Chemo Brain and Neurofeedback

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are designed to attack and kill cancer cells.  Unfortunately, in the process of doing so, healthy cells are also often attacked and killed. This is one of the reasons these therapies often create unwanted side effects.

During and after chemotherapy treatment, many cancer patients experience feelings of brain fog, fuzzy thinking, or memory difficulties known as chemo brain. Frequently, the effects of chemo brain continue long after the chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment has ended.  

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What are Brainwaves: How Brainwaves are Measured

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

Brainwaves HealthyOur brainwaves change according to our physical activity, our mood, our thoughts and feelings, and whether we are awake or asleep. Like musicians playing their instruments during a symphony, our brainwaves work together in harmony.

Click here to read part one.

That the brains of mammals produce electrical pulses has been known to science since 1875. Actual recordings of brain waves in an animal were made in 1912. Brain wave activity in the human brain has been studied since 1924, when the first recording of human brain wave activity was made.healthy Brainwaves

Electricity is measured in units of frequency known as hertz. A hertz is defined as one cycle per second and is named for Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, the first person to provide conclusive proof of the existence of electromagnetic waves. An electroencephalograph machine (EEG) measures the brain’s electrical activity.

Brain wave activity originates with the electrical activity of individual neurons communicating together and is happening continuously throughout waking and sleeping. Although we now know the human brain produces seven different electrical brain wave patterns, four basic patterns are the most studied and the most understood.

 Brainwave MeasurementAlpha, Beta, Delta, and Theta

  • All brain wave patterns are active all of the time. However, brain wave patterns vary and dominate depending on level of a person’s activity, concentration, or mood, and whether awake or asleep.
  • Beta is a fast wave. It varies between 12 to 38 hertz depending on our level of activity, concentration and focus, as well as our mood and level of excitement or anxiety. Beta is dominate during our waking hours. Important in activities of problem solving, judgment and decision making, beta waves are essential for healthy waking activity.
  • Alpha waves are also dominate during waking hours, but they are a slower wave of 8 to 12 hertz. Beta takes a lot of energy and the brain needs to relax intermittently. Alpha waves represent the brain’s relaxation or resting state. The brain constantly uses Alpha along with Beta. Alpha occurs when we close our eyes, think quiet thoughts, day dream, meditate, or feel calm. Alpha is important for overall mental coordination, mind/body integration, calmness and alertness, and integration of learning.
  • Theta waves are slow waves of 3 to 8 hertz. These dominate during sleep during deep meditation. Theta reveals our brains withdrawing from the external world to focus within. During Theta, learning and memory record. It is while in Theta that we experience our dreams. Theta is also a healing and regeneration state for the body.Brainwaves Health
  • Delta waves dominate during deep, dreamless sleep. They are slow waves of .5 to 3 hertz. Deep body regeneration and healing occur during Delta. There is complete disengagement from the external world as the brain and body go deeply inward. It is difficult to awaken a person from Delta sleep and children are almost impossible to waken from Delta.

Disruption

As mentioned earlier, our brainwaves work together in harmony, but when there is a disruption of this harmonic condition, there is a disruption in brain function. Brain wave balance is critical to emotional and neurological health. Anxiety disorders, sleep problems, nightmares, autism, impulsive behavior, anger/aggression, depression, chronic nerve pain and spasticity reveal over-arousal of certain brain areas. Scientists attribute under-arousal of certain brain areas to attention deficit, chronic pain and insomnia.

Conditions as tic disorders, epilepsy, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, migraines, sleep apnea, teeth grinding, vertigo, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) reveal instabilities in brain rhythms. Traumatic brain injury(TBI) concussion, stroke, and coma all affect brain wave balance and brain function.

Brainwave AdaptabilityAdaptability

The brain is constantly changing and evolving; constantly creating new neurons.  Neuroplasticity equals adaptability, growth and change. Neuroplasticity allows the brain to heal itself from injury. Due to advances in EEG technology, it is possible to provide feedback to the brain on whether brain waves are in sync.

During neurofeedback, technicians place electrodes on the scalp, attached to specialized EEG machines. These display images on computer screens and generate sounds to detect and measure different brainwaves. The images and sounds provide information, known as feedback, and allow the brain to learn to reharmonize the various brain waves and allow the brain to reregulate and return to harmonic balance.

Our brains determine our emotional states, our perceptions, and our reactions to the world around us. Our brains are complex, magnificent, and mysterious.  We still have much to learn about who we are and how our brains work.


What are Brainwaves?

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

Brain PowerWe are electrical beings. Our bodies produce electricity every second of every day. Our heart beats because of rhythmic, electrical pulses created by specialized cells located within the heart itself. The 100 billion neurons in our brain constantly create electrical pulses every second of every day.

Brain electricity is like a symphony. Our brain creates synchronized electrical pulses generated from masses of neurons communicating with each other. This electrical activity is known as brainwave activity.

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EEG Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback GlendoraChanging the Way the Brain Functions

First, an electroencephalogram, also known as EEG, measures the rhythmic electrical activity of the nerve cells in the brain, known as brainwaves. So, EEG Neurofeedback uses EEG measurement technology to inform patients about brainwave activity. Then, electrical activity in the brain occurs at various frequencies. These frequencies relate to different brain and body functions. Over-or under-production of different frequencies results in difficulties. Potential difficulties include attention and learning, sleeplessness, anxiety, migraines, or more serious conditions — such as epilepsy and coma.

Biofeedback & NeurofeedbackEEG Neurofeedback Glendora

Unfortunately, people confuse Biofeedback and Neurofeedback:

  • Biofeedback uses precise instruments placed on the body to measure physiological activity such as heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. Thus, the instruments gives patients information about physiological activity measurement, or “feedback” about how the person functions. Since the 1970’s, Biofeedback successfully promotes muscle relaxation, eases pain, reduces anxiety, and can reduce blood pressure.
  • Also known as EEG Neurofeedback improves brain function by changing brainwave patterns that are out-of-sync. With Neurofeedback training, a technician places non-invasive, painless sensors —called electrodes— on the surface of the head. The electrodes do not have needles and do not produce electrical current. Thus, unlike Biofeedback, which measures physiological responses, Neurofeedback provides direct information about brainwave activity and function. Most of all, the electrodes amplify and display the brainwave patterns on a computer screen.

Brainwave PatternsDepending on the type of neurofeedback program, patients may see actual brainwave patterns, watch objects move around the screen to “play” video games, or move physical objects as the brainwave activity changes. While on feedback (listening to beeping sounds, watching brainwave patterns, or “playing” games), patients unconsciously learn to change brainwave patterns.

Therefore, the effectiveness of EEG Neurofeedback depends on the immediacy of the feedback. So, the less time between the brainwave pattern and associated feedback, the greater the ability of the feedback to create change in brainwave patterns. Thus, real-time EEG displays actual brainwave patterns on the screen, providing feedback with less than 1,000th of a second delay, resulting in the most effective type of EEG Neurofeedback.Brainwaves

Finally, Real-Time EEG improves much:

  • Anoxia (oxygen deprivation)
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
  • Autism
  • Birth injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Stroke
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cluster headaches
  • Coma, Concussion
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Dyslexia
  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Migraine headaches
  • Near drowning
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Whiplash