Description and applications
At the Istituto di Neuroscienze of Prof. Stefano Pallanti, Neurofeedback is mainly used to treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Learning Disorders, Anxiety, Phobias, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is also used in sports or by agencies such as NASA to improve alertness and promote high-level performance.
Neurofeedback is not a new concept. It has been studied by researchers for several decades. In fact, several studies have shown a reduction in ADHD symptomatology of more than 50%. In fact, meta-analyses in which the results of dozens of studies on Neurofeedback in ADHD were compared concluded, in line with international guidelines for the evaluation of clinical efficacy, that Neurofeedback treatment for ADHD can be considered "Effective and Specific," with the 5th level (the highest) of efficacy. Moreover, Neurofeedback seems to have very long-lasting therapeutic effects, exceeding 6 months after the end of the training.
Neurofeedback is a procedure through which people learn to modulate and regulate their Central Nervous System.
By monitoring and analyzing through the electroencephalogram (EEG) the brain's electrical activity, Neurofeedback teaches the brain how to increase or decrease neural activity that corresponds to specific symptoms.
It is a non-invasive and generally comfortable procedure.
How does the procedure take place?
After a detailed assessment, which includes an initial assessment and a baseline EEG evaluation, the patient is assigned one or more training protocols.
The patient is made to sit in a comfortable chair in front of a monitor, and electrodes are placed on his or her head. The electrodes do not emit any electrical charge but are merely for recording purposes.
Then, a specialized software runs audio-visual scenarios that can be two-dimensional or three-dimensional (use of a virtual reality visor), which teaches the patient through constant feedback how to regulate brainwave activity.
A Neurofeedback session usually lasts about 30 minutes.
Most patients need 20-30 total Neurofeedback sessions to be conducted twice a week.
Along with EEG recording, recording of physiological parameters, such as heart rate, respiration and peripheral skin temperature, can also be associated.