EEG-Driven Stimulation (Interactive Light Therapy)
Len Ochs, Flexyx, LLC
Testimony to Congress
By Heidi Lerner
Good morning. My name is Heidi Lerner, and I would like to let you know that nine years ago I had a car wreck; I went flying through the car window and as a result I had a traumatic brain injury. Well, you may think, what does that actually entail? Through time, my symptoms ranged in severity, from not knowing who my parents were after awakening from a coma, to nine years later, having test-taking being an excruciating experience.
I tell you all of this because I was a participant in the research study of Electroencephalogram Stimulus biofeedback for people who have sustained traumatic brain injuries. I am presently studying to be a special educator for children who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. I am strongly pro-EDS and I thank you for the opportunity to share my perspective.
“Every year over 90,000 people sustain a severe brain injury leading to irreversible and debilitating loss of function. For survivors, the picture is often grim. A large number of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) will have difficulty returning to a productive life in society and will require years of rehabilitation, medical follow-up, and integrated community services. Medical treatment, rehabilitative efforts and disability payments for such injuries are as high as 25 billion dollars a year.” (Committee on Labor and Human Resources[CLHR], 1993, 1-2). We can understand that a person’s rehabilitation from brain injury does not only usurp a person’s life and energy, but it also takes up a significant allotment of tax dollars.
In 1993, the Traumatic Brain Injury Act authorized $5 million dollars to be funded for conducting basic and applied research at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The committee’s intent was to “identify ways to reduce brain injury following trauma and identify treatment modalities to prevent further damage to the brain following a traumatic brain injury” (Committee on Labor and Human Resources [CLHR], 1993). In 1997, the NIH, Department of Alternative Medicine began a research study of the newly developed form of electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback called Electroencephalogram Driven Stimulus (or Interactive Light Therapy).
Barbara Aigin, a practitioner of EDS, states that “There are many types of biofeedback. It could be as simple as the alarm clock waking up the body and the sleeper reaching out to turn it off.” (personal communication, June 17, 1998). The Bantam medical dictionary defines biofeedback as “the giving of immediate information to a subject about his bodily processes (such as heart rate) which are usually unconscious.” (Editors of Market House books Ltd., 1996). So giving feedback to the body and monitoring its reactions can be a way of understanding biofeedback. “Biofeedback has been traditionally used to assist with lowering blood pressure, pain control and relaxation. EDS is the next generation of biofeedback equipment.” (personal communication, June 17, 1998).
Electroencephalogram Driven Stimulus
In 1990, Dr. Len Ochs developed both the procedure and equipment of EDS, which adjusts the rate of electrical activity in a patient’s brain as a way of correcting numerous symptoms of various disorders. The process of EDS is best described by Dr. Mary Lee Esty in the research proposal. She states that “EDS uses a combination of electroencephalogram (EEG) and light stimulation technology.
EEG is a method used to measure brain waves through electrodes placed on a person’s scalp. First, the skin is cleansed with alcohol at each electrode site and some electrode gel or paste is put onto an ear clip and a gold cup electrode. A third sensor, a neutral ground is placed on one finger. After the sensors are prepared, people put on a pair of dark glasses with small lights in each lens. The computer measures the EEG which determines the rate at which the lights flash. Patients have only one task aside from sitting as quietly as possible. That task is to report any experiences of discomfort or irritation, as well as pleasant experiences.” (1996, 1).
EDS has been observed to have a rehabilitative effect on various disabilities. Some of them are: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit disorder, behavioral disorders, sleep disorders, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, stroke, brain injury (acquired and traumatic), depression, migraine headaches, addictive diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and various psychiatric disorders. As my interest is in special education for children, I will be focusing on the benefits that a child may experience if treated with EDS after sustaining a traumatic brain injury.
I happened to be a student at the time of my participation in the research study and I can tell you how it benefited me in my educational process. I had felt that the symptoms I was still experiencing 8 years post-injury were challenges that I was destined to live with for the rest of my life, yet in 2 months of regular treatments (i.e. 5 days a week), these troubles were fully ameliorated. My memory had substantially improved, my attention became more focused (i.e. I went off of Ritalin), personal organization subtly reentered my life, my energy level increased and the time it took me to: process information, comprehend what I read and what was orally communicated to me, all quickened. It also cleared up a seemingly chronic depressive condition and a severe sleep disorder.
Len Ochs reports that after a head injury, EDS has reliably improved irritability and explosiveness, clouding of consciousness, short-term memory, attentional problems, difficulty absorbing verbal and written material, low energy during the day, sleeping problems at night, movement problems, stamina, problems with depression and in initiating activities (1998). Barbara Aigin states that ”Additionally, in my experience, the children I have treated are able to have a better school experience; what I have been told is that they interact more appropriately with teachers and peers.” (personal communication, June 17, 1998).
“Central nervous system symptoms and slow brain waves are related. When people are overly stressed, injured, or traumatized, their brain waves may get fixed or ‘stuck’ in a pattern of predominantly low frequencies. This is called EEG slowing- and is associated with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, fatigue, hyperactivity, distractibility, mood swings, confusion, disorganization, problems with sleep, concentration, following conversations, reading comprehension, memory and attention” (Esty & Aigin, 1998). Dr. Ochs clearly states that EDS should be seen as “a reliable, and reasonably rapid way to reduce EEG slowing, and not as a treatment magically improving a wide variety of disorders; an outcome ‘’too good to be true’.” (Ochs, L., 1998).
Supplementing the IEP
The treatment of EDS can be used to supplement a child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). EDS treatment could act in strengthening some children’s deficit areas. Wondrous leaps can be made in educational performance.
Payment of EDS as a related service
The “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that special education and related services are required to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) at no charge to the parents of students in special education. Nothing in IDEA, however, relieves an insurer or similar third party payer from a valid obligation to provide or pay for these services (IDEA regulations, 34 C.F.R. §300.301(b)).” A 1988 amendment to the Social Security Act permits schools to collect payment for covered services by Medicaid for students with disabilities, even if their services are included in IDEA (Yell, 1998). In a study by Spaller and Thomas (1994), it is noted that “schools can also tap private insurance companies, nonprofit health corporations, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to help defray the costs of related services” (Yell, 1998, 217).
In approaching Medicaid with the interest in advocating for the reimbursement for EDS treatments, Barbara Aigin and other EDS practitioners, would ask that they take the above information regarding the effectiveness of EDS for children with brain injury into consideration. At this point in time, EDS services are conducted through personal payment. Only a few insurance companies will finance EDS therapy. EDS practitioners hope that in the future, services may be reimbursed through interagency funding.
EDS will serve to benefit: children and adults who have sustained brain injuries (i.e. as well as those with many other disorders), the field of research, the school system, as well as the tax payer. As was already mentioned in detail, EDS will undoubtedly benefit people’s lives that will participate in this therapy. NIH has found what they have searched for, a means “to reduce brain injury following a trauma” (Committee on Labor and Human Resources[CLHR], 1993, 1-2). This therapy can benefit the school system by facilitating the educational process of those that are educationally impaired. It can also serve in reducing the amount of money that will be needed in the process of rehabilitation from brain injury, thus it can be an influence which reduces the taxpayer’s financial responsibility for brain injury rehabilitation.
- EDS has been proven to be effective for adults and children and would be a great asset to the school system. We are thus asking Medicaid to fund EDS services in the schools.
Esty, M. L. Interactive light therapy using EEG driven stimulation (EDS) for symptoms of autism, depression, head injury, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and post traumatic stress (1998) . [Brochure] . Chevy Chase, MD: Esty & Aigin .
Committee on Labor and Human Resources . (1993) . Traumatic brain injury act (103rd Congress, 2nd session, report 103-243) . Washington DC : Mr. Kennedy .
Editors of market house books ltd. . (1996) . The Bantam medical dictionary (2nd revised edition). New York : Bantam books .
Esty, M. L., (1996) . Research proposal: EEG-driven stimulation in the treatment of traumatic brain injury in the post-acute stage West Orange, NJ: Kessler .
Ochs, L., (1998) . Flexyx neurotherapy system and post-concusive problems . [On-line] . Abstract from: www.flexyx.com
Ochs, L., (1998) . Flexyx neurotherapy system and post-spinal chord injury/cerebral accident paralysis and aphasia . [On-line] . Abstract from: www.flexyx.com
Ochs, L., (1998) . Flexyx neurotherapy system home page . [On-line] . Abstract from: www.flexyx.com
Turnbull, H. R. III, & Turnbull, A. P. (1998) . Free appropriate public education: The law and children with disabilities (Fifth edition) . Denver, Colorado: Love .
Yell, M.L. (1998) . The Law and Special Education Upper Saddle River, New Jersey : Prentice-Hall .