About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

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August 10, 2006

Goal! Neurofeedback Scores a Victory

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Posted by Zack Lynch

From Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2006:

"Members of Italy's World Cup-winning soccer team have done it. A starting quarterback in the NFL has tried it out. And so has Jordan Kreuter, an 18-year-old golfer in North Carolina.

The thing they have in common: They've all turned to neurofeedback, a technique that promises to help athletes reprogram their brains so they can reach a zone of relaxed concentration during clutch situations.

Long used to treat medical conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, epilepsy and dementia, it is beginning to emerge as a tool for pro and amateur athletes alike -- with neurofeedback machines even starting to show up at some local public golf courses. Several members of Italy's World Cup-winning team, including Andrea Pirlo, second from lower left, did extensive neurofeedback in the runup to the tournament.

2006-07-09T205752Z_01_NOOTR_RTRIDSP_2_OUKTP-UK-SOCCER-WORLD-FINAL.jpgThis technique is bringing some science to the mental side of athletics, a field also known as sports psychology, which has often been derided by many players and trainers as hokum. In neurofeedback, athletes strap on electrodes that measure brainwaves. They then try to learn how to control spikes in those brainwaves, which may signify distractions going on inside their heads, such as obsessing about a past performance. Critics say it's one thing to be able to manipulate a bunch of lines moving across a screen, but it's another to remain perfectly calm as a fastball zooms toward you at 100 miles per hour or network cameras hover over your par putt."

Over the past year, nearly a half dozen new neurofeedback companies have emerged from the innovation wood work to introduce themselves to NeuroInsights. It's been interesting to hear about their strategies, and has solidified my thought that this is a space to watch, especially when the financiers figure out how to leverage the neurotechnology to trade more effectively.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurodiagnostics


1. Michael Cohen on August 15, 2006 12:38 PM writes...

Zack, I emailed you some time ago about Brain Resource for your neurotechnology
conference. I hope that went well.

As an FYI, has the best explanations of neurofeedback
on the web. (It is my site, but it's the only site actually dedicated to
explaining neurofeedback, and am told consistently there is nothing else that
comes close).

At that site, Dr. Angelo Bolea's comments on a schizophrenia patient he treated
in a hospital are very interesting.

So is Dr. Ed Hamlin comments about working with bipolar disorder.

A fundamental business problem is that neurofeedback is non-proprietary
technology. No one's really patented it. A number of companies have viewed the
space and passed it by over the years.

Perhaps someone will find a key, but it's not trivial. If "the money" had been
figured out, neurofeedback would already be huge.

The impact neurofeedback has on improving autism, anxiety, learning problems has
no correlate in medications. Without capital, it's almost impossible to build
traction. Despite that, it continues to achieve increased awareness, albeit

Michael Cohen

Permalink to Comment

2. Kensai on August 16, 2006 11:01 AM writes...

Michael Cohen is right. Neurofeedback is here for sometime now but hasn't really taken off.

However, I think the fact that it's not proprietary is an added value to the field and not a hindrance. Patents and red tape generally slow down a new tech, albeit standardizing it.

Neurofeedback is here to stay. We just need to publicize it more. The theory behind it is sound and you can't call this "reflexology" of the brain...

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3. Peter Tatum on November 23, 2006 6:51 AM writes...

William Styron, whose Holocaust novel Sophie's Choice became a film and an opera, has died, aged 81...

Permalink to Comment

4. Leo Franklin on December 11, 2006 6:19 PM writes...

London-born rapper Sway is to be honoured at the BET Hip-Hop awards in the US...

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