Strengthening Neural Connections in Under an Hour
Node Smith, ND
A recent study suggests that less than an hour of brain training with neurofeedback leads to a measurable strengthening of neuro synaptic connections within the brain. The research is interested in optimization and development of new therapeutic options and approaches for conditions such as stroke and Parkinson’s. The research is being conducted at D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR).
Brain training with neurofeedback leads to measurable strengthening of neuro synaptic connections
“We knew that the brain has an amazing ability to adapt itself, but we were not sure that we could observe these changes so quickly. Understanding of how we can impact on brain wiring and functioning is the key to treat neurological disorders”, says Theo Marins, a biomedical scientist from IDOR and the Ph.D. responsible for the study.
Neurofeedback gaining traction as a therapeutic tool with promising results
Neurofeedback has been gaining traction as a therapeutic tool that promises to help re-regulate dysfunctional brain regions associated with a myriad of disorders, such as depression, ADD/HD, chronic pain, and post-concussive symptoms. The technique uses magnetic resonance equipment to allow individuals to visualize their own brain activity in real time while they train themselves to gain control over it.
Brain Training Neurofeedback Study
Thirty-six healthy subjects participated in the study in which the goal was to increase the activity of brain regions involved in hand movements. However, instead of actually move their hand, participants were asked to only imagine the movement, in total rest. Nineteen of them received the real brain training and the remaining seventeen were trained with placebo neurofeedback, for comparisons purposes. Immediately before and after the brain training, which lasted around 30 minutes, their neural networks were scanned in order to investigate the impact of the neurofeedback (or placebo) on brain wiring and communication, also known as structural and functional connectivity, respectively.
What the results reveal
The results show that the corpus callosum – the major cerebral bridge that connects the right and left hemispheres – exhibited increased integrity, and the neural network controlling the movements of the body became strengthened. It seems that the whole system became more robust. Likewise, the training also had a positive impact on the default mode network, a brain network which is impaired after stroke, Parkinson’s and depression, for example. These changes were not observed in the control group.
‘A powerful tool to induce brain changes at record speed’
“We showed that the neurofeedback can be considered a powerful tool to induce brain changes at record speed. Now, our goal is to develop new studies to test whether patients with neurological disorders can also benefit from it”, concludes Fernanda Tovar Moll, president of IDOR and leader of the study.
Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Humboldt, Saskatchewan and associate editor and continuing education director for NDNR. His mission is serving relationships that support the process of transformation, and that ultimately lead to healthier people, businesses and communities. His primary therapeutic tools include counselling, homeopathy, diet and the use of cold water combined with exercise. Node considers health to be a reflection of the relationships a person or a business has with themselves, with God and with those around them. In order to cure disease and to heal, these relationships must be specifically considered. Node has worked intimately with many groups and organizations within the naturopathic profession, and helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic Revitalization (ANR), which works to promote and facilitate experiential education in vitalism.
Node Smith graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in 2017, and is currently licensed as a naturopathic physician in Oregon and working towards becoming licensed in Saskatchewan, Canada as well.