Neurofeedback for Age-related Cognitive Decline

If you’re over 60, chances are you’re worried about your memory. Here at Cleveland Neurofeedback, we appreciate this concern because several of us are helping aging parents and are also old enough to see these changes beginning in ourselves. We recognize the “What the heck did I come into the kitchen for?!” moments.

Although none of us began our neurofeedback work with a particular interest in this issue, we’ve become very intrigued by the number of clients who are reporting improvements in memory, attention, and concentration.

Is neurofeedback a cure for dementia? Absolutely not! But we DO see these interesting improvements, and as we think about people we love—or even ourselves—it’s clear to us that we would be grateful for anything that reversed symptoms for a period of time, or even put a pause on the decline without reversing it.

Does NeurOptimal do that? We don’t have a lot of data yet, but we have gathered some, and the results are quite promising. We’ll soon be able to look at precise measures of your brain’s processing speed—a critical indicator of an individual’s cognitive well being.

Common Questions We Are Asked By Age-related Decline Clients

Will this work for me?

We don’t have any way of knowing this for sure. Conservatively, though, we can say that more than half of the clients we see who are concerned about age-related cognitive problems do report improvements.

I’m taking Aricept (or Namenda).  Do I have to stop?

No…absolutely not.  They do not interfere with neurofeedback, and neurofeedback does not make them less effective.  Think of them as two different ways of supporting your brain.  But if you are one of the approximately  50% of patients for whom these medications are not effective (or who experience side effects), you may find neurofeedback particularly helpful.

Is there research to support this?

There’s no published research yet on this particular kind of neurofeedback (NeurOptimal) for dementia or other types of cognitive decline, but our colleague Tanju Surmeli, a psychiatrist and researcher in Turkey, has just published a study on another form of neurofeedback for Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia.  Surmeli says, “This study shows that NF treatment was effective in this group of subjects regardless of the type of dementia they had.”  And finally, one of our French colleagues, Dr. Daniel Wagner, has gathered  (but not published) data showing that NeurOptimal is very helpful to dementia patients, including those with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).

How long before I start seeing results?

Generally we encourage people to make a commitment to ten sessions.  If NeurOptimal is going to help you, you’ll have seen evidence by then.  We’ll also do some pre and post assessments, so if you’re not sure how helpful it has been, you’ll be able to compare your answers before and after neurofeedback.  Sometimes the difference is profound!

Senior Couple Walking In Park

Where To Find Out More

We’ve worked with many people suffering from age-related decline, whether it’s just the annoying changes that happen to everyone, or a more serious situation. It’s become one of our specialties, and something near and dear to our hearts.

If you feel a little unsure about trying neurofeedback, we completely understand! The best thing to do is give us a call at 216.410.6335 or email us on our contact page. Then we can talk through the specific questions and concerns you may have.

We know and understand the problems you’re dealing with and are here to help. There’s no pushy salesmanship from us—we genuinely care about helping people. Reach out to us and let’s start a dialogue and put together a plan that works best for you.

Meet one of our clients:

Our client Ron reported this comment from his wife, the day after his first session:

“Honey, that’s the most coherent conversation we’ve had in months.”

Ron came weekly for five months, and has since moved to every three weeks.

Meet another one of our clients:

Emma is a brilliant cellist, who has performed as a soloist with several of the second-tier orchestras around the U.S and Europe. She came to us when she and her husband (especially her husband) became concerned.

She had stopped being able to organize and prepare a meal, to participate in conversations with friends, or even to practice the cello successfully. She loved her neurofeedback sessions immediately since the feedback is delivered via music.

She frequently says, “Oh, I just love this,” when she settles into the chair.

After her first session, we found this message from her husband, Ed, on our office phone: I’m calling about an hour and a half after we left you, and I want to report that there is a remarkable change in Emma—speech, cello playing, attitude. It’s like a little miracle today.

Three years have passed, and Ed continues to bring her each week, both because the sessions are a high point of her week, and also because he suspects her functioning would probably be even more limited without neurofeedback.