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 more…] about Long-term effects of neurofeedback treatment for ADHD