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Neurofeedback: An ADHD Treatment That Retrains the Brain?

“A controversial treatment for overcoming attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is getting new respect. Called neurofeedback therapy, it supposedly retrains the brain to produce electrical patterns associated with calm and focus…Advocates claim that neurofeedback brings permanent ADHD cures, a seemingly magical alternative to years of medication.”

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ADHD Alternative Treatment LENS Neurofeedback

“Last night I heard an incredible presentation on LENS Neurofeedback, from my new colleague Rebecca Shafir. Often being asked about alternative (non-medication) methods of treatment for ADHD, I was incredibly delighted to hear about this process …”

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Researcher sees cancer risk from mobiles

The Associated Press,
July 24, 2008

PITTSBURGH: The head of a prominent cancer research institute has issued an unprecedented warning to his faculty and staff: Limit cellphone use because of the possible risk of cancer.

The warning from Dr. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, issued Wednesday, is contrary to numerous studies that have not found a link between brain cancer and cellphone use and a lack of official concern from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Herberman said he was basing his alarm on early unpublished data. He said that it took too long to get answers from science and that he believed people should take action now, especially in regard to children.

He said in a memo to about 3,000 faculty and staff that children should use cellphones only for emergencies because their brains are still developing. Adults should keep the phone away from the head and use the speakerphone or a headset.

Authorities in Britain, France and India have urged caution on cellphone use by children.

Herberman pointed to a huge, ongoing research project known as Interphone, involving scientists in 13 countries, mostly in Europe.

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New Research Shows: Neurofeedback is an ‘Evidence-Based’ Treatment for ADHD

NIJMEGEN, The Netherlands
July 16 /PRNewswire/

Neurofeedback – also called EEG Biofeedback – is a method used to train brain activity in order to normalize Brain function and treat psychiatric disorders. This treatment method has gained interest over the last 10 years, however the question whether this treatment should be regarded as an Evidence-Based treatment was unanswered until now. Tomorrow a study will be published in the scientific journal ‘EEG and Clinical Neuroscience’ demonstrating that Neurofeedback can indeed be regarded as an evidence-based treatment for Attention Deficit- / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

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Brain Allergies

“The idea that food affects the mind is an alien concept to many people. But since the brain is perhaps the most delicate organ of the body, using sometimes as much as 30% of all the energy we derive from food, this should be no surprise. Allergies to food can upset levels of hormones and other key chemicals in the brain, resulting in symptoms ranging from depression to schizophrenia … They can cause a diversity of symptoms including fatigue, slowed thought processes, irritability, agitation, aggressive behaviour, nervousness, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, hyperactivity and varied learning disabilities.”

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Easy way to reset your sleep cycle: Stop eating

Here’s something pretty simple to try when someone’s sleep cycle is off (they go to bed too late, or too early). It is based on a study from Harvard. I’ve put the whole article below and also the link to more detail if needed – from NPR radio.

Not eating for 12-16 hours can help people quickly reset their sleep-wake cycle, according to a new study from the Harvard Medical School. This discovery can drastically improve a person’s ability to cope with jet lag or adjust to working late shifts.

Scientists have long known that our circadian rhythm is regulated by our exposure to light. Now they have found a second “food clock” that takes over when we are hungry. This mechanism probably evolved to make sure starving mammals don’t go to sleep when they should be foraging for food.

The lead researcher Clifford Saper explains:
The neat thing about this second clock is that it can override the main clock … and you should just flip into that new time zone in one day.

It usually takes people a week to fully adjust to a new time zone or sleeping schedule. To think that this new “food clock” hack can help you change your internal clock in one day is mind boggling.

How does it work?
Simply stop eating during the 12-16 hour period before you want to be awake. Once you start eating again, your internal clock will be reset as though it is the start of a new day. Your body will consider the time you break your fast as your new “morning.”

For example, if you want to start waking up at 2:00 am, you should start fasting between 10:00 am or 2:00 pm the previous day, and don’t break your fast until you wake up at 2:00 am. Make sure you eat a nice healthy meal to jumpstart your system.

Inserted note from Mike Cohen

There’s a book called circadian rhythm diet written by a very experienced MD. It supports a lot of other literature about eating healthy and helping reset your circadian clock by eating right, meaning: 1) BREAKFAST If you weigh 150 lbs, it would be about 25 grams in the morning, 2) Lunch about 25 grams. 3) Dinner 15 grams or so. MORE PROTEIN, less Carbs in the morning and lunch. MORE CARBS at dinner (and you need some cards for dinner).

Another example: If you are travelling from Los Angeles to Tokyo, figure out when breakfast is served in Tokyo, and don’t eat for the 12-16 hours before Tokyo’s breakfast time.

Why does this work?
Like everything else in our evolutionary history, it has to do with survival:

“For a small mammal, finding food on a daily basis is a critical mission. Even a few days of starvation, a common threat in natural environments, may result in death,” the study said.

“Hence, it is adaptive for animals to have a secondary “master clock” that can allow the animal to switch its behavioral patterns rapidly after a period of starvation to maximize the opportunity of finding food sources at the same time on following days.”

The shift is a survival mechanism in small mammals that forces them to change their sleeping patterns, Fuller suggests. One starvation cycle is enough to override the traditional light-based circadian clock, the study suggests.

“This new timepiece enables animals to switch their sleep and wake schedules in order to maximize their opportunity of finding food.”

“A period of fasting with no food at all for about 16 hours is enough to engage this new clock,” says Saper.

“So, in this case, simply avoiding any food on the plane, and then eating as soon as you land, should help you to adjust — and avoid some of the uncomfortable feelings of jet lag.” CBC (quoting study published in the May 22 issue of Science.

For more information, check out Science Friday’s interview with lead researcher Clifford Saper.

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