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Is brain training for ADHD something you can do for yourself at home? Today’s guest developed an at-home neurofeedback kit for ADHD brains (aff). I’m excited today to be speaking with Ofer Lidsky, entrepreneur and founder of Excellent Brain.
– A bit about Excellent Brain and how it came to be.
– What neurofeedback is and how it works.
– The main advantage of neurofeedback for ADHD.
– How to know if the neurofeedback is working and how long it takes.
Sarah: Is it possible to train your brain? Today’s guests developed an at home neurofeedback kit for ADHD brains. I’m excited today to be speaking with Ofer, entrepreneur and founder of Excellent Brain. Hello, Ofer.
Ofer: Hi everybody and hi Sarah. Thanks for having me on your podcast.
Sarah: I’m so excited to hear more about this. You want to tell us a little bit about yourself and Excellent Brain.
Ofer: Sure, that’s why I’m here. So I’m Ofer and I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 25 years with a lot of experience in software development and I’ve been developing software solutions in the brain computer interface for over six years and in 2015, I founded Excellent Brain, which has the big vision of making neurofeedback accessible to almost anyone.
Sarah: That’s awesome. What prompted that? What inspired you to do that?
Ofer: Well, I got into this field because of two main reasons. First of all, I got to know different sensors that you can buy direct to consumer and where on your head and do different experiments with the computer, which is really exciting and then made me curious. From my son’s education, I got into the ADHD field and I learned about that and then I decided to develop a platform that really makes ADHD training with neurofeedback accessible to new populations because I saw that this is a very effective technology for training the brain and it’s not accessible to almost anyone. It’s only possible to do it in clinics and it’s a pretty expensive and we wanted to really bring a new solution and then make it accessible and affordable and really practical tool to use for everyone.
Sarah: That is a really cool story. I didn’t even know that. So how does neurofeedback work exactly, for those who aren’t familiar with it?
Ofer: Sure and actually most of the people are not familiar with that training method. It’s a really simple method of training your brain using a positive feedback and the technology uses an EEG sensor that sits on your head, usually on the forehead, and measures the brain activity in real time and produces a positive feedback once your brainwaves are in the right place or let’s say you’re doing the right thing.
Ofer: So for example, you play a game during the training and you have to concentrate to make a car drive. If you concentrate, the car starts to drive and you get points and you get the positive feedback. Once you’ve been distracted by something, let’s say your phone rings or someone calls your name, the system can detect that your thought has moved to another place and then the car will stop and you will stop getting the positive feedback. Once you do that twice a week for 30 minutes, for 30 sessions like that 15 weeks, you can really improve your ability to use your attention.
Sarah: That is so cool. Wow. I’m one of the people who wasn’t really familiar with it at first and just imagining that is really far out.
Sarah: So aside from affordability, are there any other big advantages for trying this intervention out as opposed to other interventions?
Ofer: Well, yeah. It’s a very good method to train your brain because this method teaches your brain how to do something. So if you train your concentration and your attention, it is something that stays with you for your life. Let’s say like a riding a bicycle. When you learn to ride a bicycle, you learn something and it stays with you, in your brain and even if you don’t ride a bicycle for 10 years, you still have this ability in some way. So neurofeedback is almost the same. You train something and you learn it and it stays with you. So this is a very big advantage comparing to other solutions that there are out there.
Sarah: Right. It sounds like, as opposed to being a bandaid, it’s actually addressing the source. That sounds really interesting. How long did you say it takes to work?
Ofer: Well, the classic training program of neurofeedback, or what we learned from the clinics and we created that in our platform, consists of 30 sessions that you do twice a week. Each session consists of 10 short games. Each game is two minutes; we call it an activity and in each activity, you have to do something with your concentration. So let’s say you fly a chopper or plane or a drive a car or whatever, different games, by the way, our platform has the biggest selection of different games to make it less boring. That’s the training program. You have to do 10 different activities in each session for 15 weeks and that’s a training program.
Sarah: So that’s like about a little over three months.
Ofer: Yeah, something like that.
Sarah: Awesome. That’s a small price to pay for permanent results for sure. Do you know how people can tell if it’s working? Have you heard feedback? No pun intended there, about how they can tell it’s working through them?
Ofer: Well, sure and that’s a very good question because it has to do something or else don’t do it. So in classical research on neurofeedback, you can see some results after the first 10 sessions. So once you do the first 10 sessions, during that, you can start to feel different things that can happen. For example, maybe you forget your keys somewhere or maybe you’re more concentrated and can really read a book for a longer time or some things are starting to happen during the training program that you can see.
Ofer: So there are different results that someone can see in his life but after 10 sessions, you must see something in order to decide if you have to finish the entire training program or maybe this is not the training that is right for you.
Sarah: Okay. That’s good to know. I could totally see the benefit of being able to read a book longer. I can not stick with one book. It’s ridiculous.
Sarah: It’s so hard.
Ofer: It does become a challenge to read a book and then I used to read many books and today, the attention span is so small that you have to only read small paragraphs and that’s about it.
Sarah: Or listen to podcasts.
Ofer: Yeah, exactly.
Sarah: So where can people go to learn more about Excellent Brain?
Ofer: Well you can start on our website and from there we have a blog with different information and links to our Facebook page and so on and our website is excellent-brain.com. Very easy and all the information is there.
Sarah: Awesome offer. Well it has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for being with us today and anything else you wanted to let our listeners know about and are you on any of the social media channels or anything if they wanted to keep up with you?
Ofer: Sure. We are on Facebook and I myself, I have a LinkedIn profile and I connect with a lot of people on LinkedIn and I wanted to share that there are two things. First of all, to let people know about neurofeedback and tell them to use it and try it because it’s really something useful and it’s also fun to do and that we are planning to launch more products for different things. Our next products will be for relaxation and meditation and so on and so we’ll keep you updated.
Sarah: That is super cool. Our community loves the relaxation and meditation stuff, so we will definitely stay in touch.
Sarah: Thank you so much, Ofer. You have a wonderful day and thank you so much again for joining us.
Ofer: Thank you very much.
Sarah: If you would like to connect with me at Adulting with ADHD, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter with the handle @ADHDAdulting. I am also on Facebook at facebook.com/adultingwithADHD. If email’s more your jam, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah: I would love to know out there if any of you have tried neurofeedback and what your experience has been, that would be really awesome to hear about. So definitely hit me up on the socials or email and until next time, happy adulting.