The long-term consequences of Minor Traumatic Brain Injury
(MTBI) have recently become more widely acknowledged. Persons
suffering loss of function due to minor head injuries were
usually given CAT scans and MRI scans, which might not reveal
any organic injury. As a result, victims were often not taken
seriously, and accused of fabricating their symptoms and malingering.
More recently, tests of brain function have demonstrated
a basis for the symptoms which are described. Such tests include
PET scans, topographic brain mapping of EEG activity, and
evoked response measurements. These functional tests reveal
changes in cortical activation, anomalous EEG activity traceable
to head injury, and slowed response.
The symptoms which accompany minor head injury include principally
loss of energy; headaches and chronic pain; dizziness and
vertigo; memory impairment; difficulty concentrating; anxiety,
depression, and mood swings; sleep disturbances; irritability;
visual perception problems and dyslexia; and even apparent
personality changes. Seizures may also be observed, or seizure-like
activity such as auras. If persons exhibited certain weaknesses
before the accident, such as attention deficit disorder, migraine
headaches, or sleep difficulties, then such symptoms might
be considerably exacerbated by the head injury.
The apparent severity of the injury, including the length
of period of unconsciousness (if any), has little to do with
the severity of subsequent symptoms. New symptoms may arise
months or even years after the head injury. We know of no
published literature on the use of EEG biofeedback for head
injury. We are aware only of clinical work in this field in
a number of settings.
Over the past six years, we have obtained considerable clinical
evidence for the effectiveness of EEG biofeedback training
as an adjunct modality for remediating the symptoms of minor
closed head injury.
By September of 1992, we had accumulated a clinical history
of EEG training for 88 cases of (mostly minor) traumatic brain
injury. The training appears to be effective even years post-injury,
when spontaneous remediation is no longer expected. The training
can impact favorably on all of the symptoms listed above.
By means of EEG training, we have been able to restore to
productive life a number of individuals who had been totally
disabled for a number of years due to head injury. The training
is not always that effective. However, essentially everyone
who undertakes the training for head injury derives significant
benefit. The training needs to be undertaken for a minimum
of ten training sessions in order to be able to make a meaningful
assessment of whether the training is worthwhile. Completion
of training may take anywhere from 25 to more than 100 sessions.
Of course, anyone continuing for 100 sessions would only be
motivated to do so if there were continuing benefit. The gains
made in the training appear to hold for the long term. That
is, once the brain is taught again how to regulate itself,
it does not relinquish that capability. When clients are seen
within the first six months after head injury, there is a
concern about new symptoms continuing to emerge post-injury.
Clients must be aware that this may happen despite the biofeedback
training, since the latter takes effect gradually. If this
understanding exists, and the client is willing to proceed,
there may be additional benefit if the training is undertaken
soon after injury.
- Taken is from the EEG Spectrum Web Site and will be updated