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Proof that it works

Through the years proof of neurotherapy's effectiveness has been largely antidotal but recent studies indicate the neurofeedback is highly effective in treatingADHD and other conditions. Furthermore, unlike some commonly prescribed pharmaceutical therapies, neurofeedback has no negative physical side effects and appears to produce permanent alterations in learning and behavior. Some studies even suggest that neurofeedback may help increase IQ as well as relieve anxiety.

Recent studies of the brain activity of individuals with ADHD indicate that that their brains exhibit cortical slowing or less activity in the prefrontal region and frontal lobes than normal. Neurofeedback trains these individuals to increase the production of brainwave patterns which reduces or eliminates cortical slowing and the ADHD symptoms associated with it.

One significant study on the effects of stimulant therapy, EEG biofeedback & parenting style on the primary symptoms of ADHD, found strong evidence that a combination of stimulant medication and parent and school counseling had far better results with neurofeedback therapy than without it. The study was conducted over a 12-month period with 100 children, predominantly male whose average age was 10. Preliminary reports of this research were presented at the CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder) National Conference in 1999 and the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2000. The findings indicate that neurofeedback is a viable form of treatment for childhood ADHD and is even more critical for adult ADHD, where medication is less effective.

In her article on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder published in 'Current Opinion in Pediatrics," Katie Campbell Daley reviewed the research and practice standards on treatment of ADHD. Dr. Campbell serves on the staff of the Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston and in the Department of Pediatrics of the Harvard Medical School. She concluded, 'Overall, these findings support the use of multi-modal treatment, including medication, parent/school counseling, and EEG biofeedback, in the long term management of ADHD, with EEG biofeedback in particular providing a sustained effect even without stimulant treatment - parents interested in non-psychopharmacologic treatment can pursue the use of complementary and alternative therapy. The therapy most promising by recent clinical trials appears to be EEG biofeedback."

Recently the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) issued a press release announcing that they are funding a research project on 'novel and innovative approaches of treating children who have ADHD, focused on EEG Biofeedback training or Neurofeedback. L. Eugene Arnold, M.D., and Nicholas Lofthouse, Ph.D., of The Ohio State University, will lead the study. With the huge public backlash against medication that is not only prohibitively expensive but causes side effects, offers uncertain outcomes and potential dangers, there is a great deal of interest in less invasive, more thoughtful and interactive therapies such as neurofeedback. The move by the NIMH to test of efficacy of neurofeedback techniques indicates that the medical community has acknowledged the potential of this approach and may move to benchmark and standardize its usage.

Merln Hurd PhD; BCN, QEEGT

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