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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Report on the Annual Conference of the Biofeedback Society of California

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

by Siegfried Othmer, PhD

BSC Conference 2014
T he 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Biofeedback Society of California was an upbeat and rollicking affair. It got underway with a look back at the work of the Menninger group and the Life Sciences Institute by Patricia Norris. Ostensibly the key research objective there had been to study the dimensions of human consciousness, but in fact there was considerable engagement with the use of biofeedback for therapeutic purposes as well. The work with prisoners extended over nine years, and it reached a number of prisons. Support for this work was withdrawn at a time when the State of Kansas was facing a budgetary crisis that caused the cancellation of nearly all rehabilitation programs in the prisons, with the exception of some attention to violent sexual offenders.

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Remediation of PTSD using Infra-Low Frequency Neurofeedback Training

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

EEG Info NewsletterThe careers of the scientist/practitioners in the field have undoubtedly had in common the experience of gradually rising expectations about what is possible to achieve in terms of improved self-regulatory capacity and mental functioning with the aid of neurofeedback. One might have expected some plateauing after a while, a firming up of one’s expectations, but the surprises keep coming and they are consistently on the upside. In our own experience, one of the biggest surprises has been the growing effectiveness of neurofeedback with PTSD, along with the related conditions of developmental trauma and the autism spectrum. All of these conditions had seemed so utterly intractable in the past.

In this newsletter, the focus on PTSD exists not only for its own sake, but also to serve as the best vehicle for the tackling of larger themes. What sets PTSD apart from our clinical work in general is the concentrated effort that has gone into this area by virtue of the great need among our returning veterans. We have attempted to meet this need through a non-profit entity, Homecoming for Veterans (hc4v.org), which has attracted even international participation among clinicians. As a result of these collective efforts, a large database of clinical results has been gathered that is now available for “data-mining.”

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Dysponesis

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

The authors refer to errors in energy expenditure that interfere with nervous system function, i.e. the notion of inefficiency, resulting in reduction of the organisms productivity and disturbance of its emotional reactivity, ideation, and central regulation of various organs of the body.The Dysponesis Hypothesis
We are always casting about for better ways to frame the work that we do in order to make it comprehensible to other professionals and lay persons. Sometime it helps to dip into past history to see how others wrestled with the same issue. One notion that has threaded its way through is that of simple inefficiency in brain regulatory function, which naturally leads to the suggestion that our training improves regulatory effectiveness through promoting higher efficiency in the regulatory mechanisms. It’s a simple concept with a certain amount of face validity, and also offers the virtue of vagueness where we are still uncertain about the details. Another slightly different theme is that the brain sometimes works against itself, that its efforts to right the ship are sometimes counter-productive.

The term dysponesis encompasses a variety of dysfunctions in which the CNS operates counter to the desired end-result. In considering the possible utility of this term in modern parlance, I am going back to an article written by George Whatmore and Daniel Kohli back in 1968 (Behavioral Science, 13(2), 102-124, (1968)), and reprinted as a book chapter in the text Mind/Body Integration (Erik Peper, Sonia Ancoli, and Michelle Quinn, editors), which was first published in 1979. The authors were two physicians in private practice.

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Neurofeedback, Global Warming, and the Financial Collapse

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

To someone who has been educated in the sciences it is somewhat jarring to see so many people blithely dismiss the alarming evidence in favor of global warming. And yet when it comes to neurofeedback, we are quite comfortable flying in the face of mainstream thinking and simply dismissing the mainstream position (of skepticism with respect to neurofeedback) as essentially meaningless.To someone who has been educated in the sciences it is somewhat jarring to see so many people blithely dismiss the alarming evidence in favor of global warming. And yet when it comes to neurofeedback, we are quite comfortable flying in the face of mainstream thinking and simply dismissing the mainstream position (of skepticism with respect to neurofeedback) as essentially meaningless. In one case, we regard scientific consensus as highly significant; in the other, we hold it in utter contempt. How can one justify both positions simultaneously?

The answer lies in the nature of the evidence for both propositions. What makes the case in favor of global warming so persuasive is that it is supported by so many independent lines of evidence, all of which collectively support a model that in turn is also well-supported, namely the key influence of atmospheric CO2 concentrations on global temperatures. Much of this evidence came to exist in the course of research that was unrelated to the issue of global warming. Add to the known influence of CO2 that of many other gaseous effluents, which can be tens to thousands of times worse in terms of their greenhouse effect, and we have ourselves a rather dangerous stew.

For evidence, one needs to look at those changes that average over short-term fluctuations, and one needs to look at regions where the effects are expected to be largest and to show up first: the arctic. Already we know that arctic summer sea ice is running at less than half of what it was half a century ago. Ominous signs of the decay of ice sheets are also seen in the Antarctic. Supporting evidence is then furnished by such findings as arctic flowers blooming earlier, butterflies moving their territories northward in England, and birds advancing the calendar on their nesting behavior. Altered composition of phytoplankton in arctic waters indicates that chemical changes have reached the level of biological significance.

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The Enlightenment Returns

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

The Enlightenment Returns: Thus reads the title of an editorial in Science Magazine by Cornell physicist Kurt Gottfried and former head of the NIH Harold Varmus in the March 20 issue. On behalf of the larger scientific community that is breathing a collective sigh of relief, the authors want to acknowledge the new regime in Washington.Thus reads the title of an editorial in Science Magazine by Cornell physicist Kurt Gottfried and former head of the NIH Harold Varmus in the March 20 issue. On behalf of the larger scientific community that is breathing a collective sigh of relief, the authors want to acknowledge the new regime in Washington. Said President Obama: “promoting science isn’t just about providing resources—it is also about protecting free and open inquiry…free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what [scientists] tell us, even when it is inconvenient—especially when it is inconvenient.”

In the President’s Memorandum of Scientific Integrity he called for new standards “designed to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch” and to ensure “that scientific data are never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda.” This is as it should be. It takes care of the “in-house” problem that we had within the Executive branch during the previous Administration, where manipulation and coercion were rampant.

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The Great Divergence

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

It goes without saying that mainstream thinking about neurofeedback to date has been mistaken. The original attempts at replication of Kamiya's work on alpha training for anxiety were misguided in their methodology and in their conclusions. The rejection of Sterman's and Lubar's collective body of work was a blunder of the first magnitude.It goes without saying that mainstream thinking about neurofeedback to date has been mistaken. The original attempts at replication of Kamiya’s work on alpha training for anxiety were misguided in their methodology and in their conclusions. The rejection of Sterman’s and Lubar’s collective body of work was a blunder of the first magnitude. The continued dismissal of the claims of neurofeedback in the face of mounting evidence is indefensible. On the other hand, nothing here really surprises. A paradigm shift of such magnitude will be resisted by the mainstream on all fours. Everything has gone true to the historical pattern with respect to scientific revolutions.

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