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New Study Supports 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 alter their typ­i­cal EEG pat­tern to one that is con­sis­tent with a focused, atten­tive state. This is typ­i­cally done by col­lect­ing 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 par­tic­u­lar EEG state being trained. Accord­ing to neu­ro­feed­back pro­po­nents, learn­ing how to do this dur­ing train­ing gen­er­al­izes to real world sit­u­a­tions and this results in improved atten­tion and reduced hyperactive/impulsive behavior.

Neu­ro­feed­back treat­ment for ADHD has been con­tro­ver­sial in the field for many years and remains so today. Although a num­ber of pub­lished stud­ies have reported pos­i­tive results many promi­nent ADHD researchers believe that prob­lems with the design of these stud­ies pre­clude con­clud­ing that neu­ro­feed­back is an effec­tive treat­ment. These lim­i­ta­tions have included the absence of ran­dom assign­ment, the lack of appro­pri­ate con­trol groups, raters who are not ‘blind’ to children’s treat­ment sta­tus, and small sam­ples. For addi­tional back­ground, you can find a recent review I wrote on exist­ing research sup­port for neu­ro­feed­back treat­ment of ADHD — along with links to exten­sive reviews of sev­eral recently pub­lished stud­ies -: How Strong is the Research Sup­port for Neu­ro­feed­back in Atten­tion Deficits?

- Results from a New Study of Neurofeedback -

Recently, a study of neu­ro­feed­back treat­ment for ADHD was pub­lished that addresses sev­eral lim­i­ta­tions that have under­mined prior research [Gevensleben, et al., (2009). Is neu­ro­feed­back an effi­ca­cious treat­ment for ADHD? A ran­dom­ized con­trolled clin­i­cal trial. Jour­nal of Child Psy­chol­ogy and Psychiatry.]

The study was con­ducted in Ger­many and began with 102 chil­dren aged 8 to 12. All had been care­fully diag­nosed with ADHD and approx­i­mately over 90% had never received med­ica­tion treat­ment. About 80% were boys. Chil­dren were ran­domly assigned to Read the rest of this entry »

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