Using Neurofeedback to Change Attentional States

Following the early work on seizures, Joel Lubar and others began to work on a neurofeedback application to help improve the attentional abilities of children and adults with attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD). A great deal of research has indicated that ADD is often accompanied by an excess of slow brain waves, especially during less compelling tasks such as might be found in school. The predominance of 6 (4-7 Hz) activity versus b (13-22 Hz) activity at the central vertex of the cranium has been the most common marker. On this basis, 6-b activity is fed back to the ADD participant with rewards for boosting b relative to 6. This is often done using games or other novel stimuli to motivate the learner. Early results indicate that the participants gain attentional abilities that translate into school performance gains. However, the lack of well-controlled trials with placebo or false feedback limits our confidence in these results.

Neurofeedback has become quite popular over the last 5 years and now plays an important role in the field of biofeedback. If research corroborates the impressions of many clinical trials, it could become a common treatment for many prevalent problems.

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