A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Neurofeedback in ADHD

Neurofeedback effectively reduced inattention symptoms on parent rating scales and reaction time in neuropsychological tests.

Neurofeedback (NF) effectively reduced inattention symptoms on parent rating scales and reaction time in neuropsychological tests, according to research published recently in European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

But when it comes to hyperactivity and impulsivity, the research implies that non-specific factors, such as behavioral contingencies, self-efficacy, structured learning environment and feed-forward processes “may also contribute to the positive behavioral effects induced by neurofeedback training,” the researchers wrote in the study abstract. The study was conducted by researchers in the Department of Psychology at Yazd University in Iran.

The researchers note that NF treatment has been shown to reduce inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But one shortcoming is that previous studies did not adequately control confounding variables or did not employ a randomized reinforcer-controlled design.

The present study sought to address those methodological shortcomings by comparing the effects of the following two matched biofeedback training variants on the primary symptoms of ADHD: EEG neurofeedback (NF) aiming at theta/beta ratio reduction and EMG biofeedback (BF) aiming at forehead muscle relaxation.

“Thirty-five children with ADHD (26 boys, 9 girls; 6-14 years old) were randomly assigned to either the therapy group (NF; n = 18) or the control group (BF; n = 17). Treatment for both groups consisted of 30 sessions. Pre- and post-treatment assessment consisted of psychophysiological measures, behavioral rating scales completed by parents and teachers, as well as psychometric measures,” the researchers wrote.

“Training effectively reduced theta/beta ratios and EMG levels in the NF and BF groups, respectively. Parents reported significant reductions in primary ADHD symptoms, and inattention improvements in the NF group were higher compared to the control intervention (BF, d (corr) = -.94). NF training also improved attention and reaction times

on the psychometric measures.”

Effect of Video Feedback on the Social Behavior Adolescent with ADHD

A study published recently in the Journal of Attention Disorders concluded that a video-feedback intervention was a promising tool for moderating the social behavior of teens with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

“The results of this study and future directions for intervention development are discussed in the context of the broader conversation about how to treat social impairment in adolescents with ADHD,” the authors wrote in the study abstract. The study was conducted at Florida International University in Miami.

They noted that the social functioning of adolescents with ADHD is “characteristically impaired, yet almost no interventions effectively address the peer relationships of these youth.” Their study evaluated the preliminary effects of a video-feedback intervention on the social behavior of a 16-year-old male with ADHD-combined type in the context of a summer treatment program for youth with ADHD.

“The intervention was administered in a teen-run business meeting designed to mimic the context of group-based activities such as student government, service clubs, and group projects. During each video-feedback session, the adolescent viewed a five-minute clip of his behavior in the previous business meeting, rated the appropriateness of his own social behavior in each 30-second interval, and discussed behavior with a summer program counselor.”

The results indicated that, while the video-feedback intervention was in place, “the adolescent displayed improvements in social behavior from baseline. Results also indicated that the adolescent exhibited relatively accurate self-perceptions during the intervention period. The authors present preliminary evidence for cross-contextual and cross-temporal generalization.”

SourcesNeurofeedback in ADHD: A Single-blind Randomized Controlled Trial [European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry]The Effect of Video Feedback on the Social Behavior of an Adolescent with ADHD [Journal of Attention Disorders]