Amplitude or Power Training – Case Study

The attached recordings were provided by Dr. Tom Boone of Mississippi, and show an interesting case.  The individual’s QEEG traces and maps are shown.  The individual clearly has abnormal amplitudes in Alpha, Beta, and High Beta, and associated coherence and phase abnormalities.  The question is how to proceed with Live Z Score (LZT) training in the most reasonable manner.  We refer to Walker and Horvat (2010) who studied the issue of whether to train power or coherence.  Their conclusions are directly relevant to this case.

In Walker and Horvat (2010), the following conclusions were reached:

1) Either power or coherence training resulted in normalization of the majority of power and coherence abnormalities.

2) There was a trend toward better normalization of coherence abnormalities with coherence training compared to power training.

3) Power training produced significantly fewer new power abnormalities than did coherence training.

4) Coherence training produced significantly fewer new coherence abnormalities than did power training.

In the example attached, the client shows power abnormalities in Alpha, Beta, and High Beta.  Alpha was diffusely low, and Beta and High Beta were high in the left frontal area.  The associated coherence abnormalities  show primarily coherence deficits associated with Beta and High Beta, and involving the left frontal connection with the rest of the brain.

So how to proceed?  It would be logical to conclude that the observed coherence abnormalities are really simply reflecting the fact that the large Beta and High Beta excess on the left frontal areas is uncorrelated with the rest of the head.  It is an isolated effect.  So the hypocoherence is not really telling us that there is not enough connection in Beta and High Beta, it is telling us that there is a big uncorrelated source in the left front.  The primary problem is the existence of the Beta and High Beta excess in the left front, and we presumably want to begin to normalize this.

If we do coherence training, then we will be telling the brain to have more coherence in Beta and High Beta.  If the left frontal excess is not reduced, then the result of coherence training will be to produce more coherent Beta and High Beta, which could actually cause an increase in Beta and High Beta over the entire left hemisphere, and parts of the right hemisphere.  This is clearly not what is needed.

In this case, it would seem most reasonable to focus on the power abnormalities first, to avoid possible changes in power due to coherence training.

So, consistent with Walker and Horvat’s findings, the recommendation here would be to use LZT training to normalize the Beta and High Beta amplitudes, and also the Alpha deficit.  So power training would be the recommended way to start this training.

Jonathan E. Walker; Joseph Horvat (2010) Is it Better to Train Power First of Coherence First?

Journal of Neurotherapy: Investigations in Neuromodulation, Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience, 1530-017X, Volume 14, Issue 2, 2010, Pages 102 – 106