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Neurofeedback Research for ADHD/ADD

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ADHD Neurofeedback Research

  1. Effectiveness of neurofeedback therapy for anxiety and stress in adults living with a chronic illness: a systematic review protocol
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  2. In-School Neurofeedback Training for ADHD: Sustained Improvements from a Randomized Control Trial
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Additional Information

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 11% of American children, ages, 4 to 17, have ADHD.  According to their trends, this is a 42% increase in just 8 years.  While the rate is much lower for adults (about 4% of the adult population has ADHD), experts caution that adults are much more likely to remain undiagnosed, and therefore the actual rate of ADHD in adults may be significantly higher than reported.      

Prescription medications are the most popular treatment for ADHD, and their use has been on the rise faster than the rates of ADHD themselves.  Between 2008 and 2016, ADHD drug sales have increased by over 89%, or $8.5 billion dollars. This trend shows, in conjunction with the overall ADHD diagnostic trends, that despite the increased reliance on medications to treat ADHD, the cases continue to increase in all age populations.    

As the use of ADHD medications continues to rise, so too does the impact of the side-effects associated with them.  Several studies have shown that up to 80% of patients who take ADHD medications experience some side-effects, and up to 35% of patients actually discontinue taking the medications due to the side-effects.   

Yes, neurofeedback therapy is a clinically proven treatment for ADHD.

There are many research studies that show positive support for neurofeedback as a treatment for ADHD.  Please see a few examples below and don’t hesitate to contact MyBrainDr for additional information and studies.

Clinical and neurophysiological data of neurofeedback therapy in children with ADHD

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“Initially NF therapy reduced hyperactivity and impulsivity of children, subsequently improvement of attention was observed and eventually reduction of emotional and behavior disturbances was noticed. Noticeable improvement in the self-esteem was observed as well. The therapy had a positive impact on the spatial organization of EEG in each group. It proved to be particularly useful in children with ADHD and dyslexia.”

“Neurofeedback therapy is a valuable tool with beneficial impact on children with ADHD and accompanying disorders. Characteristics of brain bioelectric activity provides a reliable basis to establish individual EEG bio-feedback protocols of therapy in children and monitor the effectiveness of treatment. In the last 4 years the number of children with ADHD and co-occurring tics who applied for neurofeedback therapy has increased significantly.”

The Effect of Neurofeedback Therapy on Reducing Symptoms Associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Case Series Study

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“The total mean score (of the cognitive assessment system test) for pretest was 88.81 while the total mean score for the post test was 82.23. The mean in pretest for attention hyperactivity disorder was higher than the mean in the post test. Moreover, the difference of pretest and post test scores of children affected with learning disorder associated with ADHD was calculated that showed significant (P=0.003).”

“Neurofeedback is effective in the improvement of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”

Differential Efficacy of Neurofeedback in Children with ADHD Presentations
J Clin Med. 2019 Feb 7; 8(2). pii: E204. doi: 10.3390/jcm8020204
Cueli M1, Rodríguez C2, Cabaleiro P3, García T4, González-Castro P5

Training in neurofeedback (NF) reduces the symptomatology associated with attention deficit with hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, ADHD differs in terms of the type of presentation, i.e., inattentive (ADHD-I), impulsive/hyperactive (ADHD-HI), or combined (ADHD-C). This study examines the efficacy of NF in ADHD presentations. Participants were 64 students (8-12 years old). Cortical activation, executive control, and observed symptomatology by parents were assessed. Results indicated that ADHD-C and ADHD-HI demonstrated greater improvements than ADHD-I. It was concluded that this kind of training produces an improvement and that it is necessary to explore it further in terms of the protocol used. EEG Neurofeedback Training in Children With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder:

A Cognitive and Behavioral Outcome Study.
Clin EEG Neurosci. 2019 Jul; 50(4):242-255. doi: 10.1177/1550059418813034
Shereena EA1, Gupta RK1, Bennett CN2, Sagar KJV1, Rajeswaran J1
Attention decit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a highly prevalent childhood disorder with symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. EEG neurofeedback training (NFT) is a new intervention modality based on operant conditioning of brain activity, which helps reduce symptoms of ADHD in children. To examine the efficacy of NFT in children with ADHD, an experimental longitudinal design with pre-post comparison was adopted. A total of 30 children in the age range of 6 to 12 years diagnosed as ADHD with or without comorbid conditions were assigned to treatment group (TG; n = 15) and treatment as usual group (TAU; n = 15). TG received EEG-NFT along with routine clinical management and TAU received routine clinical management alone.
Forty sessions of theta/beta NFT at the C3 scalp location, 3 to 4 sessions in a week for a period of 3.5 to 5 months were given to children in TG. Children were screened using sociodemographic data and Binet-Kamat test of intelligence. Pre-and postassessment tools were neuropsychological tests and behavioral scales. Follow-up was carried out on 8 children in TG using parent-rated behavioral measures. Improvement was reported in TG on cognitive functions (sustained attention, verbal working memory, and response inhibition), parent- and teacher-rated behavior problems and on academic performance rated by teachers. Follow-up of children who received NFT showed sustained improvement in ADHD symptoms when assessed 6 months after receiving NFT. The
present study suggests that NFT is an effective method to enhance cognitive deficits and helps reduce ADHD symptoms and behavior problems. Consequently, academic performance was found to be improved in children with ADHD. Improvement in ADHD symptoms induced by NFT were maintained at 6-month follow-up in children with ADHD.

Effectiveness of Neurofeedback Treatment on Adult ADHD: A Meta-Analysis
Practice in Clinical Psychology. 2018 Apr; Vol 6, No 2
Mohammad Narimani1, Elnaz Ensaff1*, Nastaran Mohajeri Aval
The aim of this meta-analysis was to determine the effectiveness of neurofeedback treatments in adults with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
A total of 9 studies were selected, and meta-analysis was done on them. The data were gathered from the following databases: PubMed, ScienceDirect, Springer, SID based on methodological conditions, topic and research design, and the effect size of each study was calculated. The combined effect size of all the indicators was found to be significant according to Cohen’s table, which means large or high effect size. The combined effect size for inattention is ES=0.0575 (P=0.0013), for impulsivity is ES=0.605 (P=0.0037), for hyperactivity is ES=0.545 (P=0.0384), for hyperactivity/impulsivity is ES=0.510 (P=0.001), and for total ADHD is ES=0.630 (P=0.0038). Based on the results of this meta-analysis, neurofeedback treatment was found to have a large effect in reducing ADHD symptoms in adults with attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder.

Neurofeedback Versus Psychostimulants in the Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/
Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review.
Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2018 Oct 30; 14:2905-2913. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S178839
Razoki B1
This systematic review aimed to evaluate the efficacy of neurofeedback (NF) compared to stimulant medication in treating children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Included in this review are eight randomized controlled trials that compared an NF condition, either alone or combined with medication, to a medication condition, which was mainly methylphenidate. Outcome measures included behavioral assessments by parents and teachers, self-reports, neurocognitive measures, electroencephalogram power spectra and event-related potentials. When only trials are considered that include probably blinded ratings or those that are sham-NF or semi-active controlled or those that employed optimally titration procedures, the findings do not support theta/beta NF as a standalone treatment for children or adolescents with ADHD. Nevertheless, an additive treatment effect of NF was observed on top of stimulants and theta/beta NF was able to decrease medication dosages, and both results were maintained at 6-month follow-up. This review concludes that the present role of NF in treating children diagnosed with ADHD should be considered as complementary in a multimodal treatment approach, individualized to the needs of the child, and may be considered a viable alternative to stimulants for a specific group of patients.

Particularly patients with the following characteristics may benefit from NF treatment: low responders to medication, intolerable side effects due to medication, higher baseline theta power spectra and possibly having no comorbid psychiatric disorders. Future research should prioritize the identification of markers that differentiate
responders from nonresponders to NF treatment, the potential of NF to decrease stimulant dosage, the standardization of NF treatment protocols and the identification of the most favorable neurophysiological treatment targets.

Review our Sources

  1. Differential Efficacy of Neurofeedback in Children with ADHD Presentations
  2. EEG Neurofeedback Training in Children With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Cognitive and Behavioral Outcome Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30453757
  3. Effectiveness of Neurofeedback Treatment on Adult ADHD: A Meta-Analysis https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324458072
  4. Neurofeedback Versus Psychostimulants in the Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30464474
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