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Biofeedback product fights depression

March 6, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Bouts of depression can be debilitating for many seniors, whether they're living at home or in a long-term care facility. And while medications and psychotherapy have long been considered mainstays in the fight against depression, a new product that uses biofeedback shows some promise.

Louisville, Ky.-based Peak Achievement Training announced the release of a new product called the Mood Elevator as an add-on to its flagship computer-based system called the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer which is used to enhance focus, alertness and memory.

The release of the Mood Elevator follows a study of 184 patients conducted by Dallas psychiatrist and neurotherapist Jonathan Walker, MD. In a paper published in the Journal of NeuroTherapy, Walker wrote, "These results suggest that [this] training is more likely to significantly decrease depression in a sustained fashion in such patients than the following treatments: switching medications, psychotherapy, electroshock therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, LENS, vagus nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation, or frontal alpha asymmetry training."

The company claims this study also showed that this innovative biofeedback method took only six 20-minute sessions to improve scores on a depression measurement scale by over 50 percent, and that these results lasted over a year. 

Jonathan Cowan, PhD, CEO of Peak Achievement Training and designer of the Mood Elevator, said in a press statement, "We were very pleased to be able to incorporate something this valuable to so many people by making some special modifications to what we are currently offering. The Mood Elevator simultaneously energizes its users and improves their emotional control by activating a well-hidden part of the pre-frontal cortex that actually provides the civilized learned control over the limbic system."

The company's website offers an explanation as to how this method works: "You sit in front of a computer, wearing a headband with damp sponges that pick up your brainwaves from three specific locations on your head. You watch to see how the display on the computer changes and listen to the sounds. When you succeed, a DVD or CD plays. The better you do, the bigger the picture is and the louder the sounds are. This neurovideofeedback guides you to really perk up and energize your brain and body. It also turns on the most civilized part of your brain—the part that is in charge of restraining the more impulsive limbic system, improving your emotional self-control."