Frank Duffy Quote
Frank Duffy, MD, Neurologist, Head of the Neuroimaging Department and of Neuroimaging Research at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School Professor, conducted an independent review of the literature on neurofeedback for Clinical Electroencephalography (2000). He summarized his findings as follows:
“The literature, which lacks any negative study of substance, suggests that EEG biofeedback therapy should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas. In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy, it would be universally accepted and widely used. "
Katie Campbell Daley Quote
In a recent paper Update on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder published in Current Opinion in Pediatrics Katie Campbell Daley reviewed the research and practice standards on treatment of ADHD. Dr. Campbell serves on the staff of the Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston and in the Department of Pediatrics of the Harvard Medical School. She concluded:
"Overall, these findings support the use of multi-modal treatment, including medication, parent/school counseling, and EEG biofeedback, in the long term management of ADHD, with EEG biofeedback in particular providing a sustained effect even without stimulant treatment...parents interested in non-psychopharmacologic treatment can pursue the use of complementary and alternative therapy. The therapy most promising by recent clinical trials appears to be EEG biofeedback."
Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America
A recent special issue of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America was devoted to emerging interventions that affect brain function. Neurofeedback was featured in seven of the ten chapters in the volume. The volume editors provided an overview and clinical perspective on all the approaches presented. About neurofeedback they concluded:
“EEG biofeedback meets the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry criteria for clinical guideline (CG) for treatment of ADHD, seizure disorders, anxiety (OCD, GAD, PTSD, phobias), depression, reading disabilities, and addictive disorders. This suggests that EEG biofeedback should always be considered as an intervention for these disorders by the clinician."
Vincent J. Monastra ADHD Study cited by WebMD
WebMD says that, although prescribing drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall are the most common way of managing ADHD -- and bring improvement in about 80% of patients, says the American Psychiatric Association - they are not without problems. Many children taking them suffer side effects such as sleep problems, weight loss, jitters, and stomach upset, and nearly half of those with some types of ADHD don't respond to the drugs at all. Some experts are also concerned with their long-term use.
A study, published in the December, 2002, issue of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, indicates that ADHD kids who had weekly sessions of traditional biofeedback therapy for a year were able to reduce or eliminate their medication - and maintained the same level of improvement in focus and concentration as when they had been on drug therapy.
Vincent J. Monastra, PhD, of the FPI Attention Disorders Clinic in Endicott, N.Y., studied 100 children 6-19 years of age with ADHD for a year, all of whom were taking Ritalin and had school and family counseling. But half of the children also had weekly EEG biofeedback therapy, in which they were hooked to a device that measures the activity of their brain waves. "At the conclusion of treatment, all of those who underwent biofeedback were able to cut their medications by at least half - and still enjoy the improvements they got from the drugs. And about 40% were able to discontinue their medication," he tells WebMD. "The kids who didn't get biofeedback needed to continue medication to sustain improvements."
Why biofeedback, which has shown success in treating a host of conditions including migraine and other headaches, chronic pain, digestive problems, hypertension and substance abuse? "Studies show that about 90% of ADHD kids have an under-arousal in activity in the front lobe -- the region of the brain that is involved in sustained attention, focus, concentration, and problem-solving," Monastra says. With biofeedback, the theory goes, ADHD patients can be "taught" to bolster activity in these brain areas.
In these sessions, Monastra's study participants were placed in front of a video screen whose characters moved only when the children produced a short but sustained burst of activity in those areas of the brain thought to be under-aroused. In essence, the 51 patients who got biofeedback played a video game that continued only when they exercised the portion of their brain that is deficient in the ability to focus and stay attentive.
"It's like physical therapy for the brain," explains Monastra, who has studied biofeedback's effect on ADHD for several years. "Every time they produced a half-second burst of activity over the frontal lobe, they were reinforced by the screen to continue."
After a year of study, the children in both groups showed improvement in attentiveness from medication and other treatments. But what happened when the researcher abruptly stopped their medication for a full week?
"If you didn't have the biofeedback and I took way your medicine," says Monastra, "you were back to square one -- your scores from a very thorough evaluation and medical exam indicated that you had significant problems. But if you had received biofeedback, scores on behavioral ratings of teachers and parents, scores on attention and EEG tests measuring brain activity remained in the normal range of what had been achieved with the drugs. In other words, the kids who got biofeedback maintained the gain they achieved with medication, even without the medication."
Please note that Neuro-Gen neurofeedback typically takes one third to two thirds the number of sessions of traditional EEG biofeedback/neurofeedback, sometimes even less.
Mount Dora, FL, near Orlando