Neurofeedback for the treatment of children and adolescents with ADHD: a randomized and controlled clinical trial using parental reports

by Nezla S Duric, Jørg Assmus, Doris Gundersen and Irene B Elgen

 

Abstract

 

Background 
A randomized and controlled clinical study was performed to evaluate the use of neurofeedback (NF) to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents.

 

Methods 
The ADHD population was selected from an outpatient clinic for Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Norway. Ninety-one of the 275 children and adolescents ranging in age from 6 to 18 years (10.5 years) participated in 30 sessions of an intensive NF program. The reinforcement contingency was based on the subjects’ production of cortical beta1 activity (15–18 Hz). The ADHD participants were randomized into three groups, with 30 in the NF group, 31 controls in a group that was given methylphenidate, and 30 in a group that received NF and methylphenidate. ADHD core symptoms were reported by parents using the parent form of the Clinician’s Manual for Assessment by Russell A. Barkley.

 

Results 
Ninety-one children and adolescents were effectively randomized by age, sex, intelligence and distribution of ADHD core symptoms. The parents reported significant effects of the treatments, but no significant differences between the treatment groups were observed.

 

Conclusions 
NF was as effective as methylphenidate at treating the attentional and hyperactivity symptoms of ADHD, based on parental reports.