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November 1, 2010

NPR today - Training Brains - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

I heard an interesting news segment on NPR today that I thought I would share.  Scientists are experimenting with using neurofeedback as a therapy for ADHD- something the speaker referred to as “meditation on steriods.”  The feedback is simple, as the aim is condition the brain to remain focused through a reward system.

An individual sits in front of a laptop screen and sensors are connected to the participants brain.  The computer software monitors brainwaves.  When the brainwaves are calmer and more focused the lap top screen reflects pleasant colors, flowers, and one hears birds singing.  This is the positive reward for the calmer and focused brainwaves.  When the brain becomes distracted or wanders, the participant will see the flowers wilt and the screen fade to greyish color.  I see why the speaker in the NPR segment coined the term “meditation on steroids!”

This form of neurofeedback therapy is a fascinating approach for conditioning the brain.  While still early in the development, the development of high-tech software such as this shows that scientists are searching out alternative treatments to ADHD.

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