Kids with A.D.H.D. may benefit from 'brain wave' training - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Kids with A.D.H.D. may benefit from 'brain wave' training

Updated:
© iStockphoto.com / Mark Rose © iStockphoto.com / Mark Rose

By Mary Brophy Marcus
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.) may benefit from getting a type of training during school hours that monitors their brain waves to help improve attention.

The study involved 104 elementary school children with A.D.H.D. who were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a brain-wave monitoring ("neurofeedback") group; a cognitive attention training group; and a "control" group.

The students attended one of 19 public elementary schools in the greater Boston area. They received three 45-minute sessions per week of either neurofeedback training or cognitive attention training, while the control group received no treatment. Six months later, the researchers followed up on the kids with parent questionnaires and classroom observations made by researchers who did not know which child had received which treatment.

Neurofeedback involves measuring and giving feedback on a child's brain wave activity while the child "plays" or focuses on a computer game revolving around attention activities. The child is asked to try to focus every time feedback information indicates that attention is wavering.

Cognitive training involves a computer program that engages students in games or activities that strengthen attention.

Neurofeedback has been studied in children with A.D.H.D. in the past, and is controversial, noted study author Dr. Naomi Steiner, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

The study team found that the kids who were given neurofeedback training made greater improvements in their A.D.H.D. symptoms, compared to the other two groups. The findings were published online Feb. 17 and in the March print issue of Pediatrics.

"They showed significant improvements in attention and executive function. This study suggests that neurofeedback works, and you can actually do it in schools," Steiner said.

"The cognitive attention training group improved a little bit but not as much as the neurofeedback group, and not on as many scales," she added.

An estimated 9.5 percent of U.S. children aged 4 to 17 are diagnosed with A.D.H.D., a disorder that leaves kids struggling with attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity issues, according to the authors.

One expert welcomed the research.

"I have been following the field and I was encouraged that there was finally a well-controlled study on neurofeedback and A.D.H.D.," said Dr. Caroline Martinez, an assistant clinical professor in the division of behavioral pediatrics at the Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital, in New York City. "Prior studies have been inconclusive or not adequately controlled, and it was nice to have the benefit of being compared to a control group and the cognitive training group."

Martinez noted that she believes that neurofeedback for A.D.H.D. is not readily available.

"They are expensive and are not usually covered by insurance, that I know of," she said. She estimated that neurofeedback training runs at roughly $100 per session.

Steiner noted that about 50 percent of the children in the study were on a common A.D.H.D. medication at the start of the research. Six months later, the drug dosage remained the same among participants in the neurofeedback group, but the parents of the students in the cognitive training and control groups reported increased medication doses, which Steiner said is to be expected as a child matures.

Another expert lauded the research, but wondered about its applicability to classroom performance.

"I think it's important to do studies that look for the effects of other interventions besides medication on A.D.H.D. symptoms. I think the study was rigorously done," said Dr. Donald Gilbert, an A.D.H.D. researcher and professor of pediatrics and neurology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

But while the neurofeedback intervention made a difference and attention scores were better, Gilbert questioned whether it would equate to better classroom performance.

"I'm not sure we can expect a difference in learning in the classroom because, on average, after neurofeedback their symptoms were still in the A.D.H.D. range, according to the data graphs," he noted.

"I guess it's kind of promising, but the benefit is still fairly small, and I would say it is nothing to write home about. I think it's worth exploring further," Gilbert said.

Study author Steiner said more trials are needed to substantiate their findings and make recommendations for schools.

But that doesn't diminish her enthusiasm for the potential of neurofeedback.

"This could change the way we think about the brain, and change the way we help students and adults with A.D.H.D.," Steiner said.

More information

For more information on A.D.H.D., visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Medical News HeadlinesMedical News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:15:06 GMT
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
  • Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:15:09 GMT
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure, but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms.more>>
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure for SMA but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms, it targets mutated SMN genes, which are responsible for SMA.more>>
  • Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:15:09 GMT
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
  • Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Friday, April 11 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-11 21:15:07 GMT
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a rare type of melanoma that targets the eye. It can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States. Although rare – it can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
  • Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Thursday, April 10 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-10 21:15:09 GMT
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
  • Pedaling For A Cure

    Pedaling For A Cure

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-09 21:15:09 GMT
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
  • Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-08 21:15:13 GMT
    CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Eric Robinson alive after he went into cardiac arrest. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
    A year ago, while jamming with his son's band, Eric Robinson went into cardiac arrest. CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Robinson alive. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
  • Helping High Risk Hearts

    Helping High Risk Hearts

    Monday, April 7 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-07 21:15:09 GMT
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
  • Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Friday, April 4 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-04 21:15:07 GMT
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
  • Predicting Bad Hearts

    Predicting Bad Hearts

    Thursday, April 3 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-03 21:15:09 GMT
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner.more>>
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. And 600,000 die of heart disease. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner; and they did it by pure accident.more>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.