Treating Epilepsy by Forced Oscillations

Conventional treatment of epilepsy has the drawbacks of side effects of the drugs. Moreover, some people’s seizures cannot be controlled adequately by drugs.
A nonstandard treatment of epilepsy was devised based on the following observation. The click more details sensimotor oscillations in resting cats were found to be 15 Hz. During an epileptic seizure, neurons oscillate wildly. It was hypothesized that if a person could learn to control his brain waves at the frequency of 15 Hz., an epileptic seizure could be avoided. Groups of subjects were taught this type of self-regulation using biofeedback (1). Unfortunately, the method, although successful, had some drawbacks. A long training period was required and not everyone could learn the technique (2). In particular, young people were much more successful in mastering this technique than older people.
An improvement of this method would be to eliminate the required training by forcing the brain to oscillate at 15 Hz. The Monroe binaural machine can entrain the brain to oscillate at a desired frequency by feeding two different sound frequencies in each ear, whose difference is the desired frequency. A less expensive approach is to use an ordinary stereo tape or disc player. Without any training the brain can be forced to oscillate at 15 Hz., by merely listening to a properly designed audiotape.
At present, this method has only been tried on one subject, reducing the frequencies of her seizures.
1. Sterman, M. B. Neurophysiological and clinical studies of sensimotor EEG biofeedback training: some effects on epilepsy. In Birk, L. ed., Seminars in Psychiatry, Grune and Stratton, New York, Vol. 5 (4), 507- 25, 1974.
2. Sterman, M. B. Clinical implication of EEG biofeedback training: a critical appraisal. In Schwartz, G. E. and Beatty, J. eds., Biofeedback and Research, Academic Press, New York, Chapter 18, 1975

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