Capital Consortium for Neuroscience: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues

Friday, January 22, 2010
4:00 – 6:00 PM

Quantitative EEG-Guided Neurotraining in the Treatment of ADD/HD: Practical and Ethical Issues - A Case- based Approach

This lecture will present a discussion of the use of quantitative EEG (qEEG) and normative statistical databases in medication management and treatment of neuropsychological disorders. From small to large scale brain connectivity models our understanding of how brain becomes mind has grown clearer over the last decade. We now know that highly specialized brain systems communicate across neural networks using cross-frequency coupling mechanisms of phase lock and phase reset to recruit and coordinate brain activity. Several resting-state networks (RSNs) are known to exist for auditory, visual, somatosensory and language processing, and more recently, three large scale cognitive RSNs have been repeatably identified from multimodal neuroimaging studies. Therefore, rather than just measuring local information from non-contiguous sites, we can now use the multi-channel EEG to see coordinated brain activity at a network or systems level. Thus, we are better able to understand the relationships between brain activity patterns, cognitive processes, and behaviors. From such knowledge comes the ability to quantify specific RSN activity and to differentiate between normal and abnormal patterns. Reference EEG (rEEG) provides a normative outcomes database that can be used in the treatment of mental disorders, guided by physiological measures of the brain, rather than merely subjective symptoms. Certain forms of neurofeedback training (NT) can provide an age-matched database of amplitude and frequency measures that are used to identify local and system level imbalances in brain activity. From such information, a treatment protocol can be established and used to guide a course of NT sessions. However, such neurotechnology may also be inaptly used, employed by untrained practitioners, and even frankly misused (for example, by untrained individuals as games or "toys"). Three case studies are presented on the use neurotechnology and qEEG neurotraining in treating diagnosed conditions of ADD/ADHD. These cases provide contrast to those ways and instances in which this technology may be misappropriated and incorrectly employed. Ethical issues of how NT and other neurotechnologies are being inaptly used and/or misused will be discussed, as will what this situation can (and perhaps should) be addressed and rectified.

Speaker Information

Don DuRousseau
CEO, Human Bionics LLC (VA, USA)

Don DuRousseau is Founder and CEO of Human Bionics LLC, a neurotechnology company specializing in brain-computer interface (BCI) RDT&E. A neuroimaging researcher and entrepreneur with over twenty years experience developing realtime systems that monitor and respond to activities of the brain and body, Mr. DuRousseau earned a bachelors degree in Neurobiology, followed by an MBA in International Business and Public Policy from George Washington University. His work over the last 5 years has been focused on DARPA and DHS projects that develop and test neurotechnology applications for military, commercial and medical purposes

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