Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury can have structural effects on sub-cortical systems, which in turn affect our prefrontal and premotor cortex, or even our cortex directly.  

Besides physical calming and restoring general brain function and stability, neurofeedback training can be used to target specific areas of the brain responsible for functions affected by trauma and injury.  

These include speech, motor functions, memory, coordination and emotional balance. 

The secondary effects of Stroke / TBI can relate to mental health – impaired motion or ability to communicate and interact as usual can manifest in form of various pathologies.  These include anxiety, depression, PTSD and generally our sense of self.  Neurofeedback training is an evidence-based method for addressing these issues. 

While outcomes are individual and unpredictable, subjective accounts and research evidence suggest substantial recovery potential with neurofeedback training.

Subjective Account of Neurofeedback Training and Stroke / TBI

Girl Dancing following neurofeedback training for Stroke / TBI

The following account of the recovery of a Stroke patient illustrates the potential efficacy of neurofeedback for Stroke / TBI.  For Research on neurofeedback and Stroke / TBI see here

Claire (name changed) is a 48-year old female who is three years post-thalamic CVA (ruptured aneurysm).  In particular, her physical symptoms included severe muscle contractures in her wrist and elbows leading to impaired movement, as well as being wheel-chair bound.

After two neurofeedback sessions, she got her wrist and elbow released.  

Claire was getting active elbow extension and shoulder flexion after five sessions.  Pain was also resolved in her hand, which had been a major issue previously.

Functionally, she achieved improved independence in dressing skills, required only minimal assistance with bathing, and was able to walk with a cane.  

After thirty neurofeedback sessions, Claire started walking without her cane. 

Significant improvements (over 50%) included: 

 – Working memory, chronic aching pain, attention deficit

 – night sweats, vertigo and hot flashes

 – body awareness, balance, fine motor coordination, muscle spasticity, reflux and chronic nerve pain

 – paranoia

Note that this is a subjective account from a therapist and a causal relationship between training and improvements is not proven.

Research Evidence for Neurofeedback Efficacy in Stroke / TBI

While outcomes are unpredictable, there is research to show that neurofeedback can have very beneficial effects on rehabilitation following Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  Moreover, case reports by clinicians show remarkable recoveries.  Neurofeedback training has also been shown to be able to strengthen white matter tracts, suggesting that positive structural changes are possible with training. The following research reports show improvements in motor and functional skills following neurofeedback training:

 – Alpha-Theta neurofeedback training has a “beneficial effect on symptom reduction as well as perceived stress.  It also has a beneficial effect on levels of serum cortisol” involving a significant reduction during acute recovery

 – neurofeedback training was shown to be effective with Postconcussion Syndrome (PCS) 

 – efficaceous treatment for chronic posttraumatic headache sustained in military service

 – neurofeedback therapy showed significant changes in structural and functional connectivity in young TBI patients, with cognitive scores and concussion symptoms improving significantly

 – neurofeedback is shown to be an effective intervention for auditory memory

 – deemed “probably an excellent complementary technique” that produced clear benefits in divided and sustained attention, visuospatial skills and the processing speed of motor-dependent tasks in persons with severe TBI

 – beneficial outcomes in upper limb stroke rehabilitation

 – neurofeedback training can lead to a learned modulation of brain signals with associated changes at both neural and behavioural level

 – modulation of premotor cortex and associated motor control areas can be achieved with neurofeedback training

 – improvements in TBI / PTSD in Vietnam Veterans across domains of cognition, pain, sleep, fatigue, mood/emotion, PTSD symptoms and overall activity levels

 – patients report improvement in a wide range of neuropsychiatric symptoms in TBI following neurofeedback training

 – result of 40 neurofeedback sessions included significant improvements in several motor tasks

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Concussions lead to Brain Changes

The recent rugby player study by the Drake Foundation showed that 23% of players (10 out of 44) had axonal or diffuse vascular injury.  This contrasted with athletes in non-collision sports.  

Mild traumatic brain injuries are common in rugby, with an incidence rate of 20.4 per 1,000 player match hours (14.8 per 1000h in Australia).  

In addition to mTBI, repeated head impacts can lead to neurodegeneration that becomes progressive.  This increases the risk of dementia

Drake Foundation study on brain abnormalities in rugby players using diffusion tensor imaging and advanced MRI

Personalised Brain Training for TBI

Neurofeedback Training has been shown to improve cognitive ability.  A study found that this brain training made positive structural changes to white and gray matter.  

With a Kaiser Neuromap we can train the brain in a personalised manner.

Neurofeedback training improves cognitive ability and strengthens white and gray matter per Ghaziri Study 2013 "Neurofeedback Training induces Changes in White and Gray Matter"

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.

Brain Maps and Personalised Brain Training

Kaiser Neuromap brain maps show character traits for neurofeedback

The functional connectivity between various brain areas allows us to see vulnerabilities to character traits or behaviour patterns.  

Every Brain is individual and different, therefore Personalised Brain Training neurofeedback

Personalised Brain Training is a neurofeedback training method devised by founders of the field, Barry Sterman and David Kaiser.  

 

qEEG recording of brain waves is analysed to generate a brain map in form of a Kaiser Neuromap

A brain map is an analysis of brain wave behaviour as measured by a qEEG recording.  We record 20 minutes of the brain activities with a 19-sensor qEEG recorder.  There is no stimulation, and contact between the sensors and the head is via an easily removable gel applied to specific points.  From this recording, we can generate a brain map using Kaiser Neuromap software.  

Neurofeedback process illustrated by electrode measurement analysed and transformed into feedback via a movie in visual and auditory form for the preconscious mind to process and adapt its behaviour to in a learning process.

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 and visual feedback to our brain.  

Neurofeedback Training calms the mind and restores functionality

With neurofeedback training, we can reduce stress, calm the mind and restore cortical functionality. 

Neurofeedback training restores balance and equilibrium between brain and heart

We take a holistic approach to healthy brain self-regulation, rather than categorisation or diagnosis.  In our view, and experience, symptoms resolve when our system is balanced.

Neurofeedback helps restore functional connectivity in key neural networks

 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.

Neurofeedback is evidence based therapy with a wealth of over 2,000 peer-reviewed research reports per PubMed neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is evidence-based.  

There are over 2,000 peer-reviewed research reports on PubMed demonstrating efficacy across a number of pathologies. 

Neurofeedback training is safe and non-invasive shown in a picture using Othmer Method

Neurofeedback training is safe, effective and non-invasive.  

There is no direct stimulation of the brain:  We measure brain activity and provide feedback through changes in volume and picture size.  The brain understands this and adjusts its behaviour preconsciously.

Kaiser Neuromap qEEG recording forms basis for neurofeedback personalised brain training

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.  Note this is not diagnosis – issues found are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for a particular attribute and represent vulnerabilities.

Following a Kaiser Neuromap we do Neurofeedback Personalised Brain Training

 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. 

neurofeedback training sessions last two hours to capture an entire ultradian rhythm cycle

A two hour training sessions 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.

 

Forty hours of neurofeedback training is twenty sessions, three per week, over two to three months; intensives with two sessions per day for two weeks

Ideally, we do three 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 ten sessions.  Generally, we would expect to doing forty hours or twenty sessions over two months, though this can vary. 

We can also accommodate intensives, where we do two sessions per day over a number of days, and have had good results with these.

Neurofeedback training relies on real-time EEG measurement, analysis and translation into feedback
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