Does Neurofeedback Work for Dementia? (Current Research Insights)

Dementia (commonly known as Alzheimer’s) has long been regarded as an irreversible degenerative brain disease that worsens over time, eventually leading to death. While this is true of some types of dementia, certain types can improve with treatment and continue to do so even after symptoms emerge.

One of these types of dementia that can improve with treatment, based on recent research, is dementia caused by strokes in the parietal and temporal lobes of the brain. In this blog, we will discuss one type of treatment that has shown to be very effective in these cases – infraslow neurofeedback.

Dementia basics

Dementia is a loss of memory, thinking and reasoning that affects a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities. This condition affects more than 5.8 million Americans. While current medications can help ease symptoms like mood changes and confusion, they don’t stop disease progression.

Dementia can result from a variety of conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and brain tumors. In addition to memory loss, symptoms include confusion and disorientation, difficulty speaking or writing clearly and changes in mood or personality. People with dementia often withdraw from family and friends, become more isolated and lose their ability to function independently.

Dementia is a general term that describes a wide range of symptoms caused by physical and mental health conditions. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, occurs when nerve cells in your brain start to die. They begin to break down and can no longer communicate with each other, leading to memory loss and other cognitive problems.

What is neurofeedback?

The human brain contains billions of neurons, and those interconnections are what allow us to solve problems, learn new things, memorize information and more. When these connections malfunction due to various factors such as stress or trauma, symptoms of neurological disorders can arise. In that case, neurofeedback for dementia could be a possible treatment option.

If a doctor determines that your child’s problem is neurological, she may recommend neurofeedback. This form of therapy can be used in combination with medication and behavioral therapy, but you should always check with your doctor before you start any type of treatment. Because neurofeedback has been found to be particularly effective with autism spectrum disorders.

How does neurofeedback work for dementia?

Neurofeedback helps to improve attention and relieve stress. The theory is that with improved attention and less stress, it may be possible to reduce some of dementia’s symptoms. Some studies have shown promising results in improving cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. If you are interested in learning more about neurofeedback and how it might help someone suffering from dementia, contact a professional neurotherapist today!

Neurofeedback and memory loss

Of particular interest to Alzheimer’s researchers and clinicians is whether neurofeedback can be used as a non-pharmacological intervention to enhance memory in those suffering from dementia. In other words, will it help slow or even stop memory loss in people with dementia? The answer is yes, but only if you catch it early enough. Individuals who started neurofeedback training shortly after their diagnosis had a significant improvement in their cognitive abilities over time.

Neurofeedback is working to strengthen already existing neuronal connections. Therefore, neurofeedback has no effect on strengthening weakened or broken neuronal connections; it is only able to work if there are still strong pathways in place that can be strengthened with neurofeedback.

How do you stimulate a dementia brain?

We’ve already seen that neurofeedback has been demonstrated to have a positive effect on anxiety, depression, ADHD and migraines. And since neurological issues are so common in those with dementia, it makes sense that neurofeedback for dementia might be an effective treatment. But how do you stimulate a brain that’s deteriorating rapidly? How does neurofeedback work for dementia—and can it help your loved one at all?

You can stimulate a dementia brain in many ways. For example, transcranial magnetic stimulation uses an electromagnetic coil to induce current that induces activity in specific areas of your brain—and it’s used all over the world to treat depression and anxiety. However, you don’t need fancy equipment to bring about change; studies have shown that mindfulness meditation has positive effects on people with Alzheimer’s disease, including reducing their level of agitation and improving their memory skills.

Does stimulation help dementia?

The short answer is yes. As your loved one ages, their brain function will naturally slow down. The loss of cognitive ability due to age is what we call dementia. It’s a broad term that describes any memory impairment or other intellectual changes that can affect daily life and mental wellbeing. Alzheimer’s disease is an example of dementia, though there are other kinds as well, including vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia.

One treatment option, called neurofeedback, uses a brain stimulation device that prompts your loved one’s brain to make connections that help improve their memory and mental wellbeing. The process has been shown to work through several studies.