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Neurofeedback and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Offer Hope for a Brain Injury Patient

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In 2007, Tito was a vibrant young man whose whole life lay ahead of him. But in an instant, that life was drastically changed when a car accident left him with severe brain damage. Doctors told his mother, Gladys, she would have to say goodbye to her son. They didn't expect him to live for more than 24 hours.

Willing to do anything to help Tito, Gladys decided to give hyperbaric oxygen therapy a try. Dr. Adam Breiner, a naturopathic doctor and co-founder of Breiner Whole-Body Health Centre in Connecticut, immediately began sessions with Tito. After only three hours in the hyperbaric chamber, Tito's brain started to awaken. He showed signs of increased alertness, and he began to move around.

Dr. Breiner suggested 40 to 80 more hours of therapy, and to further help Tito's brain to recover, he began Neurofeedback therapy. Neurofeedback is gaining recognition in the medical community as an alternative treatment for brain injuries, as well as many other neurological disorders. Using an Electroencephalogram, or EEG device, to measure electrical activity in the brain, a patient is able to "see" how his or her brain waves are functioning by looking at a monitor. Then, through positive reinforcement, the brain is trained to use waves that operate within a normal range of function. After several sessions, these changes may become long lasting. The procedure is safe and completely non-invasive.

With the combination of neurofeedback with hyperbaric oxygen therapies, Tito progressed rapidly. Soon he was able to eat regular food. His dark eyes would shine with recognition when family members came to visit, and he started to communicate verbally. He could answer simple questions and even recognize dates. Gladys happily recalls the day when Tito knew that it was his birthday.

Neurofeedback is changing lives. Never before have we been able to work so precisely with the human brain to bring about these exciting changes. Fortunately, those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury usually respond powerfully and quickly to neurofeedback.

Professor John Gruzelier, from Imperial College London at Charing Cross hospital commented "Neurofeedback has been proven to be effective in altering brain activity, but the extent to which such alterations can influence behavior are still unknown." Notice that he did not place a cap on what is possible; he is simply saying, in so many words, thi s much we know, and we need to see what else there is to know .

Neurofeedback epitomizes the phrase "seeing is believing." The ability to see what the brain is doing in real time, and continue to watch as it makes changes and improvements, shifting effortlessly from one frequency to another depending on the context and the task, is a marvelous demonstration of the complexity of the human brain and nervous system.

Case studies show that, among other things, patients are delightfully surprised to see a return of their short term memory, ability to organize, prioritize and sequence, and overall, get a sense of things being normal again, after the appropriate number of neurofeedback sessions.

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Dr. Clare Albright is a psychologist and neurofeedback practitioner in Orange County, CA. She is the author of, "Neurofeedback: Tranforming Your Life with Brain Biofeedback" Dr. Albright has been counseling in Orange County for over 26 years.
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