BRAIN REGION FUNCTION IN NEUROFEEDBACK
It is paramount important to know the role of brain region function in neurofeedback training therapy organization to have highly effective results for optimal performance in different spheres of life and treatment of different pathological states and disorders. The brain is divided into regions, areas, and lobes each responsible for a specific function.
The human brain is not only one of the most important organs in the human body; it is also the most complex. The brain is the central part of the nervous system which governs the functions of various organs in the body.
The brain is composed of the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem.
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain containing the cerebral cortex of the two cerebral hemispheres, as well as several subcortical structures, including the hippocampus, basal ganglia, and olfactory bulb. Cerebrum performs higher functions like interpreting touch, vision, and hearing, as well as speech, reasoning, emotions, learning, and fine control of movements.
The cerebellum is located under the cerebrum. Its function is to coordinate muscle movements, maintain posture, and balance.
Brainstem acts as a relay center connecting the cerebrum and cerebellum to the spinal cord. It performs many automatic functions such as breathing, heart rate, body temperature, wake and sleep cycles, digestion, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and swallowing.
The cerebrum is divided into two halves: the right and left hemispheres. They are joined by a bundle of fibers called the corpus callosum that transmits messages from one side to the other. Each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body.
The left hemisphere (LH) is usually the dominant hemisphere. It is responsible for activities on the right side of the body. The LH is good at logic and analytical reasoning. Two main language centers are in the LH: Broca’s area that deals with verbal expression and speech production, and Wernicke’s area that deals with verbal comprehension. Verbal memories are stored in the left hippocampus. Only around 20% of people who are left-handed are actually right hemisphere dominant.
The right hemisphere (RH) is the non-dominant hemisphere. It is responsible for activities on the left side of the body. The RH is involved in creativity, perception and visual-spatial processing. It is also involved in facial recognition.
The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of neural tissue (grey matter) covering the surface of the cerebrum. The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that functions to make human beings unique. Distinctly human traits including higher thought, language, and human consciousness as well as the ability to think, reason and imagine all originate in the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is what we see when we look at the brain. It is the outermost portion that can be divided into the four lobes of the brain: frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe. These lobes have been associated with different functions ranging from reasoning to auditory perception.
FUNCTIONAL REGIONS AND AREAS OF THE CEREBRAL CORTEX IN NEUROFEEDBACK
The cerebral cortex has two types of functional areas: sensory and motor areas. The precentral gyrus is all motor while the postcentral gyrus is all sensory.
The three types of functional areas are:
Motor areas – allow you to act upon a sensation
- Premotor Cortex – plans movements;
- Primary Motor Cortex – sends signals to generate movements;
- 2 special motor cortices (Frontal Eye Field, Broca’s area)
- Primary Sensory Cortex – makes you aware of a sensation;
- Association areas – give meaning to/make associations with a sensation;
- Multimodal Association Areas – make associations between different types of stimuli
Association areas – integrate diverse information
For each of the major senses, there is an area called the primary sensory cortex. These include somatosensory, visual, auditory, vestibular, taste, smell, and visceral sensations. The vestibular cortex is located in the insula, just below the temporal and frontal lobes.
Association areas give meaning to sensations. Each primary sensory area has an association area that it projects to. Association Areas make associations between different types of sensory information and associate new sensory input with memories of past experiences.
Multimodal Association Areas
These are large areas of the cerebral cortex that receive sensory input from multiple different sensory modalities and various association areas and help make associations between various kinds of sensory info. We have three multimodal association areas: Posterior, Anterior and Limbic association areas.
The posterior association area is where visual, auditory and somatosensory association areas meet. This is what gives us our spatial awareness of our body. It is the kinesthetic sense that is very strong in professional dancers or athletes for example. On the left side -Wernicke’s area that deals with reading, naming things. On the right side, this area helps us to understand emotional overtones/undertones of speech (the multiple ways of saying “I’m fine”).
The anterior association area includes the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain receives information from the posterior association area and helps integrate that info with past experience with the help of the limbic association area. It has a lot to do with thinking and making judgments and it’s where you understand what’s socially acceptable, how to behave; just anything related to heavy human conditioning.
The limbic association area is located on the medial side of the frontal lobe. This is what helps form memories and translates that to motor responses and processes emotions and guides emotional responses. It’s very important for social interactions and expressions of the personality.
The role of Brain Region Function in Neurofeedback training organization is paramount important for effective therapy.
FRONTAL LOBE BRAIN REGION FUNCTION IN NEUROFEEDBACK
The frontal lobe is located at the front of the brain. It is responsible for immediate and sustained attention, time management, working memory, executive planning, and initiative and is associated with reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language.
At the back of the frontal lobe, anteriorly to the central sulcus, lies the Primary Motor Cortex. This area of the brain receives information from various lobes of the brain and utilizes this information to carry out body movements. It works in association with pre-motor areas to plan and execute movements. The frontal lobes are very heavily connected to the amygdala, which deals with emotions. The frontal lobes and amygdala work together as part of the network that is the social brain, dealing with empathy and social skills.
- The lesion in this area will cause result in paralysis/paresis (partial loss of movement, or impaired movement) of the contra-lateral body area.
The premotor cortex is located anterior to the primary motor cortex and receives processed sensory information. This helps to plan complex movements and sends the plan to the primary motor cortex. It is responsible for sensory guidance of movement and control of proximal and trunk muscles of the body.
- The lesion will cause result in Apraxia (loss of the ability to execute or carry out learned purposeful movements, despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform the movements).
The frontal eye field is located anterior to the premotor cortex and helps control voluntary eye movements. Stimulation of frontal eye field in one side produces conjugate eye movement to the contralateral side.
- Lesion produces a transient deviation of eyes to the ipsilateral side and paralysis of contralateral gaze.
Supplementary Motor Area
Stimulation of supplementary motor area produces posturing responses such as turning head and eyes toward moving arm and programming for complex movements involving several parts of the body.
Broca’s area is located only in the left cerebral hemisphere. It is anterior to the premotor cortex, near the auditory sensation areas. It is what helps control motor movements for speech production. The corresponding area on the right side controls the emotional overtones to spoken words. In other words, it is what helps dictate how you say/form the words to your speech. It is responsible for language production and language comprehension (It has direct connections for the muscles responsible for the movements of the tongue, lips, vocal cord, and pharynx).
- The lesion will cause motor aphasia (is a language disorder in which there is an impairment, but not loss of speech and of comprehension of speech) but only when the dominant hemisphere is involved. The patient knows what he wants to say but speech is slow, deleting many prepositions and nouns, certain words are skipped and missed or words are repeated.
Prefrontal Cortex is located in the anterior portion of the frontal lobe, takes nearly 1/4 of the cortex and performs cognitive functions. It regulates sensory information flow in the posterior sensory systems. It originates planning, initiation, and inhibition of actions through the basal ganglia and motor cortical/subcortical areas. It modulates the affective system of the brain through the amygdala and brain stem connections. Prefrontal cortex involved with intellect, cognition, planning, judgment, problem-solving, conceptualizing, recall and personality. It is necessary for judgment, reasoning, persistence, and conscience. It also related to mood. Closely linked to the limbic system (the emotional part of the brain).
- The lesion will cause loss of initiative, careless dress, loss of sense of acceptable social behavior.
Damage to the frontal lobe can lead to changes in sexual habits, socialization, and attention as well as increased risk-taking.
FRONTAL LOBE NEUROFEEDBACK APPLICATION
Neurofeedback to Fz and Fpz can have an impact on social behavior. Weaknesses in this area are associated with oppositional defiance disorder and antisocial behaviors. Slowing may be evident in these frontal areas. Neurofeedback training in the right prefrontal cortex may lead to a reduction in fear as well as a sense of calm and well‐being, due to the connections with the amygdala. Frontal issues tend to present as patients being in a fog, struggling to focus, getting into trouble, having social issues, fearful, unmotivated and disconnected.
Left hemisphere: neurofeedback training application in Fp1, F3, F7 improve working memory, concentration, increase executive planning performance and positive emotions.
Right hemisphere: neurofeedback application in Fp2, F4, F8 improve episodic memory, social awareness.
PARIETAL LOBE BRAIN REGION FUNCTION IN NEUROFEEDBACK
The parietal lobe is located in the middle section of the brain and is associated with processing tactile sensory information such as pressure, touch, and pain. A portion of the brain known as the somatosensory cortex is located in this lobe and is essential to the processing of the body’s senses.
The parietal lobes solve problems that have been conceptualized by the frontal lobes. The left parietal lobe deals with complex grammar, object naming, sentence construction and aspects of math. The right parietal lobe deals with the more spatial aspects of math. The right parietal lobe also deals with map orientation, right-left recognition, and spatial recognition.
Primary Somatosensory Cortex is located in the postcentral gyrus and involved with conscious awareness of general somatic senses. It receives information from the skin and skeletal muscles. It exhibits spatial discrimination and precisely locates a stimulus. Here the projection is contralateral – receives sensory input from the opposite side of the body. Stimulation Primary Somatosensory Cortex produces contralateral tingling or numbness but never pain.
- The lesion will cause contralateral loss of tactile discrimination and position sense but no relief of pain.
Somatosensory Association Cortex is located posterior to the primary somatosensory cortex and integrates sensory information, forms a comprehensive understanding of the stimulus and determines size, texture, and relationship of parts. Primary Gustatory Cortex is responsible for the perception of taste.
- Lesion results in contralateral (mostly) ageusia.
Parietal Association Cortex also located in parietal lobe.
- Parietal neglect syndrome is the failure to recognize the side of body contralateral to injury. May not bath contralateral side of the body or shave the contralateral side of the face. Deny own limbs and objects in the contralateral visual field ignored. Lesion on the left hemisphere would lead to no shaving on the right side. You look at the region, but then you forget it plus there is astereognosis.
Damage to the parietal lobes can create issues attending to multiple objects simultaneously, as well as issues attending to both sides of the visual field.
PARIETAL LOBE NEUROFEEDBACK APPLICATION
Left hemisphere: application of neurofeedback training in P3 gives the possibility to regulate problem-solving, increase mathematical and complex grammar performance, increase attention.
Right hemisphere: application of neurofeedback training in P4 improve Spatial awareness, geometry tasks performance.
For solving dyscalculia problem it is good to train both left and right parietal lobes P3 and P4.
TEMPORAL LOBE BRAIN REGION FUNCTION IN NEUROFEEDBACK
The temporal lobe is located on the lateral bottom section of the brain. This lobe is also the location of the primary auditory cortex, which is important for interpreting sounds and the language we hear. The left temporal lobe is associated with verbal memory and the right temporal lobe with music. The temporal lobe includes the auditory cortex (involved in processing auditory information) as well as the hippocampus (involved in memory). The left temporal lobe is associated with word recognition, whereas the right temporal lobe is associated with facial recognition.
Primary Auditory Cortex is located at the superior of the temporal lobe and responsible for the processing of auditory (sound) information. It receives information related to pitch, rhythm, and loudness.
- The lesion causes difficulty in recognizing distance and direction of the sound, especially when sound comes from the contralateral side.
Auditory Association Cortex is located posterior to the primary auditory cortex and stores memories of sounds and permits perception of sounds. It is responsible for language understanding, recognizing and formulation. It lies in the center of Wernicke’s area.
- Damage can result in aphasia (inability to express in terms of speech). This is receptive aphasia; the person will be unable to comprehend spoken words; the person will speak fluently but without any meaning.
Limbic Temporal Cortex
On the medial surface of the temporal lobe are three structures critical for normal human functioning. From rostral to caudal, they are the olfactory cortex, the amygdala, and the hippocampus. They are responsible for visceral function, emotions, behavior, and memory. Stimulation of Limbic Temporal Cortex can elicit past events. The left posterior area is a memory of verbal info. The right posterior area is a memory of visual info.
- Bilateral lesion of limbic temporal cortex causes prosopagnosia, loss of facial recognition. It is often damaged in Alzheimer’s disease. Lesion to the temporal lobe will eliminate all past memories.
Primary Olfactory Cortex
On top of the cribriform are the nasal foramina and they hit the olfactory bulb which then runs toward the primary olfactory cortex through the olfactory tract. This cortex is where you get a sensation of smell before you’ve figured out what the smell is. The olfactory cortex is located on the medial aspect of the temporal lobe, in the uncus (aka piriform lobe). The olfactory cortex is also called the Rhinencephalon, or “nose brain.” This is the most primitive part of the cerebrum and connects directly to the limbic system (emotional system), which is why smells often directly trigger emotions as well as our deepest memories.
Responsible for the response and memory of emotions, especially fear. The amygdala is also involved with mood and the conscious emotional response to an event, whether positive or negative.
It is critical in laying down declarative memory but is not necessary for working memory, procedural memory, or memory storage. Damage to the hippocampus will only affect the formation of new declarative memories.
Damage to the temporal lobe can lead to problems with memory, speech perception, and language skills.
TEMPORAL LOBE NEUROFEEDBACK APPLICATION
Left hemisphere: application of neurofeedback training in T3 and T5 improve word recognition, reading speed and performance, language skills, memory (train for dyslexia).
Right hemisphere: application of neurofeedback training in T4 and T6 improve object recognition, music performance, social cues, facial recognition.
OCCIPITAL LOBE BRAIN REGION FUNCTION IN NEUROFEEDBACK
The occipital lobe is located at the back portion of the brain and is associated with interpreting visual stimuli and information. The primary visual cortex, which receives and interprets information from the retinas of the eyes, is located in the occipital lobe.
The primary visual cortex is located on the posterior part of the occipital lobe and receives visual information from the retinas. It provides macular vision (vision in which each eye is used separately). By using the eyes in this way, as opposed by binocular vision, the field of view is increased, while depth perception is limited.
- The lesion causes homonymous hemianopsia (partial blindness resulting in a loss of vision in the same visual field of both eyes).
Visual association area is located surrounds the primary visual cortex and interprets visual stimuli (e.g., color, form, and movement).
Parastriate cortex Peristriate cortex is receive visual info bilaterally and complex processing for color, movement, direction, visual interpretation.
- The lesion can cause visual agnosia (is a loss of ability to recognize objects, persons, sounds, shapes, or smells while the specific sense is not defective nor is there any significant memory loss.
Damage to occipital lobe can cause visual problems such as difficulty recognizing objects, an inability to identify colors, and trouble recognizing words.
Traumatic memories that accompany visual flashbacks are processed in the occipital lobes.
OCCIPITAL LOBE NEUROFEEDBACK APPLICATION
Neurofeedback training in O2 helps to maintain performance such as counting and auditory discrimination, increasing the quality of musical performance.
Depression and anxiety have also been shown to remit after deep‐state neurofeedback training in Oz and O1.
Visual memories, accurate reading and traumatic memories accompanying visual flashbacks are usually processed in the occipital lobes, O1, O2, and Oz.
Patients suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) may benefit from neurofeedback training in the occipital lobes, particularly when doing deep state training.
BRAIN REGIONS FUNCTION IN NEUROFEEDBACK
Certain parts of the brain can easily get out of whack through certain life experiences. This causes an over or underproduction of brain waves in specific brain regions, which leads to negative symptoms. For example, a trauma survivor would have overactivation in the amygdala, which causes him/her to constantly be on high alert, overly vigilant, and fearful. In addition, a trauma survivor would have under-activated prefrontal cortexes and anterior cingulate cortexes.
Neurofeedback helps rewire the brain, calming the overactivated regions and bringing online under-activated regions and bring the brain to function and operate as it should.
Electrodes are attached to the client’s head in the appropriate brain regions that needing training. Once attached the information and brainwaves display on a screen in real time, providing the brain a mirror to better understand its own function.
Neurofeedback will help direct the brain to create more of some frequencies and less of others. This process creates new patterns and pathways in the brain, leading to healthier reactions to stress and self-regulation. As these new frequencies and pathways develop, the brain is rewarded through the neurofeedback program, incentivizing the brain to manifest these pathways more frequently. Once the brain has relaxed, it’s able to make better choices on how to react to stress. It’s no longer hijacked by fear and stress, allowing access to the prefrontal cortex to make more logical, thought-out decisions.
Providing individuals with real-time feedback about the level of brain activity or rhythm in different regions of brain neurofeedback can potentially help them learn to control the activation of specific brain regions. Specifically, the training can be customized for patients depending on the type of pathology involved; the feedback can be programmed specifically for up- or down-regulating the activity in a specific brain region as appropriate.
For example, Neurofeedback provided in the frontal lobe can have an impact on social behavior. Weaknesses in this area are associated with oppositional defiance disorder and antisocial behaviors. Slowing may be evident in these frontal areas.
Neurofeedback training in the right prefrontal cortex may lead to a reduction in fear as well as a sense of calm and well-being, due to the connections with the amygdala. Frontal issues tend to present as patients being in a fog, struggling to focus, getting into trouble, having social issues, fearful, unmotivated and disconnected.
Neurofeedback in left parietal lobe can help in problem-solving, math, complex grammar and attention improvement, while in right parietal lob neurofeedback training can improve spatial awareness, geometry skills. For dyscalculia, it is useful to train both left and right parietal lobs.
Neurofeedback training in the left temporal region can improve word recognition, reading abilities, language skills. It can be used to improve memory and train for dyslexia. While neurofeedback training for right temporal region improves object recognition, music skills, social cues, facial recognition.
The best part about neurofeedback is that when the brain has created new, positive pathways, no further treatment is needed. Rather than influencing the chemical reactions in the brain through pharmaceutical drugs, neurofeedback changes the fundamental brain activity. Instead of treating a symptom through daily medication, it’s an opportunity to treat the underlying issue within the brain.
Since different brain regions might be involved in the symptoms of different individuals, it is often helpful to have a brain map or quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) to guide the neurofeedback treatment. Of course, no treatment works for everyone and there is always a potential risk of unwanted effects in any form of treatment. That is why we encourage you to discuss this treatment with someone knowledgeable about the scientific studies and the clinical applications of neurofeedback so you can make an informed choice for yourself or your child.
Neurofeedback is used for both medical and non-medical uses. Non-medical application of neurofeedback can be considered primarily as personal improvement and conditioning for the brain and mind: to improve relaxation, attention, focus, concentration, and self-awareness, or as an adjunct to meditation, counseling, hypnosis, or achieving altered states of consciousness. It can be done without professional intervention.
Detailed information regarding indications for neurofeedback use and method for peak performance and for treatment of different disorders you can find in this website in the appropriate pages. Here you can find also detailed information regarding indications, methods, and descriptions of different neurofeedback devices for home use.
NEUROFEEDBACK HOME USE DEVICE
Neurofeedback devices and systems are used for both medical and non-medical uses, and the dividing line between them may be thin. Non-medical application of neurofeedback can be considered primarily as personal improvement and conditioning for the brain and mind: to improve relaxation, attention, focus, concentration, and self-awareness, or as an adjunct to meditation, counseling, hypnosis, or achieving altered states of consciousness. It can be done without professional intervention. In cases where it is desired to relieve the conditions of a medical problem, professional help should be sought.
It is a fact that Neurofeedback systems are designed to allow the user to control a computer for recreational, educational, or entertainment purposes are not a medical instrument. You can find detailed information regarding indications, methods, and descriptions of different neurofeedback devices for home use here. However, if direct benefits are claimed for relaxation or relief from the symptoms of disorders, then the device is considered medical.
In the nonclinical embodiment, most of the same functions and capabilities are present, but they are presented in the context of an educational and recreational device. It is nonetheless true that the actual benefits may be essentially the same in both embodiments depending on how the user configures and applies the device, although the labeling and claims are different. The same instrument is being provided in both cases, but with different intent.
Clearly, the difference between the medical and non-medical embodiment of NFB devices lies primarily in the claims, in the expectations and applications of the user.
For example, although neurofeedback can be used to improve attention and concentration, and this can be considered as a personal improvement application, in cases of suspected or diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders the use of this procedure might be regarded as a medical procedure.
It may thus be argued that neurofeedback treatment intended to reduce the symptoms of ADHD, especially when the removal from stimulants (Ritalin, etc) is desired, that neurofeedback is being used in a medical context. However, if a parent, teacher, or counselor uses neurofeedback in a home or educational setting to educate a child on how to reach a state of relaxed attentiveness and improve academic success, that the treatment may be considered education, not treatment.
Neurofeedback takes advantage of the brain’s ability to change itself through a process known as Neuroplasticity. It utilizes the same learning process that occurs whenever we acquire a new skill. The brain learns by forming connections between nerve cells and utilizing important pathways that connect different locations in the brain.
The more frequently you utilize these pathways the better the brain becomes at performing the associated task.
This type of leaning is a type in which responses come to be controlled by their consequences. Quite simply, Neurofeedback offers the perfect learning conditions, since it facilitates awareness of when the brain is producing healthier brainwave patterns, provides reinforcement for the positive change and multiple opportunities to provide practice during a training session.