Alexandria neurotherapy center welcomes fresh research into established therapy.
January 7, 2010, Alexandria, VA: A non-drug approach to treating ADHD that has been used since the ’70s is getting new attention from the medical and scientific communities. For practitioners like Deborah Stokes, PhD, at the Better Brain Center, a neurotherapy clinic in Alexandria, it’s long overdue.
Recent articles in the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report underscore the rising interest in this therapeutic tool among researchers, practitioners and parents of children with ADHD.
At the Better Brain Center, neurofeedback is used to help children and adults increase their concentration and focus. Using video-based exercises combined with biofeedback, patients learn to control their own brain activity, effectively “retraining” their own brain waves toward healthier patterns. ADHD sufferers typically show EEG patterns with low beta wave activity. Neurofeedback training at the Better Brain Center allows patients to “practice” generating the faster brainwaves normally present when they are calm and focused, learning, over time, to maintain the desired state.
An estimated 3% to 7% of American school-age children suffer from ADHD and related disorders (CDC). Untreated, ADHD in children has serious long-term implications for social, intellectual and emotional wellbeing. Stimulant and other medications are widely used to treat ADHD, ideally in combination with behavioral modification. Neurofeedback provides non-drug complement to medications for some patients and an alternative to drugs for those for whom medication has proven ineffective or for parents seeking a drug-free, natural ADHD treatment.
While there is 30 years of research to support the effectiveness of neurofeedback, study design flaws have left questions among the research community. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical EEG & Neuroscience in July, 2009, evaluated the pool of research on neurofeedback treatment for ADHD and concluded that “neurofeedback treatment for ADHD can be considered ‘Efficacious and Specific.’”
In addition, a NIMH-funded pilot study of neurofeedback for ADHD is now underway by researchers at Ohio State University, with the goal of conducting a high-quality double-blind randomized clinical trial, fully controlled for experimenter and participant biases.
“Our experience is that successful training results in real improvements in classroom, interpersonal and even athletic performance, and that results are lasting,” says Stokes. “The quality research now taking place will provide the evidence-based data needed for neurofeedback to get the respect and attention we as practitioners know it deserves.”