The Unique and Mysterious Brain
Each human brain is unique in the way it processes information. This uniqueness accounts for the vast differences in ideas, beliefs and behaviors between individuals. Appreciating what makes each of us unique and understanding what makes one person’s behavior “normal” and another’s “abnormal” is part of the study of the human brain. Until recently, the brain’s exact function in matters of abnormal behavior was obscure; but now scientists can isolate, identify and pinpoint the location of those brain waves responsible for various behaviors.
By conducting a recording of an individual’s electrical brain waves, and through the use of specialized computer equipment and software, brain wave patterns can be identified, quantified and displayed in a diagnostic tool called a “brain map.”
The first step in brain mapping is conducting an electroencephalogram or “EEG”. An EEG measures fluctuating electrical activity in the brain’s hemispheres. The procedure is completely noninvasive and does not cause any pain. Brain wave activity is relayed from electrodes placed at strategic points on the scalp (see electrode location map at left) to a computer where the data is recorded and stored. This raw data is then compared and charted within a specialized normative database, and then converted into a “map” of the brain that can be easily printed and analyzed by experts in the field of brain mapping and neurofeedback.“
Discovering And Establishing What Is “Normal”
Although a brain map is as unique as each individual, patterns of “normal” and “abnormal” emerge when compared within an extensive brain map database – just as an individual is considered relatively normal or abnormal when compared against other individuals in a societal grouping.
Researchers have studied thousands of brain maps of individuals who do not possess any neurological conditions considered as abnormal. From these studies, benchmarks for normal range brain function are established for various age categories and gender.
The NxLink Brain Map Database
The NxLink brain map database, utilized by Nu-Brain, employs a color-based standard deviation model to identify abnormal brain wave patterns. On the NxLink standard deviation scale shown at right, “normal” corresponds to 0.0 and is shown by the color black. As you deviate by degrees away from the norm, problematic brain wave patterns increase.
The Blue Side
The blue side of the scale indicates brain waves that are lower in amplitude compared to normal waves. This means the brain is UNDER functioning – the brain waves are not up to par to do their jobs and are too small to be effective. The further down on the scale, the lower the amplitude of the brain waves and the greater the problems within the brain.
The Red Side
Anything in this range is OVER functioning – the brain waves are too large in amplitude. Areas of the brain with these colors are considered as “hot spots” especially the higher up the chart to white. These areas of the brain are like a car with the gas peddle stuck on, and the car is racing out of control. So too may the brain be stuck in “on” with the peddle to the metal, the brain is racing and driving beyond its means of being in control. As this happens, the brain is not functioning effectively, and inappropriate behavior is the result.
Understanding “standard deviation” is important, as standard deviations help to show the severity of problems occurring within the brain. Consider the bell curves at right in conjunction with the standard deviation scale shown on the
Beneath the apex of the bell curve, lies the average or normal range of behavior. Brain waves here are considered to be a normal height. Seventy percent of all people typically fall within this range. As you move toward the outer fringes
of the curve, the averages change, and the brain waves become
increasingly either too large or too small to be effective.
For example, when the color burgundy/red shows up on the brain map, the condition is one standard deviation away from normal. But if the brain map shows an orange color, the condition is two standard deviations away from normal and is much more severe. If the color shown is in the yellow/white range, then the condition is three standard deviations away from normal, and the problem in this area is considered extremely severe.
A Brain Map Identifies the Path to Improvement
Changing and improving one’s life is important, and the brain map identifies the most effective path to take to accomplish this. As each brain map is unique from all other brain maps, so too, is the course of action and treatment toward the final destination of improving the identified neurological concerns.
Sample Brain Maps and Their Explanations
In the first brain map example shown below, we see that the brain waves in most regions of the brain fall in the blue range, indicating under activity. The exception is the theta wave in the front part of the brain, which appears in the burgundy/red range. The amplitude of the large, slow theta wave is too high in this region – it’s over functioning here. Immediately we can determine that this abnormality involves an “Attention Deficit Disorder” (ADD) behavior, such as difficulty paying attention. How we know this, is because the abnormality of too high a theta wave in the frontal lobe and central regions of the brain is an ADD pattern. If the same pattern had shown in orange, the problem would be more severe.
Attention Deficit Disorder has 12 subtypes, including difficulty paying attention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and distractibility, to name a few. ADD is a broad diagnosis, but brain maps help to determine the exact subtype(s) that are
occurring so that the treatment is more effective. This may be why certain medications will work for one individual diagnosed with ADD, but not another, because the sub-types of ADD vary so much within the neurological functioning of the brain.
This next map shows the brain wave patterns of a 19-year-old male. Before his EEG, the client shared that he had been told all of his life that he had ADD. But when the map was processed, instead of seeing over-active colors showing up in theta in the frontal area of the brain, those indicators were absent. When reviewing the map with the client, he was asked if distractibility was the reason he was told he had ADD. He said yes, that he was easily distracted by things around him. He was also asked if he had math learning disabilities; again he answered yes. Problems with distractions typically show up in the P4 area (note P4 on his map), and problems with math and numbers usually show up in the parietal area of the brain at P3, PZ and P4. On his map it is evident that the parietal lobe area is in red, indicating these problems.
In this map, several areas show over activity in the brain: Theta is red in the frontal area, alpha is red in the back, and beta shows in red all over. First, consider the large theta waves in the front. These indicate problems in paying attention, and it is worst at F3, FZ, and F4. Next, take a look at alpha in the back. Alpha should be in the back as alpha is generated there, but not this much alpha. Now look at beta. Here you see beta in red, blanketing the majority of the brain area. Over functioning beta is responsible for a number of problems such as anxiety, nervousness, constant worry, difficulty sleeping, inability to relax, and the feeling of being “wired”.
The person with a brain map like the one above has difficulty taking in information and processing it due to the abnormal theta wave. In this case, the information may be presented, such as a teacher talking to a student, or a parent giving instructions to a child, but overall, the result is an inability to pay attention – the homework doesn’t get completed or the room properly cleaned. This individual may also appear to be in an overly relaxed state due to alpha being so high in the back, but the opposite is actually true; inside, he or she is a nervous jitter and is internally “wired” due to the high beta throughout the brain.
This next map of just theta, shown at right, shows a person who may struggle with impulsivity, obsessive-compulsive (OCD) behavior and oppositional defiant (ODD) behavior. These behaviors are typical with high theta in the central area at CZ. Variations may include high theta in front as well as high theta in the central area.
The Brain Map is an Important Diagnostic Tool
The work of brain mapping is to identify areas of the brain where brain waves are malfunctioning so that an effective and efficient process of neurofeedback can then be administered to correct the abnormalities. The brain map examples shown above were only a small piece of an actual, full-blown brain map - which is usually around 50 to 70 pages and includes a detailed report of the identified problems. The brain map is also only one of the several diagnostic tools used by Nu-Brain to assess client needs.
Nu-Brain has the Best Brain Mapping Experts
in the Field
Nu-Brain works with the best authorities in the brain mapping and neurofeedback field in the nation. Each Nu-Brain consultant has many years of experience in the fields of private clinical practice, university work, and brain mapping and neurofeedback research. Our consultants are established and recognized nationally for their advancements in the scientific research of brain wave abnormalities and their impact on emotional and psychological behaviors.
Nu-Brain Provides Quality Diagnostic Assessment
Nu-Brain provides outstanding diagnostic assessment and neurofeedback therapy in the treatment of various neurological conditions. Each of our clients has unique needs and varying capacities. Nu-Brain sensitively and expertly strives to meet each need with an effective treatment plan to ensure the success of each individual client.