May 232013

We experimented in this week's LORETA neurofeedback session with open door/closed door. I played the DVD with my brain with the door closed for the first two five-minute screens, door open for the second two screens, and door closed for the last two screens. We wanted to see if it made a difference to my scores and to which networks were picked up.

It did.

The Brodmann areas involved in concentration were all picked up when we opened the office door and I started to become distracted by the minimal activity in the central area of the ADD Centre. Also, my performance dropped, meaning I couldn't hold the DVD full screen for as long as in the previous two screens. I did improve in the second screen we left the door open for, showing a bit of a learning effect.

I had trouble following the narrator (today's DVD was on the people of the Amazon) but not hearing him. That too was picked up on by the LORETA software. Speaking of software, it has a habit of crashing mid-training. The designer doesn't know why. For me it means I lose the data, usually about three minutes worth. So for two weeks in a row now, I've played the DVD for 33 minutes in six five-minute screens that were recorded and saved and one three-minute screen that was interrupted by the crash and was not recorded or saved.

Last week, I was given to read an article on PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and neurofeedback by Dr. David Hagedorn in Neuroconnections Spring 2012 (PDF). Andrea talked to me about it this week, and apparently the area we're doing the single-electrode gamma brainwave biofeedback is exactly the location where PTSD appears in the frequencies affected by this disorder. This could be why my heart rate drops during gamma training in this area, PZ-O1, and did not in CZ. And so instead of moving to PZ as had been planned for next week, we may remain in PZ-O1 for the time being. As Andrea said, nothing is written in stone.

My trainer showed me a plot of my progress. Some brain networks are normalizing (good news), but all the coherence problems in the frontal lobes in the beta and high alpha frequencies are not dropping much, whether between areas in the frontal lobes or between one in the frontal and one in another lobe. That's an indication of the severity of the injury in the frontals the primary part of the brain impacted, as is typical in coup-contracoup brain injuries from car collisions. She showed me this plot probably because I was looking rather disheartened. After such a fast start, improvement is slowing. But that's typical of what they see in their clients apparently. It's easier to drop from 2.4 standard deviations from the norm to 2 than 2 to 1.5. I wish I was done already, and it didn't help that this week it gave me a crashing headache (which like all such work-induced headaches was gone about an hour after I stopped playing the DVD). But the fact I function better after each session keeps me going. Still, I had a honking huge piece of cake to soothe myself.