Written by Dr Emmanouil (Manos) Georgiadis.
The biomedical model of disease traditional medicine supports health by treating illness and its symptoms. However, this curing practice depends on drugs and active pharmaceutical substances, which often costs a lot and carries various side-effects for human system and its components (i.e. immune system).
On the other hand, a biopsychosocial model suggests that people are capable of controlling their own body functions when they are aware of these processes. This realisation has brought a new way of treating conditions (i.e. anxiety) and their symptoms. This contemporary means to control one's health is based on biofeedback.
Biofeedback is the process of receiving and conveying back to the trainee related biological signals, with the aim of being personally aware and to better control one's body. During this method, participants are connected (i.e. via a strap on their finger) to a device that receives and sends biological data back to the person. With this information the individual can gradually modify, readjust and improve certain signals getting control of own functioning.
Neurofeedback is a modality of biofeedback and it is based on the realisation of subconscious neural activity. It is applied through a device that basically "reads" and amplifies brain activity. Such an action provides the opportunity to understand current levels of neural activation. In neuroscience, this activation is recognised via a series of wave frequency reflecting various grades of mental activation or relaxation. Hence, based on the frequency of brain waves, we are in position to identify and readjust Delta, Theta and Alpha for lower frequency wave bands; SMR and middle Beta for middle frequency wave bands; and High Beta and Gamma for high frequency wave bands.
Neurofeedback acts through real-time information and supports the brain as it trains, re-organises and conditions itself to function better. This can take place through eyes open (i.e. via visual or auditory signals similar to a video-game) or eyes closed (i.e. concentrating on breathing) with the aim to re-educate the brain to make voluntary changes towards an improved mental state. All procedures in use are easy to apply through adaptable protocols caring for personal needs and individual progress rates.
Recent studies have provided exciting results on the capability of the brain to improve its functioning with profound effects on concentration, memory and learning. With the advent of novel technological advances (i.e. microprocessors) neurofeedback devices are becoming cheaper and easier to use. However, not many studies have provided evidence around the effects of newly presented neurofeedback devices on improvements of brain plasticity reflecting better quality of life and enhanced learning skills.
New technological developments already permit us to control better our physical and mental health. I am delighted to share this innovative neurofeedback study at the University of Suffolk. With the help of a simple procedure and innovative neurofeedback technology, we are aiming to explore the effects of neurofeedback on Dyslexia and associated brain processes*.
The study has been approved by the University of Suffolk Ethics Board. All voluntary participation will be based on informed consent. Research undertaken at the University of Suffolk complies with the RCUK Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct (2013).
*The study includes providing evidence of any related diagnoses. Please note that this information (when provided) will be held confidentially by staff in Student Services, who are assisting with the recruitment of participants.