Neuroscience, Meet Clinical Psychology


TBI and Stroke

Concussions and head injuries that cause emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems occur as a result of many things such as motor vehicle accidents, war (Trudeau et al., 1998), and sports (McCrea, Prichep, Powell, Chabor, & Barr, 2010; McKee et al., 2009), including football (Amen et al., 2011), doing headers in soccer (Tysvaer, Stroll, & Bachen, 1989), and boxing (Ross, Cole, Thompson, & Kim, 1983).

The most traditionally advised medical treatment for TBI is rest and rehabilitation. Patients are strongly advised to stop their previous physical and cognitive activity
for up to a week following the injury. They may also be provided specific
rehabilitation and/or medication for persisting secondary problems. While helpful, this may not fully resolve many of the significant, neurologically based cognitive and emotional symptoms noted above. These may persist for weeks, months, and years after the Initial Injury.

Neurofeedback assists rehabilitation.
Treatment outcome studies of closed and open head injuries have been published (Ayers, 1987, 1991, 1999; Bounias, Laibow, Bonaly, & Stubbelbine, 2001; Bounais, Laibow, Stubbelbine, Sandground, & Bonaly, 2002; Byers, 1995; Hammond, 2007a, 2007b, 2010c; Hoffman, Stockdale, Hicks, &
Schwaninger, 1995; Hoffman, Stockdale, & Van Egren, 1996a, 1996b; Keller, 2001; Laibow, Stubbelbine, Sandground, & Bounais, 2001; Schoenberger et al., 2001; Thornton, 2000; Tinius & Tinius, 2001), as well as with stroke (Ayers, 1981, 1995a, 1995b, 1999; Bearden, Cassisi, & Pineda, 2003; Cannon,
Sherlin, & Lyle, 2010; Doppelmayr, Nosko, Pecherstorfer, & Fink, 2007; Putnam, 2001; Rozelle & Budzynski, 1995; Walker, 2007; Wing, 2001), but further high-quality research needs to be done. One article (Hammond, 2007b) reported a case of moderate severity TBI treated with the LENS, which resulted in the complete reversal of posttraumatic anosmia (complete loss of sense of smell) of 9 years’ duration, which was previously unheard of, as well as significant clinical improvement in postconcussion symptoms.

A recent research review (Thornton & Carmody, 2008) particularly suggests that QEEG-guided neurofeedback is superior to neurocognitive rehabilitation strategies and medication treatment in the rehabilitation of TBI. Traditionally physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians tell head injury patients that 1 years after a TBI they cannot expect further improvement and must simply adjust to their deficits. Clinical experience and research thus far clearly indicate that neurofeedback may often produce significant improvements even many years after a head injury. The accumulating evidence indicates that neurofeedback offers a valuable additional treatment in the rehabilitation of head injuries and with athletes who have suffered concussions.

"... 88% of 26 TBI patients with persistent post-traumatic symptoms had improved their EEG coherence
(neuronal network communication) scores by 50% and were then able to return
to previous employment."

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