This article provides information about the voluntary control of cerebral blood flow as a form of neurofeedback. The formal name of the process is hemoencephalography, but we have shortened the term to HEG for ease of pronunciation. A list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) can be found at the end of this chapter. For those who are unfamiliar with the concepts involved with HEG, reading the FAQs first may make the rest of the chapter easier to understand.
Natasha had been blind for three years as a result of toxic encephalopathy. Her SPECT study showed severe hypoperfusion in the right medioposterior temporal lobe. This is exactly where face and object recognition begins. Her visual processing functions were destroyed by exposure to toxic hydrocarbon emissions from freshly laid asphalt paving in the atrium next to her art studio. Although her brain continued to receive visual input, she was no longer able to make sense out of this data. She had become functionally blind. Differential diagnosis ruled out a conversion disorder. She was certified legally blind by the Braille Institute.
Hemoencephalography (HEG) and Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) helped her recover her sight after three years. She now proudly drives her own car. She has 20/20 vision—better than before the toxic exposure.