What is neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback is a noninvasive treatment method whose purpose is to change the electrical activity of the brain (EEG) and bring it closer to norm, thus improving neuropsychiatric conditions. The method is safe and has been proposed for treating a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as epilepsy, autism, anxiety and ADHD. The method is based on giving feedback to the patient on the electrical activity of his/her brain, and thereby teaching the brain through a process of operant conditioning to normalize its own brainwave activity. Once this kind of learning on the neural level has taken place, the new, normalized patterns of brainwave activity affect the patient’s cognitive and mental abilities in all walks of life: at school, at work and at home.

In the last decade, with the progress of research and technology, the number of therapists who practice neurofeedback has increased, but despite this, the treatment is not as common as would have been expected of a safe treatment method that is an effective alternative to medication. The reason for this is the fact that this treatment is usually expensive, the equipment tends to be costly and the availability of professional, trained therapists in this field is insufficient.

The Betterfly system, through its unique concept, allows for a professional treatment (both at the clinic or at the patient’s home) in reasonable costs, both for the clinicians and for their patients.

 

What does a neurofeedback session look like?

During a neurofeedback session, the patient sits (whether at home or at the clinic) in front of a computer while sensors (small, non-invasive electrodes) are applied to his/her scalp and measure his/her brainwave activity. This information is then transferred (through a special EEG device) to the computer in front of which the patient sits, and is immediately translated into feedback: positive feedback for desired brainwave activity and negative feedback for undesired brainwave activity.

Most modern neurofeedback systems use movie watching as the activity during which the patient gets feedback for his/her brainwave activity. When the patient’s brain generates the desired brainwave activity, the patient gets to watch the movie with no disruptions (and this is a positive experience, therefore it is a positive feedback), but when the patient’s brain generates undesired brainwave activity, the movie becomes harder to watch (the screen becomes smaller, blurred or darker, the volume goes down, etc.; since this is somewhat frustrating, it is called negative feedback). Traditionally, up until now, the movies had to be played from within the neurofeedback software (i.e.: the patient could only watch a movie that was played from a DVD, a disc-on-key or from within the computer’s hard disk, due to the fact that the movie had to be played through a neurofeedback software that could only read and play movies stored on discs). This has limited the variety of movies from which the patients could choose for their training session. But this has changed with Betterfly.

 

Neurofeedback with Betterfly:

The uniqueness of the Betterfly neurofeedback system in this aspect is that patients can now watch any movie they want from the endless variety available on the internet, and practically do any other computer activity while training. The patients can watch movies available on YouTube or on any other direct streaming website without downloading them (adults can even watch the news online!); In addition to watching videos, the patients can now do an endless variety of activities on the computer while going through a neurofeedback training session, like checking email, visiting social networks such as Facebook or Twitter while listening to their favorite music online, reading online newspapers, working on a paper on Word or using any other Microsoft Office software… and more!).

The reason we can allow this free use of the computer while training is that the feedback in Betterfly neurofeedback is given through the computer itself: the screen gets darker and the volume goes lower as a negative feedback regardless of the kind of activity done on the computer during the training session, and this affects any activity done on the computer. The available variety of possible computer activities during therapy sessions is endless. A person can even play online computer-games, since in the Betterfly system there is a log that identifies excessive body movements and detracts them from the signal received by the EEG electrodes.