Neurofeedback Research and Related Information
"In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a
wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely
used" (p. v).
"It (NFB) is a field to be taken seriously by all" (p.
Frank H. Duffy, M.D., Professor and Pediatric Neurologist at Harvard Medical School, in an editorial in the
January 2000 issue of the journal Clinical Electroencephalography, stating that the scholarly literature
suggests that neurofeedback should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas.
Neurofeedback in Psychological Practice
Unlike other biological treatment modalities, neurofeedback is steeped in the history and ethos of psychology. In this older paper, the authors present neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback or EEG operant conditioning, which is a modality with the potential of becoming an important part of effective psychological practice. They insist that such a process that combines two pillars of psychology — operant conditioning and brain function — deserves greater attention from the psychological community.A good article for a brief history of neurofeedback, but please refer to more recent publications for current state of research.
Meta-Analysis of Neurofeedback and ADD/ADHD Research
In the July 2009 issue of the journal “Clinical EEG and Neuroscience”, Martijn Arns and his colleagues completed a meta-analysis of research with Neurofeedback for the treatment of ADHD. Specifically, they wanted to determine the overall effectiveness of neurofeedback on the symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity in individuals who struggle with ADHD. A meta-analysis is statistical procedure that allows the estimation of the effect of a particular type of treatment on a certain type of condition. In a meta-analysis, researchers establish criteria that determine what kinds of studies will become a part of the review. Often they will look for things such as how well controlled the studies were, how clearly the methodology of the study was described, did the study have a large enough number of subjects to have statistical power, etc. Meta-analytic techniques generate a statistic known as the “effect size” which allows a standardized measure of the effectiveness of a treatment across studies that utilized different procedures and outcome measures. In the 2009 meta-analysis of studies evaluating the effect of neurofeedback on ADHD, the authors were able to find 15 studies that qualified for inclusion. Between all the studies, 1194 subjects were treated with neurofeedback for the symptoms of ADHD. Overall, the meta-analysis found large effect sizes of neurofeedback on symptoms of inattention and impulsivity and a medium effect size on hyperactivity. This meta-analysis indicates that neurofeedback is a clinically effective approach for the treatment of the core symptoms of ADHD.
Stimulant Therapy, EEG Biofeedback and Parenting Style on the Primary Symptoms of ADHD
One hundred children, ages 6–19, who were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), either inattentive or combined types, participated in a study examining the effects of Ritalin, EEG biofeedback, and parenting style on the primary symptoms of ADHD. All of the patients participated in a 1-year, multimodal, outpatient program that included Ritalin, parent counseling, and academic support at school. Fifty-one of the participants also received EEG biofeedback therapy. Post treatment assessments were conducted both with and without stimulant therapy. Significant improvement was noted on the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA; L. M. Greenberg, 1996) and the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale (ADDES; S. B. McCarney, 1995) when participants were tested while using Ritalin. However, only those who had received EEG biofeedback sustained these gains when tested without Ritalin. The results of a Quantitative Electroencephalographic Scanning Process (QEEG-Scan; V. J. Monastra et al., 1999) revealed significant reduction in cortical slowing only in patients who had received EEG biofeedback. Behavioral measures indicated that parenting style exerted a significant moderating effect on the expression of behavioral symptoms at home but not at school.
In 2012, as a result of the sound research on NFB, PracticeWise, the company that maintains the American Academy of Pediatrics “Evidence-based Child and Adolescent Psycho-social Interventions” announced it elevated biofeedback to “Level 1 — Best Support” as an intervention for Attention & Hyperactivity Behaviors.