Dr. J. Lucas Koberda is looking to change the way doctors get inside the heads of patients-published in Tallahassee Democrat-March 2013-see below:
By popularizing neurofeedback, which is a method that has been around for about 40 years, Koberda is effectively treating brain-related illnesses like depression, anxiety, memory problems and seizures — all without pills or surgery.
The process is what Koberda said is the next step in medicine, and he already has about 150 faithful patients to swear by it. Local part-time physician Dr. John Purvis, who has dealt with chronic post-surgery pain, said after six months with Koberda his pain is reduced 50 percent, adding he’s hopeful the trend will continue.
“Dr. Koberda is one of the few neurologists in the country who’s doing this,” he said. “Probably fewer than 10. He’s working with other authorities from around the world and working out improved treatment protocols for various illnesses.”
Neurofeedback, also called EEG-biofeedback, is a painless alternative to standard shock therapy. The process includes recording the brainwaves of a sick patient, mapping them out and comparing them to the brainwaves of someone who isn’t ill. Patterns are mapped with the help of a sensor-embedded cap, and positive feedback is given when desired brainwaves are shown.
When brainwaves deviate the positive feedback is taken away. Koberda said eventually, with repetition, this causes brain patterns without dysfunctional characteristics to develop. The method does away with standard medicine, which has to pass through several other organ systems before reaching and impacting the brain.
Koberda said he has a 70 percent success rate using neurofeedback to treat patients. The process is also used by athletes and business professionals training in high intensity environments.
“(Pills) frequently cause numerous side effects like dizziness, nausea, weight gain or drowsiness,” Koberda said. “Many medications have problems reaching the brain to become effective. Direct interaction with the brain through electrodes is much more advantageous.”
He added, “It’s also very inexpensive. This is a time when medicine costs so much with surgeries and injections. This is an inexpensive procedure you can do in an office setting.”
The method has been used around the world to effectively treat things like Attention Deficit Disorder without common pills like Ritalin. Andrew Moses, a 22-year-old Florida State psychology student who works with Koberda, said he and three other students assist Koberda with his research.
Moses is Koberda’s senior student and has been with the doctor for a little over two years. Koberda started in Tallahassee in an office on Miccosukee Commons Drive and now works out of a complex on Kerry Forrest Parkway.
“I’ve been with (Koberda) since he first started doing this in his old office,” Moses said. “I’ve been going to conferences with him and writing papers. I’ve really been enjoying it. This is one of the best things I could do with my major.”