A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brain Wave Biofeedback

A Newly Revised and Expanded Edition

In the decade since Jim Robbins’s A Symphony in the Brain was first published, the control of our bodies, brains, and minds has taken remarkable leaps. From neurofeedback with functional magnetic resonance imaging equipment, to the use of radio waves, to biofeedback of the heart and breath, and coverage of biofeedback by health insurance plans, the numerous advances have driven the need for a revised edition to this groundbreaking book that traces the fascinating, untold story of the development of biofeedback.

Discovered by a small corps of research scientists, this alternative treatment allows a patient to see real-time measurements of their bodily processes. Its advocates claim biofeedback can treat epilepsy, autism, attention deficit disorder, addictions, and depression with no drugs or side effects; bring patients out of vegetative states, even improve golf scores or an opera singer’s voice. But biofeedback has faced battles for acceptance in the conservative medical world despite positive signs that it could revolutionize the way an incredibly diverse range of medical and psychological problems are treated. Offering a wealth of powerful case studies, accessible scientific explanations, and dramatic personal accounts, Robbins remarkable history develops our understanding of this important field.

Can you fix your own neurologic problems without resorting to drugs? Science writer Jim Robbins suggests that some such conditions–like epilepsy, autism, and depression–could yield to a recently developed technique called neurofeedback. His book A Symphony in the Brain describes the process, its evolution from the 1970s fad of biofeedback, its practitioners, and some of its success stories. Using computers to quickly provide information on real-time EEG, practitioners train patients to control global or local brain states–or so the theory goes. Unfortunately for its proponents, there are still no rigorous research data showing conclusive results. Robbins makes a good case that the lack of research is due more to scientific turf battles and a drug-dependent medical establishment than to any fault of neurofeedback. Some of the case studies he explores, of children and adults brought out of comas or trained to reduce their epileptic seizure frequency, suggest that we ought to look more deeply and rigorously into the technique. Whether it works can only be determined by controlled studies, which may be forthcoming. In the meantime, Robbins provides contact lists and additional research information for interested readers, as well as the inspiration to pursue a potentially life-saving treatment. –Rob Lightner

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Tags: functional magnetic resonance, functional magnetic resonance imaging, brain states, magnetic resonance imaging, New Health Ideas, attention deficit disorder

2 comments for “A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brain Wave Biofeedback

  1. Mitchell Small
    December 17, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    The Most Background of the Developement of Neurofeedback While this is not a clinical manual for the use of Neurofeedback, Jim Robbins does expect his readers to be intelligent. This in itself is quite a departure from a lot of other books on the topic. The author does provide enough information for a person being exposed to the concepts of Neurofeedback for the first time to follow the technical aspects of the work. Robbins traces the scientific roots of Neurofeedback (NF), from Pavlov to today, while showing that as a science, it has matured beyond the shortcut to Nirvana it was touted as in the early years of its use. Through biographies of the modern founders of Neurofeedback and actual case histories of successful uses of NF in treating a variety of disorders, Robbins tries to show the serious side of Neurofeedback.

  2. Medical School Professor
    December 17, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Changing the Brain without Medications This is an exciting new book that describes the startling technology of brain wave training. Called EEG biofeedback, or neurofeedback, the book describes the history of how this technology developed. It then details the many areas of application, such as ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, epilepsy, head injuries, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, addictions, sleep disorders, stroke rehabilitation, and even assisting patients to come out of coma! It is a very readable book, filled with interesting case examples. It is hard to read this book without feeling the excitement that this fascinating technology creates for changing brain dysfunctions and dramatically changing people’s lives. It includes a list of web sites for learning more, obtaining detailed references to the scientific literature, and identifying qualified referral sources. I highly recommend this book

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