news | events



What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural human adaptive mechanism that permits us to be alert to a committed event. Actually, a certain degree of anxiety provides an appropriate component of caution in dangerous situations. This moderate anxiety can help us stay focused and face the challenges ahead.
Sometimes, however, the system response to anxiety is excessive, not working properly. More specifically, anxiety is disproportionated to the situation, occurring even in the absence of any ostensible danger. The subject feels paralyzed with a feeling of helplessness what generally leads to a deterioration of psychosocial and physiological functioning. The anxiety is considered as a disorder when it occurs at inappropriate times, or is so intense and durable that it interferes with normal activities of the person.

Types and symptoms

Disorder of generalized anxiety:
This disorder generates a chronic tension even when nothing seems to provoke it. This excessive concern or nervousness manifests almost daily being typically diagnosed when patient  has suffered the symptoms during a minimum of six months.

Panic disorder (or panic attack):
The patient experiences recurrent panic attacks that arise spontaneously. It is an acute and extreme anxiety in which often the person who suffers it thinks that will die. These sudden attacks of intense fear are not a direct cause. Sometimes, patients with this disorder develop anxiety to the next attack whose occurrence can not be predicted, it is called anticipatory anxiety.

Phobic disorder:
This disorder have as essential characteristic the presence of an irrational and persistent fear to a specific object,  activity or situation. In consequence, the individual tend to avoid the feared object. For example, fear of flying, birds or open spaces.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder:

In this disorder the patients manifest involuntary thoughts or actions to not generate anxiety. The subjects recognize the absurdity of their thoughts or actions. For example, washing hands every little while.

Post-traumatic stress disorder:
It occurs when unpleasant psychological effects are manifested after the impact of a emotional trauma, war, rape, etc. It is characterized by persistent memories of the traumatic event, an emotional state with heightened vigilance and a general reduction of interest in daily events.


There are several approaches for treating the anxiety.  Drugs (benzodiazepines, buspirone), psychotherapy, Neurofeedback, SHG and relaxation techniques, are the main procedures.

Data and numbers

Anxiety disorders are collectively the most common psychiatric disease. Among them highlights phobic disorder.  About 7 per cent of women and 4.3 per cent of men suffer from specific phobias (some animal, an object, darkness, etc.), while the so-called social phobias (the ability of a person to interact in an affable manner with others) are found in 13 per cent of the population.
Generalized anxiety appears in 3 to 5 per cent of adults (at some point during the year). Women are twice as likely to present it.
Panic disorder is less common and is diagnosed to less than 1 percent of the population. Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer it.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects about 2.3 per cent of adults and occurs with approximately equal frequency in women than in men.
The post-traumatic stress affects, at least, 1 percent of the population sometime during life, although in people at higher risk, such as war veterans,  it has a higher incidence.

Neurofeedback application in  anxiety

Neurofeedback is a neuropsychological technique that allows self-regulation of the central nervous system. In cases of anxiety, the main benefits of its application are:

– Decline and disappearance of physiological signs of distress and discomfort.
– Increasing of capacity of the management and control of stressors.
– Increasing of competition capacity, security and management of their own resources.
– Better capabilities of threat management.
– Increasing of self-esteem.
– Improvement of social relations.
– Performance optimization.
– Enhancing the capacity of attention and concentration.
– Reduction of physical exertion.
– Improvement of mood.
– Disappearance or decreasing of irritability.
– Increasing of emotional stability.
– Increasing of ability to move following objectives rather than reaction to stimuli, whether rewarding or aversive.



¿What is depression?

WHO describes depression as a common mental disorder. This is characterized by the presence of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, sleep or appetite, tiredness and lack of concentration.

Depression can get to become chronic or recurrent and substantially hinder performance at work or school. In its most severe form, it can lead to suicide. If it is mild, it can be treated without drugs but when it affects moderately or severely may need medication, professional psychotherapy or treatments to help self-regulation of central nervous system.
This is a disorder that can be diagnosed reliably and treated by non-specialists in the field of primary care.

Types and symptoms

Depending on the number and the intensity of the symptoms, the depression phases can be classify in mild, moderate or severe.

A fundamental distinction for people suffering depression is established between people with and without a history of manic episodes. Both types of depression can be chronic and relapsing, especially when not treated.

Unipolar depression:

During the typical depressive episodes there is depressed mood, loss of interest and ability to enjoy, and energy reduction resulting in a decreasing in activity, all for a minimum of two weeks. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety, sleep disturbances and appetite, feelings of guilt and low self-esteem, difficulty at concentrating and even medically unexplained symptoms.
Depending on the number and intensity of symptoms, depressive episodes can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. People with mild depressive episodes have some difficulties to continue their normal work and social activities although they do not probably suspend them completely. In contrast, during a severe depressive episode it is highly unlikely that the patient can maintain their social, work or domestic activities if it is not with great limitations.
Bipolar disorder:

This type of depression typically manifests manic and depressive episodes separated by intervals with normal mood. Manic episodes occur with elevated or irritable mood, hyperactivity, logorrhea, excessive self-esteem and decreasing of need for sleep.

Contributing factors and prevention

Depression is the result of complex interactions between social, psychological and biological factors. It can create more stress and dysfunction worsening the living situation of the person and therefore  its own depression.
There are relationships between depression and physical health; thus, for example, cardiovascular diseases may cause depression and vice versa.
It is shown that prevention programs reduce depression. Among the effective community strategies to prevent them are, school programs of prevention of child abuse, to improve the aptitude to resolution of problems of children and adolescents, or programs to improve cognitive and social aptitudes.
Interventions directed to parents of children with behavioural problems may reduce depressive symptoms of parents and improve the results of their children. Exercise programs for the elderly are also effective for preventing depression.

Diagnosis and treatment

There are effective treatments for depression, a condition that can be diagnosed and treated reliably by trained health professionals working in primary care. The therapeutic options recommended for moderate to severe depression consist of a basic psychosocial support combined with antidepressant drugs or psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy or techniques for solving problems such as Neurofeedback.

Antidepressants can be effective in moderate to severe depression, but not in mild cases. They should not be used to treat depression in children or as first-line therapy in adolescents with whom the antidepressants must be used with extreme caution.

Data y numbers

– Depression is a common mental disorder that affects more than 350 million people worldwide.
– In the worst cases, depression can lead to suicide.
– Depression is the leading cause of disability and contributes substantially to the global burden of morbidity.
– There are effective treatments for depression.
– Depression affects more women than men.


Neurofeedback application in depression

Neurofeedback is a neuropsychological technique that allows self-regulation of the central nervous system. In cases of depression, the main benefits of its application are:

– Increasing of motivation.
– Development of emotional management.
– Improved mood.
– Strengthening of social relations.
– Increasing of motivation guided.
– Decrease or disappearance of difficulty sleeping (improving sleep hygiene).
– Increasing of muscle tone.
– Reduction or elimination of autolytic and irrational thoughts as well as suicide ideation.
– Decrease or disappearance of irrational fears and cognitive distortions.


What is headache?

Headaches (migraines) are one of the most common disorders of the nervous system. They are primary painful disorders as migraine or, tension headaches and cluster headaches. It can also be caused by many other conditions, such as excessive consumption of analgesics.

It is estimated that the worldwide prevalence of headache (at least once in the last year) in adults is 47 per cent. Between half and three-quarters of adults aged from 18 to 65 years have suffered a headache in the last year, and more than 10 per cent of this group has suffered migraine. The headache that occurs each 15 days or each month affects from 1.7 per cent to 4 per cent of the adult population in the world. Despite regional variations, headaches are a global problem that affects people of all ages, races, income levels and geographic areas.
Headache is not only painful but also debilitating. In the Study of Global Burden of Disease, updated in 2004, migraine represented 1.3 per cent of years lost due to disability.

Headaches also impose personal burden in the form of intense suffering, impairment of quality of life and economic costs. Frequent headaches and constant fear about the next episode damage family life, social relationships and work. A prolonged effort to deal with a chronic headache may also predispose to the occurrence of other diseases; for example, depression, which is three times more common in people suffering from migraine or severe headaches than in healthy.


Migraine is within what are called central sensitization syndromes. Central sensitization is a process that affects the central nervous system, reducing the pain threshold and leading to its distorted perception. People who suffer this syndrome are much more sensitive to stimuli that are normally not so painful, not having this pain an adaptive and “notice” purpose.

Types and symptoms

Migraine, tension headache and the caused by an excessive consumption of analgesics (rebound headache) are important to public health since they cause severe disability and morbidity in the population.

Migraine (headache)

Es una cefalea primaria.
Suele aparecer en la pubertad y afecta principalmente al grupo entre los 35 y los 45 años de edad.
Está causada por la activación de un mecanismo encefálico que conduce a la liberación de sustancias inflamatorias y causantes de dolor alrededor de los nervios y vasos sanguíneos de la cabeza.
La migraña es recurrente, a menudo dura toda la vida y se caracteriza por presentarse episódicamente

It is a primary headache. It usually occurs in puberty and mostly affects the group between 35 and 45 years old.
It is caused by the activation of a mechanism that leads to release of inflammatory and pain-causing substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head.
Migraine is a recurring headache, often lasts lifelong and is characterized by occur episodically.

These episodes are characterized by:

– Moderate and severe headache.
– Nausea (the most characteristic symptom).
– Pain on one side of the head, sometimes pulsatile.
– Worsens with ordinary physical activity.
– It can last from a few hours to 2 or 3 days.
– Episodes occur with a frequency that varies between one year and one week.
– In children, the episodes usually last less and abdominal symptoms are more prominent.

Tension Type Headache

It is the most common primary headache.
Episodic Tension Type Headache (TTH) is observed in more than 70 per cent of certain population groups.
It often begins in adolescence and affects more women than men in a ratio of 3:2.
It may be related to stress or musculoskeletal problems of the neck.
When it is episodic, the episodes usually last a few hours, but may persist for several days.
Chronic tension headaches may be constant and much more disabling than episodic.
The patient describes this headache as a kind of pressure or tightness band around the head, which sometimes radiates to the neck or from this.

Cluster Headache

It is a primary headache.
It is relatively rare; It is suffered by less than 1 in 1,000 adults; It is more common in men than in women, with a ratio of 6: 1.
It usually occurs from mid-twenties.
It is characterized by recurrent and frequent, brief but extremely painful episodes of headache and pain around one eye. It provokes tears and reddening; accompanied by nasal discharge or blockage of the nostril on the affected side, and eyelid may be down.
It can be episodic or chronic.

Headache due to overuse of analgesics (rebound headache)

It is caused by chronic and excessive consumption of drugs to combat headaches.
It is the most common form of secondary headache.
It can affect up to 5 per cent of certain population groups, more women than men.
It is an oppressive and persistent headache which usually is worsen on waking.


A large number of people who suffer migraines are not diagnosed or treated. To treat headaches it is important that health professionals are well trained, the diagnosis of the disorder is accurate and appropriate treatment is provided.

It is very common that people do not consider headaches as a serious disease since they usually occurs episodically, are not fatal and do not spread. It is estimated that 50 per cent of people with headache are treat by themselves.

In many cases, the authorities intended to limit the costs of health care and do not recognize that headaches impose a considerable economic burden on the state – Direct costs of treatment of headaches are minimal when compared to indirect costs (for example, days off work).

There are different types of treatment, with or without medicaments

No medications: To identify and avoid triggers of migraine is an example of treatment without medication, writing a migraine diary to track your symptoms and identify your triggers (food, cold, heat, light, sleep, etc.), technical relaxation, acupuncture, neurofeedback and biofeedback.

With medication: analgesics, anticonvulsants and prophylactic products.

Data and numbers

Headaches are one of the most common disorders of the nervous system.
Overall, it is estimated that 47 per cent of adults have experienced at least one headache in the past year.
The headaches are accompanied by personal and social problems such as pain, disability, impaired quality of life and economic losses.
Worldwide, only a minority of people suffering headaches receive a proper diagnosis made by a health professional.
Globally, headaches have been underestimated, poorly known and do not receive adequate treatment.

Neurofeedback application in headaches cases

Neurofeedback is a neuropsychological technique that allows self-regulation of the central nervous system. Its application will reduce and / or disappear migraine symptoms, decrease anticipatory fear and stabilize the physiological activity improving sensitivity and increasing of pain threshold.

Neurofeedback different investigations in cases of headaches show the high degree of effectiveness of this therapy for treatment.

According to the study carried out by Dr. Jonathan E. Walker in Dallas, and published in 2011 in which participated 71 patients who often suffered migraines, they were obtained the next data:

Neurofeedback group (46 patients) Pharmacological group (25 patients)
No migraines 54 per cent 4 per cent
Decreasing of migraines >50 per cent 39 per cent 8 per cent
Decreasing of migraines <50 per cent 4 per cent 20 per cent
No changes 1 patient 68 per cent



When did it start talking about autism?

The word autism was first used by psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler Swiss in 1912. The medical classification of autism was given in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner. At one time, an Austrian scientist, Dr. Hans Asperger, coincidentally used the term autistic psychopathy in children who exhibited similar characteristics. Dr. Asperger’s work, however, was not recognized until 1981, probably because it was written in German.

The DSM (Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders) in its version published in 1994, DSM-IV defined autism and his associates as “pervasive developmental disorders”. In the latest DSM-V, this definition has been replaced by the term “autism spectrum disorders” (ASDs), which have been included in turn within a broader “neurodevelopmental disorders” category.

What are the Autism Spectrum Disorders?

The concept of Autism covers a range of disorders that affect communication skills, socialization and empathy of the person.
People with this disorder have difficulties in relating to others, to communicate, to express how they feel. The manifestation of these disorders varies greatly of one person to another. These behaviours not only make life more difficult for people with autism, but also seriously affect their families and people around them as tutors or teachers. It is also associated with routines and (stereotypies) repetitive behaviours, such as obsessively arranging objects or the repetition of very specific habits and customs. In short, autism is a psychological disorder characterized by intense concentration of a person in his own inner world and the loss of contact with the outside world.
According to the British psychiatrist Lorna Wing, people who have autism spectrum have the following characteristics:

– Disorder in capabilities of social recognition.
– Disorder in capabilities of social communication.
– Repetitive patterns of activity, tendency to routine and difficulties in social imagination.

Detection of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Parents of a child with autism are the first ones to notice unusual behaviour. Although it is a fact that for parents can be enormously difficult and painful to label as “autistic” to their child, an early diagnosis is important. Currently, there is no cure for autism. However, research shows that early intervention in an appropriate educational and family environment produces significant improvements for many young children with autism spectrum disorders. As soon as autism is diagnosed, early intervention should begin focusing on developing of communication skills, socialization and cognitive treatments.
Currently, they are diagnosed with autism 1 of every 68 individuals and 1 of every 42 boys; being four times more common in boys than in girls. Autism spectrum disorders are often formally diagnosed at the age of 3 years, but new research allow to obtain a diagnosis about 6 months.

What cause the autism spectrum disorder is not known. Research suggests that both genes and environmental factors play an important role. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), currently, is based on the observed behavioural characteristics, without the help of biomarkers.


Currently there is no an effective way to prevent autism spectrum disorder, effective treatment or cure.

The latest research confirms that early intervention in an appropriate educational environment can obtain significant improvements. As soon as the diagnosis is made must begin with effective intervention programs to emotional stability and development of communication, socialization and cognitive skills.
The main treatments are as follows:

– Neurofeedback: a neuropsychological technique which trains and exercises the brain. This training increases brain functionality and ability to regulate itself. To do this, neurofeedback uses registration and automatic analysis of brain electrical activity by an electroencephalograph. In recent years, there is growing evidence that people with ASD can present alterations in neuronal connectivity. In his article, “Neurorehabilitation of social dysfunctions: a model-based neurofeedback approach for low and high-functioning autism” Jaime Pineda says the effectiveness of neurofeedback as a treatment for autism, combined with behavioural treatment, results in a significant improvement of symptoms presented.

– Educational behavioural interventions: It is advisable to perform them in both the individual diagnosed with autism and their family environment. This therapy consists of a series of sessions with a goal: obtaining capabilities which develop social and language skills on subjects. It is usually used behavioural therapy ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) which is based on the behaviourist model of learning. This therapy teaches skills through reinforcers and aversives. The therapy also includes instructions to the people in the subject’s environment (parents, siblings, etc.) and their goal is the acquisition of communicative skills by both sides, to improve the relationship between the person diagnosed and their environment, increasing the level welfare and happiness.

– Emotional and psychological interventions: it has as purpose acquisition and development of emotional skills, developing empathy. As educational social interventions, this therapy includes the immediate social circle of autistic subject working the expression of their feelings, frustrations, impressions, etc. Here also we would include music therapy and animal therapies.

– Specific diets,  as free caffeine or gluten and rich in certain vitamins.

– Medications: there are no specific medication for treating autistic disorder. In consequence, it is used palliative therapy of symptoms developed by the subject. The most common drugs administered to these patients are anxiolytics, antidepressants and those ones used for treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The education of a child is a task that requires a lot of involvement and energy, this investment of effort is much higher in the case of children with autism spectrum symptoms. Before, we have summarized different types of treatment, but we must remember that all programs must incorporate the child’s interests, tastes, habits, preferences etc. Since the more comfortable the child with treatment, the easier it will be to follow it.

Benefits of application of Neurofeedback in Autism

– Grater social awareness.
– Increase in social and communication skills.
– Improvement of eye contact.
– Reduction of stereotypies.
– Reduction or elimination of tics and self-harm.
– Development and strengthening of preverbal language and verbal.
– Decline and disappearance of absences, epileptic attacks if any.
– Empowerment of psychomotor coordination.

Next courses

Neurofeedback Courses | EUROPE
See here

NeuroVitalia 2017