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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 »

Promising Cognitive Training Studies for ADHD

As not­ed in our Mar­ket Report, we expect the field of cog­ni­tive train­ing (or “brain fit­ness”) soft­ware to grow in a vari­ety of edu­ca­tion and health-relat­ed areas over the next years. One of the most promis­ing areas in our view: help­ing chil­dren and adults with atten­tion deficits improve brain func­tion to reduce ADHD symp­toms.

I am glad to present this in-depth dis­cus­sion on the results of two recent high-qual­i­ty sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies. Let me start with Dr. Rabin­er’s con­clu­sion:

Results from these two cog­ni­tive train­ing stud­ies high­light that cog­ni­tive train­ing inter­ven­tions may pro­vide an impor­tant com­ple­ment to tra­di­tion­al med­ica­tion treat­ment and behav­ior ther­a­py. Both stud­ies includ­ed appro­pri­ate con­trol groups, employed ran­dom assign­ment, and had out­come mea­sures pro­vid­ed by indi­vid­u­als who were “blind” to which con­di­tion chil­dren were assigned to. They are thus well-designed stud­ies from which sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly sound con­clu­sions can be drawn. They add to the grow­ing research base that inten­sive prac­tice and train­ing focused of key cog­ni­tive skills can have pos­i­tive effects that extend beyond the train­ing sit­u­a­tion itself.”

With­out futher ado…enjoy the arti­cle!

- Alvaro

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Two New Cog­ni­tive Train­ing Stud­ies for ADHD Yield Promis­ing Find­ings

– By Dr. David Rabin­er

Although med­ica­tion treat­ment is effec­tive for many chil­dren with ADHD, there remains an impor­tant need to explore and devel­op inter­ven­tions that can com­ple­ment or even sub­sti­tute for med­ica­tion. This is true for a vari­ety of rea­sons includ­ing:

Read the rest of this entry »

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