Scientists are continuously trying to find out how the brain works. Thousands of studies are conducted each year on different areas of the brain in order to find a cure, or at least a way to curb, diseases and conditions that can be associated with the brain and cognitive disorders. The interaction between the brain and the body is not only mystifying – it is exciting! There are so many areas that interlink and left to discover and study. This is the reason many field of study have found common ground to delve more closely into these areas, including the fields of neuroscience, psychology and evidence-based medicine.
For over 20 years the principles of biofeedback and neurofeedback have been used for the improvement of health, emotional, memory and behavioral patterns. They have also now been found to improve your memory.
Neurofeedback (NFB) is also known as neurotherapy, neurobiofeedback or EEG biofeedback. It is a type of biofeedback that uses real time displays of electroencephalography to illustrate brain activity, and is often used as a way to control activity in the central nervous system.
Within the last 5—10 years, neurofeedback has taken a second look at deep states of consciousness. It has been used in the treatment of alcoholism and other addictions, as well as anxiety and emotional problems. This low frequency training is quite different from the high frequency beta and SMR training that has been practiced with biofeedback for over 30years.
A report in the International Journal of Psychophysiology (2003;47:75-85) states that people can be trained to control specific brain activity, and “Neurofeedback may benefit people suffering from hyperactivity, epilepsy, and other cognitive disorders, and can also enhance working memory in healthy individuals.”
EEG sensors placed on the scalp measure brain activity, and the measurements are displayed using sound or video displays in the memory-boosting method. “These sensors feed information back to the individual through a game displayed on a computer screen. To control the game, one must learn to control various brain-activity frequencies through relaxation and focused attention.”
Researchers at Imperial College in London observed forty medical students as they played 15-minute intervals of the game twice a week for four weeks. One group of these students learned to consciously increase their sensorimotor rhythm activity (SMR), which is associated with memory improvement. Boosting this brain frequency increased their recalling a list of words from 71% before, to 82% after training. Those who were trained in other areas of brain frequency activity did not show improvement.
These findings support other studies that found memory enhancement and cognitive benefits from neurofeedback. “This is the first time we have shown a link between the use of neurofeedback and improvements in memory,” lead researcher Dr David Vernon said. More extensive research will need to be conducted to see if these findings are long-term, or simply short-term as far as memory improvement are concerned.
Wikipedia: Neurofeedback – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurofeedback
Mind Media BV: http://www.mindmedia.nl/english/index.php?gclid=CP-QgOS3uKkCFQbCKgodWikI8Q
New York Times (Health Section): Neurofeedback Gains Popularity and Lab Attention – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/health/05neurofeedback.html
Memoryzine.com: New Feedback Technique Enhances Memory by Doug Herrmann, Ph.D – http://memoryzine.com/2010/08/26/new-feedback-technique-enhances-memory-2/