2014 Winter Blog

At year’s end it is good to look back on some of the highlights of the past months.  This year has brought me into contact some brilliant organizations I would like to tell you about and whose contribution rest in part on neuroplasticity. 

But first I would like to share with you a recently released video made by a NeurOptimal provider on the east coast,   Joan-Marie Larkin RN, PhD.  In 2012 her son Brian was involved in a severe motorcycle injury that left him in a coma.  With permission from his physician and while he was still in a coma in ICU, Joan was allowed to start training her son with NeurOptimal neurofeedback.  Their story is powerfully described in the following video entitled, Back from the Brink

Neuroplasticity refers to the central nervous systems ability to make new connects and reorganize itself.  Brain’s story makes a compelling statement about those possibilities.   Neuroplasticity to my way of thinking is a most hopefully and inspiring word.  The following is information about organizations focusing their efforts is some way around neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity was the underlying theme to a recent presentation by C. Alexander Simpkins and Annellen M. Simpkins PhDs recently given in Tacoma Washington.  Their workshop entitled Neuroscience for Clinicians, Brain Change for Stress, Anxiety, Trauma, Mood and Substance Abuse was both deep and board in its scope but the presenter’s combined knowledge and graceful co-presentation skills were up to the task.  Neuroplasticity has been the news lately and describes new findings about how the brain can change over time for improved wellbeing.  This notion of the brain being able to change with new experiences, growing more neurons and connections is part of new research regarding the brain.  During my early years in nursing school we were taught that the brain could not change and grow and that individual’s only lost neurons and connections over time.  This belief has now been disproven by new research.  I attended the presentation with colleague Tim Sobie PT and master level provider of Feldenkrais therapy.  While both of us are aware of how neuroplasticity is the key to the benefits of neurofeedback training and Feldenkrais therapy’s it was a pleasure to see this concept underpinning other interventions as well. 

Biofeedback and Neurofeedback Services is pleased to be an affiliate of the Amen Clinics, Inc.  See:

In addition to the Amen Clinic’s staff’s excellent diagnostic and therapeutic work Amen Clinics Northwest also find time to provide informative in-services for health care providers in the greater Seattle area.  Tim Earnest MD and Kabran Chapek, ND in the past year they have presented on Decoding the Addicted Brain, and Sensory Processing Disorders: Windows into Emotional Difficulties among other outstanding presentations. The work done at the Amen Clinics is possible because of neuroplasticity.  The Amen Clinics Northwest invited me to BIAWA’s 8th Annual Gala Dinner and Auction this month and introduced me to a wonderful local organization that has been making exceptional progress on a local and national level. 

The Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (BIAWA) has blown me away with the progress they have made over their 30 years but continues to be an energetic engine for change on a national level in the past four years.  I am telling family and friends about this organization. This was my first charity gala and not only was it a fun and entertaining evening but most instructive on how to create an organization that can get the job done.  They now provide a wide array of services to individuals who have experienced a brain injury but have recently helped past laws in all 50 states establishing guidelines for student athletes who may have suffered a concussion.  The fact that only 23 states have laws requiring seatbelts for children tells you what kind of game changer BIAWA has been on the national stage.  High praise Zackery Lystedt!   Who after sustaining a concussion playing football, which left him in a coma for 30 days, has made a remarkable recovery and still finds the energy to be an elegant spokesperson for BIAWA.  As Zach spoke, I couldn’t help to think of all the young athletes on my nephew’s football team with heart felt relief for new concussion guidelines as outlined in the Lystedt Law that will help protect them and others in the future.  Both Zachery, the staff of BIAWA, the Seattle Seahawks, Roger Goodell NFL Commissioner and packed ballroom of eager supporters have come together to create an amazing team. 

For more information about BIAWA please see their website and Facebook at:


The Vince Lombardi Trophy, Sea Gals and yours truly. Go Hawks!

Early in autumn my collaborator in Tacoma Tim Sobie asked if I would provide at presentation about neurofeedback at the Pleneurethics Society’s annual meeting, an organization near and dear to him. Pleneurethics is based on 10 principles developed by the originator, Richard Collier.  See:

These principles are based around the central nervous system.  A great quote from the above website:

“The last decade has produced so much information dealing with the development and functioning of the human brain that it is often referred to as the “decade of the brain.” Laboratories around the world have mapped neurological functioning and charted neurological development to a degree of scientific precision that has never before occurred. It is my belief that of all the new discoveries which have been unearthed in these labs, the finding that “electrical activity of brain cells changes the physical structure of the brain is perhaps the most breathtaking” (Time, February 3, 1997).”

Sounds like neuroplasticity and neurofeedback to me.  This exceptional society has provided 200 (?) scholarships to students incorporating principles of Pleneurethics into their research.  They are located at Tacoma Community College but provide scholarships to students around the world.  Your can find more information at:

Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington (FEAT) and Ben’s Fund Autism Grant were brought to my attention by a dedicated mom in quest of resources for her son.  FEAT is located in Bellevue and you can find more information about them at:

It is a nonprofit designed by families who have children with autism.  Their goal is to help children with autism reach their full potential with programs, resources and services.  They also administer Ben’s Fund Autism Grant that can be applied to equipment or services.  If you know a family who could benefit please check out  their website.

As we turn to 2015 remember all of the above organizations have opportunities for volunteers and could benefit from your charitable donations.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Added on 12/23/2014

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