One thing that most people don’t know is that the brain has two systems: A Chemical System and an Electric System.
The Chemical System is what people are most familiar. Serotonin is almost a house-hold name thanks to Prozac and pharmaceuticals. The neurons release in specific amounts which trigger the release of hormones and chemicals like Serotonin, Dopamine, Cortisol and so on.
The Electric System is what happens when one neuron speaks to another neuron. When one neuron sends a message through the dendrite to the next neuron, an electric-type charge is produced. This charge from one neuron to the next neuron is actually measurable through the scalp. There is slow movement and fast movement and this movement is measured in Hertz. The slow movement is associated with Delta Brain Waves, which are 1-3 Hz while the fastest measurable movement is a Gamma Brain Wave which is 30 Hz and higher.
The brain is able to be measured using a variety of techniques. The CAT scan of the brain looks at the basic structure of the brain but is not very detailed. The MRI is a much more detailed picture of the structure and brain tissue. Both of these are pictures and can not tell actual blood flow or brainwave activity. The EEG looks at the brain form activity of the brain while an fMRI measures the blood flow throughout the brain.
Neurotherapy and Trauma Center of Utah uses a qEEG to measure the brainwave activity throughout the brain. The qEEG is much less expensive than a full EEG and can provide different details than an EEG alone can provide. The qEEG actually quantifies the data into microvolt readings that can then be compared to a normative database. The EEG does not convert the raw data into measured microvolts and brainwave formations. The database helps us to identify differences between the clients brainwave patterns and healthy brainwave patterns to help identify problem areas. The qEEG is not to be used as a stand alone for diagnosis purposes, but can help identify mental health and learning disabilities with the use of other assessments. The qEEG only measures brainwave activity, similar to how a heart monitor measures the flow of blood from the heart, but does not change the blood flow. Here’s a movie about the qEEG Brain Scan.
Once the brainwave patterns are identified and compared to the normative database, training recommendations can be made. The training that is done by Neurotherapy and Trauma Center of Utah is non-invasive and utilizes positive rewards. The training protocol has EEG sensors placed on the scalp that measure the brainwave activity of specific regions of the brain. The sensors are connected to the computer and when the computer senses that a healthy (pre-programmed) brainwave is formed, the computer produces a reward sound. The reward sound is repeated over a series of 15-20 minutes and new neuron pathways are formed. This training is done on average for 20-40 sessions or more, based on severity of symptoms.
The traditional neurofeedback training does not provide electrical stimulation of the brain. The equipment merely records the activity of the brain and rewards healthy patterns. These patterns become reinforced and strengthened over time, until the brain is naturally using the healthier pattern independent of the training.
Watch for upcoming information about how neurofeedback works!
The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or provide medical advice. Clients should consult with their primary provider before beginning discontinuing or reducing any medications or services.