very well no longer be needed, or they may be needed at lower dosages, as the brain takes over more of the role of regulating itself. This decrease in medications is particularly striking when the medications play a supportive role in any event, as is often the case for the more severe disorders that we are targeting with our work. It is important for clients to communicate with their prescribing physician regarding Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback and medications.
Many of the conditions we address with Neurofeedback involve long-term training, as the brain's capacity to function is gradually enhanced. For some children, Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback may remain a useful challenge over their life span. To make this economically viable, remote training is an available option for parents. Remote training refers to home training under the (remote) supervision of a clinician. After parents have had their child trained with a clinician for at least twenty sessions, they may transition to remote training and continue on that basis, consulting with the clinician regularly to monitor progress and determine changes in protocol. Then training can be done frequently and consistently, on an affordable basis.
Only rarely, perhaps a tension headache. No long-term ill effects have been reported from QEEG-guided Neurotherapy to normalize brain wave activity.
QEEG-guided neurotherapy is the process of teaching the brain to correct abnormal brain wave patterns and to produce normal patterns. It resolves neurological, psychological, and learning difficulties. After a neuropsychological evaluation, an EEG (electroencephalogram) is administered. Then, a computerized analysis is made of that EEG (called a QEEG or a “brain map”), which is a comparison of the patient’s brain wave activity to the brain wave activity of someone of average similar age who does not have the same problems as the patient. Dr. Barakat analyzes the QEEG to determine where brain wave patterns deviate from the norm and to determine where re-training of the brain is necessary; thus, the name QEEG-guided neurotherapy. During a QEEG-guided neurotherapy training session, two to four electrodes are placed on the patient’s scalp while an EEG records brain wave activity. The patient then plays a game, similar to a video game, or watches a movie. When the patient produces normal brain waves, a positive reinforcement (feedback/reward) is given. For example, if the patient is playing the “Pac Man” game, the Pac Man will move (reinforcement/feedback) when the patient makes the desired brain wave activity. When the brain produces abnormal brain waves (i.e., those associated with ADHD, anxiety, etc.) no reward (reinforcement/feedback) is given (the Pac Man does not move). Since the brain is a “learning machine,” it will figure out a way to make more of the normal brain wave activity and less of the abnormal activity. During the course of the therapy sessions, as the patient’s brain wave activity improves, the “video game” task is made more difficult. After several sessions, when the patient has learned to make normal brain wave activity, symptoms cease. At that point, the feedback is no longer necessary. This retraining of the brain is accomplished in the same way as other types of learning, by providing positive feedback when desirable behavior occurs. This form of learning is called operant conditioning. The effect is usually permanent (like learning to ride a bicycle). The entire process is painless and non-invasive.Until recent years there has been relatively little research done on the mechanism of neurofeedback. With recent interest in the field, more research is being generated. Dr. Barakat is an authority in this field. At The Montreal Neurofeedback Center we use the modular activation/coherence approach which achieves superior results.
EEG is the abbreviation for electroencephalogram. It is obtained by placing electrodes on the scalp and recording the electrical activity of the brain at 19 different brain areas. The test takes about one hour and is painless. This test is analyzed by our clinicians. They can identify or rule out possible epileptiform (seizure) abnormalities, or other related problems that might exist.
QEEG (quantitative EEG) is the abbreviation for Quantitative Electroencephalogram. It is also known as a Brain Map. The QEEG is derived by digitally analyzing the EEG. The data obtained by the EEG is run through several databases that compare data from the patient with individuals in the same age range who do not have the same problems as the patient. Dr. Barakat personally reads each QEEG, and from the QEEG analysis he makes individualized recommendations to guide the training sessions.
Often times one or more symptoms of a problem will be evident (such as ADD or ADHD); however, other problems may exist—such as auditory or visual processing problems, anxiety, or depression. The QEEG (Brain Map), unlike other tests can identify such problems. The training can then address all of the problems during the course of the treatment. It must be noted, that many times problems masquerade as something else (such as ADD), but other problems exist. Those problems are just as significant, and need to be addressed, also.
The patient first has a thorough intake evaluation by Dr. Barakat, a board-certified neuropsychologist. He determines if additional tests will be useful in helping to further diagnose the patient’s problems. A QEEG is frequently ordered. When the results of the QEEG are complete, a follow-up session with Dr. Barakat is scheduled to explain the results and the plan for training sessions. Next, training sessions begin. Often another QEEG is ordered during the course of the sessions, or at the conclusion of a series of sessions, to determine the effectiveness of the training.
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The Montreal Neurofeedback Centre3400 Jean-Talon West Suite 100Montreal, QC H3R 2R8Tel: (514) 481-7867Fax: (514) 933-6318Toll Free: 1 866.331-3431
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