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New Review of Neurofeedback Treatment for ADHD — Current State of the Science

neurofeedback adhd reviewsNeu­ro­feed­back — also known as EEG Biofeed­back — is an approach for treat­ing ADHD in which indi­vid­u­als are pro­vid­ed real-time feed­back on their brain­wave activ­i­ty and taught to alter their typ­i­cal EEG pat­tern to one that is con­sis­tent with a focused and atten­tive state. Accord­ing to neu­ro­feed­back pro­po­nents, this often results in improved atten­tion and reduced hyperactive/impulsive behav­ior.

Sev­er­al years ago I sum­ma­rized the sci­en­tif­ic sup­port for neu­ro­feed­back treat­ment — see here — and not­ed that 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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