Beta Artifacts and Upcoming Presentations

Over the next few months, Dr. Richard Soutar will be presenting a series of lectures on aspects of Neurofeedback Training and related topics.  This series will be on Wednesday Lunch & Learns. He has presented on two topics already, 1) Artifact- Instrumentation Issues, and 2) Understanding Beta Frequencies.

Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or just beginning to learn about and use Neurofeedback (NFB) you are encouraged to attend this learning series.  Why? Because despite training that occurs in our field, many practitioners remain confused or misinformed about these topics.

For example, during the lecture on artifact and instrumentation, it was pointed out that even something as minute as a toe tapping can register as artifact in EEG.  Patients and clients will often make gross movements that are visible to the practitioner such as yawning, shifting position in a chair, crossing one’s arms, scratching, grinding one’s teeth, etc.  However, more subtle or hidden movement is not always observable by the clinician, i.e., toe tapping, biting one’s lip, or chewing movements in the mouth.

Then there are other factors that may cause artifact and not be readily observable to the clinician such as pain or injury experienced by the client/patient.  For example, one of my patients had a strained or injured muscle in her left leg.  She sat perfectly still and was not moving her leg in any fashion; but high Beta artifact showed up in her EEG.  One of my younger patients strained his elbow and had his right arm in a sling.  High Beta was excessive in his EEG as well.

During the lecture on Beta Frequencies, Dr. S discussed the various types of Beta waves and their relative frequencies.  Several examples were shown and explained.  He noted that according to Marvin Sams, inventor of the EEG cap, that Beta cannot be trusted.  Low Beta falls in the 13-15 Hertz range and Beta falls into the 15-20 Hertz range. High Beta including Gamma falls into the 20 – 80 Hertz Range.  Scientific research was cited to explain that anything about 20 Hertz will tend to be the result of artifact, outside interference such as electrical interference, i.e., High Power Wires, Electromagnetic Fields, and the like.  Thus, we need to be cautious about research claiming we can accurately measure Gamma Waves.

Next week’s lecture will be on Photic.   So, we invite comments between now and then on the previous talks mentioned above, or questions you might have on photic.  What is your experience with photic? Are you using photic in your practice? Do you believe the use of photic enhances your NFB sessions?

I can personally say that I use photic with the majority of my patients and I believe it enhances their NFB sessions.  For most patients, photic is safe. It should not be used with anyone who has a known seizure disorder or history of seizures, patient being prescribed anti-epileptic medications (whether or not they have a ever had a seizure), or in some cases patients may have a strong sensitivity to light and in such cases they may not tolerate photic well.

So, does anyone have any photic experiences you would like to share here?  And/or questions you would like to see addressed in next week’s session?

In the future, Dr. S will provide talks on the following topics:  1) HRV, 2) All About Alpha, 3) Home Training Software, 4) Home Training Challenges, 5) Home Training Billing, 6) What is Delta? 7) The two Thetas, 8) Why Shift Happens, 9) Who Needs coherence?, 10) What Dominant Frequency Tells Us, and more.

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