Archive for the ‘Biofeedback’ Category


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.


Sean Casey’s Neurofeedback Story

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

At this ISNR Conference the audience got to hear about the training directly from the person involved, Sean Casey, in a joint presentation with Leslie Coates and Wes Sime.For a number of years now I have been hearing from Leslie Coates in Florida about his work with a top-rated hitter in baseball. For reasons of client confidentiality, I never had a name to go with the story. When reporters would ask us about sports applications, the best story of all had to remain somewhat amorphous. At this year’s ISNR Conference the audience got to hear about the training directly from the person involved, Sean Casey, in a joint presentation with Leslie Coates and Wes Sime.

Sean Casey started out auspiciously in baseball, with a batting average of 0.461 in college at the University of Richmond. He was drafted into the Major Leagues by the Cincinnati Reds ten years ago, and soon after a promising start he was hit in the face by a ball he wasn’t expecting. The bones around the eye socket were broken, and although he tried to keep playing, his batting average hit bottom: 0/30. He was sent back to the minors, where he connected with sports psychologist Wes Sime, with whom he worked for two years.


The Crisis in Health Care

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

There is ongoing talk about whether too much is being spent on health care, while there is no such discussion about other items of social expenditure. Health care is going to be a key growth engine for our economy going forward, regardless of anything that may be done in the near term.When health care was last dealt with in 1993, a reform proposal was sent to Congress that promised to restructure health care. But the existing interest groups managed to kill the proposal. Now that all of the stake holders are at the table in the latest effort to reform health care, it is guaranteed that nothing radically new will make its way into the final bill. Only incremental fixes will be tolerated, and only under condition that the existing interest groups will not be harmed. Yes, it is heart-warming that the AMA, big PhRMA, and the insurance industry are all on board with the reform effort, but that also means that the outcome will be well within their comfort zone.

Even the proposal to complement the insurance-based system with a government plan is seen as a program-stopper. When it comes right down to it, the insurance companies really don’t want to compete against the government-run system, and it’s clearly not because governments can’t run health care. They are doing so everywhere else in the civilized world, and doing it more cheaply and better than we are. Our government is also doing it in Medicare, and it’s doing a darn good job of it under the current constraints. If the current insurance-based system is to remain the model, why don’t we ask, just for the sake of argument, what would happen if we have them take over education as well.


Neurofeedback for the Aging Brain

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

The movement toward healthy aging not only promises to increase the return on that investment, but it also gives hope of making inroads into the cost of health maintenance itself.The near-win of Tom Watson at the British Open Golf Tournament at the age of 59 gives us the impetus to address the issue of healthy aging. Everywhere the elderly are sticking around, in careers, in positions of power, and even in sports where youthful eyeballs, strength, and stamina confer an advantage. The present concern about the looming health care crisis, however, focuses us ever on the other part of the spectrum, the gradually deteriorating health status of the elderly. Our present system of health care seems to do well at keeping people alive, but often with very little quality of life. With an ever growing contingent of the elderly, the costs keep creeping up, but the return on our societal investment keeps diminishing. The movement toward healthy aging not only promises to increase the return on that investment, but it also gives hope of making inroads into the cost of health maintenance itself. Read on.

In our current orientation in medicine, the tendency is to regard certain symptoms as a natural part of aging and then to adopt a policy of “watchful waiting,” particularly when we don’t have a ready remedy in any event. The same passivity, however, afflicts the research community. As the cartoon says, “Not only is there no cure, but there isn’t even a race for a cure.” This might be defensible if it weren’t for the fact that ignoring some issues just sets the table for worse to come. Further, some emerging health problems are quite optional, as we shall see.


Florence Wald

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

The death of Florence Wald at the age of 91 is a moment to reflect on the extraordinary change she has worked as a pioneer of hospice care. As a Dean of the School of Nursing at Yale, Wald was troubled by the exclusive focus on cures, with little regard for the wishes of the patient or his or her family about ongoing care. She became acquainted with St. Christopher’s, the first hospice in England that was established by pioneer Cicely Saunders. After quitting her position and spending time at St. Christopher’s, she then established the first hospice in the United States in 1971, which in time became the model for hospices everywhere.

Wald had a larger vision, however. “Hospice care for the terminally ill is the end piece of how to care for patients from birth on,” she wrote. It is this vision that needs to be carried forward, and that has particular implications for us in neurofeedback. In hospice care we have a more balanced view of the needs of the patient. The focus is on maximizing the quality of life rather than mere avoidance of death. It involves the family fully, and relies on home care as much as possible. In this setting, there is a softer boundary between the care givers and the care consumers. (more…)

Northeast Regional Biofeedback Society Fall Conference

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Northeast Regional Biofeedback Society Fall ConferenceThe program of the Northeast Regional Biofeedback Society Fall Conference, convening on the grounds of the former Women’s adjunct college of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, quite possibly pointed the way to our near-term future, namely the mutual accommodation of the biofeedback and neurofeedback perspectives. The one-day conference was preceded by an all-day seminar on Heart Rate Variability (HRV) training, conducted by Paul Lehrer, Bronya and Evgeny Vaschillo, and Maria Karavidas.

Ever since I first heard of the renaissance of HRV training on the basis of the pioneering Russian work in that area, I have been starting off the discussion of neurofeedback in our training courses with an introduction to HRV training. It illustrates a number of concepts that carry over into our work. It was a relief to hear that the essential concepts have only become even more firmly established over recent years. (more…)


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