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A Symphony in the Brain


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If you thought biofeedback was a passing fad, freelance journalist Robbins will enlighten you. Far from a 1970s fringe treatment, neurofeedback (as it has been renamed) is being used to treat everything from autism and fetal alcohol syndrome to attention deficit disorder, manic-depression, stroke and menopausal symptoms. Despite numerous accounts of dramatic improvements of patients afflicted with a wide variety of conditions, the pharmaceutically oriented medical community is only now beginning to acknowledge its effectiveness. The treatment has been marginalized all these years because, like acupuncture, researchers don't understand exactly how it works. Robbins details the fascinating medical history of the therapy, tracing it back to French physician Paul Broca's discovery of the region in the brain where speech originates. At the heart of this riveting story are the people whose lives have been transformed by neurofeedback, from the doctors and psychologists who employ it to the patients who have undergone treatment. Robbins introduces Dr. Barry Sterman, whose 40 years of research supports the use of neurofeedback to treat epilepsy; Jesse DeBoer, who was born with severe brain damage and can now, at 19, function on the level of a learning-disabled person; and school principal Linda Vergara, who teaches grade school students to train their brains instead of using Ritalin to treat attention deficit disorders. Here, too, are the conflicts that have both enlivened neurofeedback and limited its use, much of which Robbins attributes to a lack of funding as he emphatically defends this promising treatment. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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