QEEG Neurofeedback Glossary

Alpha waves

Alpha waves are brainwaves that cycle between 8 and 12 times per second. These waves are the most predominate waves during the wakeful state and have their greatest amplitude near the caudal (back) part of the brain. Alpha waves are associated with meditation, and may increase specifically during transcendental meditation or during inwardly focused states. People who have an imbalance of Alpha may tend to be depressed. Some who have increased alpha in the frontal lobes tend to be disorganized and mercurial. Individuals who use Marijuana show high left frontal alpha which may explain some of the effects of cannabinoids. Alpha can also be heightened in response to pain. Individuals who have Post Traumatic stress disorder experience Alpha Blocking, or Alpha Attenuation. This occurs when the brain tries to downshift into a more relaxed state and instead it speeds up. One reason why some people try to meditate or relax and find themselves getting more tense when they close their eyes.

Bèta waves

Beta waves are faster brain waves that oscillate between 12 and 30 hertz. They can be subdivided into three components: low beta, mid-beta, and high beta, also known as fast beta. The subdivisions of beta waves are also called Beta 1, Beta 2, and Beta 3.  Beta waves are associated with concentration and excitation. When the brain is predominantly in beta, the brain requires higher amounts of perfusion. When someone’s brain has too many high beta waves, they feel on edge, agitated, disorganized and fearful.

Delta waves

Delta waves are slow waves that oscillate between 1 and 4 times per second. Delta waves predominate in sleep and demonstrate penumbras of neurons in a hyperpolarized state. Individuals with Stroke and head injury may present with a high degree of delta waves. When a portion of the brain is “in Delta,” the brain cells in that area are slow and do not operate efficiently with the rest of the brain.  

Thèta waves

Theta waves are between delta and alpha. These waves have a frequency of 4-8 cycles per second. Theta waves are seen in hypnogogic states, meditation, and deep creative thought. Theta waves are also associated with pain response. Individuals who have too much theta in the front of their brains might have problems with staying focused and completing tasks.

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback refers to the technique of using operant conditioning to modify the brain waves. By rewarding specific brain waves, the brain can be taught directly via a computer to regulate itself.  Neurofeedback is also called EEG-Biofeedback as it deals with giving the subject feedback based on the Electroencephalogram. Neurofeedback has been in use since the 1960s. It has been applied to conditions as varied as seizure, stroke and autism.  It is the only non-invasive passive technique for modifying the central nervous system.

Training protocol

This refers to the set of directions the computer is given in order to produce specific feedback for the person training. Each person has a different training protocol that has the information pertaining to the strengths and weaknesses in his or her brain.

QEEG

Stands for Quantitative Electroencephalogram. The electroencephalogram is a test that measures the amount of electrical energy someone’s brain is producing. The energy is measured in microvolts at the scalp surface and amplified by a specific machine in order for the computer to allow us to read the waves. The number of brain waves are measured and compared to a database of individuals who have a normal brain scan. This method allows the clinician to see what areas of the brain are weak and which areas are strong. QEEG is also interchangeable with the terms Brainmap and BEAM (Brain Electrical Analysis and Mapping).

LoRETA

This is an acronym that stands for Low-Resolution Electrical Tomography. This technique uses vector weighted current density analysis to localize an area of the brain down to 2 millimeters. LoRETA can determine areas of connectivity in the brain and allow us to determine how a brain is operating on the functional level. There are different types of LoRETA, SW stands for standardized weighted, and eLoRETA refers to exact analysis with less error. Our training protocols use swLoRETA for accuracy.

SMR

This abbreviation means sensory motor rhythm. This rhythm is prominent over the sensory cortex, which is the area roughly above and between your ears. This type of brain rhythm runs slightly faster than Alpha. It is also called low beta and occupies 12-15 Hertz on the brainwave spectrum. Individuals with high levels of SMR tend to have quick reflexes and think quickly. They have better sleep and a lower chance of having seizures. Many peak performance training protocols and treatment for seizures involve training of SMR.

Single Channel

The number of channels refers to the number of sensors being used. Older systems still employ one sensor or channel. These types of systems produce an unbalanced brain and are highly unspecific. Although there can be merit in using single channel training, this should only be done by a professional that has obtained a QEEG before embarking on a training protocol.

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