Neurofeedback At Home

For about 5-6 months I have been seeing a psychiatrist that specializes in Neurofeedback. I've been going once a week. We've done a few different things, but the stuff we did the most was Heart Math training with light and sound brainwave entrainment. It was super expensive and I just had to drop out due to hospital bills. Basically, I am now trying to recreate his set up in my house. It wasn't that complicated, he used Neuro-Programmer 3 and some AudioStrobe LED glasses and hooked up an emWave desktop as well. During the sessions the lights would flash, binaural beats or isochronic tones would play and I would try and get into coherence. He also measured my GSR and hooked some sensors up to my shoulder to measure the tightness. In previous sessions he would apply 4 or 5 EEG sensors to parts of my head and measure stuff there. One time he hooked me up a to a weird game.



What's the point of all this? Well, since I am no longer seeing him I started thinking about how I could do this on my own and recreating (and improving) his set up. For the amount of money I was spending I could certainly recreate this over a few months no problem.



Here's what I've got on my list so far:



Light and Sound Machine - Mindplace Procyon AVS System Light and Sound Meditation Mind Machine Price: $269.00



My criteria for the glasses were they had to be compatible with Neuro-Programmer 3. These were listed as supported on the web site. There may be cheaper options out there, didn't really look into it.



Emotiv EEG Headset - $750



I have an emWave 2 which I could hook up to my computer, so I won't to get the emWave desktop. I may buy the desktop software if it's got some nicer things on it.



I don't know anything about Neuro-Programmer so I've got some learning to do when it comes to that.



What do you guys think? Does this seem doable? Do you have any recommendations for something that can measure my GSR? Is that really even necessary?

Comments

  • edited January 2013
    I don't recommend Emotiv. Check out this post.



    http://openvibe.inri...topic.php?t=678




    Hello all



    This is my first post to this forum...



    I have a question regarding the Emotiv headset. I am aware that an openvibe driver has been available for more than a year now but after looking through your posts, I could not find anybody that has reported good or bad experiences.



    My interest is in EEG hardware devices and I was given an Emotiv Epoc a year ago for testing/evaluation etc. I have opened and partially back engineered this device and have not been impressed. Specifically, I have found that the input impedance is only 1 megaohm (!) It is so low as to be ridiculous, and I think a few people might not believe me.



    For people that are not familiar with EEG amp specifications, a typical amplifier should have at least x1000 higher impedance, i.e. 1Gohm.



    If one considers that the Emotiv uses wet saline electrodes (which have rather high and varying impedance) the conclusion is that the said impedances form a voltage divider that is absolutely random and varying. Conclusion: the Emotiv cannot produce reliable voltage amplitude readings. This is disastrous for neurofeedback applications. I don't know much about BCI applications, I guess unreliable signal amplitude is not quite as important here as in NFB, but I would presume BCI apps would perform lousy as well. For example, I don't know the P300 speller algorithms, but I could imagine that the accuracy of such a program would absolutely plummet when using an Epoc for signal acquisition.



    My Emotiv is the ordinary $300 consumer version, I cannot say if it's hardware is different to that of the "research" edition, but I doubt it.



    Is there anyone having used the Emotiv for more than an hour to "play"? How useful and/or reliable have you found the EEG data to be?



    Regards

    Stefan



    PS. The original Emotiv patents talk about active electrodes. If Emotiv had added the extra opamp to each electrode the above mentioned problem would have be solved 100%. But this was obviously dropped due to cost constrains. As it now stands, I regard the device as unusable, a toy used more to pick up EOG/EMG activity than to monitor (reliable) EEG data.




    and other EEG devices comparison:



    http://openvibe.inri...26&p=3251#p3251






    Hi markandeya



    Sorry for my reply being a few months late… I have only recently joined this forum, but as this is of interest to many people here, it's worth making a quick list.



    So here goes, a list of EEG amplifiers with some of my comments. Starting from rock bottom (price-wise):



    1. 100 Euros - Olimex SMT openEEG (built in Bulgaria)

    2-channel bipolar amp, 256SPS, 10bit resolution, usb interface

    Just launched, unbelievable good price. This is about the same (or cheaper) than some gaming devices such as OCZ NIA or Neurosky. But unlike the gaming devices, this is a real, usable amp. However, don't expect user manuals or any such thing, Olimex is actually a PCB manufacturer and not a product house...

    http://www.olimex.co...ts/eeg-smt.html



    2. less than US$300 – self build modEEG amplifiers having 2, 4 or 6 channels

    http://openeeg.sourc...eeg/modeeg.html

    The only way to go if you want a really cheap 4 or 6 channel amplifier. Ready made PCBs can be brought, but you are on your own with mounting all in a suitable enclosure and figuring out how to inter-connect everything. Well it's easy - I am a EE. But it's a daunting task for beginners, the openeeg forum attests to that.



    3. US$ 300 – Emotiv EPOC

    I should actually not list this device here, at least not at this price, because this $300 version does not allow for raw EEG data. I also have my misgivings about this device’s extremely low 1Mohm input impedance, making it a bit of a toy, not for serious work.

    14-channel monopolar, 128SPS, 14 bit resolution, propriety wireless



    4. US$600 – USB or wireless EEG pendant (Australian built)

    2-channel bipolar amp, 128/256/512SPS, I think it’s 12bit resolution

    Good performance but not well build (it’s build into a cheap MP3 player housing)

    http://www.pocket-neurobics.com/



    5. US$600 – QDS Focus USB (Argentinean built)

    2-channel bipolar amp, 256SPS, 16bit resolution

    Many happy users, but I have my reservations, it uses a 9V battery which dangles on the OUTSIDE of the enclosure, at one stage the battery connector that was fitted was of such bad quality/poor fit, that new devices where working intermittently…

    http://www.qeeg.com....defaultENG.html

    http://www.brain-trainer.com/cgi-bin/sh ... item_id=60



    6. US$710 – Neurobit Optima2

    2-channel bipolar amp, up to 2000SPS, 16bit resolution, wireless bluetooth

    The Neurobit name I remember from many years back when they sold a silly little one channel device. I don't know the Optima, but on paper it seems like quite a nice amp.

    http://www.neurobits...robitoptima.htm



    7. US$1040 - Neurobit Optima4

    4-channel bipolar amp, up to 2000SPS, 16bit resolution, wireless bluetooth

    http://www.neurobits...robitoptima.htm



    8. US$1200 – Contec KT88-1016 (Far east)

    16-channel monopolar amp, I think they use a 12-bit ADC

    This is the only amp that is shipped with cables and electrodes included, especially when considering that this unit has 16 channels, this is a saving of $100s (!)

    Unfortunately I can't give any further comments about this amp, as I don't know much about it. If anyone has color photos of the INSIDE of this or other Contec amps, please send them to me [[email protected]]



    9. US$1200 – Alpha200

    10. US$1800 – Alpha400

    2- and 4-channel bipolar amps, 501(k) FDA approved, 256SPS, 16bits, USB

    http://www.telediagn...pha200_Main.htm



    11. US$1240 – Brainmaster 2EB

    12. US$2695 – Brainmaster Atlantis I

    2- and 4-channel bipolar amps, 256SPS, USB, Atlantis has 24bit resolution

    http://store.brainma....cfm/4,254.html



    13. US$1995 – J&J Engineering I-330-C2+ 6channel (only 2 EEG channels)

    14. US$3195 - J&J Engineering I-330-C2+ 12channel (only 4 EEG channels)

    2- and 4-channel bipolar amps, 1024SPS, 16bits, USB

    http://www.jjengineering.com/C6.htm



    15. US$2230 – QDS Excalibur (Argentinean built)

    16. US$3580 – QDS Quantum (Argentinean built)

    4-and 8-channel bipolar amp, 256SPS, 16bit resolution, RS232

    I have my misgivings about this manufacturer. I have back-engineered an Excalibur (from hi-res, color photos which where sent to me). It uses a 6th order anti-aliasing LPF but with 10% tolerance capacitors. Go figure. Also, if the proprietor claims 0nV noise for his amps, my respect for him goes down the toilet. 0nV noise is a scientific impossibility, just as 0Liters/100km fuel consumption for your car would be.

    http://www.qeeg.com....defaultENG.html





    This is by no means a complete list. You can google for names such as BrainQuery (PET), MindMaster, ProComp, NeuroAmp (EEG Info), Nexus, Nexstim, BioSemi, Braintronics, gTec, Cadwell, Philips etc. for more. The last five mentioned companies make these 32, 64… 256 and more channel equipment.



    As you can see, most amplifiers are 2 or 4 channels only and of bipolar design. These amplifiers are actually intended for neurofeedback use. For BCI you ideally want as many channels as possible, say at least 8, preferably 16 or more. Many-channel amplifiers are always monopolar, as a bipolar design would be more expensive and clumsy to use, having to jumper many reference inputs together.



    There is a real hole in the market for an entry level 8+ channel amplifier for BCI use. I am thus working on a 8/16 channel entry level amplifier. Just started, so it’s early days, but I think a price bracket of US$500-600 should be achievable.



    As tempting as the Emotiv is, I would not recommend it (see my comments elsewhere on this forum). Item (1) the 100 Euro Olimex amplifier, although using these silly little “stereo” 3.5mm jack plugs, is an absolute steal. It has just been launched, but don’t expect the supplier to help you with technical queries. You buy it and are on your own. Although only 10bits, I regard this as a “real” (read usable) amplifier. Other cheap gaming devices such as OCZ NIA and the Neurosky are only single channel and should therefore not even be considered.



    FORGET dry electrodes, especially on entry level (gaming) devices. For instance, the OCZ NIA, is a reasonably well engineered amplifier, with very good build quality, but it’s performance is lousy. A well respected friend did tests, and he claims that this is due to the dry, carbon bristle sensor used. There is a lot of talk about dry, and capacitive sensors. They are all problematic or, if you find something that works, will be very expensive. Getting a capacitive sensor to work in a lab is one thing, selling it in the real world, that does not want to hear about electrostatic sensitive devices – and the protection of such, is quite another. Wet saline electrodes are OK – just. But if you want proper reliable signals, you should go with proper prepping and conductive gel applied electrodes.



    Regards

    Stefan
  • hzahza ✭✭
    Jlgore--I'd love to read more about your experiences with "professional" neurofeedback training, ie, in your 5-6 months with this person, what happened that makes you so enthusiastic about buying all this equipment and training yourself how to use it? It seems like in that amount of time you should have been able to get some idea about what the benefits are, and etc.



    If you're going to buy a full EEG amp, I would suggest you forget about NP3 and either get Mindworkstation (Transparentcorp's EEG software suite) or something more geared toward professional use. I'm a bit surprised the practitioner you were working with put so much emphasis on audio BWE, given that it seems to undercut the purpose of neurofeedback, ie, training your brain to guide itself into desired states without external stimuli.



    Anyway, I'd really appreciate any additional info you have to share about what you've been doing up to now.
  • Sorry, was gone for a couple of days.



    I really enjoyed it, but one of the reasons I'm so into this is because it's been by far the most effective tool for reducing my stress. No question. It ran me about $600 a month (150 a session with 4 sessions a month). The thing that I believe was most powerful about it is that it's not a temporary reduction in stress - I've done other therapies and noticed benefits that were temporary. After a few weeks I would be back to my stress-filled ways of thinking. With neurofeedback however, it feels like it's actually changed the way my brain reacts to situations.



    An example: during all my sessions the Dr. would test my Galvanic Skin Response and my shoulder tension. Over the time I saw him I saw those numbers drop by half. I'm not an expert on this by any means, but when I first started going to him my GSR when in normal conversation was 17-20 something somethings (I forget the unit of measure for that stuff). Towards the end of my sessions it had dropped to 7 or 8. For reference, the Dr. always told me that normal GSR for everyday convo was like 4. He had hacked his down to a 2 or 3, so I've still got a ways to go.



    I've told some friends about this stuff and they think it might be snake oil. I don't think it is. It's worked for me. Complete life changer.



    Thanks for the tips about EEGs and Mind Workstation. I'll update more when I get some stuff in.
  • PocketNeurobics (no affiliation) has some great new amps, including multichannel Q-Wiz.  Worth taking another look at.  




  • For about 5-6 months I have been seeing a psychiatrist that specializes in Neurofeedback. I've been going once a week. We've done a few different things, but the stuff we did the most was Heart Math training with light and sound brainwave entrainment. It was super expensive and I just had to drop out due to hospital bills. Basically, I am now trying to recreate his set up in my house. It wasn't that complicated, he used Neuro-Programmer 3 and some AudioStrobe LED glasses and hooked up an emWave desktop as well. During the sessions the lights would flash, binaural beats or isochronic tones would play and I would try and get into coherence. He also measured my GSR and hooked some sensors up to my shoulder to measure the tightness. In previous sessions he would apply 4 or 5 EEG sensors to parts of my head and measure stuff there. One time he hooked me up a to a weird game.


    What's the point of all this? Well, since I am no longer seeing him I started thinking about how I could do this on my own and recreating (and improving) his set up. For the amount of money I was spending I could certainly recreate this over a few months no problem.


    Here's what I've got on my list so far:


    Light and Sound Machine - Mindplace Procyon AVS System Light and Sound Meditation Mind Machine Price: $269.00


    My criteria for the glasses were they had to be compatible with Neuro-Programmer 3. These were listed as supported on the web site. There may be cheaper options out there, didn't really look into it.


    Emotiv EEG Headset - $750


    I have an emWave 2 which I could hook up to my computer, so I won't to get the emWave desktop. I may buy the desktop software if it's got some nicer things on it.


    I don't know anything about Neuro-Programmer so I've got some learning to do when it comes to that.


    What do you guys think? Does this seem doable? Do you have any recommendations for something that can measure my GSR? Is that really even necessary?




     


    Hello jlgore,


     


    Could you please elaborate more. I am a 32 year old male with ADHD with Anxiety and Depression. I think the Anxiety and Depression is Post Traumatic. Medication have only being partially effective and Neurofeedback is a little out of my budget range now.


     


    If you don't mind me asking what treatment were you seeking with the psych. I as a matter of fact have a light and sound device, a GSR Biofeedback unit and also the emwave unit. I use the emwave from time to time but could not get my head around the Thoughtstream GSR unit that I had for some time now along with the Proteus Light and Sound device.


     


    I do use the Emwave from time to time. If you can give me and idea of a protocol, it would be much appreciated. I am suffering pretty bad anxiety right now due to some personal and financial reasons.


     


    Thanks mate!


     


     


    Kind Regards,


    Gaurav

  • You can get professional neurofeedback-grade 2-channel EEG hardware for about $600, and often a bit less if you shop used. However, that doesn't mean you can do professional-grade EEG neurofeedback for $600. Once you can measure EEG, what do you do then? Do you increase the peak alpha frequency measured between C3 and C4, or do you uptrain the central beta/frontal theta ratio, or do you uptrain interhemispheric coherence, or do you downtrain interhemispheric coherence, or do you squash EEG amplitude in all frequencies? Do you use discrete feedback or continuously variable feedback? How do you set the thresholds? There are tons of different training protocols you can use. Each one has different subjective/cognitive effects. Many are appropriate only in certain circumstances. When you go to see a professional EEG neurofeedback clinician, what you're paying for is mostly their expertise in the science and knowing which protocol to use, not their expertise with the technology itself (which, for most of them, I must say is sorely lacking).


    This is also true to some extent with AVE light/sound stim machines. Although those are far less complex than EEG, it's still true that different stim frequencies are appropriate for different people/situations.


  • hzahza ✭✭


    You can get professional neurofeedback-grade 2-channel EEG hardware for about $600, and often a bit less if you shop used. However, that doesn't mean you can do professional-grade EEG neurofeedback for $600. Once you can measure EEG, what do you do then? Do you increase the peak alpha frequency measured between C3 and C4, or do you uptrain the central beta/frontal theta ratio, or do you uptrain interhemispheric coherence, or do you downtrain interhemispheric coherence, or do you squash EEG amplitude in all frequencies? Do you use discrete feedback or continuously variable feedback? How do you set the thresholds? There are tons of different training protocols you can use. Each one has different subjective/cognitive effects. Many are appropriate only in certain circumstances. When you go to see a professional EEG neurofeedback clinician, what you're paying for is mostly their expertise in the science and knowing which protocol to use, not their expertise with the technology itself (which, for most of them, I must say is sorely lacking).


    This is also true to some extent with AVE light/sound stim machines. Although those are far less complex than EEG, it's still true that different stim frequencies are appropriate for different people/situations.






     


    Yeah.  I got my Q-Wiz in the mail last week and I'm still finding excuses not to open the box yet.  I bought some training from brain-trainer.com:  videos about electrode placement and getting readings, basic stuff.  They have a service where you take a baseline reading and send it to them in a report form, and if you screw it up they can generally tell and have you do it again.  I don't know if that qualifies as actual QEEG, but I guess it's the same main idea.  Then once all that's sorted out, you get an evaluation, a training program, and whatever BioEx designs you need for the training.   That's probably the minimum; you can get coaching and more hands-on guidance if you shell out a little more, and there's a yahoo group for general questions and advice. 


     


    I assume there are other outfits out there offering similar services, but for the price, B-T seems to have a pretty good reputation.  I'll know more about it after the next few months.

  • edited August 2013




     


    Yeah.  I got my Q-Wiz in the mail last week and I'm still finding excuses not to open the box yet.  I bought some training from brain-trainer.com:  videos about electrode placement and getting readings, basic stuff.  They have a service where you take a baseline reading and send it to them in a report form, and if you screw it up they can generally tell and have you do it again.  I don't know if that qualifies as actual QEEG, but I guess it's the same main idea.  Then once all that's sorted out, you get an evaluation, a training program, and whatever BioEx designs you need for the training.   That's probably the minimum; you can get coaching and more hands-on guidance if you shell out a little more, and there's a yahoo group for general questions and advice. 


     


    I assume there are other outfits out there offering similar services, but for the price, B-T seems to have a pretty good reputation.  I'll know more about it after the next few months.




     


     


    Hi hza- I've been working with brain-trainer for about 10 months and have completely changed myself.  Trust in what he says.  I have done research on his recommendations and they are pretty much exactly inline with clinical research.


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