Neurofeedback treatment of epilepsy: from basic rationale to practical application.
The treatment of epilepsy through operant conditioning of the sensorimotor rhythm electroencephalogram has a 35-year history. Neurophysiological studies have shown that this phasic oscillation reflects an inhibitory state of the sensorimotor system. Operant learning of sensory motor rhythm production results in an upregulation of excitation thresholds within the thalamocortical sensory and motor circuitry, which in turn is associated with reduced susceptibility to seizures. The clinical benefits derived from this neurofeedback training protocol, particularly in patients that are nonresponsive to pharmacotherapy, have been documented in many independent laboratories. Recent advances in computer technology have resulted in the availability of relatively inexpensive high-quality equipment for the application of neurofeedback therapy, thus presenting a viable and promising treatment alternative to the interested clinician.
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