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Does Neurofeedback Change Brain Structure?

August 23rd, 2013 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized

Wendy Lalli, Marketing Director, Mind Source Solutions

I became intrigued with the effect meditation has on the physical structure of the brain after reading a piece on the Huffingpost Web site called, “How You Can Train Your Mind to Do the Impossible.” The author, Carolyn Gregoire, interviewed a wide range of researchers and neuroscientists, not to mention Buddhist monks, on how meditation could actually lead monks (and presumably others) to do things seemingly beyond what is thought of as normal brain function.

According to the article, in researching Tibetan Buddhist monks, neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson, “found that years of meditative practice can dramatically increase neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to use new experiences or environments to create structural changes…. it (the brain) can help reorganize itself by creating new neural connections.”

The article goes on to describe how constant and continual meditation – “tens of thousands of hours” – can increase an individual’s capacity to focus on the moment, be calmer, more empathetic and more content. I couldn’t help thinking that this sounded very much like the result of my son’s experience with neurofeedback. It also reminded me of the recent findings about neurofeedback’s effectiveness treating ADHD described in a recent Verge article, “I think, therefore I heal: the weird science of neurofeedback.”

Curious to see if I could find other articles in a similar vein, I googled “neurofeedback and changing brain structure” and found a piece entitled “Neurofeedback Training Induces Changes in White and Gray Matter.” This was actually an abstract on a study done in Canada. The goal of the study was to “investigate using diffusion tensor imaging, whether neurofeedback training (NFT), …designed to improve sustained attention, might induce structural changes in white matter pathways, purportedly implicated in this cognitive ability.” The study also examined changes in gray matter volume following neurofeedback. Apparently, (and I have to admit, I only read the abstract not the full article), the result was a positive one evidenced by this quote from the abstract, “After 50 years of research in the field of neurofeedback, our study constitutes the first empirical demonstration that NFT can lead to microstructural changes in white and gray matter.”

All of this material seems to substantiate the claim that Neurofeedback not only helps conditions like ADHD, autism, and depression, but can do so on a permanent basis. I’m looking forward to learning more about this. Hope you are too.

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