James, L. C. & Folen, R. A. (1996). Behavioral Medicine, 22(2), 77–81
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) appear to have a high and pronounced level of delta (<4 Hz) brainwave activity with regard to amplitude and abnormally low amplitude of beta (13-25 Hz) activity. This EEG pattern is typically correlated with symptoms of mental confusion, short-term memory loss, a “mental fog”, spatial disorientation, impairment in reasoning abilities, and the inability to follow and respond during conversation.
This controlled case report sought to demonstrate the efficacy of EEG neurofeedback on one CFS patient’s neurocognitive functioning and activity levels. At the beginning of the study, the patient reported feeling like she was in a “mental fog.” She also experienced feelings of mental confusion in a familiar area, difficulty with simple tasks like remembering names or recalling dates, as well as fatigue, chronic pain, and disturbed sleep.
EEG neurofeedback has been identified as a potential diagnostic and treatment protocol with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) symptoms. The patient was assigned to a neurofeedback treatment protocol intended to increase beta activity and decrease delta activity. The treatment targeted the supplementary motor area, which has been identified as having good utility for training with CFS patients due to its executive role governing the flow of attention and perceptual processes.
Her training sessions proceeded as such: she sat in a comfortable chair in a quiet room, electrodes were adhered to her scalp and earlobes using a conducting paste, and she participated in a variety of mental training activities where increased beta activity was coupled with audio and visual rewards. Following a period of three months, in which the patient participated in four sessions per week, the patient exhibited notable improvement in neurocognitive activities and daily activities. She reported a decrease in the mental fog that had cognitively paralyzed her for two years. She additionally reported that the mental fog and confusion had dissipated and that her mental alertness, daily activity level, social involvement, amount of exercise, and quality of sleep all improved.