Research on Neurofeedback for Learning Difficulties and Disabilities
There are literally hundreds of studies that have been published on Neurofeedback. This page provides an extract of some key pieces of research on learning difficulties and disabilities.
This paper gives a comprehensive description of the neuroscience behind problems with reading in dyslexic and brain-damaged patients, and describes case studies where Neurofeedback resulted in a 400% improvement in reading memory, a 109% increase in reading ability, a 250% increase in reading comprehension:
- Thornton, Kirtley E., and Dennis P. Carmody. “Electroencephalogram biofeedback for reading disability and traumatic brain injury.” Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 14.1 (2005): 137-162.
This randomised controlled trial published in 2009 showed considerable improvement in spelling following Neurofeedback training:
- Breteler, Marinus HM, et al. “Improvements in spelling after QEEG-based neurofeedback in dyslexia: A randomized controlled treatment study.” Applied psychophysiology and biofeedback 35.1 (2010): 5-11.
The areas of the brain associated with writing are also well understood, and this 2012 study showed significant improvement in handwriting for all 24 participants who undertook Neurofeedback training:-
- Walker, Jonathan E. “QEEG-guided neurofeedback for remediation of dysgraphia.” Biofeedback 40.3 (2012): 113-114.
This case study describes the success achieved by a young man who undertook Neurofeedback training for a variety of reasons including Dyspraxia:-
Autism Spectrum Disorder
The first case study applying Neurofeedback to autism was in 1994. In this randomised controlled study from 2010, parents of the NF group reported significant improvements in reciprocal social interactions and communication skills. EEG analysis showed 60% reduction in Theta waves in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) known to be involved in social & executive dysfunctions in autism:
- Kouijzer, M. E., van Schie, H. T., de Moor, J. M., Gerrits, B. J., & Buitelaar, J. K. (2010). Neurofeedback treatment in autism. Preliminary findings in behavioral, cognitive, and neurophysiological functioning. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 4(3), 386-399.
In this 2007 study the Neurofeedback group had an 89% success rate improving ASD symptoms, 40% reduction in core ASD symptomology (ATEC scores) and 76% reduction in hyper-connectivity:
A further 2009 study showed that the effects lasted beyond 12 months:
A 2007 study demonstrated how a number of children with Down Syndrome showed significant improvements in all areas measured following up to 60 sessions of neurofeedback, i.e. Verbal Communication, Nonverbal communication, Short and Long Term Memory, Behaviour and Physical Balance:
The body of evidence for Neurofeedback for ADHD is particularly strong. There have been studies of 100 children demonstrating that the results last at least 3 years (Monastra, 2005) below, also below is a case study of a boy whose results lasted at least 10 years:
Some people might call this a ‘cure’ for ADHD. With problems of brain disregulation, we would say there is not a disease to be ‘cured’, and restoring self-regulation using Neurofeedback may be a complete remedy. In October 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics, the professional body for American Paediatricians who also act as the ‘NICE’ by issuing clinical guidelines, issued a report that declared Neurofeedback (also known as EEG Biofeedback) met independent assessors’ highest standards of Evidence-Based Intervention for Attention and Hyperactivity disorders. Here you can download a copy of a report that explains in detail how they reached this conclusion.