Summary of Recent Research Supporting Neurofeedback
Recent Research Supporting ADHD
Neurofeedback and ADHD Coaching
According to research by psychologists Margaret Austin, Natalie Staats Reiss, and Laura Burgdorf, neurofeedback treatment promises results for patients with ADHD. The treatment focuses on making patients aware of the brainwaves they are producing and are taught techniques to consciously change them. Software products were designed to help patients with impulse control, mental processing speed, working memory, and also build cognitive skills and improve listening skills.
Children with ADHD Realize Significant Benefits from neurofeedback training in randomized clinical trial
Researchers have reported that children with ADHD who underwent neurofeedback training have significantly improved on numerous home and school behavioral rating scales. A study was done involving 102 children with an age range of 8-12 years old. They were placed in either a neurofeedback group or computerized attention training group to undergo sessions. Overall, the participants in the neurofeedback group experienced superior treatment results and were 2.68 times more likely to improve compared to the other group. This study also suggests that neurofeedback can be effective with two sessions per day.
Using neurofeeback to treat ADHD
Nine year old Mathew began neurofeedback therapy as a result of suffering from ADHD and having trouble paying attention in school. Psychotherapist, Jerry Walker says, “It’s a process of conditioning the brain to actually make it function more effectively”. According to Mathew, neurofeedback has helped him focus better in the classroom. Walker reported that “about 60 percent of the population or better tend to notice some form of improvement”.
Neurfeeback: An ADHD Treatment that Retrains the Brain
According to US News & World Report, neurofeedback is becoming a new phenomena in treating patients with ADHD and retraining their brains. When Cameron Rose was eleven years old, he was diagnosed with ADHD and placed in a class for the severely disabled. After undergoing 60 sessions of neurofeedback therapy, his reading scores shot up from second to fifth grade level and IQ scores jumped from low average to high average. Now, age 26, Rose graduated from Queen’s University in Canada with a degree in computer engineering. Lynda Thompson, psychologist and director of the Toronto Center, observes many kids with ADHD that are extremely good at hyper focusing on something that interests them. “The challenge is to get them to concentrate on something they find boring- and the idea of neurofeedback is to teach kids how to do just that” This treatment is growing to be more widely accepted and successful and can be a drug-free solution for many.
ADHD Treatment Alternatives
A significant study was done called “The Effects of Stimulant Therapy” involving 100 children over a 12 month period. The children were predominantly male and had an average age of ten. The findings indicated that neurofeedback is a viable form of treatment for both childhood and adult ADHD where medication is less effective. According to a recent press release by the National Institute of Mental Health, L. Eugene Arnold, M.D., and Nicolas Lofthouse, Ph.D. of The Ohio State University will be leading a research project on “novel and innovative approaches to treating children who have ADHD, focused on EEG biofeedback training, Neurofeedback”.
New Study Supports Neurofeedback Treatment for ADHD
Neurofeedback is an approach fr treating ADHD in which individuals are provided real-time feedback on their brainwave patterns and alter their typical EEG pattern to one that is consistent with a focused, tentative state. A study was conducted in Germany involving 102 children ages 8-12. All of them had been diagnosed with ADHD and 90% have never received medication treatment. The children were then assigned to either a treatment of 36 sessions of neurofeedback training or 36 sessions of computerized attention training. Parents of the children who were treated with neurofeedback reported significant reductions of inattentive and hyper-active symptoms. Clinical psychologist, David Rabiner, insists that “the findings provides additional basis for regarding this as an extremely promising treatment approach for some children with ADHD”.
Recent Research Supporting Migraines
Biofeedback Therapy for Headache Relief
When undergoing biofeedback therapy, the patient will learn to control things like muscle tension and heart rate by changing emotions and thought processes. “A recent review of nearly 100 research studies that looked at the effectiveness of biofeedback therapy for migraine and tension-related headache found that people with both types of headache were able to decrease the frequency of their headaches using biofeedback”. The American Academy of Neurology recommends biofeedback and other mind-body therapies as effective headache treatments.
Migraine and Tension Headache Relief using Neurofeedback
According to the National Headache foundation, neurofeedback is recommended as a safe and natural therapy for people with headaches and states that those who go through the therapy have better outcomes then expected. “Neurofeedback is all about allowing your brain to take control by regulating itself” Research shows that eight out of ten people treated with neurofeedback for migraines experience a long lasting cure.
Neurofeedback and Migraines
Health professionals report that medications for migraines have been reduced or in some cases even eliminated for patients due to the affects of neurofeedback. The relief is almost immediate, and roughly 50% of patients have reduced severity within just a 30-minute training session. A certain number of training sessions are required however, for long-term results. Neurofeedback is a learning process which ultimately trains the brain to be less vulnerable to the factors which may have triggered headaches previously. “More than 80% of persons who complete the training regimen report remediation of headache symptoms”.
Biofeedback Trains Mind, Body to Make Changes
Neurofeedback’s primarily focus is on the mind being able to gain control of the body. Steve Baskin, PhD, reports to WebMD that “By learning biofeedback, migraine sufferers can short-circuit migraines and other headaches, or at least reduce the pain”. The process is easy to learn, and leads to a progressively successful outcome.
Recent Research Supporting Autism Neurofeedback May Help ‘Retrain’ Brainwaves in Children with Autism Autistic children are disconnected; they have trouble with paying attention and being alert. Neurofeedback requires minimum effort, and therefore it may be an invaluable tool for helping autistic children’s brains function better. The areas of improvement for autistic children range from better social skills to improvement in sleeping and eating habits. Neurofeedback “teaches” the autistic brain to pay attention to the task on-hand, by rewarding focus. The game on the computer screen reacts to the attention the autistic child is giving it. If a child remains focused, certain rewarding sounds and visuals are stimulated. While the child is distracted with a computer game, psychologists can see the brain wave activity for that particular client. This way, psychologists know which pathways need more work and which are overactive. The main goal is for the autistic child is to eventually be able to control his or her own mental processes. (Science Daily, 2008)
Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Neurofeedback- New Treatment Approach
The therapists at The Attention Leaning Center in San Juan, California have seen positive results in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. There, neurofeedback is being offered as a complimentary or alternative treatment to medication and behavioral treatments. So far, improvements include the use of language in children who have previously been non-verbal and an increase of eye contact. One of the patterns found in the brains of Autistic patients is the production of too much Beta wave activity. In the course of treatment, therapists would use neurofeedback to regulate these waves. This is essentially indicates an over-focused brain. This is manifested in autistic children’s fascination and obsession with certain objects like water. Another important feature of the QEEG brain maps that show over and under-active brain waves is that patients can be diagnosed correctly by comparing brain maps. (The Attention Learning Center website, 2010)
Efficacy of Neurofeedback in the Autistic Spectrum In one study done by the Atlantic Research Institute, 88% of individuals with autism who had neurofeedback treatment showed reduction of autistic symptoms within months. The study found significant progress in social skills, speech, and health in patients. (Jarusiewicz, 2001)
Neurofeedback: A Must Know Treatment for Autism Neurofeedback is essentially the biofeedback of brain waves. Neurofeedback requires the placement of electrodes onto a child’s head to measure brain waves at those locations of the brain. The electrodes connect to a computer program that serves as a visual stimulation. When the patient’s brain waves are working at the right pace, the game responds accordingly. Through this activity, the brain learns how to regulate the process leading up to the execution of the task- the brain is controlling its thought processes by the regulation of certain brain waves. Improvements resulting from neurofeedback therapy have been reported: better sleep, less anxiety, better social communication. (Castro, 2009)
Success Story on Autism and Neurofeedback An eight and a half year old boy was diagnosed with mild autism. One specialist went so far as to claim that there was no way the boy’s brain could improve. Before neurofeedback treatment, the boy showed a lack of awareness of people around him, was not verbally or socially interactive, and had no imagination. After just three sessions, the boy’s mother reported positive improvements in the boy’s behavior. The boy had become more talkative, was making more eye contact, and had experienced emotions. The boy’s speech and language skills have improved. His sleep habits have also improved, he is less anxious, and he has had a reduction in headaches. After 31 sessions of neurofeedback, the boy has showed an increase in SMR brainwaves and a decrease in theta brainwaves. These results suggest that neurofeedback can be used as an effective treatment for patients with autistic tendencies. (Sichel, Fehmi, & Goldstein, 2010)
Connectivity-Guided Neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorder Symptoms of autistic spectrum disorders arise because of irregular neural connections in the brain. A study has found that neurofeedback can help combat these problems and reduce symptoms. Several recent EEG studies have confirmed that in autistic children, there are areas of the brain that have excessive connection, as well as areas that have restrained connectivity. Neurofeedback seems to be an effective treatment method of remedying excessive and restrained connectivity issues in the brains of autistic patients. (Coben, 2007)
Autism and Biofeedback
In one case, a seven year old autistic boy had trouble talking, reading, and even suffered from seizures as a result of these frustrations. After a year of neurofeedback treatment, he is able to make friends easily and he hugs his mom out of pure love. Neurofeedback is benign, and non-invasive. Any adverse effects are rare and usually minor (a short headache). A current study reports a 92% success rate with neurofeedback. (Ames)
Amazing Technizues to Help Retrain your Brain
A study in the European Journal of Neuroscience found that neurofeedback is effective with long-term treatment in changes of neural connectivity. An article in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders predicts that neurofeedback will become a leading treatment for children with problems resulting from ASD. (Amen, 2010)
Assessment-Guided EEG Neurofeedback is an Effective Treatment for Autism One study looked at a group of 37 children with some sort of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (the NFT group) and compared to 12 children who were diagnosed similarly (the WLC group). The group of 37 patients showed positive changes in attention, visual-perceptual function, and language ability. Also, NFT group showed a higher percentage of symptom reduction when compared to the WLC group. (Coben & Padolsky, 2007)