Neurofeedback Training for Tourette Syndrome: An Uncontrolled Single Case Study
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- Messerotti Benvenuti, S., Buodo, G., Leone, V. et al. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback (2011) 36: 281. doi:10.1007/s10484-011-9169-7
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Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (TS) is characterized by motor and vocal tic manifestations, often accompanied by behavioral, cognitive and affective dysfunctions. Electroencephalography of patients with TS has revealed reduced Sensorimotor Rhythm (SMR) and excessive fronto-central Theta activity, that presumably underlie motor and cognitive disturbances in TS. Some evidence exists that neurofeedback (NFB) training aimed at enhancing SMR amplitude is effective for reducing tics. The present report is an uncontrolled single case study where a NFB training protocol, involving combined SMR uptraining/Theta downtraining was delivered to a 17-year-old male with TS. After sixteen SMR-Theta sessions, six additional sessions were administered with SMR uptraining alone. SMR increase was better obtained when SMR uptraining was administered alone, whereas Theta decrease was observed after both trainings. The patient showed a reduction of tics and affective symptoms, and improvement of cognitive performance after both trainings. Overall, these findings suggest that Theta decrease might account for some clinical effects seen in conjunction with SMR uptraining. Future studies should clarify the feasibility of NFB protocols for patients with TS beyond SMR uptraining alone.