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Biofeedback provides a new way for the communication between the brain and the body. Biofeedback is a method by which the body is trained to improve its natural and automatic functions including heartbeat, muscular tension, respiration rate and skin temperature. In this method, several electrical receptors are attached to the body to receive information (feedback) about the body (bio). This feedback helps the person concentrate on implementing lasting changes in the body, such as relaxing specific muscles, or reducing pain.
Biofeedback can be beneficial for a wide range of the disorders. First, it can be useful for anxiety – depression spectrum disorders. Second, it can be helpful in chronic pain syndromes and mild sleep disorders. Besides, it can be useful in tension, heart arrhythmia, panting, panic disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, maxilotemporal joint problems and Raynaud’s syndrome. Biofeedback can also be useful in various problems related to muscles. For instance, it can be helpful in pelvic muscle disorders, urinary incontinence, spasms, paralysis, hemiplegia, tremor and visual adaptation.
ERP test
ERP test is applied to investigate event-related potentials of the brain. Event-related potentials are brain’s electrical activity in response to sensory, cognitive or motor events. In other words, event-related potentials are stereotypical electrophysiological responses of the brain to specific stimuli. This test probes brain’s response to the stimuli in less than a second after presenting those stimuli and makes it possible to explore brain functioning in patients suffering from cognitive disorders. In this method, a proper visual or audio stimulus is presented to the patient and the EEG resulting from perceiving that stimulus is recorded. Brain activity is recorded by a cap mounted on patient’s head. Then these recorded brain waves are used to diagnose cognitive and brain malfunctioning.
Neurofeedback (also called neurotherapy or bioneurofeedback) is a kind of biological feedback which uses instant electroencephalography (EEG) or hemoencephalography (HEG) to depict brain activity and instruct self-regulation. In other words, neurofeedback is a kind of biofeedback that tries to train self-regulation to the subject by recording brain waves and giving feedback to the subject. The feedback is usually given in visual or audio form and by doing so, the subject finds out if he/she has been able to change his/her brain activity in an appropriate way; a proper brain activity is followed by the positive feedback and an improper one is followed by negative feedback. In a typical training session, a pair of electrodes is planted on the scalp and one or two electrodes are connected to earlobes. Then, sophisticated medical instruments provide instantaneous visual or audio feedback related with the brain activity. The electrodes measure brain electrical activity and induce no current to the brain, but brain electrical activity is replayed recorded by the computer.
Observing brain waves displayed on the screen a few miliseconds after their generation, one can influence and change them. Neurofeedback is based on operational conditioning mechanism and the brain is conditioned and trained using this method. This training is sort of a brain exercise and physiotherapy during which cognitive control and flexibility is enhanced. Thus, a problem resulting from any disorder such as ADHD/ADD, learning disability, stroke, brain trauma, post-surgery complications, intractable epilepsy, ageing, depression, anxiety, obsesive-compulsive disorder, etc., neurofeedback training sessions provides an opportunity to rehabilitate the brain through training of the electrical activity patterns in the brain. Neurofeedback can be beneficial for addiction, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, aggression, anxiety, autism, depression, epilepsy, headaches, insomnia, tourette’s syndrome and brain injury due to stroke and trauma.
Quantitative EEG (QEEG)
QEEG is a powerful and sensitive instrument in measuring abnormal patterns of the brain activity. In this method, several (typically 19) electrodes which are organized and planted on a cap, are placed on the scalp of the head and receive brain waves. QEEG records brain activity while eyes are closed, open or the patient is carrying out a cognitive task (such as reading). Then, these waves are dissociated into different frequencies by a computer and are displayed in different colors based on their intensity; the images are demonstrated as colored circles representing the head which is called “Brain Maps”. Along with these images, tables and diagrams associated with brain functioning are produced which have special applications.
Based on the studies, brainwave intensities have a standard and normal level varying with age and gender; this means for a brain to function normally, intensity of each brain wave must be in a normal range. By comparing the values recorded from a subject’s scalp with the normal population, it can be determined which brain waves in what brain locations have an abnormal activity. Waves with a normal activity are depicted with green, and those with abnormal activity are depicted by violet, azure, and blue (for lower than normal activity) and yellow, orange and red (for higher than normal activity). By investigating these maps and comparing them with normal and reference patterns, it is possible to study brain functioning. Since every psychological and mental disorder and problem results from a malfunctioning in the brain and then, increase or decrease in the brain waves, QEEG related to a malfunctioning brain will be different from QEEG related to a normal one. These differences are used to diagnose many disorders.
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a kind of brain stimulating treatment. In this method, instead of the electricity, magnetic pulses are used. In other words, brain’s electrical activity is manipulated by an apparatus through the magnetic fields. The magnetic field is produced by pulses of an 8 shape coil and is induced into the brain. This coil which is coated by a plastic layer is placed directly on the scalp and can stimulate specific parts of the brain. The magnetic field produced by the rTMS can influence the brain through the scalp and cranium in a safe and painless manner and can induce electrical currents in the brain. Since the magnetic fields are presented in identical intervals, it is called repetitive TMS or rTMS. rTMS is studied as a potential treatment modality for the depression. In addition, it may be used to treat other neurological and psychological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, tinnitus, obsessive-compulsive disorder and dystonia. In 2008, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed rTMS as a treatment for depression which is nonresponsive to medication.
In this treatment, many rTMS components, called “stimulation parameters” can be adjusted. The possibility to adjust these parameters has made it a valuable treatment instrument. Stimulation parameters include:
• Stimulation number
• Stimulation intensity
• Stimulation frequency (high or low frequency)
• Intervals between stimulations
• Brain locations to be stimulated
• Facilitating or inhibitive effect
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), is a non-invasive, painless brain stimulation treatment that uses direct electrical currents to stimulate specific parts of the brain. A constant, low intensity current is passed through two electrodes placed over the head which modulates neuronal activity. There are two types of stimulation with tDCS: anodal and cathodal stimulation. Anodal stimulation acts to excite neuronal activity while cathodal stimulation inhibits or reduces neuronal activity.
Several studies suggest it may be a valuable tool for the treatment of neuropsychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain. Research has also demonstrated cognitive improvement in some patients undergoing tDCS. Currently, tDCS is not an FDA-approved treatment.
Atieh apparatus
Atieh apparatus is a brain training tool developed by Atieh group to enhance performance and cognitive abilities. This apparatus comprises different cognitive exercises including memory, imagination, inhibitory control, visual attention, central processing speed, response time etc. This instrument presents 12 options. Using these options, the participant responds to the exercises presented by the computer. The therapist gives a proper combination of the exercises to the participant and actively coaches them to complete the exercises.
The exercises given in this apparatus are ordered hierarchically; they start with the easiest and as the participant responds correctly, they gradually get more difficult. The progress through the stages leads to cognitive and performance improvement of the individual. This apparatus can be employed to facilitate the treatment of the disorders such as learning disabilities, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
The exercises of this apparatus are rendered in 5 sets: memory, attention, image-word, sequential memory, and speed enhancement.
Stress response evaluation (SRE)
Stress response evaluation is a useful and accurate method of measuring neurological response to stress and investigates three stressful challenges. These challenges include cognitive, emotional and physical challenges. In this test, challenging stressful situations of life are simulated to explore body’s response to such situations. The responses are manifested as brain waves, heart rate variability, respiration rte, skin humidity, skin temperature, and muscle activity. SRE is a 12-minute computerized test which is completely non-invasive with no need for the injection. The electrodes are plated on special points of the body such as shoulders, arms and head and the participant is situated in a relaxed mode, and then he is evaluated. This method is an approved technological method with %98.9 accuracy.
© 2014 Atieh Clinical Neuroscience Center