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Neurofeedback Works for ADHD - Especially Impulsivity & Inattention

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.

Due to the inclusion of some very recent and sound methodological studies in this meta-analysis, potential confounding factors from previous studies, such as small subject numbers, lack of randomization and a lack of adequate control groups, were able to be addressed and accounted for.  

The researchers conclude that the clinical effects of neurofeedback in the treatment of ADHD can be regarded as clinically meaningful.  Three randomized studies employed a semi-active control group which can be regarded as a credible sham control, providing an equal level of cognitive training and client-therapist interaction.

Therefore, in line with the AAPB and ISNR guidelines for rating clinical efficacy, the investigators conclude that neurofeedback treatment for ADHD can be considered "Efficacious and Specific" (Level 5) with a large effect size for inattention and impulsivity, and a medium effect size for hyperactivity.

Citation:  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. Clin EEG Neurosci. 2009 Jul; 40 (3): pp. 180-9. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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