Seizure Disorders

Seizure disorder was the first successful application of neurofeedback. In the beginning of the jet age in the early 1970s pilots were experiencing seizures from inhaling the jet fumes. This was from a substance, haldol, in the fumes. The military searched for a safe effective way to prevent seizures without impairing performance. Brainwave research at UCLA by Dr. Barry Sterman was underway for modifying brain waves in cats. In cooperation with the military, and after successfully preventing seizures in cats with neurofeedback, Dr. Sterman initiated a program with the military to train pilots to do neurofeedback to prevent seizures. This program of neurofeedback was successful and is used today to remediate seizures.

Seizure disorder is diagnosed by a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG) where the specific components of the seizure activity is identified. From this diagnostic procedure, a treatment plan is developed. A QEG is essential before any neurofeedback treatment can begin.

There are many types of seizures, and duration of treatment is specific to the type of seizures being controlled. Over time, neurofeedback will help retrain the brain electrical activity and restore normal functional skills thus reducing the frequency and severity of seizures.

As a side note, the pilots in the study serendipitously were reporting they were more alert and focused and in control and enjoying the added bonus of the neurofeedback. This led researchers to begin considering neurofeedback in treatment of ADHD, the second successful, among many other disorders later researched and successfully included for neurofeedback treatment.

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