Jul 182013

New movie for this week’s LORETA: Antarctica Dreaming. Though I hadn’t seen it or read the Amazon reviews, I chose it because I was hot, and the idea of looking at snow and ice was rather appealing. But it turned out this DVD was good for another reason.

Unlike previous DVDs, this one had no narration, no dialogue, and no written text on the screen. As such, it was not engaging my listening, encoding, auditory or language processing areas. That would make it easier since trying to follow auditory or written language is difficult for me, but also harder because it could capture areas normally ignored by the program as it focussed on the tougher stuff. I noticed right away that though calming, it required me to pay attention more intentionally than the previous DVDs and so it required more motivation from me. The content was not grabbing my attention and pulling me in like a storyline or narrator would. I had to want to attend and make myself attend.

Visually, the DVD was so stunning that I noticed it almost overwhelmed my visual senses. Also, since there was no narration, I was free to make up my own stories about the penguins as, for example, when a line of them was waddling to a destination and one stopped. The one behind it waddled around it, and I could hear it saying, “Hey, bub, move it, would you.” The colours and textures made the cold come alive, and I imagined my skin cooling pleasurably. It was no wonder the DVD engaged areas involved in sensory integration.

Because the DVD was so different from previous ones, the z-score lines were different too. For the first time, there were up to 10 seconds of every single coherence pair and brainwave amplitude below the threshold 2.1 standard deviations (as between about 19:42 and 19:52 below). Even when the always troublesome coherence pair of Brodmann area 9R and area 32R in the high alpha band would poke its head up a wee bit (see below), it too dropped along with the rest to give several seconds of perfect performance.

Avg Z-Scores Per Second 2000 w Arrow Shireen Jeejeebhoy 18 July 2013 

As the session went along, these stretches improved. The other thing that my trainer noticed was that when I moved a little bit, all the waves went up. But I only moved after the DVD picture disappeared to nothing. I would feel my brain stop, would be either surprised by it or be unable to get it working again, watch the picture disappear rapidly to nothing, and then would “let go” meaning relax (that’s the small physical movement my trainer observed), maybe take a breath, and then try again by staying relaxed or focussing hard. Sometimes the picture would come right back up, other times it would resist for awhile and then fill the screen. You can see in the image below the pesky coherence pair(s) that would stop working and cause the picture to disappear followed by the bunch of waves rising above threshold that signalled my physical movement.

Progress LORETA 18 July 2013

If you look carefully, you can see it’s the purple line that was implicated in the drop to zero picture at 14:50 minutes. That purple line was the coherence between the two frontal lobes in Brodmann area 9 in the high alpha band (and was probably because I was accessing emotions at the time, which are only just starting to normalize and have been disconnected from “me” since the brain injury in 2000 – the coherence failing is a sign that emotions and I assume emotional control are still not stable). The image below shows that same coherence pair rising above 2.1 standard deviations up to 2.77.

Avg Z-Scores Per Second 2030 w Data Shireen Jeejeebhoy 18 July 2013

My scores this week were all above 180. Woot! And two this week were above 190! That’s due to those long stretches of everything below 2.1. Now I just have to gain better control over coherences involving Brodmann areas 9, 32, and 31, and maybe soon they’ll be able to drop the threshold down. To what, I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out when it finally happens, when I consistently achieve all scores above 190.

How I fare over the next few days will tell my trainer whether we should continue using this DVD or return to one with narration.