Just like you would want (or may not want) to know your weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and more; alpha peak frequency (APF) is a direct marker of your brain’s ability to process information. Or, better said a direct marker of brain performance. And, it’s easy to measure!

What is APF? 

As part of the posterior dominant rhythm (PDR) of your brain. Which is your brain’s dominant electrical output. Moreover, APF is a direct measure of your brain’s ability (or inability) to process information.

How does it tell us about brain performance?

Alpha brainwave activity, one of 5 primary brainwaves (electrical pulses created in the outer covering or cortex of our brain), is measured at a speed of 8-12 Hz (cycles per second). Moreover, This means that for every second of EEG (electroencephalograph) recording, there would be 8-12 peaks or pulses visualized.

In a nutshell, the slower (more like 8 Hz) your alpha brainwaves are, the more they resemble sleep-like brainwaves of the theta range. Furthermore, the faster (more like 12 Hz) your alpha brainwaves. The more they resemble your faster-processing brainwaves in the beta ranges. Ex: better able to solve problems. Interact with others, perform work duties, etc.

Tip #2 – The latter (more like 12 Hz) is where you want to be for optimal brain performance!

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What does it mean?

As with many functions in the human body and brain, there is a natural ramping-up and eventual decline in function or activity from birth through our advanced years.

Alpha brainwaves and APF start up very slow at approximately 4 Hz (well below typical alpha activity) at several months of age. By ages 3-5, APF is firmly establishing at approximately 8-10 Hz!

Depending on our level of cognitive engagement throughout our life. Coupled with the countless environmental and lifestyle factors, injuries & disease, etc. That impacts each and every one of us; APF should remain strong (above 10 Hz) for many decades.  APF begins a natural decline in our years approaching and into retirement.

Tip #3 – This “natural decline” is not written in stone and does NOT have to happen!

How APF measured?

Very simply – and with no needles or uncomfortable, prolonged, and super-expensive testing procedures!

Typically, three or more electrodes are placed on your scalp to record the electrical output (EEG) of the cerebral cortex, our uniquely human brain. In the case of APF, therefore we pay very special attention to the back of the brain that sees and feels the world, as this is where alpha brainwave activity is generating.

Computer hardware in the form of amplifiers collect the electrical information from your brain and feed it through software filters and programs to determine what your predominant alpha speed (or frequency) is. Alternatively, on less advanced systems, Further, this can simply be measured on the EEG itself by counting how many peaks occur within one second of EEG data in several areas of the study.

Tip #4 – Get your alpha peak frequency measured by a competent practitioner of EEG and neurofeedback (NFB) that is well-versed in this valuable brain performance marker.

What can improve APF and brain performance?

What is the point in measuring something if you don’t have a fair shake at improving it?

Let’s first address some common factors that will negatively impact APF, as many of them are preventable or changeable.

  1. Moderate to excessive alcohol use
  2. Excess caffeine and nicotine
  3. Poor sleep hygiene
  4. Excessive technology usage
  5. Opioid, benzodiazepines, marijuana, and other drugs
  6. Head injuries
  7. Poor nutrition
  8. Uncontrolled stress
  9. Sedentary behavior
  10. Environmental toxins
  11. Untreated depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, addiction

There are numerous advanced therapeutic applications that can assist in increasing APF, most notably in the realm of neurofeedback (first 5 listed):

  1. Peak frequency training
  2. Power training
  3. SMR training
  4. Alpha synchrony training
  5. z-Score training
  6. Pulsed electromagnetic frequency (pEMF)
  7. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
  8. Meditation
  9. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)
  10. Metabolic and nutritional therapies
  11. Sensorimotor integration therapies
  12. Cognitive therapies
  13. Stress reduction and biofeedback techniques

Tip #5 (it’s a biggie) – Don’t wait (as most do) to address this key indicator of brain performance. This is well within your grasp (in most cases) to positively impact. Furthermore, We see clinically every day how many can, and do, improve their APF; and their quality of life. Call us now at 828.708.5274 or email info@apexbraincenters.com to learn more.

Dr. Michael S. Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Neurofeedback Specialist with over 20 years of experience in the practice of advanced functional neurology. He is one of the most highly sought-after brain rehabilitation specialists because of the life-changing outcomes his patients consistently experience. After over a decade in private practice and working alongside other pioneers in the field, Dr. Trayford developed his multimodal intensive brain training and rehabilitation program built around the science of Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to learn and grow dependent upon the stimulation it receives from its environment. He later founded APEX Brain Centers to combine his ground-breaking rehabilitation approach with a unique patient and caretaker-centered care model. Under Dr. Trayford’s leadership, APEX Brain Centers has successfully treated thousands of patients and earned the reputation of a world-renowned brain training and rehabilitation practice. Since its inception, Dr. Trayford has been a leader of the Brain Training revolution treating patients worldwide. In addition, he is a published journal contributor and international lecturer. His experience with various patients of all ages and neurological conditions has given him a unique perspective on brain health and human performance. He is also well-versed in collaborating with other health care professionals, making him an invaluable asset to any care team. Dr. Trayford was awarded the Functional Neurologist of the Year distinction by the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation, where he is a proud member and conference lecturer. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Dementia Society of America and the Board of Directors for the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research. He is also a servant leader who has dedicated his adult life to serving multiple communities through Rotary International and other notable causes. When he’s not treating patients, Dr. Trayford usually reads or researches anything related to the brain, human performance, and leadership. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife Denise, their two daughters, and dogs in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichaeltrayford/

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