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Effect of neurofeedback training on neural substrates of selective attention in children with ADHD

10 Apr

Another new study, this one using neuro-imaging out of the University of Montreal, shows that neurofeedback is very likely highly effective in helping children with attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder.

Given the fact that neuroimaging studies show abnormal functioning of the anterior cingulate cortex in those with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) during tasks involving selective attention, researchers at the University of Montreal conducted a randomized, controlled pilot study to examine whether neurofeedback training (NFT) could significantly improve cognitive functioning in children with ADHD.

They devised a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study to measure the effect of NFT on the neural substrates of selective attention in children with AD/HD. Twenty AD/HD children, who were not taking any psychostimulant drugs participated to the study.

Fifteen children were randomly assigned to the experimental group (NFT), whereas the other five children were assigned to the control group (no NFT). Subjects from both groups were scanned 1 week before the beginning of the NFT (Time 1) and 1 week after the end of the training (Time 2), while they performed a Counting Stroop task.

At Time 1, for both groups, the Counting Stroop task was associated with significant loci of activation in the left superior parietal lobule. No activation was noted in the anterior cingulate cortex. At Time 2, for both groups, the Counting Stroop task was still associated with significant activation of the left superior parietal lobule. This time, however, for the intervention group only there was a significant activation of the right ACC. These results suggest that in AD/HD children, NFT has the capacity to normalize the functioning of the anterior cingulate cortex, the key neural substrate of selective attention.

Citation: Levesque J, Beauregard M, Mensour B. Effect of neurofeedback training on the neural substrates of selective attention in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Neuroscience Letters. 2006 Feb 20; 394 (3): pages 216-21. Epub 2005 Dec 15.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award