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Jul 14, 2010

I have had a cough for a while and been feeling low in energy, so I went to see my doctor.  He looked at my throat, listened to my chest and said, "Just to be on the safe side, lets get an X-Ray".  Off I walked to the X-Ray room where I encountered a nice medical assistant who was wearing sunglasses because she just had her eyes dilated in an eye exam.  I found out I could have the x-ray because my insurance company will pay the doctor for the test; otherwise I would have to go to the hospital for the x-ray. 

I got to thinking how complicated our healthcare system had become.  One thing I like about my doctor is that most things can get done right there in the office.  That is the way it was when I was a kid.  I mean, you didn't go to the hospital unless you were really really sick.  Now we often have to go to a hospital or a "lab" even to get blood drawn. 

X-ray done and normal.  A nice medical assistant took my blood sample.

As I waited in the room I began to reflect on just how it is I chose my doctor. Indeed how do we choose our doctors and therapists.  What do we look for?

In my initial meetings with him I remember he told me he read both the traditional and the so called alternative medicine literature.  That appealed to me. Don't throw out the old, but stay updated with the new and modify what you have learned based on the new science and new methods.  He takes his time making a diagnosis and does not jump to conclusions, but when he says something and I question him about it he knows the literature.  So we communicate well and he is competent.  One thing I know, he does not believe in quick fixes but rather sound clinical practice:  one step at a time.  Not that he can't make quick decisions. He can because among other things he is Board Certified in Critical Care Medicine.  (You know, the doctors who take care of really sick people in the ICU.)

When I left I thought about EEG Biofeedback or Neurofeedback and how people choose a therapist.

Before you read any further the bottom line is that you need to trust and be comfortable with whomever you are working with.  It is important to tell the therapist about what is going on in your life, what changes and what does not change and your triumphs and your difficulties.  All of that information can influence where and how s/he trains.

Before this massive explosion in neuroscience research we listened to our patients' complaints and based on what we knew about anatomy and physiology of the brain we chose our sites and our frequencies to train.  The best researched clinical areas were attention deficits, brain injury and seizures,  Now we have Board certification and a supervision system.  I remember having to beg to be supervised nearly 20 years ago when I started because no one got supervised.  We just practiced.  That did not seem right to me.  So I had a very good supervisor, a psychologist and expert in EEGs from the Menninger Hospital.

It seemed pretty simple. If people got better then you did more of that and if they didn't you stopped and tried something new.

People used to get better from all sorts of folk remedies, but that did not make them safe or effective. Of course we still use folk remedies and herbs today, because some of them are safe and effective.  However, most people were happy when scientists were able to take X-Rays, do blood tests, CT Scans and MRIs because it made healthcare for many more effective.  While they can be over used or misused no one in their right mind would advocate getting rid of them. 

Well there are people out there still flying by the seat of their pants and testing treatment protocols in EEG Biofeedback and saying, well this made so many people with your symptoms better so we will do the same with you.  Sometimes that works.  Sometimes it doesn't.  We have new technology. 

We have our own version of the MRI or CT Scan and blood tests.  Its called a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG).  Why?  Because we treat the brain.  It is a voluntary retraining of the brain and it simply makes sense to test the thing you are treating to find out as much about it as you can before you treat.  That is the same reason psychologists do testing and schools do educational evaluations.  And they all used standardized statistical analysis, science, to measure what is going on with the patient or the student.  Just like a QEEG.

But despite thousands of articles having been published using QEEG some clinicians still resist its use. 

So when you choose a biofeedback therapist for your brain, make sure s/he knows the old and uses the new. 

Tradition is to be honored and cherished.  Progress is to be respected and used.  What we do should be based on research and not trial and error. 

Warm Regards,

Jerry Gluck


Neurofeedback, attention deficit disorder, ADD, ADHD,hyperactivity, Aspergers, autism, depression, anxiety, DAN doctor, Neurology

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