The Mood Elevator: A Major Advance Based on New Research on Treatment-Resistant Depression
A large clinical study (183 patients) showed an 84% success rate in producing major improvements (> 50%) in depression that could not be resolved by other methods, including drugs. These patients actually became better–had lower scores on their depression scales–a year afterwards than immediately post treatment!
Perhaps the most amazing thing is that it took only two hours of brainwave biofeedback training, spread over six 20-minute sessions, to completely change the lives of the 154 successful participants. Its very possible that the results would have been even better with a few more sessions for the most highly depressed clients, who were not quite as successful, but these are still amazing results. Both of the authors are very highly qualified neurofeedback specialists with many years of experience.
The training is very simple. You sit in front of a computer, wearing a headband with damp sponges that pick up your brainwaves from three specific locations on your head. You watch to see how the display on the computer changes and listen to the sounds. When you succeed, a DVD or CD plays. The better you do, the bigger the picture is and the louder the sounds are. This neurovideofeedback guides you to really perk up and energize your brain and body. It also turns on the most civilized part of your brain–the part that is in charge of restraining the more impulsive limbic system, improving your emotional self-control.
Peak Achievement Training has developed a suite of 11 display screens which make up the Mood Elevator package, along with a a Manual and a Report Form for summarizing the data in a session. The display screens develop from simple to more complex, and include the ability for your brainwaves to control DVDs, videos, CDs, and audio tracks. At present, the Mood Elevator is purely a software package, only available as a supplementary package to the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer Pro, which includes the headband and electronics, as well as a more encompassing system that teaches how to control Focus, Alertness, and Neureka! The Neureka! Protocol measures the brain system that responds to making new discoveries by enhancing awareness and memory, and provides positive feelings (such as happiness and satisfaction) as a reward for it. Several of the screens allow you to compare the Mood Elevator to Neureka!, measured side by side. Our preliminary data indicates that these are two very different types of feelings.
The basic training ideas are very similar to the approach that we have taken in developing the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer, so adapting the study’s methods into our software was not very difficult. We have been in touch with the authors of the original study, who have filled us in on some of the details not specified in the paper, and helped us to think through the tweaks we have made to provide even better neurovideofeedback.
Due to the fact that all the necessary studies for FDA approval haven’t been completed, we cannot make any claims about improving the illness of depression. However, the Mood Elevator clearly energizes and improves mood, whether or not it was depressed enough, and accompanied by other symptoms, to justify a clinical label. This training can improve the mood of a much larger group of people than the 9.1% with the illness of depression. To be clear, we are not making any claims regarding the disease of depression, just calling your attention to these powerful results, which speak for themselves.
The success of this new training protocol is due, in large part, to thinking and measuring outside the box. It was the insight of another colleague that led to this remarkable advance. Based on her reading of Dr. Allan Schore’s remarkable synthesis, “Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self”, she suggested that neurofeedback be performed at a location outside the normal bounds of the 10-20 electrode system that is used for most clinical EEG and Quantitative EEG. In fact, it’s outside the limits of the researcher’s 128 channel system. However, it makes perfect neurophysiological sense, because the neurofeedback activates the part of the pre-frontal cortex that is in charge of regulating the limbic system–controlling it to keep it within bounds. We are very fortunate that this measurement site is actually within the reach of our current BrainLink. This site is clearly described in the Mood Elevator Manual.
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