The LENS Neurofeedback with Animals
AbstractBackground. A customary route for research in the life sciences is to begin with animal studies, and only after thorough evaluation, attempt the same procedure with humans. In this pilot clinical outcomes study, the inverse procedure is followed. Encouraging results in the areas of CNS regulation led clinicians to explore whether the method is equally effective with animals who suffered the same problems as humans. The qualities studied included aggressiveness, mood instability, hypervigilance, inability to learn from experience. Species studies over about three years consisted of horses, dogs, and cats. Method. All animals were treated on the Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS) using the I-330 C2, the mini-C2, or the GP plus EEG processor with a laptop computer. Unlike with human subjects, it was impossible to use “eyes-closed” condition, so blink artifact was impossible to rule out. Animals stood in stalls, tied to hitching posts (horses), or on the floor or in their owner’s lap (dogs and cats). With most animals the “stim” condition was used, with a brief second or two of stimulation embedded in a longer period of “no-stim,” four to twenty seconds depending on the situation. Where possible, a cortical map was done of from ten to twelve sites on the animal version of the standardized mapping system developed by Holliday and Williams (1999, 2003) to match human mapping. Since it has become available several months ago, the Animal CNS Questionnaire was used, and a five symptom or more “Subjective Symptom Checklist” completed on each treatment session with the owner. Narrative reports were collected from owners, but also from professional animal trainers and handlers. In some cases animals were photographed or videotaped before and after. Results. The animal studies are similar in outcome to the human results. As judged by owners, independent witnesses and professional trainers and handlers, animal behavior improves in the dimensions of flexibility, calmness, emotional stability, intelligence and problem solving The authors did not feel placebo “controls” were necessary or appropriate to these experiments. They had head injuries, survived natural catastrophes, or were abused or neglected (sorry to say) by owners. What was observed, in case after case, is that the more treatments administered the “easier” it became to administer additional treatments (animals were more complaint and calm). Conclusion/Discussion. Results with animals are parallel to and confirmatory of results with human children and adults. Animals may be traumatized by many causes, not the least of which are human in origin. Thus it is rewarding to see a human procedure help them. With treatment, the animals seem more calm, adaptable, and natural. Some of the results resemble the easy and short-term treatments of human children and infants, who have not yet had a chance to acquire (more difficult to dislodge) habits and defense mechanisms around their problems. These studies are highly preliminary, but very encouraging. The authors would love to see the LENS method applied to a variety of species and in ever-increasing numbers.
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