Dallas Man Uses Neurofeedback To Recover From Crash

A Dallas man says neurofeedback therapy has helped him make a remarkable recovery from a car crash that nearly killed him.

29-year-old Dustin Wardell of Dallas was the only survivor of a 2012 crash in Waco. 

He lost both his brother and his girlfriend in the crash, after the car his brother was driving burst into flames when it hit a tree.

Wardell suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent a year in the hospital. "You don't realize what you have until you don't have it," he said. 

In 2015, Wardell started neurofeedback therapy at the Brain Performance Center in Dallas.

"We put that cap on your head that's got 19 sensors built in. What we are doing is we are training the networks and the hubs in the brain," said Leigh Richardson, Clinical Director of  the Brain Performance Center. 

Neurofeedback uses movies, video games, computers and other tools to help patients regulate their brain waves. 

As Wardell watches the monitor, Richardson follows his brain activity and programs the computer to stop the movie if an abnormal number of fast or slow brain waves is detected or if the brain waves are erratic.

She said the stop-and-start feedback trains the brain to regulate itself properly.

"It's teaching the brain, rewarding the brain, when the brain makes the right changes, whether it's getting the right amount of power, energy to the right part of the brain, how the brain is sharing information or the timing in the brain."

Over the course of dozens of sessions, Wardell said the technique has helped relieve his depression.

He also said it's helped with the physical pain of his injuries so much that he doesn't need powerful painkillers anymore.

He's now working full-time again and is able to drive on his own

"You don't understand how much your brain can do until you've done something like this. It's pretty awesome," he said.

Neurofeedback has also been used for post-traumatic stress disorder and ADHD.

It's been around since the 1960s.  

Some research has found it promising, while other studies have been inconclusive.

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