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Neurofeedback in the News: Seizure Control

Posted Sep 13 2008 1:22am 1 Comment

Here 's a news story I thought you might find interesting...

Treatment helping eliminate seizures

06:35 PM CDT on Monday, May 23, 2005

By JEFF BRADY / WFAA-TV

The human brain remains by far the most complex and mysterious organ in the body.

But cutting-edge neurofeedback at a lab in Dallas is helping doctors and patients learn more.

One family traveled south from Ohio so their daughter could get help training the brain. Cassandra Wilson, 9, is a skater who floats on ice despite her epilepsy.

Her Dad tapes every skating session, each a neurological mystery.

"She has over 200 seizures a day," father Tom Wilson said. "It's like static on a radio - it's constant. She can't ride a bike, she falls off a bike, but she can walk out on two thin blades and ice skate."

"I feel like it goes away when I'm on the ice," Cassandra said.

Tom and his wife Penny have brought their daughter from Toledo, hoping the neurofeedback intervention of Dr. Jonathan Walker can help.

"On twelve consecutive patients that we've treated, we couldn't control their seizures with drugs (but) we were able to eliminate their seizures with this technique," Walker said.

Walker first uses a portable EEG and electrodes to track her brain waves as she skates, and when she comes off the ice.

On this day of treatment, Cassandra's right anterior temporal lobe is the focus. It controls creativity and artistic expression, which is a big part of ice skating.

The neurological team then helps Cassandra eliminate the waves associated with the seizures. They hope she'll be seizure-free in another two weeks.

Furthermore, the treatments are free of charge.

"I think the heart of Dallas is bigger than the whole state of Texas," Tom Wilson said.

And Cassandra wants to keep training, just like her favorite stars. She's a talented skater, learning to train her brain the same way she trains her body.

To view the 2 minute video of the news program,click here. (You will need to register at the station's web site for access.)

And a couple of follow-up thoughts:

Why is this treatment free?: Cassandra is part of a research project looking at a new type of equipment.

What exactly are they doing?: Cassandra doesn't have seizures when she skates, althought they seem almost non-stop the rest of the time. So Dr. Walker is trying to see what her brain does when it spontaneously blocks seizures. Once they have that information, they can teach Cassandra's brain to do that all the time and -- voila -- no more or greatly reduced seizures!

Is this how seizure control using neurofeedback always works?: No, not usually. It's not common that a person has these predictably "seizure-free" activities. So, ordinarily, neurofeedback approaches teach the brain to be more stable and more flexible and therefore to minimize the kind of activity that can result in seizures.

More questions? Comments? Please share!

Comments (1)
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It means Neurofeedback therapy sessions for kids focus on teaching them to utilize the energy that accompanies ADHD in a constructive manner. However, the truth is that any child affected by ADHD would need to learn self-control to overcome its effects.

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