Posts Tagged brain waves

[NEWS] Brain-wave pattern can identify people likely to respond to antidepressant, study finds.

Researchers used electroencephalography and artificial intelligence to identify individuals who would likely respond to sertraline, the antidepressant marketed as Zoloft.

brain wave graphic

Researchers used electroencephalography and an algorithm to identify a brain-wave signature in individuals with depression who will most likely respond to a medication.
Andrea Danti/Shutterstock.comA new method of interpreting brain activity could potentially be used in clinics to help determine the best treatment options for depression, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine.      

Stanford researchers and their collaborators used electroencephalography, a tool for monitoring electrical activity in the brain, and an algorithm to identify a brain-wave signature in individuals with depression who will most likely respond to sertraline, an antidepressant marketed as Zoloft.

paper describing the work was published today in Nature Biotechnology.

The study emerged from a decades-long effort funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to create biologically based approaches, such as blood tests and brain imaging, to help personalize the treatment of depression and other mental disorders. Currently, there are no such tests to objectively diagnose depression or guide its treatment.

“This study takes previous research showing that we can predict who benefits from an antidepressant and actually brings it to the point of practical utility,” said Amit Etkin, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford. “I will be surprised if this isn’t used by clinicians within the next five years.”

Instead of functional magnetic resonance imaging, an expensive technology often used in studies to image brain activity, the scientists turned to electroencephalography, or EEG, a much less costly technology.

Etkin shares senior authorship of the paper with Madhukar Trivedi, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas-Southwestern. Wei Wu, PhD, an instructor of psychiatry at Stanford, is the lead author.

The paper is one of several based on data from a federally funded depression study launched in 2011 — the largest randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial on antidepressants ever conducted with brain imaging — which tested the use of sertraline in 309 medication-free patients. The multicenter trial was called Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care, or EMBARC. Led by Trivedi, it was designed to advance the goal of improving the trial-and-error method of treating depression that is still in use today.

“It often takes many steps for a patient with depression to get better,” Trivedi said. “We went into this thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be better to identify at the beginning of treatment which treatments would be best for which patients?’”

Most common mental disorder

Major depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States, affecting about 7% of adults in 2017, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Among those, about half never get diagnosed. For those who do, finding the right treatment can take years, Trivedi said. He pointed to one of his past studies that showed only about 30% of depressed patients saw any remission of symptoms after their first treatment with an antidepressant.

Amit Etkin

Amit Etkin

Current methods for diagnosing depression are simply too subjective and imprecise to guide clinicians in quickly identifying the right treatment, Etkin said. In addition to a variety of antidepressants, there are several other types of treatments for depression, including psychotherapy and brain stimulation, but figuring out which treatment will work for which patients is based on educated guessing. 


To diagnose depression, clinicians rely on a patient reporting at least 5 of 9 common symptoms of the disease. The list includes symptoms such as feelings of sadness or hopelessness, self-doubt, sleep disturbances — ranging from insomnia to sleeping too much — low energy, unexplained body aches, fatigue, and changes in appetite, ranging from overeating to undereating. Patients often vary in both the severity and types of symptoms they experience, Etkin said.

“As a psychiatrist, I know these patients differ a lot,” Etkin said. “But we put them all under the same umbrella, and we treat them all the same way.” Treating people with depression often begins with prescribing them an antidepressant. If one doesn’t work, a second antidepressant is prescribed. Each of these “trials” often takes at least eight weeks to assess whether the drug worked and symptoms are alleviated. If an antidepressant doesn’t work, other treatments, such as psychotherapy or occasionally transcranial magnetic stimulation, may also be tried. Often, multiple treatments are combined, Etkin said, but figuring out which combination works can take a while.

“People often feel a lot of dejection each time a treatment doesn’t work, creating more self-doubt for those whose primary symptom is most often self-doubt,” Trivedi said.

Looking for a biomarker

The EMBARC trial enrolled 309 people with depression who were randomized to receive either sertraline or a placebo.

For their study, Etkin and his colleagues set out to find a brain-wave pattern to help predict which depressed participants would respond to sertraline. First, the researchers collected EEG data on the participants before they received any drug treatment. The goal was to obtain a baseline measure of brain-wave patterns.

Next, using insights from neuroscience and bioengineering, the investigators analyzed the EEG using a novel artificial intelligence technique they developed and identified signatures in the data that predicted which participants would respond to treatment based on their individual EEG scans. The researchers found that this technique reliably predicted which of the patients did, in fact, respond to sertraline and which responded to placebo. The results were replicated at four different clinical sites.

Further research suggested that participants who were predicted to show little improvement with sertraline were more likely to respond to treatment involving transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, in combination with psychotherapy.

“Using this method, we can characterize something about an individual person’s brain,” Etkin said. “It’s a method that can work across different types of EEG equipment, and thus more apt to reach the clinic.”

Etkin is on leave from Stanford, working as the founder and CEO of the startup Alto Neuroscience, a company based in Los Altos, California, that aims to build on these findings and develop a new generation of biologically based diagnostic tests to personalize mental health treatments with a high degree of clinical utility. “Part of getting these study results used in clinical care is, I think, that society has to demand it,” Trivedi said. “That is the way things get put into practice. I don’t see a downside to putting this into clinical use soon.”

Broad effort

When EMBARC was launched, it was part of a broader effort by the NIMH to push for improvements in mental health care by using advances in fields such as genetics, neuroscience and biotechnology, said Thomas Insel, MD, who served as director of that institute from 2002 to 2015.

“We went into EMBARC saying anything is possible,” Insel said. “Let’s see if we can come up with clinically actionable techniques.” He didn’t think it would take this long, but he remains optimistic.

“I think this study is a particularly interesting application of EMBARC,” he said. “It leverages the power of modern data science to predict at the individual level who is likely to respond to an antidepressant.”

In addition to improving care, the researchers said they see a possible side benefit to the use of biologically based approaches: It could reduce the stigma associated with depression and other mental health disorders that prevents many people from seeking appropriate medical care.

“I’d love to think scientific evidence will help to counteract this stigma, but it hasn’t so far,” said Insel. “It’s been over 160 years since Abraham Lincoln said that melancholy ‘is a misfortune, not a fault.’ We still have a long way to go before most people will understand that depression is not someone’s fault.” (President Lincoln suffered bouts of depression.)

Other Stanford co-authors of the paper are postdoctoral scholars Yu Zhang, PhD, and Jing Jiang, PhD; former postdoctoral scholar Gregory Fonzo, PhD; neuroscience graduate students Molly Lucas and Camarin Rolle; research assistants Carena Cornelssen and Kamron Sarhadi; clinical research coordinator Trevor Caudle; former clinical research coordinators Rachael Wright, Karen Monuszko and Hersh Trivedi; and former neuroscience graduate student Russell Toll. All Stanford authors, including Etkin, are affiliated with Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare System and the Sierra Pacific Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center in Palo Alto.

Etkin is a member of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford.

Researchers at South China University of Technology, the Netherlands Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University and the Netherlands neuroCare Group also contributed to the work.

Insel is an investor in Alto Neuroscience.

The EMBARC study data are publicly available through the NIMH Data Archive.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (U01MH092221, U01MH092250, R01MH103324, DP1 MH116506), the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, the Hersh Foundation, the National Key Research and Development Plan of China, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions – Stanford University School of MedicineStanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at

via Brain-wave pattern can identify people likely to respond to antidepressant, study finds | News Center | Stanford Medicine


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[WEB SITE] Different Types of Brain Waves: Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, Gamma

Our brain consists of 5 different types of brain waves; Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma brain waves. Each of these of these brain waves has a normal frequency range in which they operate. The table below gives a brief overview of the primary function of these brain waves.

Frequency range


Usually associated with:

> 40 Hz

Gamma waves Higher mental activity, including perception, problem solving, and consciousness

13–39 Hz

Beta waves Active, busy thinking, active processing , active concentration, arousal, and cognition

7–13 Hz

Alpha waves Calm relaxed yet alert state

4–7 Hz

Theta waves Deep meditation /relaxation, REM sleep

< 4 Hz

Delta waves Deep dreamless sleep, loss of body awareness
delta theta alpha beta gamma brain waves

Each type of brainwave controls a variety of states of consciousness ranging from sleep to active thinking. While all brain waves work simultaneously, one brainwave can be more predominant and active than the others. The dominant brainwave will determine your current state of mind. So if you are awake and relaxed you would be considered to be in an “alpha state of mind” because your Alpha brain waves would be the strongest with the highest amplitude.

To recap: each brain wave has a frequency it operates at (Hz). The frequency ranges listed above are the “normal” ranges these brain waves should operate at; however, they can fall out of these ranges. Each brain wave has an amplitude (uV) which determines the strength of the brainwave; this, in turn, determines your active state of mind. All brainwave types can be active at the same time but some will be more active than others having the highest amplitude.

In a perfect healthy brain all your brain waves fall within these normal ranges and you have the correct strong dominant brainwave depending on your state of mind. If this is the case, you are feeling FANTASTIC, waking up feeling energetic, in a completely relaxed state, focused, happy, feeling sharp and clear, essentially feeling good all the time, Congratulations! You are a zen monk! But, let’s get back to reality. This is more or less impossible to achieve. Our brain waves are probably not falling within the correct range– some may be a little too high while others are too low. Everything in our daily lives—from stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, trauma, pollution, the environment, and more– causes our brain waves to become unbalanced. Fortunately, we can use brainwave entrainment tools like Itsu Sync to help rebalance our brain waves.


The Effects of Specific Brain Waves

Each different brainwave has a certain effect at a specific frequency. The list below will break down the different brainwave ranges to specific frequencies listing their effects.

Delta Brain Waves (0.5Hz – 4Hz)

how to improve sleep with binaural beats

0.5 Hz – Complete relaxation and headache relief.
0.5-1.5Hz – Natural pain relief through stimulating endorphin release.
0.9 Hz – Euphoric state.
1 Hz – Feeling of well-being; stimulation of pituitary glands to release growth hormones (helps recover from injuries, rejuvenate, and develop muscles).
2 Hz – Nerve regeneration.
2.5 Hz – Further pain and migraine relief from production of endogenous opiates. Natural sedative effect.
1-3 Hz – Restorative sleep and profound relaxation.
3.4Hz – Restful sleep.
3.5 Hz – Feeling of calmness, reducing anger and irritability. Retention of languages.
4Hz – Enkephalin release for natural stress and pain reduction. Improved memory, subconscious learning and problem solving.


Theta brain waves (4Hz – 7Hz)

how to relax with binaural beats

4.5 Hz – Brings you into what is referred to as “the Tibetan state of consciousness”, a state of meditation.
4.9 Hz – Induced relaxation, meditation, introspection, and a deeper sleep.
5 Hz – State of unconscious problem solving. Less sleep is needed due to the Theta waves replacing the need for extensive dreaming. Beta endorphin release as a natural pain killer.
5.35 Hz – Deeper breathing, relaxing the lungs.
5.5 Hz – Giving the feeling of intuition, your inner guidance, and “gut feeling”.
5.8 Hz – Reduce fear, absent-mindedness, and dizziness.
6 Hz – Improves long-term memory and motivation; reduces procrastination and unwillingness to work.
4.5 Hz – 6.5 Hz – Waking dreaming (day dreaming) with vivid images.
6.5 Hz – Activates the frontal lobe which controls creativity.
6.2 Hz – 6.7 Hz – Activates Frontal Mid-line Theta that is active when engaged in cognitive activity such as solving math problems, playing Tetris, or other similar types of quick passive problem solving tasks.
6.88 Hz – Effects balance and stability.
3 Hz – 8 Hz – Deep relaxation, meditation, lucid dreaming, increased memory, focus, and creativity.
4 Hz – 7 Hz – Inner peace and emotional healing which lowers mental fatigue.
6 Hz – 10 Hz – Creative visualization, starts at 6Hz and moves up to 10Hz.


Alpha brain waves (7Hz – 13Hz)

meditation with binaural beats

7.5 Hz – Creative thought is activated for music, art, invention, and problem solving. Overcoming troublesome issues or problems due to ease in finding solutions through re-evaluation. This is a type of inter-awareness of self purpose.
7.83 Hz – The Schumann Resonance. Very grounding as it is the same frequency as the magnetic field of the earth.
7.5 Hz – 8 Hz – For treating addictions, drug, alcohol, food, etc. Gives the person the “satisfied” feeling that they would normally get from their addiction.
8 Hz – 14 Hz – Qi Gong.
8.3 Hz – Heightens clairvoyance around visual images and metal objects.
8 Hz – 8.6Hz – Reduced stress and anxiety.
8 Hz – 10 Hz – Start of “super learning”, your passive ability to learn new information and memorize. It activates creative problem solving and intuitive insights. This is not an active focus on learning but a relaxed state your mind is in absorbing without active concentration.
9 Hz – Brings awareness of body imbalances.
10 Hz – Increased serotonin release bringing mood elevation, arousal; relives headaches and stimulates the body. Will bring clarity to the mind and give subconscious correlation.
10 Hz – 12 Hz – Improves the mind, body connection.
10.5 Hz – Lowers blood pressure. Associated with the Heart Chakra which is related to the Thymus, heart, blood, and circulatory system.
10.6 Hz – Relaxed and alert.
11 Hz – Brings you to a relaxed yet awake state. Can be a lucid state (day dreaming) but not from tiredness. Thoughts and emotions may pleasantly drift through your mind bringing calm. It can be a bridge between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. Gives stress reduction.
12 Hz – Gives mental stability.
12 Hz – 14 Hz – Improves learning by absorbing information when you plan to think about it later.
12.3 Hz – Improves visualization.


Beta brain waves (13Hz – 39Hz) & Gamma brain waves (40Hz+)

how to improve studying with binaural beats

13 Hz – 27 Hz – Focus with attention toward external stimuli. The normal waking consciousness, active thought process, and alert mental activity.
13 Hz – 30 Hz – Processing outside data your brain takes in, problem solving and active conscious thinking. A very wakeful state which combats drowsiness.
14 Hz – An awake, alert state. Allows you to focus and concentrate on tasks.
15 Hz – 18 Hz – Increases your mental abilities including focus, alertness, attentiveness and IQ. You are aware of yourself and surroundings and are alert but not agitated.
16 Hz – Stimulates oxygen/-calcium release into cells.
18 Hz – 24 Hz – Euphoria and ecstasy, similar to a runners high with serotonin release around 22Hz.
18+ Hz – A fully awake state with normal alertness. Significant improvements can be seen in memory, reading, spelling, math, and planning.
20Hz – Stimulation of the pineal gland. The frequency can help with tinnitus.
20 Hz – 40 Hz – Ideal meditation frequency for stress release.
31 Hz – Release of growth hormone, can help to develop muscles and recover from injuries (rejuvenation effects).
32Hz – Enhanced vigor and alertness.
33 Hz – Christ consciousness and the Pyramid frequency.
35 Hz – Balance of all chakras.
36 Hz – 44 Hz – The learning frequency range; will help maintain alertness when actively studying or thinking. Related to the prepiriform cortex and amygdala. Coordinates processing of information in different areas of the brain simultaneously.
38 Hz – Endorphin release.
40 Hz – Having efficient 40Hz activity creates a good memory also dominant in problem solving. Important for information and high-level information processing. A lack of this frequency can create learning disabilities.
40 Hz – 60 Hz – Can stimulate the release of beta-endorphins and give anxiolytic effects.
55 Hz – Tantric yoga which stimulates the “kundalini”.
62 Hz – Feeling of physical vigor.
72 Hz – The emotional spectrum.
40+ Hz – The higher gamma frequencies are less specific occurring over larger ranges and are mostly related to intelligence, problem solving, focus, memorization, concentration, etc. They can be looked at as an enhancement for a lot of the benefits of the beta frequencies .

via Different Types of Brain Waves: Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, Gamma

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[BLOG POST] Epilepsy News: December 2017



Although I managed to publish a look back on this year and mentioned what’s coming for the year ahead on Tuesday, it was a bit too soon for me to publish what’s up for viewing today. However, if you’ve got a little time to look at my blog today, then I imagine you’ll enjoy this information about how epilepsy-related events have managed to make the headlines.

The Great Brain Waves

In Israel, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers are now believed to have come across a useful biomarker when testing theta brain waves measured as part of an EEG. What they’ve found could potentially predict and even prevent epileptic seizures for post brain injury patients with epilepsy.

Post-injury epilepsy (PIE) is a devastating, unpreventable consequence of traumatic brain injury and stroke, and develops in the months or even years after the sufferer’s initial daunting experience.

However, the BGU team’s research discovered that theta waves could predict five different types of post-injury in mice and rats. Theta waves generate the rhythmic, neural oscillatory pattern in EEG signals, recorded either from inside the brain or from electrodes glued to the scalp.

EEG Test
Doctor’s have never really gathered anything useful from my EEG tests, so hearing about this was nice news to hear

The researchers came to find that a specific pattern of theta activity decline over time shows signs of epilepsy development. This pattern is also said to be associated with disturbances in sleep-awake cycles.

Scientific research also caught the news when it announced that specific drugs will hopefully be able to prevent the onset of epilepsy, although at the time they were still waiting for reliable biomarkers in the brain to proceed. By potentially predicting epileptic seizures, brain waves show great promise towards helping to trigger the eventual use of these drugs to prevent the onset of epilepsy in the future.

If you’d like to read more about this, click here for a link to the ScienceDaily website.

Treating Apnoea is Beneficial for Epilepsy

Ten days ago, I wrote an article that explained and offered a bit of advice on the clash of sleep disorders and epilepsy; something that I’ve certainly noticed in my life over the past ten years.

One important part of the information that I perhaps saved for this month’s Epilepsy News section was the recent news that treating Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) has been shown to reduce seizures among patients with epilepsy significantly.

It seems that after one year of treatment, positive airway pressure (PAP) provides patients with epilepsy better outcomes in comparison to patients with untreated OSA and no OSA.

Sleep apnoea was one of the sleep disorders I mentioned in my article, and although I don’t think I have to deal with this one myself, around 40% of adults with epilepsy do. In about 16% of those patients, the condition is also moderate to severe.

Part of the Sleep Disorder Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr Thapanee Somboon has stated that “All patients with epilepsy should be screened for OSA, and the condition should be treated, particularly in those with drug-resistant seizures”.

Although OSA is possible to pick up at any age, it is more commonly developed in a person’s middle age. Ridding people with epilepsy of the disorders makes sense because it almost seems to double up the difficulties that we have to manage; it interrupts sleep and produces a state of chronic sleep deprivation, which as I mentioned in last week’s article, so often leads to more seizures.

OSA also seems similar to epilepsy because it is associated with other negative outcomes such as mood and cognitive dysfunction, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders and sudden death.

Now that I know more about OSA, I’ll do my best to memorise this data and try to keep an eye on my sleep patterns in the future. The signs that you have the sleep disorder can include taking one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Sometimes normal breathing can start again with a loud snort or choking sound.

It’s more likely that your partner will gather information about this than you, so make sure they’re aware of what could bother you so much in the future. Although I can’t put my name down for PAP therapy yet, as soon as some symptoms occur, I’ll be eager to talk to a doctor about it, for sure.

More facts and figures are available regarding seizure control and OSA on the Neurology Advisor website.

The Government’s Guidelines (After Campaigning)

It is perhaps thought that the UK’s government isn’t useful when it comes to strengthening the lives of people with disabilities. However, they have now added guidelines that talk about the risks of switching between different brands of epilepsy medicines after previous campaigning was made by Epilepsy Action.

When switching is made between particular manufacturers of epilepsy medicine, an increase in seizures or side effects can sometimes take place. This guidelines update is aimed towards prescribers of the drug, telling them to take into consideration people’s thoughts and concerns.

Lamotrigine Milpharm Brand
It hasn’t affected me, but my recent switch from Lamictal to Milpharm lamotrigine came out of the blue

After the government made this amendment, Epilepsy Action’s deputy chief executive Simon Wigglesworth said “We are delighted that the MHRA has listened to our recommendations and made important changes to the guidance on switching between different anti-epilepsy medicines. These changes have a much greater focus on the individual and take into account the potential risks involved when changing medication.

“The impact of this should not be underestimated and can significantly affect people with epilepsy in a variety of ways. They may not be able to drive or work and experience severe anxiety or depression as a result of switching medication. We hope the revised guidance will help healthcare professionals to better advise people with epilepsy on all aspects of their so they can live more safely.”

If you’d like to know more about making a different switch to other versions of epilepsy medicine, then Epilepsy Action holds further information about doing so.

One Show About Epilepsy Alone

Just over a week ago I came across news of a new theatre production that has been designed to explore epilepsy on stage in front of an audience. It includes shows taking place at the end of January and beginning of February in 2018.

Created at the University of Exeter, ‘Beyond My Control’ is a unique theatrical experience that combines improvised scenes, verbatim testimony and top mathematical research in a one-hour show. It gives the audience a glimpse of a life living with epilepsy, who after the show will be invited to offer feedback and given a chance to interact further.

As mentioned earlier, the University of Exeter holds the needed ingredients to cook up this unusual performance where science meets theatre. Credit for the construction of Beyond My Control specifically goes to Exeter Northcott’s Artistic Director Paul Jepson and mathematician Professor John Terry.

Their efforts have been made with two main aims in mind: to better understand the condition of epilepsy, and to explain the current undergoing key research that is looking to address it. To learn about the theatrical performance, just head to the Beyond My Control website, where you can also book your tickets if you’re interested in seeing it yourself.

Ski Away the Symptoms

Residents of the Epilepsy Society have now gathered a new option when it comes to finding their best quality of life; with skiing. Neurologist Professor Matthias Koepp is now hoping to bring a new joy to some of their lives by sharing a personal passion with them, and is currently training to become an adaptive snowsport instructor:

“I am a passionate skier and have enjoyed many trips to the mountains with my family. There is a wonderful sense of freedom and liberation as you speed down a snow-covered mountainside with the cold air cutting your face and a dazzling blue sky above.”

Many of the 100 residents at Epilepsy Society live in six houses in Buckinghamshire and tend to hold the most complex epilepsy and associated disabilities. However, some have now already enjoyed a skiing experience at Hemel Hempstead’s Snow Centre in Greater London.

Zermatt Skiing
Skiing in the shadow of Mont Blanc in Zermatt, Switzerland

Disability Snowsport UK has played a helpful role in providing this opportunity, after recently visiting the Epilepsy Society to give residents a taste of life on the slopes. After finishing his training in Zermatt, Switzerland, Professor Koepp is keen to interact with his residents joyfully:

“I am training to be an adaptive snowsport instructor so that I can get on the slopes with our residents and enjoy the thrill of skiing together.

“I know that several of our residents have already signed up to Hemel Hempstead’s Snow Centre where they will be able to experience skiing on the 160m real snow slope. I cannot wait to join them there and share their feeling of freedom and excitement.”

Six Month’s of News in 2017

Positive news about epilepsy has been the main focus for this month. It seems appropriate really; I enjoyed Christmas Day with my family and now only look forward to the new year as well.

It’s not been twelve months of blog writing a monthly overview of Epilepsy News – just six in fact – but now we’re at the end of 2017, moving into 2018 to continue this duty does seem appealing. I reckon I’ve managed to find my voice as a writer now and will be looking to start a fresh diary so that I can find more people affected by epilepsy, and get them interested in what I write. Each month’s Epilepsy News is one of the most popular blog posts I write, and I can understand why people find it interesting.

I hope you celebrate a new year coming in style and I’ll be starting January by making a new post as soon as possible.

Take care,



via Epilepsy News: December 2017

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[WEB SITE] New `mind-controlled tech` brings hope to paralysed

These electrical signals – the same as those a doctor looks at when running an electroencephalogram (EEG) test – were sent to a computer, which “decoded” the brain waves.

Although Fritz is now only able to walk a short distance with a mechanical aid, researchers at the University of California have said the technology represents a promising yet incremental achievement in the development of brain-computer interfaces.

Mental training was initially required to reactivate the participant’s ability to use his brain power to walk, according to the study.

First, the patient was taught to control a virtual reality “avatar” with his brainwaves and given exercises to recondition and strengthen his leg muscles.

The participant later practiced walking while suspended 5cm above ground, so he could freely move his legs without having to support himself. On his 20th visit, equipped with a support system to avoid falls and take some of his body weight, he managed to put one foot after the other along a 3.66 m (12 ft) walking course.

Spinal cord stimulation using BCIs offers hope of regaining voluntary lower extremity movements to those with SCI. It would enable intuitive and direct brain control of walking via an external device. “However, independent over-ground walking is still some way off, not least because the issue of maintaining balance hasn’t yet been addressed”.

Spinal cord injuries only sever the neural connection to the legs, but the region of the brain that is responsible for sending the command to move the legs is not affected.

The breakthrough is owed to a functional electric stimulation (FES) device, which essentially acts as a communicator between Fritz’s brain and legs.

Their novel approach permitted the young man, who has complete paralysis of both legs due to spinal cord injury, to take steps without relying on manually controlled robotic limbs.

“Walking is a very fundamental behavior for us”, he said, pointing out that sitting can affect a person’s cardiovascular health or their bladder control. The computer works in such a way that it interprets received brain waves as an intention to either walk or stand still.

Researchers said the goal of testing a BCI system is to develop a brain implant that can communicate with electrodes in the legs, however researchers said a noninvasive version allows for better testing of the method.

“We hope that an implant could achieve an even greater level of prosthesis control because brain waves are recorded with higher quality”, he added.

Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, professor of neurobiology and the director for the Center of Neuroengineering at Duke University, said the study was exciting, but emphasized that the dramatic results will need to be replicated in other paraplegic patients.

Neurosurgeons made it possible by transmitting signals from the brain to electrodes placed around his knees

Source: New mind-controlled tech brings hope to paralysed –

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[WEB SITE] 5 Types Of Brain Waves Frequencies: Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta

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It is important to know that all humans display five different types of electrical patterns or “brain waves” across the cortex. The brain waves can be observed with an EEG (or an “electroencephalograph”) – a tool that allows researchers to note brain wave patterns. Each brain wave has a purpose and helps serve us in optimal mental functioning.

Our brain’s ability to become flexible and/or transition through various brain wave frequencies plays a large role in how successful we are at managing stress, focusing on tasks, and getting a good night’s sleep. If one of the five types of brain waves is either overproduced and/or under produced in our brain, it can cause problems. For this reason, it is important to understand that there is no single brain wave that is “better” or more “optimal” than the others.

Each serves a purpose to help us cope with various situations – whether it is to help us process and learn new information or help us calm down after a long stressful day. The five brain waves in order of highest frequency (lowest amplitude) to lowest frequency (highest amplitude) are as follows: gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta.

5 Brain Waves: Frequencies To Understand

Continue –> 5 Types Of Brain Waves Frequencies: Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta.

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