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EEG Biofeedback Treatment Improves Certain Attention and Somatic Symptoms in Fibromyalgia: A Pilot Study – Source: Applied Phsychophysiology and Biofeedback, Jun 9, 2011

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By Xavier J Caro, Earl F Winter • • June 13, 2011

[Note: With EEG biofeedback, sensors are placed on the scalp to track the brain’s electrical activity, which is displayed on a screen or as sound. Subjects concentrate on achieving or maintaining positive brain activity patterns that produce positive feedback such as a light or tone.]

Abstract: Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a chronic, painful disorder often associated with measurable deficiencies in attention.

Since EEG biofeedback (EEG-BF) has been used successfully to treat attention problems, we reasoned that this modality might be helpful in the treatment of attention problems in FMS.

We also speculated that improvement in central nervous system (CNS) function might be accompanied by improvement in FMS somatic symptoms.

We studied 15 FMS patients with attention problems, demonstrated by visual and auditory continuous performance testing (CPT), while completing 40 or more EEG-BF sessions.

Training consisted of a "SMR protocol" that augmented 12-15 Hz brainwaves (sensory motor rhythm; SMR), while simultaneously inhibiting 4-7 Hz brainwaves (theta) and 22-30 Hz brainwaves (high beta).

Serial measurements of pain, fatigue, psychological distress, morning stiffness, and tenderness were also obtained.

Sixty-three FMS patients who received standard medical care, but who did not receive EEG-BF, served as controls.

• Visual, but not auditory, attention improved significantly (P < 0.008).

• EEG-BF treated subjects also showed improvement in tenderness, pain and fatigue [“somatic” symptoms].

• Somatic symptoms did not change significantly in controls.

• Visual attention parameters and certain somatic features of FMS appear to improve with an EEG-BF SMR protocol.

EEG-BF training in FMS deserves further study.

Source: Applied Phsychophysiology and Biofeedback, Jun 9, 2011. PMID: 21656150, Caro XJ, Winter EF. David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA [Email:]

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