Mind Alive Blog

Monday, January 21, 2013


Dave's Adventures in AVE Land

Dave Siever first got involved in AVE when he was designing a research lab to diagnose and treat TMJ Dysfunction in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Alberta with Dr. Norman Thomas (now teaching in Vegas). While Dave was there, an instructor from Performing Arts commissioned him to design an AVE system for him to help his students overcome stage-fright. Given that Dave was up to his ying-yang building the lab and performing TMJ studies, all while teaching a Basic Human Physiology course at the same time, he was hesitant to accept any new projects. But he did it anyways, and boy, was he glad he did! 

The Performing Arts instructor was pleased with the results he was getting with his students, but Dave remained somewhat unconvinced of the power of this new-age fad called AVE until 1988, when he ran a study with some of their most difficult TMJ patients they had seen yet. Astonished, Dave looked on as the DAVID 1 was able to eliminate masseter muscle tension (as measured with EMG), plus it was able to induce hand-warming (a sign of sympathetic reduction). It was this observation which first got Dave very interested in the topic of AVE. 

After scouring the U of A Health Sciences library, Dave discovered that photic and auditory driving had actually been around for a long time. Since the concept of photic driving was discovered by Adrian & Matthews in 1934, several thousand studies have been published on the topic of AVE. In the 1950s, there was a growing interest in the subjective effects of AVE. W. Gray Walters exposed several thousand subjects to photic stimulation at various frequencies and recorded their subjective experiences. On another front, was Dr. William Kroger. Kroger was a physician with the US military and Kroger noticed that battle-ships and bomber-planes were being driven into enemy territory because the radar operators were being entrained into a trance state from the old-fashioned “blip” style radars. This spurned Kroger to team up with Sidney Schneider of the Schneider Instrument company and they developed the first commercial photic stimulator in 1955, which they used primarily for hypnotic induction and pain reduction during gastro-intestinal surgery and dental work.

AVE affects cerebral blood flow, neurotransmitters, dissociative states and brainwave frequency. AVE has proven itself for inducing meditative states and treating ADD, PMS, SAD, PTSD, migraine headache, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, episodic memory, cognitive decline in seniors and for boosting academic performance. AVE is a powerful adjunct to any biofeedback and neurofeedback practice.

In 1988, Mind Alive was awarded a patent on field-independent stimulation eyesets, which enables the user to stimulate each brain hemisphere at its own frequency, via the optic chiasm. This provided a technological upper hand for Mind Alive Inc., in that we could dramatically boost our effectiveness in treating ADD/ADHD, cognitive decline in seniors and alpha asymmetry (a type of depression). 

Close to 100 clinical studies have been published on AVE, and more than twenty studies have been conducted using our DAVID products for ADHD, seniors, academic performance, worry in college students, and depression. There are roughly 70 schools using our products for ADHD and behavior disorders. The DAVID devices are currently being used to treat PTSD in several VA centers in the United States. Dave has published several articles on the topic of AVE and has written two book chapters in college-level psychology texts. 
Click here to see Dave's articles on AVE

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Monday, October 15, 2012


Academic Performance & AVE Research Article

A Novel Way of Boosting Grades and Socialization While Reducing Stress in the Typical University Student

Abstract:  Attention, concentration, memory, grade-point average and stress/worry are all primary concerns of the modern university and college student. Also, young adults are concerned about having a somewhat active social life in between exams, essays and deadlines. The stress of school shunts cerebral blood flow away from the cortex (during stress the brain assumes the body needs blood in the core to prepare for flight or battle which is just the opposite of what the present day student needs). This slows brain wave activity down into greater alpha and theta brain wave frequencies, similar to what is seen in those with ADD and ADHD, leaving the student more distractible, impulsive and hyperactive. This behavior in turn impairs the student’s ability to study and write exams, thus increasing stress and using valuable social time needed to shake off stress and the potential of falling into depression. Audio-visual entrainment (AVE) has been shown to produce dramatic increases in cerebral blood flow, efficient brain activity and sound mental health. Several studies involving the use of AVE for enhancing academic performance have been completed. AVE has proven to be an effective and affordable aid to better grades and improved socialization.


All mental functioning involves an element of cortical (neuronal) arousal, that is, the alertness of the brain. The degree of the brain’s arousal dramatically affects how well a particular function can be performed. For instance, it is almost impossible to pay attention if the brain is producing an excess of alpha or theta brain waves (Oken & Salinsky, 1992), just as it’s difficult to fall asleep with a high beta to alpha ratio (alert mind) in an eyes closed condition.

About Our Schools

Practically all of our learning is visual and auditory based. Therefore, learning demands a great deal of mental processing from the visual and auditory circuits of the brain. College and university students receive a tremendous amount of information over short and often unrealistic periods of time. To further the stresses of learning, a problem of most universities is that the teaching style is largely semantic, the presentation of facts and figures without practical application. Being that semantic learning is not hands-on, nor tied to an event, it is the poorest form of learning. Remembering what was taught can be very difficult. So one’s mind has to be sharp.

The heavy assignment loads, exam schedules and social stresses often cause psychological instability and anxiety when students try to cope with the pace of college learning. This shuts down mental functioning, which may lead to burnout and illness. Many university students experience an increase in the number of bacterial and viral infections throughout the school year, particularly at exam times. Many students also develop seasonal affective disorder (Berg & Siever, 2009) or become deficient in vitamin D, a hormone essential to mental performance (Welland, 2009).

Get in the Zone

Socialized mammals, and particularly humans, have two performance zones (Figure 1). There is one zone requiring higher arousal for simple tasks and the other requiring lower arousal for complex tasks. So what would be a simple task? Running fast, climbing a tree, spearing some food, and punching an attacking animal or enemy in the nose are examples in which we show peak-performance under high arousal. This high arousal is generally accompanied by excitement and often anxiety. As the demands of a challenge increases, mental arousal must increase to meet those demands and this involves the production of norepinephrine (NE), the brain’s adrenalin (Bremner, 2002). There is a point at which stress gets so high that there is an over-production of norepinephrine which causes increased anxiety and distraction (Aston-Jones, 1991). It is important to manage stressors, assignment timelines, and so on to avoid crisis situations that will spike NE production and ultimately impede performance. Caffeine has been shown to increase NE which is why students often do better under the influence of caffeine Robertson (1978). However, excessive caffeine intake eventually leads to impaired performance.

Figure 1. Arousal Curves for Different Types of Function.

Complex tasks, on the other hand, typically involve challenging the mind on a much grander level than simple tasks. Paradoxical as it may seem, complex tasks require that the body/mind be more calm than with simple tasks. Complex tasks involve calculating a math formula, learning new concepts, and driving a car in busy traffic, but the most important aspect of calm arousal is connecting as humans – meaning socialization.

Serotonin and Behavior

Serotonin acts as the brain’s brakes, keeping basic drives and emotions (such as sex, mood, appetite, sleep, arousal, pain, aggression, and suicide ideation) in check. Serotonin also boosts happiness and social dominance. Serotonin levels were shown to be high in salesmen with exceptional sales performance, averaging 180 ng/ml whole blood serotonin (WBS), whereas the poorer performers had average WBS levels of 140 ng/ml (Walton, et al., 1992). A study by Raleigh (Kotulak, 1997) found that when subordinate monkeys were given a serotonin reuptake inhibitor like Prozac, they became dominant through friendship and alliances with females, whereas dominant monkeys deficient in serotonin, ruled with aggression. Females have 20% to 30% more serotonin than men, which contributes to their reduced impulsiveness and aggression (Kotulak, 1997). College students with the most friends had serotonin levels 20% to 40% above the norm. People with higher than normal levels of serotonin connect better socially and have improved ability to perceive the thousands of facial expressions that really allow them to appreciate others (Harmer, et al., 2003).

Neurotransmitters, Alertness and Efficient Processing of Information

Once we have perceived an event (e.g., seeing something on the blackboard), the frontal lobes must engage to interpret the visual information that our senses have brought to it. The frontal lobes regulate attention, executive decision making and mood. Cerebral blood flow and the appropriate neurotransmitters such as serotonin (which maintains calmness) and norepinephrine (which maintains alertness) must be present frontally to process out sensory information.

Norepinephrine (NE) is the neurotransmitter that regulates alertness and mental sharpness. A good example of this comes from playing a video game. As the level of difficulty increases so must NE in order to stay in the game. NE increases on an as-needed basis along with cognitive demand. As stress increases, there is a point where the stress becomes a “threat” of sorts, causing a plunge in serotonin and a burst of NE, expressing itself as agitation and aggression. Students consume plenty of caffeine during the school year and particularly at exam time. This is because caffeine exerts its effects on the brain by increasing NE and therefore helping the student to meet the academic challenges as they increase.

Given that the school year typically runs through the winter, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can impair performance, as melatonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for producing SAD (Rosenthal, 1993), increases drowsiness and foggy-headedness. Many students who experience this will consume more caffeine or get more stressed (and thus produce more NE) from getting behind in their school work.

A study by Shealy et al (1989) found that blood serum levels of serotonin, endorphin, and norepinephrine all rose considerably following 30 minutes of 10 Hz, white-light AVE (Figure 2). This correlates to being relaxed, but mentally sharp. Increases in endorphins lead to an increased sense of well-being and increased tolerance to pain (which can be helpful when experiencing a stiff neck, shoulders and back from sitting and studying for extended periods of time). AVE reduces daytime levels of melatonin, which increases alertness.

Figure 2. Changes in Various Neurotransmitters following a 10 Hz AVE Session.
The Effects of Stress on Memory, and Performance

Stress has profound effects on academic performance. Stress affects both the way we retrieve memories and cognitive flexibility. The parts of the body that are most likely to succumb to the wear and tear effects of stress over time are those areas which are mobilized during the stress response, including memory (Bremner, 2002).

It has been long known that there are impairments in memory during a moment of stress. In 2006, a research team led by Marian Joels at the University of Amsterdam, (Schmidt & Schwabe, 2011) ran a series of studies which showed that during a stressful event, cortisol (our primary stress hormone) alters the memory circuits so that the details of the event are well remembered, and roughly an hour afterwards, the memories of that event are consolidated to make sense of what just occurred. This is an important survival strategy, as having well-established memories of a stressful event (an event considered dangerous by the brain) was essential for survival throughout human evolution. Our ancestors would, by and large, have only experienced stress during serious threats to their lives, and didn’t encounter the stress of writing exams back then.

In a school setting, the memories that were formed during the long hours of study are all but forgotten during an exam if the individual is stressed (our evolutionary brain would not have evolved for this). Unfortunately, the student often will remember all of the details surrounding the exam, such as the room, the facilitator, other students, sounds, and exam questions, but not the information that was relevant for the test itself until the day after the exam is over.

Semantic memories involve basic facts and figures (which are prevalent in a college setting).  There are two types of semantic memories; generic and specific. Generic memories involve shared properties of whole classes of things. Generic memories are used often, involve several brain regions, and are retained well under stress (Goldberg, 2005). For instance, we would know the difference between sandals and runners, even under stress. But we might not know that the island of Giglio is part of Italy, because we don’t have a contextual attachment to that island, unless we have a fascination with cruise-ships, or had a close relationship with someone who almost died on the Costa-Concordia when it sank this past winter (now rendering a contextual relationship). Under stress, I might easily remember that operating a toaster and coffee-maker simultaneously will flip the breaker, but I would have a much tougher time remembering exceeding an electron flow of 9.36 x 1019 electrons / second will flip the breaker. So under stress, general contextual semantic memories and skill-based memories, such as using a tool or riding a bike are barely affected. “Doing” type of actions were much more essential to survival with our ancestors. Therefore, the brain has learned to preserve these memories under stress. The best way to recall specific facts and figures is to be relaxed while writing exams.

Another study at the University of Trier in Germany (Schmidt & Schwabe, 2011), demonstrated that students lost mental flexibility and succumbed to simpleminded learning instead of a more mentally-taxing spatial learning strategy following exposure to a social stress test. As a result, the students who were not stressed outperformed the stressed students in solving a spatial challenge.

The Brain Blood-Flow Connection

During cognitive tasks, the brain’s demand for cerebral blood flow (CBF) is increased. Vinpocetine, an extract from the periwinkle plant has been shown to increase CBF (Gold, et. al., 2003). In studies of seniors with memory problems or dementia-related disease, the use of vinpocetine produced improvements in attention, concentration and memory.

Everything we see is routed into the occipital lobe where the visual cortex resides. This is our first line of visual processing. When the task of seeing is handled well, we can make sense of what we see faster and better and we can therefore grasp new concepts and jot down notes the faster and better. Good visual processing for reading, interpreting charts, graphs and mathematical expressions is fundamental for good academic achievement.

Photic stimulation also boosts cerebral blood flow (Fox & Raichle, 1985; Sappy-Marinier et al., 1992). Fox and Raichle showed that flashing a wide variety of frequencies through the eyes increased CBF substantially at all frequencies above 4 Hz in the occipital cortex as shown in Figure 3. The entire brain also showed increased metabolism by 5%. 

Figure 3. Effect of Photic Stimulation on Cerebral Blood Flow.
Academic Performance and the Alpha Brain Wave Rhythm

Several studies have been completed showing the relationship between peak alpha frequency (PAF) and intelligence. In 1996, Anoukhin and Vogel observed 101 healthy males ranging from 20 to 45 years of age. They discovered that those who scored well on the Raven’s IQ tests had a scant 1 Hz faster alpha rhythm than did the poor performers. In 1971, Eeg Olofsson reported that healthy human alpha production was in the range of 9.3 to 11.1 Hz. A 1990 study by Markand showed that a dominant alpha frequency of 8.5 Hz or lower reflected a state of mental dysfunction. Other studies by various research teams; Vogt, Klimesh and Doppelmayr (1997), Jausovec (1996), and Giannitrapini (1969) showed a distinct relationship between mental performance and peak alpha frequency. Peak alpha frequency at less than 9.5 Hz is associated with poorer than average academic performance, while dominant alpha production at higher than 10 Hz is associated with better than average academic performance. Several professors of neurophysiology have found that their brightest graduate students have a peak-alpha frequency (PAF) in the range of 10.5 - 10.7 Hz. Those with a PAF above 11 Hz are mentally sharp, but have a tendency to struggle with anxiety.

Back in 1998, Budzynski and Tang conducted a peak alpha experiment with AVE. Fifteen minutes of photic stimulation at 14 Hz was given to 14 people. (Budzynski, et al, 1999). Peak alpha frequency increased following the cessation of photic stimulation (Figure 4). The pre-stimulation dominant alpha average frequency was 9.8 Hz, which increased continuously to 10.4 Hz., 20 minutes post stimulation, and continued moving upwards thereafter.

Figure 4. Peak Alpha Frequency following AVE.

Studies of Audio-Visual Entrainment In Relation to University, College and High School Students.

Budzynski Study: Using AVE to Improve Cognition and Academic Performance in College Students

Tom Budzynski and colleagues (1999) divided the typical alpha band into three separate bands: A1 represented 7 to 9 Hz; A2 represented 9 to 11 Hz; and A3 represented 11 to 13 Hz. They examined the A3/A1 ratio. If, for example, there was 15 mv of A3 activity and 12 mv of A1 activity, the ratio would be 15/12 = 1.25. Based on previous findings, a ratio exceeding 1 was considered to equate with better than average mental performance and a high PAF, while a score below 1 equated with poorer than average mental performance.

A group of students from Western Washington University (n=8), who were struggling academically and receiving tutoring, were chosen for the study. EEGs were collected and the A3/A1 ratios were calculated while the students were completing a variety of mental tasks. As shown in figure 5, average alpha slowing (as indicated by the negative ratio) was apparent across all measures and in particular the Digit Span task. This is an indication of impaired attention and memory. The Digit Span task requires remembering progressively longer strings of numbers until they can no longer be remembered. Following 30 sessions of repeating cycles of 14 and 22 Hz AVE, mean alpha frequency (positive ratio) increased. The positive alpha ratio continued across all tasks (Eyes-open at Rest, Eyes-closed at Rest, Digit Symbols, Eyes-open Recall, Eyes-closed Recall) indicating heightened mental performance (a reversal of the control group) and improved performance.

Figure 5. AVE at 14 Hz Corrects Slow Brain Wave Activity during Tasks.

The 30 AVE sessions were completed in the fall of 1997 and the students’ marks from their spring exams were recorded and compared against a control group (figure 6). Notice the AVE group showed improvement in grade-point average (GPA) over the course of the year while the controls showed a decrease in GPA. This study demonstrates that the carry-over effect following the cessation of AVE treatment continued for at least four months.

Figure 6. Improved GPA as Compared with Controls following 30 Sessions of AVE.

The Wuchrer Study: Memory and Concentration - 2009

This study, by Viktor Wuchrer (2009), examined the memory and concentration ability of 78 students from the Psychological Institute of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. The selected students were randomly assigned to one of three groups: an Alpha AVE group; a Beta/SMR AVE Group; and a Control Group. The students in the Beta/SMR AVE Group were given one AVE session using the Mind Alive Inc., patented dual-frequency eyesets, which stimulate a beta frequency into the left hemisphere of the brain and an SMR frequency into the right hemisphere of the brain. This combination has been shown to boost attention (Siever, 1998; 2004; 2007). The Alpha AVE Group received one AVE session at a randomized alpha frequency of roughly 10 Hz.

At the beginning of the experiment each participant was subjected to a Pre-Test in order to measure his/her memory and concentration-performance. To measure memory performance, the sub-test objects from the Baeumler Memory Test (1974) had been administered to each participant. Also, each participant had to undergo the Brickenkamp d2 Concentration Test (2002) in order to evaluate his concentration-performance.


Following the Pre-Test, each participant was randomly assigned to the respective Treatment:

The participants in the Alpha group received 20 minutes of AVE with a stimulation frequency of 10 Hz (“Healthy Alpha” session) from a DAVIDTM AVE device.

The participants in the Beta/SMR group received 20 minutes AVE with dual frequency stimulation to the brain (Brain Brightener Protocol). The left brain-hemisphere was stimulated with a pulse rate of 18 to 20 Hz and the right brain-hemisphere was stimulated with a pulse rate of 13 to 14 Hz.

The participants in the control group received no stimulation. Instead they read a relaxing prose text for a fantasy journey and wrote a short essay afterwards, which represented the placebo treatment.

The experimental hypothesis was that the higher stimulation frequency within the Beta range for the left brain hemisphere would cause a corresponding activation of logical-analytic thinking. The Brain Brightener protocol in theory should accordingly produce better concentration-performance for the Beta/SMR group of students as compared with the Alpha Group. Similarly, the investigators hypothesized that the Alpha Group would produce the best improvements in memory. The participants of the control group received no stimulation. Instead, they read a relaxing prose text for a fantasy journey and write a short essay afterwards, which represented the placebo treatment.

Figures 7 and 8, show the results comparing each experimental group to the placebo control group. The charts clearly indicate that the DAVID AVE device produced exceptional results for both concentration and memory. Surprisingly, the controls actually performed worse on the post trial, whereas the AVE groups excelled. The poor performance of the controls might be attributed to mental fatigue from the testing, whereas the AVE group had sustained endurance.

As hypothesized, the Beta/SMR brain wave frequencies produced better results for concentration and the alpha frequency produced better results for memory. There were immediate improvements in academic ability following the use of the DAVID AVE for both experimental groups.

Figure 7. Improvement in Concentration following AVE.

Figure 8. Improvement in Memory following AVE.
The Wolitzky-Taylor Study - Worry and Academic Performance

Stress causes a shunting of cerebral blood flow away from the brain and into the body as the brain prepares for fight or flight (Everly & Lating, 2002). This, in turn, increases impulsiveness, impairs flexible thinking and hampers the retrieval of memories during critical times, such as exams. So being able to avoid worry is essential for good academic grades as well as overall health, a happy disposition and increased socialization.

A Texas-based study by Wolitzky, et al., (2010) found that AVE from the DAVID AVE devices was more effective in reducing worry than traditional psychological worry-reduction techniques. Wolitzky used the patented Mind Alive Inc., dual-frequency eyesets, which stimulated a beta frequency into the left hemisphere of the brain and an alpha frequency in to the right hemisphere of the brain. This has been reported to reduce anxiety and depression (Siever, 1998; 2004; 2007). The study was four weeks in duration and the students received their respective therapy three times per week. Figure 9 shows that compared to a Waiting List Control group, a Worry Exposure Therapy group and an Expressive Writing group, AVE was the most effective technique for reducing worry.

Figure 9. Worry Reductions following Various Treatments


These studies show that audio-visual entrainment using the DAVIDTM AVE device and patented Omniscreen eyesets provides a useful tool for boosting concentration, memory and grade-point average, while simultaneously reducing worry. AVE is easy to use, inexpensive, and doesn’t require a prescription. The benefits in concentration, memory, and improved well-being are measureable and educationally significant and may be appreciated almost immediately. The implementation of the DAVIDTM AVE device in an educational setting will allow students to achieve better grades with less stress, while having more time for socializing and enjoying family, friends and life.


Anoukhin, A. & Vogel, F. (1966). EEG alpha rhythm frequency and intelligence in normal individuals. Intelligence, 23, 1-14.

Aston-Jones, G., Chiang, C., Alexinsky, T., (1991). Discharge of noradrenic locus coeruleus neurons in behaving rats and monkeys suggests a role in vigilance. In C.D. Barnes & O. Pomeiano (Eds.), Progress in brain research (pp. 501-519). New York: Elsevier Science Publishers.

Bäumler, G. (1974). Lern- und Gedächtnistest: LGT-3. [Learning and memory testing]. Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.
Berg, K. & Siever, D. (2009) A controlled comparison of audio-visual entrainment for treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Journal of Neurotherapy,  13 (3), 166-175.

Bremner, D. (2002). Does stress damage the brain? W. W. Norton & Company, New York.

Brickenkamp, R. (2002). Test d2. Aufmerksamkeits-Belastungstest. Handanweisung (9th edition). [Concentration-endurance test. Manual] Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.
Budzynski, T. & Tang, J. (1998). Bio-light effects on the electroencephalogram (EEG). SynchroMed Report. Seattle, WA.

Budzynski, T., Jordy, J., Budzynski, H., Tang, H., & Claypoole, H. (1999). Academic performance enhancement with photic stimulation and electrodermal (EDR) feedback. Journal of Neurotherapy, 3 (3), 11-21.

Eeg Olofsson, O., Petersen, I., Sellden. U. (1971). The development of the electroencephalogram in normal children from the age of one through 15 years.Paroxysmal activity. Neuropediatric, 2, 375-403.

Ekman, P. (2007). Emotions revealed (-2nd edition). New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Ekman, P. (2009). Lie catching and micro expressions. In C. Martin (Ed), The philosophy of deception, pp. 118-137. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Everly, G. S., & Lating, J. M. (2002). A clinical guide to treatment of the human stress response. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

Fox, P. & Raichle, M. (1985). Stimulus rate determines regional blood flow in striate cortex. Annals of Neurology, 17, (3), 303-305.

Giannitrapani, D. (1969). EEG average frequency and intelligence. Electroencephalography & Clinical Neurophysiology, 27, 480-486.

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Goldberg, E., (2005). The wisdom paradox. Gotham Books, New York, NY: Gotham Books.

Harmer, C., Bhagwagar, Z., Perrett, D., Vollm, B., Cowen, P., & Goodwin, G. (2003). Acute SSRI administration affects the processing of social cues in healthy volunteers. Neuropsychopharmacology, 28, 148-152.

Jausovec, N. (1996). Differences in EEG alpha activity related to giftness. Intelligence, 23, 159-173.

Klimesh, W., Doppelmayr, M., Pachinger & Ripper, B. (1997). Brain oscillations and human memory: EEG correlates in the upper alpha and theta band. Neuroscience Letters, 238, 9-12.
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Markand, O. (1990). Alpha rhythms. Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, 7, 163-189.

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Oken, B., & Salinsky, M. (1992). Alertness and attention: Basic science and electrophysiologic correlates. Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, 9 (4), 480-494.
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Sappey-Marinier, D., Calabrese, G., Fein, G., Hugg, J., Biggins, C., & Weiner, M. (1992). Effect of photic stimulation on human visual cortex lactate and phosphates using 1H and 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 12 (4), 584-592.

Schmidt & Schwabe, (2011). Splintered by stress. Scientific American Mind, 22 (4), 22-29.

Shealy, N., Cady, R., Cox, R., Liss, S., Clossen, W., Veehoff, D. (1989).  A comparison of depths of relaxation produced by various techniques and neurotransmitters produced by brainwave entrainment. Shealy and Forest Institute of Professional Psychology.  A study done for Comprehensive Health Care, Unpublished.

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Siever, D. (2003). Audio-visual entrainment: I. History and physiological mechanisms. Biofeedback. 31, 2, 21-27. www.mindalive.com/1_0/article%201.pdf.

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Siever, D. (2007). Audio-visual entrainment: History, physiology, and clinical studies. In J.R.Evans (Eds.). Handbook of neurofeedback: Dynamics and clinical applications (pp. 155-183). New York, NY: The Hayworth Medical Press.

Toomim, H. & Toomim, M. (1999). Clinical observations with brain blood flow biofeedback. The Thinking Cap™. Journal of Neurotherapy, 3 (4), 73.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012



Activity in the brain is often measured by observing and recording “brainwaves” which are rhythmic or repetitive neural activity. Brainwaves can be observed using a technology called Electroencephalography (EEG) which measures electrical brainwave activity along the scalp. Brainwaves are categorized by frequency with each category having different positive and negative effects, depending on your current and desired level of arousal or alertness. 

Brainwaves indicate both the level and type of arousal in a part of the brain. When a person is awake and engaging in a task, delta, theta and alpha activity should be low, revealing beta as the dominant wave. As a person relaxes, alpha quickly increases. As a person becomes deeply relaxed and especially with eyes closed, theta will become the dominant brainwave and as a person falls asleep, delta becomes the dominant brainwave with occasional short bursts of sensori-motor rhythm (SMR) in the sensori-motor strip to prevent sleep-walking.

Therefore, brainwaves are situation specific and any brainwave can be a benefit or detriment to the activity a person is trying to engage in (sleep vs thinking for example). With a hectic lifestyle, worry and less than optimal diet, relaxing brainwaves are suppressed and with tiredness, mental performance brainwaves are suppressed. It’s easy to see that if a person’s brain is making the wrong frequency for a given situation, the result will be detrimental to his/her ability to succeed at the task at hand. The resulting conflict from achieving the task easily on one occasion and struggling on another often leaves the person feeling frustrated with him/herself, manifesting itself with anxiety and eventual depression. The brain needs to flex with the various activities that one is engaging in. The brainwave frequency chart demonstrates the positive and negative attributes of each category of brainwave frequency. 
The concept of entrainment is about altering brainwave activity. Quantitative EEG (QEEG) studies have confirmed the normalization of brain activity following an AVE session. Aberrant brainwave activity in various conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADD, seasonal affective disorder, chronic fatigue, etc., may be restructured into healthier patterns. 

Learn more by downloading our New AVE User's Guide - an introduction to Audio Visual Entrainment

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Monday, June 25, 2012


Sneak Peek Inside the Mind (Part II)

Last week I assisted Mind Alive CEO, Dave Siever, with the administration of an Electroencephalography (EEG).  I was amazed to see the wave patterns unfolding on the screen in front of me, but now that Dave has processed the raw data through the analyzing software, I am even more amazed at what we are able to see. The image below shows an example of  the tables, graphs, charts, and colored topographic maps involved in QEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalography).
A topographic map displays the electrical output at each frequency, and tells us whether the size of the waves are normal for that frequency, given the person's age and gender. Once the QEEG has shown us which areas of the brain are struggling, then we can design an effective treatment plan to target the source of those problems using dietary supplements, Audio-Visual Brainwave Entrainment (AVE), Cranial Electro-Stim (CES),Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS).

Now that I have seen the incredible detail in which the computer is able to display brain activity, I can't wait to strap some electrodes on my own head. Perhaps I can even put my hypochondria to rest after all these years, and find out what's really going on inside there :)

Marissa M. Lindroth, B.A.
Mind Alive Inc.

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Monday, June 11, 2012


Sneak Peek Inside the Mind (Part 1)

Have you ever wondered what could possibly be going on inside your head? We all have different strengths and weaknesses, but many people spend their lives struggling with certain cognitive tasks, physical activities, or social interactions, never knowing the cause of the challenges they face. What if someone could simply look inside your brain and tell you where your trouble is coming from? Sometimes the solution is as simple as taking a herbal supplement or using the AVE, CES, or tDCS equipment to stimulate a particular region of the brain.

I just sat in on my first QEEG (quantitative electroencephalography) session, and this is exactly what Mind Alive Inc. president, Dave Siever, was able to do. We placed a cap of small electrodes onto our volunteer's scalp and watched the computer screen light up! Each electrode on the head corresponds to a particular area of the brain, and as we applied the conductive gel to each electrode site, the computer established a connection to its adjacent section of the brain.
Image courtesy of Dr. Horst H. Mueller, Director of Edmonton Neurotherapy

I watched in amazement as every tiny surge of electrical activity in the participant's brain manifested itself in "real time" on the computer screen in front of us. Even the slightest distraction or eye twitch was immediately displayed as a blip in the constant flow of scribbles. Each row of waveforms references a different electrode location, and a skilled technician can read the level of activity in that area based upon the amplitude of the spikes.

Watching Dave interpret the rough EEG data was nothing short of impressive. He was able to detect some slight spacial deficits as well as a tendency towards malaise or depression, all of which the participant confirmed to be true. Overall, the high Alpha frequencies (approx. 11 Hz.) showed our participant to be of quite high intelligence and Dave anticipates that the deficits should be easily addressed with AVE and tDCS.

Next, the computer will analyze the raw EEG data and convert it into a topographical brain map similar to the colorful image shown above, but that will have to wait until next week...

Marissa M. Lindroth
Mind Alive Inc.

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Incorporated in 1981, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Mind Alive Inc specializes in brain technology. Our flagship technology is audio-visual entrainment (AVE), and we manufacture the DAVID brand devices. Other products include the Oasis line of cranio-electro stimulators (CES) and transcranial DC Stimulators (tDCS). Mind Alive is the leader in all of these technologies and has patents for both AVE and CES.


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