Personalised Brain training for mind and soul
Neurofeedback and Kaiser Neuromaps – an advanced qEEG brain map – have numerous applications to neuro-degenerative conditions:
– neurofeedback training to slow down the progress of various conditions
– reducing symptom severity
– structural improvements of the brain including myelination, microglial function
– addressing motor symptoms and sensory integration
– restoring life quality
– improving sleep, depression, anxiety and sense of self
Neurodegenerative Conditions include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Disease; MND / ALS; Dementia and Multiple Sclerosis.
Neurofeedback training is an evidence-based complementary therapy. It is drug-free and non-invasive.
With a Kaiser Neuromap, we can see vulnerabilities to comorbid mental health conditions as well as:
— neuromarkers for early detection, e.g. Alzheimer’s, Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s Disease
— while not a diagnostic tool, qEEG- based Kaiser Neuromaps can show an early indication of dementia onset
— this can be confirmed via fMRI or other testing that is usually done in more advanced stages
— helps patient plan, make lifestyle changes, gain interoceptive awareness of own perception vs that of others
— enables patient to remain functional for longer
— reduces perception mismatches between client and environment
— improves manageability of disease progress.
Neurofeedback improves quality of life, sensory integration, motor skills, movement initiation and balance in Parkinson’s Disease.
Peer-reviewed research shows the following effects in neurofeedback applications to Parkinson’s Disease:
– improved motor symptoms, on a par with other therapies such as rTMS – while being non-invasive and drug-free
– improvement in life quality
– increased sensory integration in 10-12 sessions
– reduced symptom severity
General (non-PD specific) effects of neurofeedback training include:
– overall increased fine motor skills
Chronic Pain is another application for neurofeedback, where studies have demonstrated its efficacy.
Subjectively, PD sufferers find neurofeedback training calming, reassuring and report an improved sense of feeling being part of their body.
With neurofeedback, we can train white matter tracts.
In healthy patients, this growth was faster than the rate of neurodegeneration in PD. Research has yet to confirm that this works for PD specifically.
Encouraging neuroplasticity, particularly when faced with neurodegeneration, is a worthwhile endeavour.
It has recently been shown that neurofeedback training led to cognitive improvements in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, and that this corresponded to improved functional connectivity in key motor and salience networks. Increased fractional anisotropy (FA) was observed, which correlated with cognitive improvement.
MS is a neurodegenerative condition that adversely affects axonal myelination. FA is among other a measure of myelination, so the result that neurofeedback can make positive changes in this condition is very encouraging.
A study with sufferers of Huntington’s Disease, another neurodegenerative condition, showed that cognitive and motor skills improved and that these changes related to improved functional connectivity in key brain regions, again a conclusion that neuroplasticity can be induced despite the presence of neurodegeneration.
Researcher Katherine Fletcher (PhD) of Parkinson’s UK asserts that:
“The idea of Neurofeedback is very interesting and the evidence [above] shows great potential. Larger studies would be needed to fully understand the potential and safety of this method for people with Parkinson’s before we could share it with our community.”
Neurofeedback is a form of complementary therapy and should not be seen as a replacement for conventional medicine. qEEG brain map-based neurofeedback training takes a more holistic approach to brain functioning, rather than just focusing on medical symptoms. It is not intended as a form of diagnosis nor medical intervention nor medical advice per the disclaimer.
Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, after Alzheimer disease (AD).
Onset is usually characterised by motor symptoms: bradykinesia (slowness of movement), rigidity, resting tremor and instability of posture.
With regard to PD, Neurofeedback training has been shown to:
Secondary, non-motor symptoms evolve, such as cognitive impairment, depression, sleep issues (e.g. REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), a potential prodromal marker of PD, where paradoxically motor function is improved relative to wake state), and olfactory dysfunction.
Neurofeedback training is effective at reducing symptom severity and addressing most of these neuropsychiatric disturbances.
On a cortical level, PD involves the loss of dopaminergic neurons, accumulation of Lewy bodies, damage to neuroglial cells and demyelination of neuronal axons.
Neurofeedback training has been shown to improve myelination across white matter tracts. We can also train frequencies that pertain to glial cells, potentially improving their self-regulation.
Alzheimer Disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder. Similar to Parkinson’s Disease, secondary symptoms are neuropsychiatric in nature and can be addressed with neurofeedback training, helping the person to maintain their sense of self, mood regulation and sleep, and contain arising anxieties.
There are biomarkers that allow us to differentiate between Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer Disease. A Kaiser Neuromap gives us a non-specific indication of each, that can assist early onset diagnosis and thus shape the treatment plan at an early stage.
As with other neurodegenerative disorders, physical changes in the brain affect our sensory interpretation of our surroundings, giving rise to neuropsychiatric disorders. We can become relational in our thinking, and specifically with regard to brain areas that are responsible for our interpretation of personal space and social boundaries.
Neurofeedback Personalised Brain Training aims precisely at encouraging cortical participation and help us share a reality with others, counteracting symptom progression. We are also targeting brain areas that are directly affected by the disease, among others, thus helping to slow down disease progression in a holistic way.
With a Kaiser Neuromap, we can identify character traits, vulnerabilities and strengths.
This particular type of brain map shows us relevant information about functional connectivity between brain areas that govern our behaviour patterns.
For the purpose of Personalised Brain Training, we are interested in more persistent attributes than simply states. Kaiser Neuromaps make these uniquely identifiable and meaningful.
A brain map is a way to break down the sources of behaviour patterns in a highly granular form and represents these visually.
Kaiser Neuromaps reveal the maturity of over 50 Brodmann areas – each with specific functions and contributions to our preconscious interpretation of our surroundings and how we interact with them.
Instead of categorisation, we get a unique and individual representations of a person’s needs and strengths, and can apply a personalised holistic training approach.
Personalised Brain Training is a neurofeedback training method devised by founders of the field, Barry Sterman and David Kaiser.
Neurofeedback training is a process where we give the brain feedback about its own activity at a particular cortical site in real time, via visual, auditory or tactile means.
There is no direct stimulus to the brain and the sensors attached are for measurement of cortical EEG, or tiny electrical currents detectable on the surface of our head.
This signal is then amplified and analysed by software in real-time, and this information is used to provide auditory feedback to our brain via small changes in volume.
Our pre-conscious mind responds to the feedback and corrects its behaviour while our conscious attention is focused on the reward – watching the movie at full volume.
A learning curve is observable as the brain adopts new behaviour patterns.
With neurofeedback training, we can restore functional connectivity and thus calm the mind.
The ability to balance instinct with reason enables us to share realities when needed and thus perform better in groups while preserving our individuality.
We take a holistic approach to healthy brain self-regulation, rather than categorisation or diagnosis.
Neurofeedback is evidence-based. It’s first application was discovered in 1971 when it was used to resolve intractable epilepsy.
There are over 2,000 peer-reviewed research reports on PubMed demonstrating efficacy across a number of pathologies.
In the US, it is an accepted complementary treatment for many issues.
Neurofeedback training can substantially improve the life-quality of sufferers of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Stroke victims. It has been shown to improve cognitive performance in elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment.
By targeting specific brain areas responsible for functions that are observably degenerating, neurofeedback aims to arrest and possibly reverse declines.
Specifically, white matter tracts can be trained, and comorbid mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, anger) treated.
Improving the brain’s ability to self-regulate can substantially benefit a person’s sense of well-being. Physical and emotional calming help to soothe irritability and mood swings. We can work on specific areas of the brain responsible for bodily coordination, speech and expression. With the Synchrony protocol, we aim to improve memory, focus, and through further calming produce a sense of comfort, thus reducing any anxiety. Given the organic degeneration at the root of the condition, neurofeedback training is likely to be an ongoing complement to care.
Sue Othmer, who devised the Othmer Method of Neurofeedback, discusses what it does and how it can help with age-related conditions by giving the example of own family members:
Hallucinations in Schizophrenia and other pathologies have been found to be linked to the dopamine system. People who experience auditory hallucinations tend to hear what they expect. Researchers have found that elevated dopamine levels can result in the person relying more on expectations, which in turn could result in hallucinations. In general, the process of sensory perception is an optimal combination of prior expectations and new sensory input.
If prior expectations are given to much weight in this combination process – which is constantly happening as we take in the world – perceptual distortions can occur, such as illusions and hallucinations. Those with hallucinations and other symptoms of psychosis are known to have elevated dopamine levels, and research has now established a link.
Thalamo-cortical connections play a part in auditory hallucinations too.
A qEEG recording takes about 45minutes for a 20 minute recording.
We analyse the data with Kaiser Neuromap software which gives us a unique view into character traits and vulnerabilities.
Findings are presented in a separate conversation with a training plan.
We use a movie of choice as the feedback mechanism – our conscious mind engages with the film, and feedback is delivered by small changes in volume or picture size.
Our pre-conscious mind adapts its behaviour to preserve the more comfortable volume and picture size, and learning occurs.
Volume changes are slight, not stop-start, and the process is enjoyable.
A two hour training session allows us to do 90 minutes of neurofeedback.
This captures an entire ultradian rhythm cycle and corresponds to the approximate duration of feature film movies.
We can start with shorter sessions as appropriate, mainly with children.
Ideally, we do two or more sessions per week to start with.
We would expect to see responsiveness within the first few sessions and remap after twenty hours or about ten sessions.
Generally, we would expect to doing twenty sessions over two months, though this can vary substantially.
We can also accommodate intensives, where we do two sessions per day over a number of days, and have had good results with these.