About tomcollura

Biomedical Engineer, neurophysiologist, mental health counselor, inventor, entrepreneur, educator

BrainMaster receives new patent on unique QEEG-based Live Z-Score Neurofeedback

Bedford, OH

August 8, 2017

BrainMaster Technologies, Inc., an Ohio-based medical and mental health technology company, today announced that it has received its most recent in a series of patents covering its innovative hardware and software technology.  The new patent is currently in effect, and will be in effect until the year 2030.

US Patent Number 9,7066,939 has been issued as off July 18, 2017, after nearly 10 years of review by the U.S. patent office since the provisional application was filed on November 7, 2007.  During this time, while the patent was pending, the claimed technology underwent extensive review and documentation, leading the examiner to determine that the claimed methods are sufficiently nonobvious, original, and unique to merit patent recognition and protection.  The subject of the patent is “Multi-Channel, Multi-Variate Whole-Head Normalization and Optimization System Using Live Z-Scores.”  The inventors are Thomas F. Collura, William Mrklas, and Theresia Collura, from Chagrin Falls and Streetsboro, Ohio.  This patent describes a uniquely simple yet powerful way to incorporate data from a sophisticated computer analysis (Quantitative EEG or “QEEG”) into a system that modifies the brain in real-time, using proven learning methods.  The patent documents include laboratory and clinical data demonstrating the effectiveness of this method.

In the patent examination, the office cited a number of publications and prior patents by authors including the primary inventor, as well as other experts in the field.  The patent describes a method by which a complex set of brain-based measurements can be combined into a simple, intuitive training system that can be understood and used widely for brain-based neuroplasticity training.  In subsequent clinical and research reports, this method has been found effective in a wide range of scenarios, from clinical mental health to sports and optimal performance.  While other providers have implemented their own forms of similar neurofeedback protocols, BrainMaster is unique in having developed and offered this particularly simple yet encompassing method to the neurofeedback community.

The same patent has been filed in Canada, and is pending at this time.

The US patent can be accessed online at:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/9706939.pdf

 

 

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ISF neurofeedback as an individually empowering intervention – brain politics and policy

ISF (infra-slow fluctuations) neurofeedback is an approach that uses extremely slow EEG fluctuations as the feedback mechanism. The client hears and sees feedback that indicates the presence of shifts in slow potentials, which reflect brain excitability in general. Insofar as ISF is based upon the slow changes in postsynaptic potentials in pyramidal neurons, as well as shifts in transmembrane potentials of the glia, it reveals to the client when the brain is undergoing changes in excitability, either to become more excitable, or less excitable, in general.

Consider the analogy of the U.S. senate. 100 senators combine their votes to make decisions on public policy and lawmaking, based on a combination of ideology and specifics. Suppose there are 52 senators rigidly fixed on a conservative agenda, and 48 fixed on an activist agenda. If this situation never changes, then the results of any vote would be “automatic poker,” with no flexibility. There is no possibility that any particular issue will receive an unbiased or considered vote, since all votes are along fixed lines. This is a rigid and inflexible situation. What would it take to introduce some flexibility and choice in this system?

If some (not too few, and not too many) senators decide to reconsider their positions, then there can suddenly be a new flexibility, new options. However, if too many senators start to rethink their positions, chaos might result. There would be an optimal amount of this shifting about, in which enough senators are willing to rethink and possibly change their votes, but not too many. What is needed is a handful of conservatives willing to think a bit more liberal, and few liberals willing to think a bit more conservative. With that addition, the senate becomes a powerful decision-making body, not just a reactive pool of rigid reactive responders.

If it becomes possible to cause 10 of the senators to reconsider their positions and vote more based on consideration of specifics, then the senate has the power to make actual decisions. Indeed, a few senators do appear to have this flexibility, and are able to vote on their own, not based on party lines. In the same way that a few more of this type would have tremendous impact on flexibility and appropriateness of legislative decisions, a brain that has a few more neurons on the edge of decision-making rather than reacting can result in a more decisive and empowered brain. It is on the edge of these shifts that decisions (votes) can be made that instrument change and adaptation, rather than rigidity.

So with ISF training, the brain is being informed when there are shifts in the general excitability of the brain, similar to learning how many senators may be reconsidering their positions. The population dynamics of the EEG make this all possible. In the EEG, we know that as few as 5% of the neurons are sufficient to alter 100% of the EEG activity, because of the amount of cancellation that occurs over the vast number of neurons. The few can make decisions that affect and in fact empower the masses.

Politics and the Brain

Dr. Ron Bonnstetter has shown significant new results that demonstrate the brain activation patterns when people are making political choices.  He is using live 3-D imaging of frontal gamma activation patterns, in response to politically-charged stimuli.  His results are described in the following broadcast:

http://www.12news.com/news/local/valley/the-brains-of-democrats-vs-republicans/326483029

This is significant because it shows the brain’s pre-conscious responses that shape and determine individual feelings and decisions.  Dr. Bonnstetter has shown that while Democrats respond most strongly to things that they do not like, Republicans tend to respond more strongly to things that they like.  This shows a fundamental difference in individual decision-making patterns.  This helps us to understand political leanings and decisions amidst the confusion and questions that are being asked.

 

 

Trauma and the Brain

screen.2013.09.19_13.31.53The attached talk was presented at the 27th Annual Psychological Trauma Conference in Boston on June 2, 2016.  These results show brain activation patterns that found in individuals experiencing traumatic and emotionally charged stimulation and experiences.  We find that the responses of the frontal lobes demonstrate specific positive and negative emotional responses, and underlie decision-making processes.  The frontal hemispheres are lateralized, in that the left hemisphere and right hemisphere perform different functions, and that both are necessary for healthy, flexible, adaptable responses.  Depending on past experiences, particularly trauma, this balance of reactivity may be affected.  The left hemisphere takes care of sequential, logical processing, and produces positive, or “approach” responses.  The right hemisphere takes care of parallel, recognition-based responses, and produces negative, or “avoid” responses.  Both of these are important, so that the individual is able to respond appropriately to positive or negative stimuli and situations.  Examples are given of both adaptive, flexible responses, as well as fixed, inflexible responses.  Inflexibility is associated with reactive, fixed, and maladaptive responses.  Imaging an biofeedback of brain activity according to this model can be applied to counseling and other clinical activity, to help to empower and enable clients to have healthy responses, that are consistent with goals and produce beneficial mental states and behaviors.2016 Trauma Collura EEG

The following link is to a large collection of published papers describing neurofeedback in various clinical situations, showing effectiveness in treating various disorders, including those associated with trauma.  Collected Publications

 

Neuroeconomics

By looking at the brain as a goal-seeking system, independent of our ideas of values and the meaning of life, we can arrive at a very objective understanding of why people do what they do.  This includes decisions having to do with how we feel, and how we feel about how we feel.  Our work in emotional decision-making moves along these lines, and reveals brain imaging methods to explore these concepts.  The field of formal Neuroeconomics is also growing, for example:

neuroeconomics course

We view the brain as a goal-seeking system that recognizes patterns, and attempts to make decisions to ensure survival, well-being, and positive affect.  When goals are confounded or subverted, then we see suboptimal, even self-destructive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  Neurofeedback is an important way to re-orient the brain, but giving it new goals, e.g. “change your electrical patterns in this way.”  Without knowing why, the brain will seek the new goals, the new setpoint, and a new set of attractors in its dynamic repertoire.

 

BrainAvatar Muse – a new tool for psychotherapy and mental health

We have been spending some time lately refining and releasing a new set
of software, designed to use the new Interaxon Muse brain-sensing headband.
This was shown at ISNR, and employs some new modeling of gamma activation
in the frontal lobes, in particular. We have published several articles and given
talks on it this year, as well. A lot of the basic information and downloadable
software is online at:

http://www.brainavatar.com/brainavatar-muse.html

This is a heads-up that we will be deploying this new software, as well as
the Muse headbands, for applications in counseling, psychotherapy,
neuromarketing, and many other new uses, taking it beyond the traditional
scope of neurofeedback or even neuromonitoring. We will shortly put out an
announcement of our partnership with Interaxon, and how clinicians can get
involved, using Muse for office or home use, taking neuroscience into a new
generation of mental health practice.

For example, the following file contains a downloadable pdf just published in
Counseling Today, talking about how we can use frontal activation imaging in
counseling. The goal is to put this in the hands of mental health practitioners,
who can use a simple, low-cost device that can be applied in less than a
minute, and provide valid EEG data with clinical value.

http://www.brainm.com/kb/file/560/545/

Looking forward to sharing the journey,

Tom, Terri, Bill, & the team