Neurofeedback News:


How Can Neurofeedback Help with Anxiety?
By: Dr. Richard Soutar

Individuals with anxiety have a chronically hyperaroused central nervous system. In a majority of cases dsiposition towards anxious behavior is genetic in origin. Any powerful truama to the central nervous system or prolonged stress can result in chronic anxiety and/or panic attacks. Anxiety reduces immune system function, impairs working memory, creates attentional problems and generates a wide variety of physical symptoms that vary from person to person. As many as 60% of doctor visits may have their basis in the effects of prolonged anxiety. Individuals tend to block out the feelings of anxiety over time, but the physical stress it creates for the body continues to increase until physical problems develop. Most people are very surprised to discover that what they thought was purely a physical problem is primarily due to chronic anxiety. It is only in the last decade that the full impact that anxiety has on the human biology is coming to be appreciated.

Anxiety results in an overactive brain. Individuals tend to worry or ruminate excessively and are hypervigilent. This causes increased brain activity that is chronic and results in excessive consupmtion of oxygen, glucose, and neurotransmitters as well as a host of nutrients. The effect of this appears in PET scans as well as topographic EEG braimaps. The heightened level of metabolic activity also results in higher levels of fast brain wave activity known as beta brainwave activity. We call this condition "brain too fast" in contrast to depression in which the brain is running too slow.

With neurofeedback the goal is to train the brain to slow down and operate in a more optimal zone of functioning. As the brain practices being in this more efficient zone of operation it begins to grow networks that help it regulate itself better when it is not practicing in the clinic. Over time this new zone of operation becomes the default or normal zone of operation. The symptoms of anxiety progressively dissipate as the indiviual trains and the brain normalizes functions.



Neurofeedback with anxiety and affective disorders
By: Cory Hammond, PhD

Compelling evidence exists for a neurophysiologic basis for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A large number of positron emission tomographic and single photon emission computed tomographic studies have found increased blood flow and metabolism in the mediofrontal, anterior cingulate, right frontal, or orbitofrontal areas, which implicates a cortico-striato-thalamocortical network. Functional abnormalities also have been documented in a large number of quantitative EEG (qEEG) studies and evoked potential studies. OCD seems to be somewhat heterogeneous, however, with at least two qEEG subtypes that have been found. Prichep et al and Kuskowski et al found a group with excess alpha brain waves throughout most of the head, with frontal excess beta, whereas another subgroup has an excess of theta activity, particularly in frontal and posterior temporal areas. Clinical experience in conducting qEEG assessment with patients with OCD also has shown that excess beta activity is often found along the midline, in cortical areas approximately over the anterior cingulate.
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