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Mar 17, 2007

EEG neurofeedback for cognitive enhancement in the elderly

EEG neurofeedback: a brief overview and an example of peak alpha frequency training for cognitive enhancement in the elderly.

Clin Neuropsychol. 2007 Jan;21(1):110-29

Authors: Angelakis E, Stathopoulou S, Frymiare JL, Green DL, Lubar JF, Kounios J

Neurofeedback (NF) is an electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback technique for training individuals to alter their brain activity via operant conditioning. Research has shown that NF helps reduce symptoms of several neurological and psychiatric disorders, with ongoing research currently investigating applications to other disorders and to the enhancement of non-disordered cognition. The present article briefly reviews the fundamentals and current status of NF therapy and research and illustrates the basic approach with an interim report on a pilot study aimed at developing a new NF protocol for improving cognitive function in the elderly. EEG peak alpha frequency (PAF) has been shown to correlate positively with cognitive performance and to correlate negatively with age after childhood. The present pilot study used a double-blind controlled design to investigate whether training older individuals to increase PAF would result in improved cognitive performance. The results suggested that PAF NF improved cognitive processing speed and executive function, but that it had no clear effect on memory. In sum, the results suggest that the PAF NF protocol is a promising technique for improving selected cognitive functions.

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