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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Neurofeedback for the treatment of children and adolescents with ADHD: a randomized and controlled clinical trial using parental reports

Nezla S Duric12*, Jørg Assmus3, Doris Gundersen4 and Irene B Elgen56

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Helse Fonna Haugesund Hospital, Vinjesgate 10, Haugesund 5501, Norway

2 Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

3 Center for Clinical Research, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

4 Department of Research, Helse Fonna Haugesund Hospital, Haugesund, Norway

5 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Haukeland University Hospital, Haukeland, Norway

6 Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

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BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:107  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-107

Published: 10 August 2012

Abstract

Background

A randomized and controlled clinical study was performed to evaluate the use of neurofeedback (NF) to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents.

Methods

The ADHD population was selected from an outpatient clinic for Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Norway. Ninety-one of the 275 children and adolescents ranging in age from 6 to 18 years (10.5 years) participated in 30 sessions of an intensive NF program. The reinforcement contingency was based on the subjects’ production of cortical beta1 activity (15–18 Hz). The ADHD participants were randomized into three groups, with 30 in the NF group, 31 controls in a group that was given methylphenidate, and 30 in a group that received NF and methylphenidate. ADHD core symptoms were reported by parents using the parent form of the Clinician’s Manual for Assessment by Russell A. Barkley.

Results

Ninety-one children and adolescents were effectively randomized by age, sex, intelligence and distribution of ADHD core symptoms. The parents reported significant effects of the treatments, but no significant differences between the treatment groups were observed.

Conclusions

NF was as effective as methylphenidate at treating the attentional and hyperactivity symptoms of ADHD, based on parental reports.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials NCT01252446

Keywords:
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); Neurofeedback; Barkley rating scale for parents