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NOW PLAYING: What is EEG Neurobiofeedback?

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DR. ADAM BREINER: The EEG is an electroencephalogram, and it's much like an EKG or ECG, which measures the electrical activity of your heart. The only difference is the EEG measures the electrical activity of your brain. And in our clinic, we use the EEG to basically see what type of abnormal brain waves there are, and using that information to also figure out if there are certain patterns that might be in that EEG. Give us a little better idea of what might be going on, and what might be causing the problem. And then we can learn how to teach you to retrain your brain.

The typical EEG that you see is called a QEEG, or Quantitative EEG. And what that basically means, it is taking a sampling of the brain every few hundredths of a second, putting it through a mathematical transformation called the Fast Fourier Transformation, and you get the image on the screen. The difference between that and the EEG we have, that Dr. Margaret Ayers invented, it's called the Neural Pathways All Digital Real Time EEG, is that within a thousandth of a second of the brainwave firing, you're seeing it on the screen. And that's very important, because you can see patterns that you might not see on a QEEG; and you're also able to train the brain in real time.

So, imagine taking a baseball and throwing it at someone's face, you kind of want to react in real time, not when someone else tells you that a baseball's coming. So, that's why it's important to have real time EEG for neurobiofeedback.

When looking at the EEG, I first look at the amplitude, or the height of the waves, and also the speed of the waves. And that's the frequency. So, the, there are basically four brainwave states that we look at. Those are the delta waves, the sleep, deep, deep sleep waves; theta waves are your sleeping waves; alpha, kind of spaced out, relaxed waves; and then your normal beta waves. Typically, you should have about a 15 to 18 hertz normal beta wave pattern in your brain while you're awake. And most pathology states occur when the brainwaves are in the slower brainwave states, usually the theta waves.

So we want to see what's going on with that, and think about if you have a part of your brain that you need to concentrate with--your frontal lobes, which is where you help concentrate. What happens if you have too many sleepy waves in the frontal part of your brain, in your frontal lobes? Well, it becomes very hard to concentrate, 'cause that part of your brain is sleeping. So we want to see if you got too many sleepy waves in, or slow brainwaves, in different parts of your brain where the pathology might occur.

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