Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder characterised by difficulty paying attention or concentrating on tasks. It is estimated that 9.5% of children are diagnosed with ADHD which has an impact on academic performance and social relationships.
Stimulant medications such as Ritalin or Adderall are effective but also carry side effects.
One remedy alternative without the use of medications involves computer-based neurofeedback. Children that undergo these procedures are able to monitor their own brave wave patterns. The objective is to teach children how to train their brain to be focused by using biofeedback sensors as guides.
Another approach is to use computer-based cognitive training (CT) to assist with children diagnosed with ADHD. Of these two remedy alternatives, which one is more effective?
Researchers from Tufts Medical Center set out to find the answer. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of computer attention training using neurofeedback or cognitive training for children with ADHD.
The study involved randomly assigning 104 elementary school children to receive neurofeedback, cognitive training, or no therapy. The sessions were carried out at school three times a week for five months and evaluated six months after the sessions.
At the six month follow-up, the participants in the neurofeedback group showed significant improvements in ADHD symptoms compared to the participants in the cognitive training and control group. The findings are important and suggest that neurofeedback can be a viable remedy method for children diagnosed with ADHD.
Another important finding of the study is that children who underwent neurofeedback remedies did not increase their medication dose while the other two groups did. The improvements for children on neurofeedback training were found to be equal regardless of whether they were on medications.
The study determined that neurofeedback was effective for children with ADHD even after six months following remedy. The results of the study are important and demonstrate its effectiveness compared to medications or cognitive training. Additional research needs to be carried to assess individual factors that contribute to progress and how the remedy effects last beyond six months.
The results of the study are certainly promising for parents that want an alternative compared to using stimulants for their children.
Naomi J. Steiner, Elizabeth C. Frenette, Kirsten M. Rene, Robert T. Brennan, and Ellen C. Perrin (2014). In-School Neurofeedback Training For ADHD. Pediatrics 2014;133:483–492.