Nervana

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  • hzahza ✭✭

    @DMan I have a QWIZ for EEG training. I've done all kinds of protocols with it in the past, but currently I'm sticking to a training program from Brain-Trainer.com. I've also done a good deal of nIR-HEG training, but it's been probably 2 years since I had a regular routine with it. I'll be getting back into that probably in a month or so, but I'm still working out the kinks with my EEG training as I've got some new software to get familiar with. Also I want to start learning more about the neuroscience and underlying theory of EEG. I imagine I'll open a thread dedicated to EEG one of these days, but I haven't decided whether it belongs here in the Brain Hacking subforum, or the newer one set aside for personal biohacking journaling.

  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭

    Either way I'm looking forward to it.

    @hza said:
    @DMan I have a QWIZ for EEG training. I've done all kinds of protocols with it in the past, but currently I'm sticking to a training program from Brain-Trainer.com. I've also done a good deal of nIR-HEG training, but it's been probably 2 years since I had a regular routine with it. I'll be getting back into that probably in a month or so, but I'm still working out the kinks with my EEG training as I've got some new software to get familiar with. Also I want to start learning more about the neuroscience and underlying theory of EEG. I imagine I'll open a thread dedicated to EEG one of these days, but I haven't decided whether it belongs here in the Brain Hacking subforum, or the newer one set aside for personal biohacking journaling.

    May you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be loved.

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  • CorstiaanCorstiaan
    edited March 2017

    @hza said:
    Any old how. This won't be an extended review.

    Rip intentions!

    Crazy biohacking going on here guys, this makes me doubt the efficacy of my gargling and singing for vagus nerve stimulation.

  • hzahza ✭✭

    @Corstiaan said:

    Rip intentions!

    Yeah. Well, lots of words anyway. I kinda figured in the beginning that there wouldn't be a lot to say about such a straightforward device, but the idea is so new and there are all these little things yet to be worked out, I guess there's plenty to discuss after all.

    I had to give Nervana a break for a few days because it's apparently stretching my outer ear canal a little bit: the fit isn't as good as it used to be, and several times per session I have to push the earpiece back in to get a solid connection. If I switch up to a larger ear bud, it'll just exacerbate the problem. I'm guessing after 3-5 days it'll go back to normal.

    But that raises another point, which is that I need to start finding out what the minimum effective "dose" is, that is, the minimum number of sessions per week that I can get by with while keeping all the benefits. It would really help in making that determination if I had any real idea what the benefits were, and how to look for them. I've got to see what I find by way of published studies and articles concerning VNS. I don't have time this week or next, but after I get back from my vacation I hope to delve into it a bit deeper.

    But it's clear that with the current design, I can't use it daily without expecting more stretching, and perhaps even skin irritations (like I still have after a couple of days off already), and in a practical sense, there aren't many people who can use a device like this every day for over an hour like I have been. Early on I think I remember Nervana making a suggestion of 20 minutes/day, maybe twice daily. I don't think daily use is going to work, given how my ear is responding to the physical placement of the headset. It could be temporary though.

    I'll put those screen shots in a separate post.

  • hzahza ✭✭



    OK, so all these pics show the monthly averages collected from my sleep tracker. In the first one, I picked the highest average so you could see the numbers: just under 1.5 hours deep sleep. I got my first Nervana unit and started using it in the very beginning of October 2016, and as you can see, the average jumps immediately by 40-50 minutes. Then in the third shot, we have the interval in which I had no access to Nervana, which, having scanned the record again, appears to have started after the first week of December, lasting almost through the third week of February. As you can see, February's average is down (the number, which you can't see in the pic, is 1:50 in deep sleep) and my average for March so far is 2:03, which is still 11 minutes short of the November peak. But here's a weekly average that shows a different perspective:

    You can see the weekly average jump sharply starting at Feb 20-26 and increasing steadily until March 6-12 (average 2:26) before dropping back off. I noted above that I got the new Nervana amp on about Feb 18 (and I'm about 90% sure of the date, and if I'm wrong it's only by one day either way), right before the new bounce. The dropoff occurs when I started fasting and EEG work last week, which always throws sleep off. That said, let me show you one last screen shot from last night, taken 2 weeks into that process:

    The dark bands represent deep sleep, and that big one in the middle lasted for an hour and 35 minutes (1:35), and the totals between deep sleep and light sleep are approaching parity. Now, that's just one day, and after a week or two with maybe an average of 1:00-1:15 deep sleep, I was tired. But I've been using this sleep tracking system for over a year and have data going back to November 2015, and until October 2016, when I started using Nervana, I never once cracked 2:00 deep sleep on a monthly average. The closest was 1:48. I also never saw a single band of deep sleep lasting longer than maybe 25 minutes. Going from that to 1:35 is pretty extraordinary--and this isn't a one-off; I've had probably a dozen individual bands lasting over an hour since starting Nervana.

    That's enough posting for now. I don't expect to have anything new until after the music festival, where I'll have a chance to test Nervana's ambient mode for live music.

  • hzahza ✭✭

    So I just got back a day or two ago from the music festival trip I was talking about earlier, and I did get a chance to try out the ambient audio mode feature while there. I'll get to that in a minute.

    First, I got a heads-up from Nervana last week that the extra headset they sent actually had a modification to the right channel to improve the sound. To look at it, you can barely detect the difference: there's a tiny hole at the back of the earpiece, which I gather has something to do with a bass port. Apparently this is an experimental headset and a limited number were made for testing purposes; only one channel was modded in order to facilitate before/after comparisons in sound quality.

    So I've switched headsets to see how different the trial design sounds, and unfortunately, I can't tell any difference at all. I'd really like to say something nice here, but these have got to be the worst sounding headphones I've ever used--going all the way back to the 80s and cassette Walkmans with those foam ear pads that would rip open and scratch your ears. Just no bass whatsoever. I have a couple of other audio files I want to experiment with to see if I can get any different results, but right now I'm just not seeing any improvement.

    Anyway, back to ambient mode.

    I have to say first of all that I was pretty impressed at the sensitivity of this unit. I thought at first that the ambient sound was somehow picked up by the earbuds (a friend had an old set of stereo headphones that doubled as microphones some years back, and I guess that image stuck with me), but it appears that there's a microphone on the front of the amp where the ambient sound is detected. At any rate, it's quite sensitive--so much so, that in my experience so far the ambient mode only really works if the external sound levels are under a certain volume. I tried first with a classical guitar ensemble:

    This worked pretty well, as the volume levels were moderate, with a high degree of dynamic variance. I actually got the most effect from the introduction to the ensemble that an emcee gave at the beginning: just her spoken address over the PA caused the VNS to jump and spike and really provide a nice stimulus. And the enhancement to the actual music was pretty decent, overall. The one thing I noticed though was that the sensitivity was so high--even with the amp calibrated all the way down to the lowest setting--that ambient noise and music drifting along from the other stages (in total there were 5 stages in a area probably about 20-25 acres) that the stimulation had a lot of "noise" from all the other sound sources.

    I took the Nervana amp over to a stage where more modern bass-heavy music was being played, and it was just way too much: the signal barely varied at all, it was just full-on with no dynamics. If it had occurred to me at the time, I might have tried putting a thumb over the mic and other various ways of limiting the input to see how that worked, but it didn't occur to me. I did alternate carrying the amp in a pocket and holding it up with the mic pointed in various directions, but that didn't seem to have much of an effect on the final result.

    I guess maybe Nervana would be best for acoustic music or maybe even orchestral stuff, but rock/electronic doesn't seem to work so well in the ambient mode.

    Incidentally, a couple of beers doesn't seem to affect the stimulus noticeably. However, things being what they were, I ceased my experiment after about a half hour and two musical acts, because as a general matter I try to draw a solid line between my brain hacking and brain facking.

    Vacation is over, and I'm back to my good behavior, and will resume EEG/HEG nfb training within the week. By May I expect all the various activities to stabilize.

  • hza, what sleep tracker do you use?

  • hza, have you got an idea bout the other t-vns devices such as nemos-uk? I'm trying to evaluate which one to buy, but your sleep statistics from using nervana is damn impressive. I use Zeo sleep tracker which is a real EEG tracker (not the fake trackers based on actigraphy) and I only clock 50 minutes of deep sleep. I would kill to get a deep sleep of 2 hours.

  • Has anyone experience customer service issues with Nervana? My unit stopped working after about 6 months. There is no phone number available on their website and I have contacted them through the website 3 times in the last month with no response at all. I really like the unit and miss using it. I can't believe that Dave and Bulletproof would endorse a product that had really awful customer service but unfortunately that has been my experience. There are also numerous complaints on their FB page about the lack of customer service. Any help would be appreciated.

  • hzahza ✭✭

    Sorry, didn't know there'd been recent activity on the thread here. The short answers to all the questions are (since I'm on my phone), I haven't tried contacting the Nervana company at all in recent months, so I'm out of the loop on any developments there. I didn't even know they had a FB page. I also haven't tried any other devices that use this kind of electrical stimulation.

    I use a Xiaomi sport band and their app for sleep data. From what I understand, it relies on pulse intensity to gauge deep sleep, and motion tracking to judge light sleep. The drop sleep tracker seems OK, but occasionally I see it giving me deep sleep time when I know I waa in rem. But not bad.

    Sorry to hear about trouble with service issues. I've had a much better experience overall.

    I'll try to do some updating here soon. Been tied up with personal projects lately.

  • The number on the Nervana website has been disconnected and I also sent emails to two more emails listed on their website and still no answer. I am in the process of sending letters to all the founders. Goof technology, terrible customer service.

  • Anyone interested in selling their Nervana?

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