RESEARCH ON EPILEPSY / SEIZURES
A seizure disorder can be explained as a brain that has lost stability. People with seizures can regulate and stabilize their brains through neurofeedback training.
Eighteen well-run research studies show how effective neurofeedback training can be in the reduction of seizures. Interestingly, this research began with studies performed on cats. In an experiment to determine neurofeedback’s effectiveness to combat seizures, it was found that cats with neurofeedback training, when exposed to a chemical, experienced far fewer seizures than those without the training.
CASE STUDIES ON EPILEPSY / SEIZURES
Beth A. Lopour and Andrew J. Szericorresponding
Journal of Computational Neuroscience, (2010)
Here we present several refinements to a model of feedback control for the suppression of epileptic seizures. We utilize a stochastic partial differential equation (SPDE) model of the human cortex. First, we verify the strong convergence of numerical solutions to this model, paying special attention to the sharp spatial changes that occur at electrode edges. This allows us to choose appropriate step sizes for our simulations; because the spatial step size must be small relative to the size of an electrode in order to resolve its electrical behavior, we are able to include a more detailed electrode profile in the simulation. Then, based on evidence that the mean soma potential is not the variable most closely related to the measurement of a cortical surface electrode, we develop a new model for this. The model is based on the currents flowing in the cortex and is used for a simulation of feedback control. The simulation utilizes a new control algorithm incorporating the total integral of the applied electrical potential. Not only does this succeed in suppressing the seizure-like oscillations, but it guarantees that the applied signal will be charge-balanced and therefore unlikely to cause cortical damage.
Meta-Analysis of EEG Biofeedback in Treating Epilepsy
by Tan G, Thornby J, Hammond DC, Strehl U, Canady B, Arnemann K and Kaiser DA
Journal of Clinical EEG & Neuroscience, July, 2009
About one third of patients with epilepsy do not benefit from medical treatment. For these patients electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback is a viable alternative. EEG biofeedback, or neurofeedback, normalizes or enhances EEG activity by means of operant conditioning. While dozens of scientific reports have been published on neurofeedback for seizure disorder, most have been case series with too few subjects to establish efficacy. The purpose of this paper is to meta-analyze existing research on neurofeedback and epilepsy.
We analyzed every EEG biofeedback study indexed in MedLine, PsychInfo, and PsychLit databases between 1970 and 2005 on epilepsy that provided seizure frequency change in response to feedback. Sixty-three studies have been published, 10 of which provided enough outcome information to be included in a meta-analysis. All studies consisted of patients whose seizures were not controlled by medical therapies, which is a very important factor to keep in mind when interpreting the results. Nine of 10 studies reinforced sensorimotor rhythms (SMR) while 1 study trained slow cortical potentials (SCP). All studies reported an overall mean decreased seizure incidence following treatment and 64 out of 87 patients (74%) reported fewer weekly seizures in response to EEG biofeedback. Treatment effect was mean log (post/pre) where pre and post represent number of seizures per week prior to treatment and at final evaluation, respectively. Due to prevalence of small groups, Hedges’s g was computed for effect size. As sample heterogeneity was possible (Q test, p=.18), random effects were assumed and the effect of intervention was -0.233, SE= 0.057, z = -4.11, p<.001. Based on this meta-analysis, EEG operant conditioning was found to produce a significant reduction on seizure frequency. This finding is especially noteworthy given the patient group, individuals who had been unable to control their seizures with medical treatment.
Neurofeedback treatment of epilepsy [link]
Saxby E, Peniston EG.
With electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback (or neurofeedback), it is possible to train the brain to de-emphasize rhythms that lead to generation and propagation of seizure and emphasize rhythms that make seizures less likely to occur. With recent improvements in quantitative EEG measurement and improved neurofeedback protocols, it has become possible in clinical practice to eliminate seizures or reduce the amount of medication required to control them. In this article, the history of neurofeedback for epilepsy is presented followed by discussions of the relevant neurophysiology of epilepsy. A model of how neurofeedback might raise the seizure threshold is then presented. Clinical experience using a quantitative EEG-guided approach is described, including a representative case study.