Did you ever wish that our bodies were like cars and whatever was wrong could be easily repaired? Wouldn't it be nice to pull into a garage, get hooked up to a computer, find out what's wrong, and have it fixed? We actually are getting closer to this reality, especially for those with a family history of depression.
Research has repeatedly shown that depression occurs when the brain has an irregular brainwave pattern. Specifically, the frontal area of the brain is highly involved with our emotions. The left frontal area, in the forehead area above the left eye, is linked with positive feelings and wanting to be with others. The right frontal area, though, is the opposite and associated with depression and wanting to close ourselves off from other people. When the left frontal lobe of the brain has been affected, either by heredity or by injury (concussion), the brainwave activity is slowed. This under-activity on the left allows the right frontal lobe to become dominant and can lead to feelings of depression and wanting to be alone.
We actually can brain map this activity with . . . take a deep breath . . . quantitative electroencephalograms, otherwise known as QEEGs.
Depression can be seen on QEEGs with Brain Mapping
Above are parts of a brain map from two different people, one with depression and the other without symptoms of depression. Can you guess which brain map shows depression?
Answer: The brain map on the right is from a person with a long history of depression. It is easy to see that the left frontal area of this person reveals a patch, which is colored orange and yellow. This orange/yellow color variation indicates that there is an excess of slow, alpha brainwave activity. This is the pattern that has been classically associated with a vulnerability to depression. The brain map on the left displays how a relatively normal map would look, without any excess or serious deficit of brain wave activity. So to repeat—when the left frontal brainwaves are weakened, the right side becomes dominant and often can result in feelings of depression.
You may be thinking… “How can I wake up the left frontal lobe so positive emotions can return?”
Let’s start by telling you more about brain maps.
What is Brain Mapping?
The brain uses electrical impulses, called brainwaves, to send and receive messages from all parts of the body. A brain map analyzes each specific brain wave called alpha, beta, theta, or delta and creates a visual presentation (as shown above) for each lobe of the brain. By knowing what a normal presentation looks like, we are able to compare and assess a patient’s degree of impairment.
The brain map is an innovative new tool in accurately identifying the problem areas of the brain. It allows for a clearer assessment and provides a pathway for improving your health and emotional well being.
What other conditions can be brain mapped?
It has been well documented that people who suffer neurological problems have abnormal brain waves in certain areas of the brain. For instance, case studies using QEEG “brain maps” have shown that people with Attention-Deficit-Disorder (ADD) have elevated delta brainwaves, while those who suffer from depression have elevated alpha brainwaves. Those with anxiety will have elevated Beta brainwaves, while those suffering from memory loss usually have decreased theta brainwaves. Brain mapping allows us to identify areas of the brain that need to be retrained with neurofeedback.
Insomnia is another condition that has a high success rate with neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback does not target any particular disorder. Its purpose is to change timing and activation patterns in the brain. This improves brain regulation, which can impact a variety of symptoms.
Different symptoms will require triggering different areas of the brain. The software is designed to target specific areas of the brain according to a patient’s symptoms.
What is Neurofeedback?
Imagine a car mechanic resetting the timing on your engine. He or she knows that your car won’t run right unless the engine can run smoothly.
Neurofeedback retrains your brain to have a normal flow of brainwave activity throughout each part or lobe of the brain. This process of retuning brainwave activity is called operant conditioning.
Neurofeedback is a noninvasive process and is performed while the patient watches a movie or listens to music. Small electrodes are gently adhered to specific area of the head with washable paste.
Sessions will usually last up to 30 minutes.
The best part of neurofeedback is that results are often permanent, allowing a person to reduce or even eliminate medications altogether. Where medications only manage the symptoms, the goal of neurofeedback is to address the underlying cause and restore normal brainwave functions.
A listing of conditions commonly treated with Neurofeedback includes:
- Spectrum Thyroid Disorders
- Chronic Pain
- Lyme Disease
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Head Injuries
- Migraine Headaches
- Brain Fog
- Sleep Disorders
- Weight Loss
To learn more about this non-drug approach to depression and other conditions, visit www.clearmindtampabay.com. Lanzisera Center is located at 17 Davis Blvd in Tampa Florida (813) 253-2333. Calls from out-of-state are welcomed.
Drs. Frank and Lisa Lanzisera are the authors of two books, “Wheat Gluten” and “What’s Wrong with My Thyroid?”
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for Educational Purposes Only and is not designed to diagnose, treat, mitigate, prevent or cure any health conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated statements about these health topics or any suggested product compositions.