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Neurofeedback for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: meta-analysis of clinical and neuropsychological outcomes from randomized controlled trials


Cortese, Samuele; Ferrin, Maite; Brandeis, Daniel; Holtmann, Martin; Aggensteiner, Pascal; Daley, David; Santosh, Paramala; Simonoff, Emily; Stevenson, Jim; Stringaris, Argyris; Sonuga-Barke, Edmund J S (2016). Neurofeedback for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: meta-analysis of clinical and neuropsychological outcomes from randomized controlled trials. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(6):444-455.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE We performed meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials to examine the effects of neurofeedback on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and neuropsychological deficits in children and adolescents with ADHD. METHOD We searched PubMed, Ovid, Web of Science, ERIC, and CINAHAL through August 30, 2015. Random-effects models were employed. Studies were evaluated with the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. RESULTS We included 13 trials (520 participants with ADHD). Significant effects were found on ADHD symptoms rated by assessors most proximal to the treatment setting, that is, the least blinded outcome measure (standardized mean difference [SMD]: ADHD total symptoms = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.11-0.59; inattention = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.09-0.63; hyperactivity/impulsivity = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.08-0.43). Effects were not significant when probably blinded ratings were the outcome or in trials with active/sham controls. Results were similar when only frequency band training trials, the most common neurofeedback approach, were analyzed separately. Effects on laboratory measures of inhibition (SMD = 0.30, 95% CI = -0.10 to 0.70) and attention (SMD = 0.13, 95% CI = -0.09 to 0.36) were not significant. Only 4 studies directly assessed whether learning occurred after neurofeedback training. The risk of bias was unclear for many Cochrane Risk of Bias domains in most studies. CONCLUSION Evidence from well-controlled trials with probably blinded outcomes currently fails to support neurofeedback as an effective treatment for ADHD. Future efforts should focus on implementing standard neurofeedback protocols, ensuring learning, and optimizing clinically relevant transfer.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE We performed meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials to examine the effects of neurofeedback on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and neuropsychological deficits in children and adolescents with ADHD. METHOD We searched PubMed, Ovid, Web of Science, ERIC, and CINAHAL through August 30, 2015. Random-effects models were employed. Studies were evaluated with the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. RESULTS We included 13 trials (520 participants with ADHD). Significant effects were found on ADHD symptoms rated by assessors most proximal to the treatment setting, that is, the least blinded outcome measure (standardized mean difference [SMD]: ADHD total symptoms = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.11-0.59; inattention = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.09-0.63; hyperactivity/impulsivity = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.08-0.43). Effects were not significant when probably blinded ratings were the outcome or in trials with active/sham controls. Results were similar when only frequency band training trials, the most common neurofeedback approach, were analyzed separately. Effects on laboratory measures of inhibition (SMD = 0.30, 95% CI = -0.10 to 0.70) and attention (SMD = 0.13, 95% CI = -0.09 to 0.36) were not significant. Only 4 studies directly assessed whether learning occurred after neurofeedback training. The risk of bias was unclear for many Cochrane Risk of Bias domains in most studies. CONCLUSION Evidence from well-controlled trials with probably blinded outcomes currently fails to support neurofeedback as an effective treatment for ADHD. Future efforts should focus on implementing standard neurofeedback protocols, ensuring learning, and optimizing clinically relevant transfer.

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Additional indexing

Contributors:Steinhausen, Hans-Christoph
Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:June 2016
Deposited On:25 Aug 2016 13:19
Last Modified:26 Aug 2016 08:16
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0890-8567
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2016.03.007
PubMed ID:27238063

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