Purpose: Recent reviews have proposed that scientifically validated standard EEG neurofeedback (NF) protocols are an efficacious and specific treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here, we review the current evidence for the treatment efficacy and clinical effectiveness of NF in ADHD to investigate whether NF treatment personalization (standard protocols matched to the electrophysiological features of ADHD) and combination with other interventions (psychosocial, sleep hygiene and nutritional advice) might yield superior long-term treatment outcomes relative to non-personalized NF and medication monotreatments.
Methods: The electronic databases PubMed and PsycINFO were systematically searched using our key terms. Of the 38 resulting studies, 11 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and open-label studies were eligible for inclusion. Studies were analyzed for effect sizes and remission rates at the end of treatment and at follow-up. The effects of personalized and multimodal NF treatments were compared to non-personalized NF monotreatments and with two benchmark medication studies.
Results: The analysis of RCTs indicated that the long-term effects of personalized NF interventions were superior to non-personalized NF and comparable to those of medication alone or in combination with behavioral intervention. The analysis of open-label trials further indicates that the interaction of NF with parental interventions, sleep and nutritional advice might yield superior clinical effectiveness relative to NF and medication monotreatments.
Conclusion: Personalized and multimodal NF interventions seem to yield superior treatment efficacy relative to NF alone and superior clinical effectiveness relative to medication. We propose that treatment outcomes may be further enhanced by adjusting NF non-specific factors (eg, reinforcement contingencies) to specific ADHD characteristics (eg, reward sensitivity). Future NF research should focus on the systematic evaluation of the treatment outcomes of personalized and multimodal treatments.
- treatment efficacy
- ATTENTION-DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
- EMG BIOFEEDBACK