Attention Deficit Disorder Research
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.
Researchers from the University of Göttingen in Germany sought to validate claims from small, insufficiently controlled studies that neurofeedback (NF) reduces inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
In a multi-site, randomized, controlled study using a computerized attention skills training protocol for the control condition, 102 children with ADHD, aged 8 to 12 years, were included in the study.
Children were randomized to the intervention - 36 sessions of NF training - or the control condition – 36 sessions of computerized attention skills training - within two blocks of about four weeks each.
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.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver BC looked at the efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for adults with ADHD, while controlling for medication use.
Previous studies had not controlled for meds status and included either medicated participants or mixed samples of medicated and unmedicated subjects. So the objective of this study was to examine whether the use of medication actually improves the outcome of CBT, which is known to be helpful.
The investigators used a secondary analysis comparing 23 participants randomized to CBT and Dextroamphetamine vs. 25 participants randomized to CBT and placebo. Both patients and investigators were blind to treatment assignment. Two co-primary outcomes were used: ADHD symptoms on the ADHD-RS-Inv completed by the investigator; and improvement in functioning as reported by the patient on the Sheehan Disability Scale.
Researchers from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa evaluated a 10-week psychosocial treatment designed specifically for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) & concomitant anxiety disorder.
Using a non-concurrent multiple baseline design, the authors treated 8 children ages 8-12 with ADHD, combined type, and at least 1 of 3 major anxiety disorders (separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia).
The integrated treatment protocol involved parent management training for ADHD and family-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety.
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.
Researchers from Nantong First People's Hospital, Jiangsu, China, explored the effectiveness of electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback therapy for ADHD in children, by assessing the changes of the ratio of brain theta to beta waves (when the children fulfill cognition tasks, brain theta wave activity increases and beta wave activity weakens), and by using the IVA-CPT (integrated visual and auditory continuous performance test) as an assessment measure.
A review of the research literature reports that electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback, also known as neurofeedback, is a promising intervention for patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, comparable in efficacy to stimulant medications.
Researchers from Washington State Toxicology Laboratory reviewed the literature on Electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback, also known as neurofeedback, to assess its promise as an alternative treatment for patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD). (EEG biofeedback therapy rewards scalp EEG frequencies that are associated with relaxed attention, and suppresses frequencies associated with under- or over-arousal.)
This review reports that in large-scale clinical trials, the efficacy of EEG biofeedback for AD/HD is comparable to that of stimulant medications. Many different EEG biofeedback protocols for AD/HD are available. In particular, single-channel protocols developed by Lubar and inter-hemispheric protocols developed by the Othmers are widely practiced and supported by large-scale clinical studies.
Citation: Friel PN. EEG biofeedback in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Alternative Medicine Review. 2007 Jun; 12 (2): pages 146-51. [email protected]
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.
A recent review of the research literature offers a favorable comparison of a technique called neurofeedback (or EEG biofeedback, as it is sometimes called) with drugs, for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder..Read more »