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09 Dec

Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center conducted a pilot study - a randomized trial - to examine the efficacy of a program called Pay Attention!, with children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Pay Attention! is a training program to teach sustained attention: selective, alternating and divided attention.

After a diagnostic and baseline evaluation, school-aged children with ADHD were randomized to either receive 16 bi-weekly sessions of Pay Attention! (n=54) or assigned to a waitlist control group (n=51).

Participants completed an outcome evaluation approximately 12 weeks after their baseline evaluation.

Results showed significant treatment effects from parent and clinician ratings of ADHD symptoms, as well as the child’s self-reporting of his or her ability to focus, and the parents’ ratings of executive functioning.

12 Nov

Investigators from the Department of Music at the University of Jyväskylä, in Jyväskylä, Finland conducted a two-armed, randomized, controlled trial (RCT) with 79 depressed clients who were also experiencing anxiety, in order to compare the impact of standard care versus Music Therapy (MT) in addition to Standard Care (SC), on symptoms.
The purpose of the study was to examine the mechanisms involved in any improvements that might result from Music Therapy, with particular focus on anterior frontotemporal resting state alpha and theta brain waves*.
Measures were taken at intake and after 3 months, using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, along with EEG results.
The research team found that music therapy significantly reduced both depression and anxiety symptoms.

21 Oct

Investigators from the School of Medicine, University of Szeged in Szeged, Hungary, looked into the mechanism whereby hypnosis boosts human learning.
It is known in a general way that learning and memory depend on different cognitive systems that are related to separate and distinct brain structures. These systems interact, not only in cooperative ways to optimize performance, but also sometimes in competitive ways.
Previous studies have shown that by reducing the engagement of frontal lobe-mediated explicit attentional processes, improved performance can result in striatum-related procedural learning.

29 Apr

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Southampton in the UK undertook meta-analyses of the efficacy of various non-pharmaceutical interventions for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) – dietary approaches (restricted elimination diets, artificial food color exclusions, and free fatty acid supplementation) as well as psychological interventions (cognitive training, neurofeedback, and behavioral interventions).

The authors searched electronic databases to identify published, randomized, controlled trials that involved individuals who were diagnosed with ADHD and included an ADHD outcome.

27 Feb

Researchers from IRCCS Eugenio Medea in Lecco, Italy, evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children and adolescents with psychological impacts from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). In addition, they assessed the predictive value of certain clinical variables on treatment outcome.

Forty children, aged 4 to18, were included in the study. Twenty-eight patients received CBT at the Institute, while 12 patients did not receive any treatment at all and were counted as controls. Measuring instruments included the CBCL/4-18 and the VABS, and were administered to parents at the beginning of the study and after 12 months.

23 Jan

Investigators from the Institute of Neuroinformatics at Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China, explored whether brief meditation could produce the changes in white matter connectivity that increase anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) activity and improve self-regulation. They also were interested in discovering more specifics about the mechanisms that produce these changes.

In previous studies, these researchers showed that 3 (??) hours of what they call “mental training” or meditation, based on traditional Chinese medicine (integrative body-mind training, IBMT), increased ACC activity and improved self-regulation.

18 Oct

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, investigated the impact of mindfulness training (MT) on working memory capacity (WMC) and affective experience of reservists during their high-stress, pre-deployment phase.  They hypothesized that MT may bolster working memory and mitigate the deleterious effects of high stress.  (Working memory capacity is used in managing cognitive demands and regulating emotions.  High levels of stress may deplete it, leading to cognitive failures and emotional disturbances.)

The study recruited 2 military cohorts during the high-stress pre-deployment interval, and provided MT to 1 group (MT, n = 31) but not the other group (military control group, MC, n = 17). Additionally, the study used another control group of civilians (n = 12) for comparison.

07 Jun

Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California at Davis in Sacramento, California, investigated if and how meditation might preserve cognition and prevent dementia.
Previous studies have indicated that meditation affects multiple pathways that play a role in brain aging and mental fitness. For example, meditation may reduce stress-induced cortisol secretion and this could have neuro-protective effects by elevating levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Meditation may also potentially have beneficial effects on lipid profiles and lower oxidative stress, either of which could reduce the risk for cerebro-vascular disease and age-related neuro-degeneration.

15 Mar

Researchers from Brainclinics Diagnostics in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, conducted a meta-analysis of the efficacy of neurofeedback on ADHD.

Both prospective controlled studies and studies employing a pre- and post-design found large effect sizes for neurofeedback on impulsivity and inattention and a medium impact on hyperactivity.

Randomized studies demonstrated a lower effect size for hyperactivity, suggesting that hyperactivity is probably more sensitive to nonspecific treatment factors.

24 May

Researchers at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, looked at the possible links in the brain that could cause the connection between meditation practice and psychological, physiological and cognitive well-being.

Using high-resolution MRI data of 44 subjects, they set out to examine the underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation.  (For those with a technical interest, they used voxel-based morphometry in association with a recently validated automated parcellation approach.)