New research shows: Neurofeedback is an ‘Evidence-Based’ treatment for ADHD.
Nijmegen, July 16th 2009 – Neurofeedback – also called EEG Biofeedback – is a method used to train brain activity in order to normalize brain function and treat psychiatric disorders. In the last ten years this treatment method has become more widely applied, however, until now there has not been a study to classify this treatment as being "evidence-based". A study has now been published in the scientific journal ‘Clinical EEG and Neuroscience’ demonstrating that Neurofeedback can indeed be regarded as an evidence-based treatment for Attention Deficit- / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Neurofeedback is a treatment where real-time feedback of specific brain activity (most often EEG) is relayed on a monitor so that the individual has a tool to regulate their brain function, either by reducing or suppressing activity of a predetermined area in the brain. This method was initially discovered in 1976 as a treatment of epilepsy and has since been investigated further for the treatment of ADHD. Neurofeedback has become a relatively well-known treatment option and has been adopted by a variety of specialists and clinicians to treat various mental and cognitive disorders. In this time the efficacy of Neurofeedback had been questioned as (until now) there had been no scientific work done to accurately classify this treatment as "evidence-based".
A meta-analysis has now been conducted which evaluates all published research on Neurofeedback as a treatment ADHD. This analysis was made by a collaboration of researchers from The University of Tübingen (Germany), Radboud University (The Netherlands), neuroCare (formerly Brainclinics) as well as the EEG Resource Institute (The Netherlands).
This meta-analysis included 15 studies and 1,194 ADHD patient cases. Based on this study – published in the July issue of Clinical EEG and Neuroscience – it could be concluded that Neurofeedback can indeed be considered an Evidence-Based treatment for ADHD. The results show that Neurofeedback treatment has large and clinically significant effects on impulsivity and inattention and modest improvement on hyperactivity.
It should be noted that these findings apply to Neurofeedback as a treatment for ADHD and do not imply Neurofeedback is an evidence-based treatment for other disorders. In the same issue of Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, it is, however, demonstrated that Neurofeedback is an evidence-based treatment for epilepsy.
Interested clients are advised to make an informed choice regarding Neurofeedback therapists, since there is a large heterogeneity in Neurofeedback treatment approaches and clinicians. It is advised to look for psychologists or physicians who are at least a member of a professional organisation such as the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR: www.isnr.org) or other professional organisations and who use well investigated methods.
Arns, M. (2011). Personalized medicine in ADHD and depression: A quest for EEG treatment predictors. PhD thesis, Utrecht University.
Arns, M. (2010). Handboek neurofeedback bij ADHD. [Handbook Neurofeedback in ADHD] (1 ed.). Amsterdam: SWP.
Arns, M., de Ridder, S., Strehl, U., Breteler, M. & Coenen, A. Efficacy of Neurofeedback Treatment in ADHD: The effects on Inattention, Impulsivity and Hyperactivity: a Meta-Analysis. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience; 40(3), 180-189.
Arns, M. (2008) Personalized Medicine: Nieuwe ontwikkelingen in de diagnostiek en behandeling van Depressie en ADHD. De Psycholoog, September 2008.