SmartMind FAQ

  1. What is the Key Advantage of the SmartMind 4 Neurofeedback System?

    The SmartMind 4 provides a key advantage over all other Neurofeedback systems in that it is the ONLY neurofeedback system to provide accurate “on-the-fly” neurofeedback training. The artifact problem is recognized in the general field of EEG analysis in that it is accepted that any analysis of EEG data in order to be accurately measured requires that any artifact present in it be manually or automatically removed. To obtain an accurate measurement of the strength (i.e., amplitude) of an EEG frequency band, such as Theta and Beta, requires that the data be accurately de-artifacted.
    Otherwise, the measurement of the EEG will not be scientifically valid.

    The SmartMind 4 is unique in that it filters out the facial activity, eye blinks, eye movement and heart beats that contaminate the EEG data during “live” training; leading to the accurate feedback of brainwave activity. The basis for an individual to learn to control and change their brainwave activity is dependent upon operant conditioning principles. Consequently, it is essential that the feedback being provided needs to be as accurate as possible. Unfortunately, artifact typically occurs 60 to 80% of the time for most individuals during their neurofeedback training session. When neurofeedback software does not exclude artifacts during training then it is not possible to accurately measure EEG activity; resulting in erroneous feedback that will impair a person’s learning of what is already known to often be a challenging task. This misinformation can translate to informing the client that they are improving their focus when they actually are “spacing out.” Traditional neurofeedback systems can easily provide misleading feedback by informing the client that they are not focused when they actually are producing desired EEG activity being trained. The learned control of targeted EEG frequency bands is crucial for the success of neurofeedback training and is dependent on correct feedback be provided that reflects the trainee’s “true” mental activity. Successful neurofeedback training can only be achieved when the training system filters out the naturally occurring artifacts during the training. Since the SmartMind 4 is the only neurofeedback system that provides Artifact Corrected (AC) measurements of EEG, it is the only system that can reliably facilitate the learned control of brainwave activity that is essential for the enhancing a client’s self-control and facilitating positive behavioral changes.

    This is the reason that published meta-analysis studies of neurofeedback that report success and clinical benefits has not been supported by significant changes in targeted EEG brainwave activity as the casual factor. In fact, changes in the EEG frequency bands that are targeted for training are rarely measured in most published studies. Typically, it is recommended that 40 training sessions are necessary for successful changes to occur. The reason that the completion of 40 sessions neurofeedback is beneficial is apparent in numerous published double-blind studies which include sham EEG feedback. All neurofeedback training includes systematic cognitive behavioral training and operant conditioning which includes reinforcement for individuals with ADHD to sit still, be relaxed, stay focused, actively process any information provided, be quiet and sustain their attention throughout the 30 to 45 minute training session. These specific behaviors are also often rewarded in meaningful ways. Reductions in observable inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive behaviors have been significantly been achieved; resulting in improved functionality and clinical benefits for the clients trained. However, these positive clinical changes for the most part are attributable to the cognitive behavioral and operant conditioning of the overt training procedures and not to any demonstrated changes in targeted EEG brainwave activity.

    The value of AC neurofeedback using the SmartMind 4 system is supported by an independent double-blind peer-reviewed study comparing it to the traditional Non-Artifacted (NAC) training methodology. This research paper is available for review and demonstrates the clinical effectiveness of SmartMind 4’s AC neurofeedback system.

  2. Why is the single channel MindWave a useful clinical tool for use with SmartMind 4?

    The single channel MindWave EEG training device is very useful for either in-office or as a means to provide home training on the iPad. You can effectively use it train to Focus by following published research based protocols involving either down training theta and/or up training Beta at the AFz site using the MindWave. The AFz site is the brain region identified as the “steering wheel” wheel of the mind and is the area called the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC). The ACC is located directly above the nose bridge in the middle of the head just below the hairline.

    The MindWave uses a dry sensor system. It does not require 10-20 paste and also goes on and off very easily. It is a wireless Bluetooth device and is very comfortable; staying in place with the headband provided. Thus, it is clinically useful and works well as a learning tool to help clinicians comfortably introduce clients to Neurofeedback training without putting sensor paste in their hair and also provides a means for EEG trainers to personally explore the many features of SmartMind 4 without needing to “prep” themselves.

    While you can train other sites using a four channel EEG device, the majority of the published research studies in the field of Neurofeedback have involved training one site location. The two locations that have been selected the most are the Frontal region over the ACC or in the central area of the brain at Cz, C3 or C4.

  3. You list remote training or home training using the Neurosky headset. I was wondering how that differs from other hardware that might be used?

    With our adapted MindWave headset the end-user can easily attach the MindWave at the correct location for Frontal lobe training (AFz) without any prep required, i.e., no sensor paste is needed, but they can get a good connection easily and a quick alcohol wipe of the forehead will generally fix any connection issues due to oily skin or make-up. Other EEG devices including BrainMaster, Thought Tech, Optimal, and J&J Physiodata are also supported.

  4. Do you have a clinician dashboard?

    You can set up the client as a remote user and fully control the training that you configure. Then during training you can use a remote connection using a third party PC connection which will provide you a view of their PC activity. However, the qualify or frequency of screen updates will depend on both the client and your office’s internet speed. You may also want to maintain a separate speaker cell phone connection to provide verbal training guidance. In any case, you can sync after training is completed and run any analysis or graph using SmartMind 4’s full capabilities and then review the person’s progress with them.

  5. How is progress monitored?

    Bar and line graphs are utilized with full custom options and are based on percent improvement that references their baseline EEG amplitude.

  6. What algorithms do you use to measure attention and related mental states?

    The approach is to either up-train or down-train one or more EEG frequency bands evaluated during a 90 second assessment completed prior to training that you, the clinician,  have determined based on your goals are relevant for the client. For example, you can down-train Theta 4-8 Hz and at the same time monitor Beta (15-18 Hz) changes at the same site location.

  7. Is one electrode site sufficient?

    There is a large research body of clinical studies which have found clinical benefits using only single channel, one site training. Keep in mind that any one site will be a measure of up to 50% of the brain regions located near it. Thus, you can train the frontal region at AFz and decrease slow brain wave activity or train up SMR at Cz with other EEG devices which has been found to be beneficial for other types of impairments.

  8. Does the software run differently with the option of additional EEG training sites and wired systems with traditional EEG amplifiers?

    Yes, you can train multiple sites and provide combined feedback for any EEG frequency band at up to 4 sites using a 4 band EEG device. For example, you can down-train Alpha at AF3 and up-train Alpha at AF4. In this case, the goal is to increase Alpha in the left frontal region and to decrease it in the right frontal areas. The feedback provide can be configured to show progress of combined changes based on both of these sites. Thus, only the AF3 may show a decrease in Alpha; leading to positive changes even if there are no changes in Alpha at AF4 and vice-versa.

  9. What if my client shows a very high level of facial tension, eye movements and/or eye blinking artifact during Neurofeedback training (> 90%)?
    There isn’t a magic solution to just eliminate artifact that works in every case.  There may be cases where training is just not possible due to excessive artifact. But, here are some possibilities to try:
    If the client is presenting with lots of artifact, you may be restricted to doing either only EMG/Relax Your Face training and/or training over the sensorimotor strip (Cz or C3 or C4) and increasing SMR and/or decreasing Theta over those areas.  Before each session, you can use the “Relax Your Face” video training exercises to walk the individual through the progressive tension/relaxation exercises for the various muscle groups in the face which may help reduce the artifact before training. 
    Using “Relax Your Face” focuses on the muscle artifact in the 33 – 48 Hz range and bypasses the artifact reduction for Eye Blink/Eye Movement, so it may be easier for the individual and more targeted to their stated concern.  Simply training Relaxation like this can have an effect.  And, the hope is that if the relaxation training is successful, you can then graduate to training EEG frequencies at your desired sites.
    Training over the Sensorimotor strip with reward for SMR and/or inhibiting Theta should do 2 things:
    1. Moving the sensor further back physically from the source of the muscle artifact can help to lower that artifacts effect on the signal
    2. Training over Cz with SMR and Theta can help with reducing muscle artifact and reinforce gross muscle control/relaxation.  That is a protocol commonly used with reducing hyperactive symptoms in ADHD, for instance.
    AAPB puts out a publication that gathers relevant research studies into various disorders https://www.aapb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=3861 and lists whether biofeedback or neurofeedback is actually an efficacious modality for those disorders.  It is a useful resource to have on hand. 

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