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From The CriticsReviewer:Christopher J. Graver, PhD(Western State Hospital)
Description:The use of EEG dates back to the 1930s, but the neurofeedback approach discussed in this book has less than two decades under its belt. This is a reprint of two issues of the Journal of Neurotherapy dedicated to the low energy neurofeedback system (LENS).
Purpose:Given the relative infancy of LENS, the original articles (and resulting book) are focused on providing an overview of the procedure, relevant studies, and limitations of the technology.
Audience:This book is aimed squarely at clinical practitioners who use neurofeedback in the treatment of various illnesses. Students of medical and psychological disciplines, as well as researchers in the neurosciences will find it appropriate. The editor has a controversial history (see the "Greenbaum Speech") and his academic training and current clinical position are in sex and marital therapy. Other contributing authors do not have formal training in neurofeedback beyond a few weekend courses. Furthermore, there are clear conflicts of interest (e.g., Len Ochs is the president of a company that promotes LENS use and sells LENS products) that are not disclosed.
Features:The book begins with an overview and history of LENS by Len Ochs. Readers familiar with his work will note that the figures are taken from his commercial website. Much of what is reported by Ochs is based on clinical experience rather than rigorous scientific study. This introduction is followed by an intriguing double-blind placebo-controlled study that found little benefit of LENS in fibromyalgia patients. Just when itseems that a balanced perspective might be presented, Ochs criticizes this study on a technical detail, but a later article that found support for LENS (and yet has major methodological flaws) receives no such critique. The final article on the use of LENS with animals lacks methodological rigor and yet the authors amusingly conclude that LENS should be used on more animal species and in greater numbers. The tables and figures are generally helpful.
Assessment:With such an opportunity for a careful review of the current state of the science regarding neurofeedback, it is disappointing to see a rather narrow and seemingly biased book as the final product, especially since it fails to disclose the authors' potential conflicts of interest. Supporters of the LENS approach will probably be intrigued by the book, but it fails to satisfy readers looking for an unbiased, scientific perspective.