Neurofeedback for Children with ADHD: A Comparison of SCP and Theta/Beta Protocols

Abstract

Behavioral and cognitive improvements in children with ADHD have been consistently reported after neurofeedback-treatment. However, neurofeedback has not been commonly accepted as a treatment for ADHD. This study addresses previous methodological shortcomings while comparing a neurofeedback-training of Theta-Beta frequencies and training of slow cortical potentials (SCPs). The study aimed at answering (a) whether patients were able to demonstrate learning of cortical self-regulation, (b) if treatment leads to an improvement in cognition and behavior and (c) if the two experimental groups differ in cognitive and behavioral outcome variables. SCP participants were trained to produce positive and negative SCP-shifts while the Theta/Beta participants were trained to suppress Theta (4–8 Hz) while increasing Beta (12–20 Hz). Participants were blind to group assignment. Assessment included potentially confounding variables. Each group was comprised of 19 children with ADHD (aged 8–13 years). The treatment procedure consisted of three phases of 10 sessions each. Both groups were able to intentionally regulate cortical activity and improved in attention and IQ. Parents and teachers reported significant behavioral and cognitive improvements. Clinical effects for both groups remained stable six months after treatment. Groups did not differ in behavioural or cognitive outcome.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the Förderprogramm der Medizinischen Fakultät Tübingen zur Angewandten Klinischen Forschung (AKF-Programm) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

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Correspondence to Ulrike Leins.

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Leins, U., Goth, G., Hinterberger, T. et al. Neurofeedback for Children with ADHD: A Comparison of SCP and Theta/Beta Protocols. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 32, 73–88 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-007-9031-0

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Keywords

  • ADHD
  • Neurofeedback
  • Slow cortical potentials
  • Theta-Beta
  • Self-regulation