Archive for December, 2012

Brainwave Biofeedback

American Academy Of Pediatrics Consensus On Brainwave Biofeedback: “Level 1 – Best Support”

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised its “Evidence-based Child and Adolescent Psycho-social Interventions” have elevated Brainwave Biofeedback to “Level 1 — Best Support” as an intervention for Attention & Hyperactivity Behaviors. This recognition of the value of brainwave biofeedback will be published in the next revision of this guideline document by PracticeWise,

Brainwave Biofeedback

the company that manages clinical research reviews for AAP. The other brain training intervention referred to as Working Memory Training continued to stay at Level 2 – Good Support. The studies that PracticeWise cited as supporting their decision were:

•Beauregard, M., & Levesque, J. (2006). Functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of the effects of neurofeedback training on neural bases of selective attention and response inhibition in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Applied Psychology and Biofeedback, 31, 3–20.

•Gevensleben, H., Holl, B., Albrecht, B., Vogel, C., Schlamp, D., et al. (2009). Is neurofeedback an efficacious treatment for ADHD?: A randomized con¬trolled clinical trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50, 780–789.

•Levesque, J., Beauregard, M., & Men¬sour, B. (2006). Effect of neurofeedback training on the neural substrates of selective attention in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Neuroscience Letters, 394, 216–221.

•Omizo, M. M., & Michael, W. B. (1982). Biofeedback-induced relaxation training and impulsivity, attention to task, and locus of control among hyperactive boys. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 15, 414–416.
Rivera, E., & Omizo, M. M. (1980). The effects of relaxation and biofeedback on attention to task and impulsivity among male hyperactive children. The Exceptional Child, 27, 41–51.

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I’m not sure about girls and women, but there’s a lesson that boys and men learn from playing with yo-yos as kids: If you keep working at it, you can master The Throw Down and The Sleeper, Walk-The-Dog and Rock-The-Baby.

And now it appears that yo-yoing has gotten a bad rap – at least in the world of weight control.

By some reports, yo-yo dieting is so prevalent in the Western world that it affects between 10 and 40 percent of the population. But, the good news is that – despite the popular myth – yo-yo dieting does not negatively impact metabolism or inhibit a person’s ability to lose weight in the long run.

“A history of unsuccessful weight loss should not dissuade an individual from future attempts to shed pounds or diminish the role of a healthy diet and regular physical activity in successful weight management,” reports Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Public Health Science Division and senior author of a new article published online in the journal Metabolism.

The statistics are frightening: two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight or obese and nearly half of American women are dieting to lose weight; and, weight is a major risk factor for many cancers, as well as heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. McTiernan pointed out that the World Health Organization has estimated that a quarter to a third of cancers could be prevented if people would maintain normal, healthy body weights and a physically active lifestyle.

The goal of McTiernan’s intervention was to determine whether women with a history of moderate or severe weight cycling were disadvantaged in losing weight when compared to non-weight-cyclers. In the study, 77 women (18 percent) met the criteria for severe weight cycling – having reported losing 20 or more pounds on three or more occasions, and 24 percent (103 women) met the criteria for moderate weight cycling – having reported losing 10 or more pounds on three or more occasions. In the study – based on data from 439 over-weight-to-obese, sedentary Seattle-area women 50 to 75 years old – participants were divided into four groups: a reduced-calories diet, exercise only (mainly brisk walking), reduced-calorie diet plus exercise, and a control group that received no intervention. After one year, the diet-only and diet-plus-exercise groups lost an average of 10 percent of body weight – the goal of the intervention.

At the study’s close, researchers found no significant differences with regard to ability to successfully participate in the diet and/or exercise programs between those who yo-yo dieted and those who did not. No significant differences were found between yo-yoers and non-yo-yoers on other physiological factors such as blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and blood concentrations of hormones such as leptin, which helps make one feel full/satiated, and adiponectin, which helps regulate glucose levels.

The study report is significant because . “To our knowledge, no previous studies have examined the effect of prior weight cycling on the body composition, metabolic and hormonal changes induced by a comprehensive lifestyle intervention in free-living women,” the authors wrote.

Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the Canadian Institutes of Health, the study included investigators at Harvard Medical School, the National Cancer Institute and the University of Washington.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

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Use It or Lose

It ain’t no muscle. But, it sure is an energy hot.

Weighing in at about three pounds in the average adult, the human brain represents about 2 to 3 percent of the body’s weight but consumes 20 percent of its total energy output.

And, now there’s science-based evidence that – in a very significant way – the brain behaves like a muscle: It obeys the old gym law “Use It Or Lose It.”

Neuroscientists have known for a long time that a baby’s brain generates roughly twice as many nerve cells as it needs to function; through “paring” at various stages of infancy/childhood/adolescence, the brain ultimately eliminates those cells that do not receive sufficient chemical and electrical stimulation to survive. The process, often called “apoptosis” or “programmed” cell death, occurs when a brain cell, neuron, loses its battle with other cells to receive essential stimulation. Based on studies of the developing brain, researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute of The University of Queensland (Australia) have identified a critical clue to understanding why nerve cells die in neurodegenerative diseases. This self-destructive process is not only a normal part of human brain development, but it also plays a role in strokes, Alzheimer’s and motor neuron diseases, leading to the loss of essential nerve cells from the adult brain.

Reporting in the Journal of Neuroscience, Dr. Elizabeth Coulson and her colleagues have identified stimulation as a critical factor in the cell-death process. “It appears that if a cell is not appropriately stimulated, it self-destructs,” reports Dr. Coulson. “We know that a lack of both chemical and electrical stimulation causes the cells to self-destruct. But we believe that nerve cells will survive if appropriate electrical stimuli are produced to block the self-destruct process we have identified.”

A next step in research will be to determine whether dying cells receiving only electrical stimulation can be rescued. While years of research have been critical in determining factors regulating nerve cell survival, it will be a long process to combat neurodegeneration.

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.

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