The Biofeedback Association of South Africa
Influence of a 30-Day Slow-Paced Breathing Intervention Compared to Social Media Use on Subjective Sleep Quality and Cardiac Vagal Activity
Posted on: 2019-11-25 15:36:03Breathing techniques are part of traditional relaxation methods; however, their influence on psychophysiological variables related to sleep is still unclear. Consequently, the aim of this paper was to investigate the influence of a 30-day slow-paced breathing intervention compared to social media use on subjective sleep quality and cardiac vagal activity (CVA, operationalized via high-frequency heart rate variability). Healthy participants (n = 64, 33 male, 31 female, M = 22.11, SD = 3.12) were randomly allocated to an experimental or control group. In the experimental group, they had to perform slow-paced breathing for 15 min each evening across a 30-day period. This was administered through a smartphone application. The control group used social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp) for the same duration. The night before and after the intervention, their CVA was assessed via a light portable Electrocardiogram (ECG) device, and they had to fill out the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index questionnaire. Results showed that in comparison to the use of social media, the slow-paced breathing technique improved subjective sleep quality and increased overnight CVA, while a tendency was observed for morning awakening CVA. Slow-paced breathing appears a promising cost-effective technique to improve subjective sleep quality and cardiovascular function during sleep in young healthy individuals.
The Vagus Nerve Can Predict and Possibly Modulate Non-Communicable Chronic Diseases: Introducing a Neuroimmunological Paradigm to Public Health
Posted on: 2019-11-25 15:30:19Global burden of diseases (GBD) includes non-communicable conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These share important behavioral risk factors (e.g., smoking, diet) and pathophysiological contributing factors (oxidative stress, inflammation and excessive sympathetic activity). This article wishes to introduce to medicine and public health a new paradigm to predict, understand, prevent and possibly treat such diseases based on the science of neuro-immunology and specifically by focusing on vagal neuro-modulation. Vagal nerve activity is related to frontal brain activity which regulates unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Epidemiologically, high vagal activity, indexed by greater heart rate variability (HRV), independently predicts reduced risk of GBD and better prognosis in GBD. Biologically, the vagus nerve inhibits oxidative stress, inflammation and sympathetic activity (and associated hypoxia). Finally, current non-invasive methods exist to activate this nerve for neuro-modulation, and have promising clinical effects. Indeed, preliminary evidence exists for the beneficial effects of vagal nerve activation in diabetes, stroke, myocardial infarction and possibly cancer. Thus, we propose to routinely implement measurement of HRV to predict such GBD in populations, and to test in randomized controlled trials effects of non-invasive vagal nerve activation on prevention and treatment of GBD, reflecting possible neuro-modulation of health
Graph Theory, EEG and Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Posted on: 2019-10-15 16:23:15Graph theoretic measures applied to EEG have shed insight into differences in brain networks associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia. Here are some of them. In the previous blog post, we discussed some fundamentals of graph theory and how graph theoretic measures can be used to gain insights into the properties of networks. To recap with a simple example, with EEG recordings we could construct a network where the nodes are the EEG sensors and the links between the nodes can represent connections between them, as obtained using functional connectivity. In this blogpost, we will focus on how graph theoretic measures computed using such functional networks, have been used to shed light on some neuropsychiatric disorders.
Meta-analysis of EEG biofeedback in treating epilepsy.
Posted on: 2019-10-13 19:54:07Abstract About one third of patients with epilepsy do not benefit from medical treatment. For these patients electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback is a viable alternative. EEG biofeedback, or neurofeedback, normalizes or enhances EEG activity by means of operant conditioning. While dozens of scientific reports have been published on neurofeedback for seizure disorder, most have been case series with too few subjects to establish efficacy. The purpose of this paper is to meta-analyze existing research on neurofeedback and epilepsy. We analyzed every EEG biofeedback study indexed in MedLine, PsychInfo, and PsychLit databases between 1970 and 2005 on epilepsy that provided seizure frequency change in response to feedback. Sixty-three studies have been published, 10 of which provided enough outcome information to be included in a meta-analysis. All studies consisted of patients whose seizures were not controlled by medical therapies, which is a very important factor to keep in mind when interpreting the results. Nine of 10 studies reinforced sensorimotor rhythms (SMR) while 1 study trained slow cortical potentials (SCP). All studies reported an overall mean decreased seizure incidence following treatment and 64 out of 87 patients (74%) reported fewer weekly seizures in response to EEG biofeedback. Treatment effect was mean log (post/pre) where pre and post represent number of seizures per week prior to treatment and at final evaluation, respectively. Due to prevalence of small groups, Hedges's g was computed for effect size. As sample heterogeneity was possible (Q test, p=.18), random effects were assumed and the effect of intervention was -0.233, SE = 0.057, z = -4.11, p<.001. Based on this meta-analysis, EEG operant conditioning was found to produce a significant reduction on seizure frequency. This finding is especially noteworthy given the patient group, individuals who had been unable to control their seizures with medical treatment.
The “online brain” how the Internet may be changing our cognition
Posted on: 2019-10-07 12:58:46The impact of the Internet across multiple aspects of modern society is clear. However, the influence that it may have on our brain structure and functioning remains a central topic of investigation. Here we draw on recent psychological, psychiatric and neuroimaging findings to examine several key hypotheses on how the Internet may be changing our cognition. Specifically, we explore how unique features of the online world may be influencing: a) attentional capacities, as the constantly evolving stream of online information encourages our divided attention across multiple media sources, at the expense of sustained concentration; b) memory processes, as this vast and ubiquitous source of online information begins to shift the way we retrieve, store, and even value knowledge; and c) social cognition, as the ability for online social settings to resemble and evoke real-world social processes creates a new interplay between the Internet and our social lives, including our self-concepts and self-esteem. Overall, the available evidence indicates that the Internet can produce both acute and sustained alterations in each of these areas of cognition, which may be reflected in changes in the brain. However, an emerging priority for future research is to determine the effects of extensive online media usage on cognitive development in youth, and examine how this may differ from cognitive outcomes and brain impact of uses of Internet in the elderly. We conclude by proposing how Internet research could be integrated into broader research settings to study how this unprecedented new facet of society can affect our cognition and the brain across the life course.Key words: Internet, cognition, attention, memory, social structures, social media, addiction, virtual reality(World Psychiatry 2019;18:119–129)
Neural Processing of Dynamic Animated Social Interactions in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A High-Density Electroencephalography Study
Posted on: 2019-08-27 15:28:27Background: Atypical neural processing of social visual information contributes to impaired social cognition in autism spectrum disorder. However, evidence for early developmental alterations in neural processing of social contingencies is scarce. Most studies in the literature have been conducted in older children and adults. Here, we aimed to investigate alterations in neural processing of social visual information in children with autism spectrum disorder compared to age-matched typically developing peers. Methods: We used a combination of 129-channel electroencephalography and high-resolution eye-tracking to study differences in the neural processing of dynamic cartoons containing human-like social interactions between 14 male children with autism spectrum disorder and 14 typically developing male children, aged 2–5 years. Using a microstate approach, we identified four prototypical maps in both groups and compared the temporal characteristics and inverse solutions (activation of neural sources) of these maps between groups. Results: Inverse solutions of the group maps that were most dominant during free viewing of the dynamic cartoons indicated decreased prefrontal and cingulate activation, impaired activation of the premotor cortex, and increased activation of parietal, temporal, occipital, and cerebellar regions in children with autism spectrum disorder compared to their typically developing peers. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that impairments in brain regions involved in processing social contingencies embedded in dynamic cartoons are present from an early age in autism spectrum disorder. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate neural processing of social interactions of children with autism spectrum disorder using dynamic semi-naturalistic stimuli.
How Localized are Language Brain Areas? A Review of Brodmann Areas Involvement in Oral Language
Posted on: 2019-08-22 15:16:23Abstract The interest in understanding how language is “localized” in the brain has existed for centuries. Departing from seven meta-analytic studies of functional magnetic resonance imaging activity during the performance of different language activities, it is proposed here that there are two different language networks in the brain: first, a language reception/understanding system, including a “core Wernicke’s area” involved in word recognition (BA21, BA22, BA41, and BA42), and a fringe or peripheral area (“extended Wernicke’s area:” BA20, BA37, BA38, BA39, and BA40) involved in language associations (associating words with other information); second, a language production system (“Broca’s complex:” BA44, BA45, and also BA46, BA47, partially BA6-mainly its mesial supplementary motor area-and extending toward the basal ganglia and the thalamus). This paper additionally proposes that the insula (BA13) plays a certain coordinating role in interconnecting these two brain language systems.
EEG Resting-State Large-Scale Brain Network Dynamics Are Related to Depressive Symptoms
Posted on: 2019-08-13 16:49:08Functional abnormalities in large-scale brain networks include hypoconnectivity within the frontoparietal network (7) and the reward circuitry, centered around the ventral striatum (11). Reduced functional connectivity in first-episode drug-naïve patients with MDD was also recently reported between the frontoparietal and cingulo-opercular networks (12). Moreover, hyperconnectivity of the default mode network (13) and amygdala hyperconnectivity with the affective salience network (14, 15) were shown to be characteristic features of depression.
Doctor Finds Novel Way to Unravel Alzheimer's: Case study reveals how cognitive decline can be reversed
Posted on: 2019-08-06 21:26:05Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, eventually leads to the inability to carry out even the most basic of bodily functions, such as swallowing or walking. It is ultimately fatal, as conventional treatment options are few and universally ineffective. Dr. Dale Bredesen, professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, and author of “The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline,” has identified a number of molecular mechanisms at work in Alzheimer’s, and created a novel program called ReCODE to treat and reverse it.8
Alzheimer and Dementia Articles
Posted on: 2019-07-23 08:57:18
Various articles related to Dementia and Alzheimer`s
1) Larger drug trials that intervene earlier needed for Alzheimer`s disease
2) Impaired learning linked to family history of Alzheimer`s
3) Alzheimer`s Gene Could Have Cognitive Impacts in Childhood
4) Another Alzheimer`s Drug Bites the Dust
5) Apathy: The forgotten symptom of dementia
6) Exercise offers protection against Alzheimer`s
7) Risk and progression of Alzheimer`s disease differs by sex
8) Lifestyle Changes Can Offset Genetic Dementia Risk
9) Healthy lifestyle may offset genetic risk of dementia
10) Coping strategy therapy for family dementia carers works long-term
REM sleep silences the siren of the brain: Restless REM sleep a risk for many mental disorders?
Posted on: 2019-07-23 08:54:33
Something frightening or unpleasant does not go unnoticed. In our brain, the so-called limbic circuit of cells and connections immediately becomes active. First and foremost, such experiences activate the amygdala. In order for the brain to function properly, the siren must also be switched off again. For this, a restful REM sleep, the part of the sleep with the most vivid dreams, turns out to be essential.
Diving Deeper Into the Metabolism of the Autistic Brain
Posted on: 2019-07-23 08:55:12
Skoltech scientists looked into the differences in the concentrations of multiple metabolites in healthy humans and individuals suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), gaining a deeper insight into the molecular processes that take place in the brain of autistic individuals. The results of the study were published in Nature`s Communications Biology journal.
After concussion, biomarkers in the blood may help predict recovery time
Posted on: 2019-07-23 08:55:57
A study of high school and college football players suggests that biomarkers in the blood may have potential use in identifying which players are more likely to need a longer recovery time after concussion.
A Concussion Can Cost You Your Job
Posted on: 2019-07-23 08:56:47
A Concussion Can Cost You Your Job
Comprehensive NF Bibliography by C Hammond
Posted on: 2019-06-04 21:51:29Objective guideline for evaluating the efficacy of NF Treatments, reference to articles in different diagnostic categories.
Investigating the Efficacy of an Individualized Alpha/Delta Neurofeedback Protocol in the Treatment of Chronic Tinnitus
Posted on: 2019-04-01 09:18:15First attempts have demonstrated that the application of alpha/delta neurofeedback in the treatment of chronic tinnitus leads to a reduction of symptoms at the group level. However, recent research also suggests that chronic tinnitus is a decidedly heterogeneous phenomenon, one that requires treatment of distinct subgroups or even on an individual level. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate an individually adjusted alpha/delta neurofeedback protocol. Following previous studies, the delta band fixed between 3 and 4 Hz was chosen as the frequency for inhibition. However, unlike the previous studies, the frequency range for the rewarded alpha band was not fixed between 8 and 12 Hz but rather individually determined according to each patient’s specific alpha peak frequency (IAF). Twenty-six chronic tinnitus patients participated in 15 weekly neurofeedback training sessions and extensive pre- and post-tests, as well as follow-up testing 3 and 6 months after training. The main outcome measures were tinnitus-related distress measured with the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and Tinnitus Questionnaire (TQ), tinnitus loudness, and pre- and post-training resting-state EEG activity in trained frequency bands. In Results, the neurofeedback protocol led to a significant reduction of tinnitus-related distress and tinnitus loudness. While distress remained on a low level even 6 months after the completion of training, loudness returned to baseline levels in the follow-up period. In addition, resting-state EEG activity showed an increase in the trained alpha/delta ratio over the course of the training. This ratio increase was related to training-induced changes of tinnitus-related distress as measured with TQ, mainly due to increases in the alpha frequency range. In sum, this study confirms the alpha/delta neurofeedback as a suitable option for the treatment of chronic tinnitus and represents a first step towards the development of individual neurofeedback protocols. This clinical trial was registered online at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02383147) and kofam.ch (SNCTP000001313).
Depression and Brain Networks - Volume 24, Issue 11
Posted on: 2019-03-19 15:38:25Special Issue on Imaging Connectomics in Depression - various research articles (Open Source)
Brain Rhythms of Pain
Posted on: 2019-03-06 16:34:09Neuronal oscillations and synchrony at different frequencies provide evidence on information flow across brain areas. The flexible relationship between oscillations at different frequencies and pain indicates flexible routing of information flow in the cerebral processing of pain.