Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Study: Dyslexia not related to intelligence. Implications for discrepancy model?

NIH-funded study finds dyslexia not tied to IQ (NIH press release):

At left, brain areas active in typ­i­cally devel­op­ing read­ers engaged in a rhyming task. Shown at right is the brain area acti­vated in poor read­ers involved in the same task.

- “Regard­less of high or low over­all scores on an IQ test, chil­dren with dyslexia show sim­i­lar pat­terns of brain activ­ity, accord­ing to researchers sup­ported by the National Insti­tutes of Health. The results call into ques­tion the dis­crep­ancy model — the prac­tice of clas­si­fy­ing a child as dyslexic on the basis of a lag between read­ing abil­ity and over­all IQ scores.”

- “In many school sys­tems, the dis­crep­ancy model is the cri­te­rion for Read the rest of this entry »

Long-term effects of neurofeedback treatment for ADHD

Neu­ro­feed­back — also known as EEG Biofeed­back — is an approach for treat­ing ADHD in which indi­vid­u­als are pro­vided real-time feed­back on their brain­wave pat­terns and taught to pro­duce and main­tain pat­terns con­sis­tent with a focused, atten­tive state. This is often done by col­lect­ing brain­wave, i.e., EEG, data from indi­vid­u­als as they focus on stim­uli pre­sented on a com­puter screen. Their abil­ity to con­trol the stim­uli, for exam­ple, keep­ing the ‘smile on a smi­ley face’, is con­tin­gent on main­tain­ing the brain­wave pat­tern being trained.

Neu­ro­feed­back sup­port­ers believe that learn­ing this dur­ing train­ing gen­er­al­izes to real world sit­u­a­tions and results in improved atten­tion and reduced hyperactive/impulsive behav­ior. Although a num­ber of neu­ro­feed­back stud­ies have yielded promis­ing results it remains some­what con­tro­ver­sial with some researchers argu­ing that lim­i­ta­tions of these stud­ies pre­clude firm con­clu­sions about the effec­tive­ness of neu­ro­feed­back from being drawn.

Last year I reviewed a par­tic­u­larly well-conducted study of neu­ro­feed­back treat­ment for ADHD — see my review here. The study was con­ducted in Ger­many and began with 94 chil­dren aged 8 to 12. All had been care­fully diag­nosed with ADHD and over 90% had never received med­ica­tion treat­ment. About 80% were boys.

Chil­dren were ran­domly assigned to receive either 36 ses­sions of neu­ro­feed­back train­ing or 36 ses­sions of com­put­er­ized atten­tion train­ing. The com­put­er­ized atten­tion train­ing task was intended to serve as the con­trol inter­ven­tion and pro­vided equal amounts of time work­ing on a demand­ing cog­ni­tive task under the super­vi­sion of an adult; the inclu­sion of this con­trol con­di­tion is a real strength of the study.

The main find­ings were as fol­lows: Read the rest of this entry »

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