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

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9780871138071: A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brain Wave Biofeedback

Imagine a procedure versatile enough to treat epilepsy, autism, attention deficit disorder, addictions, and depression with no drugs or side effects; to bring patients out of vegetative states; and to improve everything from golf scores to opera singers' voices. These are only some of the claims made for neurofeedback, a controversial but effective treatment that is revolutionizing the way an incredibly diverse range of medical and psychological conditions are treated. In A Symphony in the Brain, Jim Robbins traces the fascinating, untold story of the development of neurofeedback, from its discovery by a small corps of research psychologists, to its growing application across the country and around the world, to present battles for acceptance in the conservative medical world. Offering a wealth of powerful case studies, accessible scientific explanations, and dramatic personal accounts, Robbins journeys through a remarkable field, which he brings to the public eye for the first time.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

For over thirty years, Victor Bevine has worked as an actor, screenwriter, audio book narrator, director, and more. A graduate of Yale University, his acting credits include many prestigious roles onstage as well as roles in the film version of A Separate Peace and countless television shows. He has read over one hundred and eighty titles as an audiobook narrator; in 2010, he received an Audiophone Award for his narration of the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Beak of the Finch. He has written several screenplays, including Certainty, which was chosen for two prestigious writers conferences and which served as the basis for his first novel. His thirty-minute short film Desert Cross, which he wrote and directed, won accolades at the Athens International Film Festival. Currently, he serves as CEO of the World Freerunning Parkour Federation (WFPF), of which he is co-founder. He resides in New York City.

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