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How 40 Cycle Gamma Brainwave Training Can Maintain Your Brain and Happiness

An Idea From MIT Should Work Better With Our Neurofeedback

Dr. Jon Cowan - Sunday, March 01, 2020

The Scientific World is Finally Catching Up With Us    


Several recent scientific articles and a new popular book have pointed out the key importance of "40 cycle per second (Hertz)" brain waves in maintaining brain function and decreasing malfunctions associated with Alzheimer's and age-related cognitive decline. This is exciting reading for our researchers and customers, who have been training people to enhance a specific type of their "40 Hz. rhythm" since we first released the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer in 2007, featuring the Neureka! protocol.  

A webinar I saw just Thursday showed how researchers at MIT and more recently Georgia Tech have used flickering 40 Hz. lights and sound for long time periods to improve the memory of mice and decrease the deposits of amyloid and other functional problems which are believed to be related to Alzheimers.  The key discovery seems to be related to the proper stimulation of microglia, which are actually the immune system of the brain--not neural tissue. The microglia can decrease brain inflammation and actually dispose of these deposits when they are properly stimulated at 40 Hz.  However, in response to other types of situations, they can actually chew up synapses and destroy brain function.  This dual potential lead a science writer, Donna Jackson, to pen a book trying to tell both sides of the story, which she titled "The Angel and the Asassin".

External Stimulation Wears Off Like Drugs Do

The studies in mice have demonstrated that this external stimulation can improve function after several weeks, but unfortunately, it acts more like a drug and the effect disappears after another two weeks. Human trials underway at an MIT spin-off last an hour per day, every day for six to 12 months.  I'm afraid that's highly impractical for completing a study, or as an eventual real-world treatment.  There's another problem. Unlike mice who are all tested at the same age, humans lower their actual "40 Hz." rhythm as they age, and the MIT method has no way to detect or correct for this problem.  We put "40 Hz." in quotes because the human brain is inherently variable.  The MIT research is rigidly tied to 40 Hz.  

Enhancing Natural "40 Hz." Function Via Neureka! Training

However, none of the researchers has thought about training the brain to enhance its natural "40 Hz." rhythm by using brainwave biofeedback (neurofeedback), as we have been offering to clinicians and the public for many years via the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer.  Neurofeedback produces long-term improvements in natural brain rhythms, without the sometimes unpleasant light or sound.  These are sustained even when this stimulation is not there.   Our Neureka! feedback system selects out the one particular source of the key narrow-band "40 Hz." frequency--there are several others--and teaches people to increase its amplitude, rather than increase all of the 40 Hz. rhythms, which can be too stimulating.  With some deft math, our "40 Hz." detector corrects for the natural variations in frequency and trains the actual brain rhythm. 

It has been established for a long time that this key "40 Hz." rhythm from the inside the thalamus scans the surface layers of the cortex from front to back 40 times a second while we are awake.  The information about inputs and memories is brought back to the center of the thalamus, which puts it together into an "event".  Neureka! training selects out this key rhythm and improves this metronome of the brain.  In our studies, this training significantly enhances memory and focus in 12 sessions, and improves autism, which may be due to the inability to understand and respond to events, in just 18.

Another reason that training Neureka! should improve autism is that we know from studies of post-mortem autistic brains that the microglia are activated to cause evident inflammation.  This dysfunction should cause the "40 Hz." system to malfunction and misinterpret events.

It is totally reasonable to hypothesize that the increase in "40 Hz." rhythm also stimulates the healthy function of the microglia, promoting appropriate brain functioning and new learning by cleaning up deposits that interfere and cause cognitive decline and autism.  We also established that increasing the amplitude of Neureka! enhances happiness and other positive feelings, to reward you for learning something new, so you keep trying.  Watching videos as they respond to your Neureka! amplitude by changing size is probably far more pleasant than watching blinking white lights that don't change.  

A properly working 40 Hz. system should enhance both happiness and future health, which may help to account for the well-known relationship (157 studies) between current happiness and future health.  Perhaps the link is partly due to the improved function of the microglia, as well as the dopamine systems in the brain. It is all part of nature's grand design to promote survival by improving our ability to learn and adapt. 

We're Looking for Some Collaboration and Backing

We think that the key study that needs to be done is to examine a group of seniors with documented age-related cognitive decline trained with Neureka! (at home or in the clinic) for about twenty minutes five times a week for four weeks, in comparison to a control group exposed to a brain fitness app.  Then follow them up for six months to see if they maintain their gains.  A comparison to the MIT device could also be conducted, if practical.

We have a clinical collaborator who is interested in doing the study, if we can support it, so we are seeking funding.  We are also looking for some other clinical researchers to collaborate with studies on seniors and other populations.  If you have any interest or connections, please let us know.

We believe that our existing Neureka! training system will work whether or not we do the study.  If you are interested in obtaining one, there are several alternatives to choose from, so please give us a call at 800-886-4228 or 502-228-0605 so we can help you choose the best one for your circumstances.

To a long, focused, happy, and healthy life,

Dr. Jon Cowan 
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