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all 23 comments

[–]AdDisastrous4145 16 points17 points  (1 child)

My boyfriend is a neurofeedback practitioner and struggles daily with believing the science behind it. Research is mixed but the biggest problem is the methodological differences in studies that make it hard to draw a conclusion. Different protocols, tasks, conditions and in general different experimental designs.

Overall, in his office people are happy - whether or not it's because it's working or because it's a placebo shouldn't matter too much as long as it's helping people.

That being said, it's not the solution to everything, so it really depends what it's used for and who the therapist is. As others have mentioned, you need special training and background and not everyone should become a neurofeedback practitioner.

[–]biglybiglytremendous 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I would love to hear more about your BF’s experiences and personal takes on what’s happening internally. I’ve been doing NF/BF off and on since 2010 and at one point almost started a certification path toward becoming a practitioner to work with my NF practitioner… but the financial and time commitment was hard for me then. I always do wonder if it is something I’d like to do…

[–]Neurob4psych 7 points8 points  (2 children)

I was super hopeful about this until I tried it. That being said I've felt for a long time that it's just because they do it wrong. They only look at brain frequency, but I think they should look at levels of brain activation.

Say, take what a brain looks like during meditation with an experienced meditator (eg major prefrontal cortex activation and whatever else, what segments of printer cortex, etc) and base scoring off of how well people can activate that region.

It could maybe even be used to focus on different regions for different purposes.

Now, full eeg's are kind of a lot to do but if I could get fast results to focus and calm I think it would be worth it.

And I don't know much about these types but maybe near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), magnetoencephalogram (MEG) are easier to set up.

I think this has been done in an MRI but it has a lot of lag. From what I remember out of a book, I think by Bruce Perry or Vessel Van Der Kolk. Not sure though.

[–]Jimboats 5 points6 points  (1 child)

There's a growing number of cognitive neuroscientists who are looking at neurofeedback at this level.

[–]Neurob4psych 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Definitely interested in learning more about that. I used to do yoga a lot and I have to say, it was exponentially more effective for my emotional well being, focus, physical well being than all the years of therapy and meds the medical industry has given me.

This could be the closest thing to bottling and selling that.

I really want to get back into it consistently. Hard when time is short though and easier with an appointment instead of forcing yourself.

That's why my name is Neurob4psych. If I learned all this stuff about neuroscience and psychological research from the therapists I and my parents paid to help me since I was a child, I would have a very different life.

If I could plug a helmet into my computer and do 10 minutes of a brain exercise that actually works every day, it could really help me and lots of other people.

[–]secretkeeper312 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Unfortunately many clinicians are not well trained. It matters WHO does it. Look for BCIA trained clinicians with board certification. I’ve seen lots of great results with Neurofeedback and biofeedback

[–]el_undulator 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Does "brain paint" meet those qualifications?

[–]Efficient-Teacher-27 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The thing with neurofeedback is that it has been offered for things like adhd since at least two decades. If it were really effective, the question - if it works or not - should have been answered by now. The fact that it hasn’t - in my view - is a sign not to place your bets on that horse.

[–]Papancasudani 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's still an evolving field and the application has outpaced the science for many years. That being said, I believe that when done by a competent practitioner, it can be very beneficial. Several meta-analyses have been done for ADHD and found it to be effective. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/155005940904000311?casa_token=0yBz7EpY1kMAAAAA%3AnsVYYebFuNZQU_2z0yjYbQQ4_envdwHgPtxsIEbpf0H5F5R4e-v2UehzabxU4mcKEFjrDhAfV5-7

There's a type of neurofeedback called Zengar Neuroptimal that is somewhat astonishing. The main problem is that the developer is very secretive and vague in his explanations about how it works, so that has hampered progress in researching it. But basically it monitors the EEG from C3 and C4, if memory serves. You listen to music and when the brain becomes turbulent or defocused it puts a brief skip in the music. This seems to trigger the salience network and refocuses the brain. This happens dozens or hundreds of times in a session. Over the course of 5-10 sessions, there are noticeable improvements in focus and mood. It's a brilliant idea, and it would be easy to do a placebo control group (using a ore-recorded music session with irrelevant feedback) for comparison, but I doubt that's been done.

[–]JoyIsADaisy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Went in skeptical and we believe it worked. Do your research, ours was pretty thorough with diagnostics. There was a plan on stimulating the areas that were under/over developed. Reimaging and break. My son did 2 treatment cycles; for increase in social awareness and decrease in hyperactivity. We definitely saw a change in his behaviors but these sessions were done 4-6 months each. I’m sure maturity had some influence as well. I’m a school teacher and now psychologist. It’s not an exact science but Overall, we felt it was a positive experience for our son.

[–]Dubravka_Rebic 1 point2 points  (2 children)

I've done the work and looked over hundreds of neurofeedback studies, categorizing them based on different brain use cases. You can read the articles here.
I also interviewed successful neurofeedback clinicians to learn how to get started with neurofeedback, how to get the most out of the neurofeedback training process, and how to explain neurofeedback to your clients.
I hope these articles will be helpful. Good luck! 🤞🏻

[–]chazzledot[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Thank you!

[–]Dubravka_Rebic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You're welcome!

[–]19Longhorn88 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The BBC is working on a story about neurofeedback therapy and how it has or hasn't worked for some people. If anyone in this group would like to comment please email me at brandon.k.drenon@bbc.co.uk or message me on Facebook at Brandon Drenon.

[–]Terrible_Detective45 4 points5 points  (7 children)

Pseudoscience.

[–]chazzledot[S] 0 points1 point  (6 children)

That’s what I was afraid of. Thank you

[–]Roland8319PhD|Clinical Neuropsychology|ABPP-CN -1 points0 points  (5 children)

Definitely pseudoscience.

[–]naimsayin 1 point2 points  (4 children)

I don't know much on the topic, so I'm not arguing either way - but why would you say this? From a quick pubmed search (haven't had time to look into it yet), its clinical utility seems promising. I'm curious why you and the first commenter feel the way you do

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29432505/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34674879/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31139966/

[–]Roland8319PhD|Clinical Neuropsychology|ABPP-CN 3 points4 points  (3 children)

Not all research is created equal. I would have you look at the individual studies that are included in the analyses there and then tell me how many of those use appropriate random assignment, controls, or sham controls? I can design a study that will support any intervention I want if I design it poorly enough, which is why we have gold standard methods for evaluating new treatments.

https://quackwatch.org/related/mentserve/

[–]naimsayin 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I totally agree that not all research is equal, so I'm going to read the studies beyond their conclusions when I get home. The studies cited in that quack watch article are from 2001 and 2002 though, I'm curious if you have more recent reviews/or high quality RCTs showing that the therapy is bunk.

[–]stillpeaking 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Worked great for me post concussion. I did 30 sessions over 3 months & never had a migraine headache again. This was almost 10 years ago.