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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Neurofeedback to improve neurocognitive functioning of children treated for a brain tumor: design of a randomized controlled double-blind trial

Marieke A de Ruiter1*, Antoinette YN Schouten-Van Meeteren2, Rosa van Mourik3, Tieme WP Janssen3, Juliette EM Greidanus1, Jaap Oosterlaan3 and Martha A Grootenhuis1

Author Affiliations

1 Psychosocial Department, Emma Children's Hospital AMC, room A3-241, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam 1105 AZ, The Netherlands

2 Pediatric Oncology, Emma Children’s Hospital AMC, room G8-236, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, 1105 AZ, The Netherlands

3 VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, room 1E-41, Amsterdam, 1081 BT, The Netherlands

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BMC Cancer 2012, 12:581  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-581

Published: 6 December 2012



Neurotoxicity caused by treatment for a brain tumor is a major cause of neurocognitive decline in survivors. Studies have shown that neurofeedback may enhance neurocognitive functioning. This paper describes the protocol of the PRISMA study, a randomized controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of neurofeedback to improve neurocognitive functioning in children treated for a brain tumor.


Efficacy of neurofeedback will be compared to placebo training in a randomized controlled double-blind trial. A total of 70 brain tumor survivors in the age range of 8 to 18 years will be recruited. Inclusion also requires caregiver-reported neurocognitive problems and being off treatment for more than two years. A group of 35 healthy siblings will be included as the control group. On the basis of a qEEG patients will be assigned to one of three treatment protocols. Thereafter patients will be randomized to receive either neurofeedback training (n=35) or placebo training (n=35). Neurocognitive tests, and questionnaires administered to the patient, caregivers, and teacher, will be used to evaluate pre- and post-intervention functioning, as well as at 6-month follow-up. Siblings will be administered the same tests and questionnaires once.


If neurofeedback proves to be effective for pediatric brain tumor survivors, this can be a valuable addition to the scarce interventions available to improve neurocognitive and psychosocial functioning.

Trial registration NCT00961922.

Brain tumor; Child; Survivors; Attention; Memory; Processing speed; Neurocognitive functioning; Intervention; Neurofeedback; Protocol; RCT; Double-blind