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Age-Related Cognitive Decline - Quick Facts

  • From 0 to 40 it is all about learning.
  • After 40 it is about keeping what we’ve got!
  • A lot can be done to counter the speed of brain aging.

Memory loss, forgetfulness, and slowing cognitive speed are not all about age and genetics! Many things can contribute to a slowing brain, including poor sleep, hormonal shifts, stress & anxiety, loneliness & boredom, depression, and geriatric overmedication, to name but a few.

The biggest culprit in brain aging, however, tends to be how you use it … or rather don’t use it, your brain, that is!

At Swingle Clinic, we look for regions and specific wavelengths that are highly associated with the slowing of processing. We use Peak Performance for brain maintenance to keep you sharp before you lose it, Brain Brightening techniques when you, or those around you, notice those first shifts. We also have highly individualized functional training programs based upon key EEG markers associated with rapid decline for those with larger concerns (e.g., Dementia and emergent Alzheimer’s).


Brain Brightening for Age-Related Changes and Dementia

For age-related cognitive inefficiency, please book a 5 point ClinicalQ intake. For diagnosed dementia or neurocognitive disorders, please book a 19 channel Normative QEEG intake.

About the Condition

Many of us experience cognitive slowing as we age; this is considered normal, just like the natural loss of muscle that occurs as we age. As we age, there are corresponding brainwave patterns that start to change. As these patterns progress, we experience losses in cognitive efficiency (e.g., memory, word retrieval).

At more extreme levels, dementia can develop, particularly when stress has been excessive and prolonged, the brain has survived repeated injuries or disease, and toxins such as alcohol and other drugs have been used excessively or for an extended period of time. These disorders are included in the DSM-5-TR as Neurocognitive Disorders and can range from mild to severe. They can affect attention, executive function, learning and memory, language, perceptual-motor skills, and social cognition.

Recommended Neurofeedback Treatment

The Swingle Clinic has provided hundreds of clients with Brain Brightening Neurofeedback throughout its existence. In a similar way to increased physical exercise, Neurofeedback can help prevent and reduce cognitive slowing, particularly when combined with positive lifestyle changes. Depending on the severity of the condition, your clinician may recommend a 5 point ClinicalQ or 19 channel Normative assessment and treatment. Often, for uncomplicated age-related forgetfulness, clients benefit from regular alpha peak frequency training to stay mentally alert.

Protocols for the treatment of dementia vary depending on the type and severity. Many Neurofeedback protocols have been developed, and often involve 19 channel treatment and adjunctive approaches, such as brain stimulation. While some of these protocols are well-established, others are in development and considered experimental. Your clinician will discuss this with you and develop a treatment plan based on your comfort with the current state of the science.

Additional Recommended Psychological Services

While there is currently no cure for dementia, there are many promising approaches both to limiting the progression of the disease and to improving the quality of life. Clients and their carers and family members may benefit from psychotherapeutic approaches to address stress and burnout, grief, and past emotional trauma. The therapeutic needs of people with dementia vary greatly and will often be developed in conjunction with the client’s neurologist and treatment team.

Recommended Reading

Biofeedback for the Brain

Further reading...

Albert, A. O., Andrasik, F., Moore, J. L., & Dunn, B. R. (1998). Theta/beta training for attention, concentration and memory improvement in the geriatric population. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 23(2), 109.

Ambrus, G. G., Pisoni, A., Primaßin, A., Turi, Z., Paulus, W., & Antal, A. (2015). Bi-frontal transcranial alternating current stimulation in the ripple range reduced overnight forgetting. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 9. doi:10.3389/fncel.2015.00374

Angelakis, E., Stathopoulou, S., Frymiare, J. L., Green, D. L., Lubar, J. F., & Kounios, J. (2007). EEG neurofeedback: A brief overview and an example of peak alpha frequency training for cognitive enhancement in the elderly. Clinical Neuropsychology, 21(1), 110129.

Arendash, G. W. Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment Against Alzheimer’s Disease: Why It Has the Potential to Trump Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Development. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, vol. 32, no. 2, Jan. 2012, pp. 243–66, doi:10.3233/JAD-2012-120943.

Arendash, G. W., Mori, T., Dorsey, M., Gonzalez, R., Tajiri, N., & Borlongan, C. (2012). Electromagnetic treatment to old Alzheimer’s mice reverses β-amyloid deposition, modifies cerebral blood flow, and provides selected cognitive benefit. PloS One, 7(4), e35751. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035751

Budzynski, T., Budzynski, H. K., &l Tang, H-Y. (2007). Brain brightening: restoring the aging mind. Chapter in J. R. Evans (Ed.), Handbook of Neurofeedback. Binghampton, NY: Haworth Medical Press, 231–265.

Capelli, Enrica, et al. “Low-Frequency Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Is Able to Modulate MiRNAs in an Experimental Cell Model of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Journal of Healthcare Engineering, 2017, doi:

Escolano, C., Aguilar, M., & Minguez, J. (2011). EEG-based upper alpha neurofeedback training improves working memory performance. Paper presented at the 2011 Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Boston, MA.

Gomez-Pilar J, Corralejo R, Nicolas-Alonso LF, Álvarez D, Hornero R. Neurofeedback training with a motor imagery-based BCI: neurocognitive improvements and EEG changes in the elderly. Med Biol Eng Comput. 2016 Nov;54(11):1655-1666. Epub 2016 Feb 23.

Helfrich, R. F., Mander, B. A., Jagust, W. J., Knight, R. T., & Walker, M. P. (2018). Old Brains Come Uncoupled in Sleep: Slow Wave-Spindle Synchrony, Brain Atrophy, and Forgetting. Neuron, 97(1), 221-230.e4. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2017.11.020

Iaccarino, H. F., Singer, A. C., Martorell, A. J., Rudenko, A., Gao, F., Gillingham, T. Z., … Tsai, L.-H. (2016). Gamma frequency entrainment attenuates amyloid load and modifies microglia. Nature, 540(7632), 230–235. doi:10.1038/nature20587

Im, J. J., Jeong, H., Bikson, M., Woods, A. J., Unal, G., Oh, J. K., … Chung, Y.-A. (2019). Effects of 6-month at-home transcranial direct current stimulation on cognition and cerebral glucose metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease. Brain Stimulation, 12(5), 1222–1228. doi:10.1016/j.brs.2019.06.003

Koberda, J. L. (2014). Z-score LORETA neurofeedback as a potential therapy in cognitive dysfunction and dementia. Journal of Psychology & Clinical Psychiatry, 1(6). doi: 10.15406/jpcpy.2014.01.00037

Leffa, Douglas Teixeira, et al. “Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Improves Long-Term Memory Deficits in an Animal Model of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Modulates Oxidative and Inflammatory Parameters.” Brain Stimulation, vol. 11, no. 4, July 2018, pp. 743–51, doi:10.1016/j.brs.2018.04.001

Mammarella, Nicola, et al. “Self-Generation and Positivity Effects Following Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation in Medial Prefrontal Cortex: A Reality Monitoring Task in Older Adults.” Cortex, vol. 91, June 2017, pp. 186–96, doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2016.11.005

Nikolin, S., Martin, D., Loo, C. K., & Boonstra, T. W. (2018). Effects of TDCS dosage on working memory in healthy participants. Brain Stimulation, 11(3), 518–527. doi:10.1016/j.brs.2018.01.003

Palm, U., Chalah, M. A., Padberg, F., Al-Ani, T., Abdellaoui, M., Sorel, M., … Ayache, S. S. (2016). Effects of transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) on affect, pain and attention in multiple sclerosis. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, 34(2), 189–199. doi:10.3233/RNN-150557

Summers, Jeffery J., et al. “Does Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Enhance Cognitive and Motor Functions in the Ageing Brain? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Ageing Research Reviews, vol. 25, Jan. 2016, pp. 42–54, doi:10.1016/j.arr.2015.11.004.

Wang, J., & Hsieh, S. (2013). Neurofeedback training improves attention and working memory performance. Clinical Neurophysiology, 124, 2406-2420.

YuLeung To, E., Abbott, K., Foster, D. S., & Helmer, D. (2016). Working memory and neurofeedback. Applied Neuropsychology: Child, 5(3), 214–222. doi:10.1080/21622965.2016.1167500