Do you suffer of Epilepsy or any type of seizure condition?
Epilepsy is the most common seizure disorder, affecting both children and adults. Epilepsy is characterized by seizures, which in most cases are unpredicted. These seizures vary in frequency and severity on an individual basis; however, one thing is certain: they prevent people from carrying a normal life as they might affect both physical and mental health. People suffering with epilepsy live with the fear that they might experience a seizure at any time and the course of their day can change radically and instantaneously.
Even though epilepsy is extensively researched, there are only a limited number of treatments available. The most widespread treatment for epilepsy consists in anticonvulsant drugs. Unfortunately, a wide number of epilepsy victims are drug-resistant with 20 to 30% continuing to experience seizures after the completion of the treatment. A less common treatment consists in surgical interventions for severe epilepsy. Surgical intervention is available to a restricted population with only 3% of patients with intractable epilepsy qualifying for surgical interventions.
Neurofeedback has been used to treat seizure disorders in the United States for over 30 years. However, it is relatively new to Canada and many doctors are not familiar with its effectiveness for reducing seizure activity. Benefits of Neurofeedback include, but are not limited to: firstly, it is a non-invasive technique compared to some medication and surgical interventions; secondly, Neurofeedback helps you not only reduce or completely cease seizures, but also improves the overall regulation of your brain, thus improving your mental and physical health.
Neurological studies conducted with victims of epilepsy led to the classification of patients in two broad groups: patients experiencing partial seizures and patients experiencing generalized seizures. Research shows that partial seizures occur in a localized area of the brain. On the contrary, generalized seizures occur in a large area of the brain. The brain waves associated with epilepsy related seizures can vary between individuals, both in the area of seizures, the wave lengths affected, and the severity of the episodes. Because of this variability between patients, it is important for an individual to have an EEG assessment before beginning Neurofeedback training. The most common treatment protocols used and shown to be effective include increasing Sensorimotor rhythm activity while simultaneously decreasing theta activity. This combined protocol has been shown to improve resiliency to seizure activity in both animals and humans.
There is a vast literature investigating the effectiveness of Neurofeedback treatment in patients suffering of epilepsy. Even though the patients treated with Neurofeedback suffered of different types of epilepsy (grand mal, complex mal, petit mal), the results of the treatment were consistent and promising. The results illustrate that in each study; approximately 70% of the patients showed a considerable reduction in seizures.
Even though Neurofeedback is a relatively new technique, epilepsy in one of the most studied disorders in the literature, and the results of these studies are promising.
Neurofeedback treatment of epilepsy
Written by Walker & Kozlowski, 2005, Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 163-176.
In this article, the researchers reported that in a study with 10 patients, at the completion of the study 9 out of 10 patients were seizure free.
Impact of neurofeedback in patients with epilepsy
Written by Bakhtadze & Khachapuridz, 2010, Abstracts / Epilepsy and Behaviour, 579-620.
The results of this study indicated that 51 out of 56 patients improved considerably: they experienced a reduction in frequency almost by a half.