Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Zorcec, T., Demerdzieva, A., Pop-Jordanova, N. (2011). QEEG, brain rate, executive function, and neurofeedback training in patients with traumatic brain injury. Acta Inform Med, 19, 23-28.
Article Review By: Kristy Snyder Colling, Ph.D. and Robert Coben, Ph.D.
Traumatic brain injuries are complicated neurological problems. The location and extent of the injury vary across patients. Symptoms may be physical (e.g., headaches, sleep disturbances, fatigue, nausea, seizures), emotional (depression, anxiety, agitation, anger, explosiveness, mood swings), or cognitive (attention and memory problems). Currently, there are few treatment options available. However, neurobiofeedback is a promising treatment option that is effective, non-invasive, and has very few side-effects (e.g., some note being tired temporarily after a session).
Biofeedback is a learning process that helps patients learn how to control unconscious functions (e.g., heart rate, skin conductance, brain activity). In the case of neurobiofeedback, electrodes are placed on the scalp that record brain activity and a computer or video display shows feedback representing efficient and inefficient brain activity. By concentrating on the feedback, patients can eventually learn how to up-regulate efficient brain activity and down-regulate inefficient activity through a process called operant conditioning.
Previous studies have found neurobiofeedback over the sensori-motor strip, which runs centrally across the skull roughly from ear to ear, to be more effective than standard neurocognitive rehabilitation or medication for treatment of TBI. In the current study, six patients with traumatic brain injuries underwent 20 sessions of neurofeedback in which slow brain activity frequencies (i.e., theta) were trained down to encourage faster frequencies (i.e., beta). Five of the six patients began treatment having symptoms of poor concentration, reduced memory, and decreased IQ. After treatment, there were statistically significant changes in brain activity. In addition, patients experienced improved mood and sleep quality. Cognitive abilities also improved, including better planning, seeking for alternative solutions, strategies for executing plans and inhibiting unsuitable answers.
We at Integrated Neuropsychological Services are offering neurofeedback for many psychological and neurological conditions. Treatment protocols are uniquely tailored to each client based on eeg-derived brain maps. If you are interested in learning how neurofeedback can benefit you or someone you love, please contact us and we will be happy to talk to you about a customized treatment program.