Blog Post 2018 Review on neurofeedback in ADHD

2018 Review on neurofeedback in ADHD
Mar

13

2018

2018 Review on neurofeedback in ADHD

Just published in February, 2018 in the scientific journal European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: An international group of researchers conducted a meta-analysis that systematically looked at all available studies and found that after an intensive course of neurofeedback, the clinical benefit of neurofeedback on ADHD symptoms was maintained over a 6-month follow-up period (without treatment). At follow-up the effects of neurofeedback were not inferior to active treatments such as medication, whereas benefits for non-active control groups (such as cognitive training) were no longer present at follow-up.

As ADHD medication has been shown to only be effective in short-term symptom management, and clinical benefit is likely to diminish after sustained use for more than 2 years, there is a need for treatments that result in better long-term benefits. Therefore, an international group of researchers from The Netherlands (Utrecht University, Radboud University), Germany (University Hospital Erlangen, Tübingen University), and the United States (UCLA), conducted a systematic-review and meta-analysis to investigate the long-term effects of neurofeedback and other treatments such as medication. This research group was selected to include scientists with different views on neurofeedback to interpret the data in a balanced and critical manner.

Researchers gathered data of more than 500 children with ADHD comparing the results of neurofeedback, active (incl. medication), and ‘non-active’ control conditions from 10 randomized controlled studies (RCT’s) and clinical benefit was assessed after a follow-up period of on average 6 months after treatment was finished. It was found that neurofeedback resulted in a large effect on inattention and medium effect on hyperactivity/impulsivity at follow-up and at this time-point there were no differences between neurofeedback and active-treatments. For non-active controls a small effect was found only on inattention that disappeared at follow-up. Numerically, the benefits of neurofeedback tended to improve from outtake to follow-up, which was not the case for the other treatments. Furthermore, for the medication groups, medication was still used in the 6 month interval to follow-up, whereas for neurofeedback no additional treatment sessions were administered in that interval.

These results suggest that clinical benefits achieved with neurofeedback in children with ADHD have durable effects at least over a 6-month period without treatments, positioning neurofeedback as a very promising treatment with long-term benefit.

Reference:

Van Doren, J., Arns, M., Heinrich, H., Vollebregt, M. A., Strehl, U., & Loo, S. K. (2018). Sustained effects of neurofeedback in ADHD: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-018-1121-4

URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00787-018-1121-4