Does Neurofeedback Therapy Help With Dementia?

Dementia is a blanket term that encompasses several different diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, and more. [i]

Treatment for dementia usually involves the use of prescription medications and/or several kinds of behavioral and occupational therapies. However, there’s no known cure for dementia, meaning the best modern science can do is temporarily improve the patient’s quality of life and attempt to reduce symptoms.

Research has shown neurofeedback to improve symptoms of dementia, specifically “patients with AD [Alzheimer’s Disease] who received neurofeedback treatment had stable or improved cognitive performance”.[ii]

What’s neurofeedback therapy?

Neurofeedback therapy is a neurophysical treatment that targets abnormal functioning in the brain. Along with treating the symptoms of ADHD, autism, insomnia, PTSD, stress, and more, neurofeedback therapy may also be helpful for some patients suffering from dementia.

The Drake Institute has used neurofeedback therapy to successfully treat a variety of medical conditions for over 40 years, and in this article, we’ll address the causes and symptoms of dementia and how neurofeedback therapy may help some patients improve their quality of life.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe several neurological symptoms affecting memory recall, language processing, problem-solving, and more. [iii]

As mentioned, dementia can take many different forms, including Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body dementia, Vascular dementia, Frontotemporal dementia, and Mixed Dementia. There are also several disorders that can be linked to dementia symptoms, including traumatic brain injuries and Parkinson’s disease.

The severity of symptoms will vary based on a variety of factors, including the individual’s unique factors, medical history, and the dementia type.

Symptoms Of Dementia

Dementia is a progressive disease, which means that symptoms start off mild and then increase in severity with time. Because there is no cure for dementia, early diagnosis could help in managing symptoms.

Below are some symptoms of dementia.

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Poor judgment
  • Difficulties with speaking, reading, or writing
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Using the wrong word for known everyday items
  • Impulsivity
  • Disregard for the feelings of others
  • Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
  • Repeating questions/forgetting the answer given
  • Taking longer than usual to complete familiar tasks or activities
  • Balance and mobility issues

What Causes Dementia?

Dementia results from damaged neurons and neural connections. When these cells or pathways are damaged or killed, the brain is unable to function properly. For example, if neurons and/or neural connections in the brain's language center are damaged, the patient may struggle to communicate.

What Is Neurofeedback & How Does It Work?

Neurofeedback therapy, also called EEG-Biofeedback therapy, is a non-drug treatment protocol that helps patients regulate their own brain activity to self-generate healthier brainwave patterns to improve cognitive functioning, memory, and emotional regulation.

How does it work?

Neurofeedback therapy is a form of operant conditioning.

First, 19 sensors are placed around the scalp to measure and display the patient’s brainwave activity in a form that’s easy to understand (e.g., a computer game). During neurofeedback training, patients are guided to shift their brainwaves towards healthier functioning patterns to improve cognition and reduce the dysregulation and accompanying symptoms.

In short, neurofeedback therapy works a lot like training wheels on a bike: this unique treatment protocol can provide patients with the visual and auditory feedback to learn what improved cognitive functioning feels like. 

How Can Neurofeedback Therapy Help With Dementia?

As mentioned above, dementia occurs when neurons and neural pathways are damaged or die off.

Unfortunately, it may not be possible to reverse this type of structural brain damage. However, early diagnosis and treatment may help manage the disease and resulting complications.

Neurofeedback therapy for dementia has been shown to have a positive impact on patients' symptoms.  [iv]

While there may be no cure for dementia, the earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the more effective neurofeedback may be at treating symptoms.

What Are The Benefits Of Neurofeedback Therapy?

The individual results, analyzed with a reliable change index (RCI), showed that patients who received neurofeedback treatment had stable cognitive functions. These patients showed improvement in memory after neurofeedback and other cognitive functions were stable. In addition, an improvement was observed in the recall of information and recognition.

Neurofeedback therapy has been shown to improve memory, recall of information, and recognition. Completing a customized neurofeedback treatment protocol may improve the patient’s mental functioning. [v]

Here are some more benefits of neurofeedback therapy for ADHD, Autism, anxiety, and depression:

  • Non-invasive
  • Drug-free
  • Encourages self-regulation
  • Improves mood and emotional stability
  • Improves cognitive functioning, including concentration, organization, impulse control, memory, and more
  • Appropriate for children and adults
  • Can be used alongside other treatments, such as medications, psychotherapy, and physical therapy

Is Neurofeedback Therapy Safe?

Neurofeedback therapy is a safe and effective treatment technology in which no external or artificial stimulation is applied to the brain during treatment, and no drugs or medications are used.

Think of neurofeedback therapy as working like a thermometer. Just as a thermometer measures and records your temperature without changing it, neurofeedback treatment only measures and displays your brainwave activity without altering it.

Does Neurofeedback Therapy Have Any Side Effects?

Because neurofeedback therapy is a non-invasive and non-drug treatment, there is minimal risk of side effects. In our clinical experience, any side effects experienced are very infrequent and typically mild and short-lived.

As long as neurofeedback therapy is conducted by a trained and experienced professional in a clinical setting, it is safe for both children and adults.

How The Drake Institute Uses Neurofeedback

For multiple decades, the Drake Institute has been using neurofeedback to treat a variety of debilitating disorders, like PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Autism Spectrum Disorder, insomnia, ADHD, and even dementia.

Thanks to our drug-free and non-invasive approach, patients have experienced a reduction in symptoms linked to brain dysregulation.

Each neurofeedback treatment protocol is specifically designed for our patient's individual needs using advanced treatment technologies.

Brain Mapping

Brain mapping is where neurofeedback therapy begins.

In this stage, 19 sensors are placed around the patient's scalp in predefined areas. The brain activity is measured and recorded before being compared to an FDA-registered reference normative database of asymptomatic, same-age individuals.

This comparison allows us to identify any areas of the patient's brain that aren't acting as expected and which can be linked to symptoms.

Once the region or regions of brain dysregulation are identified, our Medical Director will create a treatment protocol to address those areas linked to symptoms.


Neuromodulation is another advanced treatment technology that may be needed during neurofeedback treatment. Like neurofeedback, it is non-invasive and drug-free.

During neuromodulation, we use neurostimulation technology to gently guide the brain towards desired, more functionally appropriate brainwave patterns. =

You can think of neuromodulation treatment as working with a tennis instructor: when learning how to swing the racket, the instructor may move your arm and wrist through the proper form over and over until that motion gets wired into your nervous system and muscles.

We have seen significant improvement in qEEG brain maps after completing a series of neuromodulation treatments.

Contact The Drake Institute Today!

If you or someone you know is looking for relief from any of the abovementioned conditions or others, call the Drake Institute today at 1-800-700-4233 or fill out the free consultation form.







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“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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