The Benefits of Neurofeedback for People with Traumatic Brain Injuries
Dr Shelley Hyman
A significant proportion of the population have acquired some sort of disability or impairment resulting from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Researchers have been interested in investigating the effectiveness of neurofeedback in the management and treatment of symptoms commonly associated with TBI's.
Thornton and colleagues (2005) reviewed the existing research on traumatic brain injuries and showed consistent evidence of the possible benefits of neurofeedback for patients with TBI. One particular case study found that a patient with mild TBI improved both executive function and cognitive flexibility.
Another study, utilising a sample of 14 patients with mild TBI found that approximately 60% of participants reported improvement in self-report measures or showed improvement in performance based measures. The improvement ranged from 23% to 62%. Keller administered ten sessions of neurofeedback to a sample of 12 patients and found that 8 of the 12 participants exhibited improved attentional ability.
A study by Walker monitored a sample of 26 participants with TBIs and administered neurofeedback in an attempt to manage their reported and observed impairments. Results revealed that 88% of the patients in the study reported significant improvements (>50%) on a global improvement self-rating scale.
Problems in executive function are also a common symptom experienced by people with TBI's. Impairments to executive functions involve difficulty in planning, organisation and self regulation. Research has shown that neurofeedback has been particularly helpful in improving executive function in patients with TBI's.
- Thornton, E. K., & Carmody, P. D. (2005). Electroencephalogram biofeedback for reading disability and traumatic brain injury, Child Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic of North America, 14 137-162Chynna Foster