Parietal lobes

Parietal lobe.jpgCan you read and write? Do math? Put on your shoes? Read a map? Apply lipstick or know when someone is unhappy? Catch a ball?

If so, thank your Parietal lobes!!!

  • The parietal lobe is complex in that there is a dominant hemisphere and a non-dominant hemisphere. The parietal lobe controls abilities such as math calculation, writing, left-right orientation, and finger recognition. Lesions in part of the parietal lobe can cause deficits in writing, arithmetic calculation, left-right disorientation, and finger-naming (Gerstmann syndrome).
  • The nondominant parietal lobe controls the opposite side of the body enabling you to be aware of environmental space, and is important for abilities such as drawing, being aware of expression, body language and facial recognition. If you can recognize feelings on someone’s face, be grateful to your parietal lobe near the temporal lobe. .An acute injury to the nondominant parietal lobe may cause neglect of the contralateral side (usually the left), resulting in decreased awareness of that part of the body, its environment, and any associated injury to that side (anosognosia). For example, patients with large right parietal lesions may deny the existence of left-sided paralysis. Patients with smaller lesions may lose the ability to do learned motor tasks (eg, dressing, other well-learned activities)—a spatial-manual deficit called apraxia.

Parietal lobe functions include:

  • Cognition
  • Information Processing
  • Touch Sensation (Pain, Temperature, etc.)
  • Understanding Spatial Orientation
  • Movement Coordination
  • Speech
  • Visual Perception
  • Reading and Writing
  • Mathematical Computation

Training with Neurofeedback can assist the brain in making new pathways and support the brain in rewiring itself. Schedule your free demo today to learn more about how Neurofeedback can bring you to a higher state of awareness and function. For the first time in history, we can see our own brains at work and assist its functioning to a higher state of optimization.

I look forward to working with you!

Your Frontal Lobe

Where is it?  It’s the front and top of your head


FRONTAL LOBE BTNE

What does it do?  This part of the brain handles thinking, decision- making, and planning.
You use your frontal lobe nearly everyday. You use it to make decisions, such as what to eat or drink for breakfast in the morning.   It’s where you make a plan for your day, and concentrate on your “To Do” list.  It’s where your personality is formed and why when a person has an accident or injury to the frontal lobe people notice a change to a person’s personality.

Here is a little neuroscience history:

In the mid 1800s, Phineas Gage, a railroad worker, somehow miraculously survived an accident where a large iron pole was driven into his head, specifically into the frontal lobe. After the incident, Gage’s personality was said to have changed dramatically.  His friends and family said that the once kind and hard-working Gage had changed into a lazy and rude man until he died years later. However, this incident allowed doctors and psychologists to analyze the brain and see the importance and functions of the frontal lobe.

 

 

Role of your Temporal Lobes

temporal lobe btne kittery

Clients often ask  me for more detailed descriptions of the lobes of the brain and their functions. For the next few Monday posts I’ll detail the different segments.

The temporal lobe is one of the four sections, or lobes, that make up the cerebral cortex of the brain. Located on the lower regions of both the left and right sides of the cortex (above and around the ears) , the temporal lobe is essential in processing sensory stimuli received from both the eyes and ears. It assists in coordinating speech and spatial navigation and contains the brain structures responsible for long-term memory. This is why when someone has a stroke over their left ear they often lose the power of language expression. Or a bonk to that area might have affected your memory or language processing.

Auditory Processing

  • The temporal lobe contains a section of the brain known as the primary auditory cortex. This region of the cortex is responsible for receiving and interpreting the information transmitted to it by auditory receptors (your hearing) . This part of the temporal lobe assists the brain in determining the location of a sound. While parts of other lobes in the brain play a role in auditory processing, the temporal lobe is the most important.

Speech

  • The temporal lobe located on the left side of the cerebral cortex is essential for speech. This left temporal lobe contains Wernicke’s area, a portion of the brain that is largely responsible for controlling the mental processing needed for speech, including comprehension and verbal memory.

Visual processing

  • The lowest portions of the temporal lobe are responsible for processing and interpreting information from the visual system, especially the most advanced types of visual memory. This portion of the temporal lobe contains the neural networks required for an individual to perceive and remember objects, faces and detailed settings and scenery.

Memory

  • The hippocampus is located in the temporal lobe; this structure is one of the most crucial parts of the cortex involved in long-term memory retention. The hippocampus is found not on the outer region of the cerebrum but within the actual lobe, and it allows an individual to retain new memories while storing older ones. These memories can be anything from facts learned by rote or memories of events that occurred in the past.

Spatial navigation

  • Portions of the temporal lobe, particularly the hippocampus, also play a large role in the ability of an individual to navigate spatially and to physically “remember” a place that the person has been before. People with a damaged hippocampus often get lost because their brains are unable to process, spatially, where they have been and where they are going.

Stay tuned to next week when I will write about the Parietal lobes.  Interesting stuff.  To get my weekly blog to your inbox, just press the follow this blog button.

Brain Waves Basic

Four simple periodic rhythms recorded in the EEG are alpha, beta, delta, and theta. These rhythms are identified by frequency (Hz or cycles/sec) and amplitude. The amplitudes recorded by scalp electrodes are in the range of microvolts (μV or 1/1,000,000 of a volt).

rhythm Freq (Hz) Amp(μV)
alpha 8-13 20-200
beta 13-30 5-10
delta 1-5 20-200
theta 4-8 10

Alpha: The four basic rhythms have been associated with various states. In general, the alpha rhythm is the prominent EEG wave pattern of an adult who is awake but relaxed with eyes closed. Each region of the brain had a characteristic alpha rhythm but alpha waves of the greatest amplitude are recorded from the occipital and parietal regions of the cerebral cortex. In general, amplitudes of alpha waves diminish when subjects open their eyes and are attentive to external stimuli although some subjects trained in relaxation techniques can maintain high alpha amplitudes even with their eyes open.

Beta: Beta rhythms occur in individuals who are alert and attentive to external stimuli or exert specific mental effort, or paradoxically, beta rhythms also occur during deep sleep, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep when the eyes switch back and forth. This does not mean that there is less electrical activity, rather that the “positive” and “negative” activities are starting to counterbalance so that the sum of the electrical activity is less. Thus, instead of getting the wave-like synchronized pattern of alpha waves, desynchronization or alpha block occurs. So, the beta wave represents arousal of the cortex to a higher state of alertness or tension. It may also be associated with “remembering” or retrieving memories.

Delta and Theta: Delta and theta rhythms are low-frequency EEG patterns that increase during sleep in the normal adult.   As people move from lighter to deeper stages of sleep (prior to REM sleep), the occurrence of alpha waves diminish and is gradually replaced by the lower frequency theta and then delta frequency rhythms.

Although delta and theta rhythms are generally prominent during sleep, there are cases when delta and theta rhythms are recorded from individuals who are awake. For example, theta waves will occur for brief intervals during emotional responses to frustrating events or situations.   Delta waves may increase during difficult mental activities requiring concentration. In general, the occurrence and amplitudes of delta and theta rhythms are highly variable within and between individuals.

Neurons that fire together…

Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together

  What does THAT mean for you? How can you retrain your brain cells to work more in your favor towards happiness and ease?

 In 2013 Dr. Thomas Sudhof won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of synaptic transmission–how brain cells communicate via chemicals. He credits his childhood Bassoon teacher with being his most influential teacher. Think about THAT! He currently works in the School for Medicine at Stanford. He is Professor of Molecular & Cellular Neurology, Psychiatry and Physiology.  Pretty impressive CV.

Our brain cells communicate with one another via synaptic transmission–one brain cell releases a chemical (neurotransmitter) that the next brain cell absorbs.  This communication process is known as “neuronal firing.”  When brain cells communicate frequently, the connection between them strengthens.  Messages that travel the same pathway in the brain over & over begin to transmit faster & faster.  With enough repetition, they become automatic.  That’s why we practice things like hitting a golf ball–with enough practice, we can go on automatic pilot.

Psychologists have long known that negative thought processes follow this same pattern–the more we think about, or “ruminate,” on a negative thought, the more entrenched the thought becomes.  Negative and traumatic thoughts also tend to “loop”–they play themselves over and over until we do something consciously to stop them.

The more these negative thoughts loop, the stronger the neural pathways become, and the more difficult it becomes to stop them!  This is why thoughts that cause depression, anxiety, panic, obsessions, and compulsions can become so difficult to combat.  And along the way, these thoughts stir up emotional as well as physiological reactions.

Psychotherapy, regardless of the orientation, attempts to stop this process. Neurofeedback gets to the heart of the issue. A brain map can identify where there are too many or too few synapses firing and give you real time information on how to either quiet or encourage firing in specific regions of the brain so that you can have a better operating system.

Come by for a free demonstration at Brain Training of New England to learn more about your brain -your command central.

 

Neurofeedback for ADD

Simply stated, brainwave biofeedback, also called neurofeedback, is the direct training of the brain to stay more calm and focused without medication.

Over the past 30 years, many clinicians have reported the effectiveness of this totally natural and non-invasive process for treating ADD.  In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics named neurofeedback a “Level 1: “Best Support” Intervention for ADD on par with medication” in 2012.

For parents who are wary about using a single approach (such as medication alone) to treat their child’s ADD, neurofeedback is a welcome alternative; offering benefits that continue to persist well beyond each treatment session, with zero negative side effects.

How it Works:

  1. Electrodes are placed on the scalp, measuring the number and type of brain wave patterns; in particular, theta and beta waves.

There are 5 main types:

  • delta waves: very slow brain waves, seen mostly during sleep
  • theta waves: slow brain waves, seen during daydreaming and twilight states
  • alpha waves: brain waves seen during relaxed states
  • SMR (sensorimotor rhythm) waves: brain waves seen during states of focused relaxation
  • beta waves: fast brain waves seen during concentration or mental work states
  1. The patient—child, teen, or adult—is asked to play games with their minds using a computer screen.
  1. The computer feeds back to the patient the type of brain wave activity it’s monitoring.
  1. When the brain responds the way it’s supposed to, the computer software rewards the patient (on screen).
  1. If the patient gets distracted, the computer responds by the game or movie stopping, letting the patient know that they need to relax or focus more.

Lasting Results:

Over time, people with ADD can literally train their brains to become more active, naturally!

Neurofeedback is powerful, in part, because the patient becomes an active part of their healing by gaining more control over his or her own physiological processes.

In our experience with neurofeedback and ADD, many people are able to:

  • Improve their reading skills and decrease their need for medication.
  • Decrease their impulsivity and aggressiveness.
  • Improve the quality of their sleep.

Of course, neurofeedback is not an overnight cure.  People will often need to do 30 to 40 sessions to see a significant benefit, and this is very individual.  I will work with you or your child to get to lasting results quickly.

Learn more about neurofeedback strategies for each type of ADD in Dr. Amen’s new book, Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program that Allows You to See and Heal the 7 Types of ADD.  Call today to schedule your free demonstration of Neurofeedback at the Brain Training of New England Center in Kittery, Maine.

Neurofeedback andADD/ADHD

Can neurofeedback treat the symptoms of ADD and ADHD without medication?

shutterstock_106369628 [Converted]People with ADD/ADHD can display a variety of symptoms and may appear to be distracted, impulsive, and inattentive. However, ADD/ADHD is not a psychological problem – it’s a brain problem and often treated with medication when brain training can be a better, more healthy alternative.

Medications do not teach a person to cope long-term, and are accompanied by side effects such as:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Potential cardiac risks
  • Personality changes

Moreover, children with more significant ADD or ADHD may not gain much benefit from medications or behavioral interventions. People can also develop a tolerance to medications over time, resulting in increased dosages, additional medications, and potentially more side effects.

The long-term effects of ADD/ADHD medications are largely unknown. Ritalin, very often prescribed for the treatment of ADD and ADHD, has been used to treat ADD/ADHD since the 1960’s but still has not been studied for long-term effects. In fact, the Canadian Medical Association asserts:

shutterstock_104286563[W]hile research has conclusively proven Ritalin’s short-term effectiveness, little is known about the long-term efficacy and safety of a drug that some children take for many years. In fact, the average duration of randomized trials of the drug is 3.3 weeks…. There aren’t long-term studies, and that’s of some concern because we don’t know whether the initial positive effects… might diminish over time. Moreover, we don’t know what happens to the side-effects… whether those got worse or maybe they diminish too – we don’t really know.

Unlike medication, neurofeedback actually retrains the brain, resulting in significant improvement in ADHD/ADD symptoms. With neurofeedback, people learn to make long-term improvements in self-control and attention because their brain learns to make healthier patterns.

Training the brain with neurofeedback helps to address the root of the problem without medications by helping create a healthier brain.

Why is neurofeedback so effective for ADD/ADHD?

If a stimulant literally speeds someone up, why is it prescribed for someone with hyperactivity problems? Why do stimulants seem to help someone with ADD/ADHD slow down and focus?

In a person with ADD or ADHD, the areas of the brain that control attention and focus may have too much slow activity, which can also lead to feeling depressed, worried, and unmotivated. Unconsciously, people with ADD/ADHD increase body movements to stimulate and “wake” their brains. Therefore, stimulants are prescribed to increase brain activity without increasing body movement.

The problem with this strategy is that people with ADHD may already be experiencing too much rapid activity in some regions of the brain, which can lead to other problems like acting aggressively, impulsively, or feeling anxious. A person’s brain can race so fast that it is nearly impossible for them to sit still or listen. In fact, because people with ADD are often quite intelligent, they understand concepts quickly. Their fast mental pace may cause them to move ahead before all the instructions are given, causing them to miss crucial details.

Research shows that neurofeedback is a successful alternative for treatment of ADD/ADHD.

ADD and ADHD are brain problems. Neurofeedback allows people to work directly on the problem by training the brain to become calmer, more focused, and less impulsive. By reducing the too-fast and too-slow brain patterns that occur in the brain of someone with ADD or ADHD, neurofeedback helps the person learn how to take control.

According to health professionals who use neurofeedback in their practices, over 85% of clients with ADD or ADHD learn to increase focus, reduce impulsivity, and manage their behavior when they train with neurofeedback on a consistent basis.

Another reason that neurofeedback is so effective for ADHD and ADD is that it appeals to children – it seems just like a computer game! Instead of controlling the game with a mouse, the child “plays” the game with his or her brain. Children seem to enjoy brain training, making it easy to continue with treatment and achieve significant improvements.