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Neurofeedback Research

Clinical Effectiveness and Mechanisms of Efficacy

Development History of the Othmer Method: 1987 to 2016

by by Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D. and Susan F. Othmer
November 2016

Introduction

During the last half-century mental dysfunctions have come to be understood in terms of neural network relations rather than in terms of specific deficits in neuromodulator systems. Deficits lie in the realm of brain dynamics and of functional connectivity. Both of these are subject to dynamic regulation and thus in principle subject to recovery by functional means. Over the same time frame, strategies of assisted self-regulation have matured on the basis of real-time information derived from the EEG or from glucose uptake in functional brain imaging. These testify to the presumptive recovery potential through the enhancement of self-regulatory capacity.

Two principal strategies have emerged. One is a prescriptive strategy based on the discernment and targeting of specific deficits that can be discerned in the EEG; the other is a non-prescriptive strategy for the recovery of functional competence in more generality. The top-down prescriptive strategy lends itself readily to evaluation by the usual tools of academic research. Such is not the case with a non-prescriptive, open-ended, bottom-up strategy. And yet such an approach has great appeal, largely because it emulates how the brain acquired its self-regulatory capacities in the first place. It merely augments that process with physiologically relevant real-time information and salient cues.

The Othmer Method is a systematic, sequential, hierarchical approach to a non-prescriptive strategy for the recovery and enhancement of functional competence. This has been the objective of a substantial development effort over the last thirty years. The evolution of the method has depended on new initiatives in signal recovery and signal analysis, on progress in the theoretical understanding of cerebral functional organization, on clinical observation and research, and finally on empirical validation through a large practitioner network.

The following is a brief recapitulation of the publication milestones that helped to shape the development of the method and to document its clinical effectiveness.

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Setting the Agenda for Research

by Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D. - Chief Scientist, The EEG Institute
October 2003 (Edited July 2007)

In the following, references cover not only applications of neurofeedback but also mechanisms of brain self-regulation that underlie EEG Feedback (neurofeedback).

Application areas include in particular Attention Deficit Disorder, the Anxiety-Depression spectrum, seizures and addictions. We feature the key papers in the important application areas, as well as early papers that highlight emerging applications: the disruptive behavior disorders such as Oppositional-Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder; the Autism Spectrum and Asperger's; Bipolar Disorder; Specific Learning Disabilities, including Dyslexia; sleep disorders; Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; women's issues such as PMS and menopause; issues of aging such as Parkinsonism and dementia, and Age-Related Cognitive Decline; and, finally, pain syndromes such as migraine, as well as the management of chronic pain. Continue Reading



Neuromodulation Technologies: An Attempt at Classification

by Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D. - Chief Scientist, The EEG Institute

This chapter addresses the question of how to classify the neuromodulation effects resulting from widely differing neurofeedback approaches developed over the last four decades. We have seen a proliferation of targets and objectives to which attention is directed in the training. With regard to clinical outcomes, however, one encounters a broad zone of commonality. Why is it that the premises and technological approaches within the neurofeedback network of scholars and clinicians are so disparate, yet they largely achieve common clinical goals? This in-depth analysis may lead us closer to the "essence" of neurofeedback and provide focus for further development efforts. Continue Reading

Recent Research

Mind over chatter: Plastic up-regulation of the fMRI salience network directly after EEG neurofeedback.
Ros T, Théberge J, Frewen PA, Kluetsch R, Densmore M, Calhoun VD, and Lanius RA
NeuroImage, 65, 2013, pp 324-35

Improving Visual Perception through Neurofeedback.
Scharnowski F, Hutton C, Josephs O, Weiskopf N, and Rees G
Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 2012, pp 17830-41

The effectiveness of neurofeedback training on EEG coherence and neuropsychological functions in children with reading disability.
Nazari MA, Mosanezhad E, Hashemi T, and Jahan A
Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 43, 2012, pp 315-22

Self-regulation of brain oscillations as a treatment for aberrant brain connections in children with autism.
Pineda JA, Juavinett A, and Datko M
Medical Hypotheses, 79, 2012, pp 790-8

Evidence-based information on the clinical use of neurofeedback for ADHD.
Moriyama TS, Polanczyk G, Caye A, Banaschewski T, Brandeis D, and Rohde LA
Neurotherapeutics, 9, 2012, pp 588-98

Current status of neurofeedback for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Lofthouse N, Arnold LE, and Hurt E
Current Psychiatry Reports, 14, 2012, pp 536-42

Individual alpha neurofeedback training effect on short term memory.
Nan W, Rodrigues JP, Ma J, Qu X, Wan F, Mak PI, Mak PU, Vai MI, and Rosa A
International Journal of Psychophysiology, 86, 2012, pp 83-7

Neurotherapy of traumatic brain injury/posttraumatic stress symptoms in OEF/OIF veterans.
Nelson DV, and Esty ML
Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 24, 2012, pp 237-40

Schizophrenia and the efficacy of qEEG-guided neurofeedback treatment: a clinical case series.
Surmeli T, Ertem A, Eralp E, and Kos IH
Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 43, 2012, pp 133-44

Which attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder children will be improved through neurofeedback therapy?
Ahmadlou M, Rostami R, and Sadeghi V
Neuroscience Letters, 516, 2012, pp 156-60

Neurofeedback in children with ADHD: validation and challenges.
Gevensleben H, Rothenberger A, Moll GH, and Heinrich H
Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 12, 2012, pp 447-60

Taking back the brain: could neurofeedback training be effective for relieving distressing auditory verbal hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia?
McCarthy-Jones S
Schizophrenia Bulletin, 38, 2012, pp 678-82

A review of neurofeedback treatment for pediatric ADHD.
Lofthouse N, Arnold LE, Hersch S, Hurt E, and DeBeus R
Journal of Attention Disorders, 16, 2012, pp 351-72

Focused Research on Infra-Low Frequency Neurofeedback

Infra-Low Neurofeedbac.

by Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D., and Susan F. Othmer

An individually optimized dynamic EEG reinforcement protocol has been recently extended to the domain of very low EEG frequencies, down to 0.01 Hz in center frequency of the reinforcement band. This represents a straight-forward extension to very low frequencies of a fairly generic training strategy that has been in productive use for many years. Improved clinical outcomes have been observed for a variety of hitherto intractable conditions, including the autistic spectrum, attachment disorder, eating disorders, and migraine conditions that have been refractory to prior neurofeedback. View Research

ADD - ADHD

ADD/ADHD

Anxiety

Anxiety

Assessment

Assessment

Autism

Autism

Biofeedback (non-EEG)

Biofeedback

Bipolar & Schizophrenia

Bipolar

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral

Chronic Fatigue

Chronic Fatigue

Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

Complementary Modalities

Complementary Modalities

Depression

Depression

Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative Disorders

Epilepsy

Epilepsy

Functional Magnetic Resonance Neurofeedback

Functional Magnetic Resonance Neurofeedback

General Neurophysiology

General Neurophysiology

Head Injury

Head Injury

Infra-Low Frequency Training

Infra-Low Frequency Neurofeedback

Learning Disorders

Learning Disorders

Migraines

Migraines

Movement Disorders

Movement DIsorders

OCD & Tourette's

OCD

Optimum Performance

OCD

PMS

PMS

PTSD

PTSD

QEEG & Related Research

QEEG

Sleep

Sleep

Special Topics

Special Topics

Stroke

Stroke

Substance Abuse / Addiction

Substance Abuse

Violence

Violence