Training the ADHD brain may boost behaviour

Training the brains of children with ADHD, using a technique called neuro-feedback, can improve attention and concentration, and reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity in some children, according to a team of Swiss and German researchers.

Thirty children, aged nine to 13, were divided into two groups, one of which received neurofeedback training - a high-tech non-invasive therapy, which, it is claimed, can alter brainwave patterns to achieve a more normal brainwave profile.

The second group were given group training, using techniques based on cognitive behaviour therapy, to provide training in social skills, self-awareness and self-management.

Half the children in the neurofeedback group successfully learned to regulate their brain activity and showed greater improvements in controlling hyperactivity and impulsivity, as quantified by parents and teachers, who noted no such improvements in the children who had group training.

Neurofeedback training could therefore be a viable alternative for a subgroup of children with ADHD who respond particularly well to this type of treatment.

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First published in 2007