Neurofeedback in children with ADHD

Neurofeedback is increasingly used as a therapy for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), however behavioral improvements typically require 20 plus training sessions. In healthy adults, neuroplastic effects have been demonstrated directly after a single session of Neurofeedback training.  A recent study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology aimed to test the feasibility of short-term theta/beta NF in children with ADHD and to learn more about the mechanisms underlying this protocol. 

In this study children with ADHD conducted two theta/beta neurofeedback sessions. In the first half of the sessions, three neurofeedback trials (puzzles as feedback animations) were run with pre- and post-reading and picture search tasks. A significant decrease of the theta/beta ratio (TBR), driven by a decrease of theta activity, was found in the neurofeedback trials of the second session demonstrating rapid and successful neuroregulation by children with ADHD.

For pre-post comparisons, children were split into good vs. poor regulator groups based on the slope of their TBR over the NF trials. For the reading task, significant EEG changes were seen for the theta band from pre- to post-NF depending on individual neuroregulation ability. This neuroplastic effect was not restricted to the feedback electrode Cz, but appeared as a generalised pattern, maximal over midline and right-hemisphere electrodes.

The authors suggest that the findings indicate that short-term neurofeedback may be a valuable and economical tool to study the neuroplastic mechanisms of targeted protocols in clinical disorders, such as theta/beta training in children with ADHD.

Jessica Van Dorena (et al) 2016
"Theta/beta neurofeedback in children with ADHD: Feasibility of a short-term setting and plasticity effects"
International Journal of Psychophysiology,

ADHD, NeurofeedbackDerek Jones