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Neurofeedback: Re-shaping the brain by applied brain plasticity

Neurofeedback: Re-shaping the brain by applied brain plasticity

The brain is an information processing machine adjusting itself to the environment. Information processing can be defined as reducing uncertainty. It has been suggested that the brain developed from an evolutionary point of view once living creatures started moving around in a changing and thus uncertain environment. 

Therefore it can be proposed that the primary purpose of having a brain (and critical for survival) is to reduce uncertainty (about the environment) by processing external (and internal) information. Perception can be seen as Bayesian inference, where an intention driven prediction is actively looked for in the environment. This prediction is then updated by what the senses extract from the environment. The percept itself is an emerging property of a network activation, processing the information at different oscillation frequencies. In pathology, symptoms can be conceived of as emergent properties of parallel, dynamically changing but overlapping networks as part of a complex adaptive system. Using the brain’s adaptive characteristics can be advantageous in retraining the brain by reshaping its networks.

This is the purpose of neurofeedback, applying operant conditioning by interfering with the brain’s Bayesian updating mechanisms. Thus a conceptual model can help understand what neurofeedback does. This model sees delta activity as controlling basic homeostatic activity and a carrier wave for higher oscillation frequencies. Theta is a carrier wave integrating beta and gamma activity by theta-beta and theta gamma nesting. The beta and gamma activity is locally restricted in distributed areas. Theta therefore encodes memory and theta/beta coupling, allowing memory based predictions of future events/stimuli. In order to update the prediction, alpha is used as a scanning and attention mechanism sampling the environment for salient information.

The prediction error or change is encoded in gamma. Thus correct predictions about the environment will be encoded by beta activity, which therefore represents a status quo, whereas wrong predictions or insufficient input from the environment will be represented by beta/gamma. Thus neurofeedback attempts to modulate these oscillatory networks, thereby normalizing predictions, attention to internal or external stimuli, or processing of prediction errors.

Areas of Interest / Categories: ANSA 2014, Neurobiology, Neurofeedback, Neuroplasticity, Treatment

ANSA 2014

Case Studies with LORETA and Surface Z Score Neurofeedback Neurotherapy

ERPs: the what, where, why and how of event-related electrical potentials

Neuroplasticity and Nonlinear Dynamics of Cerebral Development

The size and complexity of the nervous system makes it unlikely that changes in a single synapse result in significant changes in the behaviour of an interconnected neural network. Significant changes in neural network behaviour require changes in populations of synapses, defined as multiple synaptic modifications occurring simultaneously at multiple sites. The goal of the presentation is to present a neural network model of human cerebral ontogenesis and to use the model to explain the development of human EEG coherence over the postnatal period from 1.5 to 16 years of age.

Biochemical Imbalances that present as Mental Health Disorders

Functional Neurology

Mechanisms of neuron selection and synchronization and why Psychiatry cannot afford to be Neurophobic

LORETA Z Score training for those with learning disabilities

Dr Natalie Challis has found that effective treatment of Neurobehavioural disorders require a 4 pillared approach: Brain – QEEG and an individualised Loreta Neurofeedback protocol, Body – The clinical application of functional neurology focuses on regulating the activity of the brain, which stimulates changes throughout the nervous system, Behaviour – Working with an educational specialist, and a psychologist, to reinforce the neurological change into behaviour and Balance – Both the gut and brain originate early in embryogenesis from the same clump of tissue, which divides during fetal development.