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The EEG is the only technique capable of revealing a person's brain’s state of regulatory activity on the time scale of seconds. The EEG does not reveal one's actual thoughts, but does provide information concerning contexts in which thinking occurs (e.g. states of arousal). A predominant feature of the EEG is rhythmic activity. Recent findings in the neurosciences indicate that this may be the means by which the brain maintains continuity of state.
A Quantitative EEG evaluation (QEEG) involves sampling brain electrical activity from several (usually 19) electrode sites on the scalp. Obtained data then are submitted to a computer program which quantifies (assigns numeric measures to) many aspects, or features, of the EEG wave forms and compares them to a normative database to determine which, if any, deviate significantly from average for the client’s age.
While some neurotherapists are willing to proceed immediately with treatment, it is our policy at Sterlingworth to wait until initial QEEG results are analyzed before starting. Since results from the QEEG will be used to guide specific aspects of treatment, we feel that proceeding without such guidance would be somewhat similar to a surgeon proceeding to cut without having prior x-ray information.
NF2 expands on the capabilities of traditional neurofeedback with a full range of new advances; bringing to bear the next generation of EEG brain imaging and training tools. In the hands of a good clinician it is the ultimate brain training toolkit.
Using a full 19 sensor cap, the clinician is able to train any number of areas together (as opposed to individual surface areas with NF1). By using a medical research database (Z-score) and deep brain source imaging (LoRETA), NF2 can directly train entire brain networks; targeting overall electrical activity (amplitude), brain connectivity (coherence), processing speed (phase), and more.
This precision training of NF2 makes for a staggering increase in speed and efficacy – results that once took 20 hours of brain training we now see in a dozen half hour sessions. This is all made possible by more advanced imaging capability – if you can detect it, you can train it. Better imaging equals better results. Better targeting means better reliability.
For clinicians, being able to see exactly what is going on over the entire brain at all times is a real advantage, and by integrating research software the clinician can map, track, and keep the training entirely up to date.
NF2 neurofeedback takes more skill and experience to operate, and the equipment required runs at a good twenty times the cost of basic equipment. Hence, sessions usually cost about a third more than for traditional neurofeedback – however one requires far fewer sessions to see results.
Depending on your insurance plan, some companies will cover EEG biofeedback (Neurofeedback) training. At the Sterlingworth Center, we do not bill insurance companies but will provide you with a billing invoice to file if your insurance will cover neurofeedback.
In regard to interaction of medications (legal or illegal) which a client may be taking, there is wide agreement within the field of neurofeedback that some medications can impede treatment progress. In our experience this has been especially true after several training sessions. In such cases it is not unusual to have had progressive improvement to a point where progress levels off or even regresses.
At such times, if the client is on medications (and there have been no new environmental sources of stress which might account for this), it is considered time to have the client or parents consult the prescribing physician regarding the possibility of modifying medication dosages. This is why it is especially important that clients (or their parents) be aware of this possibility, and, ideally, discuss it with prescribing physician(s) ahead of time. Otherwise, continuing neurotherapy after such a point has been reached may be somewhat analogous to trying to “row upstream”, i.e., the medication dosage may be inhibiting further progress.
There is widespread agreement that permanent, negative side effects very rarely, if ever, occur. Often during training a client will complain of being tired, which is natural given that “exercising the brain”, as with physical exercise, can be tiring. Occasionally clients will complain of headache, being dizzy or “feeling strange” during or following a training session. When the latter occurs, it actually may be a “side effect” of treatment progress; that is “change” can “feel strange”. All such experiences should be reported immediately to the neurotherapist for further exploration of severity, etc.
However, in practically all cases such symptoms do not last more than a few hours at most, and do not occur again, especially if the therapist adjusts aspects of the training which may have been their source. This is not meant to imply that there cannot be significant negative side effects—only that they very rarely are reported. In Dr. Evans’ work with neurotherapists and neurotherapy over a twenty year period he has heard of less than ten reports of persisting serious side effects, and has witnessed none.