Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most widely diagnosed and commonly studied neuropsychiatric clinical disorders (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011). Symptoms include chronic problems with attention, executive function, and hyperactivity/impulsivity. This double-blind study compared the clinical effectiveness in improving attention of artifact corrected (AC) electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback or “neurofeedback” (NF) with the commonly used, traditional non-artifact corrected (NAC) NF. The AC and NAC NF training methodologies differ in that the AC methodology continuously filters out frequently occurring, very brief EMG artifacts such as eye blinks, eye movement and facial activity in real time without stopping the NF training in order to provide a more accurate measure of EEG amplitude. The first hypothesis that AC NF would result in greater improvement in auditory and visual attention than NAC NF was supported. The AC group significantly improved in both their auditory (p = .03, g = 1.2) and visual (p = .03, g = .9) attention after 12 sessions of training. The NAC group was found to only have a significant improvement in their visual attention (p = .02, g = .3). The second hypothesis that the AC group would be more effective in normalizing EEG was also supported by the changes in the Theta/Beta Power Ratio (TBPR). The AC group’s TBPR decreased while the NAC group’s TBPR increased after training. A comparison of the changes in TBPR for these two groups was found to be statistically significant (p = .01, g = 1.5). This study suggests that the intrusion of artifact in NF training appears to be a very significant factor that may account for the need to train a minimum of 40 sessions and also possibly the negative findings reported in several studies.
Authors: Jeffry P. La Marca, Ph.D., Daniel Cruz, Ph.D., ABPP, Jennifer Fandino, M.A., Fabiana Cacciaguerra, M.A., Joseph Fresco, M.A. & Austin Guerra, M.A. – Seton Hall University
Contact: Jeffry P. La Marca, Ph.D., Seton Hall University, Jeff.LaMarca@shu.edu
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Tags: memory loss, brain fitness, neurofeedback, brain coaching, mindfulness meditation, working memory, verbal learning, visual memory, executive functioning, verbal fluency, cognitive impairments, memory impairments, cognitive training.