Here we see what are some of the more powerful models for humane and effective treatment of dementia. Our hope is to add to these models the use of photobiomodulation and neurofeedback as well as other types of noninvasive and non-drug treatment. Its clear that these facilities are providing an intimate and critically relevant resource that feels like family care for people with dementia.
Our treatment model can help slow or even stop the progression of decline and we now are seeing a reversal of symptoms in some cases. Treatment is twice daily for 5 minutes each and neurofeedback is for 15-20 minutes 3x a week or more. We combine this with the nutritional and advanced functional medical care, e.g., the Bredesen protocol.
Our clinical trials are now showing that the use neurofeedback and combining it with photobiomodulation will likely be a useful treatment addition to the currently available modalities.
Nutritional Psychiatry's time has arrived
The coming of individualized precision medicine and a focus on sustaining wellness is making for an entirely new (and very old) way of thinking about health. I say very old since many of the ancient healing traditions are being recast in the context of our growing insights into the root causes of systemic forms of disease and impairment. Our work at Quietmind has been focused on creating a set of tools and techniques that will allow people to heal themselves and support optimal health in the most efficient and natural ways possible, e.g., proper breathing, brainwave normalization, emotional expression and photobiomodulation. I'll expand on each of these now to frame my way of working with people to resolve current and old issues they may be carrying around since early childhood or earlier.
Proper respiration has a number of dimensions including breathing rate, depth, ratio of oxygen to carbon dioxide and completeness. Paul Lehrer's work on respiratory sinus arrythmia showed that we harmonize our other bodily systems when we maintain 6 breaths a minute (BPM) with inhale/exhale =1 breath. Research sponsored by Palo Alto Health Systems with the Freespira capnometry based respiration training program shows that maintaining 40mm of O2/CO2 with the breathing rate at 6PBM can significantly altern cognitive and emotional functioning, e.g., elimination of panic symptoms after only 30 days of home-based respiration training. Our clients are showing rapid and lasting improvement of their anxiety and panic and PTSD symptoms using this method.
Neurofeedback training offers the opportunity to gain a sense of control of our most basic responses at the level of our central nervous system. Finding new ways of responding to stimulation is not something we do entirely consciously, rather it is a process of providing the brain with information about its own activity that then allows our brain to recalibrate the level of response any particular stimulus requires. This is the core of neuromodulation training, the establishment of more efficient algorithms for how much energy needst to be expended in response to a given stimulus. The more we optimize our capacity for adaptive response we are transforming ourselves in ways that will greatly expand our consciousness and promote optimal health and wellbeing.
We include photobiomodulation (near infrared light therapy) for those people who have suffered any form of brain trauma, depression, anxiety and more and more, infection with Lyme and other tick born illness. The light therapy helps to remediate the tissue-level damage caused by the disease process that depletes oxygen or increase inflammation.
Of course, we must include psychological health here and this requires that we have access to the full range of our feelings and the ability to express them effectively. The work here starts with awareness of feelings and their historical and relational roots. We then work to undo our conscious and unconscious conflicts surrounding the ful and gratifying expression of our emotions and gain a deeper experience of ourselves and our capacity to connect with others.
My colleague John Styffe wrote a very cogent description of the neurofeedback process and I wanted to share it with a bit of annotation that relates to our work at Quietmind Foundation.
The key word is feedback. Information about an individual is fed back to that individual. In the case of neurofeedback, information about the electrical activity, in a person’s brain is fed back to that individual. Human brains produce electricity from the chemical activity/neurons in the brains. This electrical activity can be read or measured by placing sensors on a person’s scalp. This electrical activity is then filtered and amplified and is converted into an animation on a computer. As an individual watches the animation/brain waves that individual begins to learn how to change how they feel or think.
Our brain's electrical activity patterns have been mapped and generally it is known, what parts of the brain are responsible for various functions. A sensor is placed on an area of the scalp close to the part of the brain that is responsible for a function that may be affected and improved. Goals are set and the person then notices what is happening inside them when the goals are being met that produce the desired activity in that area of brain. If the person produces the correct activity then they are rewarded with a sound and or a visual activity on the computer monitor. Quietmind's home training system can control the brightness and volume of the display of the computer so that it doesn't matter what is on the screen as it all can be set up to brighten and dim based on the training goals.
The key aspects of this training is that it is non invasive; nothing is put into the brain. It acts like a mirror and as the person looks at the mirror they can learn how to change how their brain functions. Like all reward-based training, it takes time to establish new patterns of behavior. The changes more often than not are subtle and permanent. In some cases the changes can be almost immediate and dramatic. Changes occur more easily when the brain is primed or supported to make these adaptive changes. Near infrared light stimulation at 810nm and 1068nm enhances the brain's ability to change itself and so we include this type of stimulation in both our office and home-based treatment programs.
For more information on Neurofeedback training at Quietmind Foundation please call 610-940-0488 for a no cost phone consultation.